Greetings! Basically everything I’m doing this month is preparing for the release of Book 4 of my Swithen series, which is exciting for me because… this is the book in which Arthur himself joins the story, and becomes the main character from here on out. I’ve always found it a bit of a hard sell to have a King Arthur series without any King Arthur in it, so I’m hoping that this will be an important moment for the series. I’m also just very proud and think—in my own humble opinion—that it’s a fantastic book!
It’s a very sweet and lyrical (until it goes dark and horrifying) story of childhood with the future King Arthur at the center, and I can’t wait to get reader’s reactions to it. All that said, I’ve just posted a Preview of Book 4 over on the site proper, so if you want to know what to expect from the novel, where the title comes from, who’s on the cover and which of your favorite Arthurian characters make appearances, get over there and take a look at it.
In the meantime, I’ve already started on Book 5, which I’ll discuss in a future post. Book 4 is with the proofreader right now, and I’m putting finishing touches on formatting and etc. for an April 1st release. Go over and check out the Book 4 preview!
Greetings, friends, I have great news, or at least, a great relief for me. The new version of my audiobook for Book 1: Our Man on Earth is finally available. Which means that The Swithen Podcast will also soon be starting again. Here’s the backstory.
You may recall that I thoroughly revised Our Man on Earth from its originally-published version when I realized that I was selling its main character, Meylinde, way short. When I started, I thought that everyone would be eager to get to Merlin, so I kind of rushed through the Meylinde sections. I was also just finding my way in the series, and unsure about how to handle the tone and balance the stuff I made up with the stuff from the real legend. So eventually I realized that Meylinde is really the main character of that novel, and furthermore, she’s kind of the Virgin Mary of the entire series, and I really needed to flesh her out and make her an interesting character. So I went back and revised the book, adding fifty pages in the process, most of it deepening and enriching Meylinde’s character.
Unfortunately, this made the existing audiobook, a reading of the first version, obsolete (although still for sale, offering a poor impression of my series to anyone who chose to join through the method). Adding to the injury, my narration was, in the words of one reviewer, “Terrible!” And it was. I was pretty much just reading the book straight, and the result was godawful–I can’t believe anyone made it through. I have recorded much more of my own writing in the meantime and get it about telling the story, and giving an indication of how I hear each of these characters speaking. Anyway, I am much happier with the new recording, and I think you’ll agree it’s much better if you decide to listen.
Finally, perhaps you know that I had a podcast of this series going, which was a serialized version of the story, a few chapters of the novel every week. It made it through this first book and was midway through the second when I just couldn’t find enough time to make it work, along with writing new novels and working full time (not to mention trying to promote the books). And not to be mercenery, but if I don’t have a full audiobooks available to send people listeners of the podcast to, then I’m just giving away my work for free–it’s not promoting anything. So now that I have the audiobook of Book 1 up (and am almost done with the one for Book 2: The Sons of Constance, then I can revive the podcast, and have another great way to bring people into this series… especially in a world where most people no longer read printed works.
So there we are. Big milestone for me, and the opening up of two new venues to bring my work to people, especially since so few people read books anymore. I’ll be sure to let you know when the podcast is back up and running. In the meantime, check out the audiobook.
What’cha doin? Not much? What if I told you that you could watch a 9-minute video that summarized the entire first trilogy of the Swithen series (the parts before the future King Arthur joins the story) and be ready to hit it when Book 4 comes out in a few months?
Would You say that 9 minutes is an eternity in a world where 10 seconds is too long for anyone to pay attention? I would sigh, then quietly reply “I know.”
Nevertheless, there it is. Since Book 4 is coming, and in Book 4 Arthur himself becomes the main character–so now our King Arthur book series actually has King Arthur in it–I have to face that a fair amount of people will begin the series here. And so, to welcome them, and ensnare anyone else who might be intrigued, or those–like you, perhaps?–who have been curious about the series but don’t have time to read the books.
Here you have a quickie summary that takes us from the birth of Merlin, through three kings and finally brings us right up through Merlin’s manipulation of Uther and Igraine to create Arthur. Find out what’s going on in all those books you’ve followed but not yet been able to read!
You can also forward it to your friends and relatives to show them what they’ve been missing.
If you’re a knowledgeable Arthurian, you’ll be able to see the ways in which I have skewed or added to the elements of the original legend in order to make them all form one complete narrative.
And if you have read the books… thanks! And I love you. I hope you liked them. You’re welcome to watch the video, too! You’ll see my cool Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me T shirt, which I got WAYYYY before the latest Twin Peaks revival.
I’m still at work proofreading and doing final edits on Book 4, but it’s looking definitely to be ready by the end of March (if you pre-order it for only 0.99, it says it comes out in October, but that’s only because I chose a date way out so I don’t get stressed… it’ll be April at the very latest). Also… it’s really good. I’m really happy with it. I hope everybody likes it.
