Search This Blog

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Visiting UK and a Coffin

Sorry, but Jen and I were visiting UK 8 to 24 September and I was remiss about setting some automatic posts to appear in my absence!

We need rain here in Spain. We had plenty our first week in Hampshire, that's for sure.  The Ford Focus hire car only had 5,600 miles on the clock; in a week, we managed to drive about 900 miles.

Drying out, we then drove up to the Lake District via the M6;we used the toll road to expedite the trip and it was just as well as at the northern end of the toll we encountered repeated tailbacks of traffic, mainly caused by road-signs advising reduction of speed to 40mph (without due cause save slip-roads joining. So the journey took about ten hours!

Although we expected it to rain in the Lake District, it didn't, though it was overcast - brooding skies over them there hills. Nil points to the town council of Keswick. On a Saturday they had minor road-works in the town centre, closing off a road, though no work in progress, and combined with the emptying of countless car-parks, contributed to a traffic jam which we endured for 1hr 40 minutes!

A traffic jam here in Spain lasts about ten minutes...

We stayed at two Premier Inns and we'd recommend them. Then we drove the route of Hadrian's Wall to stay with friends for the remainder of our sojourn, returning the hire car to Newcastle airport. 

The diet starts tomorrow... (!)

Returned home to find a new review on Amazon Com for Coffin for Cash:

Miles and Cash each follow their separate trails and end up practically with each other except Cash was buried under two feet of soil in a coffin by a couple who had owned the hotel near the Lenore Casino. It was named after the wife of Baron Hans von Kempelen, the owner. There are many twists and turns which made it even more exciting and kept my attention to the end. Five stars.

Thank you, Mr Case!


A while back, I promised more information about Coffin. This will be forthcoming. Honest. 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Coming in October - King!

Being released in October 2017:

Floreskand: King

FLORESKAND: KING

When Ulran and Cobrora Fhord left Lornwater on their quest to resolve the mystery of the red tellars (Floreskand: Wings), the city was ripe for rebellion against King Saurosen, holder of the Black Sword.

In charge of the Red Tellar Inn, Ulran’s son Ranell is drawn into a conspiracy with nobles to support Prince Haltese, the king’s heir, to overthrow the tyrant. Inevitably, as a mining disaster and a murder in a holy fane stoke the fires of discontent, open rebellion swamps the streets.

Conflict turns into civil war, where the three cities’ streets become a battleground. Conflict is not confined to Lornwater, however. There’s fighting below ground in the mysterious tunnels and caves of the Underpeople, and within the forest that surrounds the city, and ultimately in the swamps and lakes of Taalland.

Subterfuge, betrayal, conspiracy, intrigue, greed, revenge and a thirst for power motivate rich and poor individuals, whether that’s Lord Tanellor, Baron Laan, Gildmaster Olelsang, Lord-General Launette, ex-slave-girl Jan-re Osa, Captain Aurelan Crossis, Sergeant Bayuan Aco or miner Rujon. 

Muddying the fight are not only bizarre creatures – the vicious garstigg, the ravenous lugarzos or the deadly flensigg – but also the mystics from the Sardan sect, Brother Clen, Sisters Hara, Illasa and Nostor Vata.

At stake is the Black Sword, the powerful symbol that entitles the holder to take the throne of Lornwater.  

Praise for Floreskand: Wings

This story has a complex yet well-structured plot presented in a relaxed writing style which easily draws the reader into an alien landscape whose topography, vegetation and inhabitants are described in almost affectionate detail… twists and turns in the presentation of the plot expand the telling of the tale and there are many duly woven into the pattern to enrich and excite the reader. The journey through the Sonalume Mountains has a strong element of authenticity to it, concentrating on the treacherous ice and snow coupled to an intense bitter cold. This seems to derive from an actual experience that must have been quite wretched at the time… This is quite clearly the first volume of what is intended to be an entire sequence of stories about the world of Floreskand, a very cultivated creation. - Nigel Robert Wilson, British Fantasy Society review

A fast-paced fantasy adventure... Tensions and evocative language keep the reader turning the pages to the very end! – Anne E. Summers, author of The Singing Mountain

An expansive … must-read for lovers of magic and military fantasy. KateMarie Collins, best-selling author of Daughter of Hauk, Mark of the Successor and Son of Corse

A beautiful and atmospheric tale. The author has skilfully developed the characters in a way that you feel you are right there with them on their quest. I can say that I have read many fantasy stories I have truly enjoyed, but only a few have left that lingering haunting feeling within me. – Amazon review

Great read. A well thought out book which is so descriptive you feel part of the story. A fantasy adventure that draws you into the quest. – Amazon review
 


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Coming in October - Wings!

Coming in October 2017:

Floreskand: Wings








Floreskand, where myth, mystery and magic reign.

