Wolf’s Head (The Forest Lord #1) By Steven A. McKay – Review

stormwatch1977:

Really great new review of Wolf’s Head!

Originally posted on David's Book Blurg:

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Title – Wolf’s Head (The Forest Lord #1)
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre –  Historical Fiction
Length –  329 Pages (Kindle)
Publication – 4th July 2013
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

When a frightened young outlaw joins a gang of violent criminals their names – against a backdrop of death, dishonour, brotherhood, and love – will become legend.

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After viciously assaulting a corrupt but powerful clergyman Robin Hood flees the only home he has ever known in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Becoming a member of a notorious band of outlaws, Hood and his new companions – including John Little and Will Scaflock – hide out in the great forests of Barnsdale, fighting for their very existence as the law hunts them down like animals. When they are betrayed, and their harsh lives become even more unbearable, the band of friends seeks bloody vengeance. Meanwhile, the country is in turmoil, as many of…

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Rise of the Wolf COVER REVEAL! And an update…

After getting some feedback from a couple of early beta-readers, yesterday I emailed the first draft of the new book off to my editor. So, assuming she can look at it in the next few weeks I SHOULD be on track to publish it sometime in June. So, with that in mind, here is the cover! I’m really pleased with it, it’s the best one so far in my opinion and could even work as a poster or flyers (if anyone could make use of posters or flyers let me know and I’ll see about getting some printed).

The original sketch I sent to the designers bears little resemblance to the final art they created (if you want to see that hilarious first sketch keep an eye on my Facebook page, I’ll probably post it there sometime, just for a laugh). Huge thanks to Chris Verwijmeren for help and advice on making the archer look as realistic as possible)!

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So, I’m waiting on a reply from the editor and, in the meantime I’m going to start work right now on another novella, similar to what I did last year with Knight of the Cross although this will be more straight-up historical fiction without the Lovecraft elements. Friar Tuck will be the star this time around and it’ll be set around Christmas time. I’m really looking forward to writing it, should be a lot of fun!

Once that’s finished, and Rise of the Wolf is published, I’ll probably begin work on the final novel in the Forest Lord series…I have some plans for a completely different series of histfic books though, set further back in time than the Robin Hood books and I might start the first of those next…Anyone have any thoughts on that? Would you prefer me to finish off the Hood story, or would you be happy for me to do something totally different before I round off The Forest Lord tetralogy?

Post your thoughts here, on my Facebook page or use the CONTACT button and be sure to tell your book-loving friends.

Thanks everyone, I hope you’re as excited about these future projects as I am!

What drives me to write?

Some people (like my wife) think writing is all fun. A nice relaxing hobby akin to playing the Xbox or going out to the pub with your friends. Well, it is enjoyable, of course it is, but it’s also really hard work. It’s NOTHING like playing video games or chilling out with your mates.

If you have a young family and a full-time job then it can really be tough to a) find the TIME to write a book and b) motivate yourself to DO it rather than just lying on the couch watching Game of Thrones after a ten-hour shift.

Today I downloaded a pedometer/step-counter app for my phone. It calculated that I walked 9 miles within ten hours during my working day. I was pounding the streets of Partick in Glasgow reading meters (I even checked Navid from Still Game‘s gas meter, he’s a nice guy!).

9 miles, in mostly pissing rain, and when it wasn’t raining it was warm but I still had on my waterproofs so was sweating like a pig.  A couple of years ago I could make my target of 200 reads per day without too much trouble. It sounds a lot but it was possible in most areas, especially if you worked hard and put in the time/miles. But our bonus system became much harsher two years ago and now…well…I walked 9 miles yet only managed to read something like 75 meters. Not even close to my target of 200!

Don’t get me wrong – I like my job and I’m grateful to have it in this day and age when so many people are unemployed. But we all dream of doing something better with our lives, don’t we?

Well, I walked about for ten hours today, trying my best to read as many meters as possible but in my head I was planning my next two books; trying out plots, defining characters and ironing out problems.  At the end of the shift my legs were killing me and I just wanted to get home to see my children. But I had some great ideas for my writing!

I like my job, but it’s hard work, just like yours I’m sure.

