Blood of the Wolf now on Audible and an extract from my brand new series!

Audiobook fans rejoice (or just mumble “woohoo” if you prefer)

The fourth and final Forest Lord novel, Blood of the Wolf, is now available as an audiobook from Audible and, I believe, iTunes. Read, as always, by Nick Ellsworth it clocks in at 12 hours, being the longest book so far by a fair margin.

Click on this link to go to your own country’s Amazon page or just use your Audible account to find it in the store.
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On another note, I have finished the first draft of my final Forest Lord novella – The Abbey of Death starring Will Scarlet. Look out for that around March/April with a cover reveal very soon. This will be the last book featuring the Robin Hood characters so it will be an interesting time for me.

Up next is my brand new historical fiction series, set in 5th century Britain, with the first book tentatively titled “The Druid” since it’s about, yes, you guessed it, a druid! I started writing it yesterday and it was so much fun to be creating an entirely new character after four or five years with Robin, John, Tuck etc. Very exciting indeed!
Here’s a short, unedited, extract, I hope you enjoy it. All being well this book will be out this year but I need to make certain it’s perfect as the first book in a series is the all-important foundation the whole thing rests upon. It will be worth it though, I’m sure…

As ever, please comment below and SHARE using the buttons for Facebook, Twitter etc etc!
Cheers!
Steven

Bellicus regained his stool which groaned under his weight as he relaxed, tearing off a piece of bread from the fresh loaf on the trencher before him and chewing thoughtfully as his light-blue eyes scanned the long hall, taking in everything and everyone. He had a special talent for understanding people. For accurately judging a man’s character from just his facial features and the way he carried himself.

His intuition was greatly valued by Coroticus and it had led to the young druid’s newly elevated position as the king’s personal advisor.

“Who better to have at your side,” Coroticus had smiled, “than a giant druid who can read a man’s intentions in an instant and fight like a centurion?”

Bellicus felt a warm glow, from pride at the remembered praise as much as from the beer which he raised now to his lips and sipped appreciatively.

It was true, he was a fine judge of character – a gift from the Gods which he couldn’t really explain himself. His martial prowess though – that was mostly down to hard work and the finest teacher this side of either of the Romans’ ridiculous walls.

Being taller than any other man he’d ever met was also helpful when it came to a fight although, as a druid, he wasn’t expected to form part of his lord’s shieldwall. That hadn’t stopped him trying it a handful of times though. The first time had almost turned his bowels to water but he forced himself to go through it again, and again, until one day he’d found himself nervous, rather than terrified, as he and his comrades faced down the charge of two-dozen Saxon marauders from the south-east.

After that, he’d given up the shieldwall. He’d conquered his fears and it had served its purpose.

Blood of the Wolf audio approved!

This morning I have approved all the audio files for the Audible version of Blood of the Wolf and it’s going through the ACX quality control process. All being well it will be available to download within the next couple of weeks!

I proof-listened to it twice, which can be a bit of a chore in a short period of time, but I enjoyed it greatly. Nick Ellsworth really does this final instalment in the Forest Lord series justice with his reading.

I hope you’ll check it out once it hits Audible (I believe it will be on iTunes too) and do let me know what you think of it. If you bought the Kindle version already you will be able to get the audio at a greatly reduced rate so bear that in mind.

 

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12 Days of Christmas promo

Blood of the Wolf is only 99p on Kindle in Amazon UK’s 12 Days of Christmas promotion! Usual price is £2.99 so it’s a great saving if you haven’t already bought it. It’s sitting pretty at number 1 in the “Biographical Fiction” chart right now so I’m really happy in the run up to Christmas day. Thank you if you’ve bought it!

Get it here – getBook.at/BotW

One of my readers just posted this on my Facebook page about the book and it left me speechless. I had to share it!

I thought it was amazing! I really liked what you did with the story and the ending, i don’t think I’ve ever read a novel which ended on such an interesting emotional rollacoaster. I’d honestly put your series up with the likes of Sharpe and James Bond in terms of action adventure novels. In terms of what you did with the Robin Hood legend I think you did a brilliant job of pulling the story apart and rebuilding it in your own image! I think you did a good job of creating a version of the legend thats faithful to the originals in many respects but also totally unlike any I’ve come across before. Good job Sir!”

