Aekhartain, Books, Writing

The Icarus Child

The Icarus Child

~ The Icarus Child #3 ~

Once there was an island, and on that island there lived a boy…

Britain 135 BC

Cover_3 Icarus ChildOrphaned at birth and raised by his aunt on an isolated island, Icastar has led a far from normal life. His body is misshapen, his days are tormented by whispering winds and demanding ghosts, and he only has seals for friends.

But there is more to this boy than his physical hardships and lonely location. The island and his own body might try to hold him down, caging him inside a world of pain, but he is the Icarus Child.

One day he will fly – or die trying.

Freedom is at stake, and failure is no longer an option.

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

The Icarus Child in Brief
What’s in it?: A 90,000 word novel and a bonus short story (Star and Shadowborn)
When is it set?: 135-126 BC
Where is it set?: Iron Age Britain, pre-Roman.
What kind of story is it?: A family drama about a young boy, the aunt who raises him, his extended family and the island they live on. Involves love, friendship, selkies, chores, goats, a magpie, some nightmares and some really unfriendly ghosts.
What’s the genre?: Historical Fantasy.
Any age restrictions?: None. Although the story does involve a bit of violence.

Behind the Story
If you’ve read any of the Aekhartain stories before and have been wondering how that series connects with this one, wonder no more! This is Shaiel’s book – and if you liked Demairo/Demero’s story in Unbound and Free there are a fair few similarities here, especially in the first section.
When it comes to comparing it to the original, then there have been a lot of changes. Icastar is pretty much as he ever was, but all the other characters are different (and Fox and Cana are his grandparents and still alive, so they make brief appearances) and for the most part the plot takes a wholly new route to the end. The outcome there is the same as it ever was, although the method has differed. In other words, if you read and remembered the original, you might get a few surprises here.
You also get a bit of a bonus story in Star and Shadowborn, because as always Maskai likes to make things difficult for me, and squeezing in an explanation of who and what she is always seems impossible. Hopefully this little tale will clear up any questions the rest of the book raises. If not, tell me and I’ll see what else I can do.

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

Continue reading “The Icarus Child”

Aekhartain, Books, Updates

Icarus Child is Out!

Well, I made it *collapse*

Cover_3 Icarus Child

Once there was an island and on that island there lived a boy…

 Britain 135 BC

Orphaned at birth and raised by his aunt on an isolated island, Icastar has led a far from normal life. His body is misshapen, his days are tormented by whispering winds and demanding ghosts, and he only has seals for friends.

But there is more to this boy than his physical hardships and lonely location. The island and his own body might try to hold him down, caging him inside a world of pain, but he is the Icarus Child.

One day he will fly – or die trying.

Available Now from Smashwords!

All other retailers are currently pending, but it should be available everywhere soon.

I’ll put up a proper book page soon as well as the appropriate links as and when they come in. For now, I don’t want to look at another keyboard for the next 12 hours – or more if I can swing it.

Why is it that every time I upload a book to Smashwords it finds a new and even more irritating bug to plague me with? Today it was the .EPUB version, which I’ve never had much bother with before. Ah well, such is life.

In other news – Merry Imbolc, to those in the Northern Hemisphere who celebrate such things! (And Merry Lammas/Lughnasa/Lughnasadh to those in the Southern half.)

Welcome back, Spring – and happy birthday, Icastar/Shaiel!

All right, so it might be a bit early to declare the return of spring just yet, but at least it’s been a beautiful day here. I might just find a patch of sunlight to curl up in and fall asleep. My brain hurts.

Merry Tuesday, everyone.

A Bit of Me, Aekhartain, Writing

Secrets of Icarus: Part Four

The Icarus Child is almost ready! I think I might actually be able to release it tomorrow as planned – which will be a big relief. In the meantime I’ve been reading Wingborn on my Kindle, and finding it surprisingly enjoyable, but more on that next week ;)

For now…

Secret #4 – Some of My Books Have Their Own Accents

Okay, I’ll admit this one is a bit weird and is something that has only started recently, but it’s true, my books sometimes have accents.

Let me explain. During the editing process, at some point I’ll email a book to my Kindle and then read it aloud – making changes as I go. The change of screen and reading pace is great for spotting those irritating typos that I would otherwise skim over without noticing – especially after the third or fourth times of reading the same book. To make this more interesting for myself, I often do voices and accents along the way. I’ve always loved imitating accents, so I like to have a bit of fun and because the accents make me speak more slowly I tend to pay more attention to what I’m reading.

