The Only Way Out is Through a Book

Jun 03, 2022 12:49 pm


Kell Shaw's June 2022 Story Club

Free Short Story: No Way Out

Thaena Ashmore has a problem. She needs to hire a slayer to deal with a problem that even an experienced cambion assassin can't resolve—someone who'll keep their mouth shut and follow orders. But the slayer she hires—the mysterious and overly loquacious Cage—might have his own agenda for the mission...

"This reminds me of one of the Witcher short stories!" - Michael C, proof-reader.

This short story is a sequel to last month's The Vengeance Business and leads into Rule One, but should work as a stand alone.


Got it!

A Writer's Dilemma

I've been writing, writing and not reading enough. Day job, writing life, editing course, arrgh. Time to sort this out. Firstly, I'm going to schedule at least half an hour before bed-time for reading. And then, I'm going to review and log everything because I have thing for lists. Let's see how we go.

Book Review: Dark Fangs Rising by C. Thomas Lafollette

Dark Fangs Rising is a fun, popcorn fantasy book that's about Luke Irontree, a world-weary immortal who's been hunting vampires since Roman times. Now in modern day Portland, Luke is dealing with a plague of vampires on the streets, sourced from the local homeless population. He starts off alone and isolated, but after biting off more than he can handle, he reluctantly teams up with Pablo the werewolf, and Delilah, another hunter with a mysterious past. He has a ginger cat called Alfred and a Batman-esque house.

Key features--

  • Cool weapons and gear (although I'm not convinced that a gladius is the ideal vampire hunting weapon. Luke fights with a gladius and a rudis (wooden sword) in each hand. Luckily, he drags out a proper Roman shield at the end for a boss fight, which is the way to go with a gladius.

  • Lots of great melee weapon fights

  • Flashbacks to Roman times

Some of the fights against endless tides of vampires feel a bit videogamey (rooms are 'cleared') but there's a great deal of energy, snappy banter and interesting side characters.

Urban fantasy can feel bland if the writer can't pull off a strong sense of place (I've gone through books where everything feels like a TV show set in New York but shot in Vancouver) but Lafollette evokes a strong vibe for Portland, especially with descriptions of local food and craft beer.

No romance, but plenty of action. There's a positive LGBT vibe with Pablo and the LGBT werewolf pack, and Luke ends up adopting a trans werewolf teenager at the end of the book. And there's a whole swathe of sequels in a rapid release queue. I'll definitely check out the next one.


Publishing Update

All of these are 'Vestige World' projects.

  • Final Night Audio Book - Finished! It sounds okay to me, but my narrator suggests it needs mastering so will look into that. Plan is to it publish it later this year when the sequel is also in the can.
  • Sequel Novella to Final Night - First draft complete! I'll let it rest for a bit before going back and working on the second draft.
  • Novel #1 - I'm taking this through a six month 'Edit Your Novel' course, so it will be out in 2023, I think.
  • RPG: Did some more work on this, but it's on the backburner at the moment.


Magic and Mayhem


This is a giveaway for urban fantasy, fantasy, paranormal, and paranormal romance! All things paranormal and (urban) fantasy are welcome: magic, shifters, ghosts, vampires, wizards, sorcerers, witches, fae, undead, ghouls, angels, demons, paranormal prison, paranormal academy, and more.

Magic me up!

Vexed by Vampires


Pre-order (release 15 June 2022), Amazon, Kobo, Apple, USD$7.03

Vampires. Not the midlife crisis I expected.

When I finally got around to dating after my jackhole of a husband walked out on my fortieth birthday, I thought personal grooming was my biggest worry.

Until I went on a date with a vampire and ended up fighting for my life.

Now I see magic—and danger—everywhere I look, and somehow I'm the one responsible for keeping everyone safe.

It's worse than being roped into heading a PTA committee. Well…maybe.

Anyway, whatever happened to finding a teenage girl to be the Chosen One?

Still, I'll do whatever it takes to keep the people I love safe. I might even be willing to protect that jackhole ex. But only if I have to.

Vamp Me Up

Grave Dangers: A Thriller, Suspense, and Horror Collection


Pre-Order (release 7 March 2022) USD99c, Amazon, Apple, B&N

What’s dead doesn’t always stay buried.

Whether it be in a small town, an abandoned asylum, or a bustling city, no one is safe from the ugliest parts of human nature. A social media influencer, a college student, a detective – titles make no difference when death plays Russian Roulette.

Question is, who will be next?

Fifteen bestselling authors offer up their sacrifice in GRAVE DANGERS, a collection of thriller, horror, and suspense stories that will chill you to the bone and encourage you to double check that window lock.

A Grave State of Affairs!