A new zine on the block

RoM/Mantic Reads is a new zine edited by my friend Fiona Glass. I was involved years ago when she ran Forbidden Fruit, a similar venture, and I know she expects high standards so if any of you enjoy m/m flash fiction (usually less than 1000 words) and articles I can recommend this! It’s on WordPress so you can ‘follow’ it and get notifications about updates. These will be irregular but reasonably frequent. I’m hoping to contribute myself. Here’s the link, and the first story is published!

https://rommanticreads.wordpress.com/

An upcoming sale, and February’s television

header pic courtesy of Smashwords

The annual Smashwords Read-an-e-book week starts on Saturday 6th. This time I’ve put the first volume in each of my series into the sale. That means that for a week, Growing Up Fae and The Scroll are free on Smashwords.

Growing up Fae is the first in a four volume fae saga that has plenty of mm, mf and ff romance and lots of adventure.

The Scroll is the first in a six volume fantasy series that follows a trainee detective in an elf kingdom. She has two sidekicks, her gay brother who provides the romance sub plot, and a young dragon.

Please note that all volumes in both series are full length novels. I suspect the low pricing I’ve gone for so far might have made people think they were either novellas or YA so I’ll be looking to put the prices up soon. If you’ve thought about trying them, now’s the moment! There’s more information about both series under the books and buy links tab.

I’m currently working on a new fae saga in a completely different ‘verse.

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching TV quite a lot on February’s long dark evenings.

I’d recommend most of these – they should all still be available.

Death in Paradise *****(bbc iPlayer) I’m not that keen on cosy mystery books but I adore this series with its exotic location and the way it lets little known actors shine.

The Romantics and us with Simon Schama****(bbc iPlayer) Some newish information about some artists though plenty of stuff I already knew. Well presented of course. Note that Desperate Romantics***** is also currently on iPlayer and I loved that series. I had the DVD but am not sure whether it survived Portugal.

Trigger Point**** (itv hub). Some silly plot devices but Vicky McClure is awesome as always and there were times when the suspense was so great I had to cover my eyes.

Mary Beard’s Forbidden Art****(bbc iPlayer) I don’t think she always understands what causes people to dislike a piece of art or be offended by it. She speculates from her own reactions. For example I can’t cope with looking at illustrations of violence because they make me feel the subjects’ pain, not because I think they’re inappropriate subjects for art. There’s enough violence in the news without looking at it as art.

The Green Planet – David Attenborough**** (bbc iPlayer) I tend to fall asleep to the eye candy. I thought the last programme on plants in cities was the most interesting. It kept me awake, anyway.

The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution**** (bbc iPlayer). Some lovely insights into the lives (and locations) of the impressionists. I’ve visited Giverny but was hazy about some of the others.

This one wasn’t really worth the four hours I spent on it.

No Return***(itv hub). A lot of questionable plot points in this story of a family holiday gone horribly wrong (teenager arrested for rape of another boy) and the acting didn’t lift it out of the ordinary.

I’m still watching:

Dogs Behaving Very Badly Ch5

The Responder BBC

This is going to hurt.BBC

The Great Pottery Throwdown Ch4

and we’re thinking about The Promise BBC

Once upon a riverbank: a free story for Valentine’s Day on Monday.

This short mm romance is set in my fae ‘verse. It is very loosely linked to Living Fae in the sense that Harlequin, the main narrator of that series, visited Australia and met one of the characters briefly in one of the volumes. But these are Australian fae, living near the Murray river, north east of Adelaide in South Australia and they are not normally in touch with their British counterparts. I have visited some of the locations I describe, and my account of the wildfires owes much to my own knowledge of the Portuguese fires as well as to my Australian friends’ experiences. So I placed my paranormal romance in a very real.setting. Murray wants to ask Morgan to marry him but the right time for a proposal never seems to arise then events overtake them. Despite the worries about the fires I can assure readers there is a HEA ending to this tale.

I am extremely grateful to my editor, MA Naess. She lives in South Australia and kept an eagle eye on all aspects of the story. I got very confused over the correct usage for Big Bend, partly because I’d just been reading Blake Allwood’s romance series set in the US location known as Big Bend. I made the cover pic/post header based on a photograph by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash.

You’ll find the story under the Free Stuff tab. It’s currently the last in the list. (They are not in publishing order but divided by type and as I said, this falls in my fae ‘verse.) Enjoy!.

The Virgin and the Unicorn

The Virgin and the Unicorn is finally ‘live’!

At last! After some technical problems involving tearing my hair out (after going grey) and relying on wonderful friends, my novel The Virgin and the Unicorn is finally available on Smashwords and Amazon.

Kian, son of a lord of the manor, finds himself with an arranged marriage to a foreign prince. The prince’s sister needs a unicorn horn for her dowry and Kian wonders if his only qualification is his virginity. (Same sex relationships are illegal in his home country.) The marriage brings problems faced by most newly wed couples alongside culture clash and the royal duties that take Alair from Kian’s side. It also brings court rivalries. Eventually, the unicorns of the title appear but are not quite as expected and Kian has no intention of parting one from its magnificent horn. So can the marriage survive, and will the princess ever get her dowry?

