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 ‚Äď 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. ūüėČ

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

‘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!)

 

Hey, June!


Back in March, Fantasy-Faction’s head honchos (Marc Aplin and Jennie Ivins) asked me to step up and help out with editing duties. Having written regularly for the site since July 2016, I’m familiar with the contributing team and was excited to have an opportunity to assist with acquiring, organising and editing new content. Marc’s day job has kept him away from FF throughout the past few months; when I agreed to step in, Jennie was finally able to take a well-earned break to deal with some important personal issues.

On April 9 – just one year after my grandad’s passing – my grandma died. Those who know me well are aware that this preceded my Annual Mental Breakdown. During the AMB (’17 edition), I threw myself into my new role on FF, despite Jennie’s compassionate offer to let me step away again. I buried myself in my FF editing responsibilities, and did the same with other projects and interactions in an attempt to escape from the fact that I was completely and utterly failing at Real Life.

The usual counselling, medication, GP visits and back-to-work interviews came after, and while I’m still a bit fragile I’m happy to say that the worst has passed.

However,¬†continual involvement in online projects (such as FF) has left me somewhat burned out. Running a site that large is hard, guys – especially when you’re doing it alone. This is why I intend to stay on as assistant editor while handing the main reins back to Jennie. It’s been a challenging and eye-opening three months, but it’s also been a lot of fun. I’d like to say a brief but heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone involved in making my editorial stint such a rewarding experience. You’re amazing.

After sitting down and having a serious think about what I want to do with my life, I’ve realised several things.

  1. My own writing has been suffering for a long time
  2. I enjoy (and am good at) editing, and would like to do more of it
  3. I need to work harder and make big changes in order to fix both of these things

As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve made the decision to step back from my role at Fantasy-Faction for the foreseeable future.¬†While I’m no longer running the show over there, I intend to continue as an active part of the team and of the SFF community whilst focusing more closely on my own writing and editing.

Here are some of the things I will still be doing:

  • Co-ordinating the SPFBO effort on Fantasy-Faction
  • Building a client base for my freelance editing/proofreading business
  • Reading, critiquing and/or reviewing the few beta projects & ARCs I’ve already committed myself to
  • Writing my own book!

Mr Hughes and I are also moving house in a couple of weeks. While this is currently making everyday life even more stressful, we’re both looking forward to it, and I intend to do whatever I can to make the most of our fresh start. With that in mind, I’ve set up a Patreon page (which you can check out here) which will hopefully enable me to realise my own goals while continuing to support self-published fantasy authors.

Thanks again to the amazing friends and family who’ve put up with me during the last few months. <3

NEW: Editing Services


It’s official: my editing services are now available for hire! I’m offering¬†high-quality line editing, copy editing and proofreading¬†at competitive rates, with a focus on self-published fantasy fiction. I’m even offering a 20% discount to participants (past and¬†present!)¬†in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off! Check out¬†this page¬†for details, rates, and testimonials.

Head over to the page for full details. Please feel free to contact me should you wish to see my CV – and please don’t hesitate to spread the word about my new venture!

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

A Beginner’s Guide to Malazan Characters: Deadhouse Gates


The awesome folk at Tor.com have just published my fifth article over there!¬†A Beginner’s Guide to Malazan Characters: Deadhouse Gates¬†is a follow-up to last year’s guide to¬†Gardens of the Moon.

Once again, there’s a whole bunch of fabulous artwork to accompany it, and I’d encourage you to check out all of these brilliant artists on DeviantArt!

Last chance for doodles!


I’m blown away by the enthusiasm surrounding¬†Danse Macabre’s¬†recent release in paperback. So many of you supported me by buying and sharing – and you ROCK!

More, a whole bunch of you were even willing to pay more for a signed, personalised copy. A trend soon developed of unique and increasingly elaborate doodles (or, as one Anindita nicknamed them, ‘Loodles’!), and seeing them pop up on social media has been hella fun.