The sky above the city of Lornwater darkens as thousands of red tellars, the magnificent birds of the Overlord, wing their way towards Arisa.
Ulran discovers he must get to Arisa within seventy days and unlock the secret of the scheduled rites. He is joined in his quest by the ascetic Cobrora Fhord, who harbours a secret or two, and also the mighty warrior Courdour Alomar, who has his own reasons for going to Arisa. They learn more about each other – whether it’s the strange link Ulran has with the red tellar Scalrin, the lost love of Alomar, or the superstitious heart of Cobrora.
Plagued by assassins, forces of nature and magic, they cross the plains of Floreskand, combat Baronculer hordes, scale snow-clad Sonalume Mountains and penetrate the dark heart of Arisa. Here they uncover truth, evil and find pain and death.

“A fast-paced fantasy adventure as an innkeeper, a city dweller full of surprises, and a long-lived warrior, join forces in a race against time. Their quest is to save the red tellars, the giant birds, which are the wings of the overlord. Along the way even the weather becomes a powerful adversary and the three are tested almost beyond endurance. Tensions and evocative language keep the reader turning the pages to the very end!”- Anne E. Summers, author of The Singing Mountain
An expansive and well thought story, a must-read for lovers of magic and military fantasy. - Kate Marie Collins, best-selling author of Daughter of Hauk, Mark of the Successor and Son of Corse




Praise for Floreskand: Wings

This story has a complex yet well-structured plot presented in a relaxed writing style which easily draws the reader into an alien landscape whose topography, vegetation and inhabitants are described in almost affectionate detail… twists and turns in the presentation of the plot expand the telling of the tale and there are many duly woven into the pattern to enrich and excite the reader. The journey through the Sonalume Mountains has a strong element of authenticity to it, concentrating on the treacherous ice and snow coupled to an intense bitter cold. This seems to derive from an actual experience that must have been quite wretched at the time… This is quite clearly the first volume of what is intended to be an entire sequence of stories about the world of Floreskand, a very cultivated creation. - Nigel Robert Wilson, British Fantasy Society review

A beautiful and atmospheric tale. The author has skilfully developed the characters in a way that you feel you are right there with them on their quest. I can say that I have read many fantasy stories I have truly enjoyed, but only a few have left that lingering haunting feeling within me. – Amazon review

Great read. A well thought out book which is so descriptive you feel part of the story. A fantasy adventure that draws you into the quest. – Amazon review
 


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

'An entertaining grisly satire on the financial crisis...'

Gifts from a Dead Race - Volume 1 of collected short stories contains 18 of my previously published sci-fi, horror, fantasy tales (published from 1972 to 2010).

Reviewer F.R. is reading the stories and reviewing them individually. He begins with the first story in the collection, 'Spend it Now, Pay Later':

'An entertaining grisly satire on the financial crisis and debt bubble...'  You can read the full review of the story here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2107440564


Thank you, F.R. I hope the remainder appeal in due course!

The story was originally published in 2010.

Gifts from a Dead Race - e-book and paperback from Amazon outlets


Volume 2 - Nourish a Blind Life  contains 21 sci-fi, horror, and fantasy tales from 1975 to 2013.


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Writing – character conflict and backstory


Story needs conflict. It doesn’t have to be physical. It can be psychological, verbal, or even natural – the weather, for example. These moments of conflict can also provide an opportunity to fill in backstory – where past events ripple into the present…
This excerpt is an example of physical conflict, but underlying it are other elements – guilt, shame, disgust, and inevitably power-hunger and lust; and a determined strength.
Sudden Vengeance, my vigilante crime thriller set in the fictitious seaside town of Alverbank in Southern England presents the Knight family facing a number of conflicting emotions shortly after burying an elderly family member, her death attributable to a burglary. The book is quite short, so description is pared down, but there should be enough to help the reader visualise the scene. (Character descriptions occurred much earlier). Also, for the scene to be fast-paced, there mustn't be too much extraneous description. It's all about inner turmoil and emotional response.

And, hopefully, leaving the scene quickly, breathless.
 

Extract from Chapter 11: Detective Sergeant Roger Muir is calling on Cathy Knight at her home while her husband David is working late at the office.

