US Amazon giveaway

USA readers – #AmazonGiveaway for a paperback copy of Wolf’s Head (The Forest Lord 1). No Purchase Necessary: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/d6841b2d984eed4d/?ref_=tsm_4_tw_h_o_li_r

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And a worldwide giveaway on Goodreads for a signed copy of Knight of the Cross!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/231080-knight-of-the-cross

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Don’t forget, Wolf’s Head is still FREE on Kindle to US Amazon Prime members, and the entire series of Forest Lord novels are just 99p each on Amazon UK during May! The good thing is, if you buy any of them at this reduced rate, you can also get the Audible versions at a reduced rate so what are you waiting for?

The Forest Lord series - just 99p each in Amazon's Monthly Kindle Deal for May 2017!

 

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Forest Lord series in Amazon’s Monthly Deals. 99p each!

The Forest Lord series - just 99p each in Amazon's Monthly Kindle Deal for May 2017!

All the Forest Lord novels are just 99p during May. Under £4 for the complete set, bargain!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01LQSSXS0
Don’t forget, Wolf’s Head is also FREE to Amazon Prime members in the USA for a time as well.

Share with your historical fiction loving friends!

The dreaded “F-word” in historical fiction – what’s your opinion on it?

complete series

Okay, as you probably all know, I’ve finished off my Forest Lord series* and am now working on a new novel starring a warrior druid rampaging through post-Roman Britain. That will be the first in, I expect, a trilogy but who knows…?

 

Now, I remember writing my debut novel, Wolf’s Head, and wondering if I should leave in all the swearing. At that time I was particularly enjoying books by guys like Anthony Riches who uses the f-word rather a lot. It didn’t ruin the enjoyment of the story for me – quite the opposite in fact: it made the characters more realistic. I’ve spent a lot of time with groups of hard working class men and, trust me, swearing is very common. And the women often have even filthier mouths on them!

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Chock f**king full of sweary words and stuff

Anyway, I messaged Anthony on Facebook and asked his advice (he’s a very approachable guy as well as a great storyteller). He told me to do what I felt was right, not to make a decision on what I thought would sell or what anyone else might want.

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“Do what you feel is right. Now f**k off and leave me alone!”

 

So I left in the swearing, despite the fact my biggest influence was Bernard Cornwell who never uses the “harder” swear words like f**k or, God forbid, the dreaded C-word (I think I used that once in my entire series, to punctuate a particularly harrowing death scene).

Recently though, Amazon accepted a couple of my short tales into their Kindle Singles Program. I am really honoured to be in there (Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil was the first, followed lately by “The Prisoner” and “The Escape”) but I started to wonder if maybe the audience for the Kindle Singles might be put off by the swearing. My Amazon contact thought I was probably right and so we agreed I’d take out the worst of the language. Anyone who read the original draft of “The Escape” which I gave away FREE to my Email List subscribers will see the difference in the version that’s now on sale as a Kindle Single.

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I didn’t really think toning down the language diluted the stories so I’ve stuck with it while writing the final Forest Lord novella, The Abbey of Death (publication date still to be announced).

The thing is, over the years, I’ve had a few 1-star reviews by people who say they liked my stories and characters but were so offended by the swearing that it ruined the whole thing for them. Now, my instinctive, defensive reaction to a review like that is to think, “Well, f**k you mate. Go and read a Hardy Boys story.”

But, is it really adding that much more to my books to have swearing in them? Like I say, Bernard Cornwell is the guy that made me want to write British historical fiction and the worst you’ll read in his books is a “turd” or “shit”. But his books, particularly the early Uhtred ones and the King Arthur trilogy, are fantastic and more than gritty enough.

I’m torn on this and I’d dearly like to hear your opinions on it.

Some people ARE turned off my books when they see the swearing and that’s the last thing I want. I want to reach the widest audience I possibly can and I want as many of them as possible to enjoy what they’re reading.

So – do you think my books would suffer if there were no f-bombs in them? Or would it not make much difference as long as the stories were good?

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PLEASE – let me know! Leave a comment at the bottom of the page here or use the CONTACT button at the top or message me on Facebook or Twitter or whatever.

This is hugely important to me so do share your thoughts – you, the readers, are after all who I’m writing for…

Cheers

Steven

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*The Abbey of Death is all finished, just waiting to find out what will be happening with it but it should be published soon. I put a LOT of work into this and early indications suggest it’s been worth it. I hope you all LOVE what I’ve done with Will Scarlet!

 

 

The Forest Lord series – complete reading order

Rather embarrassingly, I recently said my new short story “The Escape” should be read after Rise of the Wolf, when it should actually come after The Wolf and the Raven.

DOH.

You’d think I’d know my own stories by now, but, in my defence, they’ve been written over the past four years at different times and the shorts in particular all have similar names!

