Conall Book I
by David H. Millar
Genre: Historical FantasyOver four hundred years before the birth of Christ, the island of Ériu is a patchwork of feuding kingdoms, wide plains, and impassable bogs. Battle, intrigue, betrayals, and courage are part of life for the Celts who call Ériu home, while from their underground halls the mysterious aes sidhe seduce brave warriors, turning men in to kings and binding them with fearsome geis.
The Raven’s Flight – Eitilt an Fhiagh Dhuibh
Conall Book II
The Sisters – Na Deirfiúracha
Conall Book III
It is 406 B.C. The Gaels tramp through the vast forests of lowland Scotland, cross the brooding moors and marshes of the Pennines, and plough the grain fields of the South. The majestic stone brochs and dùns of the north give way to the great hillforts of the south.
Cloaked in a rich tapestry of tattoos or wearing armour inlaid with iron scales, the Gaels stand as one, taunting their enemies with fierce battle-cries and insults.
In Conall III: The Sisters—the third book of the Conall series—the women take centre stage. Brighid and Danu are kidnapped on the orders of Kartimandu, a malevolent queen bent on conquering the North. Mórrígan and Conall’s blood oath promises no quarter until the young twins are returned.
Will Eachdonn Breac, betrayed by his queen—Ceana, redeem his honour on the battlefield? A merciless assassin stalks the community. Tadhg Ó Cuileannáin is given the unenviable task of tracking the killer down. A mission made worse, when the signs point to the sister of one of Conall’s closest friends. Amid, the battles and intrigue, Mòrag Ni Artair, a tall beauty and fearsome warrior, sets her sights on Conall. A clash with Mórrígan—Conall’s queen, appears inevitable.
A Brace of Eagles – Snaidhm Iolar
Conall Book IV
“Butter-gold and cruelly hooked, the beak ripped a ragged gash across the newborn’s throat.”
Son of a blacksmith, Conall Mac Gabhann’s only desire was to follow in his father’s footsteps and enjoy a long life with his childhood love, Mórrígan. The slaughter of their parents dashed those dreams. Fuelled by vengeance, both embark on the dark path of retribution.
From the ancient forest, two great eagles take wing. With amber-gold eyes, Fate and the Goddess watch, ready to guide and meddle in human lives. Conall, now Clann Ui Flaithimh’s ‘king over kings’, must complete his geis—at any cost. Conall takes another stride closer to Rome and a reckoning with Marcus Fabius Ambustus. Flat-bottomed biremes carry Conall’s army cross the Muir nIocht to crash on the shingle beaches of North-western Gaul. New enemies and uneasy alliances flourish.
Assassins, treason, and treachery thrive. Above all, Conall values loyalty. Thus, treason within the tribe sours his belly. Mercy will have no part in his response.
The fourth novel in the Conall series, Conall IV: A Brace of Eagles is a rousing epic of Celtic heroes and villains, bloody battles, political intrigue, honour, treachery, and forbidden love.
Retribution – Díoltas
Conall Book V“Witch!” Tullus gasped.
“You are not that fortunate, Roman,” came the menacing reply.”
Blood has purchased a fragile peace for Conall and Mórrígan and the close circle of friends they call family. Now, allies and enemies alike wonder if the king and queen have lost the thirst for vengeance on those who slaughtered their families. Alarmed, gods, kings, and despots conspire to poke the slumbering fire.
Brennus of the Senones still smarts at his defeat at Conall’s hands and covets his lands and wealth. Will a bruised ego and hubris overrule the Gaulish king’s normal pragmatism?
The Gaiscedach want revenge for the defeat and execution of their queen. In the dead of night, like cockroaches, they scuttle over the walls of Lugudunon.
Marcus Fabius Ambustus tolerates no challenge to his plan to be Dictator of Rome. But has arrogance blinded him to the enemy he has nurtured?
The gates of Rome and retribution draw closer. But Conall needs his enemies as much as his friends. Still, who are enemies and who are friends? It is a time of schisms and rebuilding, of loved ones endangered, and assassins and spies revealed.
Yet, there has always been one constant. Only the foolish doubt Conall and Mórrígan will show any mercy to those who threaten their family.
