Tales from Blackthorn Briar – Cover Reveal and Exclusive Excerpt!

Tales from Blackthorn Briar, the long-awaited sequel to Oak King Holly King, comes out Sept. 21st – which means you can celebrate Mabon with Shrike and Wren!

Shrike, the fae Butcher of Blackthorn, and Wren Lofthouse, a mortal Victorian clerk, are bound together by love and fate. Their continued adventures (and those of their friends) are told in this collection of fantastical tales following the story of Oak King Holly King, including…

• Wherein Shrike and Wren repay their debt to the Court of Hidden Folk.

Mr Grigsby’s Clerk
• Wherein Mr Grigsby finds a replacement for Wren – and perhaps more than he bargained for.

Jack in the Green
• Wherein a certain Horse Guard wanders into Blackthorn Briar.

Winter Solstice
• Wherein the Holly King surrenders to the Oak King.

The Holly King’s Peril
• Wherein Wren and Shrike discover danger in the wilds of the Fae Realms.

The Ballad of Daniel Durst
• Wherein Daniel embarks on his authentic life in a bold new land.

Thistle Arts Studio and Sleepy Fox Studio have crafted another beautiful cover for this collection. Read on to see it for yourself and enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Mabon!

Continue reading “Tales from Blackthorn Briar – Cover Reveal and Exclusive Excerpt!”

Oak King Holly King – Cover Reveal!

At long last, the hour has arrived to reveal the cover art for Oak King Holly King!

Oak King Holly King is a gay Victorian fae romance, blending the genres of historical and fantasy to create a spellbinding adventure. It comes out February 14th, 2022, and you can preorder it on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!

Shrike, the Butcher of Blackthorn, is a legendary warrior of the fae realms. When he wins a tournament in the Court of the Silver Wheel, its queen names him her Oak King – a figurehead destined to die in a ritual duel to invoke the change of seasons. Shrike is determined to survive. Even if it means he must put his heart as well as his life into a mere mortal’s hands.

Wren Lofthouse, a London clerk, has long ago resigned himself to a life of tedium and given up his fanciful dreams. When a medieval-looking brute arrives at his office to murmur of destiny, he’s inclined to think his old enemies are playing an elaborate prank. Still, he can’t help feeling intrigued by the bizarre-yet-handsome stranger and his fantastical ramblings, whose presence stirs up emotions Wren has tried to lock away in the withered husk of his heart.

As Shrike whisks Wren away to a world of Wild Hunts and arcane rites, Wren is freed from the repression of Victorian society. But both the fae and mortal realms prove treacherous to their growing bond. Wren and Shrike must fight side-by-side to see who will claim victory – Oak King or Holly King.

The cover was painted by Jan of Thistle Arts Studio. You’ve seen his work before on the cover redesign for Mr Warren’s Profession. He’s an immensely talented artist and a delight to work with. I was so excited to see his interpretation of our protagonists, Shrike and Wren, and I must say he exceeded expectations.

The cover design was done by Kelley of Sleepy Fox Studio. You’ve seen her work before on Mr Warren’s Profession, Hold Fast, and The Haunting of Heatherhurst Hall. Her eye for design is unparalleled and I’m always delighted with her work.

Without further ado, let’s see that cover!

Continue reading “Oak King Holly King – Cover Reveal!”

New Cover Reveal! Mr Warren’s Profession

     “It took some time for me to bring myself to try reading just a sample of this novel. The reason being, the cover page is so awful and ugly. The art work is just totally off-putting. It’s as if the publisher deliberately is trying to turn off readers. HOWEVER, the novel is wonderfully written. It is such an unexpected surprise that I would unequivocally recommend this novel to all.”
               — J Kevin Barry

     “It is a really great book. Disregard the cover and try it. […] I wouldn’t be the first to the mention the cover. I accept it has a quaintness, but I am not partial to to the artwork. I didn’t like it before reading the story, and as such, went into this not expecting much from the story other than a light read. Instead, I was totally charmed.”
               — Reflection

     “like i thought the cover looked kinda goofy so i was a little reluctant to start, but i’m so glad i trusted the premise and got started on it because i got totally hooked and binged most of it in two days.”
               — The Knights Who Say Book

     “Ignore the Cover, Read the Book! This is a book which I passed by several times because of the cover.”
              — Bo

     “I will say though that i nearly did not read it. shallow as I am, the book cover was not appealing. just goes to show, never judge a book by its cover…or something like that…”
              — Patdbooks

     “I thought the cover was a bit off putting – Mr Warren looks like an unattractive gnome!”
                — Sally

     “Although others like the cover art, I found it distracting because both men are supposedly far more attractive than this is.”
               — Rhode

     “Truth be told – DON’T judge this book by its cover! […] I rather like the cover art and understand why it’s used, but I add the disclaimer at the beginning of this review because I can imagine (perhaps in error) that some potential readers might interpret the style as frivolous, too old-school, as indicating that the book is a parody or even conservative.”
                — R E

     “This book first attracted my attention when I saw it ‘compared’ (associated?) with North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love that book and the idea of an m/m version of it was so intriguing, that not even Mr Warren’s Profession’s cover could dissuade me from giving this a try.”
               — Elena

     “Terrible cover, great book.”
              — Jane Harper

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when so many otherwise positive reviews mention how much they hate the book’s cover, the author might do well to consider changing it.

Mr Warren’s Profession is my first published novel. When I sent it out into the world, I knew absolutely nothing about cover design. I think that much is evident from the typography. I did it myself, and boy howdy, it shows. (Note to Sebastian of the past: adding a white drop shadow will not fix black text over a black top hat.)


And so, in the hopes that readers might be able to recommend the book without a cover caveat, I contacted two talented professionals to help fix the issue.

The first, Jann of Thistle Arts Studio, is a fantastic painter. You can see further examples of his work on his Instagram, Patreon, and Etsy. (Warning: NSFW!) You’ll see more of it when Oak King Holly King is finally released. But for now, he has created a brand new cover painting for Mr Warren’s Profession.

The second, Kelley of Sleepy Fox Studios, is a mastermind of cover composition and typography. You’ve already seen her work on the cover for Hold Fast, which received a quiet redesign about a year ago. You’ll see it again when Oak King Holly King is finally released, and you’ll see it very shortly on the brand new cover design for Mr Warren’s Profession.

And now, without further ado: the new cover. I do hope you approve, and that Aubrey and Lindsey are finally as handsome in pictures as they are in words.

Continue reading “New Cover Reveal! Mr Warren’s Profession”