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Sorry this promotion is only in the UK just now, I don’t have any control over what markets promotions are held in. Maybe if I sell enough books, or get lots of reviews in the USA Amazon will start pushing things over there too! 😉

 

 

Blood of the Wolf – the end of a long journey

My fourth and final book in the Forest Lord series, Blood of the Wolf, will be published in just a few short hours. It will be flowing down your telephone cables, bouncing off orbiting satellites and being delivered by postmen worldwide!

This isn’t just the end of the series – this is the end of a most amazing chapter in my life. It seems like only yesterday that I sat in a street in Glasgow wondering what I should write about, only to settle on Robin Hood when I saw a house named “Sherwood”. Then, a couple of years later, when I published Wolf’s Head, I dreamt of seeing it  on my bookshelf as part of a full, complete series.

Tomorrow, October 14th, that dream will become reality and it feels fantastic!

All four books have been well received and early indications from reviewers with advance copies suggest Blood of the Wolf is a fitting, exciting end to the series. I hope you all agree.

Thank you for supporting me over the past three years or so and, if you’re planning on reading Blood of the Wolf tomorrow – ENJOY!

Get your copy here if you haven’t already ordered it: getBook.at/BotW

And PLEASE, please share the news on your social media pages. There’s buttons at the bottom of this post where you can share it to Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ etc and, if you’re using Twitter, maybe use the #BloodOfTheWolf hashtag?

 

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Powered by Indie!

After a fantastic September where all three of my Forest Lord books hit the overall UK Kindle top 100 and top 20 in Australia, October is shaping up to be almost as good!

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Not only does Blood of the Wolf come out in less than two weeks, but throughout this month Amazon are running a promotion called “Powered By Indie“. Essentially it’s a celebration of great self-published books and authors and, amazingly, Wolf’s Head has been chosen as one of the featured books. I wrote a couple of short things for them to use during the promo although I have no idea if any of it will actually be used. Be sure I’ll share the hell out of it if they do! I don’t sell as much in the USA as I do in the UK so hopefully this gives things a wee boost over there…

I’ve also finished another new short story, starring Robin and Little John, titled “The Stapleford Prisoner” although I’m not sure how it will be published yet. I loved writing it and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. I expect it to be completely free so keep an eye out here, on my mailing list or my social media pages.*

The main thing this month though, is Blood of the Wolf, to be released on October 14th. Early reviews of advance copies are excellent, and pre-orders are up for both Kindle and paperback versions. Nick Ellsworth has started production of the audiobook too which is great news! Nick has been the voice of the Forest Lord series since the beginning so I can’t wait to hear him read this final book.

Pre-order your Kindle or paperback copy here: getBook.at/BotW

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Check out the endorsement from Parmenion Books!

 

Although Blood of the Wolf IS the last novel in the series, I am going to start work on another novella, this time starring Will Scaflock, set AFTER BotW. I will need to spend time researching my next series so it seemed a good idea to do another novella with the Forest Lord characters in the meantime.

Cheers all, and look out for chances to win signed copies of Blood of the Wolf, posters, bookmarks, audiobooks etc over the next two weeks. Make sure you are signed up for my email list as subscribers have extra chances to win.

*

 

Blood of the Wolf now available to pre-order!

The fourth and final book in my Forest Lord series is now available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle. Paperback and Audible versions will also be ready soon.

Click HERE to go directly to your own country’s Amazon page for the book.

Publication date is October 14th!

Available to pre-order now!

Blood of the Wolf blurb and…delayed (but only a little!)

I just wanted to bring everyone up to date with what’s been happening and why the new book isn’t out yet. I know a few of you are really looking forward to it as you message me often, which is amazing. I honestly expected Blood of the Wolf  be ready by now but a few things have meant there’s a little bit of a delay in publication.

Firstly, this has turned out to be the longest book I’ve written so far. The previous three novels were all around 90-100,000 words but Blood of the Wolf is at almost 109,000 and I’m still adding little bits as I edit!

Speaking of which, my editor was really busy during July and August so took longer than expected to go through the book and give me her feedback. I’m on it now, though, and it’s all coming together nicely.

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Me, feeling apologetic for the delay.

There’s also been a hint – just a hint – of some amazing PR opportunities centred around the publication of this new book. I’ve not heard anything about it in the last week so it might turn out to be nothing but that would have involved another delay. In terms of my career though, it would have been well worth it. Fingers crossed on that…

The main issue for me – and I’m sure most of you will totally get this point – is the lack of hours in the day. I still work a full-time day job and have two young children so it can be hard when I come home at night to find the energy to sit at the laptop and work. However! To address that problem I’ve just bought a cheap, small little laptop which I can carry around with me and bring out when I have ten minutes to spare. Waiting on my daughter to come out of her theatre class last night, for example, I managed to get a little proof-reading done. Today, on a break, I typed up a Q&A and am now writing this post you’re reading.