Conall V: Retribution is the fifth and final book in the Conall series.
**Don’t miss the spin-off novels!**The Dog Roses: Na Feirdhriseacha
A Conall Series Spinoff
The Blood Queen: A ‘Bhanrigh Fuil
A Conall Series Spinoff
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, David H. Millar is the founder, owner, and author-in-residence of Houston-based ‘A Wee Publishing Company’—a business that promotes Celtic literature, authors and art.
As with all self-published authors—and a good few traditionally published writers—my challenge can be summed up in one word—marketing. Or, how best to promote both author and product? Above choosing a media channel(s), however, a core question for me is “what is the best use of my time?” Like many independent authors, at this time my books do not generate sufficient sales revenues to justify me being a full-time author. Hence, time is a precious, limited commodity.
With five books published and two scheduled for 2022, my primary marketing focus remains product quality. In this, my group of beta-readers and accumulating book reviews form the primary benchmarks of the quality of the story and writing—or at least how it is perceived by readers. Along with many self-published authors, I face the challenge of encouraging readers to write a brief review and give a star rating. Most of the reviews I get are excellent. There is just not enough of them. I have given books away based on the promise of a review, yet it is rare that the recipient fulfils his/her side of the bargain. I found the “old” Goodreads Giveaway (https://www.goodreads.com/) program to be reasonably effective but it is hard to justify the fees now required to participate. Recently, I did two NetGalley promotions and that seemed to be good value with respect to money spent vs. reviews obtained.
It should go without saying that published books should be well-edited and have as few typos as possible. It annoys me to see a badly edited book, especially from an indie author. It is a challenge to be accepted as an author without giving traditional publishers, reviewers, and authors, ammunition to criticize or stereotype us. I see no excuse for not achieving what I term technical excellence. My first three books were edited by someone who had an excellent command of English, although not a professional editor. I write strategies and reports as my “day job” so my level of knowledge of style and grammar was already high. My beta-readers added a further layer of editorial review. For my latest books, I engaged a specialist historical fantasy/fiction editor—Andrew Noakes (https://andrewnoakes.co.uk/). It was well worth the money. I only wish I had engaged Andrew earlier for the earlier novels. Totally objective edits and genre insights are invaluable.
As a rule, I believe in engaging experts for specific tasks. This is costly but improves the end-product. High-quality cover art and interior formatting are critical for the success of any novel. I have seen too many books where poor artwork has made me choose an alternate. Readers need to be drawn to the book and the first impression is usually the cover. Ida Jansson of Amygdala Design (http://www.amygdaladesign.net/) is responsible for the amazing cover art for the novels and has also taken over the interior formatting. Poor interior formatting, eBook and print, can be a real turn-off. My map illustrations are drawn by well-known fellow Belfast-born international artist Michael McEvoy (https://bit.ly/2HZtxHF). Michael is “old school” and draws his illustrations by hand, which goes to add to the ancient ambience of the novel.
How to build an audience? To date, I have tinkered with Facebook and built up my Twitter account to 11,000+ “followers.” I also commissioned a great video trailer (https://youtu.be/c4ZwNBBQMrs). So far, all have had a negligible impact on sales. More positively, I participated in my first author event in 2018—The East Texas Book Bash, Tyler, TX. I judged it to be highly successful from several perspectives—new sales (during and post event), raising awareness, and getting to know my market much better. I also find that the readers who attend these events are well-informed and more likely to provide a review. This channel goes to the top of my marketing priorities for 2022. COVID drastically impacted author events but I’m optimistic that these events will resume in 2022. The challenges are cost and logistics. Within state, it is a long but manageable drive and overnight accommodation; out-of-state, then it becomes flights and the cost of sending books and marketing materials in advance.
Finally, I find it amusing that due to my age, I’m considered someone who can offer sage advice to younger authors. Yet, I have only been writing for less than ten years. At an author event, one promising young author asked me about marketing and promotion. After going through a litany of possible options and channels, I came to realize that she had one great advantage over me—her age. My advice was—do not give up, keep writing, and keep improving the product. Time is on her side. I need luck to be on mine.
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