The Abbey of Death finds a publisher!

That’s right, The Abbey of Death will be my first book that’s not self-published. Amazon Publishing liked it enough to offer me a contract so it should be out under their banner sometime soon.

Honestly, it will mean little to my readers but to me, this is massive. Not only will I be paid an advance for the first time ever, but it shows someone really believes in my work. Now, given my sales numbers (just about to push past 100,000) and the numerous lovely reviews on Amazon and Goodreads it might seem strange that I value this so much but I still haven’t even managed to snag an agent! So for a publisher as MASSIVE as Amazon to offer a contract for my final Forest Lord tale is a dream come true.

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I’ve had a great relationship with the people at Amazon since I first put out Wolf’s Head in 2013 – they even selected three of my short tales for the exclusive Kindle Singles Program – but this is the next step for me and hopefully opens more doors in future.

I don’t know if they’ll decide to use the cover my own designers came up with but, for now, this is it. My brand new series following Bellicus the warrior-druid should also be ready to go in 2017 so it’s shaping up to be my most exciting year yet as a writer. I hope you’ll all join me for the ride!

 

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The Abbey of Death – blurb and an update

Sorry everyone, I know I’ve been going on about this final Forest Lord novella for what seems like forever. I have actually finished it – it’s been edited and proofread, had a great cover designed and would, normally, have been published weeks ago.

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But I have, hopefully, found a publisher for it. This might not mean much to most people but, to me, it’s a huge opportunity going forward. If it comes off this will be my first book that isn’t self-published and MIGHT just pave the way for a deal for my new warrior-druid series. That’s in the distant future though, so for now I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground and continue to work hard.

I’m hoping to have confirmation of the deal next week so publication isn’t THAT far off. And one beta-reader suggested it’s my best book so far, so it’s hopefully worth the wait and a good end to the overall series. In the meantime, here’s a blurb I knocked up, maybe it’ll whet your appetite. Chances are the publisher will come up with their own blurb but I think this sets the scene pretty well…

He wanted to find peace in prayer but some men serve God best with a sword in their hand.

England, 1328 AD

Will Scaflock has tried living the normal life of a farmer but, lonely and still haunted by the brutal murder of his family years earlier he decides to seek peace in God’s service. The Benedictine monks in Selby welcome him into their brotherhood but discipline in the abbey is lax, with openly flaunted vices like drink, prostitution and gambling angering not only the archbishop but the townsfolk as well.

When the people are goaded into a riot, wrecking much of the abbey, killing one of the wayward brothers and kidnapping the likeable cantor, the legendary former outlaw finds his God-given talent for violence called on once more.

Now, reunited with his old sword, Scaflock must find the abducted cantor before his captors realise he’s not worth as much as they hoped and, in the process, perhaps find God’s true purpose for his own continued existence.

Readers of Steven A. McKay’s Forest Lord series will love this pulsating adventure that explores the themes of loyalty, friendship, greed and ultimately, love, against the colourful yet brutal background of 14th century England.

“McKay brings down the curtain on the Forest Lord series with his best work to date.” – Parmenion Book Reviews

 

 

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?

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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!

 

 

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.

Forest Lord birthday cake, check it out!

It was my 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago and, as a very cool surprise, my wife had this cake made for me. Just thought I’d share it with you all, I was really chuffed with it!

 

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And look out for my latest Kindle Single, the short story “The Escape”, which should be out within the next week or so! Some of you might have read an earlier version of this, but for the rest of you, here’s the blurb. I expect it to be 99p/99c. Cover reveal in a few days!

All he wanted was a quiet drink…

It’s spring, 1323 AD, and John Little, notorious outlaw, seeks to forget his troubles in a Barnsley alehouse. He didn’t count on the place being packed to the rafters with drunk, belligerent, Scottish mercenaries though.

The locals all respect – even fear John – but the strangers from the north only see in him the chance to claim a great bounty.

When the hard stares and furtive whispers turn into explosive violence the chase is on. Without any of his famous friends to help him, will it mean the end for the giant outlaw?

This new stand-alone Forest Lord tale sees one of England’s favourite sons in a battle for his very life that will hugely entertain all lovers of action and adventure!

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! 😉

 

 

New Forest Lord short stories!

Beer Booty!

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I’m having a little celebration tonight because I can tell you Amazon’s exclusive Kindle Singles Programme will be publishing two of my Forest Lord short stories! (Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil was of course in the Singles Program). First out is “The Prisoner”, a novelette which features Robin and Little John taking a rapist to Nottingham for the sheriff’s justice with, of course, a little twist. That will be out sometime this month.

The second, “The Escape” is about Little John getting into a bit of bother with (ironically!) some drunk Scotsmen and should be out early next year.
I’m also just finishing up the final Forest Lord novella which is titled “The Abbey of Death” and sees Will Scaflock as an unlikely monk. The title will give you an idea that things aren’t as peaceful as he expected when he left behind his farm in Wakefield to become a clergyman…Look out for a cover reveal soon.


Don’t forget, you can get another FREE short story, “The Rescue” by signing up for my email list.
https://stevenamckay.com/mailing-list/

Cheers all! I’m off to enjoy some Robin Hood ale! Have a great weekend.

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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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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!