I’m not much of a TikToker, but I’m trying to be one

If you haven’t already noticed in my social media links, I now have a TikTok account. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not very good at it and I doubt the Chinese have any interest in the metadata of a independent author of fantasy and steampunk novels. It was the next logical step in further promotion and marketing as an author. I am nowhere near the expertise and zaniness of some of the people on TikTok. I primarily use it to promote my books, events, special announcements, and even some personal holiday fun. Beyond that, it’s difficult to wrap my head around this social media giant.

It’s so much easier in Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to just post a photo and write-up. With TikTok, I have to create a video, add music, stickers, effects, and text. It’s such a process to post a simple thirty second video. I think why I am struggling with TikTok. It’s too much work for one simple person. I mean, I use Hootsuite to publish to my other social media sites (highly recommend it to burgeoning indie authors). It’s FREE for up to three social media accounts and you can schedule up to ten times. There is a paid version but the free works well enough for me to stay ahead of the game.

TikTok, on the other hand, takes time and patience. There are a lot of great people that are fun to watch and they make it look so easy. Maybe its the old man in me. I am nearly 60 but I’ve stayed up on technology since I first typed on a TRS-80 (look it up if you don’t know what one is). I just can’t get into the videos of repeating voice overs of comics or famous movie and television scenes. Even the weird filters aren’t me. I just want to talk about my books, show videos from the events I attend, and that’s it.

There are a lot of great connections on TikTok. I met Teri Schnaubelt (@terischnaubelt on TikTok) a voice over artist who read a section of my book The River of Souls. It was great having a professional do something like that for FREE to hear my words come to life. Pop over to her TikTok page to hear more great books being read by a true professional and great lady. The other authors on there are supportive as well, promoting your books to readers and even giving ideas. Someone posted a video of using mini-candy bars as giveaways by wrapping them in book covers to look like little books. I did that and they came out great. You can really find a lot of good ideas on TikTok.

So, if you are on TikTok, come find me, follow and I will follow back, and hopefully I can get the hang of this new social media and make some fun and interesting content. I’m always open to suggestions.

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Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

Soar to Forever Avalon with a new book cover

Forever Avalon by Mark Piggott, cover at by Mark Alexander McLish (IG @markmakesart247)

I want to start by saying that I’ve always loved my original cover for Forever Avalon. Since it was first published in 2009, the artwork done for my cover brought my story to life. Seeing the flying ships I dreamed about, which I wrote about in my first fantasy novel, was breathtaking. It made the story real to me.

But since I’ve started attending festivals, conventions, and other book signing events, I realized that my first covers were “cartoony” in their appearance. My wife told me that repeatedly, but I fought her on it. Then, when a few people stopping by my booth wondered if Forever Avalon was a children’s story, I changed my tune. If I’m going to sell my books, it makes it less of a “drawn out” pitch when I don’t have to repeatedly explain that it’s not a children’s book. So, I am happy to reveal my brand new cover for Forever Avalon by artist Mark Alexander McLish.

The cover still evokes my dreams of Avalon . . . the flying airships, the floating dragon island of Emmyr, dragons flying around the sky, and the city of Port Charles inviting the ships into port. It’s a perfect vision for my new cover, and great to debut a new edition of Forever Avalon. Now, it’s available as a hardback novel for purchase. The first book I published is now a hardcover, a paperback, an ebook, and an audiobook. This is so special for me, and it’s amazing to think about where I started and am today.

I really want to thank Mark Alexander McLish for the great cover design. I met Mark through our publisher, Curious Corvid. He is an award-winning novelist and an incredible artist. He not only redesigned my cover for Forever Avalon, but he also did the cover for my new fantasy novella, The River of Souls.

So, you can buy Forever Avalon on Amazon in all four formats or, come out to one of my future events to pick up a SIGNED copy from yours truly. The Williamsburg Book Festival this weekend was postponed due to Hurricane Ian. Keep an eye out on my Events for when they reschedule the festival. If you can make it, I’ll be at the 2nd Sundays Williamsburg Arts and Music Festival on Sunday, October 9, and at the Southern Maryland Comic-Con at the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf, MD, on Saturday, October 15. I hope to see you there.

In the meantime, get started into your next fantasy book series with a copy of Forever Avalon.

# # #

Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

July is going to be hot in more ways than one

Sorry to be AWOL for a while, but its been a busy start to my summer, and its not over yet. I traveled from Virginia to Manchester, Connecticut, for the Book Fiends Readers Festival, June 25. It was a long weekend but I met so many wonderful steampunk writers, artists, crafters and performers. It was a great experience (thank you Oddball Newt)!

