Cover Reveal

I had a different post in mind for today, but then I got the cover from my publisher so thought I’d let you see it instead.

This is the second prequel to The Wolves of Vimar series and tells how Carthinal came to be a mage in spite of his tragic childhood.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the cover.

I would be interested to hear what you think of it? Do you like it or not? The mage on the front has longish auburn hair, as has Carthinal. One person in the book tells him to get it cut, so of course he’s all the more determined not to do so!

I’ll let you know as soon as I know when it’s out, but at the moment it’s out of my hands.

I also got the information that the first prequel, Jovinda and Noli, is now available in bookstores. That’s great news.

This one tells about Carthinal’s parents. How they met and about their tragic love affair. Of course, Carthinal’s birth is part of it. The ISBNs are below.

9781034257639 (6×9 Dust Jacket Premium Hardcover)

9781034257622 (5×8 Dust Jacket Premium Hardcover)

9781034178323 (6×9 Large Print Hardcover)

9781034178316 (6×9 Large Print Softcover)

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Thanks to All the People. A poem

I don’t usually write in free verse, but this time I’ve made an exception. Here’s my poem of thanks to a variety of people.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Thanks to all the people
Who broke the lockdown rules.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to all the people
Who went to parties at New Year.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to everybody
Who ran away from London as Tier 4 arrived.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to everybody
Who wears masks below the nose.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to everyone
Who fails to wash their hands.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to the man
Who removed his mask to cough.
Thanks for spreading the virus,

Thanks to the people
Who fled Switzerland to avoid quarantine.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to everybody
Who does not obey 2 metres.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to everyone
Who filled the beaches in summer.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to the people who went on demonstrations.
Thanks for spreading the virus.

Thanks to all those people
Who kept us all indoors.
Thanks to all the people
Who ruined kids education.
Thanks to all the people
Who made life more lonely
For all those living alone.
Thanks to all the people
Who made those with mental illness worse.
Thanks to all the people
Who spoiled Christmas and New Year.
Thanks to all the people
Who flew away for a birthday.

But

Thanks to all key workers
For putting your lives in danger.
Thanks to porters, and ambulance drivers.
Thanks to nurses and doctors.
Thanks to cleaners and radiographers.
Thanks to physiotherapists.
Thanks to all who work in our hospitals.
Thanks to farmers and supermarket workers.
For putting food on our tables.
Thanks to teachers
For working hard
To continue educating children
On line.
Thanks to refuse collectors
For keeping us safe from disease.
Thanks to the police
Who continue to protect us.
Thanks to everyone who is still working.

Another present for you.

After the Crown Prince of Ponderia starts behaving strangely, his best friend Pettic discovers that the prince has been replaced by a doppelganger, and the real prince kidnapped.

Unable to accept the loss of his friend, Prince Torren, nor the cruel impostor to become the new king, Pettic sets on a quest to rescue his friend. After he sees the fake prince meet a mysterious man, Pettic discovers that the prince has been imprisoned in another plane of existence.

With the help of Blundo, the court magician, Pettic finds out that the only way to enter this another world are four keys, each of them associated with a different element. As Pettic sets on his seemingly impossible quest, he discovers that the four lands that hold the keys are all vastly different… and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.

The book is currently just outside the top 100 in Fantasy Adventure Fiction (#135).

Don’t miss your chance to get your ebook version absolutely FREE.

The book is also available in paperback and audio if you prefer.

Click on this link to go to Amazon where you are and get your book absolutely FREE.

Book 2 is also available as paperback and audio, as well as ebook. The ebook is only £1.99 or $1.99. Click on this link to get the end of the story.

After his return from Aeris with the gem of air, Pettic receives a letter from the king. He is to see Torren and rekindle their relationship.

Soon after, Torren and Pettic meet a strange man and their lives change drastically, as they’re dragged into a mystery surrounding the red dragon Monarlisk and his former mate.

But will Pettic’s magic be enough to help them finish their quest in time – and in the end, will the rightful king be crowned?

Here is a 5* review The Stones of Fire and Water received.

Marilyn J. Collier 5.0 out of 5 stars 

A Fantasy for all ages.

Reviewed in the United States on 25 September 2020

Verified Purchase

Pettic has returned two of the key stones to free his prince Torren from the magic place he has been hidden and unmask the usurper to the throne. He departs for the next to find the stone representing fire. It’s a world that once was filled with dragons and volcanoes. He finds a black dragon that has lost his mate and really is a lonely soul.

