I have a new book coming out.

If you missed the tweets or Facebook posts, I have some news this week. I’ve written another book.

This is a complete change from me. First, it’s a novella – just 33,000 words. I like novellas. They tell the story that they have to tell and then stop. They are convenient in today’s crowded lives because they don’t take that long to read. My apologies to those, like one of my friends who read a draft copy, who want more words because, they said, they enjoyed it so much. None of my other six books are under 75,000 words and some run considerably more than that, so there’s no shortage of words you can read from me if you feel the need for them. I didn’t want to pad this one out, so I tried to make every word count and I hope that the ride is short but exciting.

The second big difference from any of my other books is that this is not historical fiction. It’s very much set in the world of today. It’s about two companies of magicians: the Maestros of Magic touring the country, playing provincial theatres, and the Carnival of Conjurors who are storming to success in the West End. When the Maestros begin to suspect that the Conjurors are using Black Magic to achieve their incredible illusions, things get nasty. Soon “dying on stage” isn’t just a figure of speech.

The book is called Dark Magic and bits of it are very dark indeed, but there are a fair few laughs. It’s nice to have an excuse to give free rein to my twisted sense of humour.

It has being huge fun for me to write. Just as with my historical novels, I did have to do some research – but the research consisted of chatting to magicians and watching tricks on YouTube. It made a pleasant change from days spent reading 19th-century correspondence.

In another break from the way I have done things in the past, this one is being self-published. Publishers are generally unenthusiastic about novellas, so this seemed the best way to get it to see the light of day. If it’s successful, I will probably self-publish more of my historical novels. The way that publishing works these days, selling to a publisher takes a lot of time and effort and the benefits aren’t as obvious as they were when publishers had fewer authors and were in a better position to offer them support.

Self-publishing does mean that I have to do all my own promotion, including things like sort out the cover. I have a very beautiful cover, thanks to designer Dave Slaney. I’ll be revealing it on Friday. Look out for my blog post then.

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