Now, we’re in July and I have two new events coming up for this award-winning steampunk fantasy author. If you are in the area, please stop by and pick up some great books to take to the beach or read in bed during a stormy night. Either way, I’d be honored to be included on your bookshelf.

Every second Sunday, from July through December, you’ll find me at 2nd Sundays Williamsburg Arts and Music Festival on North Boundary Street in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. My first one is this Sunday, July 10, from 11am to 5pm. Williamsburg, Virginia’s only ALMOST Year ‘Round Arts & Street Festival! This Street Fair of over 115 unique artisans, musicians, street performers and food vendors in six blocks along N Boundary Street from Richmond Rd to Lafayette Street, along Scotland from Armistead to N. Henry and in the 400 block of Prince George Street in Williamsburg, VA, on the 2nd Sunday of each month. This festival is a great time for family and friends alike so I hope you’ll stop by! Visit 2ndSundayswilliamsburg.com for more information.

Next, I’ll be at the Historic Moravian Book Shop in “the Christmas City” of Bethlehem, PA, signing copies of my novels The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series on Sunday, July 17, from 1-3pm. Founded in 1745, the Moravian Book Shop is the oldest bookstore in America, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world and home to the Moravian University student bookstore. For nearly three centuries, booklovers near and far have looked to the Moravian Book Shop for its curated selection of books and iconic Moravian- and Bethlehem-themed gifts. This is my second visit to the Moravian Book Store and I appreciate their continued support for independent, self-published authors like me.

The River of Souls by Mark Piggott, poetry by Ashley Valitutto, from Curious Corvid Publishing.

I also want to mention my upcoming release from Curious Corvid Publishing. The River of Souls is my first PUBLISHED novel (not self-published) through my new publisher, coming out on August 21! Across the River of Souls, the boundless cosmic lifestream that connects all worlds, a young man lay dying underneath a crumpled automobile. He hears a voice, crying out for help, begging not to be left alone. Desperate to make something of his life, he offers himself to God to cross the River of Souls to be there for her. Now begins their new life together in a world filled with distrust, bigotry, and hatred between races. Can two people from different worlds find love and peace to show what truly lies beyond THE RIVER OF SOULS. This fantasy novella includes poetry by Ashley Valitutto, a great collaboration between author and poet. I hope you pick up my new fantasy read on AUGUST 21 from Curious Corvid Publishing.

Stay tuned here at authormarkpiggott.com (make note of the NEW website address) for more information on upcoming events and releases. I will be at 2nd Sundays for the rest of the year ( August 14, September 11, October 9, and November 13) and I have two major book signing events in October. More to come!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available as a paperback/ebook at iUniverse Publishing,  Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series, is available as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid Publishing along with the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky PiratesThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of his current fantasy book series, plus so much more coming soon.

Working on multiple WIPs at the same time can be quite maddening for any writer

Frustrated? Overworked? Help is one the way . . .

So, I’m in the middle of a crisis at the moment. I have multiple ideas for stories, both ones I’m working on, new ones, and ones I haven’t even put down notes on yet. They’re all rattling through my head, begging for life. I try to work on what I can, but then my mind drifts elsewhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up at 3am with one of these stories nagging at me. Like I said, maddening. I wish I could get committed to an asylum just so I could sit quietly and write. I would take a vacation to work on them, but then I probably wouldn’t have a wife to come home to anymore. I mean, she puts up with me dragging her to conventions, art festivals, and book signings.

This is a dilemma, one every writer runs into from time to time. I know I’m not alone in this madness. The difference for me is that I am not looking through multiple storylines in one genre or story. I have a multitude of ideas streaming through my head like a Netflix playlist. From steampunk sky pirates to mercenary demon hunters, a wayward Magus, and knights of Avalon, I don’t know where to begin. Add to that the short stories I’m constantly plugging away at to ply my trade within the many opportunities available to the writing community.

Curious Corvid Publishing . . . Publishing a variety of gothic works that bring a voice to the darker side of life.

The one good thing I can say about these shenanigans is that I feel a sense of relief within this madness because I have a publisher now. Being one of the myriad of talented authors under Curious Corvid Publishing has given me pause in my madness . . . Well, partly. Having a publisher that supports me as a writer takes away the worry of frantically searching for someone to publish my stories. I have that support system under me so I can focus on writing and no worry about who’s going to publish my next fantasy trope. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be a part of this up-and-coming publishing house. Thank you Ravven!

I’ve been self-published for more than ten-plus years. As a side job, I know I’m still operating in the red. I spend more money on publishing, marketing, etc., than I earn from selling books. That’s the rub for any independent, self-published author. We do this because we love it, no matter what the cost. Not saying that I want to go bankrupt being a writer, I just want to tell my stories the easiest way I can. Just reading a good review or hearing someone say they liked my story is reward enough for me. The problem is getting the damn things out of my head.

