Just under two weeks to go until the release of Rough Sleepers! Some lovely folks on Instagram are hosting my book tour, and there will also be a goodies giveaway for folks who have pre-ordered a copy!
Go and follow everyone if you’d like to see the entire tour and if you have pre-ordered (which can do so direct from LT3’s website), you’ll have a chance to win the following:
A signed 1st Edition hard copy of the book
A tasselled bookmark
A set of character art postcards
A limited edition Giclée art print
A signed book-plate
There will also be 2nd and 3rd runner-ups too. Linn from A Novel Take PR is handling my book tour, go and check out her Instagam page.
If you’d like to show your support, you can also buy merch from my Red Bubble page!
Yesterday, the cover for Rough Sleepers was revealed on Instagram! All the lovely people who are taking part in my book tour posted about it and it was so awesome ❤ I’m thrilled that everyone is going to be reading the ARC and posting about it. Really looking forward to October and the book release!
I’ve done a big clean up of my website, added some new things and updated some posts too. I’ve been meaning to do that for awhile! Wish I could figure out how I can add my Red Bubble shop to my site though, the widgets I’ve tried don’t work well so I think I may make a mini slideshow of pics with a linked button or something. Apart from that, I’ve updated all the information on the Work In Progress, Novels and Characters pages with fresh links and some new character art too.
Rough Sleepers will have its cover reveal fairly soon when I start my blog tour. Thankyou to everyone who has offered to join in so far! I’m really excited for everyone to read my next novel but also super nervous about the kind of reviews it’ll get
I will soon be doing a pre-order raffle to win a limited edition print and some other goodies!
In other news, I’m approximately 25,000 words into the third Lunar Shadows novel after several false starts, and things are going swimmingly (I’ve always wanted a reason to use that word lol). I hope that by the time the third book comes out, people will have a better feel for the kind of stuff I write. Sometimes I am concerned that readers who aren’t interested in Horror as a genre might pick up my work and dislike it because they expected Bridget Jones: Fantasy Edition
I may be attending WorldCon next year in Dublin to do some promo stuff there and potentially I may attend some panels but I’m not sure what’s going on with that just yet. I’m also contemplating paying a visit to the next Bristol Horror Con.
I’ve also got a definite planned off-shoot novel from Lunar Shadows, and potentially a second off-shoot as well, along with a couple of other separate projects going at the moment. More on that later.
The first time I saw Dolphie was on a facebook group for pet sales in South Wales. We were actively searching for a second dog to join our family as we’d only recently moved to Wales and were renting a large house with an even larger garden so we had plenty of space to expand our family. Our other dog, Eva, would benefit from a buddy and play-mate, and I had already been dreaming of having a second dog long before we actually made the move. When I saw his picture in my newsfeed, I knew instantly that he was going to be ours.
He was living with a young family and they were about to have another baby so there simply wasn’t room for him in their home anymore. We agreed to meet up in Newport so we could meet him and introduce him to Eva, and I was so excited. When we saw him in person, he was shy and quite reserved around us, showed little interest in Eva and stayed close to his the owner’s legs. The man told us that he had broken into Dolphie’s previous owner’s home and taken him from them as they had been abusing him; I wasn’t really that surprised and I can’t say it really bothered me, either. Where I grew up, people did things like that all the time. Besides, he did it for a good cause. Dolphie had been in a poor state when they took him, his fur all matted and his body malnourished. They had only had him for a year and the man doted on him. He was clearly upset that they were having to sell him on and they asked us a lot of questions about our arrangements and about Eva, which we were quite frank about.
Despite Dolphie’s shyness, I knew from looking into his eyes that he was gentle and sweet.
We decided there and then that we wanted to take him home with us. We had to go to a cash-point because we hadn’t even had the fore-thought to take money out as we hadn’t expected that we would buy him. The woman had to lead her boyfriend away because he was so heartbroken about leaving his dog with us, which was very hard to watch, but I had made the vow that we would never rehome Dolphie and that we would always be there for him.
On the train home, Dolphie sat with my wife while I took care of Eva, and I believe at that moment in time, he became inseparable from her as she calmed him and spoke to him. I think he knew right away that she would be his mama and would protect him. He was very relaxed and quiet and trusted us from the very beginning.
