A Bit of Me, Aekhartain, Writing

Secrets of Icarus: Part Five

With all the Icarus Child books now out and available, I thought I’d wrap things up with one last secret before I take a bit of a break from the Aekhverse.

Secret #5 – This Isn’t the Last You’ll be Seeing of These Characters

With the trilogy being a prequel to the Tales of the Aekhartain this might seem like an obvious secret. But I’m not talking about Shaiel or Maskai, though of course both of them do come back and make many, many appearances in the other stories. No, this is about the others.

Cover_3 Icarus ChildIt’s all Maskai’s fault, of course. The short story – Star and Shadowborn – that I’ve included at the end of The Icarus Child hints a little at this, because it’s all to do with Maskai’s power and how in the early Aekh days she was a bit careless with it. In fact, when she wasn’t paying attention, it had a habit of rubbing off on people around her and changing them – which is how the Aekhartain come about. It’s all because Maskai wasn’t paying attention and ordinary folk got caught in a power splash.

Which means that plenty of characters in Icastar’s life have the potential to become Aekhartain further down the line. It isn’t reincarnation, not quite, but some personality quirks and other aspects do keep turning up over and over again.

Cover - Dark RebelIn fact, if you read Dark Rebel closely, you might think there’s something a little familiar about one of Caligo’s companions – especially if you look up the meaning of his name and find a russet-coloured animal on the other end. There are quite a number of Aekhs to spot in DR, but since I haven’t got around to rewriting most of their stories yet, it’s not entirely fair.

I also have an unfinished Regency tale about Fox and Cana, so those two definitely come back – a little changed, but essentially themselves (because I couldn’t let them go after the original IC and a friend challenged me to write a Regency romance). Look out for Howl and Rudh again too, because I backtracked on them, bringing in characters from later Aekh tales to amuse myself.

Cover_2 Crying ChildI have also since realised that if anyone is likely to come back, Saekara is most qualified and I’ve already laid a few clues about Icaria (or rather, as I was writing it I made a few connections and had a light-bulb moment). The biggest clue is in the prologue for The Crying Child, for those who like playing Spot-the-Aekh in advance. Names are always a massive clue too, even if they are mostly in a different language.

Spot-the-Aekh is mostly just a bit of fun between me and my readers. You won’t be missing anything vital if you don’t make the connections or follow along, but those who do play often feel an extra understanding about how the story is progressing. It’s one big in-joke that helps tie the long, long bunch of interconnected stories together and hopefully make it all more enjoyable.

Some characters are a lot more obvious than others, because I like to make sure everyone can play and also pose a bit of a challenge. So when it comes to the characters in this book, look out for future appearances from interesting names, familiar hair colours and eyes and those intriguing qualities that you can’t quite put your finger on, but feel familiar nonetheless.

Because in the Aekhartain world, death is never the end.

A Bit of Me, Aekhartain, Writing

Secrets of Icarus: Part Three

I love music across many genres, but when it comes to writing I tend to stick to classical orchestrations – mostly because lyrics distract me. Sometimes I don’t really care what I listen to and will happily have the radio on (Classic FM usually), and there are days when I don’t listen to anything at all. However, most of the time I like something faintly inspirational and without interruptions in the background.

This means I listen to a lot of soundtracks as well as classical composers. I love a good soundtrack, be it for film, TV, games or trailers, but I also have a distinct weakness for a nice bit of piano music and strings. I am all about the strings.

Which brings me to…

Secret #3 – Each Book has a Slightly Different Soundtrack

Continue reading “Secrets of Icarus: Part Three”

A Bit of Me, Aekhartain, Writing

Secrets of Icarus: Part Two

Secret #2 – I Keep Plot Charts/Tables For All My Stories

Along with chapter titles that no one ever sees, I also keep plot charts. Except they’re not really charts at all, they’re tables where I keep track of my word count and write one or two lines about what’s going on to help me out when I’m in a hurry to find something.

I also use them for very short brain-storming session during the writing stage, leaving myself short notes about what’s coming up next. I do this for all my books, so this series isn’t particularly special in this regard. Actually, my charts are pretty scanty for most of this series. Probably because I knew roughly where I was going.