The buy links are as follows:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1101529

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FB1JC63

Serious thanks and lots of love to all my FB friends especially Tal Valante, Jackie Keswick and Gynn Silva (and Gynn’s cousin).

Oh, and it appears I need to subscribe to or buy a new version of Word. I think I’ll subscribe then I’ll never have this kind of chaos again. My current copy is 2013 and was state of the art when I bought it – so I suppose in this age of built-in obsolescence it has served me well till the last couple of weeks.

A new book is imminent!

I’m about to publish my latest novel: The Virgin and the Unicorn should be available towards the end of next week. It’s a story of arranged marriage and is a standalone but I’ve left room for a sequel featuring some of the minor characters in more prominent roles.

I’ve finished all the final proofreading, the formatting and the cover. I’ve been working on the blurb which I find harder than the initial novel writing. I’m also working on marketing, which is why I’m actually giving advance information this time!

I never realised, when I started out, just how much time is taken on all the peripheral aspects of publication; time that detracts from writing and that, to be honest, I don’t enjoy. I especially don’t enjoy marketing. It requires a totally different skill set from writing, and I just don’t have it! Besides, tagging and marketing are particularly hard, because although the novel does contain one major sex scene, it’s by no means erotica.

Here’s the blurb (which might have some changed details between now and the time when it appears on Amazon or Smashwords).

“I knew you needed a unicorn and I knew I was a virgin and…”

A same-sex marriage is arranged in a Regency-style alternate universe . Can a hard working prince find wedded bliss despite his duties? Does his sister really need a unicorn horn as her dowry and if so how can she get one? Will a young foreigner ever settle in his new country and accept his own family’s attitudes? Find out how Alair and Kian cope in this tale of discovery and romance. There’s only one explicit sex scene (the wedding night) but the discussions of sex and emotion are probably only suitable for adult readers. A full length novel that explores culture clash, social expectations, the problems that beset any young couple and a new slant on some mythical creatures which turn out to be very real.

And the cover, which won’t change other than to have slightly different sizing for the different sites, is the header picture for this post.

Free books in the Smashwords Sale!

The Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale runs from 1st to 31st July. I’ve made the first books in each of my two series free, and there’s a free short story. The rest of my books are at a huge discount of 50%.

So if you ever wondered about my books but were unsure about splashing out, now’s the time to try them! What have you got to lose? And if you like what you read, there’s a whole month to get the rest cheaply.

My fae series, Living Fae, is a kind of fae soap opera or family saga with various mm relationships and a few mf ones. The first book, Growing Up Fae, is told in diary form and follows Harlequin (who narrates the other three books) as he becomes an adult, moves to Alderley Edge in Cheshire (UK) and partners with Yarrow, leader of the local unicorn troop.

My fantasy detective series, The Skilled Investigators, has an elf detective heroine with, as sidekicks, her gay brother (the romance interest in the books) and a young dragon who is growing up among elves. The first book, The Scroll, sees Genef travel to the capital to start her training, with her brother, Fel, who is missing his lover from whom he was forcibly parted.

So: fantasy, urban and otherwise, with mythical creatures and lots of romance. The books are not often sexually explicit (though fairies do it flying) but there is plenty of emotional angst and UST and guaranteed eventual happy endings.

You can find details of all my books on my website, jaymountney.com but take care to follow the Smashwords links during July! You don’t need coupons – the site automatically discounts the books at checkout. And while you’re there, look for some of your other favourite authors!

Smashwords Read an E book week sale

My Living Fae series (urban fantasy/mm romance/family saga, four volumes) and my Skilled Investigators series (fantasy/crime with an mm subplot, six volumes) are half price on Smashwords this week (7-13 March). That’s $1.49 each for full length novels. The same 50% reduction applies to my twisted legend novellas (Lord of Shalott, and Silkskin and the Forest Dwellers) and collections of sci fi and fantasy short stories (Beating Hearts and Three Legends) which are on sale at $0.99 each. No need for coupons – these will be automatically provided at checkout.

You can read an interview with me (with pre-covid short hair) and see all my books here:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jaymountney

You can also find buylinks for individual books on my buylinks page (see the tabs above the banner).

A Free Story for you at Solstice

A free Solstice story for you and some other gifts and price reductions.   My new free novella Across Two Seas is set in the world of my Living Fae Series.  

A quick summary: Eichhorn, from Germany, visiting Alderley Edge in Cheshire (UK), meets Velvet, who has come from Tara (Eire) to lead the Solstice Wild Hunt. Their instant attraction leads to an equally wild affair but will the relationship survive being separated by two seas?  

