I've spoken to multiple fans recently who are confused about what I've released or where to keep track of it. I've encountered enthusiastic fans who are, nevertheless, surprised to learn that I've done anything since Cowry Catchers. People who follow me on various social media platforms miss this or that announcement because I either didn't get around to posting it there or the post just flew by in their media stream.
This is frustrating. It's frustrating for me and for you guys. One part of me says: "How can anybody who enjoyed Cowry Catchers not know about Albatross? Or Hunters? Or the comic? Or the Patreon? Or even my Worlds Podcast?" But the fact is that many people who enjoyed my work in 2009 or 2010 or 2011 have missed one or more of those things. I don't mean they've decided not to consume them; I mean they literally don't know those books and projects exist!
Starting this coming year, I'm going to try to do a better job of keeping people up to speed on what I have available. It's one thing to say, "I enjoyed Cowry Catchers, but Hunters doesn't sound like my thing and I'm not going to read it. It's another thing to say, 'You have an entire other epic in another world with it's own fans? How did I not know about this?'"
That's on me. Somehow I've go to fix it.
So I'm going to try to do a post once a month that summarizes everything - the old stuff, the new stuff, and what I'm currently working on. I will post or link this information on my website, on my Facebook Author Page (possibly on my personal page), on Twitter, and to my mailing list. I might post it to my Patreon, too, but I feel like those are my super-fans who are all up to speed.
Some of the old stuff will be new to some of you. Some of the new stuff that I feel like I've been talking about for months will hit somebody's eyeballs for the first time. Plenty of people will miss these posts, but if I do them once a month, I think most fans will see at least a few of them.
So, here goes for December.
What I'm Working On
- paper version of The Scarlet Albatross
- edits for When We Were Young - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 3 (containing 10 stories, all written this year)
- edits for Jager Thunder (Refugees Book 2)
- first clean-up edit of Secret Project (for more info, listen to the Worlds podcast or be on the Patreon)
Next Up in the Writing Queue
- the December short story, which is looking more and more like Keesha
- 2nd Secret Project Book
- 3rd Refugees book (tentative name: The Cormorant)
Books available in ebook and paper from Amazon and audio from Audible.com.
- The Prophet of Panamindorah Trilogy - A foundling boy on earth realizes that he's from another world and tries to return, only to discover that hundreds of years have passed in his world of origin. Can he unravel the mysteries surrounding his disappearance?
This was my first series set in the world of Panamindorah. It's YA, but many adults have enjoyed it. This is a good introduction to the world of Panamindorah, but you'll see that my story-telling improved in Cowry Catchers. This series is my earliest writing that is currently in print. You can still get these books as a podcast if you poke around.
- The Guild of the Cowry Catchers 5-Book Series - Gerard Holovar and his minstrel wife, Thessalyn, tumble from a position of power in his father's court to a precarious life of exile. Gerard manages to distinguish himself in the Temple Sea Watch, only to attract the jealous ire of his charismatic commanding officer, Silveo Lamire. However, their mutual boss, the High Priestess, insists that Gerard and Silveo cooperate to destroy a ring of pirates called the Guild of the Cowry Catchers. The pirates seem likely to make a swift end of Gerard...if Silveo doesn't do it first.
Cowry Catchers was finished in 2008, and I still consider it my flagship series. Like Prophet, these books are set in the world of Panamindorah, but in a distant time and place. They're darker and grittier than Prophet and include queer characters and occasional sex. I produced this series in fullcast audio. The podcast is still available, but the Audible.com version has been remastered and sounds better.
The Cowry Catchers Art Book - OK, this is available only in hardcover and PDF. It's Sarah Cloutier's illustrations from the original ebooks and podcast release, plus original concept art, some new illustrations, a character line-up, and paper dolls. This is a very pretty book.
The Refugees Trilogy (The Scarlet Albatross Book One, not in paper yet) - Anaroo is an airship slave, destined to spend her days winding the great springs of the Scarlet Albatross. When a storm threatens to sink the ship, Anaroo and her fellow fauns seize the opportunity to escape. However, the airship nearly sank for a reason—violent unrest among the island kingdoms below. The world is changing and the surviving inhabitants of the Scarlet Albatross will need to cooperate to survive.
The Scarlet Albatross begins a few days after the end of Cowry Catchers. It introduces a new set of characters who have numerous ties to the cast of Cowry Catchers. In the second book, Jager Thunder, the Cowry Catchers cast runs headlong into the Albatross cast.
If you want to see Gerard and Silveo again, this is the series for you! The Scarlet Albatross also makes a great entry point into Panamindorah. However, I highly recommend you read The Guild of the Cowry Catchers before proceeding into Refugees Book 2, Jager Thunder. You'll be somewhat confused during some parts of Jager if you haven't read Cowry.
