BIRD IN THE GOLDEN CAGE

A wonderful analogy of relationships from Candles online.

Candles Online

A beautiful bird just commenced it’s flight in the sky. New found freedom made the bird flutter with joy. But sighting the possible dangers predators could pose the little bird was carefully put in a cage.

Cage was made of gold. It was spacious and decorated with beautiful embellishments. Food was served in a golden plate so was the water. Bird thought may be I was foolish to loiter aimlessly, may be this is my haven which is nothing less than heaven.

It flew happily within the boundaries of the cage covering every inch of it, devouring the delicacies off the plate. It began to croon happily and fearlessly. And that’s when it received it first shock.

“You are making a noise, stop it at once” boomed a thundering cane that stuck the cage, it was a mere harbinger of the problem in foresight. The bird went silent and it…

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My latest offer to you.

This will be of necessity, rather brief, as I’m on holiday in the South of Spain, so don’t have access to pretty stuff.

Anyway, the important thing is that the ebook version of The Never-Dying Man,. Book 2 in The Wolves of Vimar series, is available from today until 20th for a mere 0.99 (£ or $ ).

I can’t understand it, but book 1, The Wolf Pack, and book 3, Wolf Moon, are creating more sales than book 2. Who buys books 1 and 3, but misses out book 2? Some important info gets missed out.

Please leave your comments in the comments box. I love hearing from you.

And if you’ve read any of my books, I would be delighted if you would post a brief review on Amazon, Goodreads or anywhere else. It only needs to say if you enjoyed it or not, and if you wish to add why, that’s a bonus.

Autumn in Sussex. A Poem

As it’s now Autumn, officially, I thought I’d post a poem about that season. I think I’ve already posted it previously, but I’ve new followers who haven’t seen it before.

So here it is.

The Downs are wreathed in mist, like smoke
From a dying fire.
The leaves are turning red and gold
Like flames upon a pyre.

Spring’s little lambs are grown to sheep
The swallows they have flown.
The blossoms that the summer brought
Their petals all have thrown.

Now autumn’s bounty fills the woods,
The hedgerows are ablaze
With hips and haws in colours bright
The senses to amaze.

The smoke from wood fires fills the air,
The scent of autumn true.
The autumn sun is cooler now
And mornings filled with dew.

The cobwebs shine with dewdrops bright.
The spider in her lair
Thinks nothing of the rainbow hue
That scatters in the air.

And children kick the fallen leaves
As laughingly they run
To gather conkers, shiny brown,
Gleaming in the sun.

We gather blackberries from the hedge
And apples from on high.
Up in the tree they ripen now
To turn into a pie.

But autumn sometimes has a kick
And the rain it lashes down.
The wind, it howls within the eaves
And through the trees doth moan.

A REVIEW OF GLASTONBURY BY BRIAN L. PORTER.

Overview.

This is a book that is well worth a read. It is exciting and keeps the reader turning the page.

Blurb

After millionaire Malcolm Capshaw hires Joe Cutler and his team to search for a fabled artifact, they enter a maze of lies, murder and betrayal.

The real purpose of their search is soon exposed, as an old London crime family displays an unusual interest in an ancient town where Christianity laid its roots in England.

Aided by the enigmatic professor Lucius Doberman, Joe and his team must solve the ancient mystery that lies in the shadows of Glastonbury, or die trying.

Story

This begins as the story of a search for King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur. A business man, Malcolm Capshaw, has come into possession of a map perporting to show where some of the remaining knights had buried the sword to save it from coming into the possession of enemies.
Sadly, though, the names of places, and even the terrain, have changed since then.
So he employs a company of surveyors to help locate it using the latest technology.
Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that. There are twists and turns of the plot, and the final twist at the end came as a surprise to me.

Characters

Mr Porter has drawn his characters well. I particularly liked Winston Fortune, one of the team searching. He has a great sense of humour. And I disliked Walter Graves, which I suppose I was supposed to as he’s set up as a villain. In fact, I liked all of Joe Cutler’s team. They seemed like real people with all their faults as well as good points.

