New Novella – Of Gods and Men

Of Gods and Men novellaI’m delighted to announce that a new novella I’ve written has been revealed today, along with the awesome cover! Of Gods and Men, a digital and audio novella is set to be released in February 2018 by Orbit books. So there’s only a few short months to wait!

This story can be read at any time and it will still make sense. If you’ve read the first trilogy, the Age of Darkness (Battlemage, Bloodmage, Chaosmage), or even just the first book, then it provides some info and background that feeds into the second trilogy without spoiling what’s to come.

If you’re completely up to date and have read Mageborn and are eagerly waiting for the next book, this gives you something new  to read in the meantime that fills in some background on a much-loved character…or two. There are also a few easter eggs in there as normal for loyal readers.

And, if you’ve somehow stumbled across this post and have not read any of my books before, but want something lighter and shorter to try before wading into a trilogy, then you can read it and the story is self contained enough that it will also make sense.

The title also gives you a big clue in some ways about its structure and one of the non-fantasy influences for the story, but it doesn’t reveal any spoilers.

And that’s a wrap

Just a short post to say the first draft of book 5,  (well book 2 in the new Age of Dread trilogy), is done.

The first draft is raw, rough and it still needs a lot of work, but the main framework of the story is now done. I’ve had this story in my head for over a year and it’s taken me months and months to gradually shape the idea into a real thing. It’s changed a bit, despite planning it ahead of time, and I’ve already got a few things in mind I need to revise before anyone sees it. Then once I’m relatively happy with it I will send it on to my editors.

I know it is going to be edited several times and I’m going to be revising this text for the next year or so, but even so I want to get this current version to a comfortable state. There are a number of things I need to fix. Namely writing tics. Things I’ve realised I’ve started to develop, and some I didn’t even know I was doing but have been pointed out by other people. They’re crutches or cliches I might use too often so I’m going to file them off for starters. Other things are part of the plot that already stick out like a sore thumb. Polish the dialogue to make it more natural. There’s a list.

Now is actually the best time to do this, because once it goes into the publishing process I’m on much tighter deadlines, and working on the next book, so my focus is split. I’m ahead of my deadline at the moment so I have time to knuckle down and sort it now. Hopefully by doing so it will pay off later when I get my first set of editorial notes back on this new book. That’s the plan anyway.

Once this goes off to the publisher it’s back to fleshing out my notes for book 6 and then the hard work of a first draft begins again! No rest for the wicked and all that.

Writing questions for April

This is going to be a short post with some questions that I’m hoping those of you who are following this blog, and anyone else who sees it, will respond to as it will give me a better idea of who is reading this, and also, why. I have a feeling that a lot of people who pop in here are writers, but I will see what the results show.

Questions

1.  With so much information out there now readily available via the internet on blogs, vlogs, social media, author websites, as well as attending events and courses, are there any parts of the publishing process that are still a mystery? And if so, which parts?

2. Are you a writer aiming to, one day, get published? And if so, how far along are you with your current work in progress?

3. Are you struggling with a particular part of the writing process? If so, which part?

4.  If you’re not an aspiring writer, are you  fan of fantasy? Science fiction? Both?

That’s it, short and sweet. Let me know in the comments.

End of one chapter…and the start of another

So, this week Chaosmage comes out. Book 3 of 3 in the Age of Darkness trilogy. The last book in my first trilogy from Orbit books.

A quick aside…

Chaosmage Stephen AryanFor all of you out there waiting for the series to finish before picking it up in case a) I died in the middle of writing it or b) not believing it would actually come out every six months and there would be a sudden 2-5 year gap between books, well, you were wrong on both counts. I’m still alive and the trilogy is done. So now you can pick up all 3 books in one go. They’re all here on Barnes and Noble if you’re in the USA, or Waterstones if you’re in the UK. And there’s always Amazon of course.

Second quick aside, I’m at a big fantasy panel on Wednesday 12th October at Waterstones Piccadilly in London at 7pm, alongside 4 other awesome fantasy authors. They are Den Patrick, Jen Williams, Francesca Haig and Peter Newman. So please do come along and say hi. We’re doing a talk and then a signing. It’s free but you have to book a seat.

