September Update: GOD OF GNOMES Cover Reveal, Excerpt, and Pre-Order Link!


Hello! I’m back in Manchester after a delightful holiday week in Cornwall involving lots of beer, sunshine, sightseeing, and cookies. Colin and I will be back on the road come Thursday (Swanseastones Con! Yay!), which also happens to be the official release day for GOD OF GNOMES (finally!). Here’s a quick update for you in the meantime.

Cover Reveal

Earlier this month, we revealed Gnomes’ final cover over at The Fantasy Hive. Alberto Besi’s extraordinary artwork and eye-catching typography was received with much-deserved enthusiasm by the fantasy book community! Here it is in all its glory:

God of Gnomes (God Core) by Demi Harper

Colourful, fun, and just a little bit different from your usual fantasy fare – the cover perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the book.

Pre-Order Gnomes Now!

God of Gnomes is releasing on September 26th – in just three days’ time! If you can’t wait that long, or are worried you’ll forget, never fear: you can now pre-order Gnomes in all three formats (ebook, paperback, and audiobook). Rumour has it that the paperback version is shipping early, but you didn’t hear that from me. 😉

Exclusive Excerpt

If you’re still itching to consume my words via your eyeballs, I have even more good news for you: there’s an exclusive excerpt from the first chapter of God of Gnomes over on The Fantasy Hive right now! I’ll also be posting a few more free chapters on Royal Road later in the week for those who’re undecided as to whether they want to read more.

I’m also working on a prequel short story set in the God Core universe. The story – along with a whole bunch of others by my fellow publishing siblings – will be FREE when you sign up to the Portal Books newsletter.

That’s it from me! For today, anyway. Now please enjoy this video of me ziplining 100 metres above the ground while on holiday last week. (You’ll have to imagine the screamed profanities, I’m afraid, since they don’t show up on the audio.)

July Update – And Exciting GOD OF GNOMES News!


So my resolution to post more regular updates here fizzled out spectacularly (oops). In my defence, I’ve had a lot on my plate; the first half of 2019 has been a busy one, and I’m excited to finally be able to share details of the projects I’ve got lined up for you.

Heroes Wanted

Last month, I finished a short story for a new fantasy anthology I’m helping organise. Just like the Lost Lore collection we released last year, Heroes Wanted will feature a wide range of stories from some of the ‘Terrible Ten’ – a group of self-published authors who are neither terrible, nor ten – including Will Wight, K.S. Villoso, Timandra Whitecastle, Dyrk Ashton, David Benem, Quenby Olson, Phil Tucker, Jeramy Goble, Mike Shel, Andy Peloquin, Joe Jackson, Matt Moss, Ben Galley, Michael J. Sullivan, Jeffrey Hall, M.D. Presley, Derek Siddoway, J.C. Kang, and Dan Potter.

Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology

The Heroes Wanted anthology will be released sometime in late autumn. I’ll be responsible for proofreading and arranging the stories, and the cover art is currently being worked on by the excellent and talented Shane Cook (Slaine_69), whose work I’ve admired for a long time. He’s already produced some stunning concepts for us, and I can’t wait to see (and reveal) the final cover! (And the stories, of course!)

I have the best job in the world

What else have I been up to? Well, editing-wise, I’ve proofread some INCREDIBLE books over the last few months, including several LitRPG titles for Portal Books. Bone Dungeon (Elemental Dungeon #1) by Jonathan Smidt is out now, while Mastermind (Titan Online #1) by Steven Kelliher and Renegade (Nova Online #2) by Alex Knight will both be released within the next few weeks.

More recently, I had the pleasure and the privilege of working on Sin Eater (Iconoclasts #2), the sequel to Aching God by Mike Shel. Aching God was one of my favourite reads of 2018, yet Sin Eater somehow managed to top it in every way. You can read my review here, and buy the book here!

I’ve also just finished work on Benedict Patrick’s first non-Yarnsworld novel, Flight of the Darkstar Dragon, which is phenomenal. It won’t be released for another month or two, but you should definitely check out Benedict’s other books in the meantime!

