Ravana O'Brien, Detective Ostara Lee, the young Artorius and their robot sabre-toothed tiger are marooned a very long way from home. Priest Taranis is reaping his twisted destiny with a new apprentice at his side. The watchers Athene and Ares are bringing their great game to a close. The incompetent mercenaries Namtar and Inari are being idiotic as always. Dyson trees, biological skyships, space dreadnoughts, alien greys: the five systems are not big enough to contain the plot...
Hollow Worlds is somewhat of an epic finale to the series and markedly longer than previous books; at seventeen chapters and almost 170,000 words, it's easily one and a half times the length of the first novel Hollow Moon. Wrapping up the various plot threads in the series needed more space (in both senses of the word) to get right. I went for big space-opera vibes this time, building on various hints and reveals of earlier stories (which was inevitable, given how The Avalon Job ends) and I'm really pleased the way the book has turned out. And also mentally exhausted... I never expected to take this long writing it!
I'm taking a break before starting the final editing, but if all goes well publication should hopefully be in the second half of this year. Somewhat surprisingly, I'm ahead of myself in terms of deciding a book cover, a draft of which is also revealed today. An extract from Chapter One is available to read online. Enjoy!
Happy reading! Steph.
2 February 2024
Hastings Fat Tuesday
ATOMIC TWITTEN, our shambolic folk-comedy duo featuring Taylor on vocals/guitar and myself on bass, is playing this year's Hastings Fat Tuesday festival, the seaside town's answer to Mardi Gras. We're participating in Unplugged Saturday on 10 February, a packed afternoon of free acoustic music sessions, which sees 60 emerging and established artists and bands (and us!) across all genres playing 15-minute sets at participating venues in Hastings and St Leonards, East Sussex.
We will be gracing the following venues in Hastings Old Town:
1pm - Ye Olde Pumphouse, 64 George Street, Hastings TN34 3EE
2pm - British Tea Museum, 42 George Street, Hastings TN34 3EA
3pm - The Albion, 33 George St, Hastings TN34 3EA
4pm - The Crown, 64-66 All Saints' Street, Hastings TN34 3BN
5pm - SEED, 50 George Street, Hastings TN34 3EA
The Hastings Fat Tuesday five-day festival presents over 350 free gigs, gatherings, parties and parades alongside ticketed events, with acclaimed artists from across the South-East appearing alongside a wealth of local bands. A full schedule of what's happening over the five-day celebration can be found on Hastings Fat Tuesday website. Programmes can also be grabbed from participating venues. See you there...?
Support live music! Steph.
19 December 2023
Free seasonal short story - "Snakes On A Spaceship"
PUBLISHED TODAY is "Snakes On A Spaceship", this year's free seasonal tale from The Worlds Of Hollow Moon. This story is a science-fiction pastiche of the fairytale "Sleeping Beauty" and a certain movie featuring Samuel L Jackson cursing at snakes. Also, err... Die Hard. Which is a Christmas film of sorts.
Interplanetary smugglers Hanuman and Ganesa are ferrying a party of gangsters and cargo of exotic snakes through Epsilon Eridani's asteroid belt to a festive get-together at a crime-lord's secret hideaway. A distress call leads them to a crashed spacecraft and a mysterious young woman, asleep in a medical pod within an overgrown biological photosynthetic garden. Then someone releases the snakes...
The ebook collection Merry Christmas, Mister Wolf has been updated and reissued to include the new story. As per last year, the Smashwords version of this ebook release is available in ePub format only, sorry!
The final novel in the series, Hollow Worlds, will almost certainly be published in 2024 (honest). So... the two short story anthologies are probably now complete. Merry Christmas, Mister Wolf and the accompanying volume To Dance Amongst The Stars are now both priced £1.99 / $2.99; through the amazing flexibility of ebooks, readers should only need to buy each one once to get future updates free of charge.
Merry Christmas, one and all. Books and ebook readers make truly marvellous gifts! I hope you are all keeping safe, warm and well.
Happy reading! Steph.
16 December 2023
HISTORY REIMAGINED ebook bundle
OUT NOW is History Reimagined: A Historical Fiction Bundle, a collection of speculative fiction with a historical slant. Dive into these captivating stories and reimagine history! Step into the enchanting world of History Reimagined, an ebook bundle that transports readers to captivating realms of the past...
Included in the bundle is my own novella The Battles Of Hastings, an alternate-history romp through the battlefields of England 1066. In full, the bundle contains:
"The Sword That Spoke" by Robert Jeschonek
"The Messiah Business" by Robert Jeschonek
"Cromwell's Echo" by Joslyn Chase
"Temper and Temperance" by DeAnna Knippling
"When Thomas Jefferson Dined Alone" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Battles Of Hastings (novella) by Stephanie M Bennion
A Love Divided (novel) by Belle McInnes
"The Javelin in her Hand" by Joslyn Chase
This ebook bundle is currently only available from PubShare, price USD $4.99. This was actually published back in October but passed me by; my story was requested in June and I'd forgotten all about it!
