I just revealed the cover of The Headlock of Destiny (now available for ebook preorder over on Amazon) over at Fantasy Book Critic. I won’t make you go there to see it – but it is a fantastic site for keeping up on great fantasy reads and I highly recommend spending some time over there.

The cover is below, and I’m really excited about it.

Description: Some say titans are descended from giants. Others say they are risen from men. But there’s never any debate about where to find them. They will be in the center of a roaring crowd, beating the hell out of each other. From contenders like the Savage and Scott Flawless to pretenders like Richard the Living Portrait and Troll-Blooded Thom, a titan’s lot in life is the same: To wrestle for dominion and glory in the squared circle.

Van, a quiet titan from the brewery town of Headwaters, wants no part in this. He’d prefer to be left alone with a beer. But destiny has him in a headlock, and it is prepared to drag him into battles that will shake the land and change his world forever.

Step into the ring with this one-of-a-kind novel, brewed special for fans of epic fantasy, fans of professional wrestling from the Golden Era and beyond, or simply fans of a good tale.

I think one of the things that keeps me coming back to fantasy as my favorite genre again and again is the visual art that accompanies the medium. And one of my favorite parts of being a indie author is the opportunity to work with killer artists myself. To paint them a picture of what I want, realize I have no idea what I’m talking about, and then watch them deliver something totally unexpected yet still exactly what I wanted.

The Headlock of Destiny has a theme of being alone in the midst of a crowd, lost in the lights, runs throughout the book. I had no idea how to capture that sentiment while taking care of the core business of the illustration – showing that this is about giant monsters/men beating the hell out of each other. I’ve worked with Dominik Mayer before, though, and I knew if any artist could nail it he could. I’m thrilled with what he’s done in his illustration. Note the flags hanging over the titan’s shoulder, a nod to the weight of nations watching the struggle. The way the yellow streaks crossing the titans hint at spotlights and elevate the sense of danger.

And I need to give a final thanks to Humble Nations for the custom typology. This book is an epic fantasy/pro wrestling mash-up (I know, yet another one of those) and I really liked the idea of locking that down with a championship belt theme for the title. Very happy with the results.

Hope you are intrigued enough to sign up for a preorder. Or if you’re waiting for a paperback those will drop March 5, 2020.

I’ve been hard at work on a new series of books, and I couldn’t be more excited to get your reaction. It’s a fantasy / pro wrestling mash-up which takes all the fun, adventure, and imagination of epic fantasy and stuffs it into the wrestling ring, drawing on some of the great and inspiring characters from the Golden Era of wrestling. A cross between the Royal Rumble and Game of Thrones if you will. One squared circle to rule them all. I had a blast writing this book, which is scheduled for release in early March 2020. I hope you’re excited to read it.

So what does the title mean? The Headlock of Destiny is a wrestling tournament, really the wrestling tournament, that pits all the Open Nations against each other in single elimination combat with only the barest effort towards things like rules. The book takes you through the experiences of characters trapped within the cruel confines of the tournament bracket, especially one who truly feels that his own destiny has placed him in a headlock and is dragging him forward into battles which will shake the world and change his life forever.

Hope you’re excited! Any comments or questions, just hit me up. Thanks!

Hi Readers, so much to tell you, starting with the release of The Fire Eye Chosen! The sequel to Kay’s adventures is loose in the world. In it, a new enemy threatens the peace Kay has worked tirelessly for, and Kay must hope her magic will finally awaken, her only chance to light the way through the approaching wave of blood and smoke.

To celebrate, I’m having a massive sale of all my books. The Fire Eye Refugee is free for a limited time and all three of The Spies of Dragon and Chalk books are just $0.99. Best time ever to stock up for summer reading.

FEC launch promo ad

And as you’re stocking up, I can’t recommend The Dragon Songs Saga enough. It’s a quartet of great books bundled for just $0.99 for a limited time which feature epic battles, deep-rooted conspiracies, and the magic of music.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at gatelysamuel@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

I’ve got a fun guest blog post up over at The Fantasy Book Critic, a great site for reviews of the latest excellent fantasies, thrillers, sci fi, and other reads. The post is linked here. It’s got everything (well, mostly guitars and some debate about traditional versus indie publishing). Bit of a teaser below to suck you in.