Hopefully, by doing this sort of “admin” during the day I’ll have more free time at night/weekends to work on the actual writing and editing.

Don’t know why I never thought of getting a little super-portable laptop sooner actually.

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My new laptop. It’s so portable!

In general, I get quite stressed about the release date of a new book – it feels like I’m letting my readers down if I don’t publish it as soon as possible. There’s always a slight fear people will get so angry about waiting that they’ll either forget me or stop buying my books! Which seems ridiculous, if you think about it logically. As a reader I’ve never become annoyed at Bernard Cornwell or Terry Pratchett, for example, for not bringing out a new novel every year exactly when I expected it. I forget all about it until I see it’s available then hurry to read it (time allowing!).

And yet, as a writer, I get quite stressed about pushing back a publication date by a month or two. I suppose it keeps me on my toes and working hard.

Still, the good news, for those who ARE getting annoyed with me is that Blood of the Wolf should be out within the next few weeks. I’ve already finished about half my editor’s suggestions and know exactly what to do with the rest. The extra tweaking will be worth it and hopefully lead to an exciting, worthy end to the series.

In the meantime I’ve been buoyed – stunned in fact – to see the other books, particularly Wolf’s Head, zooming right back up the charts on both sides of the pond. That one actually reached number 628 in the overall UK chart last week, which is probably higher than it’s EVER been, outwith special offers or promotions. I have no idea what’s pushing those sales but I’m very happy about it.

Thank you readers, new and old for continuing to buy and review my books!

As a tiny thank you for your loyalty, I’ll give away a signed copy of the new book (with shiny bookmark – woooo!) to a couple of people. Just add a comment here, or email me using the CONTACT button up top, or message me on Facebook/Twitter and let me know you’d like your name in the magic quiver…As always, this is open worldwide.

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Coming soon – Blood of the Wolf. Promise! And to whet your appetite, here’s the blurb I came up with for the back cover.

I’m still tweaking it (literally, I just spent half an hour working on this before I make it public here!), so let me know what you think please.

Cheers!

ROBIN HOOD RETURNS!

And this time the legendary wolf’s head is working for the sheriff…

After winning his freedom in Rise of the Wolf, Robin – with his faithful lieutenant John Little at his side – now spends his days travelling around northern England dispensing King Edward II’s justice.

When a new band of outlaws appears in Barnsdale, Sheriff Henry de Faucumberg sends Robin and John to deal with them. Before the lawmen can track them down though, Will Scaflock is attacked and another of their old companions brutally murdered in his own home by the outlaws whose leader has only one thing on his mind:

Bloody vengeance!

Will Robin’s reunited gang be enough to defeat this savage new threat that seeks to wipe them out one by one? Or will another old foe provide the final twist that sees England’s greatest ever longbowman dead and buried?

This stunning conclusion to the bestselling Forest Lord series will delight and entertain readers looking for action packed historical fiction in the mould of Scarrow, Kane and Cornwell!

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No, really – coming soon!

Blood of the Wolf coming SOON (promise)!

Things have been progressing a little slower than I’d have liked with this final novel in the Forest Lord series. The combination of building works on our house plus two young children has meant my energy and time to write has been limited.

But Blood of the Wolf is almost finished! I have one more scene to write, plus an epilogue and the author’s note and that will be it. My editor – the same one I’ve used for all the books who worked with Bernard Cornwell, Jilly Cooper and Ben Kane in the past – will be looking at it next week. Then all I need to do is follow her orders and it’ll be ready to send out to my usual beta-readers. I’m hoping to have it ready to publish within the next few weeks so clear a space in your reading list…

This book is much more direct than Rise of the Wolf. I had fun writing that one and exploring a couple of female characters but Blood of the Wolf is back to the all out action and there’s one truly horrible new villain for Robin to deal with. Will our hero survive, or die as he does in the original ballads? Bearing in mind I’ve tried to stay faithful to those early tales all the way throughout this series…

Set in 1327, four years after the events in Rise of the Wolf, I think it’s a fitting and exciting end to the series. It’s also the longest book so far, so it should be good value.

When it comes time to publish it I’ll be running giveaway competitions for signed copies and so on, with extra chances to win for people on my Email List so, if you haven’t signed up yet, please do so here: Email List Sign-Up  You also get a free and exclusive short story when you do.

