This week saw the release of my latest novel in the Damsels series, the fourth book in the range (or the fifth if you count the side helping of short stories in Auld Bobby Bob’s Campfire Tales For Kiddywinks). Titled Damsels and the Dark Arts, it elevates fantasy depravity to a high art.
I completed the writing of the novel about three months ago (indeed, I’ve written and published a whole other book since!), but delayed the publication because it was important to me to get the cover right. Of all the books I write, the Damsels series is the one I love the most. Ironically, it’s the series that sells the least, but as far as I’m concerned, this is the series that shows me as I really am. The only readers of my books who truly ‘get’ me are the ones who ‘get’ the Damsels. That’s not meant to be derogatory to my other books by any means, but the Damsels are what I put my heart and soul into.
So I wanted a really good cover this time around. I spent a fortune on the cover art for Rampant Damsels, the first book, and the Damsels in Arms cover isn’t too bad. But I was short of money for both Damsels Go Down and Auld Bobby Bob, so their covers – whilst not utterly dreadful – really aren’t as good as they should be. So this time I was determined to wait until I could pay for decent art, because the Damsels deserve it! It is highly likely that I will never sell anywhere near enough copies of this book to recover the cost of commissioning the artwork, but I did it for me and I love it. After scouring artists’ sites online, I comissioned the cover art from Kelsey Bigelow and it is glorious! And you know what? As soon I can afford to, I’m going to commission better covers for Damsels Go Down and Auld Bobby Bob too, even though sales can never justify it.
This blog isn’t meant as a moan, by the way, but as an opportunity. Many of my books sell really well, so that’s great. But I’m a storyteller at heart and the Damsels are where that heart’s at, so I’ll take every opportunity to point and say, “Hey, if you like my books, these are what you should be reading!”
But what are the Damsels all about? They’re fantasy novels and they’re comedies. The humour is smutty, depraved and perverted. But I think they’re also heartwarming. For all the sex, violence and perversion in this disgusting little fantasy world, you can’t help but care about these characters. Each book has its own main plot, but the long-running stories of the various characters weave in and out of the plot and continue across the various volumes. Also, each book has its own interactive, choose-your-own-adventure chapter, ranging from a dungeon crawl, a rescue mission, the secret diary of a temple prostitute, a desert exploration and – in this latest book – a desperate attempt to get back home when lost on the astral plane. These adventure chapters can be read several times, following completely different routes, and are a nod to the series’ role-playing roots.
But look! Here’s a trailer I recently prepared for Rampant Damsels, the first book in the series, that’ll tell you more if you give it a watch! Just click on the name, go on, I dare you!
Seriously, though, I love my Damsels and now, with a new book, I have the excuse and the opportunity to big them up once more. If you ever liked a fantasy novel or flick, if you ever valued laughter, my friend, trust me – these are for you!