As promised, the first Wandless Day is upon us, so here’s everything you need to know:
What is Wandless Day?
On October 14th in an alternate 2024, Emilia Harris escapes the Sanctuary – a concentration camp in all but name – where she has been held for the best part of a decade.
This single event kicks off the Wandless series of urban fantasy thrillers, set in a darker wizarding world where magic is not a gift – it’s a life sentence.
October 14th, 2019 was supposed to be the day I self-published Wandless, the novella that starts the series. But I received some great feedback from beta readers that required a little more time and polish, so I pushed it back, eventually launching on March 31st, 2020.
October 14th, 2020 is the first Wandless Day, an attempt at running a marketing event around my books that hopefully will become an annual opportunity for me to better engage with my readers.
If you particularly want to buy it from a retailer (such as the many listed below), you’re more than welcome but it will be the standard price of £2.99. (That’s right! You save two whole pounds if you buy it through today’s deal).
Or you can do both to double your chances of winning. That’s it.
I’ll be picking winners at 11pm BST and announcing them on my Facebook page, so keep an eye on there (or on your inbox).
Right, what else?
Well, I’ll be doing an all-day Ask Me Anything on the Facebook page. I’ve actually set up two posts: one for spoilers (for those who have already read Wandless) and one for everything else (either about the book if you haven’t picked it up yet, or about me, my writing, the weather, or just about anything).
Don’t have Facebook? Feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to reply later today.
I’ll also be sharing some random facts about Wandless and its creation on my social channels, so why not give those a follow?
Thank you so much for joining me on this little experiment of mine. Now, if you haven’t already, go buy that book.
For reasons I’ll explain on the day, October 14th is Wandless Day. To mark the first iteration of what will hopefully become an annual event, I’m running a few activities that may be of interest – including two opportunities to win a paperback copy of Wandless.
Let’s just skip to the good part – here’s how you can win:
That’s it. You can do either, or both to improve your chances of winning. I’ll be picking two winners at 11am BST on Wednesday, October 14th. I’ll even sign them if you like.
I’ll also be answering your questions all day via the Facebook page. Want to know more about Wandless, its origins and its future? Or do you just want to find out a bit more about me? Now’s your chance!
(And if you don’t have Facebook for any reason, you can always just hit reply to this email. I’ll be happy to answer your question that way, too).
Finally, I am – as I type (albeit in another tab) – working on putting together a special offer on Wandless that means if you haven’t already picked it up, you won’t be able to resist doing so now.
Of course if you already have bought and read the book, why not mark Wandless Day in your own way by leaving a review or recommending it to your friends and family?
Firstly, the newsletter will soon go monthly rather than fortnightly. You’ll get one in two weeks on October 6th, and then on the 6th of every month. There may be the occasional bonus email (I’m planning something fun for mid-October, but more on that in a bit).
The main reason for this is because my writing has slowed down so much that I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to update you on Wandless 2, or indeed anything else I’m working on. So rather than plucking a book-themed conversation out of the air every two weeks for the sake of invading your inbox, I figured a monthly catch-up would be better for both of us.
The slowdown brings us on to the second thing: For now, work on Wandless 2, and any other fiction projects, is effectively on hold. Or at least so intermittent it might as well be.
I’m a journalist by day: UK Editor for GamesIndustry.biz ,the leading trade news publication for the video games industry. That means I spend most of my day writing and editing.
Since July, I’ve taken on a second part-time/freelance job, also a games editorial position, which involves some writing, a lot of editing, and a LOT of emails.
My day-job, obviously, takes up my day. My not-day-job takes up a good chuck of my evening.
Plus, I have a beautiful wife and two adorable children to fit both jobs around.
So by the time I can sit down to write, it’s pretty much time for bed.
I’ve been trying to squeeze in just ten minutes a day, but after doing my evening job, mentally I’m done – which means any words I produce aren’t even close to my best.
And the bottom line is I have to prioritise. My job is my guaranteed income, and my second job earns a lot more than my books currently do.
Wandless, so far, has made a little over £100 since launching in March (mostly shortly after launch). And I’m ecstatic about that. That’s £100+ more than I ever thought I’d manage – and especially gratifying given how little I’ve been able to advetise so far. But it’s still a fraction of what my second job pays me.
I don’t know how long this second job will last. Maybe they’ll get bored of me in a year, or maybe I’ll miss writing so much I’ll quit heroically and stride off into the distance to pursue my dream. But for now, that’s how I’m going to be spending my time.
I’m not going to stop completely. When I get moments, I want to keep pressing on with my daughter’s book so I can get that finished. And the entire time, I’ll be refining my ideas for Wandless 2 and beyond.
Of course, I’ll still be pushing the first book where I can, and I’ve got a cool idea for mid-October (as I hinted) that I’ll like to attempt. So keep you eyes out on the 6th for the first news about Wandless Day.
