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Hi all, and apologies for neglecting you! With two new books coming out later in the year, I aim to post more frequently from now on. I am still active on the Facebook fan page, where we recently had fun finding Irish names for some disreputable henchmen-for-hire in the third book of Warrior Bards. That’s the novel I’m hard at work on, meaning less time and brain space for social media at present. This book is as yet untitled – I’m still searching for a catchy four-syllable title that includes a music/dance reference and fits the other two (The Harp of Kings and A Dance with Fate.) I hope inspiration strikes soon. A lot of the good titles I’ve thought of belong to existing books by other writers.

A Dance with Fate comes out quite soon – the Australian edition from Pan Macmillan will be released earlier than expected, on August 1, and the US edition from Penguin Random House comes out as planned, in the first week of September (Australian readers, please don’t post spoilers!) The book has been available for pre-order for a while. I hope you’ll love this story, which places all three of our central characters in situations that test them to the utmost. A Dance with Fate has an underlying theme of families: the ones we are born into, the ones in which we find ourselves, and the ones we build for ourselves. The ones that love and nurture us, the ones that make our lives hell, the ones we gradually come to value.

A reminder to lovers of audio books: the first two books in the Shadowfell series are now available in audio, read by Henrietta Meire. Book three, The Caller, will be coming soon. You’ll find these on the US and European Audible sites. No word on Australia and NZ yet, but I hope they will be up soon. Raven Flight Audiobook

And a nice awards snippet: The Harp of Kings is a finalist in the Aurealis Awards in two categories: Best Fantasy Novel and Best YA Novel (Warrior Bards is an adult series, but older YA readers 15+ will enjoy it.) My short story Good Dog, Alice is a finalist in the Best Fantasy Short Story category of these awards. Details of when and how the awards will be presented are still up in the air; it should be quite soon, and it will almost certainly be an online event, as Australia still has its state borders closed. Good Dog, Alice will be making a repeat appearance in Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand SF&F, coming out from Paper Road Press in late July.

My final news item for now is that award winning artist Kathleen Jennings has been working hard on the illustrations for my fairy tale collection Mother Thorn and other tales of courage and kindness, which comes out in November from Serenity Press. I hope to be able to share the beautiful cover some time soon. Mother Thorn is quite a short book, containing four stories written by me, illustrated by Kathleen, and based very loosely on fairy tales that will be familiar to most of you: The Well of the World’s End; The Princess and the Pea; The Tinder Box; and the title story, which is based on the belief that lone hawthorn trees are places where the world of humankind and that of the Fair Folk are especially close. The collection will suit lovers of fairy tales from 12+ to adult. More about this collection closer to the publication date.

Thank you for your patience, readers! The world is a troubled place right now, and I know many of you will be struggling with very serious challenges. I wish you courage and balance, and may we emerge from this better and wiser as individuals, as communities, and as nations.