Empire Dance 5: Weapons Free – Out Now!

Yes, it’s true, at last, the fifth part of The Empire Dance is live! Weapons Free was released digitally this morning – hurrah!

You may be wondering why it has taken so long to get this fifth part onto the shelves. The answer is remarkably simple: there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Since The Packard Defence, I’ve been promoting Malessar’s Curse (Heir to the North and The High King’s Vengeance), getting both those books converted into audio format, writing short stories (one of which, The Witness, is eligible for short story awards this year – just sayin’), writing articles for Fantasy Faction, generally defending small presses and promoting Grimbold Books, and sometimes presenting the SFSF Socials here in Sheffield. Oh, and I have a mundane job, too. Not to mention that I was reluctant to release Weapons Free until I had brushed the rest of the Empire Dance books into more glossy shape.

(New covers – shiny, huh?)

So: happy book birthday, Weapons Free! Whooooop!

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ED5 – Weapons Free – 30 Days Away!

It’s true! No, really! Weapons Free, the fifth installment of The Empire Dance, a serialised, trope-waving, planet-busting, space opera that began waaaaay back in 2010, is finally in the gates! It’s gnawing at the metal, flanks heaving, eyes on the prize….

…and can be all yours for just 99p, come January 6th 2018! Preorder now!

The lines of power must be redrawn – they cannot remain as they are.

The carefully plotted steps of the Irian Disciples have led to this – a crushing attack on First Fleet’s operational home, Belsea. But with Drift Ghost returned to the fold, High Admiral Bessemer isn’t ready to surrender. On Capitol meanwhile, and deep in the nether dimensions of K-space, Chris Taylor and Mark Ibsen make startling revelations of their own – discoveries that place them even deeper in peril. Something must give, something must change.

It’s time to start fighting back.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Weapons Free!

I often get asked when the next installment of The Empire Dance will come out. (When I say often, I mean at least two people have expressed interest in it. That’s good enough for me.) More on that to come, but it did make me wonder if I ought to give the first four volumes of the series a bit of a clean-up – Echoes of War first came out in 2010, and I’ve learned a fair bit since then. Plus, the cover art was  rather… yeah. Not good.

So I’ve disabled all the old paperback versions, and decided to retire the series from Smashwords – no offence to Mark Coker, but I don’t think anybody goes to Smashwords for decent genre fiction these days. I certainly can’t remember the last time I bought anything from there.

Volume by volume, I’ve worked my way through the series and quietly reissued them through the Kindle Unlimited programme (much as I may dislike Amazon’s chokehold on digital fiction). Echoes of War was the first to benefit, of course, with a couple of additional scenes and a bit of tightening up, as well as some funky new cover art. I’ve taken the opportunity to tweak the hyperlinks inside too, because by ‘eck it needed it. All of the first four titles – Echoes, Midwinter Fury, The Kiiren Boy, and The Packard Defence – are out with spiffing new artwork, and if you’re not a big fan of the Unlimited package then you can still grab them all for less than the price of two cups of coffee. Good value, what?

You want to see those covers? Eh? Go on then….

You can find out more about each book by using this site’s menu – see the Empire Dance there? Go on…. dare ya.

All Quiet on the Northern Front…

…but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. We’re into the Long Wait (available on request from all good shops, of course) that inevitably happens at this point of the publishing process, but HTTN is still on schedule. That means it’s time for other projects to take precedence.

ED5, for example. The Empire Dance is getting progressively more difficult to write, thanks to my insistence on threading together four or five plots at the same time, but I’m aiming to have Weapons Free! blocked out to full length by the end of December, at which point it should be on course for release in the late spring. In the previous volumes I’ve skirted around the edges of various battles, but ED5 features a real humdinger between First Fleet and the Irian taskforce sent to capture Belsea – it’s not as easy to pull it all together as I thought it would be.

Meanwhile, there are other story threads to knit back into the main narrative, and other “lost” characters to focus upon. To whet your appetites, here’s a little snippet of one of them…

When he opened his eyes, everything looked flat. Instinctively, he knew that something was missing; that his senses had been stripped to their most basic. To the core.
Core. That was an important word. He had a core; he was a core.
He closed his eyes again and attempted to recalibrate his visual cortex. He plucked diagnostic programs from his most immediately accessible files, rewrote them, and promptly discarded them when they failed to appreciably improve his biological functions.
He reopened his eyes. The view was still blandly three-dimensional, and available only from a singular perspective.
A face loomed into view above him; he adjusted the focal length of his vision. It was not yet a perfect reflex, he noted with mild disappointment.
“He’s coming out of it,” the medical officer said. “You’d better contact the High Admiral.”
“Of course.” This second voice was mellifluous, modulated and controlled. He could not fail to recognise it.
The face moved aside again. The room busied with activity. He listened to it all, analysing and filing it for later reference. At the same time he began to test the outer reaches of his new home. His new containment. He needed to be able to control the limbs of this body. Only then could he begin to control what lay outside of it.

After ED5 is put to bed, I’ll be turning in earnest to the next proper novel-length project, code-named TFL, which needs thorough outlining. HTTN & HKV were “pantsed” for the most part – I knew where I was starting from, and I knew where I was heading for, but everything inbetween was a mystery until I got there – but TFL feels like it needs a more considered approach.

On top of the writing, there’s a new, more socially-oriented project that I’m involved with too, and that really kicks off in January. You may have heard already of the Sheffield Fantasy & Science Fiction Social Club. If not, then I invite you to click this linky thingy to find out more about it. If you’re SoYo-based, or you fancy dropping by the Steel City on January 24th to hear Adrian Tchaikovsky and Jo Thomas read from their new works, shout up and join!

Right. This book ain’t gonna write itself…

Empire Dance on offer – July only!

If you still haven’t dipped into The Empire Dance (and why not?) then your chance has just come around again – the first two “episodes” are on offer at Smashwords for the duration of this month only.

Simply follow this link to the series, add the first two books to your basket in the format of your choice, and enter the code SW100 at the checkout. You won’t have to pay a penny.

Yes, that’s right, for this month only, both Echoes of War and Midwinter Fury are absolutely FREE at Smashwords with that code.

 

You’re still here?

Still free… but for how long?

If you haven’t taken advantage of the generous “free period” for the first three episodes of The Empire Dance, don’t despair – though most retailers have now gone back up to full price, Barnes & Noble are still showing digital copies of Echoes of War, Midwinter Fury and The Kiiren Boy as $0.00 each.

That’s a bargain in anybody’s books, I reckon. But I can’t tell you for certain how long they’ll be on sale for no money at all. So if you want to catch up with the Dance, you’d better get jiggy…

ED4 – The Packard Defence – Out Now!

Sorry, I just couldn’t wait…

The Packard Defence is indeed OUT NOW in all digital formats at Smashwords, for the absolute bargain price of just $0.99 (roughly 59p in proper money). What’s more, the first three “episodes” – Echoes of War, Midwinter Fury, & The Kiiren Boy – are all COMPLETELY FREE for the next seven days [until May 11th 2014, for the removal of doubt].

That’s upwards of 200000 words for the sum total of $0.99, or the price of a Double Decker. Click the picture below to get where you know you need to go…

The Packard Defence
ED4: The Packard Defence