Anyway, so back in 2013, which both seems like only yesterday and also a long time ago, I wasn’t sure I’d really get to this point. Quite suddenly an agent had just said she was interested in representing my first book and then we were off, and I was editing book 1, writing book 2 and then what followed was two frantically busy years of editing book 1 with my publisher, while writing book 2 and planning book 3. Then once book 1 was completely done, I sunk deeper into book 2 and made more notes on book 3 and so on….which brings me to today where I’m done with my first trilogy.

Battlemage - Stephen Aryan

Three years ago getting one book published was just the dream of an aspiring author. Battlemage was just another book in a long line of novels for me. I’d been trying to get an agent and then a publisher, doing it the traditional way, for many years. In some ways it was no different from some of the previous books I’d written. In other ways it was totally different, as it was a return to my favourite genre after dabbling in other areas and my desire to write a fantasy book that was full of the fantastic (magic, being set on another world, non-human races) which seemed to be lacking at the time. I wanted to both pay my respects to those who had come before, upon whose shoulders I was standing, while blending that with something new. Somehow, through some weird alchemy, I did enough things right for it to catch an agent’s attention.

Bloodmage Stephen AryanWith Bloodmage I did something completely different. I wrote a more intimate story in terms of scope and I wanted to pay homage to many of my crime influences, from Dexter to Columbo*, to Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Mike Carey’s Felix Caster, to all of the cop shows I’ve watched over the last 30 years and loved. It was a more challenging book to write in some ways and I think it’s currently my favourite, although my opinion may change tomorrow. I’m incredibly proud of it and I accomplished everything I set out to do with it, which is rare. Sometimes you write a story and the end result is close. Sometimes it’s not what you wanted and perhaps that means you can explore the same theme again in another book.

With Chaosmage, I went in a different direction again. I pulled through some of the threads from the first two books, tying the stories together, while also paying my respects to some of my thriller and horror influences, such as Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I set out to create something chilling and disturbing in a horrific and deserted city on the edge of the world. I never want to repeat myself or write the same thing twice and so far I believe I’ve achieved it as each book has a very distinctive flavour.

And now I’m looking ahead to the next story. It’s going to be something different again and it will hopefully challenge me in new ways and also prove interesting to the readers.

One final thing. If you have enjoyed any of my books, please post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, even a short one, as it helps other people find the book and helps spread the word. And nothing helps sell a book faster than word of mouth.

 

* – Bonus points if you spot the Columbo reference in Bloodmage. Send me a note if you do find it.

Chaosmage – book 3

So the year is racing by and it’s nearly the end of June already. There’s a lot of political stuff in the news at the moment, so steering away from all of that, below is a link to SciFiNow who have the exclusive reveal of Chaosmage, book 3 in the Age of Darkness trilogy. There’s also info from the back of the book about what, and who, to expect in this volume, so please click the link below to find out.

SciFiNow – Chaosmage Exclusive cover reveal

Chaosmage is released in October, and that means all 3 of my books will have been released in about a year (September 2015, April 2016, October 2016). Behind the scenes, before Battlemage was even released, I was busy working very hard so they could be released on that schedule. The last two years for me have flown by in a haze of writing, then in parallel, edits, copy editing, checking proofs and discussing ideas for the covers.

So, in October, there will be a launch and some signing events of some kind, but in the meantime, I’m busy again on something new. I can’t say what it is yet, far too early, but I’m enjoying getting my teeth into a new project and I hope to have some news in the months ahead on that.

David Gemmell Awards

David Gemmell Legend Awards - SnagaDavid Gemmell was and is a huge influence on my work. More so than Tolkien, which many people cite as being their main foundation, Gemmell showed me many worlds where the main characters were not always perfect people. Long before anyone coined the phrase Grimdark, he was writing about grey people in difficult situations.

The longlist for the three awards are now available and you can vote, online, for free, by visiting this page. You can only vote once on the long list.