Pettic manages to find the other two dragons, escape from them eating him, finding the other dragon’s possession and the stone he has searched for. He helps all three dragons and their young to relocate and returns with his dog to his world.

He decides to leave his dog in his world when he searches for the final stone. On this world he is given an amulet that changes him into a merman. After many adventures of meeting Sea Hags, sea dragons, and other dangers, he finds the amulet and the trident for the dying merman king.

He returns to his world and discovers the king has died. It’s a frantic search for the hidden prince. Rescuing him from the magicians and then deciding how to unmask the imposter who has been changed by magic.

Will they succeed in time to stop the false coronation? Will Pettic win the heart of his true love?

my christmas present to you.

I’m giving away the ebook version of The Wolf Pack, Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar series, between today, December 22nd and Boxing Day, December 26th.

This is a fantasy adventure. A group of unlikely people are given the task of finding a long-lost artifact that a prophecy has said will be required to save their land from an as yet unspecified evil.

They meet with danger and near-death in their quest, and receive help from the most unlikely sources. Surprises await them, as well as facing their innermost fears. None of them will return unchanged.

Here is a review from Amanda Griffiths Jones

4.0 out of 5 stars A Perfectly Set Scene

Occasionally I step out of my comfort zone & read a book that takes my into unknown literary territory. This was one of those times. Within a couple of chapters I was drawn into a world of mages, elves & mystical creatures & thoroughly enjoyed the ease with which the author breathed life into her characters. The scene is set perfectly as a quest unfolds, allowing the reader to become absorbed in a fantasy world that holds many surprises. I’ll definitely be looking out for book two in the series.

Feel free to reblog this if you wish. I would greatly appreciate it.

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My favourite christmas carol

As it’s almost Christmas, albeit a different one than usual for many of us, I thought I’d tell you what my favourite Christmas Carol is.

It’s not one that’s often sung these days, but I love it for its tune and the words that seem to resonate in modern times.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

This is a poem by Edmund Sears written in 1849.

Here’s a link to King’s College Chapel choir singing it.

And my least favourite?

In the Bleak Mid-Winter.

My main objection to this one is that it’s not true to what the weather would have been. We’re talking about Bethlehem in Israel. That’s the Middle East. Temperatures there are between 10 and 20, on the chart I looked up. Hardly ‘Bleak mid-winter’. No ‘frosty winds’ moaning, nor ‘water standing like a stone.’ Certainly no ‘snow on snow.’

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

These words were written by Christina Rosetti, an English poet, in response to a magazine request for a Christmas poem in 1872.

Here’s a link to a performance by King’s College Choir, Cambridge, England.

What are your favourite and least favourite Christmas Carols? Let me know by writing in the comments box.

And to join my quarterly newsletter where you can find out more about me and my books, click here

Review of Dragon Train by RJ the Story Guy

Overview.

I enjoyed reading this book by RJ the Story Guy. It is a Young Adult story, but can be equally enjoyed by ‘fully grown’ adults. It fits the clientele it’s aimed at very well.

Blurb

Jaiden, a 15-year-old farm boy, lives near Hilltop, a Medieval-type village and has never been more than a few miles beyond his home. He lives with his widower father who works the boy hard and treats Jaiden rather abusively. In this world, people have enslaved dragons as beasts of burden and as something like guard dogs and soldiers.

There are three kinds of dragons characterized by their various colors: gold (dog-sized) dragons trained to hunt and serve as guards; silver (about the size of a cow) trained to carry gold dragons on their backs and to serve as soldiers and hunters; and blue dragons (somewhat larger than an elephant) who are trained to tow Dragon Trains (powered by a low-flying dragon rather than a steam engine). The gold and silver dragons aren’t very intelligent, but obedient to humans and easily trained. The blues however, are very intelligent and can communicate with each other telepathically although most humans are not aware of their ability to communicate. For many centuries dragons and humans were enemies, but in the last couple of generations, humans have become clever enough to overwhelm and enslave the dragons. But the blues long for freedom and escape from human control. Jaiden and Skye, an escaped blue dragon, encounter each other and a close, friendly relationship develops as the blue dragon, with the young man’s help, escapes servitude towing a Dragon Train. The pair avoid capture while they are pursued through the forests and caves of the Emerald Forest. Eventually, they travel to Portville, a large city where the Dragon Train camps and training grounds are located.