Here’s the thing: I’m no artist. And while I’m pretty chuffed with how some of those doodles turned out, the fact is that they took me aaaaaaaages (up to an hour each for some of them!). Given that I’m aiming to have the first draft of my novel completed by March, I’m having to carefully consider my other commitments, and cut down on those I just don’t have the time for any more.

So! You can still grab a doodled copy of Danse Macabre¬†as long as you place your order before¬†the end of December. Once that clock ticks over into 2017, that’s it. Window closed.

You can order your personalised copy here, or buy a bog-standard one from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Either way – thank you, and happy new year!

2016: The Worst of Times, the Best of Tomes


Ah, 2016. For various reasons, I’ve read nowhere near the amount of books I wanted to this year.¬†But the ones I¬†have¬†read were pretty damn awesome. Here’s a few of the awesomest (note: not all of these were actually published in 2016!).

2016 shall henceforth become known as The Year in Which I Truly Discovered Self-Published Books. The abundance of awesomeness from the SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) Рas well as a few other gems Рhas left me seriously impressed with those who publish via this method.

(I spoke about self-publishing, and the many positive ways in which indie authors contribute to the genre, here.)

I’m pleased to say that I discovered – and read! – an entirely new trilogy in the form of Jeff Salyards’¬†Bloodsounder’s Arc.¬†Here’s what I said about book three,¬†Chains of the Heretic:

Bloodsounder’s Arc is a work of art, a dark and masterful tapestry of tension and momentum wherein each word weaves a more deftly spun strand than the last. The final triptych, Chains of the Heretic, is Salyards’ pièce de résistance, falling naturally but devastatingly into its place as the boldest and most brutal piece of the saga.

2016 has¬†been a shite year for politics, pop-culture legends, and the general future of humanity. However, you can’t deny that it’s given us some¬†excellent sequels.

2016 has seen the conclusions to several of my favourite series, including¬†The Dagger and the Coin¬†by Daniel Abraham,¬†The Faithful and the Fallen¬†by John Gwynne and¬†The Red Queen’s War¬†by Mark Lawrence.

We’ve also been gifted with the fun finale to Joe Abercrombie’s¬†Shattered Sea¬†trilogy, as well as two more instalments in Marc Turner’s spectacular six-book¬†Chronicles of the Exile.¬†(Check out my post about meeting Marc here!)

I’ve also had the pleasure of starting one or two ongoing series by new (to me) authors Michael R. Fletcher, V.E. Schwab and Ruth Nestvold.

A few forays into the realm of shorter fiction have also yielded very pleasant results. Alyssa Wong’s very (very!) short but beautiful A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers left me keen to read more by this author; while the talent and variety on display in the¬†Fantasy-Faction Anthology¬†made me bubble with pride at being able to call myself a part of that community.Los Nefilim by T. Frohock... read by Kili-cat in 2016

And of course, one of my favourite reads of the year: Los Nefilim, a trilogy of novellas by the wonderful and talented Teresa Frohock, brought together for the first time in a single, brilliant collection.

Finally, the year wouldn’t be complete without revisiting at least one old favourite… or, in this case, two:¬†The Bonehunters¬†by Steven Erikson, and Terry Pratchett’s charming, witty and hilarious¬†Hogfather.

What were your favourite books of 2016? And which ones are you most looking forward to next year?

2017: The Big Backlist Burndown


I’m sure you can sympathise when I confess that I own more books than I can possibly read in my lifetime. My shelves, floors, attic and Kindle are loaded with literally hundreds of books: books bought on a whim; books from charity shops; books from as-yet-unread authors; hell, even books I pre-ordered months in advance and then failed to actually read.three-dragons-smaller

And so; inspired by Lisa (aka. Tenacious Reader), my new year’s resolution is to catch up on some of the titles I’ve been missing out on. Here’s a few of the books in my backlist¬†– all of which I own – that I’ve been dying to read but somehow just haven’t found time for yet.

In no particular order:

Now… where the hell do I start???