Wednesday, 27 July 2016

"Our creations must be shared to be art."

So if you've wandered over to my Facebook page or Twitter feed lately, you might have seen that UNDERTOW has been given a makeover. Just in case you missed it, here it is again in all it's glory!

This was a complete surprise to me, and I'm pretty blown away by the job Ragnarok's graphic designer, Shawn King, has done. It's also pretty timely, as just a few short days before, I decided to do something I've been dithering over most of this year. I'm going to self-publish DEMONIZED and AFTERLIFE.

For those who don't know the long, dull, irritating saga of Damnation Books/Caliburn Press, the short version is that I had some books with them, they were a categorically awful publisher, and now I have those books back and they still owe me royalties. Two of those books, NIGHT AND CHAOS and THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE, are now available through Evernight. The other two, AFTERLIFE and DEMONIZED, are not available anywhere.

But you need to read both these books to get the best of UNDERTOW and Ethan's story, I think. UNDERTOW stands alone, but Ethan's road to Beacon's Point begins in AFTERLIFE. The reason I've held back on doing anything with them for a while is that I didn't really know what to do with them. AFTERLIFE is an urban fantasy novel, the first in a planned series. DEMONIZED is a novella (around 20k). Whilst I probably could submit AFTERLIFE to either Ragnarok or Evernight and keep my fingers crossed that they'd want it, I don't feel like it's quite right for either publisher. And DEMONIZED is definitely, definitely not right for Evernight and too short for Ragnarok.

Self-publishing seems ideal, especially because I'm at a point where (thanks to Common Brimstone) I can invest a bit of money into decent cover art, something that's always held me back in the past. So soon, hopefully before the end of this year, both DEMONIZED and AFTERLIFE will be available again, and you can read Ethan's entire story, as well as my debut novel, and get the whole Shoregrave/Ethan experience.


I guess that still leaves the question of "will there be more Ethan books?" I do get asked this from time to time, and honestly, I don't know the answer. I would love there to be. I love Ethan and his fucked-up life. I love the setting of Shoregrave, and I could write a million stories there quite happily. So where are the problems?

1. Time. My writing time is limited and I have other series I would like to finish before I die or my arms fall off.

2. Audience. The Shoregrave/Ethan books have never sold well. BLOOD WITCH sold more in its first quarter than AFTERLIFE, DEMONIZED, and UNDERTOW have ever sold since 2009. A lot more. Is it worth me taking my limited writing time and dedicating it to something not many people want? That's a big question, more complex than it seems on the surface, and I really, really am not saying "I refuse to write these books because you bastards don't buy them." Maybe I'll go into that deeper in another blog.

3. Wretched Psychological Scars. I was writing the sequel to UNDERTOW in October 2012 when my dad died. At first I threw myself into carrying on writing to distract myself from that, but by May 2013, I was an utter, utter mess and I had to stop...well, everything, really. I pretty much had a mini mental breakdown, hid in the house for two weeks crying, and then decided to quit writing forever. Obviously I didn't, but every time I think about that book, I think about that part of my life, and I just feel anxious and sick. I will never finish that book as a result. I don't even want to revisit the plot and see what I can salvage of it.

So if I do go back to Ethan's series, I need to start over on that sequel. And that feels quite daunting, and I'm not ready to do it. Maybe one day I will be. I certainly hope so.

So, that's it, in a nutshell. Good news = new cover! AFTERLIFE and DEMONIZED coming back! Bad news = Ethan/Shoregrave future still uncertain. Overall, I'll say this is a win.


  1. Glad to hear you got your books back after that whole debacle! The new cover for Undertow looks amazing!