Some (edited for spoilers) examples include:

Sisters of Icarus

  • Grief. Nightmare. Chores. Farewell, Icarus.
  • … Cana sees much, but says little.
  • Fox, Fox, Fox!
  • Snowball fight! Love, kisses, promises, hopes. Crossed wires.

The Crying Child

  • Cari is thoughtful. Fox is Fox.
  • Catch a falling star and put him in your pocket, save him on a rainy day…
  • … Cari still sulks – others are content.
  • … Selkie delivery.
  • Fox to the rescue! Well, kind of…

The Icarus Child

  • There was a boy, a very strange and lonely boy…
  • Storm and goats. The magpie – yay!
  • Family fun. Saekara and Ica and Morvoren. Love.
  • A new face on the island. Hurricane Morvoren!
  • … Selkie panic! Ica itches.
  • … Save us! Save us!

And there you have it, another small insight into my writery habits that you probably were perfectly happy not knowing about.

Next time music! (I’ll give you a hint, it involves lots of soundtracks.)

A Bit of Me, Aekhartain, Writing

Secrets of Icarus*: Part One

*Which actually sounds like a good title for a spin-off collection of short stories based around the Icarus Child books. I might quite enjoy doing that. I could write some more Rudh and Howl, maybe some young Fox adventures, definitely some more cute Fox and Cana moments, perhaps some non-scary Icaria, or some selkie time. I could even delve into why Morvoren and the goats Do Not Get Along. That could be fun. Maybe. Although this is supposed to be my last historical Aekh(ish) tale for a while, so it might be nice not to spend even more time in the Iron Age. Oh well, just a thought, which may or may not grow into something at some point.

Er, anyway, putting all of that to one side. Since it is now one week until the (hopeful) release date of The Icarus Child, the final part of this trilogy, I thought as a way to chivvy me along to actually making the deadline, I’d impart a few secrets along the way.

Not spoilers, secrets. These things are more a behind the scenes look at my writing process, particularly as it pertains to these books.

Secret #1 – All the Chapters Have Their Own Secret Titles

This is something I do quite a lot when writing novels. Way back in the days when I used to share my writing with the Elfwood community, I tended to post a chapter at a time, so I got into the habit of saving them a chapter at a time too, for easy access. Even now, if I know in advance that what I’m writing will become a novel, I use individual files for each chapter. This makes it a whole lot easier to find things when I need to change them, but it’s a bit more of a pain when it comes to the final editing and formatting stages.

I use these chapter titles in part because they make my files look more interesting, but also as shorthand to keep track of the story as I go. I don’t tend to use them in the final books because some of the titles are a bit spoilery, others are kind of boring (a few seem to crop up in every book I write), and also because I don’t know how much attention people pay to such things. (If you have an opinion either way, feel free to share. I’m always curious.)

This secret is particularly relevant to this series because the first title chapter of the original Icarus Child book is the same as in this version – And Then He Fell. This matters to me because that was where the whole story began, ten odd years ago. Back then all I knew about the story was that Icarus had three sisters, he would try to fly and fail, and somehow or other this whole thing would end up back at Shaiel and the Aekhartain. I’m still not entirely sure how I got from there to the end in the original, but I did, and I use those two titles to remind me of that long ago day when I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going but full of hope all the same.

Other titles across the current series include:
Farewell to Sea and Sky, Samhain Storm, A Fox’s Tale, Return of the Fox, Snowfalling, Illusions of Happiness, Catch a Falling Star, He Who Must Ascend, Winter Woes, A Star is Born, Kidnap!, Ghost Plans, The Wings of a Storm, Family Familiarity, Dreams and Screams, My Star and my favourite of the lot which I can’t include for spoiler reasons.

So there you have it. Not so much a secret as just something you might not have known.

Come back soon for the next in this exciting series of things you never knew, were probably happy enough not knowing and could likely have lived your whole life without feeling the lack of, but which I’m going to tell you about anyway!

Cover_3 Icarus Child
Quick IC Update

New additions and character fixes are mostly finished, so now I just have to edit the last five chapters again.

Yay… I think.

Merry Wednesday, everyone!

Aekhartain, Books


To celebrate the end of another year, the halfway point of another northern winter, Christmas, Yule, the solstice or just because, I’m holding a bit of a sale.

Are you ready?


