Friday, May 13, 2016

Less Alone, More Together

Five Directions Press is growing. Eight years after we became a writing group and four years after founding our coop, we have added two new members and will soon have four new books listed on our site (five new books in print, one of which has been featured on the site for a while).

Denise Allan Steele writes contemporary fiction set in her Scottish homeland and her adopted country, the United States. She is in the midst of revising her novel Rewind, which takes a humorous look at the ins and outs of love and politics under Margaret Thatcher—and how decisions made then reverberate decades later. We hope to have it available by the end of this year.

Gabrielle Mathieu, our first overseas member, joins us from Switzerland. Her Falcon trilogy straddles the line between historical fantasy and historical fiction. In 1950s Switzerland, Peppa, an unconventional young woman trying to make ends meet for a few weeks until she reaches the age of twenty and can inherit the legacy left by her father, unwittingly tumbles into a research program run by a sinister and cynical scientist. What is her connection with the falcon? Where does reality blend into drug-induced hallucinations? You will have to read this tightly plotted, deeply experienced story to find out—and even then you may wonder. Book 1, The Falcon Flies Alone, is planned for release in late summer or fall.

Another fall release will be the first book in Courtney J. Hall’s five-part Silver Bells, a series geared toward the Christmas holidays. While waiting for the sequel to Some Rise by Sin to make itself visible, Courtney has moved into contemporary romance, and A Holiday Wish should be ready by October. Noelle Silver, a wedding planner, considers changing to a different business when her own marital plans go bust right when she’s scouting locations for the ceremony. But a wealthy bride in a hurry just won’t take no for an answer, and before Noelle has time to adjust, she finds herself back in the game, organizing the wedding of the century despite opposition from and the appeal of one very attractive adversary.

Booktrope Editions, an innovative publishing model that ran for five years before I heard of it, announced earlier this month that it is shutting down as of May 31. The authors orphaned by its closing include Joan Schweighardt, who has agreed to re-release her Last Wife of Attila the Hun with Five Directions Press. We look forward to working with her on that project and thank her for entrusting her novel to us. I enjoyed the book, which has won several awards, very much when I read it in January 2016, in preparation for my New Books in Historical Fiction interview with Joan. You can learn more about Joan and this book by listening to her free interview and from “Dealing with the Dragon,” her guest post on this blog.

As for other news, don’t forget my own Swan Princess, which came out last month. If you haven’t read any of the Legends novels, you can start with this one, although doing so will undercut some of the suspense in books 1 and 2. So I recommend starting with The Golden Lynx and proceeding through The Winged Horse to the latest installment. I’ve begun work on book 4, The Vermilion Bird, but an onslaught of editing projects has put everything on hold for the last month. Hoping to start up again soon.

Last, but definitely not least, Ariadne Apostolou’s West End Quartet—a set of novellas that follows the fortunes of the women from the urban commune described in her debut novel, Seeking Sophia—should also appear sometime this year. You can read more about West End Quartet and Seeking Sophia, including reading or listening to an excerpt of the latter, by clicking on the title links, which will take you to the Five Directions Press site.

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