This little piece is one of those that just came fully formed. I can’t decide if I want to keep it as it is or make it into something longer.
This little piece is one of those that just came fully formed. I can’t decide if I want to keep it as it is or make it into something longer.
I’ve finally completed the rewrite for book three of The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley. It’s taken a bit longer than I wanted it to, but I’m glad it’s done. I believe the stories are stronger now, even if they aren’t quite as light-hearted as the originals. I’m hoping to have book three, Path’s End, released soon.
Check out this snippet and stay tuned for the release date.
The entire common room went silent when Mariostin Rocktosser entered the room. He was a tiny thing, just about the height of the tables, and his wheat blonde hair contrasted with his dusky skin. Freckles dotted his rosy cheeks, and his large lips were set in a frown. He froze at the silence, his eyes darting from table to table without stopping. He seemed to shrink into his cloak and become even smaller than he already was.
Faylen rose from her seat and wove through the tables to where Mariostin stood like a cornered coniklo. “Hello,” she said. “I’m Faylen Icebreeze. I’ll show you where to get lunch if you’d like.”
Mariostin gave her a tentative smile and followed her to the serving area. As if she’d lifted a ban, the rest of the students began talking again, and the room was soon filled with laughter and conversation.
“So, where are you from?” Faylen asked when Mariostin joined them at the table.
“Crowborough,” the Halfling replied. His voice was a quiet mutter, barely more than a whisper. He didn’t say any more.
“Well, I’m from E’ma Thalas,” Faylen replied.
“I’ve heard of that. My parents traveled there when they were young, before I was born. They talked about it a lot.” He took another bite. “They even talked about living there all the time.”
Mariostin fell silent then and seemed more concerned with eating his fist meal than with talking. He had chosen ham, and, true to form, Old Marshall had loaded both pieces of bread with meat and cheese before toasting it to a golden, yummy brown.
Ethan watched the Halfling shovel the food into his mouth and grimaced. Mariostin was super thin, but he didn’t look like he was starving. And, yes, Old Marshall made the best fist meals of all time, but that didn’t explain Mariostin’s gobbling the food up the way he was. Ethan wondered where he’d come from and what had happened to him for him to get the Hourglass of Saturn.
Kayne turned to Ethan with his rakish grin, interrupting his thoughts. “So, what are the girls like in Land’s End?”
Ethan shook his head. “Really, Kayne? I don’t know. Like they are everywhere else, I guess.”
“Well, what’s there to do?”
Ethan shrugged. “My friends and me spent a lot of time playing kickball in the park, and I made deliveries for my mom’s bakery.” He paused a moment. “It’s a small town. Nothing like Ymla.”
Mariostin looked up with a bit of bread hanging from the corner of his mouth. “Where’s all this?” he asked.
“Land’s End,” Ethan replied. “It’s where I’m from.” He waved his hand at the group around them. “We’re all going to my house for Yuletide.”
Mariostin’s shoulders drooped, and he laid the rest of his fist meal on his plate. Then his eyes lit up, and he said, “I’m going home, too. My parents have this awesome place in Crowborough, and they get the biggest tree they can find. We spend hours adding the lights and the ornaments to it.”
“I’ll bet it’s really pretty,” Faylen replied. She dropped her eyes for a moment. “In E’ma Thalas, we decorate the forest trees some. The birds and animals help.”
Electa sighed and played with a piece of cheese on her plate. “I don’t remember there being a lot done at my house. I think we had a tree and whatnot, but that’s all I remember.” Tears filled her eyes but didn’t fall.
Faylen placed her hand on Electa’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze, then she turned to Kayne. “What about you?”
Kayne shrugged. “Don’t know.” He turned to Ethan wearing a grin that didn’t reach his eyes. “What’s say we get some practice in before combat class this afternoon?”
Ethan nodded and rose to his feet. “It was nice to meet you, Mariostin,” he said as he picked up his tray. “Maybe we’ll see you later.” He glanced back over his shoulder at the Halfling. Something wasn’t right about Mariostin’s story. Ethan just didn’t know what it was.
The first book to be published under Heggerwood Realms is a wonderful teen fiction fantasy by American author, Sheila Hendrix.
Zack and Matt McCannon have had a difficult life up to now; abandoned by their parents, when they were very young, Zack took it upon himself to raise his brother himself, not an easy task at the best of times.