For now, I need a calm mind and a cool head. That will get me through my writing dilemma. One thing at a time, maintaining my focus, and this will all work itself out. But maybe, just maybe, I do need to take a small vacation to push through all this frustration. Maybe I can talk my wife into a nice spot on the beach where she can catch some rays while I sit under the umbrella, tapping away on my laptop. There’s a compromise in there somewhere.

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available as a paperback/ebook at iUniverse Publishing,  Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series, is available as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid Publishing along with the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky PiratesThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of his current fantasy book series, plus so much more coming soon.

I love being back with readers and fans alike!

I first wanted to send a big THANK YOU shoutout to the Watch City Steampunk Festival! It was my first time both at a steampunk festival and with my books in Massachusetts. Steampunk fans are, without a doubt, brilliant, imaginative, and a lot of fun. The creative spark generated by everyone at this event kept back the rain and cold all day long. I met a wonderful, eclectic group of fellow authors and readers at this festival. It was so exciting to mix it up with people again. This festival had been postponed for two years, and it felt so good to be out surrounded by people with similar interests as your own. I made a few connections for future events that I will definitely be posting more about in the days to come. I can say, without a doubt, I will be back next year!

For now, I have another event coming up next weekend in Washington, D.C. The Imaginarium Fantasy Book Festival will be held at the National Press Club in our nation’s capital on Saturday, May 21, from 11am to 4pm. This event is FREE, and tickets are available at www.imaginariumbookfestival.com.

Founded in 2018, the Imaginarium Book Festival was the idea of two authors who sought to spotlight books and writers in the science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and paranormal genres — all realms and genres of escapism. The Imaginarium Book Festival welcomes readers of all kinds to join in celebrating fantastical storytelling. Again, it has been a long two years, but we can finally have a LIVE event in such a prestigious place as the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. I am blown away by the fact that a self-published, independent author like me can be in such esteem company and talk about my fantasy books with fans of my genre. It will be a great day, right in my own backyard. I encourage any avid bookworm (or book dragon in this case) to come out for the festival.

I’ll also add here that I’ve added another book signing event for the summer. I will be returning to the historic Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA, on Sunday, July 17, from 1pm to 3pm. I love the opportunity to visit the Lehigh Valley, the area I consider part of my hometown growing up. The Moravian Book Shop is the oldest bookstore in America, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world and home to the Moravian University student bookstore. For nearly three centuries, booklovers near and far have looked to the Moravian Book Shop for its curated selection of books and iconic Moravian- and Bethlehem-themed gifts.

For any self-published, independent author, events like these help with recognition and reaching out to people who appreciate finding new reads. So please, whenever you find yourself at a convention, festival, or any event where authors have a table set up, support them. Think of us as small businesses looking to grow. Every book sale and review (especially the reviews) helps!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls fantasy novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Two more book signing events added to my calendar for 2022

I am geared up for the Watch City Steampunk Festival next weekend (May 7 at Waltham Commons, Waltham, Mass.) but I have a couple more book signing events on my calendar I wanted to mention.

First off is the Imaginarium Book Festival on Saturday, May 21, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. This is a local event for me and to be in such a prestigious building is an honor. The Imaginarium Book Festival was founded in 2018 “by two authors who seek to spotlight books and writers in the SFF, speculative fiction, and paranormal genres — realms of escapism. We welcome readers of all kinds to join us in the celebration of fantastical storytelling.” I have been waiting to be a part of this festival for two years, but due to the COVID pandemic, it was postponed as a “live, in-person” event. My wait is finally over! Tickets are FREE but you must register online to get them.

Next, I’ve just signed up for the Williamsburg Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Stryker Center in Williamsburg, Va. The Williamsburg Book Festival’s mission is “to promote and support the art of literary composition in the Williamsburg area and expose writers to the reading public. Our free event includes authors from various genres, speakers, illustrators, and publishers from Virginia and beyond.” I was supposed to attend this event last year, but due to scheduling conflicts with a previously rescheduled event in Fredericksburg, I was unable to attend. That won’t be happening this year. I’ll be there, and by that time, with my new book from Curious Corvid Publishing, The River of Souls.

I am looking to add some more over the summer, specifically the 2nd Sundays Williamsburg Music and Arts Festival (which happens every 2nd Sunday of the month) and hopefully some other book signings. Keep it tuned here or across my social media and I’ll keep you posted.

