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Stewart Hotston

Writing, Editing, Watching and Reading

A People’s War is out Dec 17!

I’m relieved to say that the team at AR have agreed to still get the second book in the Oligarchy out before Christmas. The aim is for tomorrow…although that now depends on submission processes to retailers such as Amazon. I’ll give an update to you all when it’s actually available.

However, get your fingers ready to order or download because it’s coming soon!

Stewart

Interview with Fiona Mcvie

I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently over at AuthorsInterviews by the lovely Fiona Mcvie. Go over and see the interview.

I’ve had the final proof read back on A People’s War – just need to agree the final changes and then it’s off to get printed and published…a little late but still in time for Christmas I hope!

S

Bookbub and Instafreebie – or how to get more free books

I don’t care what you read or how you read or when you read. I don’t care if you collect 1st edition hardbacks or are exclusively reading papyrus. However, I do care if you read.

For me it’s not about the quality of the material (although some of you know there are certain authors that will cause me to give you a look of pity or resignation but that’s only for discussion in person).

I wanted to talk about a couple of sites that I’ve used both as an author and a reader. They’re called Bookbub and Instafreebie. You probably know about them already, and if you do – apologies – I’m a recent convert/discoverer and they’re changing the way I read books.

I’ll grant you that there’s a decent amount of stuff you probably don’t want to read on each site BUT this is what I like about both sites – their potential for author discovery. By that I mean that the sites take your preferences and try to find authors that you’ll like. They’ll feed you offers for people you know and have read but they’ll also find you authors you haven’t read. It’s this last bit that works for me because I know the authors I like but, as with new music and film, it can be tremendously hard to figure out new authors who I might not have come across before. Combine that with the fact that these platforms typically showcase books at special offer rates (either discounted or completely free) and I find that I’m typically not taking much risk in trying out new authors.

It may not be for you. But hey, if you like reading, like new discovering new authors and can say what your preferences are these sites might be good for your totally under control crack reading habit.

Also, as someone pointed out, there are other sites like this, but these are the ones I’ve settled with – both as author and reader.

 

Monthly round up

It’s been a busy month. I thought it would be useful to round up – even if only for myself.

First up, a long awaited anthology called Aliens: The truth is coming from Tickety Boo Press. It’s got some superb stories in it but I’d like to take a moment to give a shout out to my own in this – it’s one that I hope will take you from left field and stay with you after you’re done.

Second is that I’ve actually sold a novel to the same publishing company. It’s called Dreams of Darkness and is the first in the The Fox’s Hope series. It’s a dark and twisted view of myths. I described it to my editor as Steven Erikson meets Grimm.

towl-ebook-coverThird is that I finally got my assorted stuff together and put a collection of my favourite shorts out. It’s called Tales of Wild Light.

I’ve done a couple of posts about this recently, so not a lot more to say here. Well…except that I can’t stop talking about the cover which was done by a friend of mine, John Haynes.

The original is now framed and on display in my library. stewart-hotston-a-peoples-war-titles

Next up is A People’s War, the sequel to A Family War and the second in The Oligarchy Trilogy. It was due out today but we’re still going through proofing for typos – it’ll be this month and before Christmas but watch this space.

There’s another anthology coming for subscribers to my mail list – sometime in January. It’s called Human Machines and will feature stories set in the world of the Oligarchy in which you’ll learn a little more about some of the most important characters in the trilogy whose backgrounds and motivations are their own and deserve some more attention outside of Helena Woolf’s story.

Just in case

Tales of Wild Light is now available on Amazon. There’s also the ebook – but hey, if you’ve gone here, then you should have it already! If you’ve taken the free version from the offer – good on you. If you fancy having a real version of John’s cover then I’d suggest getting yourself a physical copy of this one. It’s pretty amazing and with a matt finish looks even more imposing.

Also, if you’d like to do me a massive favour – please leave a review of the collection once you’re done with it.

ta

Stewart

Tales of Wild Light

After a feverish day yesterday, this is now available for free for those of you who’ve signed up to the mailing list. It’ll be a few days before it hits amazon so not only are you getting it for free, but you’re getting it ahead of anyone else. I especially like the cover, which is by the amazing John Haynes.

To get a free copy, use this link and go have some fun.

These stories have been collected over a number of years – ones that I love but which were written almost exclusively for my own pleasure. Except for Farm Boy – that was written for a friend who wanted to see Destiny get kicked on the pods. That one’s for Ian Belcher.

I hope you enjoy these!

Cheers for all your support and here’s to many more stories in the future

Stew

Aliens – the truth is coming

I’ve a new story out in a collection from TicketyBoo Press, edited by Andy Angel and Dave de Burgh. It’s called We Three Remain and looks at the idea of…aliens! It’s got a contemporary setting but I don’t want to say anything else as giving any sense of the story will spoilerise it.

Anyway, this is one of those stories whose central idea makes me all warm and snuggly from a writer’s point of view. I hope you enjoy it too.

Aliens!

Are you even a person?

This is going to be raw. I don’t have clever words today because I’m sat here having just stopped crying with a lump in my throat and an answer to why I’ve been feeling so unsettled since the summer. On paper I should be a happy camper – I’ve sold a trilogy (a life long dream) and have (hush now) a new job in a sector I love. I’m married and have great kids.