Writing

The writing is, on the whole, good. A few unnecessary uses of the word ‘just’, but apart from that, no major problems.

Conclusion

I enjoyed this story immensely and give it 5*

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? What other books have you read about Excalibur?

Please let us know in the comments box.

Stones of Earth and Air. Elemental Worlds, Book 1 is Free for a limited time.

What would you do if you saw your best friend behaving out of character?

Imagine they were usually kind and considerate, and they had become rude and cruel?

This is what happened to Pettic, only his best friend isn’t just anyone. He’s Crown Prince Torren. This person will become the next ruler of the land of Ponderia.

Pettic, along with Torren’s sister, believe something happened to Torren. He had either been changed by magic, or replaced by a doppleganger. Either way, they must find out and restore Torren to his former self.

This is the dilemma in my YA fantasy duo, Elemental Worlds. The pair enlist the help of the court magician, who discovers that Torren has been captured and that this new person is a doppleganger, made to look like Torren by magic.

In order to rescue Torren, Pettic must enter four worlds, each associated with one of the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. There he must find a magical jewel associated with that element.

But he can’t return without the jewel!

The ebook version of the first book in the duo, The Stones of Earth and Air, is FREE on Amazon from today, 3rd October, until the 7th.

Don’t delay. Go over to Amazon NOW and get your copy.

The book is also available in paperback and audio.

I am having a little trouble with getting my free and exclusive story for signups to work. If you want to sign up for my newsletter, I hope to have it sorted very soon.

Please leave any comments in the comments box.

VISIT FROM CHARLES YALLOWITZ

I am delighted to welcome Charles Yallowitz, author of the Legends of Windemere, a fifteen book series, and War of Nytefall, a six book series. Two immense fantasy series that have received excellent reviews on Amazon.

Good to have you here, Charles. Would you be prepared to answer a few questions so we can get to know you better?

  1. Apart from writing, what is the thing you enjoy doing the most?

I really enjoy spending time with my son, but that’s pretty much a given. The solitary hobby I have is doing jigsaw puzzles. They help me relax after a rough day or week, so I have a corner of my room set up at all times. I end up focusing a lot on the project and figuring out what goes where, so everything that is stressing me out gets forgotten. Due to space, I can’t do more than a 1,000-piece puzzle, but that’s enough.

Yes, I would think so! I don’t think I could manage more than 1,000 pieces.

  1. If you have a ‘proper’ job, what is it?

My ‘proper’ (aka paying) job is working as a Teaching Assistant at a high school. I work with a variety of students and really feel like I’m helping people. I can always end the day satisfied if not fairly exhausted.

As an ex-teacher, I can sympathise with you on the exhaustion front. I think it’s marvellous that you’ve managed to write all those books.

  1. Why do you write?

Every time I see this question, I want to come up with a deep answer. Yet, the truth is rather simple. I write because I have stories in my head and I want to share them. I want to bring happiness, excitement, and fun to others, which is why I write with such detail. If I can get a stressed person to escape reality for even a few minutes then I’ve done my job.

I agree wholeheartedly with that, Charles. Yes, if we can help people to escape the stresses of their lives, our job is done.

  1. Do you write to music? If so, what music inspires you?

I need music on when I’m writing. This has been a habit since doing homework in school. I have a few Pandora playlists, which are typically collections of rock or alternative songs. I have another that’s anime and one for video game music, which help when I have more action-based scenes to write.

  1. A question I can’t answer, myself. Where do you get your ideas from?

I get my ideas from over there, over here, and that way. They can come from anything. Many are inspired by role-playing games I joined in the past. Others come from books, movies, television, video games, philosophical discussions, world events, and other things that strike my brain when it’s open. Best to leave myself exposed to inspiration to avoid missing any juicy ideas.

  1. Do you prefer the city or the country?

If I had to choose between the two then it would be the country because I don’t like crowded places. Ideally, I prefer small towns and suburbs. You don’t feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but you aren’t suffocating. Probably because that’s where I grew up though.

