Where’s My Book? (13/12/2012)

Posted in News

Possibly I should have posted this under Critical Failures…

Dear frustrated US readers who keep asking where they can get hold of the thief-taker books over on that side of the Atlantic. Look, frankly I share your pain. You’d have thought as the author I’d be the one person most likely to know. Well up to a point I do – you can get the first two from Amazon if you don’t mind getting the kindle edition. Amazon lists what appears to be a paperback US edition of The Warlock’s Shadow due to come out in June next year. Why the second one of three is coming out but not the first, I have no idea. I can tell you the reasons for all the delay and uncertainty: no US publisher wants to take it on. Allegedly my UK publisher has now given up and is distributing to the US via Trafalgar Books who do this sort of thing all the time. Can I find them there? No. If anyone out there has any kind of answer, do please share it so I can share it in turn. I realise there aren’t that many of you out there who care, but if you get as far as reading this, sorry: I really wish I could be more help.


Frustrated author.

Post-Script. It’s been pointed out below that you can order copies of the UK editions for anywhere in the world from The Book Depository. Shipping is free (or included in the price anyway) to most countries.

The Warlock’s Shadow: giveaway (13/6/2012)

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The Warlock’s Shadow, sequel to The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice, is published again tomorrow (which might be today by the time you read this). It’s been around as a hardback for a while but this edition is the dainty and cute little paperback one that fits into your coat pocket.

warlocks shadow cover - shrunk

Some time has passed since the events of the Thief-Taker’s Apprentice. Berren’s being taught to read and write during the day, a process as painful to his teachers as it is to him, and how to fight with a wooden sword in the evenings when the thief-taker isn’t bodyguarding passing drunkard princes. If you’ve read The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice then you’ll know that the thief-taker most definitely has a murky past and possibly an even murkier friend. Well here it comes.

The thief-taker and his lad had, if I read the internet right, a small but quite enthusiastic readership. I hope you all like this as much as the first one. Of all the books I’ve written so far, this one gave me the most trouble but I think my editor and I between us have beaten out the flaws and polished up a gem to equal the first one if not better it. I hope you like it. It does have a bit of a cliffhanger ending but the third book in the series is out in October – the proofs arrived for me to do yesterday – so the wait isn’t so long.

The Warlock’s Shadow is only available in the UK, Australia and New Zealand (I think). It’s certainly not available in the US except as an import and so far I haven’t found anyone who can tell me how to get it as an ebook in the US either. There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about this and posting copies out to the US costs most than the book itself. What I can do is offer a couple up to give away. As with all the others, comment on this post saying something like “me me me” and I’ll randomly choose two ‘winners.’ The different this time is that for one of the copies I’m ONLY going to randomly choose among people who comment from countries where the book isn’t available – so if that’s the case, say so (otherwise I won’t know and you won’t go in the second pot). Everyone who comments gets a crack at the second copy.

Hooded Man With Sword Spotted In Throne-Room (13/12/11)

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Here’s the cover for the last of the three Thief-Taker books. A shady fellow with a hood and a swanky sword skulking around a throne-room at night? Could this be the The King’s Assassin, perchance? I think, at last, it could be. Berren, at last, on the cover of one of his books. I want his boots.

kings assassin new

Yet Another Competition (25/10/11)

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OK, first one to post a link here to an Amazon review of The Warlock’s Shadow gets a T-shirt. Bonus points if you can correctly count the number of typos and errors in the “Product Description” (thanks Amazon).

And….. go!


The Warlock’s Shadow – Taster

Posted in Excerpts

That mysterious past the thief-taker has? Anyone out there really think it *wasn’t* going to catch up with him. And Berren. And be bad?

The Warlock’s Shadow (October 2011 UK)

Two years have passed. Berren is becoming a man and learning the thief-taker’s trade; But the thief-taker’s own past is about to catch up with both of them.

Read an excerpt here.

warlocks shadow cover - shrunk

First review up was Liviu Suciu at the Fantasy Book Critic: “…a highly recommended novel that stands well on its own until the cliffhanger ending…” I Thank you, Liviu. I do try to avoid cliffhangers, but the temptation overwhelmed me on this occasion!

Next up, LEC Book reviews: Dragon-monks, assassins, necromancy and enemies long-forgotten are all at the rendez-vous in this greatly entertaining novel.”