Matt possesses supernatural powers and because of this, something malevolent always seems to be after him—this ever present evil has Zack struggling to maintain his younger brother’s safety. One of Matt’s visions leads the brothers to a cave which they soon find out to be a trap and the start of a terrifying adventure. The demon, Alanya, wants to control Matt and possess his powers, and kill Zack.
When the demon asks Zack a question, “How far will you go to save your brother?” Zack replies, “As far as I have to.”
Now an evil like no other is determined to destroy everything the brothers hold dear and if the McCannon’s are not careful, neither will be able to escape!
Available on all Amazon sites and in ebook and paperback.
Congratulations to debut author, Peter Martin on the Heggerwood Realms publication of…
TP1000: The Bishops
Mark Bishop, a reclusive Yorkshire farmer with no living relatives, meets Pauline Grainger, a tax accountant, herself emotionally scarred from a disastrous relationship. A time machine, left by a traveller from the future, allows Mark to travel into the past. Despite initial qualms and antagonism towards each other, Mark and Pauline travel together to pursue their mutual desire of one another and to learn more about life in Victorian times. They take temporary residence in Chesterfield, England in 1839 where a surprising and life changing discovery awaits them.
Available as an ebook or paperback at the following Amazon links:-
Today we welcome Ian Nathaniel Cohen. He’s going to tell us a little about himself and his books, so grab a snack and meet your new favorite author.
What genres do your writings fall under? What age group?
My first book, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, is a historical adventure thriller, mostly aimed at adults, although there isn’t much in it that young adults can’t handle. If I was going to rate it the way you would a movie, I’d give it a PG-13.
When and why did your start writing?
I’m not exactly sure when I started writing, as I don’t remember not having ideas for books and making various attempts at writing them. However, it was definitely during college that I found myself with enough time to actually write some of them out and share them with other people. The feedback I got was encouraging, and I got more ambitious with the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. It was also during college that I became a huge fan of H. Rider Haggard and Rafael Sabatini, whose writings have had a huge influence on the kinds of stories I enjoy writing. As more ideas for stories and characters popped into my head, I eventually decided to finally take the plunge and try and do something with them.
The same goes for my review blog, The INCspotlight. I’ve always enjoyed writing movie reviews, and I made more than one attempt at getting professional gigs in local and school papers. When I discovered the website That Guy with the Glasses, later Channel Awesome, and I saw that they accepted guest bloggers, I decided to give it a try. All the reviewers on the site had their own niche, and mine was less-familiar classic movies that I didn’t feel deserved to be forgotten about. A lot of these classic works inspired my own ideas for stories, and I guess I see the INCspotlight as my way of paying it forward. I’m no longer with Channel Awesome, but the INCspotlight continues, now hosted on my own website.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing?
I feel like all my hobbies are pretty old-fashioned, now that I think about it. In addition to reading, I’m a huge movie buff, classic movies especially, and I also like listening to old time radio shows (The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Abbott & Costello) and playing retro video games. I like collecting various stuff, such as vintage playing cards (or replicas) and comic books, older ones especially. My favorite kinds of music are jazz, swing, and blues, but I also like classical, folk, and Celtic music, as well as film scores.
What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral?
At the very least, I hope readers find The Brotherhood of the Black Flag to be a fun ride, like a summer blockbuster. Beyond that, I hope that the book’s theme of how blind loyalty leads people to ignore logic and basic common sense will stick with readers. I also hope that my protagonist sets the kind of example more guys need to follow in real life, particularly in the way he tries to respect female characters (I’ll leave it to readers to decide if he succeeds) and doesn’t demand or feel entitled to their affections.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
Villains are fun to write, especially in adventure fiction where they’re allowed to be a bit over the top, so they’re always among my favorite characters.
What genre is your favorite to read?
It depends what I’m in the mood for at any given time. However, anything with sword fights is usually a winner, so historical fiction, heroic folklore, and high fantasy rank pretty highly. However, I like various other genres as well, and I’ll give most things a shot if it sounds interesting.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I probably would have spent less time agent hunting and explored self-publishing options a lot sooner, given that publishers don’t seem that interested non-series historical adventure fiction. On that note, I probably would have done a better job putting together a marketing strategy, especially given limited time and financial resources.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I use Facebook and Twitter, and I’m a member of various Facebook groups where us rookie authors can share our work and hopefully nab new readers. I’m still working on which ones work the best, though.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
For a long time, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag fit that category back when I was trying to get literary agents interested in taking a look at it. Eventually, I bit the bullet and decided to self-publish. It has its disadvantages, mostly having to market it myself and pitch it to total strangers to get them to buy it, but on the other hand, my book is out there and being read and enjoyed instead of taking up space on my computer.
