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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July E-Book Sale(s)

New month, new sales! This time we've got a couple of oldies but goodies (aren't the monthly sales just that, though?), with one book dating way back to 2008 in its first incarnation.

So firstly, we've got Icarus in Flight, which was one of three novels I debuted as a gay YA writer twelve years ago. In its first edition, it was marketed as young adult, which also meant my going back and deleting a few erotic scenes between James and Daniel. It's gone through a couple more edits after the first edition when JMS Books took it up and then now, when it's in its third and final version.

I'm now marketing this as New Adult, which is more appropriate, and for this edition, I've also added a passage in the end that further shows the happy future that James and Daniel end up with after so many twists and turns in their lives together and apart.

Icarus in Flight, along with The Glass Minstrel, was an attempt at writing a more reality-based historical romance novel, and the plot strictly follows familiar beats of a romance. Boy meets boy, boy falls in love with boy, boy loses boy, boy reconnects with first love and runs off to the sunset for their HEA.

I also tried to stick with the troubles faced by gay men in the 19th century, which are shown in the lives that James and Daniel end up with for a bit during the "boy loses boy" phase of the romance.

And as a bonus bit of trivia, this novel first started out with a scene that I wrote as inspired by the romantic friendship of two rather famous literary characters: James Steerforth and David Copperfield. And I kept those two in mind throughout the writing of this novel, though unlike the originals, I at least gave my young gentlemen a love that made them defy society for a much-deserved happily-ever-after.

So here's the blurb:
James Ellsworth is a bit jaded, especially for his young age. He hates school and longs for his parents' estate, where life is far more pleasant. Meeting new schoolmate Daniel Courtney is a much-needed distraction, one that will prove more and more engrossing as James and Daniel grow older. 
When his father dies, James is thrust into a position of responsibility, not just to his estate, but to his mother and sister as well. He leans as much as he can on his friendship with Daniel, but young Courtney has his own problems. His brother, George, is all Daniel has left in the world, and when he loses his brother to a freak accident, Daniel is left alone and without prospects. 
All the while, the two young men are discovering a relationship that their Victorian world will never approve of. Trying to deal with their loss and their love for each other drives them apart -- James to a life of debauchery, Daniel to a life of study and work. 
As they grow older, James and Daniel discover that life is not what they thought it would be when they were schoolboys together, and that, even as they try to make their own way, they will always come back to one another.

And for the second book for this month's sale, we have Children of Hyacinth, the fourth book of the Arcana Europa series. As noted before (and also laid out in my Books page), this story takes place in an AU Victorian Europe where same-sex relationships and magic are commonplace, and each country highlighted in the series has its own distinctive magic.

For Children of Hyacinth, the magic involves music for Iulian and Cosmin. The country I chose is Wallachia before it joins Moldava to form a united Romania, and I worked one detail about Romanian culture into the story, and it's weaving. Cosmin is a weaver, and his musical gift allows him to enjoy his work since he sings while gathering wool from a widow's magic-blessed flock of sheep.

I listened to a lot of classical music in the course of writing this novel, and I was particularly inspired by a lot of violin concertos performed by prodigies of today. A young Joshua Bell was my go-to model for Iulian, and some of the music he performs in the novel are descriptions of actual pieces I listened to: Edouard Lalo's "Symphonie Espagnole" (the final movement) as well as Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" are two examples of those.

Anyway, here's the blurb:
Iulian Dalca is a twenty-one-year-old musical prodigy with big dreams. He's also blessed with a hint of light magic in his blood, a gift that's apparently unique to prodigies and whose purpose appears to be the developing of an extremely strong connection between artist and audience during a performance. Unknown to most, the gift of light magic also allows him a powerful and inexplicable psychic link to someone who remains invisible, a person he's never met in the real world. It's a connection that strengthens over time, a symbiotic bond whose purpose remains a closely guarded secret among the goddesses believed to have created it. 
Cosmin Vasile is an eighteen-year-old young man living in obscurity and poverty in a rural village in the Wallachian countryside. Gifted in song, he spends his time adding to his parents' meager income by weaving and gathering wool for sale, singing rustic songs he knows by heart as he works. He's also plagued by mysteriously restless sleep lasting a week and occurring once a year since he turned eleven, though he remembers nothing of the dreams or nightmares that may have caused the disturbance. 
Then out of the blue on two separate occasions, a once-in-a-lifetime chance at fulfilling their dearest dreams suddenly comes along, and youthful hope takes flight... 
Only to tumble headlong down a nightmarish pit of old magic twisted for a darker purpose, where lines separating reality and decades-long madness blur. Haunting portraits of long gone students, a cursed mirror hiding a terrifying world of corruption and death, a monstrous satyr lurking in the shadows of the mirror's world - time and hope for escape disappear as Iulian and Cosmin suddenly discover the awful price of being marked as the Muses' rare, favored children.

Both Icarus in Flight and Children of Hyacinth are 99 cents through the end of July, so now's an excellent time to check them out if you haven't yet. And if you do snag yourself a copy (or both!), I do hope you enjoy them, and please do spread the word! Reviews and word-of-mouth pimpage are always greatly appreciated.

And as a beginning-of-the-month reminder, The Ghosts of St. Grimald Priory is now available in both e-book and print formats.

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