Shun House – Free for Five Days!

Beginning 3rd July, Shun House is available for FREE on Amazon Kindle!

Shun House on Kindle

E-book and Paperback available from the usual channels.

Shun House is a romance, but it’s far from conventional.

Marquis Raphael, the last survivor of the family Vaskapu – descendants of legendary and unholy unions between human captives and dragons.

Raphael spends his days dreaming of the future. He yearns to find a bride, someone who can perpetuate his name, preserve his bloodline through generations to come. But human women are poor hosts, only rarely able to conceive, and he despairs of ever succeeding in his goal.

Then, when all hope seems lost, Raphael learns of another, a young Contessa from Iberia, a descendant like himself from the most ancient of days. He sends for her and they duly wed.

Accompanying Contessa Adelina is Constanza Cantabria, her chaperone and surrogate mother. She falls in love with Joseph Harrow, the Marquis’s most senior and trusted servant. But if the Vaskapu are monsters, so is Harrow with his own cruel lusts. He is a slave to them, and suffers extreme anguish born of his guilt and fear of what might wait for him in the afterlife; yet he is not strong enough to resist the lure of his perversion.

To his own astonishment, Harrow finds himself falling in love as well, discovering a semblance of peace and forgiveness in Constanza’s affections. Could she offer him an escape from his dread nightmares?

Try Shun House for free, and leave your feedback on Amazon.

Happy Reading,

Nigel Edwards.

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BREXIT – HOW DID IT COME TO THIS?

I am a pretty apolitical person, but today I make an exception.  Here’s my open letter to the leaders of the UK, the EU, and the rest of the world…

BREXIT

To the vast majority of politicians all around the world, but at this time most especially to the leaders of the UK and Europe, I say this:

YOU DIDN’T LISTEN

Here is what you did.  Left, right, centre, whatever.

You ignored us.

For years you have chosen to ignore the voices of dissatisfaction that have been clamouring for your attention for so long.  For years you assumed that you could disregard the people for whom you had a duty of care and pursued agendas more favourable to your personal dreams and aspirations.  Why?  I’ll tell you:

  • Because you are adept at shouting down every argument, i.e.: you could ignore us.
  • Because you are adept at skilfully answering questions of your own choosing rather than those asked, i.e.: you could ignore us.
  • Because you are adept at cleverly turning conversations to topics you feel more comfortable discussing, i.e.: you could ignore us.
  • But mostly because you believe you knew more and better than anyone else; and so you could ignore us.

Don’t get me wrong: I am sure that a large majority of you entered politics with every intention of changing the world for the better.  But to iterate: I am absolutely convinced that a large majority of you believe that you know best.

Why do I say that?  I’ll tell you:

  • Because you believe your ability to understand complexity exceeds that of the rest of us.
  • Because you bicker between yourselves and apparently don’t care how it sounds to others.
  • Because you are addicted to half-truths.
  • Because you prefer to call each other names, rather than talk sensibly.
  • Because you are convinced that you, disregarding all others, are right.
  • Because you make promises, fail to meet them, and then don’t respect us enough to say sorry.
  • Because, when confronted, you revert to bad-mouthing your opponent’s policy rather than answering the question about your own policy.
  • Because you hardly ever say, truthfully, “I don’t know”.
  • Because you so rarely admit to your mistakes, and even more rarely apologise for the hurt you cause.
  • But mostly, because you have no respect for us.

Do you actually know the reason why the vote favoured Brexit?  Do you care to know?  I’ll tell you anyway.

It was never really about straight bananas, excess bureaucracy, immigration or austerity.  Those were factors, certainly, but they weren’t the real reason.  The real reason is because: you never asked us.

It’s because way, way back in 1975 the people of the United Kingdom voted to join a Common Market.  That’s all.  A COMMON MARKET.  Not a United States of Europe.