Can you tell us about your book?
The Brotherhood of the Black Flag is a tribute to the classic swashbucklers I grew up on as a kid, books and movies alike. It’s set in 1721, the early years of the United Kingdom and the tail end of the Golden Age of Piracy. The main character, Michael McNamara, was an officer in the British Royal Navy before his unjust expulsion, and he falls in with Captain Stephen Reynard, a pirate turned pirate hunter out to earn a pardon. Not really having any other options, McNamara joins Reynard’s quest for redemption, and his travels pit him against untrusting shipmates, bloodthirsty buccaneers, and an international conspiracy that threatens thousands of lives.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
When it came to plotting out The Brotherhood of the Black Flag and setting up character arcs, history cooperated with me beautifully. McNamara’s military history has him fighting in real battles during the War of the Spanish Succession and the War of the Quadruple Alliance – even the ship he was on at the Battle of Cape Passaro, the HMS Canterbury, was an actual ship. The same thing happened when it came to figuring out his reasons for leaving the British Isles and moving to Jamaica.
As for whether any of it came from my own experiences, some friends and I have had to go through not being able to follow the career paths they planned to, for one reason or another, and we’ve found themselves asking “well, now what?” It wasn’t planned that way, but once I got the idea that’s what was driving McNamara, it was easy to write him from that perspective.
Also, when I was learning stage combat, I specialized in rapier, and one time, I went up against someone who favored the schiavona. Now, I’m no expert at fencing, but I took lessons for six years, and rapier wasn’t all that different – even the stage combat version. But when going up against the fighting style for the schiavona, the blade comes at you from unexpected angles, and I was stumped. I had no idea how to defend against it or effectively counter-attack. As soon as that bout was done, I thought to myself “one of my characters for Black Flag has to use this sword and fighting style.” I actually consulted with that same guy in said character’s use of the schiavona, and he was very cooperative.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Any scene where I got to write banter was a fun scene to write. I’m also especially proud of McNamara and Reynard’s friendly duel when they first meet. There are a lot of sword fights in The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, and while I’m happy with how pretty much all of them came out, that was my favorite of the bunch.
How did you come up with the title?
During the Golden Age of Piracy, pirates were known as the Brethren of the Coast, but also as the Brotherhood of the Black Flag. The latter sounded like a good name for a pirate story (either a movie or a novel), and I just ran with it.
What project are you working on now?
I’ve got a bunch of different books of different genres in the works – a murder mystery set in 1930s New York, another one set in Chicago in that same time period that pays tribute to classic pulp heroes, a fantasy series I’m collaborating with my beta reader on, and a telling of the Arthurian legends from the point of view of Sir Gawaine, as well as a couple of graphic novel projects. However, The Sherwood Caper, another historical thriller starring Robin Hood, is the one I aim to finish, given how much of it is already written and planned out, compared to the other ones. I’d always wanted to write a Robin Hood novel, and I was struggling with what direction to take it for a long time until I decided to make it a heist story, kinda like Ocean’s Eleven or The Italian Job. The tone will be similar to Black Flag – realistic, historically accurate, but without making it “grimdark.”
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten any criticism that was emotionally tough to deal with. The feedback I’d gotten from beta readers and my editor, even when harsh, ended up making the book better, so I honestly appreciated it. I’m sure negative reviews will come, and when they do, I hope I can likewise learn from the criticisms as best I can and try not to repeat mistakes in future books.
The only truly discouraging thing I’ve had to deal with when it comes to reviews (so far) is when they’re arbitrarily yanked from Amazon with no explanation, and Amazon refuses to provide any details – I’ve lost about a third of all the reviews I’ve ever gotten this way. I know many indie authors have had to go through this, more so than usual lately, and it’s tough to deal with. We have to scrape and claw for every review we get, and it’s frustrating to have them taken away and not know why. I don’t think I’ve found any aspect of writing more discouraging and “what’s the point?”-inducing than that, and I know I’m not the only one.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Take your time with your writing projects, and don’t rush them out the self-publishing door. Invest time in character development, world building, and writing craft, and get help if and when you need it. Your story will be all the better for it, and your readers will keep coming back for more. Also, most importantly, when people help you out, even if it’s a small thing, please make sure to show your appreciation.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you to all of you who have taken a chance on a first-time author, especially those who have invested a few minutes of time into reviewing it! I’d also like to thank the folks at indieBrag for awarding The Brotherhood of the Black Flag a B.R.A.G. Medallion – I’m truly grateful for the honor.
Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience?
I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel all over the world, across six continents. When I was a kid, my mom took me on a Robin Hood tour in the actual Sherwood Forest and the Nottingham library, home to the largest collection of Robin Hood books. In college, I participated in the Semester at Sea program’s Fall 2000 semester, literally sailing around the world and visiting different countries along the way. Not only was it genuinely the adventure of a lifetime, but a learning experience and a unique opportunity to bond with people. In fact, I even dedicated The Brotherhood of the Black Flag to my Fall 2000 shipmates.
If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be?
Hmmmm…Tiny Toon Adventures, maybe? At Acme Looniversity, the main characters learn the fundamentals of animation, comedy, and cartoon-making from the classic Warner Bros. cartoon stars, such as Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. I’d love to drop in on one of those classes.
If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be?
Middle-Earth, particularly the Shire or Rivendell (although given my height, I’d probably find Rivendell more comfortable). Listening to elven music or ancient tales during a grand feast sounds like a great way to spend a day. Option B would be The Dreaming from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series – specifically the Library of Dreams, where you can read all the books dreamed up by authors who never had the chance to write them, including works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, and so on.
Who’s your favorite superhero?
I’m a huge fan of most DC and Marvel characters, and I don’t know if I have an overall favorite. Outside of that, I also love Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Jeff Smith’s Bone, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. I need to broaden my range a bit and discover more indie creators – it’s just a matter of having enough time to discover and read them all.
I’m pleased to announce that Tainted Victory, book two in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley, is now live. Need something for your middle grade student to read on that last summer vacation? Check out Ethan’s adventures. You can find out more about them at http://www.lissadobbs.com.
Coming from the small town of Land’s End at the southern tip of Moirena, Ethan has no idea what to make of the hustle and bustle of Ymla in Corleon. Narrow, crowded streets and horse-drawn trolleys are things he’s never seen before.
Then there’s the guild itself. A common room with billiards tables and Fizzy Drinks and the freedom to come and go as he pleases are things Ethan’s never experienced.
But his new life isn’t all fun and games.
On the day of Ethan’s arrival, the guild hall is attacked by harpies. No one knows who sent them or why, but the students are banned from investigating. A second attack, however, has his fellow Shadow Walkers wondering if Ethan is the target. Never one to ignore his curiosity, Ethan and his new friends take to the streets of Ymla to get to the bottom of the attacks, but when he finds out the truth, Ethan wishes he’d left it alone.
Where the twisted lurk and the horrors hide, will you find what lies within?
From horrifying demons and witches to ghosts haunting people and places. Strange creatures to strange places. If it’s twisted this anthology has it.
18 equally twisted stories by 19 amazing horror and paranormal authors.
Will you take the plunge into this twisted world?
Michael Young * Kelly Matsuura * Kerry E.B Black * Jack W. Finley * Jordanne Fuller * Jakki Hatchett * Liz Butcher * Duncan Swallow * Michael S. Walker * Aziza Sphinx * Shebat Legion * Beth W. Patterson * E.M. Valentine * Stacey Jaine McIntosh * Daniel J. Volpe * Scott Carruba * Carole Weave-Lane * Kerry Lee Holder * Gina A. Watson
Amazon AU : https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07FKCMM3W
Amazon US : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FKCMM3W
Today we’re giving a warm welcome to author Peter Blakely-Novis. Read on to learn about this exciting author.
It’s been a while since the release of Aradia’s Secret, and I’m finally getting started on book two. I’d welcome any opinions on the beginning below. (It’s unedited.)
As I stood at the end of the dock at the edge of the void, a ship appeared from the gray, hulking and dark. For a moment, I was aghast. I’d thought the captain to be without honor or concern for others, yet the ship loomed before me and made for the dock. I called to Vonner, who lurked just inside the trees, and he approached with some trepidation. I could understand that, for the last time Vonner had been on the ship he’d been a prisoner, kept chained at my request. How the captain would treat him now, I couldn’t say.
The ship docked, and the gang plank fell. The thud shook the pier, and I stumbled. Vonner grabbed my arm to keep me on my feet, and we waited, breath held, for someone to speak.
