The Balance – My Debut Novella – Coming 28 April

Balance Banner

It’s both a tremendously exciting and a terrifying time for me, as my debut novella now has a release date. On 28 April, The Balance will be available in all the usual online stockists, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so forth. The early release eBook and audiobook versions are available now, with versions appearing on Apple books, Audible and so on in the coming days and weeks. US readers can pre-order the paperback here. There are currently some problems with the Amazon listing of the book, so Kindle users will need to buy direct from the publisher at the link above.

Here’s the back cover synopsis for The Balance:

When myth becomes nightmare … The price of blood is always blood. The Balance Cover High Quality

Natalia’s in trouble. She only looked away for a second, and now her brother’s hurt. Her relationship with her mother is fractured, her brother’s condition is deteriorating, and her only hope lays deep in the unforgiving forest. A secret spoken only in whispers offers a way out. But when help comes in occult forms a sacrifice may be the only way to restore the balance. 

Humanity and nature collide in The Balance by Kev Harrison, a modern reimagining of the Slavic folk tale of Baba Yaga, set in Cold War Poland. 

Why Poland?

Though I’ve now lived and am very much settled in Portugal, I spent three incredible years of my life living and working in Poland. It was a place I knew little or nothing about when I arrived and one that shall now remain close to my heart and forever feel like home.

The person of Baba Yaga is just one of a multitude of characters woven into the fascinating (and often terrifying) folk lore of the Slavic nations. It’s easy to understand how dark folk tales manage to remain so vividly remembered and so present in modern culture when you consider the history of the place.

Few nations have had their borders redrawn as often as Poland and, of course, the scars of both World War II and its status as a Soviet client state throughout the cold war are particularly raw wounds. A friend of mine told me once, as I left the Schindler museum (from where Oscar Schindler saved thousands from execution) in a state of shocked silence, “You learn about history from books. We learn about it from our grandfathers.” Of course, a great many from Great Britain suffered immensely and gave their lives in the second world war, but the stories of Nazi occupation and the quasi-occupied state that followed liberation, with permanent states of rationing, corruption and constant fear for one’s life, explained much about the psyche of the people of the country. They also explained to me the way folk stories, myths and legends have retained their presence in society until today.

I chose this period of the Cold War, in a rural town, in the heart of a harsh Eastern European winter, as the perfect setting for supplies to run short and for desperation to lead people back to the old ways.

I’ll be writing more about The Balance in the coming weeks before the paperback release. In the meantime, here is a preview of the Audiobook, narrated by Desmond Manny:

2018 – the story so far

I’ve only just set up the site, but here’s a little update about what is coming up in 2018. So, here goes:

Autumn is looking like the time of year when it’s all happening for me this year, as I have a story, entitled ‘No Such Thing As a Free Lunch’ coming up in Scary Dairy Press’ Terror Politico anthology. Scary dairy have been a delight to work with. Contracts are signed and now I’m simply awaiting edits to confirm/deny. The anthology is inspired by the current political climate in the US (but could arguably be transposed with few changes to the UK) and features a local billionaire politician who decides to provide free lunches to the homeless. The catch is there’s no such thing as a… well, you get the idea. I’ll have more information on that when it’s available.

Second up, scheduled for release in the December issue of Alban Lake’s Frostfire Worlds magazine, is my first YA story to make it into print. The story is titled Your Blue Friend, and involves ancient Egyptian enchantments and a devilishly smart teenage female protagonist who I loved writing and I hope you’ll love reading.

There is one more confirmed release which is aimed at late summer but, at this stage, I am not liable to say what it is. Only that, in terms of exposure and the potential for my work to feature alongside some truly stellar fiction, this might well be my most eagerly anticipated release so far.

As you might imagine, there are other stories awaiting the thumbs up or thumbs down from various anthologies, magazines, etc and other stories that are somewhere between my brain, my laptop screen and an email to another submission call.

Finally, a word on the novella I’m working on. It’s tentatively titled The Balance and is a (hopefully) fresh take on the Slavic mythology of Baba Yaga. It’s set in Poland, a place where I lived for a few years and a culture I believe I know well. It’s currently in its third draft stage. My hope is to have it ready for submission before too long.

That’s all from me. Be well and do, please get in touch if you have anything you’d like to say or to share with me.