But since that date there has been an ever-increasing, ever more urgent drive towards greater and greater unity in Europe.  Across the board.  Financial.  Political.  Social.  Legal.  Powerful men (and a few women) sat in their lofty castles and drew up plans to build a brave new world.  They set up mechanisms and rules and laws.  They set up a civil service to enable those mechanisms and rules and laws.  And British governments – all of them – went along for the ride.

But nobody asked us if that was what we wanted.  Until now, not one politician, once in power, ever asked us if that was what we wanted.  You all just assumed that you knew best.

Credit to Prime Minister Cameron for at least giving the people of Britain this opportunity.  But I’m pretty sure he did his sums before he decided to give us this chance, and it’s a personal shame for him that when he added up the numbers he came up with the wrong answer.

There’s an assumption and a question still on my lips, though – how will the rest of Europe will fall?

There’s one last thing to say, and this is also intended for all the leaders of the world, whether in democracies, dictatorships or whatever:

At least we in Britain have had our revolution relatively quietly and peacefully.

And I expect that the decision of (little more than half) the people will be observed without undue prevarication or fuss.

THAT’S BECAUSE WE’RE BRITISH.

 

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Shun House, Kindle Offer

 

It’s taken quite a while, as I’m sure you know, but I’ve now finished and published the full-length sequel to Waif, Shun House.  The original cast of Butler, Young Master and Cook are reprised but they are now more than just shallow titles.  Butler is now Joseph Harrow, most senior servant at Benediction House (Great House).  Cook is Mistress Hartley while Young Master has matured into the Marquis Raphael Álmos Vaskapu, still the last of his line, still seeking to preserve his lineage.

And in this tale, he may have found a salvation.  Condesa Adelina Lupita Serpa Cantabria has crossed the sea to meet with him.  What will she find when she arrives?  Can she play the part that Raphael would have the Fates carve out for her?  Or will she be one more patch of barren ground, one more unfulfilled promise to future’s hope?

Shun House on Kindle

Shun House on Kindle.

In many ways Shun House is very different to Waif, which was an experimental work. Shun House is far more conventional in structure and delivery.  The characters are more developed and the language used to describe them, their surroundings and the events that unfold speaks to us from a time when language was at least as important as the story itself.

The tale takes place some ten years on from Waif but is much colder and darker, and leads us down paths we may find uncomfortable and unpleasant.  I won’t pretend that all my beta readers liked it; some found it difficult to read while others found it disturbing.  Nevertheless, I present it here for you to consider.

Shun House will be available as a free Kindle download from March 30th through April 3rd (2016).  I hope you will be able to take advantage of this, and I hope further that you will offer your comments in a Kindle review, good or ill.

Best Wishes to you All,

Nigel Edwards.

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SHUN HOUSE Available!

FINALLY!

E-book and Paperback available from the usual channels.

E-book and Paperback available from the usual channels.

It seemed to take forever to get here but at last Shun House is published.  Available through CreateSpace immediately, Amazon within the next few days, and other sales channels within the next week or two (probably).

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Great Offer from NewCon Press

Thought I’d spread the word on behalf of my chum Ian Whates:

IanWhates

Just to alert everyone that during this month I’m crashing the price on a whole load of NewCon Press titles, as part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations (including ‘Shoes Ships and Cadavers’ featuring our own group’s work) and Andy’s novel ‘The Outcast and the Little One. Books are discounted by as much as 80%, meaning that some titles are as low as £2.00, and they include many signed limited editions. Prices return to normal at the end of the month.

The offer includes titles by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Stan Nicholls, Steve Rasnic Tem, Gary McMahon, Liz Williams, Chris Beckett, David Mercurio Rivera, Kim Lakin-Smith, Eric Brown, Dave Hutchinson, Nina Allan, Keith Brooke, our own Ian Watson, Andrew Hook, Andy West, me, and anthologies featuring all sorts of people…
http://www.newconpress.co.uk/info/books.asp?offers=yes

I recommend everyone to go take a look!  :)

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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

...And a Happy New Year to One and All!!!

