News, news, news (aka, I’ve been working)!

For most of the last half-year I’ve been mostly working on patiently carving out the main draft of the Crown of the Iutes – which has already grown into the longest and most complex book I’ve ever written, as befits the conclusion of Ash and Octa’s long stories. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have other important news coming up.

1. I HAVE AN AUDIOBOOK OUT!

This is the first time ever I released a professional audio version of any of my books, thanks to ACX and British actor/comedian/voice over artist David Lane Pusey. It’s super exciting, and a little bit eerie, to hear my characters actually speak, and he’s done such a great job on the book! (wait till you hear Eirik!)

The audiobook is for the Saxon Spears only for now. Obviously, it’s a lot of work and effort on everyone’s part, so I will probably be releasing these not more often than once a year, assuming the first one pays off, that is. The entire first book is over 13 hours long!

I have some promo codes for free downloads, if anyone wants to review it – just send me a note.

Also, here are the affiliated links to Audible versions if you want to buy/download/use a credit on my and David’s audiobook:

2. HARDCOVERS ARE COMING!

Amazon KDP now allows indie publishers to produce hardcovers! And it’s fairly easy if you’ve already done a paerback. For now, you can buy a hardcover version of the Saxon Spears, but more will be coming over the next few week, and by the time the Crown comes out, all six books should have hardcover versions for your library. I haven’t seen the hardcover copy myself yet – it’s in the post – hope it’s as well printed as the paperback!

Incidentally, this means the Saxon Spears is now my first ever book to be released in all four formats!

3. IN OTHER NEWS…

  • “The Shadow of Black Wings” has been translated into Spanish by Sebastian Esparza. For now it’s available on Nook, Kobo and iTunes, Kindle version is coming soon, I’m told. I’ll keep you posted. EDIT: It’s on Amazon NOW.
  • “The Crown of the Iutes” is chugging along nicely, but it’s grown so big I may not manage to release it in time. At worst, it will be delayed by a month, though I’ll try my best to avoid it!
  • Have you seen the cool new graphics on Amazon pages for Song of Britain? That’s another new promo tool available to writers that I’ve taken full advantage of. Looks very professional now, don’t you think?

That’s all for now – time for me to go back to the word mines!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! “The Shadow of Black Wings” Podiobook Launch

podiobooksToday – quite aptly, on the Day of Saint David, the Patron Saint of Wales – I’ve launched the FREE audio version of my book “The Shadow of Black Wings”.

Narrated by Kate Sherrod, with music by LoMelkiyLo, the audio book is available on Podiobooks.com in 17 episodes, each roughly half an hour long. It’s also available on iTunes.

Hope you will enjoy this one. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you like it, and if you want to know the rest of the story – buy volume two of the saga, “The Warrior’s Soul”, available on Amazon and Kobo! 🙂

Episode list:

  • Episode 1 – The Graddio

    It is the sixteenth year of Queen Victoria Alexandrina; Bran ap Dylan o Cantre’r Gwaelod, young student of Applied Dracology prepares for the final exams at the Llambed Academy of Mystic Arts.
  • Episode 2 – The Farmer’s Fancy

    Bran celebrates his graduation with a few friends; but not everyone is as happy with the exam results.
  • Episode 3 – The Hottest Summer

    As the summer heat dries out the marshes and riverbeds, Bran stumbles upon a relic of ancient wars.
  • Episode 4 – HMS Phaeton

    Bran discovers his Grandfather’s diary and learns the truth behind his blue stone ring.
  • Episode 5 – Farewell to Llangyfelach

    Inspired by his Grandfather’s adventures, Bran joins Dylan on board the MFS Ladon, the greatest ship ever built.
  • Episode 6 – The Songs of Distant Ocean

    The Ladon sails towards the great empire of Qin, and Bran has the greatest adventure of his life.
  • Episode 7 – The Thirteen Factories

    The Ladon finally reaches its destination – the Western Factories of Fan Yu – and Bran learns that there is always war in Qin.
  • Episode 8 – The Llambed Seal

    The Second Dragoons is ordered to sail North, to assist the Qin capital against the encroaching rebels. But war is closer than anyone expected. In the heat of the battle, there is only one way for Bran to survive: to invoke the power of the Llambed Seal…
  • Episode 9 – The Day of the Ship

    In the great harbour city of Kiyo, in the reclusive kingdom of Yamato, live Sato Takashima, the samurai wizardess, and Nagomi Keisuke, a shrine apprentice from the family of physicians.
  • Episode 10 – Jewels Three

    Sato’s father joins the conspiracy against the ruling dynasty. Nagomi learns about the dark prophecy concerning the fate of the Yamato.
  • Episode 11 – It Fell From Heavens

    A beam of light falls from the sky near the harbour. Sato and Nagomi run to the beach to find out what happened.
  • Episode 12 – This Is Not Qin

    Bran wakes up in a strange place, surrounded by unfamiliar faces. It looks a bit like Qin… but something doesn’t feel right.
  • Episode 13 – He Rides Dragons

    The mysterious boy speaks a language unknown in Yamato. The initial investigation into his arrival seems to bring more questions than answers.
  • Episode 14 – The Streets of Kiyo

    It is forbidden for Westerners to come to Yamato without permission. Bran’s hiding place is discovered, and he has to be moved to a more secure location… but where?
  • Episode 15 – The Crane Room

    Tokojiro wasted his best years learning a useless language of a country nobody’s heard of. Now it’s his time to shine, as he is summoned to the great Suwa Shrine.
  • Episode 16 – The Myriad Year Clock

    Sato’s lessons end abruptly as Keinosuke decides to confront her about the stranger seen at Nagomi’s house. To forget about her worries for a day, she goes to see the Myriad Year Clock – Master Tanaka’s mechanical masterpiece.
  • Episode 17 – The Scent of Wisteria

    Somewhere in Yamato, an old man descends into an ancient barrow…

My Kickstarter Campaign Launches – Back my Audiobook!