While Sing to Me and Be With Me remain free from everywhere except Amazon – and always will be, since they were written to be given away – Sisters of Icarus is still available for nothing. Sadly, again, this is everywhere except Amazon, and will remain so until The Icarus Child is out, at the very least. Perhaps longer, I haven’t decided yet.

Now, just until January, you can also get Dark Rebel for FREE! If you’ve been a bit unsure about venturing into my Anglo-Saxon world, now’s your chance to explore for free. Let Demero guide you as you get a glimpse at Caligo’s life and see how the Aekhartain of Darkness comes about.

Click on any of the covers below for links and more details.

An Aekhartain Romance  Be With Me  Cover_1 Sisters of Icarus  Cover - Dark Rebel


Just for the love of it, if you’re still looking for something to read after you’re done with the freebies above, then have a couple of discounts to tide you over.

From now until the beginning of January both Unbound and Free and The Rebel Returns are only .99 (£/$/Euros etc). So if you want more Demero/Demairo, he’s all over both of these books. Plus more Shaiel and Caligo too. What’s not to love?

And for those on Amazon, Dark Rebel will be this price too, since it’s the cheapest Amazon will let me go.

Unbound and Free  Cover - Dark Rebel  The Rebel Returns

Grab ’em while they’re cheap!

Elsewhere, The Crying Child has increased in price, while Orion’s Kiss remains the same. Keep an eye out in February for a freebie run of the latter.

Until then… happy reading!

Aekhartain, Books, Writing

The Crying Child

The Crying Child

~ Icarus Child #2 ~

Once there was an island, and on that island there lived three cousins…

Britain 142 BC

Cover_2 Crying Child The Sisters of Icarus may all be gone, but the next generation remains. Bitter, half-selkie and broken, the three women are different in many ways, yet one thing connects them: the island and its quest for a new Icarus.

Ghosts and family, selkies and betrayal, love and loss, these cousins are on a journey that will change all of their lives. And when the stars fall nothing will ever be the same again.

For there will be a new Icarus – the island will accept nothing less.

No matter what the cost.

Available Now!
Amazon: US || UK || AUS || CAN || DE
Smashwords || B&N || iBooks || Kobo

The Crying Child in Brief
What’s in it?: A 78,000 word novel (around 246 pages)
When is it set?: 142-141 BC
Where is it set?: Iron Age Britain, pre-Roman.
What kind of story is it?: A family drama between three cousins, involving jealousy, love, friendship, betrayal, selkies, lots of chores, ghostly goings on and general island creepiness.
What’s the genre?: Historical Fantasy.
Any age restrictions?: Not really. Although it is more geared towards adult themes, such as childbirth, romance, jealousy, etc.

Behind the Story
This used to be the middle section of the original Icarus Child story, and was the part where not a lot happened, except for the island being creepy and characters being miserable. So this time around I wanted to do things differently – starting with Callirye and her little romantic interlude. In the original that was all dealt with in barely a paragraph, but this time around I wanted to know more about her. Especially as in this version she’s Cana and Fox’s daughter.
While I was expanding her story, the island was going behind my back and changing other things. So, if you’re one of the unfortunate people who read the original version on Elfwood around ten years ago, this version is quite a bit different. It’s also made my life very difficult for the last part of the trilogy, but that’s the island for you.

The original dedication for this book was a bit long, so I cut it down rather drastically. However, since I wrote the long version for a reason I thought I’d include the full thing here.

To Family

Whether big or small, near or far, close or distant, family is the one thing that is always there.
By blood or friendship, bound by shared memories and experiences, real family will never let you down
– or if they do then they are the ones worth forgiving.
They know your worst secrets, drive you to tears and infuriate you as nothing else can, but they also make you laugh, sing all your favourite songs and share in those awful movies that no one else will watch with you.
Family is the hearth that warms the soul.

May your family be strong and your friends be family.


Read on for the opening chapter from The Crying Child, and be aware that it may contain spoilers for Sisters of Icarus.

Continue reading “The Crying Child”

Books, Updates, Writing

The Crying Child is Coming!

Though I have been quiet, I have been working hard (promise) and The Crying Child is on its way.

Cover_2 Crying Child

Once there was an island, and on that island there lived three cousins…

Britain 142 BC

The Sisters of Icarus may all be gone, but the next generation remains. Bitter, half-selkie and broken, the three women are different in many ways, yet one thing connects them: the island and its quest for a new Icarus.