“It’s damned cold out here, Cathy. Can I come in and talk?”
She eased the door shut a fraction. “No, I don’t think so. There’s nothing to talk about.”
“I think there is.” He grinned. It was probably his intention to appear lascivious or seductive but it came out lopsided.
As she made to shut the door his hands darted out of his pockets and pushed at the wooden panels. For all his bulk, he was quick and strong. The force of his weight sprung the chain and fixings from the jamb. Pieces of painted wood sprayed her as she stepped back in sudden alarm.
Realising she couldn’t shut the door on him, she backed away down the hall, brushing against the wall, her heart fluttering, legs feeling weak, stomach gyrating in fear.
This was her home, he had no right!
“I don’t like being dropped, Cathy.” Muir grimaced and massaged his left hand. “What’s the matter? Are you too good for me? Is that it?” He shoved his hat back from his brow and advanced along the hall, leaving the front door half open. He began unbuttoning his overcoat, smiling.
It had happened on a bleak dark evening last winter. At the time, David had been out of work for just over a year and she was thoroughly depressed, though of course she never let any of the family know how down she really felt.
David was in Leeds, staying overnight in preparation for a job interview first thing next day. (There were ninety applicants, and although he ended up on a short-list that meant an extra evening’s stay, he didn’t get the post). The children were out with friends. She attended the evening art class, glad to get out.
But her attempts at drawing the quite attractive life model failed totally to give the subject depth. And the perspective was wrong.
During the tea break, she sat next to Muir who was studying photography with another evening class. They chatted and he’d sounded quite interested in her artistic leanings. He said, “I let the camera depict my emotions. But drawing or painting, now that’s a real skill, of eye and hand in tune.” They arranged for a drink at the Red Lion after the class.
She welcomed the company as she dreaded going home to an empty house.
Over a couple of brandies, they talked, but she soon found him rather shallow. He offered to drive her home, apologising for the age of his car. He explained, “Getting a new one next month, just waiting for the right colour – gunmetal grey.”
Halfway home he pulled into a lay-by. Alarm-bells should have sounded, but the alcohol had dulled her wits – or, perversely, perhaps she wanted it to happen. No, she didn’t, that was male chauvinist claptrap! Roger Muir leaned over, began kissing her. His face was rough with early bristles and he pressed too hard. He fumbled for the controls and both seats leaned back and he was all over her, hands pulling at her clothes.
A part of her cried out for love, tenderness, understanding, while another part shuddered at what she was doing.
When she got home, she sat shivering in a hot bath, wondering what she’d seen in him. She felt like an adolescent again. She’d been stupid, naive to accept the lift, because all the signs of imminent seduction were there, but she’d ignored them, lost in her own despondency. “Serves you right, you silly bitch!” she’d fumed, and stepped out and rigorously towelled herself.
Muir had been rough, so unlike David or Ralph – dear Ralph with whom she had been unfaithful the only time in her marriage and the result of that ill-starred love had been still-born Rachel. She even wondered if it was divine retribution for her sins. David had mourned the loss as his own, because he never knew. Those aspects of her past were thrust in some dark recess, to be forgotten – until tonight.
Now Cathy stood in the kitchen with her back leaning against the mock-marble top.
Muir sauntered through the doorway. “I’ve learnt a few little sexy tricks since we last did it, Cathy,” he said. “An extension of my art portfolio. You must come up and see it sometime.” He chuckled throatily.
“Please leave, Sergeant Muir.” Her voice sounded steely calm, though inside she threshed madly with fear. “I don’t want you here – or anywhere.”
“Dear me.” His mouth turned down. “After all those signals you kept giving me, too! I was really pissed off when you stopped coming to the class. Was it something I said? Or the wrong deodorant, perhaps?”
“No.” She closed her eyes for a moment, swallowed, trying to keep a lid on the bubbling hysteria. “Please go. That night was a mistake.”
When she opened her eyes again, she started as he had soundlessly stepped closer.
“The mistake was all yours, dear Cathy.” His large hand reached out, its back covered in fair hair, and caught her collar between finger and thumb. “You’ll have to pay for it now.” The tone was threatening, awful.
She could feel her chest heaving and wanted to stop, unless he construed it as an invitation.
Abruptly he moved forward, dropped his palm over her right breast.
The suddenness was shocking. Cathy wanted to be sick, tried backing away, but the kitchen top dug into her back. Fleetingly, she remembered reading about a poor woman who was paralysed because the rapist rammed her spine hard against a table-top. Oh, God!
He pressed against her and his peppermint breath, sickly-sweet, evoked the ugly memory of their coupling in the car.
Reaching behind, her fingers closed on the wooden knife handle and she swung round and up, slashing desperately as his thigh pushed heavily between her legs.
Muir let out a snarl and in that split second of his unexpected pain she twisted free and stood, chest heaving, in the middle of the kitchen. Some blood from his cut arm had sprayed her blouse but she didn’t care.
“Get out!” she shouted.
Holding his cut arm, he growled, “I’ll call again, Cathy. When you’re in a better mood.”
Shaking her head, oblivious of the tears that streamed down her cheeks, she shouted, “Don’t ever think of coming back!”
“Oh, I shall. Oh, yes, indeed, I’ll return when it pleases me.” He stopped at the door, added with a crooked smile, “And you’d better be ready to please me then!”
Tentatively, her stomach and insides twisting and turning in fear, she followed him down the hallway, fillet knife held out steady in front of her, its long thin blade dripping his blood.
As soon as he stepped onto the porch, she slammed the door shut and snapped the lock, rammed the bolts home.
He laughed loudly, the sound diminishing as he walked down the path.
Then the trembling started and unsteadily she sat down on the floor, back against the wall. Pieces of broken doorframe littered the carpet. Oh, God, what a mess!

SuddenVengeance – Crooked Cat Books – paperback and e-book