And finally…

God of Gnomes

For those who’ve heard me harp on about my LitRPG debut novel and are wondering when the hell it’s going to make an appearance, I have some VERY exciting news to announce: God of Gnomes has been picked up by Audible (the world’s largest audiobook producer), and is currently in the early stages of production!

The book will be narrated by Adam Sims (2017 Audiobook Narrator of the Year for Flowers for Algernon), who has also narrated books by Steve Cavanagh, Haruki Murakami, Louise Penny, Tim Powers, and Max Brooks.

According to my publisher, Portal Books, God of Gnomes‘ official launch date is 26th September 2019. It will be simultaneously released in all formats (ebook, paperback, and audiobook).

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, wait until you see the stellar job done on the cover by artist Alberto Besi! The full cover reveal is coming soon on The Fantasy Hive, but for now here’s a cheeky taster:

One more thing: God of Gnomes will be published under my new pen name Demi Harper. There are a few reasons for this, but foremost among them is the fact that this book marks a somewhat drastic change in both tone and subject matter from my existing (and ongoing) body of fantasy work. I decided it made sense to put out God of Gnomes – and all future LitRPG novels, of which I’m sure there will be many! – as an entirely new ‘brand’. Don’t worry, though – it’s still me! And it’s no secret, so please don’t hesitate to  continue to spread the word. 🙂

Until next time!

January Update – and 2018 Highlights!


Happy (belated) new year! The dearth of updates from me over the last twelve months is evidence of how terrible I am at posting on here, but I’ll try to do better this year. Promise.

An exciting nomination

First of all, I’m thrilled to announce that The Fantasy Hive – the website I launched back in January 2018 – has been nominated for a Stabby Award for Best Fantasy Site over on r/Fantasy! You can check out the list, and vote for your favourites (until the end of January 7th), here.

Art of War, an anthology for charity (in which I have a story titled ‘Dear Menalaus’), is also nominated for a Stabby. Exciting times!

Stories, stories everywhere

Having finally finished the first draft of my first novel (more on that below), I’ll be spending most of my spare time this month researching/outlining not one, but TWO new short stories. Both are for anthology projects; I’ll be announcing more details in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on here and on social media for updates!

 Farewell, 2018

After a rather turbulent 2017, 2018 turned out to be pretty great for me on both a personal and professional level.  Here are some of the (chronological) highlights!

laura-m-hughes-green-dragon-swirl-para-break-divider

I launched The Fantasy Hive!

Launched on January 1st 2018, The Fantasy Hive is a collaborative site, and a hub for all things SFF. I may be the one running things over there, but the Hive would be nothing without its brilliant team of content-providing contributors, and you can read all about them here.

The Fantasy Hive (Header)

I appeared in multiple anthologies!

Three, to be exact! And I’m delighted with the positive response they’ve received from readers and fellow writers alike. My stories are:

  • ‘I, Kane’ (Lost Lore anthology, available here)
  • ‘Dear Menelaus’ (Art of War anthology, available here)
  • ‘The Girl and the Gharial’ (Double Take anthology, available here)

I found myself a Colin!

In February 2018, I met my boyfriend, Colin. This wonderful creature accompanied me to conventions and events throughout the year, provided some much-needed support and advice, and even alpha-read my novel as I was writing it. We’re now living together, and will both be heading to Reykjavik in Iceland next month to celebrate our anniversary!

Colin Bradley and Laura Hughes

I (we) discovered DnD!

One of the most fun things Colin and I did last year was to enter the world of Dungeons and Dragons! Both of us were complete noobs when it came to tabletop games, and DnD took some getting used to, but we’re now several games into our second campaign and I think we might finally have the hang of things. (I’m currently role-playing a dwarven cleric named Grumlin Greyhammer, while Colin is Thom Truthblower, a lecherous old human bard.)