Ghosts and family, selkies and betrayal, love and loss, these cousins are on a journey that will change all of their lives. And when the stars fall nothing will ever be the same again.

For there will be a new Icarus – the island will accept nothing less.

No matter what the cost.

At this precise moment in time it’s working its way through the mysterious KDP and Smashwords distribution/checking systems so as yet it’s only available from Smashwords, but hopefully within the next day or two all the links will be up and I can post them all.

Also within the next few days I’ll be making Sisters of Icarus FREE! More details on that when I’ve sorted out a few Smashwords related issues.

In the meantime, The Crying Child is coming!

Aekhartain, Updates

September Tidings

Cover_1 Sisters of Icarus
Sisters of Icarus is coming!

Well, sort of. I’ve finished another edit of it and will soon start my final run through. Then, hopefully, I will be able to throw it out into the world on September 15th!

<— This is the cover as it currently stands. I may change it, I haven’t decided yet. At the moment I like it, but my views are always likely to change after a day or two.

Any feedback, opinions or views on it are always welcome.

Cover_2 Crying Child

I’m also about a third of the way through my first draft of The Crying Child. 

My original plan was to release this a month after Sisters, but real-life keeps poking holes in all my plans so I’ll have to see if I can pull if off.

If nothing unexpected pops up to ruin my month, I’m fairly sure I can do it, but the unexpected has rather taken over this year so I guess I can only try my best and hope that will be enough.

Cover_3 Icarus Child


Whenever that does make its way into the world, I will then turn my attention to the last of the trilogy – The Icarus Child – which currently has a wishful release date of November 15th. However, see above for excuses why that might not happen.

Whatever befalls my writing and editing schedules, I just wanted to let people know that they are being written and edited and thought about a lot right now, and will be coming. Hopefully before the end of the year.

Look, they already have covers and everything! This is almost as good as a release from me – not that I usually leave my covers to the last minute or anything. Nope. Not me. (And yes, I know, they’re kind of blue, but that works with the story. All photos are mine as well, just in case anyone wondered. Apologies once again to Portland Bill for turning you into the island.)

So, those are my exciting plans for this month. Anyone out there got anything good going on?

Updates, Writing

Progress Report: The Woe of Words

Why did I ever think making up my own language was cool? I’ve never been good at languages. I’m barely passable with English most days, especially when it comes to correct grammatical terms.

Which might be why I made up my own language, now I think on it.

It was an okay language as far as it went – because it had no rules and I botched it together as and when I needed it. But then I had to try and tidy it up and put in proper rules for verbs and such things.

Which already gives me a headache just thinking about. And that was before a character turned up only speaking in auxiliary verbs! (Okay, he doesn’t only speak in aux verbs, but it felt like it when I was trying to translate it.)

I never even thought to plan for auxiliary verbs! I never thought I’d need to! I’ve been avoiding writing practically anything in Aekh-speak ever since I decided to tidy it up and realised as a purely spoken language that I needed to be able to pronounce it! And then along he came, with his verb baggage trundling behind him.

So now I have a new rule, which is basically don’t bother conjugating the second verb unless it looks prettier that way (I’m kidding. Mostly. About the last six words, anyway). I’m sure this will trip me up spectacularly at some point. Right now, however, I don’t care.

*kicks the Man Who Fell To Earth*

As you can probably tell, I’m really enjoying writing The Crying Child. Although I’m still not sure whether I’d prefer for Icaria to be more or less creepy. Less would probably be better for my health.

Oh well. I hope your summer is treating you well in your part of the world. Unless you are upside down, in which case I hope your winter is passing swiftly.

My summer is now wet, but then I am in England, so I should expect nothing else. I did, however, see a hummingbird hawk-moth in my garden the other day! And a white stag!(!) In the wild. An actual white stag!(!!) (No wardrobes were spotted in the sighting of this stag. Nor any lions (religiously metaphoric or otherwise) or witches either. Alas.) He’s a fallow deer and he had ladies and a baby in tow, but they were mostly hidden in the bushes while he stood out in front like a forgotten Christmas lawn ornament.

I also saw a rainbow at dawn this morning. In the west. I’ve never seen one that early in the day before, but it was very pretty in its half-shining state.

Fun times.