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Announcing the Flash Fiction Fest 2013 Competition
Saturday 22nd June 2013

Today is National Flash Fiction Day, which gives us the perfect chance to launch this year's Flash Fiction Fest and its associated Flash Fiction writing competition.

Last November we published 3 pieces of flash fiction every working day, 60 in all, on www.flashfictionfest.com and then published the entire collection as en e-book. This event was called Flash Fiction Fest, and this year we're doing it all over again.

We've already got 8 of our fantastic December House authors involved, who will all be writing pieces of Flash Fiction on the theme "The 7 Deadly Sins", but we also want to involve the wider writing community. We want you to write three pieces of Flash Fiction on the theme "The 7 Deadly Sins" and then upload it to Wattpad, tagged "FlashFictionFest", by the 19th of September.

After that date the December House Team will read every entry and the writer judged to have the best three pieces will have them included in the online event in November and published in the e-book, we may even ask you write some more to go with them! But that's not all, if you're the winner you'll also get the chance to work with our editor on a novel with the intention being to prepare it for publication by December House.

For full instructions on how to enter (including how to sign-up and tag a post on Wattpad) visit www.FlashFictionFest.com

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Read the first 6 chapters of Engn
Monday 10th June 2013

We're very excited about the upcoming release of Simon Kewin's novel Engn and can't wait to see what readers think of this fantastic story and the Engn universe.

So to whet your appetite we're delighted that every monday, until the novel's release on the 15th, Simon will be publishing a new chapter of Engn on Wattpad.

You can read the first chapter exclusively at Wattpad

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Engn by Simon Kewin - Cover Reveal
Monday 27th May 2013

We're delighted to reveal the cover for Simon Kewin's new Young Adult / Fantasy novel Engn.



Engn by Simon Kewin
Finn's childhood in the valley is idyllic, but across the plains lies a threat. Engn is an ever-growing steam-powered fortress, that needs a never-ending supply of workers. Generation after generation have been taken away, escorted into its depths by the mysterious and terrifying Ironclads, never to return.

The Masters of Engn first take Finn's sister, then his best friend, Connor. He thinks he, at least, is safe - until the day the ironclads come to haul him away too.

Yet all is not lost, Finn has a plan. In the peace of the valley he and Connor made a pact. A promise to join the mythical Wreckers and end Engn's tyranny.

But now on his own, lost and thwarted in the vastness of Engn, Finn begins to have doubts. Is Connor really working to destroy Engn?

Or has he become part of the machine?
Engn will be released on the 15th of July for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and on the Google Play and Smashwords stores. If you'd like to be reminded when it's released then sign-up to the Simon Kewin mailing list. You won't receive any emails other than those about new releases from Simon.

The following bloggers are also revealing Engn's cover today so you may want to visit their blogs.
- Donna Hosie - Musings of a Penniless Writer
- Ellie Garratt
- Deborah Walker
- Lyn Perry - Lyndon Perry Writer
- Milo James Fowler - In Media Res
- Jeff Chapman - Jeff Chapman Writer
- Andy Yates - Bumpkin Brothers
- M Pax - M Pax Author
- Thomas Taylor - Thomas Taylor Author
- Neil Vogler - A Writer He Muttered

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Sinai - Exclusive extract
Monday 18th March 2013

Sinai SmallWilliam Smethurst's "Sinai" blends quantum physic, with historical fiction and all the elements of a classic thriller. From the Egypt of The Exodus, to an Egypt falling under an Islamic revolution it's a story that starts in 1350BC and ends tomorrow.

Read this exclusive extract only on www.DecemberHouse.net


Chapter 17 - Greenwich

‘Bravo Nine Zero to Mike Papa Five,’ the woman was saying. ‘Armed attack on objective. Request ARV—’ but DS Halshaw, knew that no Armed Response Vehicle could get to them in time. The nearest was at Love Lane, strategically positioned to cover the Central Criminal Court and the Bank of England.

‘Acknowledged, Bravo Nine Zero.’

What strategic hot-spots were there north of Aldersgate? What prestige targets for terrorists north of the Angel, Islington? How many politicians or minor royals did you find being kidnapped in Asda superstores in Haggerston?

‘Two armed intruders, suspected submachine-guns—’ She was a funny one, this girl. Perhaps 25-years-old, a WDC from Somerset with a degree in physics from Cambridge. ‘Objective not covered, repeat objective—’

Objective actually on the phone now, checking notes on high-frequency radiation of electromagnetic waves, e-mailed to him that morning, as the stake-out team knew, from the California Institute of Technology. He was chatting to California and sipping coffee while the gunmen were heading up the stairs, and if the gunmen knew his address, they might well know which flat he was in, even though his name had been twice removed from the list of occupants; they might well be fifteen seconds away from blasting his door down.

Halshaw took his gun from its holster.

‘They say six minutes,’ said the girl.

The objective could be dead in three.