I signed with Portal Books

Remember that short story I mentioned above? ‘I, Kane’, in the Lost Lore anthology? Well, the guys at Portal Books liked it so much they asked me to write a novel for them! GOD OF GNOMES is unlike anything I’ve ever written before, being a LitRPG novel (specifically, Dungeon Core with RTS elements). It’s now complete, and will likely hit the shelves sometime this summer.

Here’s some pictures from when I journeyed to London to hang out with the Portal guys! (Clockwise from left: me, Brook Aspden, Michael Miller and Taran Matharu.)

I attended Edge Lit

Way back in July 2017, I attended my first ever convention: Edge Lit (in Derby). In July 2018, I was lucky enough to go again! It was brilliant to be able to introduce Colin to some of the finest people in our little fantasy community: T.O. Munro (aka. ‘Theo’), Steve McHugh, Dan Sutcliffe, Anna Stephens (and her wonderful husband Mark), Anna Smith Spark, James Latimer – not to mention my very close friends Mike Everest (and his lovely wife Jen), Kareem Mahfouz and Sadir Samir.

Edge Lit 2018

Clockwise from left: Laura Hughes (me), Colin Bradley, James Latimer, Anna Stephens, Mike Everest, Jen Evans, T.O. Munro (Theo), Sadir Samir, Mark Smith, Dan Sutcliffe, Kareem Mahfouz

Many meetings

A month later, in August, I had the pleasure of attending yet another gathering of awesome people, prompted by the (sadly temporary) arrival in London of US author Taya Latham (aka. T L Greylock). Taya is one of my best friends, and to finally be able to meet her in person was exciting to say the least!

Here we are, hanging out with Anna Stephens and Timandra Whitecastle:

While in London, we also attended SRFC (Super Relaxed Fantasy Club), and mingled with a bunch of other awesome folk, including Kareem Mahfouz, Mike Everest, Anna Smith Spark, John Jarrold, Graeme Williams, James Latimer, and RJ Barker!

Clockwise from left: Laura Hughes (me), RJ Barker, Kareem Mahfouz, John Jarrold, Taya Latham (T L Greylock) and Timandra Whitecastle

I attended BristolCon (again)

In October, I found myself heading down south yet again. I’m pleased to say my second BristolCon was even more fun than my first!

Colin and I got to catch up with a bunch of the Edge Lit crowd, as well as great friends from across the globe, including Marielle Ooms, Julia Sarene and her husband Andreas, and of course our BFF J.P. Ashman.  It was also lovely to see other familiar faces such as Jude Hunter, Mark Lawrence, Rosa Watkinson, Tom Clews, Rita Sloan, G.R. Matthews, Adrian Selby, James Tivendale, and Rob Hayes. There (naturally) ensued the usual inebriated hijinks with Kareem, Dan Sutcliffe and Dominick Murray, and I also got to meet even more people for the first time, including Beth Hindmarch, Tom Gaskin, Timy Takacs, and Luke Scull.

Colin Bradley, Laura Hughes, Sadir Samir

Road trip to BristolCon with Colin and Sadir!

To sum up…

All in all, 2018 was an excellent year for me. I finished writing my first novel, I found love, I was reunited with friends from across the world, and I worked with some incredible editing clients. Despite being so busy, I also managed to read 50 books! (And  tweeted about every single one of them here.)

Fingers crossed 2019 is just as good. 🙂

Best Books (and Things) of 2017


Ah, 2017. I think most people will agree you’ve been a bit of a bastard all round.

(Scroll down for fun stuff.)

As far as I’m concerned, it’s been a bit of a tempestuous year for personal and professional reasons. As well as moving house – twice – I struggled through a heavy bout of depression throughout the spring and early summer after the death of my grandmother. In early autumn, my husband and I began divorce proceedings; consequently, I’m back home living with my parents again.

Told you it’d been a bit tempestuous…

BUT! It’s far from being all doom and gloom. Very far indeed. Here are ten awesome things that happened to me in 2017.