The Audible version, narrated as usual by Nick Ellsworth, will follow a couple of months (I expect) after the Kindle and paperbacks are out, so hang onto a credit!

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New BLOOD OF THE WOLF bookmarks

FREE with every signed paperback! What do you think? I’ve been getting business cards for the past couple of years but bookmarks make more sense, right?

Anyone buying a signed paperback from me will get one of these free. They’re printed on nice, high-quality card so should last for years. It would be pushing it to suggest they’ll be a collector’s item one day when I’m really rich and famous but they ARE pretty cool, really! The perfect companion for any avid reader…If you would like to purchase any of my books – signed, lined and dated – just hit the “Contact” button and I’ll get it sorted.

Look out for Blood of the Wolf this summer. I’ve just been working on it tonight again and, hopefully, it’ll be a great ending to the Forest Lord series.

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Blood of the Wolf COVER REVEAL!

As ever, my cover designers came up with something striking and I hope you all like it. For once I didn’t do a crappy sketch, I just told them what I wanted and this is the final result.

There’s some symbolism here and anyone that knows the Robin Hood legend will know how it ends so, since this is the final book in the series you can make up your own minds what the cover is saying. Let me know what you think please, I’d love to know your thoughts on how this compares to the other covers since it IS a little different…

 

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There’s no point asking me questions about how it will all pan out, because I honestly do not know myself yet. I’m working hard on it and it should be finished by this summer but I have no idea what will happen as I work. Just as an example, I was writing a scene tonight and, totally out of the blue, a whole new plotline presented itself – it literally came out the mouth of Robin and has opened up an idea I’d never thought of before!

So if you want to know how it’s all going to end -don’t ask me!

You’ll just have to read the book when it comes out around July/August.

To whet your appetite here’s a little extract from the scene just before that one I was working on tonight. As ever, totally unedited, this is straight from the manuscript and you might recognise a couple of guys here…

Philip watched in surprise as the arrow tore past his face by quite some distance and, from the sound of it, buried itself deep in a tree trunk.

“The bastards are shooting at us,” he muttered, turning, one eyebrow raised, to look up at Eoin.

The giant’s eyes widened as another arrow sailed past them at an almost leisurely pace – clearly these villagers were no crack shots – then he lumbered forward, placing himself in front of Philip and using his bulk to shepherd his friend backwards, into the safety of the trees, like some great mother hen.

“The bastards,” Philip repeated, shocked at the organised resistance they’d met. This had never happened before when they’d visited a village and he cursed Robin Hood once again. The man was a thorn in his side that he’d need to remove sooner rather than later. “Attack them,” he ordered, waving his hand forward distractedly. “Show these peasants what happens when people stand up to us.”

His men needed no further encouragement.

The bald headman had retreated behind a building when the shooting had started. His furious voice could be heard castigating the man that had loosed the first, wayward arrow – both for starting a fight that might have been avoided and, more importantly, missing the target.

The arrows continued to slam into the trees though, and the outlaws waited, judging the best moment to charge, before, at last, half a dozen of them sprinted towards the village screaming unintelligible war cries.

Philip watched as an arrow – probably more by luck rather than any skill – hammered into one of his men, spinning the unfortunate backwards, howling in rage and pain and effectively out of the battle.

The other five of his followers made it to the village and were met by a similar number of locals, led by the headman with his war axe.

Fascinated now by the melee, Philip stared, rapt, as the big, bald man brought his weapon down on the head of an outlaw, then used his foot to brace himself as he tried to free the blade which had become trapped in the dead outlaw’s skull.

He wasn’t fast enough though, and an attacker hammered the blade of his sword into the headman’s torso. The blow was a powerful one and it sent the headman reeling backwards although the ill-fitting mail shirt he wore absorbed most of the force so no blood was drawn.

Philip’s eyes flickered on to the next of his men and he cursed inwardly as a villager, face scarlet and terrified, landed a lucky blow with his crude hammer, smashing the wolf’s head’s eye socket into a bloody mess.

His gaze moved on again and this time the view was more pleasing.

Mark’s toothless mate, Ivo, was competent – skilled even – with his sword, and he skewered one of the villagers before drawing the crimson blade free and moving  to hack at the next in the defensive line.

Look out for the Blood of the Wolf pre-order on Amazon around June, and please keep the reviews for the other books coming, they really do help.

Cheers

Steven

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