‘Get me Trevor.’

The other phone, the CID mobile.

‘Yes?’ said a voice.

‘Anything?’

‘Nothing. They’re still in there.’

Two men, three flights of stairs.

‘You’re sure about the guns?’

‘Yes.’

‘Go in after them.’

‘With a hand-gun?’

‘Make a diversion. Challenge them.’

He crouched, steadied his revolver on the window-ledge. His authority was to fire in defence of himself or of the objective. But he was not part of an Armed Response Unit, he was not part of the Close Protection Squad, he was routine Special Branch; it wasn’t an every day of the week event, this sort of thing.

The girl holding the phone looked at him, startled, and said, ‘What are you going to do?’

‘Fuck knows.’

Surveillance round the clock was his line. Most Special Branch officers found it boring, but not him. Master criminals, drug dealers, backbencher MPs with funny sex lives or their greedy fingers in the till, it was all part of the rich tapestry of life. It wasn’t, of course, like the old days, when you had Labour MPs and Guardian reporters trotting off to sunny Cuba (where did the bastards go for their holidays these days?) or IRA killers in Kilburn pubs, but there were plenty of dodgy buggers who needed watching when MI5 tipped you the wink, and he was happy to spend his days noting the phone calls the dodgy buggers made, the time it took them to go to the lavatory. Most of the time he would be thinking about the fishing, the bream down in Suffolk.

‘ARV in London Wall, coming up to the Aldersgate Street junction.’

They’d come up Goswell Road, up past the Angel. No sirens, not yet, and they wouldn’t use them unless they had to.

The WDC said, ‘Get him on the phone. Break into his call.’

‘We haven’t time.’

There were eight officers assigned to this job, including this milkmaid from the West Country. It sounded a lot, but you couldn’t keep an objective under observation — not without his knowing — with less than twelve officers. Eight officers meant twelve-hour shifts, three officers per shift and two on days off; a killing rota, and then there was the bumph they expected you to read — update assessments on the location of known terrorists, on the shifting allegiances of terrorist organizations. He couldn’t keep up with it all.

He crouched down holding the gun. Offering a low silhouette, this position is well adapted for cover and for a stable firing posture, and ensures that support is being provided by masonry and bones and not just by muscles.

It wouldn’t work. He couldn’t get the right angle. He stood up.

‘Open the window.’

Her fingers fumbled with the catch. He stood, his feet apart, holding his revolver in both hands. It was a police issue Smith and Wesson 4, model 10. Do not breathe normally while you are aiming because the rise and fall of your chest will spoil the shot. Breathe in, then release part of the air in your lungs, then stop breathing while you aim and fire — but do not hold your breath for more than ten seconds or you will produce muscular tension and involuntary movement.

When had he done his weapons training course? It must have been ten years ago — Blair was still Prime Minister. Since then he’d had refresher sessions once a month at Finsbury, but never in all these years had he fired a shot in anger.

‘Mike Papa Five to Bravo Nine Zero—’ a voice on the RT phone, from Scotland Yard Information Room, a man sitting at a computer screen recording events, his account copied automatically to the central computer at Hendon. ‘Update, please.’

The RT radio was multi-channelled and said to be secure against everything except for the press in Wapping and a thousand or so of London’s social inadequates who trawled the airwaves from their lonely attics and garden sheds.

‘Objective still under observation,’ said the girl. Halshaw glanced up for a second and saw that her eyes were fixed intently on his gun. She caught his eyes and looked away, out of the window.

Silence for ten seconds, perhaps fifteen. How long did it take two men, two terrorists, to climb three flights of stairs? Perhaps they’d been waylaid by some old biddy wanting a chat about who’d pinched her milk.

‘OK, get them to break into his call.’

The Scotland Yard operator: ‘Mike Papa Five to Bravo Nine Zero.’

The girl: ‘Bravo Nine Zero.’

He did not hear the query from control. He heard, instead, the dull, distant sound of a muffled pistol shot. Trevor. Through the window opposite he could see the objective standing up and turning towards the door. There was another distant shot, Trevor again. If he’d followed ground rules, he’d have shouted a verbal challenge, from the safest place he could find covering the stairs, and have opened fire only if personally threatened. The objective was backing away from the table, reaching for something.

Halshaw raised his Smith and Wesson.

Trigger control is the single most important aspect of marksmanship. Your finger should touch the trigger somewhere between the tip and the second joint.

The door into the objective’s flat burst open.

The girl: ‘Bravo Nine Zero to Mike Papa Five—’

A man with a submachine-gun, raising it into the classic firing position.

Halshaw moved the revolver marginally. Concentrate not on keeping your weapon perfectly still but instead on getting perfect coordination between hand and eye.

He fired. Glass shattered in the window opposite, a spider’s web of cracks with a neat hole in its centre. Again he fired, still holding the revolver stiffly in both hands, the crack of the gun loud in the small, bleak office.

