Some of you may already know about this, but I hope you don’t mind if I talk a little bit about the free short story I’m giving away.
‘The Lost Boy’ started life as a story written for an anthology of urban faery tales. The anthology was eventually cancelled (although I’d withdrawn my story long before that happened) leaving me with a homeless story. It’s about half-fey Xan from The Iron Witch, and is set several months before that novel – before Donna even meets him – so there are no major spoilers for the trilogy. But the story does of course give some insight into Xan himself, as it’s written from his POV and we’re in his head for the duration.
Writing Xan was an interesting experience. He doesn’t give things up easily, and that includes secrets about himself and his life. Although I wrote the story over a year ago, I did polish it up and change a few bits here and there before I prepared the PDF – including having a beautiful cover made especially for it. Thanks go to Patrick Samphire at 50 Seconds North for that!
You’ll also meet Ivy in the story, a character who does make an appearance in The Wood Queen (Book 2 of the trilogy), and is one of my favourite creations. Am I allowed to say that about my own characters?
If you’d like to read the story completely FREE (it’s about 30 pages/7500 words), all you have to do is sign up for my monthly(ish) newsletter. That’s it! I promise not to spam you with stuff and am aiming to make it a newsletter that really gives you some cool content. Failing that, there will be lots of snippets, freebies and giveaways.
In the hopes of tempting you, here’s a little snippet from ‘The Lost Boy':
Tonight was a themed event; an elaborate Urban Steampunk costumed ball. I’d never seen so much Victoriana and distressed leather in one place, and the smell of it, combined with hot, faery-spiced sweat was almost overwhelming. Most of the dancers looked young and human, but I knew from experience how appearances could prove deceptive.
With my eyes fixed on the shadowed booth that Ivy had pointed out, I didn’t notice the newcomer until she was practically in my path.
“Would you like to dance?” asked a husky female voice, from so close beside me that I could feel hot breath caress my cheek.
“We’re fine, thanks.” I kept my voice steady, wanting to grab for the dagger hidden under my jacket but trying to stay calm.
The willowy brunette was wearing a black rubber bikini, lace-up boots and a top hat. Even under the muted crimson lights I could make out the countless cuts and bruises covering every inch of her slender frame. She stroked my chest through the thin material of my white shirt, giving me a good look at her jagged, black-coated nails.
She pouted. “Are you sure I can’t interest you in some games?”
“Get lost, freak,” I said in a conversational tone.
The woman’s beautiful face contorted, her nose spreading into what looked like a pig’s snout and her lips growing rubbery as they widened to reveal a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
I shook my head. “Not impressed.”
“You should be. Dance or die, halfbreed,” hissed the woman-thing, her voice still strangely audible above the steady beat of the sound system.
Ivy took a step forward, but I shoved her to one side and drew the blade from its sheath.
“You can dance with this.”