It’s hard getting up every morning and leaving your kids when they’re very young and are just turning into their own little people.

It’s hard walking for so many miles without even making bonus as a reward. It’s f**king exhausting.Trust me, I can hardly write this coherently, I’m so tired!

But…People really seem to enjoy my writing!  Since I first published my debut novel, Wolf’s Head, people have been buying it, and the sequels, and telling me how much they enjoy them. I’m a meter reader from Glasgow, yet I’ve sold over 40,000 books in less than two years. I’ve had emails from foreign publishers enquiring about translations and a major Hollywood producer asking about film rights to my self-published books. I had a message today from a librarian in Utah, USA, telling me my books are a big hit there.

THAT is all what drives me to write! The fact that people are enjoying what I’m creating as much as I am.

YOU, dear readers, are what keep me going when my feet ache and some ignorant bastard tells me to f**k off when I ask to read their meter because all they see is some menial grunt they don’t need to respect.

THANK YOU to all my readers for buying, reading and reviewing my books. I hope you understand now why you mean so much to me!

Please – be nice to your meter reader  ;-)

My next book Rise of the Wolf, part 3 in The Forest Lord series, will be published in June/July 2015 so look out for it and spread the word with your friends.

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Happy Birthday to ACX in the UK!

stormwatch1977:

Nice, I get a mention. Happy birthday to ACX, my audiobooks have been selling really well! :-)

Originally posted on Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX):

Hi all, this is Sophie, from the ACX UK team. It seems like just last week we were preparing to welcome the UK’s talented authors and actors to ACX—but here we are, celebrating our first birthday. And since ACX is all about authors and actors collaborating to produce great sounding audiobooks, we invited some of our most successful UK early adopters to help us celebrate by sharing what they learned in their first year.

First up, we’ve got Audible Approved producer Anna Parker-Naples, who we met at last year’s London Book Fair. Anna has gone on to produce 10 audiobooks through ACX, and joins us to share how she chooses which books to audition for.

Anna Parker-Naples—Narrator of Legacy Code:

APN Homepage_HR021.Have a look at the Amazon ranking. I’m not going to give you a hard-and-fast number by which to choose your titles from, but be…

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Short extract from Rise of the Wolf

I apologize, I was supposed to post this yesterday but, honestly, as I was writing I fell asleep with the laptop still in my lap! That’s what I get for staying out in the local rehearsal studio until 2 AM jamming Metallica songs with my mate…

Anyway, here you go, I hope you enjoy it in its un-edited, un-polished state. Sorry there’s no fighting but it’s a pretty important scene and probably one you’ve been waiting for since the first book…

Rise of the Wolf should, hopefully, be ready to go around June. Look out for the cover reveal before then and trust me, it looks fantastic! Enjoy and SPREAD THE WORD! :-)

April came, filling the trees with thick green leaves and the rains slowed, allowing the ground in the forest to dry out and become less treacherous. The sounds of nature reawakening after the chill of winter filled the air, as insects began to build their nests in dark, hidden places and many of the animals and birds that populated the undergrowth gave birth to their little ones.

“Here, listen to this!” Young Gareth hurried into camp, red-faced and puffing, apparently from excitement more than exertion. He was followed by the former Hospitaller sergeant, Stephen, who looked bored and irritated by his younger companion. The unlikely pair had been visiting the village of Tretone that morning to collect supplies.

“What’s up?” Little John wondered, raising an eyebrow at Stephen who gave a disgusted wave and moved over to the big cooking pot over the camp-fire to help himself to some of the thin soup bubbling away inside as the other outlaws who were around came across to hear Gareth’s news.

“The sheriff’s holding a tournament in a couple of weeks!”

Silence greeted his pronouncement and the Hospitaller snorted with laughter as he spooned some of the hot food into his mouth.

“So what?” Allan-a-Dale asked. “What’s that got to do with us?”

“There’s to be games and prizes and stuff,” Gareth replied, smiling as he moved over next to Stephen and lifted a bowl of his own which he filled with the – mostly cabbage – soup.

“Are you pissed again, boy?” Will Scarlet demanded.