I’m with you there, Charles. I hate crowds, although when I was younger, they didn’t bother me as much.

  1. Do you enjoy sport? Do you prefer to watch or take part?

I prefer to watch sports, but it’s more for socializing. I like being around the energy that comes off people who are excited about the games. The sport I enjoy the most is football. That’s the American version and specifically NY Giants. My dad is a big fan and has been since before I was born, so I do the same. Guess being a glutton for punishment is genetic.

  1. What is your most irritating habit?

I have to decide on how mean I want to be to myself. Probably one of the core negative habits of mine is getting easily frustrated, which leads to pessimism and anxiety. It isn’t hard to push me into a downward spiral of negativity. This causes those around me to get annoyed and walk away. Not an easy habit to break too because there’s always at least one person ready to tell me how I screwed up. Those types always seem to strike faster than those with praise.

Too true. People are much more inclined to criticise than praise. I don’t know why that should be. What happened to what my grandma used to say. “If you can’t say something good, keep quiet.”

  1. What, in your opinion, is your best trait?

Without a doubt, my creativity is my best trait. It’s what keeps me sane at times because it’s always coming up with ideas. Poor thing has been a little muffled last year or two because of stress, but it’s still kicking. Being creative helps with problem solving and deep discussions as well. It keeps my mind rather flexible and able to cope with situations. At least if my anxiety hasn’t been set off, which my creativity can then team up with to develop an assortment of doomsday scenarios. Downside to a highly active imagination is that when things go sideways, they really go sideways.

You certainly have an active imagination. Much appreciated by your fans.

  1. Do you cook? If so, what is your favourite thing to cook?

I don’t cook as often as I used to because of my work schedule, but I want to get back into it. Favorite dish is a tough one. My ‘go to’ one is pasta with homemade vodka sauce. It’s the first recipe I really learned and it never fails to be a hit. I’ve even made this dish and put it on a pizza crust. Nice, carb heavy combo when I haven’t eaten much.

Vodka Sauce? Sounds good.

  1. Can you swim?

Not very well. Don’t mind floating around in a pool, but that’s really it. I find water relaxing, especially when alone with my thoughts. I’m not a fan of swimming in natural bodies of water either. Not sure when that started, but I’m simply not comfortable swimming in oceans or lakes. Maybe it’s because I’m a little scared of sharks and alligators.

You’re not alone in being scared of sharks and alligators. ans with good reason, I’d say.

  1. What do you think is the biggest problem facing the world today?

Lots of problems in the world today, so it’s difficult to choose one as the biggest. One that I think is at the core of so many other issues is that not many people have empathy. We spend more time finding a reason to cast others aside than to understand where they’re coming from. A person in pain is more likely to be kicked to the side of the road because they’re too high maintenance, which stems from this lack of empathy. You listen to someone complaining and you turn off, which means you don’t really hear that they’re suffering. If you don’t realize this then you can’t do anything to help, which could be as simple as listening and letting them know that you understand. There’s a big push to separate ourselves and cast others as ‘lesser’ or ‘inhuman’ too, which I think is another offshoot of this lack of empathy. This issue did drive me a bit when writing War of Nytefall since the overarching story is about how the Dawn Fang vampires are working to prove they can live among mortals in peace. For that to happen, there has to be empathy and understand or the two species will end up trying to kill each other.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, there, Charles. Lack of empathy seems to be endemic these days. No one cares about anyone else. I’ve called it ‘selfishness’, but I think empathy is a much better word.

Thank you for joining me today. It was good to have a chat. Good luck with your latest ‘Nytefall’ book.

Bio-

Charles E. Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons.

One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author.

So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.

War of Nytefall: Anarchy Blurb-

The paladins of Windemere have had enough!
As the Vampire Civil War heats up, mysterious murders are being committed against members of every holy order. All signs point to the culprits being vampires, which has resulted in the creation of a unified paladin army. To protect his people, Clyde must find the killers before the holy warriors unleash their purifying crusade. It is a battle against frustrating obstacles as the war inches closer to mortal civilization and ambitious new allies join Nytefall.
One slip is all that is needed for the secret of the Dawn Fangs to be revealed.