Ten awesome things that happened to me in 2017

  1. I had three more articles published over on Tor.com (reviews of Skullsworn by Brian Staveley and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, as well as a Beginner’s Guide to Deadhouse Gates!).
  2. I was made Assistant Editor on Fantasy-Faction (where I’ve been contributing since July 2016) underneath Marc Aplin and alongside Jennie Ivins.Fantasy-Faction
  3. I attended my first event – Edge-Lit in Derby, where I finally met some of my best mates (Kareem Mahfouz, Mike Evans, Sadir Samir and J. P. Ashman) for reals, as well as being introduced to the madness that is RJ Barker (and Mrs. RJ, of course), we well as Anna Stephens and Clan Gwynne, Ann and Stan Nicholls, Peter and Emma Newman, Lucy Hounsom, Zen Cho, and more.Edge Lit (Derby, July 2017) - J.P Ashman, Kareem Mahfouz, Michael Everest, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Laura M Hughes, Sadir Samir
  4. I wrote short stories for no less than THREE anthologies, all of which will be published in 2018.
  5. I left my day job to start my own freelance editing business.Laura M Hughes Editing Services
  6. I went to more than a few smaller events in London for the first time, including Fantasy in the Court and SRFC, and was introduced to the likes of Jo Fletcher, Anna Smith Spark, Michael Miller, Harry Illingworth, Alex (A.Z.) Anthony, Ed McDonald, Kristen Ciccarelli, Genevieve Cogman, G. R. Matthews,  Magnus Anderson, Phil Exon, Laura Jayne Dodds, Kitty G, and more.Julia Hartley Goble, Michael R. Miller, Dyrk Ashton, Ed McDonald, Kareem Mahfouz, Laura M. Hughes, Jeramy Goble (London, October 2017)
  7. Danse Macabre as an audiobook! It’s narrated by Nigel Peever, who does a stellar job of bringing Blue, Crow, Snail and the others to life – and accompanied by interludes from the composition ‘Danse Macabre’ by Camille Saint-Saens!Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes - THE AUDIOBOOK!
  8. I experienced BristolCon for the first time, where I met even more amazing people in person, including T. O. Munro (aka. Theo), Rita Sloan, Thomas Clews, Dominick Murray, Dan Sutcliffe, Mark Lawrence, Marc Aplin, A.F.E. Smith, Steve McHugh, Petros Triantafyllou, and even the erudite Dyrk Ashton! (And, a few days later, the equally erudite Jeramy Goble!)

    Dyrk Ashton, Laura M. Hughes (BristolCon, October 2017)

    Me and Dyrk Ashton (I’m the one on the right)

  9. Re-released Danse Macabre with a brand new cover, designed by the fabulous Rachel Lawston!
  10. Founded The Fantasy Hive! (It launches on January 1st, 2018).The Fantasy Hive

I’ll stick a few more cringeworthy pictures of myself and the rest of the fantasy community in at the end of this post, but first, here are some of my best reads of 2017 (also in the form of a gallery, because I am apparently super lazy today).

Best Books Read in 2017

Aaand as promised, more randomness from BristolCon, Edge-Lit, Fantasy in the Court, SRFC and various other fantastical gatherings (including a trip to visit RJ Barker):

All in all, much fun was had. The good balanced the bad, lessons were learned, and I look forward to making 2018 the best year yet. 🙂

Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology (ANNOUNCEMENT)


On Fantasy Book Critic yesterday, an upcoming anthology was announced and the cover revealed (you can read the article here). I’m delighted to be able to say that I’m part of this anthology, alongside all those incredible names (incredible authors, and also incredible friends). It’ll be available on January 15th 2018, and it’ll be FREE!

For now, you can add it on Goodreads here.

Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology

Hidden pasts. Secrets untold. Legends half-remembered. Sixteen fantasy writers gather to bring sixteen tales to life, each one a unique glimpse into a wholly original world.

Peace is fleeting. Victories are bitter. Triumph is illusory.