# # #

Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Watch City Steampunk Festival will turn gears and heads in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 7

With the Easter holiday weekend, I’m postponing the next installment of my Log Horizon fan fiction to let you know about an upcoming book signing event. I’ll be in Waltham, Mass., for the Watch City Steampunk Festival on Saturday, May 7, from 10am to 5pm on Waltham Commons, next to Waltham City Hall at 610 Main Street. The event is FREE and open to the public, rain or shine.

“Steampunk” is a literary and artistic movement that combines elements of Industrial-Revolution-era history and fashion with modern technology, science fiction, and whimsy. “What did the Victorians think the future would look like, and what if that’s the future that happened? What if everything that H.G Wells and Jules Verne wrote about came true?” said the Festival’s lead organizer, Melissa Honig.

This year’s event will feature multiple stages with music and performances; childrens’ activities; historical presentations; food trucks; and over 60 vendors bringing unique wares to Waltham the day before Mother’s Day. The Festival’s finale will feature rock band Celtica Nova. Just listen to them—bagpipes, violins, and rock n’ roll—they are amazing!

I’ll be there with my 2021 Firebird Book Award winner for Steampunk, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, as well as my books in the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. If you’re in the New England area, please stop by and say hello, buy a book, and be transported to a world of magic and machines. It’ll be a great time for all!

And just a little programming note, I will have the next chapter of my Log Horizon fan fiction next week. In the meantime, you can catch up on the story in its entirety on my fan fiction page!

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Con or not to Con? That is the question for independent authors everywhere

This weekend, I attended Katsucon 2022 at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. I picked it because (a) it was close to home, and (b) fantasy is a big part of anime. I figured I would fit right in with my fantasy books . . . I was wrong. It seems people who cosplay as elves, knights, and wizards don’t really want to read about them in books.

First off, my sales barely covered the cost of my booth fee, parking, and food costs for the weekend. I took a loss for something I thought would be a major convention. Second, my location in the vendor hall really sucked. My booth was not in the artists alley, as promised, but between an earring and toy vendor, just two spots down from the Hentai booth affectionately known as the “Smut Hut” (their words, not mine!) Not a good place to be. I was told they wanted to “sprinkle” the authors amongst the rest of the vendors. Hide us was more like it.

On the positive side, I met and spoke with a lot of great people. I love attending events like this where people are excited about all things fantasy, steampunk, and sci-fi, and Katsucon was no exception. I mean, a lot of the younger people just walked by, more interested in anime plushies, statues, and posters, but there were several who bought my books or just picked up a bookmark or postcard with my website and other social media on it. I will have to wait and see if the convention translates to other online sales in ebooks or audiobooks. It’s still great when somebody stands at your table and keeps repeating “Wow! Wow!” as they read the synopsis on the back cover.

I think multiple day conventions like Katsucon are not for authors. I’ve been to more single day events and sold more books at those events than during my three days at a big convention like Katsucon. I need to focus on conventions and festivals specific to my genre and/or books in general. I know many people from my generation who are fans of anime, comic books, and movies are also avid readers. I think that gets a little lost with some, not all, of the younger generation. They are more visual with their books, like comic books, graphic novels, and manga.

I will stick to my upcoming steampunk festivals (Watch City in Waltham, MA) and the Imaginarium Fantasy Book Festival in Washington, D.C. My fellow fantasy authors also turned me on to a Facebook Group, Author Events Around the World, for various book festivals supportive of independent authors. This group is a great resource for various book events across the country.

So, word of advice to self-published independent authors looking for venues to sign and sell their books… Pick and choose your events carefully. Not all conventions are made alike and, before you pay for that booth, make sure your know all the details. I know that these things cost an independent author, and maybe it will result in more attention to your books or social media. Only time will tell…

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

New Art for The Outlander War from Ari Brodeur

“The Three Dragons” art by Ari Brodeur . . . Ashley St. Johns, Sorceress Magnate of Avalon; Sir Hunter MoonDrake, Gil-Gamesh of Avalon; and Rose O’Brien, Shield Maiden and Dragon Queen.

Check out the new art for The Outlander War on the fan art page from artist Ari Brodeur. I met Ari through a Fantasy Author Support Group on Instagram and loved her art style. I wanted to create the MoonDrake children as they assumed the mantle of their father’s legacy at the end of The Outlander War, and she captured my vision perfectly.

As I mentioned her previously, the characters for the MoonDrake family in the Forever Avalon series are based on my own. It was easier for me, writing my first novel, to incorporate my family, their characteristics and traits into these characters. Of course, the comparisons between my children and their fantasy counterparts are leaps and bounds apart, but it’s still fun to write them in my stories. It’s like I’m taking my children on an adventure even though they are all grown up.