And just to reiterate: I’m not quitting writing. I’ll be doing what I can, and I still hope to deliver a free short story for those who have read Wandless by Christmas. If it goes well, I might tell more short stories in the Wandless world, just to keep both you and I going until I’m able to concentrate on the novels.
That’s all for now. Thank you in advance for your understanding. This is not the end, just an unexpected change of plans.
I’ve recently learned that if a book has 50 or more reviews on Amazon, it gives said book more ‘weight’ for the site’s algorithm. Or, to put it in plain English, it shows up in search results more often.
I’ve said before that reviews are important for indie authors like myself, and this is just one reason on. So…
If you have already read my novella Wandless, but you haven’t left a review, please do so.
It doesn’t have to be long or an in-depth critique. Even a sentence or two about what you thought of it will help.
And it doesn’t have to be five stars. It just has to be honest (I can take it!)
If you haven’t read Wandless yet, or even bought it, please do that and then write a review.
I reckon you’ll like it. It’s a page-thrilling urban fantasy thriller about a witch on the run from the military while getting to grips with using magic again for the first time in a decade – and her powers aren’t the reason she’s being pursued.
It’s got tension, great characters, an antagonist who’s always hot on the heels of the heroine, short and sharp chapters for that ‘just one more’ reading experience, and it’s succinct/gripping enough that you can end up reading it in a single sitting. (And many people have)
If you’re us much a fan of Goodreads as I am, you could also review Wandless there. Plus if you enjoyed it, and/or know someone else who would, why not tell a friend? Or friends, plural? That’d be even better.
Don’t worry, I’ve not been sitting on my laurels, thinking “Well, that’s it. I’m published. Next goal?” Nor have I just been counting all the monies Wandless has made me, Scrooge McDuck-style (although it has sold better than I could have hoped, so thank you to everyone who has supported me so far).
Instead, I’ve been spending time with the family, doing a few work-centric projects, working on ways to get Wandless into the hands of more readers, and starting on my next book(s). Rather than bore you with an extensive account of all this, here are the highlights:
And if you’re still not sure, sign up to my mailing list to get a free five-chapter sample. That’s double what you get from Amazon, etc, and should be enough to give you a feel for the world and get you hooked on the story.
Okay, that’s the shameless salesy bit out of the way.
Daughter’s Adventure Book
My next project is a personal one, and something you almost certainly won’t be able to read.
Back in the summer of 2017, I was seeking something to write (I wouldn’t have the dream that inspired Wandless for another year). I often take part in writing challenges throughout the year, and one was coming up that tasked participants to write 1,000 words a day for a month.
I asked my wife what she thought I should do: start something fresh, or dust off an unfinished novel. She suggested writing something for our then one-year-old son.
The result was his Adventure Book, a collection of short stories about my son, in which he is given a magical book that makes wishes come true.
I’m almost certainly never going to release it. I haven’t even given it to my son yet. He’ll get it on his fifth birthday, by which point he’ll hopefully start showing interest in stories other than the ones written by Julia Donaldson (although those are truly brilliant, of course. I never say no to Room On The Broom).
And, in the interest of fairness, I’m now writing an Adventure Book for my daughter. I wrote my son’s by the time he was two, and she turns two in a few months, so it’s time to get cracking.
It’s actually a really nice change of pace writing for children. There’s no worry about making it appealing to strangers, or coming up with something completely original and unpredictable (well, it’s not as important). The language can be much simpler, the stories can be sillier and more random, and since these are for my own children, I can include a few little in-jokes. Each book is a collection of ten short stories, and they can be as short as I like.
There’s no pressure. It’s just about the fun of storytelling.
Hover over the ‘Books’ bit of the menu at the top of this page and you’ll see a new ‘Recommended Reading’ section.
This is where I’ll be posting descriptions and links for books by other authors that I think you might like. Some authors are friends of mine (but I’ll make that clear), and others are just independent writers I’ve really enjoyed reading.
There’s only a few recommendations to begin with, and I’m not sure how frequently I’m going to expand it but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
There will be more regular cross-promotions for other books and authors in my newsletter, so be sure to check those out when you sign up.
Obviously that won’t be the final title but the next Wandless book is well into the planning stage.
I had planned to just put Wandless out as a standalone and then focus on my other series of urban fantasy thrillers, Death & Fairy Dust. But I’ve had so many lovely comments about Wandless, and requests for more information on this world, that it makes sense to focus on this first.
I have a storyline in mind for the second Wandless book, which will be the middle of an Emilia Harris trilogy. And this one will be a full-length novel, but still with the fast, can’t-put-it-down pacing.
After that, I have five or six other Wandless stories (and counting) that I want to write – and I’m sure Emilia will make an appearance in some of those.
I’m also planning another novella, this one focused on Hawthorne and what happens to her after the events of the first book, plus a short story that I’ll be releasing this Christmas. Both will be free to people who subscribe to my mailing list.