But can the pair free her family and escape to a far northern land where dragons may live free?

Story

The story follows Jaiden and Skye through their adventures, where they meet problem after problem. It is a tale that makes you root for Jaiden and the blue dragons.
The humans are not, on the whole, shown in a very good light. Most that we meet seem cruel, rather stupid and selfish.

Characters

Jaiden begins the tale as a rather innocent 15 year old. He has been no farther than his village and consequently is rather innocent. However, his adventures with Skye improve his self-confidence and he develops well in the book.

Writing

The writing is good. The descriptions place us in the world without it being over descriptive, which I think would be a bit off-putting for YA readers who want to get on with the story.
The only thing I would quibble with is that RJ uses the word ‘lay’ wrongly when it should be ‘lie’. Otherwise, grammar and spelling are excellent, with no typos.

Conclusion

An excellent read, and a book I would recommend if you want an idea for a Christmas present (or any other time present) for those difficult teens.
I have given it 5*.

Audiblegate

Recently there have been a few posts on various sites about something that has begn to be called Audiblegate.

You can read one of them here.

It seems that Amazon is at it again. This time using it’s audio books.

This is what they are doing:

 In order to persuade people to sign up for audio books, they are telling them, that they can return a book if it doesn’t meet their expectations. They then get a credit for another book.
 This sounds great—for the reader. Not so much for the narrator and author as they have their royalties removed when it happens.
 There seems to be no limit to the number of times a reader can return a book, nor do they have to have an unfinished book. Audible don’t question. So a reader can read a book from a series, or by a particular author and enjoys it. So much that they think they want to read more.

 They return the book and get book 2 in the series, or another by the same author absolutely free. The author and narrator get NOTHING. ZILCH. NADA. ZERO. The reader can go through a whole series and pay nothing. And they have 365 days in which to return the books.

I will explain to you now, in simple words why this is so unfair. (Although unfair is a rather weak word for what is going on.)

It costs money to produce a book. Yes, you can get it published on Amazon, Lulu etc for nothing, but that’s not all of it. If the writer has a publisher, the publisher spends money.

 Let’s start with the narrator. A narrator doesn’t sit down in his/her bedroom with a pc and any old microphone. They need a professional standard studio, soundproof and with professional standard equipment. That cost a lot of money.
 The narrator receives the book from either the author (indie) or the publisher and reads it. He/she then contacts the author to discuss any pronunciations or anything else the author wishes.
 Then the narrator begins to narrate. Sometimes he/she will send each chapter to the author as it is finished, but sometimes it’s the whole book. This takes weeks of work.
 Now let’s look at the author, and what happens when a book is written.
 First the author gets the idea and plans how they are going to tackle it. This might be detailed on paper, or it might be in the author’s head.
 The author writes the book. This might take anything from a few months to a few years, depending on the book and the author, of course.
 The author begins editing. He/she checks for spelling/grammar, places where there needs to be more in the way of describing the world, so we’ve not got people acting in a vacuum, and the opposite, cutting parts that don’t add anything and are probably boring.
 There are checks needed to ensure the correct names are used throughout. It’s not uncommon for an author to change a character’s name and miss the odd place where it’s the original name. And they need to ensure they’ve not got a character with blue eyes at the beginning and brown at the end, or a dead character miraculously returns.
 Then it can go to a professional editor. These don’t work for free. If the author is with a publisher, the publisher bears this cost.
 Design of the cover is also a cost. Professional designers cost money! Again, this is something the publisher will bear this cost.
 After this, the book will probably go to one or more beta readers who will pass their opinion and say where they found things confusing, boring etc.
 Only then does the book go for publication. But that’s not the end. No one will find a book just because it’s been published. There are millions of books out there. Books need promotion. Publishers do some. (Some more than others) but the majority is up to the author. There are some free marketing websites, but the vast majority require money.

So I ask you. Is it fair that Audible is removing royalties from authors, narrators and publishers for books returned and allowing readers to read as many as they wish without giving the people who produced said books any payment for their hard work and cash spent?
Can you buy a book at a bricks and mortar bookstore, then return if for another, saying you didn’t like it, getting the next, and subsequent books free? No! So why should you be able to do this on Amazon (both book store and

I appeal to all readers. DO NOT TAKE PART IN AUDIBLE’S RETURNS.