Immerse yourself in the worlds of Napoleon, Jefferson, Jesus, Queen Mary, and many other towering historical figures, discovering hidden narratives, unraveling mysteries, and becoming inspired by the remarkable ability of historical fiction to shed new light on both past and present.
Happy reading! Steph.
1 December 2023
Released today - "Ain't Dead Yet" by Ditch the Demon
Compact Discs of "Ain't Dead Yet" can be ordered online from Ditch the Demon's page on BandCamp, price £12.00 (plus P&P). Digital downloads of the album are also available from BandCamp, price £7.00; and also from Amazon Music, Apple Music and other online music services. CDs will also be on sale at gigs, of course!
We're really pleased with what we've achieved in "Ain't Dead Yet". With four songwriters in the band (including yours truly!), Ditch the Demon assimilates power metal and psych rock under a dark yet uplifting aura, a journey of light 'n' shade through hard rocking numbers, epic ballads, psych and even a dalliance with rock-diva vaudeville. We've been compared to bands such as Epica, Evanescence and Within Temptation, along with older influences Heart and Coven, whose songs we sometimes cover. Intrigued? Check us out!
Ditch the Demon have a couple of gigs left to play this year: Saturday 2 December at the Brickmakers B2 in Norwich (we're on around 6pm, opening a long night of rock bands) and then back in Hastings at The Carlisle on Saturday 16 December (headlining another multi-band affair). Gig details and more can be found on our website at www.ditchthedemon.co.uk. See you there...?
Happy listening! Steph.
P.S. Friday 1 December is also BandCamp Friday, where artists get a greater share of sales proceeds. Support independent artists today!
19 October 2023
"Ain't Dead Yet" by Ditch the Demon released for pre-order
DITCH THE DEMON'S forthcoming album "AIN'T DEAD YET" is finally available for pre-orders on Bandcamp! After a few delays, I'm able to announce a release date: 1 December. This is the debut album from a certain Hasting-based psych-rock band in which I play bass. We're really pleased with how this has turned out.
"Ain't Dead Yet" can be pre-ordered from Ditch the Demon's page on BandCamp, price £7.00 (digital album) / £12.00 (compact disc). The title track (which I wrote!) is available straight away for those pre-ordering the album. More about the band can be found on our website at www.ditchthedemon.co.uk.
This album and the preceding single "Fright Night" has led to the resurrection of Prozakville Records, WyrdStar's own record label. The album "Ain't Dead Yet" by Ditch the Demon will be released on iTunes and other digital music services for pre-order from 3 November.
Finally, for those in London tomorrow evening, Ditch the Demon is playing a gig at the St. Moritz Club, 159 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WJ at around 8pm. Maybe see you there...?
Happy listening! Steph.
21 June 2023
Paperback Price Rises
The economic woes of the UK continue to make everything more expensive, including publishing books. Due to increases in Amazon's printing costs, the price of producing print-on-demand books went up as of yesterday: that is, the paperback editions of my science-fiction novels Hollow Moon, Paw-Prints Of The Gods and City Of Deceit. After running the figures, this unfortunately means a sizeable price hike to avoid selling books at a loss.
From today, WyrdStar paperbacks will priced £13.99 ($17.99). However... UK readers can continue to order paperbacks directly from WyrdStar at the current special price of £9.00 (see book pages for the order form - I will be setting up a PayPal shop at some point!).
Happy reading! Steph.
1 June 2023
Pride Month offer on THE LUCK OF THE DEVIL
June is Pride Month, a chance to reflect on the contribution LGBTQ+ folk make to society and the ongoing fight for rights. My one contribution (so far) to the world of queer fiction is THE LUCK OF THE DEVIL ebook, which will be on sale for $0.99 (75% off, coupon code KD26D) throughout June at Smashwords. Being trans myself, this remains my most 'personal' novel to date. Susan Jones, a transgender woman struggling to get by in the economic woes of 1990s Britain, is under the care of psychiatrist Doctor Mordussen. He in turn is obsessed by her disturbing nightmares. But are her demons real? Pick up a copy now...
Happy Pride Month! Steph.
13 May 2023
"Fright Night" - new single from Ditch the Demon
RELEASED TODAY IS "FRIGHT NIGHT", a furious explosion of sumptuous manic lust and high-speed heavy rock from Hastings psych-rockers Ditch the Demon! This download-only track is a taster of the band's forthcoming album AIN'T DEAD YET. I've been playing bass for Ditch the Demon for a few years now and couldn't wish for a better bunch of bandmates. We're all really excited about the album, which is due out this summer.
"Fright Night" also marks the resurrection of Prozakville Records, WyrdStar's own record label, which was originally set up to distribute recordings by my old band Danse Macabre. The album "Ain't Dead Yet" by Ditch the Demon will be released on BandCamp and all streaming services.