New York Comic Con 2015 (with pics!)

Hey everyone. My blogging has been pathetic as of late. I am going to make an effort to get on here more. Promise. And, what better way to usher in this new era of more consistent blogging than with a photo gallery from New York Comic Con, 2015.

I didn’t have a signing there this year, but my publisher was kind enough to send me a badge (two badges, actually, but that is another story…) and I attended as a spectator and lover of all things beautiful and bizarre.

I also attended a fantastic cocktail hour arranged by Amazon Publishing and got the honor of hanging out with authors like Marko Kloos (and his lovely wife Robin) who writes awesome military sci-fi, the incomparable Amy Bartol (who writes enormously popular paranormal romance), J.D. Horn (renowned for his Witching Savannah series and a fellow Westmarch publishee), Jeff Wheeler (amazingly successful fantasy author of Muirwood fame(who once hosted a guest post from me)), Dana Cameron (who writes award-winning crime and sci-fi),  Robert Masello (a veteran writer of novels and scripts with an amazing breadth of knowledge and humor), and Evan Currie (author of dozens of brilliant sci-fi novels).

There were other writers, and I apologize for missing you in this post. But I had a great time with all of you. And I must mention the awesome staff of 47North who put this all together and kept us laughing and without thirst all night: Britt, Jason, Ben, Courtney, Kim and all the others… thank you!

And now, without further delay, the pictures from New York Comic Con 2015 (apologies, in advance, for the crappy quality of my phone’s camera…)(And, yes, that actually was a delay, but there won’t be any further delays). (Except for this one). (And maybe this one). (But that’s it.). (I swear).


Guest Post: Sci-Fi Author Anne Charnock

Anne Charnock is a fellow 47North author and a wildly interesting person! Her debut novel, A Calculated Life, will be released on September 24. The novel is set in the later 21st century amid a dystopian culture of class-separation and corporate power. Please do yourself a favor and pre-order it as I have. It will be a wonderful addition to 47North’s science fiction catalog. And now, here’s Anne:

If you put Roberto’s novel The Scourge alongside my novel A Calculated Life you’d think they had nothing in common. The Scourge is clearly set in medieval days whereas my story is set in the near future. But there’s a surprise connection between our novels. My main character Jayna works for a mega-corporation that predicts social and economic trends (okay, so far we’ve no common ground). But in an early key scene, Jayna has a meeting with her bosses – Olivia and Benjamin – in the company boardroom, and a large poster draws Jayna’s attention:

 “Jayna’s eyes were flicking between Benjamin and the image on the wall behind him, a large poster of Jesse Recumbent; a rare and monumental, oak sculpture from the medieval age, of immense significance according to Olivia. Jesse lent gravitas to the boardroom, Jayna thought, even though he was lying down. She wondered what he’d make of Mayhew McCline and its world of trend forecasting and economic modelling. Jayna changed the subject. ‘Any news about Tom?’” 

Why did I want to include Jesse Recumbent? Well… I’ve always felt that when we look at very old photos of our hometowns, we usually spot something familiar. Often it’s just the surfaces of things that have changed– rough tracks and cobbled lanes have become asphalt roads, shop signage has been modernized. Likewise, I feel that if we time-travelled to the future we wouldn’t feel totally lost — the past would be visible if we looked closely. In other words, the past and present co-exist. And I wanted to emphasise this point not only in the way I described details of Jayna’s city, but also by showing that people still held a fascination with their very distant histories. Hence… Olivia and her amateur interest in Medievalism.

Recumbent Figure of Jesse, Tate Britain, Image and Idol: Medieval Sculpture, 2001

During my art studies, many moons ago, I researched early Italian painting (and that entailed forays to Italy to see the frescoes in Florence, Siena, Padua — such a hardship!) What really upset me was the knowledge that our own art heritage in England and Wales had been systematically destroyed. This happened between 1540 and 1650 in repeated anti-Catholic assaults on religious artefacts. Only a few paintings and sculptures escaped – Jesse Recumbent being one of the very finest survivors!

In fact, Richard Deacon, who curated an exhibition of medieval art at Tate Britain in 2001, described Recumbent Figure of Jesse (its full title) as “sensational”. This massive oak sculpture normally resides at St Mary’s Priory in Abergavenny in North Wales. (Roberto’s note: There’s another link. Edward, in The Scourge, sees signs of the Virgin Mary everywhere he goes.)  At one time, the sculpture had a bough ‘growing’ from Jesse’s chest with small sculptures of his ancestors. And of course Jesse would have been brightly painted. There are still traces of paint — gold on the angel’s hair, and green on the bough.

The period of greatest destruction fell in Henry VIII’s reign and according to Phillip Lindley in the Tate Britain catalogue, Image and Idol: Medieval Sculpture:

 “By the time of Henry VIII’s death in 1547, the monasteries had been dissolved, the shrines and saints smashed and pilgrimage statues destroyed. Within a few years, almost the entire population of medieval religious sculpture was to be devastated by the evangelical politicians who formed Edward VI’s council. Evidence of a powerful, pent-up desire for change came in outbreaks of unofficial iconoclasm.”