…And a Happy New Year to One and All!!!

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Shun House – Beta Readers Wanted

Shun House

Cover for Shun House, for planned release in spring 2016

 

RIGHT, I’ve just completed my read-through of Shun House, tweaked and adjusted until it seems about right to me, but now I really need some independent comment from insightful readers.  Could that be you?  Here’s the blurb and a synopsis to help you decide.

Blurb 

Benediction House: set high on a promontory, dominating an estate that stretched from the highland border in the north, and south to where a languid river dribbled into the sea. An edifice in Gothic stone; an old, grim building with wings and towers, built with the rewards of a King’s service by a rich and devout nobleman.

Plague swept the land. The nobleman succumbed, his surviving family was displaced, and his demesne fell into disrepair, languishing for years until acquired by a secretive visitor from a distant land who restored the buildings and returned order to the estate. Others of his kin joined him from the Iron Gate region of the Carpathian Mountains. Vaskapu, they called themselves, a name that came to haunt the north lands down the centuries that followed.

Anxious tales found root in the fens and the rugged coast that touched the Vaskapu estates, dark stories whispered on cold nights by a frightened and superstitious population. Benediction House became Shun House, a home to secrets, a place of death, an abode of monsters. And from this domicile the family Vaskapu exercised lordship over the lives of all the little people who cowered in their hovels beneath the brooding gaze of Shun House…

~~~

 

Synopsis

Shun House is a romance of sorts. It is the tale of Marquis Raphael Vaskapu: last of an ancient and warped dynasty, searching for a way to ensure the future of his bloodline; and Joseph Harrow: butler, valet, factotum to the family, and a monster in his own right.

The Vaskapu dynasty is a half-breed race whose blood is said to be mixed with that of dragons from mythic prehistory.  The local populace fears the them, believing they hunt and prey on the people of the region.

The time period is a very loose amalgam of (mainly) 17th and 18th centuries.  Geographically, the setting is a fictionalised north of England. Shun House – bastardised from Benediction House, the property’s original name – is an edifice in stone, a mansion built on top of cliffs overlooking the fishing village of Hook.

Much of the story is told from Harrow’s perspective.  He is a complicated man, intensely loyal to the Vaskapu but plagued by a vengeful conscience – which manifests in the ‘haunt’. Harrow is a fatalist, believing himself destined – owing to his predilection for cruel and perverse gratification – for an eternity of torment.

Marquis Rafael receives a communiqué from an Iberian count introducing Rafael to Contessa Adelina Cantabria.  The marquis sends for her in the hope they might wed, and so secure the family line.  The contessa arrives by ship at the start of the year.  She is 18 years old, beautiful, haughty and petulant.  She is accompanied by her guardian, Señorita Constanza, who has cared for Adelina since birth.  Constanza is tall and aristocratic – although she has no blood relationship with Adelina – and classically beautiful.

In due course the Adelina and Rafael fall in love and marry.  Meantime, Constanza falls equally in love with Harrow.  He, however, is more reticent with his affections, but eventually he falls under her spell –  or is he, in truth, merely using her to escape the torment of his guilt?

Shun House lies within the duchy of Umberland.  The present duke, Percival, is in debt to the Vaskapu, a burden he wants desperately to be rid of.  The duke sends for aid from a clan living on the continent (think Romania) who have a reputation for confronting and defeating ‘monsters’ like the Vaskapu.

The clan, family name Kárpáti, arrive and assail the marquis’s home.  Harrow is charged with the safety of Adelina, and guides her, together with Constanza and others away from Shun House.  They journey to the castle of Duke Umberland where Adelina –  now pregnant – not only receives the attentions of the duke, who proposes marriage to her, but is also brought face-to-fact with the Kárpáti.  Adelina will have none of this, and determines to exact retribution from both the duke and the Kárpáti.  In the end… well, you must read that for yourself.