Because of his difficult past, we began to discover that he had some strange behaviours. The first we noticed was that he was terrified of the sound a steel bowl makes when its pushed along the ground, so dinner time was hard work to begin with as he struggled to eat his food. I was determined to relieve him of this unnecessary fear and encouraged him and taught him that his food bowl was a source of good things. It took nearly a year of encouragement before he would run to his bowl excitedly at dinner time.
Another thing we noticed was that he loved to come from behind and wriggle his way between our legs when we were standing up (which resulted in many hilarious times where he almost knocked mum over as she has such short legs!). Sometimes he would do it when I was stood at the sink washing the cutlery and it would send me flying backwards. He was incredibly strong!
We didn’t know when he was born, and we only had the vague idea that he was around 4 years old at the time, but even that was a guess. We didn’t really know anything about him besides what we had been told, but it didn’t matter. He loved children and whenever he saw a pram, he’d want to run over to it. One time I allowed him to do so and he rushed over with his tail wagging to give the child a lick on the face. I never once saw him growl or show any aggression to a human being; if he didn’t want to interact with someone, he would simply turn away and behave as though they didn’t exist.
The hardest thing we had to deal with was how he reacted to fast movements when he first came to live with us. For months, he would cower and shrink away in terror when I lifted my hand to pet him as though he believed I was going to strike him. It broke my heart to see such a beautiful, kind-hearted animal cower like that. It took a long time for him to figure out that our hands were a source of love and attention, not weapons to hurt him with. Likewise, it took him a little while to figure out that Eva was the big sister and before long, he would follow her around and go to her for guidance, especially at the park when we went for a game of fetch. She protected him from other dogs and treated him like her little brother despite her bossiness, and she never let him catch the ball but he would still run after it all the same!
On the field, they would always run around side by side together as though in formation and he would stand by while the madam sniffed before going to sniff it himself, like a true gentleman.
He loved to eat carrots and cucumbers for a treat. When I went to cook in the kitchen, he would sit behind me and keep me company (Eva always ran straight out into the garden), and there he would wait for me to drop him carrot tops and vegetable off-cuts for him to nibble on. One time, we had gone shopping and put the bags full of food on the kitchen floor so we could start putting it away in the cupboards when we heard a crunching sound in the living room. We went in to find that Dolphie had sneakily swiped the bag of carrots and was munching on them! He rarely got up to mischief and it was very unusual for him to misbehave, so when he did, it was usually met with laughter.
He also loved tyre and rope swings. There was a tyre swing at the park that someone had tied to a tree with some rope, and he would spend ages jumping upon it and tugging it around. Sometimes me and Eva would walk away to go and play fetch and he would be so absorbed in his game that he wouldn’t notice we had gone so I would have to call him to come away from it, but even then he would so with reluctance. I had planned to put a tyre swing in our garden for him to play with, but sadly I never got the chance.
Dolphie was an excellent swimmer, so whenever we went to the beach and my wife went into the water for a swim, he always tried to accompany her, even when the waves were rough. I remember once that we almost got trapped by the tide on Swansea beach, as we had crossed over to a sandbar and the tide began to come in so fast that it separated us from the beach. We had to wade across, and the water was up to our waists. Dolphie swam across like it was nothing but Eva can’t swim so I had to carry her across while my wife waded in front, and Dolphie kept swimming back and forth as though to check up on us and make sure we were alright. As I said, he was very strong and incredibly muscular underneath that thick fur coat and he had enormous feet. His paws were as big as the palm of my hand with webbed toes. As he wasn’t pure German Shepherd, we think he was half Golden Retriever, mainly due to the colour of his eyes and coat but also because these other attributes.
He was always the play instigator. Eva is a bit of a grumpy old lady, but he brought out her inner puppy. They would run and chase and leap on each other and bark and yap like a pair of pups. Now he’s gone, it’s as if that inner puppy inside Eva has disappeared.
I’m not going to talk about Dolphie’s illness or what happened after his diagnosis. By then, he had lost so much weight and was in so much pain that he was a shadow of the dog we knew and loved. I want to remember him in the way I knew him for the short time we were together, the dog with such a sensitive intuition that he would come to me when I was upset to comfort me. The dog who formed such a close relationship with my wife that his loss has caused such a deep and fathomless grief in her that even smiling is painful.