But it was not always thus . . .

In Midgard, a humble priestess takes it upon herself to move Valhalla and earth to bring justice to lands unfairly ruled by men, gods, and giants.

On the Emerald Road, a dead Sage triggers a brutal trial beneath the forest floor. There, a young man must fight—and kill—both friends and enemies to become the next wielder of the fabled Emerald Blade.

And in the Yarnsworld, the Magpie King teaches two brothers a dangerous lesson about the power of stories. Sticks and stones may indeed break bones . . . but they cannot hurt the Bramble Man.

In worlds ravaged by flood, fire, and frost, mere mortals strive to make their own legends amidst demons and deities alike. And in lands racked with human strife—where evil endures and no one is ever safe—scarred heroes fight forces even darker than their own personal demons.

Why do they fight?

Some seek to better the world, or themselves. Others are out to right old wrongs. But whatever their goal – reward, redemption, or just respite – the truth will out eventually. For no story is ever truly lost so long as there exists one to tell it.

Sixteen authors. Sixteen tales. Sixteen portals into different worlds.

‘Danse Macabre’ Audiobook (aka. I’m coming in your ears!)


*sniggers*

Seriously, though – IT’S ALIVE! (And the first reviews are in already!)

Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes - THE AUDIOBOOK!

That’s right: Danse Macabre is now on sale as an audiobook, narrated by Nigel Peever and with a fantastic new cover by Rachel Lawston.

You can grab it from Amazon, or from Audible. (If you do, please leave a short review over on both sites, as this will help Nigel and myself immensely!)

 

New project: THE HIVENING!


I’ve neglected this blog for a while now. One reason for this is that I’m rubbish. Another is that I’ve been happily inundated with enough editing work to keep me busy until at least October, with further jobs tentatively scheduled for later and in the new year. (Exciting, eh?)

But the main reason is that myself and a few others have been hatching a brand new project: THE FANTASY HIVE.

Fantasy Hive

Launching on January 1, 2018, The Fantasy Hive is a personality-driven celebration of the genre. TFH will host features, interviews, articles and lists, as well as reviews of books, games, films, comics, TV shows, etc. – basically, a nucleus for anything and everything spec-fic related.

As you can see, we have a pretty impressive list of talent holding the front lines already, with plenty of others waiting in the wings for the curtain to rise. Some of my favourite people in the world (and across the world, from the UK to the US to NZ, from Ireland to Canada, from Japan to Germany and Sweden) are currently coordinating their efforts to make this new site as awesome as it can possibly be.

A few people have joked about the ‘hive’ thing, and the implication that the rest of the team are the drones/workers to my ‘Queen Bee’. While I’m not going to be falsely modest about my own role in putting the site, and the team, together (basically, I put the site and the team together) there’s no way I’m going to take credit for what’s happened since.  My aim has always been to create something collaborative; something which harnesses and encourages the enthusiasm and imagination of its contributors; something people will come to recognise as a hub of positivity and excitement, and which generally conveys an unconditional and all-encompassing love of the genre. Something people are proud to associate themselves with.

I’m delighted to say that we’re well our way to achieving this.

Work on the main site is being completed behind the scenes, and will continue for the rest of this year. However, you can visit our landing page if you’re curious. Additionally, you can follow our social media accounts for updates, fantasy-related posts and pictures, and a bit of banter and all-round silliness. Right now we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Come and say hi, and help us spread the word!

Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who’s already supported the Hive. What an amazing fellowship we are, indeed.

laura-m-hughes-green-dragon-swirl-para-break-divider

Norse Fantasy by T.L. Greylock: SALE!

It’s not often you can grab an ENTIRE trilogy of awesome books for less than £3. So believe me when I say you should shoot on over to Amazon and grab all three books in the Song of the Ash Tree while they’re 99p apiece. DO IT!!

Someone *cough* may have gotten a bit carried away making banners during all the excitement. If you’re on social media, feel free to borrow the banners and share the love!