Reading Is the Key to Learning

Nicholas Rossis has a visitor to his blog, Garima Aggarwal. She has written about the importance of reading.

I found this post interesting and so I decided to reblog it instead of writing one of my own. I hope you find it as interesting.

Image by Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay

Here is what she has to say.

Books don’t just teach you good vocabulary, but a lot more than that. 

As a child, I always found it hard to read books. I mean, who could read a thick novel containing difficult text and no pictures?

And yet, I was always been told that reading books is vital, especially for people interested in writing or those who have to interact with a mass audience on a regular basis. But very few people ever cared to explain to me why reading is important. The rather boring list of reasons they gave me included clichés like, “you will learn new words,” and, “your vocabulary will improve.” So what?

To continue reading click here

Image by falco from Pixabay
Now a thought from me

No one ever had to tell me to read, but there weren’t the easy social media and ubiquitous TV and film adaptations then. It’s much easier to watch a Jane Austin film than read her books. Believe me. I’ve done both, but the film is shallow compared with the writing. OK, you get the story, but not much else. And you don’t need to use your imagination, either. Imagination is so important in things other than writing novels.
Creative people of all kinds use imagination, and not just in the arts. They imagined what it would be like if we could light up the dark hours. How can we speak to other people when they are a long way away? What if we could travel without relying on horses? Suppose we could carry our telephones with us everwhere. What about if we could kill germs easily?
There things require imagination, not only on the execution, but in the original idea. Reading will stimulate imagination.

What do you think about reading? Is there anything that hasn’t been mentioned that reading does?

Do you disagree with anything said above?

Let us all know in the comments.

If you wish to learn more about me and my books, sign up for my quarterly newsletter by clicking here. You will learn about how my writing is progressing and what I’m working on and a bit about what I’ve been up to.

Special Offer

From tomorrow, 28th November, you can get the e-book version of Vengeance of a Slave for 0.99 (pounds or dollars).

Don’t miss this chance. It’s only for 5 days until 2nd December.

This historical novel is set in Roman Britain, not long after the founding of London.

The audio version is currently 25 in Ancient History Fiction on Amazon, 

Forced to watch his father’s crucifixion and separated from his mother, orphaned six-year-old Adelbhert’s life forever changes when he is sold into slavery in Britannia.

Years of servitude fill his heart with malice and he resolves to escape, determined to rescue those he loves and deliver retribution to the Romans who wronged him.

But as new allies shed light on old perspectives, Adelbhert begins to question his path. Will he find true freedom, or allow his vengeance to consume him?

This is what people have said about the book.

R. J. Krzak, Award-Winning Author.

5.0 out of 5 stars  A Riveting Story Set in Roman Times.

Vengeance of a Slave by V.M. Sang is a riveting story set during the period when Rome controlled Britannia. Follow the trials and tribulations of Adelbhert after he and his sister are taken by the Romans from their mother. They eventually end up as slaves in what is modern-day London.

Adelbhert performs a nightly ritual to remind himself of the suffering he and his sister have endured, beginning with the crucifixion of their father. He vows to escape and punish those who have wronged him.

V.M. has created a moving story which will keep you turning the pages to find out how Adelbhert and his sister handle their new life. Experience their sorrow, anguish, and finally hope as they adapt to their changing situation. This is the first novel I’ve read of V.M.’s and it certainly won’t be the last! Well done and highly recommended!

Barbara Mojica

4.0 out of 5 stars  SLAVE OR FREE

Adelbehrt and his family live in the Roman provinces. Their simple life is suddenly turned upside down when Roman soldiers come to exact revenge for a rebellion in which they played no part.

They randomly choose men to be examples. Adelbehrd’s father is crucified. He and his sister are singled out to be sold as slaves because of their blond hair. Torn from their grieving mother, the two terrified children are carted off to a far-off villa to be enslaved.

For many years, their monotonous life continues. One day, Adelbehrd discovers that his sister is about to be sold. A friend tells him about a group of Britons who rescue slaves. Adelbehrd is determined to protect his sister and hatches a plan to escape.
Will they be successful, or will they suffer the dire consequences?

The book appears to be well researched. The plot moves along and keeps the reader’s interest. I would recommend it to those who enjoy history and intriguing characters.

If you prefer another format, the book is also available as:

paperback

hardcover

large print

audio US

audio UK

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

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