~~~

Shun House is a strong story that some will not find easy to read.  It deals with death  and cruelty, though I hope I’ve dealt with these topics sensitively.  The key characters are well rounded – but I can’t help wondering with which, if any, the reader will fully empathise.  All the protagonists have feet of clay.

The book is sprinkled with Spanish/Romanian/Hungarian words and phrases but these are languages I do not speak, and so would appreciate any expert views.

~~~

 

SO, Are you interested?  If you are then I will send you an electronic copy (Word or Word PDF) to review.  What I’d appreciate back is your honest, constructive opinion, which I will use to hone the story.  When the book is published (CreateSpace/Amazon) I will give you full credit in the book for your contribution (or you can remain anonymous if you wish), plus a copy of the finished book.

Let me know.

Best Wishes to All,
Nigel.

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Human Legion & Pelquin’s Comet

The latest in the Human Legion series, written (joint effort) by my good chums Tim Taylor and Ian Whates, is out on sale (available in all good South American rivers).  If you haven’t already started reading this series of SF books, you’re missing the boat!  Great space opera adventure in the best of traditions.

 

 

ALSO, don’t miss out on this wonderful SF by Ian Whates (solo effort), super writing by a master of the craft, absolutely recommended.

 

 

And if you have kids aged 11, give or take a couple of years, don’t forget

Good old-fashioned Fantasy-Adventure.  Best wishes to all.  :)

 

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Author United’s letter to the Department of Justice

Unless Penguin/Random House (or equivalent) decide that my work is worthy of their commitment (which I suspect is entirely unlikely unless I am suddenly transported to a parallel dimension where birds swim and fish fly) then I whole-heartedly concur with Tim’s thrust, which is that the indie publishing business would be hammered in the event that the Big 5 one more became dominant!

Tim C. Taylor

There’s been a big fuss in the small world of publishing news recently because a letter has been written by somebody called Douglas Preston, and signed by some very important people who wish to return the publishing industry to the good old days when it was largely controlled by six big corporations (or maybe five now that Penguin and Random House have merged). It’s a big deal for me because this letter represents a direct threat to my livelihood. The text is long and boring and with lots of details that won’t make sense to publishing outsiders (or insiders for that matter). So I’ve taken the liberty of cutting out 99% of the words and rewriting it in metaphor. The essence of this very important letter remains unchanged. Indeed, I think it shines with more clarity in my version than in the original.

 

Dear Department of Justice,

Every year…

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5 Accomplished Authors Who Turned Out To Be Hoaxers

Interesting. I think I agree that it shouldn’t matter who the writer is, as long as their work ‘works’, i.e. appeals to their readership. On the other hand, I’m not sure I like the idea of someone writing stories based on or in the style of the original thinking of others. It might be clever and skilful, but it grates with me. Ian Fleming’s James Bond books are a case in point. Since his death, Faulks, Deaver and Boyd, Kingsley Amis and John Gardner have all increased the coffers of the Fleming estate (as well as their own bank accounts). And I’ve no doubt their efforts were excellent, and certainly people like Amis and Gardner are good enough writers in themselves. I know we all stand on the shoulders of giants but… it just grates with me, is all.

The Reader In the Tower

I present for your perusal this article from Cracked yesterday.

I have to admit, I’m a little conflicted.

On the one hand, ideally, writers should be honest about who they are. On the other, a good book is a good book, whether it’s a true story or not – and the reverse is also true.

Stories (especially ones purported as fiction in the first place) that suddenly go from best book this decade to most horrible trash ever written reveal more about readers’ bias than about their fraudulent authors. The identity of the author shouldn’t change what you think of their actual prose.

I’m reminded of the tragically short life of Thomas Chatterton. It was only after his suicide that those who had shamed him for being a hoaxer recognised that he was an immensely talented writer, who probably shouldn’t have told all those fibs about exactly where his manuscripts…

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