Battlemage is on the list for the Morningstar award. This is the award for the best début fantasy novel.

The cover for Battlemage has also been nominated for the Ravenheart award, with artist Steve Stone.

I’m delighted to have been included on this list and the winners will be announced in September at the Fantasycon event in Scarborough. As it happens I am attending this event, so I will be cheering on the others and either celebrating or crying into my beer, depending on the outcome!

So, get voting. The longlist closes on 24th June. The shortlist for all categories then opens on July 8th for the final vote.

 

Bloodmage tour roundup

I’m back from my UK tour for Bloodmage, the second book in the Age of Darkness trilogy.

The first stop was Sheffield, which was a lot of fun. Samuel, and the other staff at Waterstones Orchard Square, had arranged some coffee and nibbles and after rushing to get there, I was ready for a drink and some cake. There were a few writers in the audience so a lot of the questions were around how to get published, finding an agent, working with a publisher and so on. There was still plenty of time for a reading and to sign a few books.

After Sheffield I went to Middlesbrough where Niel Bushnell and I had a great discussion about our different routes to getting published. It was also a good opportunity for us to catch up as I’d not seen Niel since last year at another event. We shared some more tips about writing and getting published and explored some of the different options that are available today, compared with only a few years ago.

The last stop was my home town of Whitley Bay, where I grew up. I’d not been back in a few years and before the event I had some time to explore what had changed and was what the same since my last visit. Many thanks to everyone at the library for their support and for everyone who braved the awful weather to come and see me.

My presentation about my writing and my journey to getting published was very popular and I received a lot of positive comments. Even more popular was the fantastic Battlemage cake that my friend, Katie, had made for me. It was also chocolate cake, which is my favourite, and at one point I almost didn’t get a piece as it was rapidly disappearing. Overall it was a tiring but enjoyable book tour.

It’s only six months until Chaosmage is here and I start all over again. So let me know if you want me to come and visit a bookshop near you next time.

Battlemage Cake - Whitley Bay 2016

Bloodmage Launch – Birmingham

Last week was the official launch of Bloodmage, book 2 in the Age of Darkness trilogy, at Waterstones in Birmingham. The shop is amazing. It’s six floors full of books, which sounds like heaven to me! I could spend days in there if they’d let me, and they serve food and drink in the cafes, so I wouldn’t starve.

Bloodmage - Age of Darkness - Birmingham2

 

 

 

 

 

The launch was a great success and I met some lovely people who had read Battlemage and were keen for some answers about what was going to happen next in the trilogy and beyond that.

Bloodmage - Age of Darkness - Birmingham

 

 

 

 

 

After the Q and A I did a new reading from Bloodmage that seemed to well and got a few chuckles. I also signed a few books too and had an encounter with an odd man that kept offering people some of his slice of cake…for some reason. I think we were all supposed to be helping him with his diet.

Bloodmage - Age of Darkness - Birmingham3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone for coming along on a very rainy and stormy night. Special thanks to the booksellers who were very lovely and took very good care of me. In two weeks I’m off on tour, and I’ll be heading to Sheffield, Middlesbrough and then back to my home town of Whitley Bay.

Bloodmage – unleashed April 12th 2016

Bloodmage Stephen AryanBloodmage is out next week. It feels like only last week I was getting excited in the run up to the release of Battlemage. Well, there’s another  book to come out this year as well in October, so the trilogy will be all wrapped up by Christmas.

So I’d better get on with writing the next thing. In the meantime, below are some links to order Bloodmage.

UK – (Waterstones or Amazon UK)

Battlemage - Stephen Aryan

America – (Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

Australia (Hachette Australia)

Audiobook (Audible)

Bloodmage is here….early!

Even though it is not out for another month, today I received a box full of copies of Bloodmage! Feast your eyes on these lovelies. I can’t stop looking at them and sitting them next to my copy of Battlemage. It is so close now to the release date!

I’ve also arranged a few more UK events and will be releasing the details as soon as I can, but these will be next month, and they will be in the North. In the meantime, enjoy the view!

Bloodmage Stephen Aryan