Which is straightforward enough, if a little strange. However, just lately I’ve noticed that some books prefer a particular type of accent throughout. Unbound and Free and Be With Me have a distinctly Welsh lilt, thanks to Elisud. While the Dark Rebellion books are very Devonian. Both of these make sense due to the characters involved.

The Icarus Child is Scottish – and I have no idea why. I’ve never been that good at Scottish accents before, but this book has cured me. I had so much fun saying Icastar (ih-KA-staar) that I can no longer use any other accents with it. Believe me, I’ve tried. My Irish starts off well enough, but drifts into an Ulster/Northern Ireland sound before hopping across the sea to Scotland. I lost my Welsh accent altogether, and even my Yorkshire/generic Northern accent doesn’t last long.

It doesn’t make much sense, but there you have it. The Icarus Child has a Scottish soul and you now have another unnecessary insight into my quirky writing habits.

I’ll be back tomorrow (hopefully) to pester you about the new book. Hurrah!

In the meantime – Merry Monday and Happy February, everyone!

A Bit of Me, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Edit Update

\(*O*)/  <– That feeling when you’ve finished the final edit on your new book.

/(~_~)\ <– Until you realise you need to go back and sort out one of the characters.

(@-@) <– And then you realise the character in question defies explanation and sorting it out won’t be easy.

/(-.-)\ <– Think. Think harder. Work it out.

|(*.*)| <– Oh, hey, that stupid idea might just work…

I’ll let you know how I get on. For now, though, I still have hope for a release next week. Please don’t burst my optimistic little bubble.

(And yes, I know, I probably could have found some gifs to explain it all better. But that would take work and my brain is back in lazy mode.)

Merry Tuesday, everyone!


So it Begins…

Happy 2016, everyone!

I hope you had a good holiday season, celebrating it in whichever way was most enjoyable for you. I saw lots of family, did quite a bit of reading and seem to have lost track of all time and so am still flailing around trying to catch up.

Nothing new really.

I have all kinds of plans for the new year, but since I’m still ironing out most of the creases and I always tend to have more ideas than I can ever put into practice, I’ll keep quiet about them until they’re ready to launch. Instead I shall say edits on The Icarus Child are in progress and I’m aiming for February 2nd as a release date. I could have gone for mid-January like the other books, but Feb 2nd is not only Imbolc, the start of Celtic spring, but it’s Icastar/Shaiel’s birthday so it appeals to me.

Thus far I’ve edited the first section of IC and I don’t hate it, so progress is good at the moment. Fingers crossed it’ll stay that way.

Elsewhere, the big end of year sale is now over, so prices will revert to normal over the next day or so. If you still want to grab a bargain, be quick because time is ticking.

Thanks to everyone who supported me last year, you’re all wonderful. Here’s for an even better 2016!

Brace yourselves for Shakespeare, lots of poetry (not mine, thankfully), loads of things with wings, giant talking eagles and something that may or may not contain Vikings. And if I have time I might even throw in a dragon or two. Sounds exhausting, but hopefully it’ll be fun and exciting too along the way.

In the meantime – Merry Wednesday, all!

Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Update: Week Three

Week 3 Total Word Count: 74,000

I spoke way too soon last week. After two 10K writing days, I hit a wall. Hard. It was like pulling teeth trying to drag the story on for a while there. The trouble was I’d hit a point where the story would quite happily have reached an end. Which would have been fine, except nothing would have been resolved, it was way too soon and I still had too much to do. But try convincing my brain to go on when it said everything was done.

This is what happened with The Crying Child, a set of events leapt out of nowhere, twisted things around and suddenly, Ta-Dah! The End! Well, I could get away with it on that book because it was the second of three, but I couldn’t really let that happen here. Unless I wanted to write a fourth book *shudders*

Funnily enough it was sparked by the same character. I suspect if I’d written a completely unnecessary fourth book it would have happened again. With the same one. A born troublemaker that one. Never mind, I pulled through, finished Chapter Twenty Five then gave myself a few days off to think about it all.

Then came yesterday, when I sat down, flexed my fingers and finished the whole lot with a mammoth effort. I’m pretty sure the entire thing is a massive mess, nothing I wrote yesterday will make a lick of sense, but it’s fine because some of it will be salvageable and I now have an iron framework to hang the whole story on.


Also, if I’m lucky, it won’t be quite as messy as I think it is. This has happened to me before, and in the best cases I didn’t need to change a thing. Even if it doesn’t happen here, I’m still happy because the hardest of the hard work is done!

Even better, I can finally get out of the Iron Age! And away from the historical stuff altogether (for a bit at least). My next Aekh tale is set in 2002. I cannot wait. Even if it does mean a lot of Shakespeare in my near future. If you’ve read Orion’s Kiss this is the story that will make sense out of just who Beatrice Winters is. Finally. Two years after I finished that one.

*ahem* Oh well, better late than never, right? 

Anyway, back to this book. No snippet this week, since everything is spoilery. Instead I’ll end with the final tally, since the last day was only just in Week 4.

Icarus Child Final Total: 86,700 words.

Woo – and indeed – Hoo! Now all I have to do is edit the thing.

Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Update: Week Two

Week 2 Total Word Count: 46,000

Woo! This book is flying!

Well, sort of. Writing-wise I’m down to three days a week when I have enough free time to make it worth my while to sit down and get stuff done, but when I do I’m making it count. Which is lovely. If I get a chance to focus and have the right music on I can scribble out a chapter in an hour and a half, so I’m trying to get three chapters done a day – depending on how long they are, of course. If they’re short I might manage four.

There’s a reason why I don’t do NaNoWriMo, because once I establish a set routine and give myself a goal of getting the book done by This Day it all tends to snowball and I get very competitive with myself. Last time I did NaNo I started off aiming for two to three thousand words a day, then I realised I wouldn’t be able to write at all for the last week of November and it all went a bit crazy. By the end I think I was writing between ten and fifteen thousand words a day – and the little book that was supposed to be about 75K was heading for 90K and wasn’t anywhere near finished.

And it still isn’t, three years later, because if I try and touch the book my competitive instincts rise up and order to me to finish it now, now, now! Who cares about the pirates? Add in a ghost and some astral projection and everything will be fine! And kill that snooty kid while you’re at, no one will even notice. Then put in a race over the beach – that’ll be so cool. You can literally have rocks falling so everyone dies! 

Except that this is a multi-book series and I need some of those characters to survive. And I like them too much to kill them all.

Rocks fall. Everyone dies. Really cool!

But –

Rocks. Fall. Everyone. Dies. Dead.

Yeah, ‘kay, no… I’ll just put this one away for now then.

So. I don’t do that anymore. (Which is a shame, because there are some parts of that book I adore. I must head back to that world sometime. It’s the one where Tobi and Faron come from. I love that world.)

Anyway, yes, back to this book. Even though I’m only writing three days a week, my competitive instincts are rising (I’m only ever competitive with myself or as part of a team, which is why I was so relieved to break my arm when I was nine so I could quit gymnastics before they made me compete anymore). However, instead of a daily word count race – because I rarely have a completely free day to write in – I seem to be pushing for a weekly thing. The first week I hit 20K, the second I managed 25K. I’m now in week three and my first writing day went over 10K, so looks like it’s all on schedule to make my brain explode. Also, I should get the book finished before Christmas as I must be over halfway now. Seriously, I must, it’s over 50K words now.

Also all the major players seem to have finally arrived. Yay! There’s also a new lesson to be learned from this series – other than Keep Away from Talking Islands, They Will Possess You! The new one is Never Trust a Foundling, or other sundry washed up bodies that appears anywhere near you. Nothing good ever happens. Rocks might not fall (though I’m not ruling that out because there are cliffs everywhere) but someone will die. Or that might just be the island. Maybe I’ll stick with the first one and add They Will Kill You! after the bit about possessing people. I may need to put up signs. Those will totally work.

Ah well, another normal week in Ima-land. Have a completely non-spoilery snippet conversation between two children on a beach, and I’ll get back to wrestling this story into (ha!) submission.

Continue reading “Icarus Child Update: Week Two”

Aekhartain, Updates, Writing

Icarus Child Update: Week One

Cover_3 Icarus ChildDespite numerous attempts by real life to sabotage my writing time in recent days, so far things are going reasonably well with The Icarus Child. The book has started much earlier than I expected (by about seven years), and seems to be enjoying itself meandering along while I tap my fingers and wait for the plot to show up.

Which is business as usual with the Aekhartain tales.

If you enjoyed Unbound and Free, the beginning of this one is very much in a similar vein. Except my boy Icastar has even more troubles than Demairo had, but they both live on the island, look after some sheep and only have seals for friends, while ghostly voices make demands of them. Poor boys. It’s no fun being born on the island.

But that was last week. This week I’ve moved forward four years (Ica’s gone from 7 to 11) and things may be about to happen in a vaguely sinister way. I’ll have to wait and see just what and when if I manage to write any more tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Nevertheless, Week 1 word count: 20.5K.

And now for a snippet. Spoilers are so mild as to be nonexistent. Just a cute and casual game of something (no idea what, don’t ask me) between a boy and a selkie. (See, he has some fun sometimes.)


Continue reading “Icarus Child Update: Week One”

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”