The aim is to have the second Wandless book out at some time next year. Rest assured, I’ll keep you posted with title reveal, cover reveal and perhaps a few free excerpts here on the blog.
So that’s where I’m up to. Thanks for sticking with me, and if you haven’t tried Wandless already, please do. I’d love to know what you think, and what you want from future Wandless books
I can finally say/write the words I’ve been longing to say for thirty-ish years: My book is available now.
Wandless is yours to buy on Amazon, either in print or for Kindle. I’m also hoping to publish it through other digital and print-on-demand platforms in the coming days for anyone who has different ebook devices and/or apps, or who just doesn’t particularly want to shop at Amazon.
As I’ve said since starting this site, this really is only the beginning – in so many ways. I’ve been jotting down some ideas for more Wandless books (eight of them, in fact!), I’ve got my other urban fantasy thriller series to be working on (more on that later in the year), and I really want this to be the first significant step into making a career from my writing.
I love stories. Reading them, writing them, watching them, playing through them, and now I’m finally sharing them.
I’ve already included an acknowledgements section at the end of Wandless, but I wanted to throw out a few more thank yous here. If you’re about to purchase the book, thank you. If you are reading this and have already purchased it, thank you. If you’re even thinking about purchasing it, thank you. And if you’ve in any way been involved in getting me here, whether that’s reading early copies or offering me advice on one of the many Facebook groups I use, a very heartfelt thank you.
Thank you for helping me make a lifelong dream come true.
Well, enough mushy stuff. I’ve got more books to be writing and you now have one to be buying/reading. Be sure to let me know what you think, either by email or (ideally) by reviewing Wandless on Amazon. If you know anyone else that might enjoy it, send them my way.
Welcome to the world of Wandless. It all starts here.
Those who have checked out www.wandless.co.uk may have gained the first glimpse into my first book, but with the release date roughly one month away (exact date to be announced in the coming weeks), it’s time to give a bit more detail.
Wandless is a dark fantasy set in the near future of our world. It’s the tale of a woman fleeing for her life, of the determined officer that chases her, and the innocent lives that will get caught up in the pursuit. You can read the full blurb below.
I’ll be honest, it’s not the book I imagined starting my writing career with.
It started as a short story, but it got out of hand. And it was going to be a standalone, but I’m already thinking about sequel and series ideas.
(In fact, it started as a weird dream about the X-Men but I don’t have the rights to them.)
I’ve spent the past month sorting some (hopefully) final revisions based on the feedback of my early readers. And at this very moment, my second wave of readers is working through the book to provide me with some last comments and to winkle out those last few mistakes.
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be working on the finishing touches – not only on the book, but on making it available to you all (hoping to open pre-orders in the next couple of weeks). I’ve also been working with my friend from Parry-Hide Photography on the cover, which you can also find below.
If you want more updates on the release (plus all my other future books), be sure to sign up to my mailing list. In the meantime, read on for the blurb of Wandless:
First, their wands were taken. Then, it was their freedom.
Emilia Harris is on the run. Having escaped from her Sanctuary, she flees north, desperate to leave Greater England.
Leading the military forces pursuing her is the ruthless Captain Hawthorne, determined to protect the human population from the witchkind previously living among them. Harris will be the latest Wandless in a long line of arrests.
Emilia has just one advantage: escaping from the Sanctuary has restored her unique magic – which she soon uses to defend herself, with devastating consequences.
After the first clash increases the military’s desire to hunt her down, how can she hope to reach a place of safety… especially as her power is not the true threat she poses to society?
Technically, this isn’t the start of my journey. This is actually something I’ve been building up to all my life.
But this is certainly the beginning of the biggest chapter: finally putting my fiction out there for the pleasure (hopefully) of avid readers such as yourself.
In fact, perhaps it’s better to think of everything I’ve done so far – the finished and unfinished novels, the frantically scribbled story ideas, the hours lost imagining the make believe adventures in my head being immortalised on a printed page (or e-reader. The choice is yours) – as the backstory. This is the Inciting Incident, as we authors say: announcing my first novel. Okay, novella.
Wandless is finished, and an alpha version has been read by a few friends in the middle of last year. I’ve a few things left to tweak based on the great feedback they gave, but the book is 80% done with the final, final version due to be completed in the next week or so. After that, it’s other fun stuff like finalising the cover (already did a photoshoot back in November) and formatting the book for both print and ebook.
You’ll be able to get your hands on it this March (exact date TBC), and I’ll be posting samples here in the lead-up and might even have some fun freebies to whet the whistles of anyone who signs up to my mailing list.
I’ll be posting updates here and at my Facebook page, so keep your eyes/browsers peeled in the weeks to come.
Thank you so much for joining me for this adventure. It’s going to be one heck of a journey.