It was the captain. He stood tall against the lights of the ship, and my heart leapt at his presence.
“Captain?” I called. “It’s good to see you.”
The man made his way down the plank but stopped just short of stepping into the pier. I didn’t mind. Legend said the island was haunted, a place not visited by normal folk, and I knew the captain feared what might lurk in the depths of the forest.
“Don’t get all misty-eyed on me,” the captain replied. “Business had me in this area, or I wouldn’t have bothered. If’n you still got coin, I can offer passage back to civilization.”
I tried to keep the grin off my face and the relief out of my voice as I accepted his offer. Vonner and I had few possessions, so it was only a matter of a quick run back to Aradia’s cottage to grab our packs. In less than an hour, we were on board the ship and headed back into the void.
Today we’re welcoming author Michael Keyton. Read on to see what he has to say.
‘Tales From The Murenger: Stories to darken the soul’ is collection of the weird and dark, its title inspired by one of Newport’s oldest pubs, likely the oldest with its origins in the C15th.
Most of the stories have been previously published in various British and American anthologies; in fact the first story, Mr Nousel’s Mirror’ was included in anthologist, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the year for 2011, along with works by Stephen King and Jack Ketchum.
With the various copyrights having reverted back to me I pondered how best to make them earn me a little more money. There was no problem in putting them together in a single collection, for they all had a central motif: every story was set in or around Newport and for good reason.
Newport, or my version of it, has become my ‘Arkham’ the Welsh equivalent of HP Lovecraft’s sinister creation. My Newport is a dark, seedy and magical city, the unimaginable just around the next corner . . . or the corner after that. So far no one has objected to the depiction. Perhaps they agree that ‘dark and seedy’ suggests fertility, and there’s no doubt Newport is magical, if you know where to look. Mind you, with cannibalism, seductive cats, rats where you don’t want them to be, and houses that possess more than your body, you may think twice before visiting the place.
The one problem I did have was choosing a name for the book. Tales from Newport . . . No, perhaps not; Tales from the Transporter Bridge . . . no — but I was getting there. I needed an icon, something everyone in the area would recognise, something once seen you immediately think – ghosts; something smelling of . . . beer. Good beer.
The Murenger immediately came to mind – which is not really surprising. I’ve been drinking there on and off for over thirty years. And what you see on the front cover is pretty much what you see on the street, though I can’t guarantee the ghostly smoke. After that it was a marriage made in heaven. Rob, ‘Mine host’ has a savvy media presence and the relationship became symbiotic—Rob marketing the book and me marketing his pub.
I suppose the point of this short piece – other than ‘selling’ a book – is if you have something on your hard-drive gathering dust, something that has previously been sold but you think deserves a fresh audience—go for it. The other equally important point is the need to think of a marketing angle. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – especially those conjured up by three or four pints – speaking of which, the kindle version at £2.35 is cheaper than a Murenger Pint of Sam Smiths, the paperback at £5 is about the price of a pint in London.
I was fortunate enough to be able to talk with Jesper Schmidt of Fane of Fantasy on flora and fauna in fantasy world building. (Don’t judge. I’ve never done anything like that before.) One of the things we discussed was making sure the world made sense.
Now, while I agree that a fantasy world needs to make sense within itself, I don’t think it has to make sense in relation to our world. For example, trees growing in a place that’s always winter. That doesn’t work for our world, as even the harshest climates with flora thaw for at least a few weeks out of the year. However, in another world, this might be normal. The plants, animals, and people don’t have to follow the natural patterns we see in our own because it isn’t our world.
Take Grevared, for example. The entire world exists in a void space without celestial bodies. The plots of land are flat, and it’s perfectly possible to fall off the world. The world is able to exist because the gods take an active part in keeping it going. This isn’t something that’s necessarily discussed in the books, other than a mention here and there, but it’s how the world functions. The ‘normal’ laws as we perceive them from our world don’t always apply. Therefore, there may be plants and animals in places where they wouldn’t exist in our world.
I think it’s important that, as readers, we bear this in mind when we enter a world not our own. Sure, we want the world to make sense, but if all fantasy worlds are nothing more than mirrors of the world in which we live, then what’s the point of having a fantasy world at all? I know my love of fantasy comes, in part, from being able to go somewhere else, somewhere those pesky laws that limit our daily existence don’t always apply. I love being able to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride.