Post Convention Wrap-up: Film and Comic Con Sheffield 2016

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Sorry I haven’t been online lately, but a lot has been happening behind the scenes in anticipation of not only the convention in Sheffield this past weekend, but the Mother of All Conventions which is coming up in London at the end of October (it’s actually called MCM London Comic Con, but my name for it is way sexier).

To start, Sheffield was a great experience. Good attendance meant I sold a lot of books and I didn’t outsell all of my stock this time. I’ve also revamped my bookmarks, added a new standee poster to my table, and shrunk the size of the books so they look a bit more like something you’d get off the shelf at a bookstore. All of these tweaks seemed to work as I got a lot of interested people coming over to the table.

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            Some were a bit too interested.

I met some great people as well. The vendors, as usual, were great and happy to tell me about their own experiences at other conventions, as well as the state of the sci-fi/fantasy market in general. My neighbours in the stall behind were the chaps at Masked Man Comics, one of whom wore the best T-shirt ever.

       Show me the ways of sarcasm, master,

I also met up with the actors at Novare Alliance, who cosplay to raise money for local charities. This time, they were dressed as LAPD and SWAT team officers. They went on to tell me the hilarious story of when they approached the convention company called [name removed for lawyer-y sue-y reasons] about getting a table to raise money for charity and being told it would cost them 700 quid. So they did a whip round to all their members, raised 700 pounds, and gave it to their favourite charity directly instead. Fantastic.

Just another day for me at a convention.

      Just another day for me at a convention.

I also had the special treat of meeting yet another member of the Red Dwarf crew, who always seem to pop up at the conventions I do in the UK. See if you can spot which crew member I’m talking about.

Hint: it's not Kryten.

                     Hint: it’s not Kryten.

Overall the show went swimmingly and made me look forward quite a lot to the upcoming convention in London, which will be my last appearance this year. Would be lovely to go out with a bang, and London promises to be exactly that.

Am also working on the next book, which promises to be surprising in a lot of ways, but no clues just yet. I will try to blog as much as I can, but things may go quiet after October as I’ll be busy writing and not much else. But hang in there, dear readers, I think you’ll find the ride will be worth it. Until then!

Just a Quick Update…Sheffield!

Only a few weeks to go until the next convention in Sheffield and I’m already getting nervous. So much to do! Am in the middle of doing a new print run of paperbacks to sign and had them radically resized from their previous incarnation of 6×9 trade paperback size. They will now be a more standard “B format” size (198x129mm) and I hope they sell as well. I’ve begun to worry that the larger-than-necessary size it was before at all gave new readers the sense they were getting more value for money and had more “shelf presence”. Plus there were several issues with them, as well as the bookmarks, and I haven’t even seen the posters yet. I’ve also just finished weeks of revamping the website and been banging away on book 3, which is promising to be just-as if not more difficult a project as book 2 was given my ambitions with large themes and character development. I’m also in the middle of commissioning new artwork for the Facebook ad campaign I will be running very soon, which is happening on top of everything else…

(deep breath)

But sometimes I have to stand back and realize that everything is getting busy for a reason. The interest in the books is picking up, as evidenced by a trickle of momentum now starting to hit my sales figures based solely on my convention appearances and little else. Plus, my deal of giving away a free digital copy of book 1 for signing up to the mailing list has also been bearing a little fruit. All of this will ramp up, I suspect, once the advertising goes into overdrive sometime next week.

(deep breath + wine)

My point is, things are starting to happen. And it’s all thanks to you guys out there, who have decided to give my books a try. Some of you, shock of shocks, have even liked them! At least one has, given a brand new 5-star review I was just given on Amazon. Here’s to a few more of those!

(deep breath + wine + about 18 hours of sleep)

So this is just a quick, down-and-dirty entry to thank everyone out there for the love and support and to let you know it’s all starting to pay off. I also have a few surprises in store, especially for those brave enough to join my mailing list.

And don’t forget, I’m appearing next in Sheffield at the Showmasters Film and Comic Con Sheffield 13-14 August. For more info check out: Film and Comic Con Sheffield

To cash in on my offer for a free digital copy of book 1, just navigate to the Home page of this website and click on the “Give me my FREE book!” button and follow the instructions. That’s it!

Thanks again for the love!

Post-convention Wrap Up: MCM Ireland Comic Con 2016

I’ve been home about a day now from the craziness that was the convention in Ireland and I’m still chewing over the many many lessons learned there. It was an amazing time and met some amazing people, but I won’t lie – mistakes were made and lessons were learned.

There were many small lessons, such as: always pack enough socks, never pack non-plexiglass display frames in checked luggage, and never ever trust Dublin weather to remain sunny all day (that was a harsh one as I stood there checking in at my accommodation, soaked to the bone and looking like a lost puppy).

But a larger one had cast a shadow over the convention that many of the toy and t-shirt vendors around me said was the best problem to have, really – I ran out of stock. Completely. I sold everything I had. And the worst part was I ran out on the first day! It was a harsh lesson on Sunday as I watched loads of potential new readers drift past my empty table, which by then had little to offer but a few scant bookmarks and some shattered hopes.

Pictured: Shattered hopes.

Pictured: Shattered hopes.

But now that I’ve had a chance to absorb my error, I see it was actually designed to wake me up to the fact I am moving on to the next level of my career (or “leveling up” as my wife puts it). It’s time to get ready for success. Ireland took me completely by surprise, as people were interested in the books to a degree I hadn’t dared dream before. There were a few points at which I actually had a small crowd gather of 3-4 people all flipping through the books and throwing questions at me about them. Before this weekend, I had no idea that was even possible. Who was going to be interested in a little ol’ book by little ol’ me? I wondered.

It is a mistake I will never make again. My next convention is in a little over a month and I plan on being ready. I will have far more books on hand that I could ever hope to sell, including all new sales materials and a revamped table display that will market a bit more aggressively. Gone are the days when I think humility is the order of the day – to keep my head down, don’t make too much noise, don’t talk the books up too much lest I be seen as egotistical, and maybe a few people will buy my books out of pity.

No, to compete in this business, I have to get out there. I need sales materials that draws people from across the room, with power words like “FREE!”. I have to be prepared to talk about my book as if it’s genuinely good, without worrying I’m just bragging too much. Because that was another lesson: people WANT it to be good. That’s why they are thinking of buying it. Unlike the film industry, where everyone you meet exists solely to tear down any sense of accomplishment you may have in order to establish the fact they are doing slightly better in their own career. No, these are readers who want to be impressed by your writing, and want to love what you’ve written, and even stranger – want to give you money for the privilege.

Which means aggressive marketing is not seen as a bad thing. Quite the opposite, it makes one look more professional and ready for that success. So stay tuned, fellow readers, for just like this website, everything is about to change. The next event in Sheffield in mid-August is going to be big, regardless of my sales figures, or the convention attendance. Because my table is going to be bigger, badder, and more popular than it’s ever been before. So come on Sheffield, let’s do this!

Assuming I can keep the cops off my back.

Assuming I can keep the cops off my back.

Also want to send a shout out to some really groovy folks I met along the way. Had a good chat with Kevin Mc Hugh and his wife, who had some amazing artwork on offer. I recommend you have a gander at http://www.kevinmchughart.com/

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And these guys, who were in the stall next to me selling Lego figures, which brought a steady stream of wild-eyed children flocking to the table and keeping the slow parts of the day more interesting. They had an impressive collection too. You can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/The-Lego-Man-Belfast-917910218299584/?fref=nf

 

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And don’t forget, you can still grab yourself a free digital copy of Realm of the Death Cult, the first book in the series, just for signing up for my mailing list on the home page. See you all in Sheffield!

New Website! New Show! New Everything!

So the biggest news this week is, as you probably noticed, the new website is up! I rebuilt it from scratch to incorporate some marketing basics I’ve become aware of lately and I think it came out pretty sexy. Have a look around and let me know what you think.

The part I’m most proud of is the Readers Group, which I’ll be putting together from people who take advantage of the offer on the front page of downloading a free digital copy of Book 1: Realm of the Death Cult in exchange for their email address. This is a strategy that has worked wonders for other authors in building mailing lists and engaging more with their readers. I’m super excited to do the same as there are now a few thousand copies of my books floating around out there already and I imagine there are people out there who would be interested in something like this. I just never had the tools in place to engage with them very effectively, so hopefully this will remedy that.

The other big news this week is that I’ve secured a table at the MCM London on 28-30 of October. This is a MASSIVE show and tickets for dealer tables sold out in 9 minutes last year. 9 minutes! I was ready this year, hitting my refresh button the moment the online signup form went live. I couldn’t be more excited as I’ve been told by many merchants at the Film and Comic Con Manchester a few months ago how much foot traffic one gets at a show that big. I was told I wouldn’t have time to sit down. Can’t wait!

For more info you can visit: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/

But before I can even think about that, I’ve got my show next weekend to look forward to, which is the MCM Ireland Comic Con in Dublin. I’ve got my plane tickets and my bags all packed. Have never been to Dublin before and am very excited to meet everyone and maybe sell some books.

You can check Dublin out here: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/ireland/

It’s been a great year so far and it’s all thanks to you guys. Everyone who was willing to take a chance on the autographed copies I sold in Manchester, and who picked up a copy during the Bookbub promotion, and those who are still buying the books now even though there is no actual promotion or advertising happening (yet).

And I’m still making my way through Mark Dawson’s amazing course on using Facebook ads to promote books, which should yield some results later in the year. And…oh yeah….book 3 is rocking right along.

Here’s to 2016!

I Got a Gold Star!

Wow, things have really been hotting up around the ol’ Realm over the past 24 hours. Now that the Bookbub promotion is really starting to take off, the books are flying off the shelves (digitally speaking, that is). I’ve somehow managed to stumble backwards into quite a nice ranking on the Amazon Author Rank as well. Here is my position as of this afternoon:

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I know, right?? #44? I’ve never been #44 on anybody’s list, unless you include that time I got honourable mention on the Top 43 People Who Kind of Didn’t Like The New Top Gear. The good news kept on flowing, however, as Amazon granted me their equivalent of a gold star for my efforts at selling books, or in this case a little orange flag that had those two words (or one, depending on the publication) that sound like music in any author’s ear:

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But all this success begged the question – what’s next? How to build on it? Bookbub won’t let me advertise my books on their site forever. I have to take the reigns myself and move on. That’s when my beautiful and patient wife Sarah suggested the tactic of Facebook Ad promotion, which was discussed in a recent Guardian livechat with Adam Croft and Rachel Abbott (both massive bestselling self-published authors). Mr. Zuckerberg and his team have been spending a huge amount of time lately monetizing Facebook and it’s really been paying off in the last few years. So I took the plunge and enrolled in an online course that will help me understand the Facebook Ad beast and hopefully learn to wrangle it for my own uses. If you start to see ads for The Realm Jumpers as a “Suggested Post” in your news feed, you’ll know I worked it out. Just started today, though, so will have to give it some time.

Also, don’t forget my next appearance on the convention circuit, which will be at the MCM Ireland Comic Con in Dublin 2-3 of July, where I’ll be out selling signed autographed copies of both books 1 and 2, giving out free bookmarks and witty conversation, and nervously adjusting all the materials on my table. I’m also going to be attempting to buy tickets to the massive MCM London Comic Con in October, which is one of the biggest ones on the circuit. Tickets sell out within minutes, however, so I’ll keep you updated on how that goes. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, looking forward to all the events this year and don’t forget – if you want to stay abreast of all the big haps going on, why not sign up for the newsletter? Thanks to everyone who has made this such a big year already!

 

 

Bookbub baby!

Hey everyone, just a note to let the world know that my big promotion with the guys at Bookbub starts today! For one week only, the first book in The Realm Jumpers series will be available for just $.99, giving everyone an opportunity to pick it up cheap and give it a try to see if it’s your cup of tea. If you don’t know, Bookbub are some of the best in the business when it comes to ebook price promotions and says it will be included in an email blast that will be seen by nearly two million people. They have some very official-looking analytics information saying the middle of the average bell curve for sales of books in my genre in the past meant thousands of new downloads. It will start at 12:01am Pacific Standard Time “today” but for readers of this blog, I can let you in on a secret – it started earlier than that. You can pick up a copy now from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and all the other retailers it is available from right now if you so desire. Just follow the links on the right sidebar of this blog to have a look for yourself.

 

Just a Quick One…

So now the excitement has died down from my appearance at the Comic con in Manchester a few weeks ago, it’s time to start looking forward to Dublin, where I’ll be appearing at the MCM Ireland Comic Con in Dublin 2-3 of July! It looks set to be a big one, with plenty of big guest appearances and special events. For all the info you can check out their website: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/ireland/

And that’s not even the biggest news – Bookbub has selected The Realm Jumpers book 1 to be a part of their big promotion beginning 13 June, when I’ll be lowering the price for the ebook versions to just $.99 (and £.99 in the UK) for one week only. If you were ever thinking about grabbing a digital copy that will be the time! Bookbub is one of the best in the business when it comes to advertising price promotions like this and will be able to put it in front of millions of eyes across the world. I’m really excited to see what kind of a response the books generate as the potential to pick up new fans will be massive.

I’ve also mocked up a cover for book number 3, tentatively titled “Book 3: Realm of the Wolf Hunters”. It’s for a flyer I’ll be including with the autographed copies I’ll be selling and thanks to the folks at Deranged Doctor Design, it looks sexy as always. Here’s a sneak peak:

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It looks set to be a big year around the ol’ realm, so keep an eye on this space!

 

 

 

 

Post Convention Wrap-Up: Film and Comic Con Manchester 2016

So it’s been two days since my first appearance at a comic con convention and I’m still reeling. It was an amazing experience where I met a lot of very nice people, both customers and vendors, got to know a bit about how the convention circuit works behind-the-scenes, met a celebrity or two, and on top of everything – sold some books! Overall, it was a wonderful experience where a lot of lessons were learned.

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Lesson #1: You can’t trust everyone you meet.

A big highlight for me was being able to meet Mac Macdonald, whose face you might recognize as the original captain of the Jupiter Mining Corporation’s Red Dwarf from the BBC series Red Dwarf. Sadly, the poster that the event organizers made to advertise his presence listed one of his credits as “Star Wars” (he didn’t appear in Star Wars), which was then crossed out with a felt tip pen although still fully readable. I thought this was a bit of an oversight on the part of the organizers, but I guess they are very busy people. Maybe the thinking was: Most of our celebrities are either Star Wars or Doctor Who actors, so just chuck one of them on there and we can’t be far off. Mac didn’t seem to mind, actually, and was happy to sign autographs and talk to the small crowd he attracted.

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And take goofy selfies with his more ardent fans.

Other big lessons included size A3 posters don’t fit into 8×10 photo frames, always bring your own lunch (unless you enjoy paying seven pounds for rubbery chips), always make sure your phone charger cable isn’t a cheap knockoff brand, and finally us self-published authors all have something to teach each other. After speaking with a fellow novelist named Chantelle (I lost her bookmark, otherwise I would totally link to her book here. Grrrr..) who had made up a small flyer she inserted into each book she sold advertising the next book in the series that she was working on, which I thought was genius.

Another author sold small merchandising items that related to the horror books he was selling, like small plastic skulls and little prints of monsters and things. He even was thinking of selling specially-printed T-shirts, which also made a lot of sense to me. Why not build a little store around the theme of one’s books? That way you are much more likely to earn a profit while selling your books, and you increase your presence and attract more traffic to your stall.

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Although sometimes you can attract the wrong kind of traffic.

These and many more ideas swirled around our half-empty dealer area and gave me a lot to think about for my next appearance, which will be in Dublin on 2-3 July for the MCM Ireland Comic Con, which promises to be a great, and better-attended, show. It also has the added benefit of me having never been to not only Dublin, but Ireland as well. I’m very excited to go and can’t wait to put into practice everything I learned.

Also, I’ve updated the site a bit with buttons to the many different retailers that are now stocking the digital and print versions of both books 1 and 2 and will soon be releasing information as I can about book 3, which is now in the works. Lots to look forward to this year so keep an eye on this space!

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Publishing Day!

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Couldn’t be more excited to announce today that the first two books in The Realm Jumpers saga have finally gone on sale! They are now available in both digital and print editions from Amazon, Smashwords, and soon a variety of other retailers including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more.

I admit, I probably should be waiting a day or two before doing this. The new cover art for the digital edition of book 1 hasn’t been updated yet on Amazon, and the digital and print editions haven’t yet been linked, but I’m too excited. Plus, I’m getting on an airplane tomorrow to Manchester in anticipation of appearing at Showmasters’ Film and Comic Con Manchester convention at EventCity (near the Trafford Centre in the heart of Manchester UK), where I’ll be offering autographed copies of both books, sexy new bookmarks, bowls of sweets, and lots of interesting conversation for those passing by my table.

The books are easy enough to find by searching by my author name, but to make it especially easy to find I’ve included direct links below to all the different versions that are currently on sale. Amazon offers a “Look Inside” feature which allows you to read the first few pages to see if the book is right for you, which I encourage anyone to do to make sure the style and tone are your cup of tea. For a longer sample, head on over to Smashwords where you can actually read up to 20% of the book if you’d like to be sure.

For those who don’t know much about the books yet, they are the story of a chroncially-unemployed vampire PI named Winston, a witching academy dropout named Maggie, and a young Indian man whose promising career as a PA has recently gone sideways. Together, they come upon an antique teapot with the ability to transport them to different realms where mythological creatures become as real as the government agents that are hunting them since the act of “realm-jumping” is highly illegal. In their first adventure, they find they are not the only ones who have discovered the teapot’s peculiar abilities. A cult of horrifying creatures made of pure ice led by a witch with unimaginable power wants the teapot in order to unleash the death god they worship upon the world. Outgunned, outmanned, and outwitched, the three have to find a way to survive the cult, the death god, and hardest of all – each other.

For more of an introduction, why not give the first few pages a read?

Book 1 Amazon print edition

Book 1 Amazon digital edition (artwork will update in a day or so)

Book 2 Amazon print edition

Book 2 Amazon digital edition

Book 1 Smashwords edition

Book 2 Smashwords edition

Huge thanks to everyone that helped me get to this point, including my very patient wife, my son, everyone at Deranged Doctor Design who gave me such unbelievably sexy cover art, Amy Allworden for her incredible work as a story editor on both editions, and Rob Siders at 52 Novels for being so patient with a newbie like me when designing the ebook editions.

Most of all, though, I want to thank the readers out there who are willing to give the first few pages a try. What more can an author ask for?

– Lennox

Sample Chapter 2 – Winston Lamb

Today’s sample chapter picks up in the middle of the introduction chapter in book 1 and introduces us to Winston Lamb, the aging vampire private investigator who was once the star of the Victorian scene. But with the end of the Victorian age came the beginning of Winston’s money problems, forcing him to take dodgy jobs from dodgy employers and just when he thought things couldn’t get any dodgier, he finds himself on the run from Moolsem, an eight-foot-tall white-furred wolfhound with serious rage issues against unwanted intruders of the vampiric variety. Also featured is the eternally gracious host Nigella, a high-level witch who isn’t happy about a bumbling PI shining a light on her mysterious past and potentially exposing a dark secret.

 Enjoy!

 

Chapter 1

 

Winston scrambled to his feet and made a break for it. He could see the lights of a neighbouring manor house a bit further down and knew he might have a chance if he could reach it.

As Winston ran he could hear a fast-approaching galloping sound coming up from behind and suddenly felt the dog’s muzzle ram him and sent him tumbling end over end. He settled on his back and looked up to find a very annoyed white hell beast with a red ball in its mouth.

The dog dropped the ball and licked its lips, ready to eat. It walked up to Winston and put a paw on his chest.

Winston was just able to reach the big red ball and held it up for the dog to see.

“Doggie want to play fetch again? Eh? C’mon, you know you do,” Winston said, and threw the ball as far as he could.

Once again, the dog fought valiantly against the urge to be distracted, but once again gave in to temptation and went bounding after the ball.

Winston hopped onto his feet and continued running for all it was worth. He was close to the other house now and had only to get over the next rise to reach it.

But as he sprinted over the summit, Winston quickly learned three hard lessons about rambling along the cliffs of the British coastline. The first was that it is hard to see in the dark. The second was when one cannot see in the dark one is in danger of missing small details in the terrain, such as when the sea cuts deep canyons into the coastline that are easily hidden from view by small rises. The third was that mud is slippery.

Winston vaulted over the top of the rise and saw too late that a large canyon stood between him and the neighbouring manor house. His attempts to stop running were in vain given the wet, soggy ground and Winston felt his feet slip out from under him and his inertia toss him over the side of the canyon.

Winston flailed about, trying to grab anything to keep him from falling onto the jagged stones that lay tens of metres down at the bottom. Just in time, he felt his fingers wrap around an old tree root that stuck out from the crumbling edge of the cliff. He grabbed it with both hands as he felt his legs dangle over the edge.

A few moments later, the dog appeared above him. He dropped the red ball in his mouth and Winston watched it roll past and fall into the canyon below him.

“Okay, I get it, you’re still upset,” Winston said as he gripped the tree root for dear life. “But tell you what. If you help me back up I’ll let you smell my arse. Yeah? How about that? I know you mutts are really into that…”

The dog began to growl again. Deeper this time, as if starting from further back in the throat. It stepped to the very edge of the cliff and lowered its head. Winston could see his head was now in range of its jaws and there was crap all he could do to duck him this time. He closed his eyes and tried not to think of that poor security man back at the party.

“Moolsem, stop,” came a familiar voice from the distance. The dog reluctantly stepped back.

A moment later, Lady Devon appeared at the cliff edge and peered down at Winston’s dangling body.

“Well, it appears dear Moolsem has caught another stray cat on our grounds.”

“Yes…very good….” Winston said.

“I don’t think we’ve been acquainted. My name is Lady Nigella Devon, level twenty-eight witch, and the host for this evening. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure?” Nigella asked.

“Just call me Cat,” Winston said.

“Yes, well Mr Cat, I feel I have to apologise for Moolsem’s behaviour. He is generally very sweet but can get a bit grumpy when he’s woken from his nap. You should feel quite privileged. Normally, only my most generous of patrons ever have a chance to meet him.”

Winston suddenly got her furry joke from before and groaned inside.

“Now I am curious as to why someone in the…private investigation business I’m assuming?…would be so keen on ruining a fundraising event that I have put so much work into over the past few months. You upset a lot of very important people. The least you can do to make up for your rudeness is tell me who would want to hire someone with your…skills.”

Winston saw that Lady Devon had little use for a plastic mask at a fancy dress party. She wore her own face like one.

“Tell you what, Lady Devon Level Twenty-Eight Witch, why don’t you help me up here and we can have a civilised conversation?” Winston asked, feeing the root starting to give way a bit.

“Please, call me Nigella. Lady Devon is so formal and reserved for only my furthest acquaintances,” she said. She made no effort to help Winston up.

“I have a question for you then,” Winston said. “Where did Rover here come from?” he said, nodding his head toward Moolsem. “You and I both know he’s not supposed to be here. It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me. But you will have to tell the authorities when one of your guests calls the police.”

Nigella smiled and crouched down. “You know, Mr Cat, when one reaches the higher levels of witch training as I have…I am a level twenty-eight…one of the most important lessons you are taught is the art of finesse. The mark of a truly great witch is one who uses the smallest spell possible, in the smallest possible quantity, to get the job done.”

Nigella reached over to Moolsem’s paw and plucked out Winston’s lock-pick. Moolsem gave a sharp huff of breath, but didn’t move.

“Sometimes it takes only the tiniest nudge to get the job done effectively. It is an astonishing philosophy.” Nigella produced a tiny wand from the folds of her gown and with the flick of a wrist, produced a small bottle of witching powder. Wetting her fingers, she rubbed a bit of the powder on the tip of her wand.

“This is intended, of course, to prevent unnecessary harm from coming to innocent bystanders while one performs one’s witching duties. But I believe it to be a good philosophy of life. Because life is so precious, and fragile. It comes from dust and ultimately…must return to it…”

Nigella waved her wand over the lock-pick. It turned brown and gray and seemed to crack. As if on cue, the breeze picked up and the end of the pick began to fall away and blow off into the wind. Bit by bit, the lock-pick disappeared until it was gone.

“I’m a humane person, Mr Cat. I believe in doing my bit to help my fellow man. I just feel it would be good etiquette on your part to tell me who hired you. Otherwise I might get upset. And Moolsem hates it when I’m upset, don’t you?”

Nigella ran her hand through Moolsem’s thick white fur and he growled at Winston.

Winston looked down at the darkness below, knowing it was a long way down.

Dammit, he thought. Dammit dammit dammit!

A thousand escape plans ran through his mind and exactly none of them involved him getting away injury-free from a razor-toothed hell beast and a level twenty-eight witch.

His hands were starting to tingle. They couldn’t hold on for much longer. He had to do something.

“You wouldn’t want your host to be upset, would you Mr Cat? The party never ends well when that happens,” Nigella said as she gently caressed her wand over the root Winston was clutching.

Winston cried out in frustration. He knew what he had to do. He just didn’t like it. He really, really didn’t like it.

Winston looked up at Moolsem. “I was right the first time,” he said to the dog. “You are a stupid mutt.”

Winston let go of the root.

Nigella and Moolsem watched with astonishment as Winston tumbled and fell into the darkness below. A moment later came the sound of a body splattering upon the jagged rocks of the shoreline below.

Nigella sighed in disappointment. “Come along, dear. I’m sorry you won’t get to play with him today.”

Nigella and Moolsem both turned from the cliff and walked back toward Stonebridge Manor.