Here’s a little treat for the weekend. A new Witches of Woodville story that’s completely free for my wonderful newsletter subscribers…
Caesar on Watling Street is set over 2000 years before the events chronicled in the Witches of Woodville.
The cover art was designed by the wonderful Mr Andrew Bowden, and it was edited with infinite patience by Mr Julian Barrand the MP3 audiobook features music by Dominic Currie.
Here’s the description thingy…
KENT, 54 BC
Britain has fallen. The merciless legions of Julius Caesar will soon dominate every kingdom. Magical seer Múnteoir is tasked with negotiating peace. Yet Múnteoir’s ability to sense the truth about a person is fading, and with it her life. Abandoned by the voices of her ancestors, she must stand against an empire and unlock a power greater than any than she has ever known. If Múnteoir fails, everything she loves will perish.
The more eagle-eyed readers will notice that this story is not set in Woodville and doesn’t feature any of the witches from the novels, but… it teases a key location for the forthcoming novel The Ghost of Ivy Barn, so when you eventually come to that part in the novel you can be all smug and brag that you knew about it before everyone else. Quite who you’ll be bragging to, I’m not sure. Perhaps one can go on the Tik Toks and boast about one’s literary credibility?
Regardless, this story is available to you for free for your Kindle, phone, tablet, and as an MP3 audiobook (read by me with some questionable accents).
I have a wee bit of history with Julie. I worked at Orion when we published her autobiography and novel (both of which are terrific) and I ran a quiz at the Orion Sales Conference when she was there in 2004 (I think), along with the likes of Michael Palin. All I had to do was run a fun quiz in front of my childhood heroes. Simple. Only… it went on a bit too long. This was in the ballroom of the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. Hundreds of authors and Orion staff, all fed and restless and ready to rush to the bar and get drunk (as was the tradition at sales conferences)… and we were into the second hour of the quiz and there were still a couple of rounds to go. I lifted a card to read the next question, took a breath. “How long…” I began, and a familiar voice came from the darkness, “Not as long as this bloody quiz!” Yup. Julie Walters heckled me, and got the biggest laugh of the whole conference and I still rank it as one of my best moments on stage. So to hear that she is reading my story for the audiobook feels strangely serendipitous.
Two Chickens for Laura Longarms is a Woodville story about kindness and sacrifice and has a fun monster. The Everyday Kindness anthology features over 50 amazing stories, and the audiobook also features the likes of Richard Armitage, Katie Leung, Celia Imrie and many more! You can pre-order it from Audible here.
I was delighted to be asked by Louise to contribute, and my story TWO CHICKENS FOR LAURA LONG ARMS is a Witches of Woodville tale where Faye Bright discovers that a little kindness can go a very long way. The story was edited by Julian Barr before I submitted it to the anthology and as always it was vasty improved by his input.
Part two of The Miss Charlotte Quartet — The Last Night of the Witchfinder General — is now available completely free to anyone who subscribes to the Woodville Village Newsletter. Sign up and grab your copy here… https://witchesofwoodville.com/#library
Manningtree, Summer, 1647
Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, has come out of retirement for one last trial. And now Charlotte Southill is here to show him what a real witch can do…
Charlotte Southill vows revenge when one of her friends falls victim to the notorious Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. But someone doesn’t want him dead and Charlotte must confront some raw and painful memories.
Hello folks. I’m delighted to announce that the second story in the Miss Charlotte Quartet — The Last Night of the Witchfinder General — is available to download… completely and utterly FREE for all the lucky people who have signed up to the Woodville Village library newsletter.
If you’ve read The Crow Folk you will know that Miss Charlotte has something of a secret history and these stories will go some way to letting you into her dark past.
Yes, these stories are a little darker than the Witches of Woodville novels and this one in particular contains hanging, torture, vomiting, farting, drowning, poisoning, shooting, stabbing and al fresco urination.
What more could you ask for in a 5000 word short story? It’s available as an eBook and audiobook. Let’s have a quick listen…
ESSEX WAS no place to be a witch. Charlotte stood in the shadow of the gallows, watchingher friend Dorothy Marsh sway in the summer breeze. Flies buzzed around Dorothy’s gaping mouth. Her bloodshot eyes bulged as if in fright, her last terrified words left unsaid. Dorothy’s pepper hair was matted with blood and the mob had taken all but her stained smock and a single shoe.
A dark rage grew inside Charlotte, rising like bile. She had seen too many women like Dorothy hanging from a noose these past three years. Dorothy wasn’t even a witch, but a midwife. A woman of compassion and kindness who offered Charlotte shelter and food when she was last here.
Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, had come out of retirement for one last trial.
And now Charlotte Southill was here to show him what a real witch could do.
I had great fun writing this one, but even a short story is not written is isolation. My thanks to Julian Barr for editorial wisdom, Andrew Bowden for another cracking cover design and the lovely new logo for Woodville Village (points)…
Thanks also to Dominic Currie for the music. Head Librarian Araminta Cranberry for her introduction and afterword, and Claire Burgess for the usual.
Part Three of The Miss Charlotte Quartet will be available on 4th May and will again be FREE to all newsletter subscribers, so if you haven’t already please click on the link below and sign up. You can also get a free recipe for Jam Roly Poly as featured in The Crow Folk and much more besides. It will also be the first place where you will soon be able to read an extract from book two of The Witches of Woodville BABES IN THE WOOD (which is available to pre-order). Thanks again to everyone who’s read The Crow Folk, and especially those delightful people who have left reviews online and such.
Like many science fiction and fantasy authors out there, I found myself sighing in despair at this comment from Liz Thomson in the Bookseller. I am beyond proud to have been published by Gollancz, and I realise that this kind snobbery exists, but you expect better from Liz (who’s always been very chatty and friendly whenever I’ve met her) and the Bookseller, a publication that should celebrate all publishing regarding of genre. Sigh…
And a quick update on my fantasy novel The End of Magic– it’s now 80% funded over at Unbound, so it’s not too late to pledge to join the adventure and get your name in the book along with some other cool extras. Click here for more info.
My co-presenter this week was the wonderful Jenn McMenemy, whose own podcast The Ancient History Fangirl, has just launched its second episode and it’s a blast. Check it out here.
In other news, I hit 60% funded on The End of Magic this week! A huge thanks to everyone who has supported the book so far. As a reward (punishment) here’s me reading from the book with another terrible “comedy” accent…
And I say, “Dude, it’s an exclusive for our Patreon thingy supporters. They get first dibs on all sorts of cool stuff, like the Youtube live shows where they can ask me and Mr. D questions about writing and publishing and stuff, and interact with us via the miracle medium of the Youtubes. We talked about how long your project should be, how to find other writers who will give you feedback, the kinds of deals a debut author can expect from a publishers and tips on building your mailing list, and there’s a whole long debate about swearing. It’s a fuckin’ gas, baby.”
“But can’t I just download the edited highlights a week later on the podcast?”
“Yeah, and that’s a stone groove, but nothing beats actually being there, and you get live pictures on the Youtube and sometimes people get naked.”