Except that today I witness a rally by the ‘Alt Right’ in Washington DC where they finished by shouting ‘Heil Victory’ after having extolled the virtues of white supremacy and on the same day when on CNN people weren’t shut down after asking whether Jewish people were even really people.

I sit here without a sense of what to do about a society I see dying before my eyes – one where we sensed we could become more tolerant, more accepting and even perhaps a bit more chilled out about that we disagreed with. Instead I feel like the extremes are taking the centre ground, not by reason, not with hope or grace but with hatred at their hearts and violence on their lips. It’s not about left or right – God we’re so passed that now. It’s about those who want to actively see others harmed or denigrated, who want to steal the dignity of others so they themselves feel better because they can ensure there are others whose lives are harmed.

I don’t understand why the press isn’t calling it fascism, racism and naked hatred. I don’t understand why so many people continue to think it more important to worry about their cats’ latest cuddle (and I’m not attacking you, it’s just that right now I can’t see past this massive change in the way our society works).

It seems to me that until people are rounded up for daring to protest about the government on the internet or until people who aren’t white or men who believe in the ‘god given religion of white supremacy’ are being herded into ghettos that we’ll actually wake up.

I have a faith and right now I have no idea how it might inform what I’m facing (it’s an existential crisis right now and to God I hope it never gets beyond that). There is no political party that appears to give a shit about this, no one defending our institutions when they disagree with the abuse of power, no opposition ensuring we have something more than a 1 party state in the UK. Instead, in our ignorance of how independent institutions should function we rant and

And let me be clear – this isn’t about people who voted for Brexit because some of the worst anti-semites and racists I’ve ever met are on the extreme left. This is about what the campaign for Brexit has made possible, what the hatred of immigrants in what has become the centre ground has made possible. This is about how the centre has become a place where we bully those who disagree, where we do not tolerate difference, need, weakness or  reason on ALL sides.

How did this happen? How did we become a people so far from compassion that we’d rather children starved to death in Calais than be given hope in the fifth largest economy in the world?

Oh, I’m sure there are reasons, I could write an essay on post-colonial collapse, on the impact of the financial crash, of how globalisation has been a boon but has left many people in effective serfdom. I don’t need it explaining to me.

Nor is education the whole answer. This suggestion is to miss the point, to focus on the individual rather than the society whose narrative shapes us all. When the centre ground had moved so far to the extreme that it’s ok to question whether people fleeing war are even human then no amount of education can make a position anywhere else look anything except extreme itself. I want a party or a movement to belong to whose voice will be heard when arseholes shout that Jews should be killed, when they say we should torture our enemies, when they say that women should stay in the kitchen, when they say people with my skin colour are naturally inferior and should live separately. And just to be clear, it’s not simply white people who are racist and intolerant but right now it’s WHITE supremacism that’s on the rise in my country.

I want a movement whose voice will contest the very idea of the centre ground.

Is such a movement political? Of course it’s political! Yet it’s no the Labour party nor is it the Conservatives, both of whom in their own ways (Labour with their hideous tendency to operate from the centre and the Conservatives with their horribly regressive sense that poor people need to be told how to live) feed this very problem.

Yet I don’t know if I have the energy for this fight. Which is what those who hate me hope for I guess. I don’t know if people would fight alongside me, would fund and create content, would stand up in the street or hide those who were being hunted. I don’t know my children would be safe nor whether more people than less give enough fucks to stand up for a society in which we hate fascism.

I’m open to ideas but I’ve thought about this hard and see nothing to which I want to give my commitment to. I can only believe we need something new, some resurgence of hope, of grace that is secure enough in itself to stand up to those who would think nothing of beating it bloody to shut it up. I don’t know if you want to follow me in that, I hope you do.

 

Dreams of Darkness

Here’s the blurb for the first of the series, The Fox’s Hope. I hasten to add that it’s a complete novel though, so don’t worry that you’ll discover a world in which you’ll be left feeling unsatisfied.

Millennia ago, man walked the Dream with creatures now dimly remembered in myths and legends. Then came the Darkness, for which all believe man was responsible. To defeat it, man was banned from the Dream, cast out into the world of dumb matter.

Chris Elkin knows nothing of this – he’s more concerned with failing his degree, being dumped by his girlfriend and losing access to the inheritance left to him by his late mother. When his mother’s best friend gives him a stone with a hole in it everything seems to change. Suddenly he’s being forced from his home and discovering that if he doesn’t deal with his mother’s legacy, both worlds will go to war.

On the edge of the Dream, Maela, a Fae ambassador, finds humanity flouting the ban. She travels home to warn her people but her news is not welcome. Maela is sent to determine if man truly is to blame for the Darkness and if he is, to unite the Fae in a war against all mankind.

Shaal, an ancient fox spirit, is a survivor who mourns the loss of his lover in the last war. He still haunts the shattered lands where they once lived. Stumbling across a deliberately forgotten memory. Shaal wants to return home and use its power to restore his land. Instead he finds the Fae want what he has and will sacrifice thousands to get it.

Chris, Maela and Shaal converge in a climactic battle against those forces who would wipe out mankind to stop the Darkness.  Even if they win, shadowing the edges of their confrontation, the Darkness is plotting its first moves.

Dreams of Darkness is an epic fantasy spread across our world and the world of the Dream, that place where all our myths, all our legends are real. It is the first book of a new Epic Fantasy series, The Fox’s Hope and asks, if all our dreams are true, what would happen if our two worlds collide?

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