It takes place after the events in the books and concerns the romance (mm) between two minor characters. I hope it’s accessible to people who haven’t read the series and will give you a glimpse of the world of my fae.   I might get round to formatting it for Smashwords in which case it will be permanently free there, but meanwhile you can find it here on my website as a pdf you can download. To anyone who isn’t sure and prefers e-readers, remember Calibre is a free download and will convert almost anything to the e-book format of your choice.

https://jaymountney.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/across-two-seas.pdf    

That’s my free gift to celebrate the Solstice but the series Living Fae, which is in four volumes, all about the lives and loves of modern fae living on Alderley Edge, is enrolled in the Smashwords end of year sale so they are all half price till Jan 1st. At only $1.49 each and all well over 60k words that’s $5.96 for four full length novels. (I was going to create a box set but time got away from me!)

The titles are:  

Growing Up Fae : the childhood and early adulthood of Harlequin, the narrator, told in diary style. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/720139  

Tales from Tara : relates the experiences of Harlequin and Yarrow, as they separately spend six months on royal guard duty.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/913151  

Flying Free: recounts the lives and loves of Harlequin’s siblings. (mm, mf and ff) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/945685  

On The Edge: this brings us up to date on the lives of the fae of Alderley Edge and includes departures and arrivals.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/999158  

If you don’t read them in that order you will get desperately confused. Across Two Seas follows them but shouldn’t cause confusion as it isn’t primarily about the main characters of the series. There’s a glossary under the series tab but it needs updating and also needs the timeline I keep promising.  

My fae celebrate the Solstice rather than Christmas so this is the perfect date to launch my new story and slash the price on my series at the same time. It’s my preferred holiday, too, though I also go along with the traditions to fit in with everyone around me.  

Do any of you have children? Another free pdf is a children’s book, Answering Amanda, which is in some respects is the prequel to the entire Living Fae series. It works well for children aged 7 – 11 but young teens also like it, finding the concept amusing. Amanda corresponds with a fairy at the bottom of the garden. (Harlequin’s saga started when the fairy’s big brother pestered for his own novel.) It’s in colour – not just the illustrations but some of the text, and the colour is an integral part of the story – so if anyone downloads it for children to read, make sure you use a device that shows colour, not e.g. a b&w Kindle. Guaranteed no sex or violence, but this website has plenty of the former so please don’t let children explore.

https://jaymountney.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/answering-amanda.pdf    


There are shorter free stories available, as most of you know: fantasy, contemporary, sci fi, mostly LGBTQ but some gen. Just go to ‘free stuff”.

https://jaymountney.com/free-fiction/    

Also in the Smashwords sale, and FREE until Jan 1st, is the first book I self published:
Silkskin and the Forest Dwellers is a retold and twisted fairy tale – Snow White, transported and transformed by taking place in mediaeval Great Zimbabwe with a prince instead of a princess. It’s a novella rather than a novel. As Snow White is a traditional holiday and pantomime story, I thought people might like to see the same (but mm) story told about an African prince. It also seemed a good idea to make it free in this time of trying to make sure that Black Lives Matter.  

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/170617  

So don’t forget: Across Two Seas (free), Silkskin (free), Living Fae series (price slashed), Answering Amanda (free) and a link to other freebies.  

Happy Solstice, everyone! Stay safe and well!

The River: final volume in my elf detective series.

Finally!

The last volume in my Skilled Investigator series is live on Amazon and Smashwords and will be distributed to Smashwords’ varied retailers. (I use Smashwords as well as Amazon to let people choose which e-reader they prefer.)

This time around I’ve had a battle with formatting because Word, which both sites prefer, chose to hide formatting from me and the mess only showed up when Smashwords tried converting to EPub. I think Word hates me. I certainly hate it back! It really shouldn’t be necessary to convert to EPub to see hidden formatting. I know all about pilcrows etc. but this really was hidden – different font sizes appearing in other formats when they were perfect in the source document. As Smashwords said, the only answer was to ‘nuke’ the formatting via Notepad and start again.

It seems like forever since I started this series, and indeed the first volume was already a chaos of plans and notes before I published anything else. I’ve lived with the characters and world in my mind for about ten years now, longer than some relationships last. Genef has, I hope, grown during the series and is now a fully fledged Investigator, mentoring Scratch, who is nearing the end of his own training. There will soon be a dragon Investigator in the Guild after this final case, which takes place in Stoneyhill, Genef’s childhood home, and closely concerns both her friends and the mine where she found Scratch hatching from his egg. There’s the usual gay romance sub-plot for Fel, who finds a happy ending, and there’s romantic hope for Genef too. In case that sounds too sweet and sickly, let me add that there is plenty of death, disappearance and detection for Genef and her dragon companion to solve. I’ll miss them but it was perhaps time we parted company.

Now that this series, and the Living Fae one, are finished, I’m wondering whether to try creating boxed sets. Any thoughts?

I’ve also written a short story in the Living Fae ‘verse, and that’s with my editor; I expect to post it as a ‘freebie’ round about Christmas. Besides that I’ve been working on the rewrites for my stories written for the fandom auctions.

Anyway, all that, especially the formatting fiasco, explains why I’ve been fairly absent this month. I haven’t even managed my monthly in-depth review. All I can say is that I was away on holiday for a week then plunged into formatting which stole my brain.

Meanwhile, buy links:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1039364
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08GGC7M32