And here is a collage of some of Charles’ other books.

Charles’ books are available on Amazon.

He has a website, Legends of Windemere where you can find out more about him and his books.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment in the comments box. I’d love to hear from anyone who has read any of Charles’ books.

How would you like a free, exclusive short story? Of course you would! You can get yours by clicking on the link below. This story won’t be published anywhere else, so this is your only chance of getting it. The link will take you to a page where you can sign up for my newsletter. I send a letter out 4 times a year, so you won’t be spammed, but I do let you know of any exciting things that are happening.

You can unsubscribe at any time, even straight after downloading your free story if you so wish.

I’m Angry and Anxious.

I recently bought a new tablet to replace my very old iPad. I decided I would like to use it on occasion to do some writing, and so decided to add Google docs and Dropbox. What a mistake!

I had Dropbox on my pc and used it as a backup to save my work. I decided to add my copies of my books mainly, and what I’m working on as well. Dropbox then uploaded EVERYTHING on my pc. Documents and pictures, then told me I had no free space left and needed to purchase more.

Well, I thought, that’s easily sorted. I’ll delete the photos. I’ve got them saved on an external drive as well as my pc. so I began to do so. Imagine my horror when I found out Dropbox was also deleting them from my pc and everywhere else!

Get rid of Dropbox, then. So I uninstalled it from both tablet and pc, but I still get messages that I need to upgrade! What’s going on?

The trouble is that I’ve now deleted the free story I was giving to subscribers to my email list, so they can’t get the story. (I forgot I was sending them there to get it.)

Then I decided to use OneDrive. That’s fine, but it seems it also wants to delete from everywhere. Isn’t it possible to delete only from the cloud and not from all devices? And what has happened to my files I thought I’d deleted on Dropbox? If they’re telling me I need more space, they must be somewhere in their servers.

I wonder if Google’s cloud service is the same?

It’s not good enough, and a bit scary!

Seeking…

A wonderful and powerful poem by Balroop Singh.

Despair and suffering has been the fate of women for centuries. I am dismayed that it still is in many parts of the globe. The long, endless battle against conservative forces that take pleasure in subjugation continues! The following poem is inspired from this thought.

We don’t want to mother a son
In this land of Taliban
We don’t want a daughter either
It’s better to end this race
If they can’t keep pace with the world.

REVIEW OF HISTORY IN ENGLISH WORDS BY OWEN BARFIELD

Blurb

For more than three-quarters of a century, Owen Barfield produced original and thought-provoking works that made him a legendary cult figure. History in English Words is his classic excursion into history through the English language. This popular book provides a brief, brilliant history of the various peoples who have spoken the Indo-European tongues. It is illustrated throughout by current English words whose derivation from other languages, and whose history in use and changes of meaning, record and unlock the larger history. “In our language alone, not to speak of its many companions, the past history of humanity is spread out in an imperishable map, just as the history of the mineral earth lies embedded in the layers of its outer crust…. Language has preserved for us the inner, living history of our soul. It reveals the evolution of consciousness” —Owen Barfield.

My Review

Owen Barfield wrote this book in the 1950s, but as it deals with the way words have come down to us through the ages, it remains relevant to this day.

This fascinating book takes us through the history of words. Barfield begins with the Greek and Latin words that have been incorporated into our language, and the changes that have come about in them. He then goes on to discuss how we can trace the travels of many peoples across Europe by looking at the way words have changed, and the words that were in common use.

I find it impossible to distill what Barfield is saying in a few words. It took him a whole book! But it shows how people’s thoughts and perceptions developed through the ages.

This book is a valuable handbook for those of us who write historical fiction. It tells when various words came into use, thus helping us not to write about clocks striking before they were invented, or as is said in the forward, writing about Dr Johnson (of dictionary fame) speaking on the telephone.