By the way, if any authors or anyone else out there wants to inquire with Ari about commissioning her for an art piece, use my referral code “ABAPIGGOTT” and get $10 off your booking price with Ari. This, in turn, gets me a $10 voucher toward a future project with her. It’s a “win/win” for both of us and it supports an independent artist and author, like me! You can email her at aribroart@gmail.com. Remember, we are a strong independent community and I’ve met so many wonderful authors and authors both online and at the conventions. I will be displaying her work, and the art of the other artists I’ve worked with, at my upcoming book signing event at Katsucon 2022.

The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series, 2021 Firebird Book Award winner (2nd Place) for Fantasy from Austin Macauley Publishing is available as a book or ebook on Amazon and through other online booksellers.

# # #

Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

Looking back at 2021 and ahead to 2022 with weary yet open-eyed optimism for the new year

I can honestly say I have mixed feelings about 2021. I think its one of those years I can’t wait to put behind me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no 2020. My God, that year will forever burn on the ash heap of life. I have a lot of memories of 2021, some good and some not so good.

First, the good . . .

I published my fourth book in 2021, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, beginning a new fantasy/steampunk series under my pen (or rhetorical keyboard). Not only did I spend most of 2021 finishing this book, it was also the first work of mine where I hired and editor and a cover artist. This book means a lot to me, and winning first place in the 2021 Firebird Book Award for Steampunk was a big deal. Being recognized by your peers cemented my career as a writer.

Speaking of awards, The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon Series, won second place for fantasy in the 2021 Firebird Book Awards. Again, it was wonderful to be recognized by your peers and I really want to thank my publisher, Austin Macauley, for all their support in 2021. This book was released just as the COVID pandemic hit, so promoting it was next to impossible beyond social media. I’m just so happy they continue to work with me.

Williamsburg Arts and Music Festival, November 2021

The great thing about 2021 was that I was finally able to go out and meet people in public. I attended book fairs, book signings, comic-cons, and arts festivals, talking about my books to those interested and even selling a few along the way. Thanks to the Moravian Book Shop, Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival, Southern Maryland Comic-Con, and 2nd Sundays Williamsburg for their support. It was great that, after nearly two years in hibernation, I could tell my stories to anyone interested. I sold more books in 2021 at all these combined events than I did since my first book was published in 2009. That shows how much effort independent authors have to put in beyond social media! I am looking forward to doing even more events in 2022.

The last good event of 2021 was having my short stories published through The Publishing Room and being signed by two great independent publishers, Revolutionary Press and Curious Corvid Publishing. The Publishing Room published two of my short stories for their fantasy and horror anthologies, Of Distant Worlds and From Dark Corners. Revolutionary Press will be publishing my steampunk/historical fiction novel, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, in 2022. Curious Corvid will be publishing my fantasy novella, The River of Souls, which I wrote with poet Ashley Valitutto. I am looking forward to working with these publishers in the coming year and beyond!

Now for the bad . . .

I experienced some loss in 2021, especially here at the end. I’ve had friends and distant relatives die, but this year it hit close to home. My dog, Sully, died in July. He was only 13 and our family pet for all 13 years. If you want a great family pet, I highly recommend a West Highland Terrier. They are the best. And just a few days ago, my older sister, Trina, suddenly passed away. It was totally unexpected. She has been fighting illness of one type of another this past year, but she was fighting it so she could retire to Florida in 2022. It’s a terrible way to end the year, especially just days after Christmas. I never saw eye-to-eye with my sister on many things, but she was still my sister and I loved her no matter what. Her death has given me some perspective on my own mortality, to hopefully take better care of myself so I’m there for my family. No more snacking on Twinkies and Pop Tarts for me.

I guess a bad thing professionally would be my email inbox full of rejection letters from publishers and literary agents. I mean, I got two good ones in Curious Corvid and Revolutionary Press this year, but the constant flow of rejection is a little disheartening. It’s like that one bad review your book gets. It just gnaws at you even though its just one in a hundred. I’ve always done what’s best for me and file it away and just move on.

Looking ahead to 2022, there’s so much to look forward to. I’ll be publishing two new books and submitting two more for consideration (fingers crossed). You can find me at multiple conventions and festivals next year, starting off with Katsucon 2022 anime convention at the Gaylord Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, February 18-20. It’s right in my area so this will be a blast. The only other confirmed event for me so far is the Imaginarium Fantasy Book Festival on Saturday, May 21, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. I’ve waited two years to be at this event so I can’t wait! You can keep up-to-date of my other appearances through my Events calendar.

So let’s end 2021 with this . . .

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of 365-page book. Write a good one.”

Brad Paisley

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.