Here is an update on my recent blunderings. Well, the main thing is the Sorrow Part 1: The Ring of Steel is released by Musa Publishing this Friday (21 September). So check it out, you can see an excerpt below.
Sorrow follows on from The Best Weapon and is serialised, with a new part coming out each month. I am particularly excited about this as it continues the World Apparent saga, a chain of catastrophic events which shape the world and ultimately may mean its destruction. So I have been editing the manuscripts for Sorrow Parts 1, 2 and 3 and looking at some excellent artwork by Musa Publishing (you can see the cover art for Part 1 and Part 2: The Burned Earth on the right).
I have also finally set up my Goodreads author page and updated our website with the latest available fantasy publications plus David Pilling’s historical series The John Swale Chronicles, also available from Musa Publishing.
I am still working on my fantasy short story The Moment of Silence, but this has become second priority, behind Sorrow, and will be done as soon as I have time. I need to crack open my new paints (still in their plastic packaging since my birthday six weeks) and do some cover art for it – something else which I just don’t have the time for right now.
So, the saga continues…
The Jagged Blade slid in a great arc as she turned north, then continued to bear round to larboard in a giant half-circle which eventually brought her up the stern of the slower flute.
As they gained ground Colken could make out figures rushing back and forth on the upper deck, casting barrels over the side in a vain attempt to make their ship pick up the pace. Silt cursed at every barrel lost to the depths.
He could also see a coat of arms embroidered on the white sails. It showed two horses, one red and one blue, rearing up either side of a red and blue shield. In the centre of the shield was a horse-shoe which appeared to have been embroidered in gold thread and shone bright in the sun. He had heard that the horse-shoe was a symbol of good luck in the Winter Realm, although whichever family this coat of arms represented, it had apparently not worked.
By the time the Jagged Blade came alongside the hapless flute, Silt was in a vile rage, having watched the crew of the smaller vessel empty most of its cargo overboard. His red face seethed with fury as he spat and swore at the boarding party to slaughter everyone.
“On my command, you swaggering half-fits! Hook her and pull! As soon as she’s pinned, kill everyone! Bring me anything of value!”
For the first time Colken caught sight of the name painted on the hull. The Queen Heloise.
“Another family fleeing the strife in the Winter Realm,” cried Silt, “out of the frying pan and into the fire!”
A great chunk of sun-burnt muscle to Colken’s right, known as Scutum, nudged Colken in the ribs. Criss-crossed with the white arcs and nicks of scar tissue from innumerable fights, Scutum was a wall of battered flesh. His anvil jaw creaked open to show a vast cavern sporting five or six brown teeth as he wheezed his amusement at the Winter Realm’s recent tendency to provide prey for the pirates of the Western Isles.
The truth was, there was civil war raging in the island kingdom following the death (or murder, as the rumour went) of its infant queen, and those without the stomach for the ensuing fight for power, or simply too much to lose, were fleeing west and south, to start again.
Unfortunately for them, these waters were patrolled by ruthless pirates, and without a heavily armed escort or some prior arrangement with the Raven Queen, the mysterious female monarch who ruled over the pirates, the fugitives were doomed.
Scutum laughed again. “Another ship named after their dead queen! How many have we taken? Five? Six?”
Colken shook his head silently and gazed down at the deck of the Queen Heloise and the thirty or so grim-faced men in red and blue livery preparing for a fight to the death. He had to admit, they didn’t look like a pushover, but they were outnumbered two to one just by the boarding party.
This fight should be over pretty quickly.