Those are obvious things, but there are words that we use today that are fairly modern.

An example is found in the words, pity, gentle and mercy.
Pity comes from ‘pietas’, meaning piety, gentle, from ‘gentilis’, meaning of the same family, or later, of noble birth, while mercy comes from ‘merces’, a reward, probably later, a reward in heaven for good works on Earth.

None of these words were known before the 13th century, so in a Viking Saga, a writer should not use them. This applies to many other words, as well as the obvious ones coming from scientific research, and show how human thinking has developed throughout the ages.

This is not an easy read, but a fascinating one, nonetheless. I give it 5*

Have you come across words that are used in historical fiction that are out of place? It’s easily done, believe me. I’ve probably done it myself, although I hope not! Let me know in the comments.

How would you like a free, exclusive short story? Of course you would! You can get yours by clicking on the link below. This story won’t be published anywhere else, so this is your only chance of getting it. The link will take you to a page where you can sign up for my newsletter. I send a letter out 4 times a year, so you won’t be spammed, but I do let you know of any exciting things that are happening.

You can unsubscribe at any time, even straight after downloading your free story if you so wish.

NEW BOOK RELEASED

I apologise for no post last week, but I’ve been away on holiday for the last week, without internet access! Shock, horror!

Anyway, when I got back to civilisation, I found that my latest book has been released in my absence. I knew it was close, but not that close.

This one is another of the fantasy series, The Wolves of Vimar prequels. I’ve already written the story of Carthinal’s parents, Jovinda and Noli, and Carthinal himself, The Making of a Mage. This one tells the story of Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and the turbulent affairs that led to her becoming a priestess of Sylissa goddess of life and healing.

Here’s the blurb.

Escaping an arranged marriage, young elf Asphodel flees her homeland with her lover, Vass.
They find a home in the capital of Erian, but their idyllic life soon comes crashing down when Vass gets in with the wrong crowd.
Can they resolve their problems, and can Asphodel find her dreams of helping others and living a life of peace and harmony?

And a brief taster.

This is where Asphodel arrives in the Grosmerian city of Bluehaven for the first time, along with a priestess she met on the way.

Asphodel and Trinelli sat alongside the driver as the caravan approached Bluehaven.

Asphodel sniffed. “There’s a smell in the air. It’s not unpleasant, though, just different from anything I’ve smelled before.”

Trinelli smiled at the girl. “That’ll be the sea. Bluehaven lies on the Inner Sea, almost directly opposite Holy Isle and Aspirilla, the capital of Grosmer. It’s the biggest of the three seas and the one furthest away from the ocean.”

Asphodel could see the white houses of the city in the distance. They gleamed in the summer sunshine as they tumbled down the hill to the sea. From this elevation, Asphodel could see the harbour. There were two large ships there, and a number of smaller ones.

Surrounding the harbour, the houses were smaller and not as white. They huddled together as if for shelter from the waves of the sea.

Soon the caravan approached the walls and stopped at the gate, along with other wagons waiting to enter. Asphodel looked at the chaos. Something was stopping them from moving forward. Straining her eyes, she saw a large wagon stuck in the gateway. People rushed around shouting.

“He’ll have to come back,” someone shouted.

“No, if we push we can get him through.”

A third voice said, “Stupid of him not to think of the width of the gate. He’s been here before.”

People milled around, no one knowing what to do. Six men got behind the stuck wagon and pushed. Nothing moved.

Trinelli sighed. “Looks like we’ll be here for a while.”

As she said this, a cheer sounded from the gate and the wagon popped through like a cork out of a bottle.

After a further half-hour’s wait, their turn came and a guard inspected all the wagons to make sure they were not carrying any contraband.
He poked and prodded at everything inside, then asked them to get down. “Open your packs, please.”

After rifling through everything, and creasing up their spare clothes, he waved them through. The driver clucked to the horses and they rolled on through the gate. Asphodel looked up as they passed under the arch. It looked solid at first glance, but she noticed a few of the stones had begun to come loose. The walls were in not much better state. It would not take much to make them collapse.

