Tag Archives: seven circles of hell

Monday Morsel: You Have To Run – an Excerpt from BECOMING THE DEMON

What Price A Lie
What Price A Lie

“Did you hear me, Alloran? You have to run. The first thing he did after his confirmation was label you a public menace. If he can’t kill you, he will have you silenced.”

Her words broke the paralysis gripping him, and he gasped at the cold shock of this pronouncement. He spun to start gathering together various item.

“There is no time!” Ashraque hissed. “I saw the guards halfway here, and I had to run to beat them.”

Alloran froze. “But I—”

Ashraque followed his desperate glance to the next room, where his private texts, some of them containing damning research, were hidden.

About BECOMING THE DEMON

Not all doors lead to places a man should go.

Desperate to rescue Dek from the fifth circle of hell after abandoning him, Alloran’s task is complicated when he is forced to go on the run again. Bereft of all resources, Alloran enters into the shady world of loose morals and stitchers—black wizards hiring out their services to the highest bidder. When a strange woman presents him with a lucrative but criminal opportunity, he must ask what Dek’s life is worth to him — or is it the chance of a challenge he cannot defeat that tempts him into the criminal underbelly of the city?

Gisayne is fixated on avenging her father’s murder, but Alloran, consumed by his need to rescue Dek, will not help her. Alone, she hunts the deadly wizard Ladanyon, but when the trail leads her back to Alloran, she must fight to save him—but is the greatest threat to Alloran from the black wizard or himself?

Blinded by his determination, Alloran risks crossing a line to become the very thing he fights against.

Monday Morsel: Not All Doors Lead To Places A Man Wants To Go

What colour is your magic
What colour is your magic

I’ve been quiet a long time, I know — getting On the Edge of Death finished nearly wore me out, more than I had realised, and for almost two months I wallowed in doing nothing except reading Scottish crime fiction — yes, tarton noir is this fantasy writer’s secret vice.

But I am back writing, if not as consistently as I’d like, and what I’m working on now is Becoming the Demon, part three in The Seven Circles of Hell. In fact, it’s almost half done. So I’m going to start sharing bits with you as part of my Monday Morsels series again, and I’m going to try to get back to finish telling you about last year’s trip to Scotland. If I’m honest, I’ve avoided that because I’m homesick for Scotland, and thinking about it, about how long it will be before we go back, makes my chest tighten up painfully. It will probably be 2021 at the earliest.

So, instead of dwelling on that, here is the opening page of Becoming the Demon.

Monday Morsel

The diagram appeared to delineate a gate, the stark black lines innocent in their simplicity; but not all doors lead to places a man wants to go.

Alloran hunched over it at the central worktable in his laboratory, sketching in a new line, with Gisayne peering over his shoulder.

The laboratory door banged open, the sound of the wood striking the stone reverberating through the room’s small confines. Gisayne jumped, jerking away from Alloran like a guilty lover, even though they’d only been huddled together over the diagram.

Alloran straightened, casually covering the image with a hand. Then his brain caught up with his reflexes; it was only Ashraque. He let out a long breath, and moved his hand away. Even if Ashraque had not already known what he was about, the planned out lines of sulphur and magnesium for a hell-gate were disguised with a code. The diagram instead spelt out the use of certain woods for its construction; ash for magnesium, oak for the sulphur. Concealing it, even casually, had been the stupid act of a guilty man.

“You scared the hell out of me, Ashraque,” he said.

“You should be scared.” Her words came out a gasp, and she paused, leaning against the door, winded. Her usually immaculate platinum blonde hair was falling from its pins, and her white pillbox hat was askew.

“What’s happened?” he asked.

“You have to run.” She straightened, jamming a pin back into her hair before the hat fell free. Her amber eyes were alight with intense anger. “Valgon has been elected to the position of Lord Wizard. The guards are already on their way.”

About BECOMING THE DEMON

Not all doors lead to places a man should go.

Desperate to rescue Dek from the fifth circle of hell after abandoning him, Alloran’s task is complicated when he is forced to go on the run again. Bereft of all resources, Alloran enters into the shady world of loose morals and stitchers—black wizards hiring out their services to the highest bidder. When a strange woman presents him with a lucrative but criminal opportunity, he must ask what Dek’s life is worth to him — or is it the chance of a challenge he cannot defeat that tempts him into the criminal underbelly of the city?

Gisayne is fixated on avenging her father’s murder, but Alloran, consumed by his need to rescue Dek, will not help her. Alone, she hunts the deadly wizard Ladanyon, but when the trail leads her back to Alloran, she must fight to save him—but is the greatest threat to Alloran from the black wizard or himself?

Blinded by his determination, Alloran risks crossing a line to become the very thing he fights against.