So I thought I’d post a recommended reading order, along with the dates they’re set in, just to keep you (me) right.

This is how I suggest you read them:

Wolf’s Head -1321

Knight of the Cross -1309  This one can really be read any time but I think it’s best to meet the characters of Sir Richard and Stephen in Wolf’s Head before moving onto this spin-off novella.

The Wolf and the Raven  – 1322

“The Escape” – 1323

Rise of the Wolf – 1323

Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil – 1323

“The Prisoner” – 1325

“The Rescue” – 1325     Get it HERE for FREE! This is the only place it’s available.

Blood of the Wolf – 1326

The Abbey of Death – 1328 (not released yet, but it’s due very soon!)

 

complete series

 

 

The Escape – out NOW on Kindle!

My short story, “The Escape” is now available as a Kindle Single, for just 99p/99c (if it’s still showing as £1.99/$2.99 then hold off for a day or so and the price will come down)*. It can be read as a stand-alone tale but for my regular readers it is best enjoyed between The Wolf and the Raven and Rise of the Wolf.

Here’s the link –

getBook.at/TheEscape

Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc and, if you enjoy it, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads etc!

All he wanted was a quiet drink…FINAL

My final Forest Lord novella, The Abbey of Death is in the final polishing stage but is just about ready to go. It clocks in at over 30,000 words so a fair bit longer than either Knight of the Cross or Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil. Look out for it soon, and find out how Will’s time as a Benedictine monk pans out!

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Finally, don’t forget Wolf’s Head is FREE for Amazon Prime members in the USA for a time, so tell your friends about it!

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* As “The Escape” is part of Amazon’s Kindle Singles program I don’t have control over the pricing the way I usually do, so it might be more expensive in places like Canada and Australia. Sorry!

Wolf’s Head is FREE on Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime member in the USA? Get Wolf’s Head completely FREE then!

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I am a Prime member in the UK, hoping Amazon roll this out in the other countries as well.

Furthermore, my next Kindle Single short story, “The Escape” should be out within the next few days so look out for that! The cover art is really atmospheric.

Cover reveal for Abbey of Death – which is your favourite?

Here’s the artwork for the final Forest Lord novella…

I really love this art! It goes with the Will Scarlet novella, The Abbey of Death, in which he, disillusioned with a life spent as a mercenary and outlaw, becomes a Benedictine monk. Obviously, though, things don’t go quite to plan and soon he’s called back into action….

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A                                                                      B

The cover on the left was the first version (A), but I thought it might be a nice little touch to have some bloody rosary beads so my designers added them and came up with the cover on the right (B).

But I’m not sure which is best! I am thinking the simplicity of A is probably going to work well but I wanted to ask you guys, my most loyal readers, what you think? Please comment below and let me know what you think, it will be a great help.

The novella is finished (first draft), I just need my editor to go over it now and then tidy it up so I’m expecting it to be available for Kindle and paperback by March or April. Audio version will hopefully follow soon after although I’m not sure about that just yet.

My brand new book, The Druid (working title), is coming along and I’m really loving writing it. Still hopeful it will be ready to publish sometime around late summer/autum this year. I think you’re all going to love it!

Have a great weekend!

Steven

OUT NOW!

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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.
getBook.at/BotW

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.

Signed copies as an extra for someone’s Xmas?

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Nice wee present for a loved one in the run up to Christmas! This novella has no f-bombs or other really bad language – I specifically wrote it so families could enjoy it. I gave my daughter a copy last year when she was 8, so it’s suitable for all ages pretty much. Some violence and a wee bit of sweariness but it’s really a fun Xmas tale!
£7 within the UK, signed and delivered! Will be a little more for worldwide postage. Use the “CONTACT” button at the top of the page to send me a message if you’d like one (or more)…
Don’t forget there’s an audio version available from Audible and iTunes which is brilliantly read by former James Bond actor Nick Ellsworth. If you already bought the Kindle version you can get the audio for a reduced price through Amazon, check it out!
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“The Rescue” – a brand new FREE short story!

“Your brother ain’t here lass,” the man spat, stepping towards her. “And this time you are going for a swim.”
There was a snap and a shocking blur of motion as an arrow tore from the thick summer foliage behind the girl and embedded itself in the approaching man’s thigh. The missile buried itself in the muscle so hard that it knocked him off his feet and he screamed in agony as the excited dogs began barking and straining at the ropes that tethered them to the big cart.
In contrast, the great brown bear in the cage looked on in silence.
“My brother is here, lad,” Marjorie hissed, eyes moving from the fallen man to his stunned companions. “And so are his friends.”
I’ve just sent out my brand new FREE short story, “The Rescue” to everyone on my Email List!
Sign up to read it NOW and please share with your friends!
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