Check out the Book 1-3 synopsis video and let me know what you think!
Greetings friends, I’m getting very excited for the release of Book 4 in my Swithen series, which will tell my version of King Arthur’s childhood (and you can pre-order a Kindle edition right now!). Why am I excited? Well for one, because I think it’s a really great book. Second, because the whole series takes a big turn now, because the main character of the series is now in the story! So from now on, the next 21 books are all going to stay with Arthur (with some diversions), and be one continuous story in which we’re going to follow Arthur, Guinevere, Gawain, Merlin and Lancelot from birth, through childhood and adolescence, into adulthood and until they die.
Another thing special about this book is that it is one of a very few novels that purport to tell about King Arthur’s childhood. The big other one is T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, part of his Once and Future King series. The other other one is John Matthews’ Sword of Ice and Fire, which I reviewed on this site a few months ago. As far as I know, those are the only others, so it’s a topic that has been touched on less than one might think.
Also, there is pretty much nothing about Arthur’s childhood in the legends, which means that this book will be unique among the series for being 98% original story, made up by me. As you know, my series is committed to remaining faithful to the pre-1485 Arthurian legend, so most of the books come with the main story points laid out. Not this one (and not the majority of the next one, either). These are going to be largely original works, so now you’ll be able to see if I can craft a story without having the outline made up for me!
That said, I love the tone of the novel. One of the things I am happy about this series is that every book in the series has a different tone–sometimes even a different genre–while they are telling one continuous story. The last one was very dark and arduous, but this one is very light, sweet, lyrical and gently humorous (until, of course, it’s not). It’s very much in the vein of an old-fashioned boy’s adventure novel, filled with a lot of gentle family comedy and drama with Arthur and his brother Kay, Mom and Pop Ector, and their friend Pedrawd and his sons Bedivere and Lucan.
Anyway, go over and read the author interview about Book 4: The Flower of Chivalryand secure your copy (it says October, but I’m actually aiming for March or April) by pre-ordering a Kindle edition. And please, please, any mention you make of my books to your friends and family, online reviews or mentions on social media are invaluable and greatly appreciated.
Greetings folks, guess what? There’s a new review of John Matthew’s The Sword of Ice and Fire over on my website! Let no time be lost and get over there and read it!
Still here? Okay, let’s have some more background. I read this book because I am working on Book 4 of my The Swithen series, which will be my vision of King Arthur’s childhood. Matthew’s book is also an imagining of Arthur’s childhood, so I both wanted to see what he did, and also ensure that my book wasn’t too similar. I was actually more than halfway through my initial draft when I started, so you can imagine I had some worry when I finally got to it!
Luckily, the two books have almost nothing in common. Matthews’ in a young adult novel, where mine is going to be an adult novel about a kid. His takes place on the isle of Avalon, where mine is going to take place in a small medieval town. Matthew’s novel takes place mostly in a castle, whereas in mine Arthur is out in the forest exploring and discovering nature. In his novel, Arthur’s adoptive parents and foster brother are there, but not a huge focus, where my novel is going to have large elements of family comedy and drama with lots of talks around the dinner table and other elements that I hope can make it resonate with contemporary readers. Matthews book also focuses, as most Arthurian stories do, on the heroism, valiance and honor of the story, whereas I realize that a big interest of mine is including the failures of the characters, that they learn from, and also the fears and outright terror that often exist right under that outward bravery.
You might be surprised (as I was) to learn that Matthews’ book is currently one of TWO existing works that imagine a childhood for King Arthur. The other is T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, part of his Once and Future King. You would think there would be more, but there aren’t (when my book comes out, the total will rise to three!). The actual Arthurian legend doesn’t cover this period at all, it just goes straight from Uther’s death to Arthur’s pulling the sword, so this entire period is up for grabs for the writer. Interestingly, we also DON’T have any indication in any legend that Merlin was with Arthur in childhood, so any version that you read or see that has Merlin as a mentor to Arthur as a child is influenced by The Sword in the Stone, showing how very influential that novel was.
I’m very excited about my novel and some of the twists it has. It will be very, VERY different in tone from the rest of the books so far, being a very light, sweet “boy and his dog” style novel of childhood—at least until it goes very dark—and I hope readers really like my young Arthur, and the time we spend getting to know him in his formative years will really inform us once he grows into adulthood and settles into his role as king. One of the things I think is going to be amazing if done right—once we get to Book 7 or so, let alone 14 or 20—is the feeling that we remember this character from when he was a boy. Of course, by the time the series is over, we should have that feeling for nearly every character in the saga. It is very exciting, as I write Book 4, to create the childhood of a character we’re going to follow into adulthood and all the way to his death, and to think about what formative experiences he might have that will create the person we know later.
And if you want to read another author’s version of how that childhood might go, you’ve got John Matthew’s The Sword of Ice and Fire, which is reviewed right here. The next move is up to you!