She asked Trinelli about it.

The priestess shrugged. “Walls aren’t needed nowadays. There are no wars. The old days, when city fought city, have long passed.”

Asphodel gazed around. The smell of the sea was stronger here in the city. She breathed deeply. It smelled of freedom and adventure. Seabirds wheeled above them, crying their raucous calls to one another.

“I wonder what they’re saying,” she said to Trinelli. “They have lots of different calls. They must all mean something.”

Trinelli shrugged. “I’ve never given it much thought. They’re just birds that are always here, making a noise. They can be annoying first thing in the morning when you want to sleep.”

“But they’re so beautiful. Look how white they are against the blue sky.”

The birds soared above them as the wagons began to descend the hill into the city.

Asphodel thought this city more beautiful than Frelli. As their wagon trundled on, they passed buildings of white stone that seemed to glow in the sunlight. There was a park with trees, and Asphodel determined she would go there as soon as she could. There had been no trees in Frelli.
They arrived at the caravanserai, which was close to the harbour. There were seven wagons in their caravan. Four of them carried goods, and only three had passengers.

As they descended from the seat on the wagon and retrieved their things from the back, Trinelli turned to Asphodel. “Where are you going to stay? Have you any idea?”

Asphodel’s face fell. “No. And I’ve only my ring. I’ll need to sell it after all, in spite of your kindness.”

Trinelli shook her head. “No! I’ll not let you sell something that means so much to you.”

“I won’t take anything more from you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, but I’m on my own now. We’re here, and I’m safe from Vass. I’ll manage.”

“You don’t need to take anything from me. Come with me to the temple. See how we live and if you’d like to join us as a lay healer.” She smiled. “I can understand if being a priestess might not be what you want.”

The pair walked the short distance from the caravanserai to the Temple of Sylissa. Here the temples were scattered around the city. Trinelli told her that some cities had a temple district where the temples of all the gods clustered together.

The temple of Sylissa stood much taller than the other buildings around it and Asphodel could easily see its dome over the roofs. They crossed a busy market square, with bustling crowds shopping at the many stalls. Shopkeepers and stallholders cried their wares to the passers-by, but Trinelli did not stop and so Asphodel had to content herself with brief glimpses of the wares.

Being on the sea, Bluehaven had things for sale that Asphodel had never seen before. What were those small, blue fruits? A large leafy vegetable caught her eye, but it was red, not green.

One trader called out “Dragon sausages. Get your dragon sausages. Real dragon meat from the dragons in the Mountains of Doom.”

I wonder if they’re really dragon meat? I didn’t know you could eat them. I thought they would be more likely to eat you

Asphodel drew her cloak closer to herself and kept glancing from side to side. So many people.

“Keep close and hold on your ring,” Trinelli whispered to her. “There are pickpockets here.”

Asphodel looked around. Most people appeared prosperous, but every so often, a ragged child appeared. She thought she saw a handsome, auburn-haired youth take something from a girl of similar age and then walk casually away. Were these the pickpockets? She gripped her ring as tightly as she could.

Trinelli led her along a broad street leading up the hill from the market. The round temple of Sylissa stood tall in a square with a fountain in the centre. Shops surrounded the other three sides and people wandered in and out, stopping to chat with people they knew.

If you would like to read more of Asphodel and why she was in Bluehaven, you can read all about it in Dreams of an Elf Maid, available from Amazon. Simply click on the book title to go to Amazon where you are.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Did you enjoy that brief extract? Perhaps you wondered why Asphodel left Vass, the love of her life. I’m not going to tell you, of course. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments box.

If you would like to know more about me, and get an exclusive short story, then click on the link below. This will sign you up to my newsletter. I only send one each quarter, so you won’t be bombarded with emails.

If you sign up, you can unsubscribe at any time, but the exclusive story will be yours to keep. You will be unable to get it anywhere else.

There are dragons and magic in the world if only you look for them… V.M. Sang

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