- Hunters Unlucky - One clear night on the Island of Lidian, two friends fought to the death over other people's ideas...or perhaps a villain killed a hero...or perhaps a hero won. It depends on who you ask. Everyone agrees on this - the ferryshaft lost a war, and they've had a hard time ever since. Twelve years later, Storm is born into a world of secrets - an island no one visits, names no one will say, and deaths that no one will talk about. Something about Storm upsets his elders, but nobody will explain. Storm doesn't know much, but he does know two things: everyone expects him to die, and he is going to prove them wrong.
Hunters Unlucky is available as 5 individual ebooks, as well as an omnibus, but it's intended to be a single volume. The audio and paper versions are a single volumes. This book is a bit strange in that I wrote the first draft when I was 14 and 15. It was my first novel. Then I re-drafted it in 2012 at the age of 36. I didn't just edit the book. I opened a blank document and pretended that the original was a myth, and now I was going to tell what really happened. So, while this was my first novel, the writing and storytelling are in some ways superior to Cowry Catchers because it was written more recently. This is some of my best and most original work. I cannot recommend the audio highly enough. Rish Outfield performs it, and he does a fantastic job. As of this writing, it has 321 reviews on Audible with a 4.4 star average.
Hunters is set in a completely different world than Panamindorah, but the possibility of cross-over stories is obvious. I have put some Easter eggs into both worlds. For instance, a character in Albatross mentions telshees, and fauns are mentioned in Hunters.
Crossroads - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 1 contains 6 stories, all but one of which are about the Prophet characters. The stories are - A Cat Prince Distinguishes Himself (Lexis), On the Edge (Sevn), Distraction (Gabalon), Hualien (Hualien), Night in the Crystal City (Syrill), and Professionals (Silveo). Professionals is also in the following collection. You don't have to read these stories to enjoy the novels, but they do add significantly to some of the characters.
Secret Things - Short Stories from Panamindorah Volume 2 contains 4 stories, all of them about the Cowry Catchers characters. Three of the four stories are novelettes. All of the novelettes are also available individually. The stories are: Sky Dance (Thessalyn), Professionals (Silveo), Chemistry (Lu), and The Secret (Gwain). You don't have to read these stories to enjoy the novels, but they do add significantly to some of the characters.
- The Eve and Malachi Series (ebook and paper, no audio yet) is a set of children's chapter books, telling the story of the unlikely friendship between a rat and a boa constrictor: Eve is an inquisitive baby rat who regularly escapes from her cage. One night she meets a strange creature in a glass tank across the room—a boa constrictor named Malachi. The snake is amused by Eve’s questions, and he awes her with stories of the wilds where he was caught. What will happen to their fragile friendship when Eve discovers what Malachi eats?
This is a planned six-book series with two books released, two books written but not yet released, and two more on the drawing board. Each book is about 6,000 - 8,000 words, so about the length of a very long short story and divided into small chapters. They're illustrated by Sarah Cloutier, who does most of my art. The first two are called "Feeding Malachi" and "Malachi and the Ghost Kitten." In spite of being for children, these books hit some very heavy themes. If you enjoy my other books, particularly Hunters, I think you'll enjoy these regardless of your age.
Other Stuff You Should Know About
Patreon - I have poured a lot of love into my Patreon this year. I've written a short story for them each month about the character of their choice. $1 per month gets the text and a vote. $3 per month includes the audio. I'm really proud of these stories and the fact that I've kept up with them all year! Some will be available in the upcoming collection, but I plan to always keep a few exclusive to Patreon. I'm also keeping my own readings of the stories exclusive to Patreon. The Audible.com versions will be performed by other people. I do a weekly podcast for people at the $3 level, so if you like hearing from me, that's the place to be. There is a regular RSS feed, so it drops right into your player. There are plenty of other rewards, too. Click over for details.
The Guild of the Cowry Catchers Comic is drawn by Rah Cloutier and includes the entire Professionals short story and the first chapter of Cowry Catchers proper at this point. It's beautiful! There's also a paper version of Professionals.
The Worlds of Abigail Hilton Podcast is still free! It updates about once a month these days, but I may increase the frequency next year. That feed includes large samples of audio books like Hunters and Albatross that are only available on Audible.com. If you're not sure whether you'd enjoy those books, have a listen to the samples on the podcast.
My Digital Online Store contains things available nowhere else, such as the PDF for the Cowry Catchers Art Book, Gerard and Silveo paper dolls, and "Hungry," a NSFW story about Roup and Arcover from Hunters Unlucky. The store also contains free audio downloads of the music and outtakes from Cowry Catchers.
The Signed Paper Books Store - I only open this when I have time to do a round of orders. Otherwise the link is broken. When I open the store, I always announce it to my mailing list, my Patreon donors, and on Facebook. Signed books are not cheap. The cheapest place to get my paper books is on Amazon.
Where Should you Follow Me?
- My Mailing List - you won't miss a new release if you're on my mailing list (assuming my emails are not landing in your spam). I also offer free audio review copies through Audible sometimes. It costs nothing to be on this list.
- Patreon - at any level, including $1 per month, you hear a lot about what I'm doing.
- My Blog
- Facebook Author Page
- Facebook Fan Art and Chatter Group
- Twitter (rarely)
If you read this far...well, now you are totally up to speed!