I get a lump in my throat whenever I think of these lost treasures so I guess it’s not too surprising that Jesse Recumbent found its way into my writing.


Anne’s debut novel, A Calculated Life, is a near-future dystopia. It will be published by 47North on 24 September and is available now for pre-order.


Anne Charnock’s writing career began in journalism; her articles appeared in The Guardian, New Scientist, and International Herald Tribune. She was educated at the University of East Anglia, where she studied environmental sciences, and at The Manchester School of Art. She travelled widely as a foreign correspondent and spent a year trekking through Egypt, Sudan, and Kenya.

In her fine art practice she tried to answer the questions, What is it to be human? What is it to be a machine? And ultimately she decided to write fiction as another route to finding answers.

Visit her blog at http://www.annecharnock.com to read her many reports on other writers and their novels.


The Scourge, Book II, Coming in June!

Here we go…

I’ve just signed a contract with 47North, the best publishers in the world, for book II of The Scourge.

*Crushes beer can and pumps fist in a manly display of excitement*

The novel will be called The Scourge: Nostrum and it will start life as a serial, just like the original. The first episodes should be available for Kindles, iPads, computers, phones, and large rocks with good reception, in early June. And the print version will be available after the serial runs its course, in August.

The novel begins two days after The Scourge ended and, to avoid spoilers, I can’t really reveal much more than that. The novel will still be told from Edward’s point of view, and there may be a love interest for Tristan. What kind of woman could possibly hold her own against Tristan? Read the book, silly! I’ll tell you!

I’m really excited to write about Edward and his knights again, and to hear back from my reader friends on the Amazon discussion boards (and this blog). Thanks for making The Scourge so successful. I hope Nostrum proves to be equally entertaining for all of you.

Oh, and a quick question, what do you think of the title? Let me know! Thanks.



Serial – Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Hey everyone. I did a guest post on Lindsay Buroker’s blog and I received lots of questions about it, so I figured I would talk a little bit more about writing for Kindle Serials, here at my home blog.

First of all, I’d like to define exactly what is involved in serials, so we are all on the same page (screen, for you Kindlers).

I wrote a Kindle-Serial novel for 47North, called The Scourge. A Kindle Serial is a new type of novel that begins life as a series of episodes that are automatically (and periodically) downloaded onto Kindles (or other devices that have the Kindle app installed). A reader pays $1.99 for the novel, and one episode downloads to his or her device every two weeks until the novel is finished. The reader never has to pay for any other episodes. $1.99 covers the entire novel. You just get it a little bit at a time.

But you get the story as it’s written, so if you buy it now, you will get all episodes that have been released thus far, (we’re on episode 5 at the moment), and then you will get episode six on Tuesday, and episode 7 in two weeks, and episode 8 (the final episode) two weeks after that. Confused yet?

Here’s a good example: Let’s say you love The Walking Dead television series (guilty). So you decide you are going to buy the whole season 1. But let’s pretend season 1 is still airing. They are still showing episodes every week and the season isn’t finished. If it were a Kindle Serial, you would get every episode that has already aired, then you would start receiving each new episode at the same time as everyone else. Until the season is over. But you never have to pay for any other episode in Season 1 again. Make sense?

Once all the serial episodes are delivered (the novel is finished) it is no longer a Kindle Serial. 47North turns it into a standard property, which means The Scourge gets an ebook version, a print version, and an audiobook version, and the price goes up. So, in our analogy above, the entire season 1 of The Walking Dead  is over (all episodes have been aired), so it gets turned into a box set and you can watch it as often as you like. But unlike a box set of a tv show, if you paid for the serial as it was being written, you end up with all the episodes as an ebook and you don’t have to pay for the “box set”. Lucky you. Unless you want a print version or audiobook version of the “box set” in which case you would end this metaphor immediately.

So, that’s how the Kindle Serials work. Now, to answer a few other questions I’ve gotten concerning serials:

1. Yes, I have a standard publishing contract with 47North. They created the cover for me, provide copy editing, proofreading and some editorial direction. I received an advance for the book and will get royalties when the advance earns out. (Which it pretty much has already. Yay me.)

2. Yes, The price of the book as a Kindle Serial is fairly low. But the exposure I receive from Amazon is priceless. I am selling far more books with this title than I ever have with my independent title, and I get far more exposure. And, when it becomes a standard property of 47North, the price goes up. Win.

3. Yes, writing this way is difficult. There are many, many challenges, but there are also many, many rewards. I will post on those pros and cons in a couple of days.

4. Yes, working with 47North and Amazon Publishing is a joy. They allow me input into a lot of areas that other publishers never would. What sort of areas? Well, massive input into the what the cover will look like. Input into the marketing blurbs (including bio, synopsis, back cover blurb, and to whom it should be marketed). Their royalties are better than standard publisher royalties, and they pay on a quarterly basis (with ‘standard’ publishers you are lucky if you get paid every six months). And they know how to get things done quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality.