More News

I don’t have time to write twice weekly on this blog anymore, so for the time being the blog schedule will be Monday Morsels on the first and third Mondays of the week, and Touring Scotland posts on the second and the fourth. If there are five Mondays in the month, that fifth one is mine 🙂 Also, watch out for some more Seven Circles of Hell news coming up soon!

Are You The Chosen of the Death Goddess?

New Year, new book, new bonus content!

First cab off the rank is a brand new quiz to celebrate the upcoming release of my new full-length fantasy novel In the Company of the Dead. Are you the chosen of the death goddess? To find out subscribe to the newsletter (top right of this page), as this will be subscriber only exclusive content until closer to the April release date—although of course my subscribers may choose to share their results around the web themselves, and that’s fine, but you won’t find it on my website for some time yet.

To find out what it means to be the chosen of the death goddess, make sure you read the book! Subscribers will get notification directly into their inbox when the book is released.

Other content coming this year includes a cover reveal, which will also be available to subscribers first, and maps for In the Company of the Dead, including a map of the fantasy world in which the whole series takes place, and a map of the castle in which In the Company of the Dead is set.

Castle Front Edited 1 MM

Later in the year, I am travelling to Scotland, and will be visiting Caerlaverock Castle, which inspired the castle in the book. There will be a giveaway with your chance to win a signed photo of me at Caerlaverock Castle.

In terms of blogs, there will be no Monday Morsels for the first half of this year. I am working on the sequel to In the Company of the Dead, but I don’t want to share any parts of that with you before you get the chance to read the first book. So we’ll come back to that after the release date. In the meantime, you can expect the regular Friday blog posts to appear on Mondays (more or less—I hope). I know I was slack for a few months at the end of last year.

For those of you awaiting the next instalment in The Seven Circles of Hell series – yes, there is one! No, I’m not working on it yet. Sorry, I have due dates for The Sundered Oath, but I do want to get started on it this year. Apologies for the long delay between books… Hopefully when you read In the Company of the Dead you will forgive me. And I may have other exciting news about Confronting the Demon later in the year! (you should subscribe to the newsletter to get first notification of that too… too much?).

Last but not least, this is your last chance to sign-up to my Advance Copy Review Team (different to the newsletter subscription), as I will be closing sign-ups to that shortly. Signing up entitles you to free copies of all my books in advance of the release date in return for a review. Places are limited!

Stalking the Demon Free on Story Cartel

Stalking the Demon Free on Story Cartel

For a limited time, I’m making Stalking the Demon free on Story Cartel in return for nothing except an honest review.

The offer goes live Monday 9 March and will continue until Easter Monday.

If you’re looking for a fast, gripping fantasy read in the sword and sorcery style, look no further. At 42,000 words, this is only a short novel. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the first book – but if you haven’t, subscribe to the newsletter and you’ll get Confronting the Demon free too! This one is so short you can read it in an hour. The books have been variously compared to well-known fantasy authors Brent Weeks, Jacqueline Carey and Robert E Howard.

About Stalking the Demon

Stalking the Demon

Six months ago, the disgraced wizard, Alloran, sacrificed his hand and risked his life and soul to rescue the woman he loves from his traitorous friend. Despite saving the city from a demon, the council of wizards punished him severely for practicing banned magic.

Now he learns his desperate attempt to banish the demon threatens to send the whole world to hell. To unravel the damage, Alloran is forced dabble in taboo hell magic, and must choose between saving himself and everything he holds dear.

What Readers Are Saying

“The descent into the hell realm is exciting, better even than the climax of the first book, when hell makes an appearance in Alloran’s world. I love the tentacled first-realm demons, very kraken meets Lovecraftian Old Ones.” ~ Samantha Sabovitch

“Awesome conflict on every page. Tons of surprises too. Great ending! This is a fast read, but the setting and characterization is rich and deep and I fell into the story in a way I didn’t expect.” ~ J.

“Stalking the Demon was quick and intricate, but slow and methodical at the same time. I found myself constantly trying to figure out what would happen next, and was usually wrong. There was a great amount of action and suspense that really grabbed me and kept me reading until the end.” ~ Joe Slonaker

What Colour Is Your Magic? Personality Quiz Plus #Free Book

What colour is your magic

So I made a quiz – and can I say those things are hard to write! If you’ve read Confronting the Demon or Stalking the Demon, you’ll know a bit about the magical colours. Complete the quiz below to find out what colour your magic is – perhaps you’re a hot-headed red, a logical yellow, an adventurous orange or an idealistic indigo!

If you haven’t read them, do the quiz for fun anyway – at the end you’ll be given the opportunity to receive my epic fantasy book Confronting the Demon free!

Take the quiz now!

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