The production version of THE SCORCHED SKY sitting alongside the proof version of the new KNIGHTINGALE novella

Way back in March this year (16th March to be precise!) I launched the first book in my new series.

The Femme Fatales – The Scorched Sky, was the novel that was to kick off the series and set up some of the core characters and the location for the series moving forwards. For those that don’t know and haven’t read it (and why not?) here’s a little synopsis of what the book is about.

A breach in the sky opens up above the waters of Lake Michigan, just off the coast of Chicago. A race of insect-like aliens come piling through it, intent on destroying the city for some unknown reason. Invasion? Perhaps. But it soon becomes clear they’re tearing down the buildings and repurposing the materials to build…something.

Dun dun durrrrrrr!

Anyway, the book is set in a world that has heroes in it and after the aliens start their incursion the gallant superheroes of the world descend on Chicago to curtail this threat to our world. 

Shenanigans ensue as we meet a host of characters…


You’ll also meet Jada Demario (AKA Ecstacy), Alex Anderson (AKA Rogue), Charlie (AKA CENTUR10N), and loads more.

But THE SCORCHED SKY is just the jumping-off point. When we get to book 2, THE BROKEN GROUND, which will be out in 2023, the narrative jumps 10 years forward. There are a number of reasons for this. 

Firstly, it gives me time for Chicago to be rebuilt as New Chicago, which will be our playground for the books. It also gives me a period to settle the new heroes from rookies into veterans. 

Case in point, Gayle Knightley – AKA Knightingale.

When we meet her in The Scorched Sky, she’s 17 and this is her first venture into the world of superheroics. It’s a rude awakening for a young girl. When we see her in The Broken Ground, she’ll be 27 and an established hero. 

But, you may ask, what happened in the intervening decade?

Well, I’m going to answer some of those questions in the ‘Femme Fatale Novellas‘ of which KNIGHTINGALE is the first.

KNIGHTINGALE launched on the 1st of December on eBook and Paperback. Here’s the blurb from the cover…

It’s an exciting little book for me for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, it’s the first time I’ve tried writing a book from purely on character’s perspective. If you’ve read any of my other books, you’ll know that they’re all multi-character arcs woven into one narrative. It’s a different beast trying to tell a story from just one point of view. 

Secondly, this is the first time I’ve tried to restrict my word count to something small. HUNTERS and BLOOD TO EARTH (the first couple of books in the Songbird saga) are epic in length. 140K plus. Even THE SCORCHED SKY was around the 90k mark. For KNIGHTINGALE I tried hard to keep it under 50k.

I didn’t quite get there. It’s around 52k (though actually around 50k if you take out the forward and acknowledgments etc). It was a tough challenge because…

Thirdly, I was trying to tell a mystery for the first time. Or at least a small self-contained mystery and not the sprawling epic that is The Ballad of the Songbird

The other exciting thing about the Novellas is…

There’s a character in THE SCORCHED SKY who goes by the name of Stefan Mcleod – AKA Coin. He’s a superhero that can channel energy into objects which then become explosive when he throws them at people. His name is a reference to the objects he chooses as his projectiles. Coins. 

The character of Coin was not created by me. He was a creation of my old chum, Mr Steve Vimes

Because the Femme Fatale series is an homage to our time playing City of Heroes, I wanted to populate it with some of the players characters from that game. He allowed me permission to cameo his character in my book. YAY!

In THE SCORCHED SKY, Coin spends most of the narrative unconscious, recovering near the end of the book to lend a hand to the superheroes inevitable victory. I did this because I didn’t want to write too much into the Coin character as I knew…

…Steve was going to write his own Coin novel, which would immediately precede my first Femme Fatales book. 

He’s been hard at work on it for a while now, and used NANOWRIMO through November to break the back of the work. He won’t let me read the draft yet (BOOOOO!) as it’s not done, but I and SUPER excited to read the origin tale of Coin. 

More news on this as I get it. 

But this also opens the door to many more cameos and Novellas coming down the pipeline. I currently have planned, novellas for…

  • Kasai (Samii Jayne)
  • CENTUR10N (Charlie)
  • Honsou
  • Reflex (Abi Blakely)
  • and more to follow!

And here are the cameos I’ve had so far. Some are minor, some major. Key to below: *background appearance, **Minor role/speaking part, ***Major character




DON’T WORRY all you Songbird fans. I haven’t forgotten you. Book 3, ‘TOOTH & CLAW‘ is still on target for a release soon.

Maybe a quick update on where we are on that is in order before I let you know about the Femme Fatales…

I missed my Summer/Autumn release window. To be honest I needed a break from Songbird for a while, so I concentrated on KNIGHTINGALE. My brain is now refreshed.
I’ve been back on with Tooth & Claw lately and just passed the 98k word mark with the first draft. So about 2/3rds done.
I’m planning to get a good proportion of that last third done over the Christmas break, and aiming for a later spring release.
I’ll keep you updated!

That’s all for now. Until next time folks…

Love & Books

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