“No, I’m not!” Gareth retorted, the watery broth dribbling down his chin as he glared at Will indignantly. “There’s going to be an archery competition, and the prize is a silver arrow. An arrow made from solid silver!”

There were gasps and whistles of appreciation from the men as the value of such a prize sunk in.

“That’s great,” Robin agreed, shrugging his enormous shoulders. “But why are you so excited? None of us are going to be winning the arrow.”

“Why not?” Gareth replied, looking at Robin as he continued to spoon the cabbage soup into his mouth. “You could win.” He glanced over at John. “Or you.” His eyes moved around the outlaws who listened to him in bemused silence. “You’re all deadly with a longbow, you could beat anyone in England! Christ knows you spend enough time practising.”

“You seem to be forgetting one thing,” Scarlet growled. “We’re fucking outlaws! The moment any one of us sets foot in Nottingham we’ll be arrested and hanged. Particularly me or Robin, since some of the guards know what we look like and, as for him…” he pointed at Little John. “He stands out a bit, don’t you think? Being the size of a fucking bear and all.”

John laughed merrily and clapped Gareth good-naturedly on the back. “Ah, the innocence – and stupidity – of youth.”

“Aye,” Stephen muttered. “And if you think that silver arrow is going to be anything more than a normal wooden shaft with some paint on it, you’re more than stupid.”

The men began to drift off, back to whatever tasks they’d been involved in before the Hospitaller and his teenage companion had returned, laughing at the preposterousness of Gareth’s suggestion.

Allan-a-Dale remained by the fire, strumming his gittern and thoughtfully eyeing the longbow which lay on the grass by his side. He was startled from his reverie by the sound of another of the outlaws crashing through the undergrowth into camp. This time it was Arthur, the powerfully-built lad from Bichill who waved the rest of the men across, his near-toothless mouth split in a cheery grin.

“Keep it down,” Allan hissed angrily. “You should know better than to come charging through the trees like a hunted boar.”

Arthur waved a hand dismissively and addressed Robin who had come over, brown eyes gleaming with interest.

“Two monks on the road to Nottingham. No guards!”

“If they’ve no guards they probably have nothing worth stealing,” Little John grumbled.

Robin nodded, but the men murmured together, knowing travellers were often the best way to find out news from the wider country, even if they carried light purses hardly worth removing.

“Let’s invite them to dinner,” Robin laughed, strapping on his sword-belt and collecting his great war-bow. “It would be rude to let them pass without offering our hospitality.”

He gestured to Arthur to lead the way and followed the lad. “Make sure there’s enough stew for our visitors,” the young leader smiled to Edmond who nodded and waved a silent farewell.

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Wolf’s Head on special offer again

Kindle version, on Amazon.com, is only 99c, for today only! If you haven’t already bought it, now is the ideal time. And if you have, well, now is the ideal time to tell your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, hated enemies etc to grab a copy….

CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW

On the new book, Rise of the Wolf, I’m just adding some little extra scenes and it will be about ready to go. I’ll share a new extract over the weekend to, hopefully, whet your appetite!

The Wolf and the Raven on special offer!

The Wolf and the Raven – book two in The Forest Lord series – is on special offer on Amazon.com for a short while as part of a Kindle Countdown promotion. Normal price is $3.99, it will be just $0.99 for a couple of days, then the price will rise in increments until it’s back to up to RRP… if you’re looking for a good read, what are you waiting for? Check it out, and tell your friends! Don’t forget, if you buy the ebook you can then add the Audible narration at a much reduced rate. Bargains all round…!

4.5 stars average rating from 68 reviews.

Click the pic below to go to Amazon.com’s page for the book.

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New Knight of the Cross review!

The hugely popular Indian Book Reviews website have posted a great new review of my novella Knight of the Cross. Take a look HERE.

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In other news, if you haven’t read my Robin Hood novels yet, The Wolf and the Raven will be on special offer (Kindle version) from this coming Wednesday, April 15th. Wolf’s Head will also be reduced in price at the end of the month, I’ll post more about it nearer the time.

To make sure you don’t miss out on things like this, please do use the FOLLOW button at the top of the page and sign up for email notifications any time I post here.