We will always miss our playful prankster, our furry baby and our best friend. There is a gaping hole left behind in the space that he once occupied and I don’t know how we will ever fill it.
We don’t get a lot of time on this earth, and for dogs, that time is even shorter. They give us so much and expect so little in return. They trust us with their lives and protect us from harm, give us company and friendship and joy whilst living every day without worries or cares. Dogs carry us humans as their burden without ever complaining. We don’t deserve their love, but they give it anyway. Even the most evil of people have dogs who love them regardless, because in their eyes, we are magical gods with the power to control every aspect of their existence.
I know that we did the best we could for Dolphie and we never let him down. He experienced so many let downs in this past. The first time I ever bathed him, he spent the whole night crying because the last time he had been bathed, his owners had sold him on. He was convinced that he was going to be passed onto another home and that he would lose his new family. I knew that even if we lost our jobs, our house, our home, we would never let him down and we stuck with him right to the end, right until that last moment when we said goodbye, we held him, we were there for him. I love him and miss him so much and I don’t think I’ll ever find another dog like him.
In loving memory of Dolphie Best friend, best dog, best boy
If everything goes forward like I think (hope) it will, the release date for my next book will be the end of October 2018!
I’d better get on writing the third one now XD I didn’t expect things to move forward so quickly. I will be doing some promo things in the next couple of months to coincide with the release. If you would like to keep updated on that front, do follow me on Instagram where I will be posting news.
I finally completed and submitted The Things We Hide At Home to a publisher. I’m not gonna say who I submitted to, just in case they reject me! :’) It’s the first non-fantasy novel I’ve ever written and I’m really proud of how it turned out. Linn and April helped me so much to turn my project into a well-rounded and fully fleshed out story. It was originally supposed to be a cute little novella but it rapidly evolved into something much bigger and here I am now. The final word count was just under 85k, more than double my intended word count. I feel I’ve learned a lot about my own writing process and I feel a lot more experienced now. In the beginning, when I first finished Witcheskin, I didn’t know what I was doing or what to do, but that’s changed now and I’m more confident in my own creative skills. For awhile, the idea of writing another novel after Rough Sleepers seemed like a mammoth task that I’d never achieve. I think I was scared that Witcheskin was a fluke and no one would ever accept my work to follow.
I think I’ve reached a turning point in my writing ‘career’ (that’s if you can call it a career lol. I haven’t exactly given up on my day job yet) and the future is looking bright, or at least it does from where I’m standing. I know now that distancing myself from review sites and avoiding reviews is the best advice anyone can give an author, because a single bad word can totally destroy me. I actually came to a point where I contemplated never writing again. But I’m not gonna give up. I think the world needs more trans authors and more trans fiction and I’m not gonna let someone’s opinion take away what I enjoy doing.
I’m now trying to focus on the third Lunar Shadows book because I need to get that completed this year, even if it kills me. It’s evolved a lot and I think I’m at the final stage of deciding what the plot will be. I hope that this final plot is the best it can be and will be a joy to write. Aside from that, I’ve got another project brewing in my head, so we’ll see where that goes later.
I was having some difficulty with Book 3 of Lunar Shadows being a bit of a stop-starter. I have up on it multiple times and at one point I even contemplated not writing it at all! I’ve come back around to it again though. The main character is still a bit of a mirage to me. They keep floating in between being non binary and being female. For the time being I’m going to assume they’re a they and not a she, although I have a feeling this character is going to end up being female. I asked LT3 whether that would be acceptable and was so excited when they replied to say that it was totally acceptable in their submission guidelines as they also publish poly couples 😀
I want this book to be 10x better than Rough Sleepers, which imo is 10x better than Witcheskin (do all authors feel this way about their previous work?) so I’m working really hard to make this as good as it can be. Stay tuned 😉
I was so caught up in the excitement of Rough Sleepers being accepted for publication that I completely forgot to mention this, so check it out!
Also, Ekho is running their own diverse book club where they’re curating a selection of own voice books written by LGBTQIA+ and POC authors and everyone is welcome to join in. You can find out more by checking out their BLOG and taking a gander at the current monthly book. My debut novel has been chosen for May’s read!