Fund the making of the “Shadow of Black Wings” audiobook!

Where do you go from publishing a best-selling historical fantasy novel?

The Shadow of Black Wings – the first in The Year of the Dragon series – is a historical fantasy novel with elements of steampunk, set in 19th century Japan. It’s got all of the things you could possibly want in a book: DRAGONS, magic, AIRSHIPS, battles, IRONCLADS, courtly intrigues and MYSTERIOUS PROPHECIES.

This book – and the series that follows – was born out of my passion for Japan and history, my love of Wales and dragons, my need to tell good stories and an urge to create complex worlds. It is a product of two years of my hard work – apart from the obvious job of writing and re-writing, there was the extensive historical and geographical research, editing, working with free-lancers on covers and proof-reading and, finally, formatting and publishing. Even before the release, it has garnered critical acclaim, reaching semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards with good reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Amazon Vine Voices.

In summer this year I released “The Shadow…” on Kindle and in paperback. It went straight to Historical Fantasy and Alternate History best seller lists, toenthusiastic reviews:

“The Shadow of Black Wings is a thoroughly captivating read and I was extremely surprised by how quickly I fell into it.” – Amazon.com ★★★★★

“This book was really great…it captivated me quickly after having read only a few pages. I’m really excited about the next book and the developing of the story.” – Goodreads ★★★★★

“The Shadow of Black Wings is a brilliant debut novel by James Calbraith, which blends fantasy with alternate history to conjure a Victorian world full of dragons and magic and derring-do.” – Amazon.co.uk ★★★★★

“James Calbraith’s writing is reminiscent of a classic, epic fantasy – immersive, and detailed to the letter. The real-world cultures he draws from are incredibly well-researched and truthful, and yet well-balanced with the fantasy elements he sprinkles in between. An intriguing and impressive series.” —Ben Galley, author of the Emaneska Series

“This manuscript is full of highly crafted detail that will make readers shiver at times with fear and delight (…) a familiar yet highly original fantasy that is a worthwhile read.” —Publisher’s Weekly

Since then I published two more novels in the series, which also landed on the Amazon best-seller lists. The books are all available in mobi (Kindle), epub (Kobo, Nook) and in paperback.

But there’s still something missing, something that could help me reach an even wider audience:

The Audiobook

It is not an easy task. I couldn’t possibly read it myself – I’m not even a native English speaker. Not only is the main character born and bred in an alternate version of Wales, there is quite a lot of different languages and accents showing up throughout the story that need a professional voiceover artist to convincingly pull off. To this end, I have contacted Noni Lewis, a  “Welsh Voiceover Extraordinaire”.

Ms Noni has credentials that made me jump for joy the moment she agreed to work with me. She has worked with the BBC, read books and poems for TV and Radio, and gave her voice to a character in a Wallace & Gromit movie. Most importantly, she is a native of Wales, and speaks fluent Welsh! I could not possibly have dreamt of a better person to do the job. This is a first for her as well as for me – she’s used to working for big studios and agencies, rather than independently published authors.

As you can imagine, such talent – and the use of a professional recording studio – does not come cheap. So while I did manage to get my novels out as e-books and paperbacks on my own, I don’t have the kind of budget needed to create an audiobook. This is where YOU come in:

The Producers

To fund the production of this audiobook I need 2,300 British Pounds (about $3,700) to cover the bulk of Ms Noni’s fee and studio costs.

The finalized audiobbok will be available for sale through multiple channels.

As a thank you for helping me achieve this task I have prepared some nicerewards for you.

This is what I have to offer in exchange for your hard earned cash (available in various combinations on the detailed rewards list):

  • An e-book version of “The Shadow of Black Wings” or all three books in the series in the format of your choice (Kindle, Nook, PDF, etc.)
  • A SIGNED paperback of “The Shadow of Black Wings”
  • “The Shadow of Black Wings” audiobook as mp3 download
  • “The Shadow of Black Wings” audiobook on a customized mp3 CD
  • “The Shadow of Black Wings” audiobook on a customized USB KEY
  • Your name on one (or more) of backers lists, in order of importance:
  • – list of backers on my website
  • – list of backers on the CD sleeve
  • – list of producers READ OUT in the actual audiobook!
  • And finally the GRAND PRIX – a character based on you in the next novel  in the series! (see FAQ for details)

Anyone who pledges $20 or more will also receive the fourth e-book, “The Rising Tide” as soon as it’s published next year – ABSOLUTELY FREE!

By backing this project, you are supporting two hard working, independent artists: an author and a brilliant voiceover artists. You also help create a better world with my audiobook in it 🙂

So go on, click that button and make the dream happen!

Anything above £2,300 will go towards, depending on the outcome:

  • distribution costs of the audiobook
  • publishing my next book
  • releasing the audio version of volume two, “The Warrior’s Soul”


Author:

James Calbraith is a 34-year old Poland-born writer, foodie and traveller, currently residing in South London. Growing up in communist Poland on a diet of powdered milk, Lord of the Rings and soviet science-fiction, he had his first story published at the ripe age of eight. After years of bouncing around university faculties, he moved to London in 2007 and started writing in English. His debut historical fantasy novel, “The Shadow of Black Wings”, has reached ABNA semi-finals; it was published in July 2012 and hit the Historical Fantasy and Alternate History bestseller lists on Amazon US & UK. Two more books of the series are currently available on Amazon and Kobo.

Click here and back this project!