It’s been very silent around here, hasn’t it? Well, there hasn’t been much to say. Readers are still thoroughly enjoying reading these classical Greek murder mysteries, and that is great to see – but it’s been really hard to overcome the negative impact of Orion Books dumping the project so precipitously. I still have more novels I’d love to write, so if you’d like to read them, do encourage your friends to try Philocles’ adventures. It would be great if we could see sales that make a new book a viable proposition.
In the meantime, I have written a short story! Last year, the bookshop Books on the Hill funded a project through Kickstarter, aiming to publish quick reads specifically intended for dyslexic adults, to encourage them to explore and enjoy the great range of fiction available these days.
I’m delighted to say the initiative has been a great success! Alistair and Chloe are running a second Kickstarter this year, offering another tremendous selection of stories to give readers a taste of different genres. You can find Open Dyslexia: The Sequel here. You will note that names from the bestseller lists and TV adaptations such as Bernard Cornwell and Peter James are supporting this splendid initiative. I was naturally most honoured when Alistair asked me to write a short history mystery (12,000 words) for this year’s line-up.
What you may well not know – because I certainly didn’t, and yes, I am embarrassed by my ignorance – is that making a read dyslexia-friendly is a case of formatting and layout and similar. For an author, the writing process is exactly the same. I’m aiming to challenge, entertain and intrigue with this new Philocles short story in the same way that I do with anything I see published. The only difference is more people will be able to read it – and I love the thought of that.
This time next week you can be reading the third murder mystery where Philocles the playwright must investigate a suspicious death during the Great Panathenaia that marked the start of the classical Greek new year in high summer.
There’s no drama contest at this particular festival, so Philocles and Zosime are looking forward to the holiday. Visitors are coming from across the Hellenic world for eight days of sporting competitions, musical contests and sacred rites to honour Athena, the city’s patron goddess.
Thousands will flock to the Pnyx to be enthralled by the dramatic three-day performance of Homer’s Iliad, an entertainment unique to this event. Taking part, as the episodes of the famous narrative are passed from performer to performer, is the highest honour and greatest challenge for an epic poet. Then one of the poets is brutally murdered.
Is this random misfortune, some old score being settled, or is someone trying to sabotage the festival? The powerful and influential men of the city want this cleared up quickly and quietly. Philocles finds himself on the trail of a killer once more…
If you’re a reviewer who uses NetGalley, you can find an advance copy there. Preorders are available from your preferred ebook retailer.
I am delighted to see the new ebooks of Shadows of Athens and Scorpions in Corinth are being snapped up at their special offer prices. You can find both books from your preferred online store.
In related news, we have had a conversation with Orion Books, since Canelo are holding off on paperback editions on account of the pandemic, and agreed that the remaining paperback stock can be sold through booksellers, and that Orion can continue to sell the audiobooks, so readers will still have a choice of formats for the moment at least.
More news on Justice for Athena will be coming soon…
This article from The Guardian sets out the upcoming autumn for the book trade.
“From Richard Osman’s first crime novel to Caitlin Moran’s new memoir, almost 600 hardbacks are due to be published on 3 September in a “massive bun fight” of new titles, as books delayed over the summer due to Covid-19 finally make it on to shelves.
Autumn is the busiest time of the year in books, with publishers bringing out their biggest titles in the hope of hitting the Christmas jackpot on what has been dubbed “Super Thursday” by the book trade. But this year, the closure of bookshops for more than two months due to the pandemic means that many of the titles held back over the summer are now due to hit shelves this autumn, with a series of what trade magazine the Bookseller called “mini-Super Thursdays” lining up across September and October.”
So all the shelf space and promotion in bookshops will go to big names between now and Xmas as desperate retailers chase what they hope will be guaranteed sales – and who can blame them in these circumstances?
Let’s be thankful for ebooks in the meantime, and hope for sales that see the paperbacks available at the earliest opportunity. If you’ve enjoyed the first two books, tell your friends, and maybe leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads? Every recommendation helps, and is very much appreciated, by me and every other author.
I’ve been saying for a while now that there’ll be news about a third book in this series soon. Well, here is that long-promised update, and thank you for your patience in the meantime.
So what’s been going on? Well, last year, and before Scorpions in Corinth was even published, Orion Books decided they had no further interest in this series. I’ll spare you the dispiriting details, and will simply say this had nothing to do with me or the actual books. As you’ll recall, readers and reviewers thoroughly enjoyed them!
Not so very long ago, that would have been that. However, new formats and new technology are offering new possibilities for readers and writers alike. Canelo is a publishing house that’s been making the most of these opportunities since 2015, offering an array of excellent fiction. So I am delighted to tell you they will be reissuing Shadows of Athens and Scorpions in Corinth on 24th September 2020. A new novel in this series, Justice for Athena, will follow on 15th October 2020.
These will be ebooks only for the moment. Canelo started with a digital-only list, and while they have been moving into print editions for selected titles, that programme, like so much else, has been affected by the commercial impact of the pandemic. Caution is the current watchword across the publishing industry until the situation becomes less volatile. Once that happens, we can all hope to see these novels as paperbacks on book shop shelves.
With regard to audiobooks, conversations are ongoing, and I’ll share any news on that format as and when I have it.
For the moment, let’s admire these dramatic new covers from Canelo. Tell your friends this is the ideal time to catch up with Philocles’ investigations before he finds himself hunting another killer…