5. Yes, you receive email notification from Amazon when a new episode is available. And no, you don’t have a ton of little episodes cluttering up your Kindle. It is always just one book, it just grows bigger with each episode. Your place is still marked in the book, but you just have more to read. And your percentage read goes down.

Got questions on Kindle Serials or writing serials? Please let me know in the comments. This is a fascinating way to write and I enjoy talking about it.

That’s it for now. I’ll have an Episode 6 post a little later this week (Episode 6 comes out on Tuesday, by the way), then will post more about serials after that. Thanks for reading!




Release Date = Tomorrow!

The Scourge release date is *tomorrow*! Want to thank my lovely fiancee Annabelle Page, who worked tirelessly with me on this novel, and the Fairfield Scribes, the group responsible for The Scourge.

Hmm. That came out wrong.

Anyway, please help spread the word about the novel. Here’s a taste of the first page, for those of you on the fence:

At first, the priests and bishops called it a scourge from God. They preached that only the impure needed to fear it. That the holy hand of the Father was purging the wicked from the earth. But the holy hand of the father started purging priests and bishops too. They call it a plague now.

I have never seen plague bring a man back from the dead. I have never heard of a plague that keeps a man alive after he has been cut in half. Nor do I know of any sickness, in England or upon the continent, that gives its victims a taste for living flesh. But I am a simple knight. If the Archbishop of Canterbury tells me it is a plague, then I shall do all I can to ease the suffering of those afflicted.

Four women with this plague lurch toward us. There is no white to their eyes, only black. Blood stains their clothing. The closest, a lady dressed in the finery of a gentlewoman, snarls like a starving wolf. I recognize her. She is wife to John Broke, steward to John of Gaunt.  I have no love for John Broke but no one deserves the fate that she has suffered. Blood covers her mouth, neck, and chest. The three women look like demons risen from hell, but I know they cannot be because Archbishop Hartley says it is a plague. I draw thirty-six inches of medicine from the sheath at my side. The two knights beside me do the same. We line up shoulder to shoulder, shields high.

Be healed, sisters. Be healed.

Sound interesting? Pick up a copy! It’s only $1.99 at Amazon, and even though the release date is tomorrow you can pre-order it right now and it will magically beam to your Kindle tomorrow. Don’t have a kindle, download it to your computer or Android device with the Kindle app.


If you like it, please let others know. Thanks!



Cover Story

Just got the okay from my editor at 47North to release the cover for my new Kindle Serial novel, The Scourge. I have to say, I *love* it. Great use of color and detail. Have a look below and let me know your thoughts please.

Cover for my newest novel, The Scourge

There’s etched armor and blood. What more do you need?

The first episode of the novel will be released on November 13. Just a reminder, with Kindle Serials you pay one price ($1.99) and you get each episode delivered to you for *no extra charge*. Please have a look at the Amazon page for more information, and pre-orders are welcome!


Thanks! And please let me know your thoughts on the cover.



The Big News: 47North

I have been sitting on a piece of “Big News” for a while now. It’s exciting and awesome and I have been going crazy having to sit quietly in my corner until I could announce it.

But the time has come.


I have just signed a publishing contract with 47North for my newest novel, The Scourge.



I have signed a contract with 47North publishing for my latest novel, The Scourge. Let there be cakes and cheeses and dried meats.

Yes. I am chuffed. I am beside myself. And beside everyone else.

*Attempts backflip*

The novel is called “The Scourge,” and it is a historical fiction with a paranormal/horror twist. 47North, a division of Amazon Publishing, will start “The Scourge” in the brand new “Kindle Serials” program. In this program, readers pay one price and then get the novel delivered to their kindle in  ”episodes” every two weeks. One low price, one entire novel delivered to your kindle in eight or ten episodes. I’ll be talking more about the “Kindle Serials” program in later blogs.

But this is more than an e-book contract.

The first episode of the novel will be released on November 13. Once the serial run is complete, the novel will become a standard 47North title, to be re-released in e-book, print and audio versions. I can’t tell you how excited I am about working with 47North and Amazon Publishing. They have been an absolute joy to deal with and have asked for my input on everything from episode length to cover style. A class act all the way.

But enough about them. This post is about The Scourge.

The novel takes place in a 14th century England ravaged by a ghastly new plague that drives its victims mad. Victims of this plague roam the country, attacking and devouring all living creatures they come into contact with.

The story revolves around a knight, Sir Edward Dallingridge of Sussex, who has been separated from his wife, Lady Elizabeth. Sir Edward and two of his knights set off from Bodiam, in the south of England, to St. Edmund’s Bury, in the central east, to find the Lady Elizabeth.

The three knights ride through the swiftly changing landscape of England, encountering madness, violence and sorrow. And through it all, the gnawing fear of losing his wife keeps Sir Edward riding deeper and deeper into the thickening darkness of unholy terror.

Sound good? Then please keep your eyes open for it on November 13. You will be able to buy it at this link:


It will be one of only a few Kindle Serials so far, and hopefully it will get some attention.

Yay, me!