The objective had disappeared. The gunman was in the far shadows. He was leaning against the wall, his hands over his face.

Halshaw could hear the girl, behind him, talking to Scotland Yard. ‘One alleged intruder has been hit—’

Alleged? Alleged? Jesus, you’re not in the West Country now.

He couldn’t see the submachine-gun. Had it fallen to the floor? He thought he could make out a second figure grabbing at the first from behind.

His arms came up. Again he fired.

The intruders, the alleged intruders, who might yet turn out to be a couple of the objective’s chums coming round with their violins for an evening of Mozart, disappeared below the level of the window.

He was tempted to fire again, aiming at the shadowy doorway on the far side of the flat, keeping the bastards pinned down, but remembered the conditions relating to ‘visibility of target’ and ‘safety of general public’ printed on the Home Office pink card in his jacket pocket.

Christ only knew what they’d do to him if he’d killed the objective.

Distant sirens. From behind him the girl said, ‘Yes, sir’, then, calling out to him, ‘SO19 arriving any moment now.’

There was no sign of movement opposite. Twenty seconds passed, thirty. He remained standing with his feet apart, his gun raised, aiming at the far wall of the flat.

A voice, this time on the mobile. The girl said, ‘They’re going up the second flight.’

A black shape opposite, in the doorway of the flat.

‘OK, let’s go.’

They ran down the stairs.
......

Buy "Sinai" now
 - Amazon Kindle (UK)
 - Amazon Kindle (US)
 - Kobo
 - iBooks (UK)
 - iBooks (US)
 - Google Play Store (Android devices)

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Introducing another new author - Daryn Guarino
Thursday 21st February 2013

It's all go at December House towers, not only are we getting ready to release William Smethurst's timeslip thriller Sinai we're also busy working with our other authors to get their novels ready for a summer release.

One of those is Daryn Guarino. Already a self published author Daryn's first novel with December House will be Hitter, a dark, brutal story that follows the life of a hitman from childhood to the height of his career and beyond.

You won't be surprised to hear that we're excited about Hitter (after all we wouldn't have signed it if we weren't!) and it's fantastic to have Daryn, whose writing impressed us immediately, onboard. The novel is currently in the final stages of editing and rewrites and you'll be hearing a lot more about as it enters production and we begin promotion in the coming months.

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Sinai - A timeslip thriller for our time
Tuesday 19th February 2013

Sinai SmallWe're delighted to be able to reveal the cover for our next release, William Smethurst's timeslip thriller Sinai.

William is a Sunday Times bestseller list author, and we're very excited to be providing a digital home for Sinai and his other novels (including the final two novels in his Quantum Timeslip series).

The Times described Sinai as "Egyptology and quantum physics married up with historical fiction and all the attributes of a modern spy thriller: spies, religious fanatics, secret policemen and secret weapons… a ripping yarn.” and we couldn't have put it better ourselves!

Sinai will be available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and Barnes and Noble later this month.

Sinai by William Smethurst

From the Egypt of The Exodus, to an Egypt falling under an Islamic revolution….A story that starts in 1350BC and ends tomorrow…

In 1350 BC the Israelites are driven from Egypt, their journey through the harsh desert of Sinai, their plight and their story to forever be remembered as the Exodus.

In modern day Sinai academic Richard Corrigan discovers a missing German tourist. Suffering from extreme dehydration and talking in an ancient language the tourist recites a prayer to the Egyptian Sun God as he dies.

In revolutionary Cairo, the mysterious Elizabeth St. George takes Corrigan to a city morgue. The corpse he is shown is fresh, yet to his trained eye looks to be 3,500 years old.

In a leafy London street Jihadist terrorists storm Corrigan's flat. It appears he's got too close…. but to what?

As Corrigan begins to question how the past can truly affect the present he finds the question changes. Can the present affect the past? Has it already?

Sinai, a timeslip thriller for our time

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Introducing our latest author Simon Kewin
Tuesday 18th December 2012

In the last month we've been talking to a number of authors about bringing their work to December House and we're delighted to be able to announce the first of these today.

Sci-Fi and fantasy writer Simon Kewin has already published fifty short stories and we're very excited that December House will be publishing his new fantasy novel Engn.

Engn follows Finn as he, like many before him, is plucked from his idyllic childhood in the Valley and taken to Engn; the vast steam powered city / machine that lies across the great grass plain. But whilst set to work maintaining the great workings of Engn Finn has other plans, a vow of trust he once made with his two closest friends, a promise that if they were ever taken they would join the mythical wreckers and destroy Engn once and for all.

In Engn Simon has created a truly immersive world. From the Valley where Finn grows up to Engn itself, you can't fail but imagine yourself there as you read the gripping pages of Finn's journey of struggle, discovery and determination.

You'll be able to read Eng from July next year but in the meantime you can learn more about Simon Kewin here or follow him on Twitter.

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