“…a lovely relaxed storytelling style…” Lowly’s Book Blog

This is such a great little series that requires little time and investment for a great return so I recommend it to all fantasy fans! Fixed on Fantasy

Publication Day (again) (25/2/11)

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The Order of the Scales officially became published on Thursday last week. Since there were no ARCs or review copies sent out, much nail-biting continues; but if covers sell books, this one should be a winner. Have I mentioned how good the cover is? Have I mentioned it enough yet? The online pictures simply don’t do it justice. Foil! Flames! Dragons! Complete lack of anything obvious to say it’s the third book in a trilogy… oh, wait, maybe that’s not so great. Ah well.

So apart from the nail-biting, that’s that.I’d post an excerpt, except I already did that. So here’s a tiny tiny snippet of the next book to come out instead: The Warlock’s Shadow.

Sailors swaggered back and forth, some of them bleary-eyed from a sleepless night in one of the drinking holes that filled the darker alleys beyond. A line of burly men had formed a human chain, picking up sacks and crates from boats drawn up against the edge of the harbour and passing them along to a milling cluster of carts. Further along the waterfront, another chain was passing supplies across the dockside from a warehouse out onto a cluster of jetties. A party of black-skinned Taiytakei traders in their rainbow robes and their bright feathers walked serenely out from the Avenue of Emperors, discretely escorted by half a dozen snuffers to keep the worst of the riff-raff at bay. A squad of imperial soldiers lounged around a covered wagon. Yellow and silver robed priests of the sun and the moon walked side by side, the faithful and the desperate following in their wake like the tail of a comet. Gangs of rough men, press-gangs, lurked by the dockside flophouses like sand-spiders waiting to pounce. Boys ran weaving between them all, carrying news and messages, or else simply mischief. Berren smiled to himself. He could never quite shake the feeling of coming home whenever he visited the docks.

Nothing Better to Do (18/4/2011)

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Until Easter I’ve given myself a little downtime. After Eastercon I’ll be working on The King’s Assassin and Prince of Swords until summer, but I thought hey – a few days off, right? And there’s that Genre for Japan story to write.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of tasters for your amusement: For the Order of the Scales and for The Warlock’s Shadow. Enjoy.

And a Brief Newsflash (11/1/2011)

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The Warlock’s Shadow has been submitted! Hurrah!

King of the Crags hit the Ranting Dragon’s best of 2010 list! Hurrah!

Now what?

Happy New Year (4/1/2011)

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Another year, and things are gonna change around here. At some point, the graphics of my site are all going to change. It’s time, I’m told, to get a bit more dragony. So expect to see some of this…


OK, it’s not the final cover, which won’t have the quote from Joe on it. But I’m an impatient man and bored of waiting for the final cover art (pokes editor gently with a stick. But only gently because I’ve just missed a deadline…)


A very shame-faced one in this case, because it’s all my own fault. All I can say to anyone else out there who might one day find themselves in the same position is DON’T assume the manuscript you wrote six months ago is ‘fine and just needs a bit of touching up’ and leave looking at it again until a month before it’s due for submission.

The good(ish) news is that The Warlock’s Shadow will only be about two weeks late on my editor’s desk, at which point I can go back to poking him with a large stick instead. About things like THE FINISHED COVER ART FOR ORDER OF THE SCALES,DAMMIT! (although actually, we should all feel a little sorry for the man, as he’s had to pick up a load of extra authors on top of the too much work he already had, and I dare say a lot of them are every bit as annoying as I am).

In more dragony news, the rewrites for Order of the Scales are going fine and the first complete draft for The Black Mausoleum is now sitting on my laptop. Hmmm. Won’t put off those rewrites quite as long with this one.

There are some other changes coming for 2011. I’m thinking of some slightly different content. I’ll try not to be boring, but, tempting as it is to go into detail as to whether the VAT is or isn’t a regressive tax, frankly I’m not that interested, and I suspect that goes the same for most of the people who actually read this. And it would be a huge piece of work. And then we’d get into arguments that would drag on for ages, and I’ll disagree with you about stuff you believe in passionately because the foundations of almost every argument made either way are built on the sand of dodgy statistics, and if there’s one thing that really gets my goat, it’s dodgy statistics… There, see, ranting already!

<Runs off. Has cold shower. Comes back>

No. Expect the occasional post about Star Wars, gaming, and how five-year-old children absolutely understand Munchkin in a way it takes a mature adult years to learn.

Finally, 2010 ended with a couple of rather nice reviews for King of the Crags, anticipating (perhaps) its forthcoming US release.

“Stephen Deas has combined all that’s good in fantasy and spun it around in a thriller-paced tale that will leave you breathless.” The Ranting Dragon.