Back in high school, I fell for guitars in a big way. My dad taught me the four chords to Runaround Sue, which I later realized was the full extent of his own expertise, on an old nylon string acoustic we had lying around. That might have been it, me pounding away on a pretty crappy guitar for a week or two before getting bored, but my older brother had also caught the bug at some point. He had gone as far as purchasing a barely-touched Yamaha electric. It was a Stratocaster ripoff. It was black. It looked vastly cooler on me when I finally figured out how to strap it on. A few tentative trips from my bedroom to look in the bathroom mirror was all it took to make this my latest obsession.

Music had always been a love of mine, again most thanks go to the older brother who raised me on a steady diet of metal and hard and alternative rock. But in retrospect the timing of my guitar obsession probably had a lot to do with my fading basketball hopes and dreams. I’d been a grade school star who barely made the lowest tier of high school ball and quickly recognized I was done. I’d spent hours every night practicing on our driveway hoop. That energy had to go somewhere. And it did, big time. 

For the next several years…continue reading over at the FBC

Three quick pieces of news. First, the wonderful Ink & Papercuts blog is hosting a giveaway of The Fire Eye Refugee. Registering to win a free copy of the ebook just requires a like and linking a friend through this Facebook link. And it’s a good time to read The Fire Eye Refugee because the release of the sequel The Fire Eye Chosen is approaching.


The blog will also host a Q&A with me, up shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.

Finally, I’ve got a guest blog post up there where I talk a bit about my writer’s journey, linking it all to one of my all-time favorite literary scenes from the book Gormenghast. Its ‘climate of sharp and dangerous breath’ helped launch me as a writer. The post also contains a hint about one of the three hidden elements in the cover to Night of the Chalk. Send me a note if you find it and I’ll give you a free copy or something. We’ll work it out.

Cheers. Enjoy. Be well.

Hope you are well and enjoying the early signs of Spring. I wanted to let you know that The Spies of Dragon and Chalk series is bundled (ebook version) and wildly discounted. Just $2.99 (or £1.99) to get all three books for a limited time. Good opportunity to stock up.

SDC twitter ad 1

Also, I’m nearing completion on the first draft of The Fire Eye Chosen, sequel to The Fire Eye Refugee. Can’t wait to share it with you!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at gatelysamuel@gmail.com with any questions or comments.


Fire Eye Cover - High ResolutionThe Fire Eye Refugee is on sale for a short time. Just $0.99 (£0.99)! 

I hope everyone has been enjoying their early 2018. I’m excited to announce this Fire Eye Refugee sale (for ebook only, paperback available at usual price) and I’m pleased to announce I’ve been making some great progress on a sequel to the book. It will be called The Fire Eye Chosen. Look for it in late Spring.

When The Fire Eye Chosen is ready for release, I’ll be putting out an exclusive opportunity for members of the mailing list to receive advanced review copies – meaning I’ll provide a free copy of the new ebook (or .pdf file) if you express your willingness to leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you’re not already signed up for the mailing list, go for it.

I’ll provide more details, but just wanted to let you know in case you haven’t read The Fire Eye Refugee…now’s the time to do it! And I think you’ll like it.

In it, a spy must face her past or risk death in exile. Reviewers have called it “intense”, “a nice mix of fantasy, magic, and imperfect characters”, “well-written and entertaining”, and other nice stuff.

If you’ve already read FER, you can always catch up on the Spies of Dragon and Chalk series. Or read Kings of the Wyld. That book is amazing. You’ll thank me later.



It was a fantastic and exhausting year for me. In 2017, I released three books in the Spies of Dragon and Chalk series. Night of the Chalk (the story which haunted my dreams the last five years), Rise of the Falsemarked, and Alliance of the Sunken. And then The Fire Eye Refugee hit Amazon a couple months ago. It’s been a wild ride.

I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who helped me out this year, those in my life who’ve lent me their time, support, and patience, and those I’ve met through writing and reading who have been generous enough to spend their time looking at my words…the ultimate act of kindness.

I’ve only got one “ask” in this email…if you’ve enjoyed any of the SDC books and feel up to leaving a review for the Boxed Set of Books 1-3, I would love to get a few more up there. Thank you kindly.

I hope you had an amazing and fulfilling 2017. Wishing you the best for 2018. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at gatelysamuel@gmail.com with any questions or comments.