“Prince Jehal … is brilliant. One of the most complex, twisted and ultimately human characters I’ve read … When I think back over what I’ve read this year … I’m hard pressed to find one I enjoyed more than this one.” SF Crowsnest

Happy New Year!

The Emergency Editor (21/12/10)

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I have an emergency editor. I know several writers who have them these days, or else beta-readers or someone who’s going to give them a second opinion on their work before they submit it to their publisher. I have no idea whether we’re a small minority or a vast majority, or whether such things are far more common now than they used to be. I’d say I don’t really care either, but if some knew the answer, I’d be curious enough to listen. Point being, really, we all have our own way of doing things; for me, every now and then, that means wheeling out the emergency editor whenever something just isn’t working.

Roughly, the way it works is that I read the manuscript, chapter by chapter, and get stopped every seventeen-and-a-half seconds to be told that I’ve now used the word effervescent twice in living memory and why is one of my characters explicitly walking slowly in one sentence and then observed to be moving quickly in the next (fortunately allowing me to simply skip the next sentence in which they dismount from the horse they never actually had in the first place). Often there is a little coda, along the lines of ‘that chapter’s quite good’ or ‘that was a bit long’ or the dreaded ‘Meh. OK I guess,’ which means it isn’t.

As you can imagine, sometimes this can mean that reading through a chapter, even one of mine, can take quite a long time. I’d been mentally thinking of it as extreme editing, since we really do pick apart the manuscript line by line sometimes. However, I understand from several of my fellow authors that extreme editing is already taken and refers to re-writes carried out while free-climbing the Tsaranoro Massif or hiding inside a cave somewhere on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. My version takes place curled up somewhere warm and cosy and usually involves either hot chocolate or hot and sour soup. Not all that extreme really.

Admittedly, what comes to mind when I think ‘emergency editor’ is the emergency pilot from Airplane! but that just. . . No, just let’s not go there.

So next time you put down a book and revel in the buzz of just how good it was, spare a thought for the beta-readers, the emergency editors, the unpaid (I’d say unsung, but I guess they’re often among the names credited in the this-novel-would-never-have-existed-if-it-wasn’t-for bit that I never used to read up to a few years ago (please tell me I’m the only one) helpers who do it for the love. And the chocolate. And the soups. And maybe an episode of Dexter every 2-3 chapters, but still, mostly for the love.

(You can follow my muse, my better half, my emergency editor and many other things, the gorgeous and heroic @adamantine_lady, on Twitter. Just, for the love of Planck’s Constant, don’t say anything bad about Name of the Wind. Meanwhile The Warlock’s Shadow has been moved out of theatre and into intensive care).

Too Dark Park (7/12/2010)

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chainsaw gang masthead

It’s Christmas. The time for cheer. For giving. For forgiveness and happy endings…

Oh. Wait. Wrong author.

Having finished the editorial rewrite of Order of the Scales last week and finally managed a draft for The Warlock’s Shadow that doesn’t suck last night, this is not the season for joy at all, at least not fiction-land. I wonder, as I start the rewrites for the Warlock’s Shadow, whether this is going too far. It’s not horrific in a gore-fest sort of way or a creepy sort of way, but it’s definitely dark. Ah well – that’s what editors are for.

In the meantime, to get in the right sort of seasonal mood, the Chainsaw Gang bring you the Twelve Days of Christmas, reworked to be filled with chainsawy goodness. We’ve bludgeoned a bunch of bloggers half to death, cut pieces out of their souls[1] and threatened them with various forms of despicable un-life until they agreed to let us write stuff on their websites. We might also have answered a few questions about writing horror for a YA audience while we were at it, but the main point was to get that song out there, to be revealed day by day in an exquisite striptease, until at last it is revealed in all its terrible glory and the great old ones are called back to own the earth once more [2]. It’s kicked off already (yes, too late to stop us now, bwahaha) at My Favourite Books and will then be infesting the blogsphere like the bubonic plague:

So off you go an have a bloody good Christmas.

[1] That was a spoiler for The Warlock’s Shadow, that was.

[2] Karaoke was also discussed, but none of us could cope with that much SAN loss.

First person to make sense of the title of this post gets a prize.

Cover Art: The Warlock’s Shadom (16/11/10)

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Pretty pretty cover art for The Warlock’s Shadow. Night in the scent garden. And no, once again, the figure in the archway is NOT Berren. Pleasingly androgenous though, given the scene this is meant to be.

Nice blues. Still working on the lettering though :-)

warlocks shadow cover - shrunk