All posts by V.M.Sang

I was born and educated in the north west of England. I trained as a teacher in Manchester and taught in Salford, Lancashire, Hampshire and Croydon. I write fantasy novels currently. I also make cards, knit, crochet, tat, do cross stitch and paint. I enjoy walking on the Downs, cycling and kayaking. I do not enjoy housework, but like cooking.

Winter: A Poem

Everything dead.
Nothing moves.
The skies of lead
Press down on the roofs.

The icicles hang
Like teeth in the maw.
Each one a fang
In a wolf’s jaw.

The wind with his knife
Cuts through to the bone.
Soon snow will arrive
And the swallows have flown.

The trees that were green
Are now turned to white,
And everything’s seen
In a glowing bright light.

But look what I’ve found!
A tiny green shoot
Pushing up through the ground.
A snowdrop, no doubt.

It tells of the spring
Not so far away,
And how it will bring
All the flowers of May.

An update on my writing, and a special offer.

The Wolves of Vimar is a fantasy series. Book 1, The Wolf Pack, finds Carthinal setting off to take the tests to end his apprenticeship and make him a full mage.

Once in Hambara, where the tests are to take place, he, and some people he met on his journey are given the task of finding a lost artefact. It has been prophesied that it will be needed in the near future.

The book tells of their adventures in finding the artefact and returning with it.

Book 2, The Never-Dying Man, finds the friends settled into normal life in Hambara. That is until someone who helped them in the quest for the Sword turns up asking for their help. His child has been kidnapped.

Because they owe him a life debt, they agree to help find her. After rescuing her they are left with more questions. Who wants her, and why?

They stray into Erian, the next country and get recruited into the Erian Army where half the group are arrested and taken to Frelli, the capital.

Here they find that war against Grosmer is being prepared. Why, they do not know as there has been peace for generations. What they do find out is more dangerous, and surprising than they could have imagined.

The half of Wolf, who are prisoners must escape and take the news back to the authorities in Grosmer.

Book 3, Wolf Moon, follows the other half of Wolf, who managed to escape the arrest. They are chased into a cave system in the mountains where they find a people living entirely in the mountain.

These people want to have nothing to do with the outside world. In fact, they don’t want anyone to know they exist. To keep their secret, they refuse to show the friends the way out.

Eventually, though, they are persuaded to help and allow Wolf to leave. Unfortunately, though, the group of friends have to pass many dangers to get out, and also, once out, they need to dodge the Erian army which is on the lookout for them.

As they make their way past many dangers, they discover more secrets. Can they manage to get back to their homes and pass their discoveries on to the authorities in Grosmer?

I am currently writing Book 4, which is to be called Immortal’s Death. It is a slow process as I have been distracted by other writing projects, including Jealousy of a Viking, which is the sequel to Vengeance of a Slave, my very first historical novel, and I loved writing it. What I found out was fascinating. But you’ll have to wait for Jealousy, although Vengeance came out at Christmas.

But from today, The Never-Dying Man is available for a mere $0.99, £0.99. This offer is only available until 19th, so don’t waste time. Click here to get your copy, or click on the book’s image in the side-bar.

If you have read any of my books, please consider writing a review. Reviews are important to both writers and readers. Readers can see if they think a book is for them before they spend money on it, and writers rely on reviews to get their books noticed. With the millions of books on sale, this is a difficult process.

So please, Help a Writer and write a review.

A Treatise on Nouns

I’ve noticed recently that when people are writing about our planet they are not giving it a capital letter.

When I was at school, I learned that there are three kinds of nouns, common, abstract, collective and proper. Of those three, proper nouns need a capital letter.

Common nouns are the names of most objects, such as dog. house. flower. There are many of these things and the name does not refer to any particular one.

A dog is an animal with four legs.

Jane lives in a big house,

Johnnie gave me flowers for my birthday.

And so on.

Abstract nouns are intangible things, such as an emotion.

Jo felt fear when confronted by the snarling dog.

The love that the elderly couple shared was obvious.

Freedom is important.

And so on.

Collective nouns refer to a group. When I was at school, we learned the collective nouns for a number of things



A flock of sheep (not a herd as I’ve sometimes seen.)

A herd of cows.

A skein of geese when flying but a gaggle when on the ground.

A charm of larks, a murmuration of starlings and a murder of crows etc.

Collective nouns are referring to ONE thing. That think might be made up of a number of individuals, but it’s still ONE thing. Thus you should use the singular form of the verb.

The team are playing well. (wrong)
The team is playing well. (correct)


The government are going to pass a law. (wrong)
The government is going to pass a law. (correct)

The crowd are applauding. (wrong)
The crowd is applauding. (correct)

Finally, we come to what started this off. Proper Nouns. They always begin with a capital letter.

The names of people are an obvious one. We refer to Harry Brown. It’s one specific person we are talking about, so Harry has a capital letter.

If we know the name of the dog we were talking about in the first example, its name would be in a capital letter.

Come here, Rover.

If we are going to a particular place, it would have a capital letter.

I’m going to Paris next week.

Now I’ve noticed that people are no longer giving our planet a capital letter. If we are talking about Mars, Venus, Saturn, or any of the other planets, people always capitalise the first letter. Not so our own planet. Why is that? Is Earth not as important as another planet? Are we saying that Earth is a generality? Why? Surely the planet we live on is more important to us than all the others.

My reasoning goes like this:
We often refer the stuff the planet is made from as earth. Thus we don’t make a difference when referring to the planet.
The gardener planted the tree in the earth.

That’s fine, because in this case, earth is another word for soil, which is a common noun. But we must be careful when we are referring to our planet. Then Earth is a proper noun, so should be capitalised.

And while we’re on it—Fantasy and SciFi writers, please don’t refer to the soil or ground as earth. It’s not.

Thank you for reading. Please leave comments in the box. I would like to know what you think of this.

Carthinal's Story 9

 

“Fox!” Wren yelled as he entered the headquarters. She rushed over and threw her arms around him. “What happened? Did that mage let you in? Are you going to learn magic?”


Carthinal grinned. It was good to see her and he hugged her back. “Yes, Mabryl has accepted me as an apprentice. I’ll be learning magic.’


“What have you learned so far?”


Carthinal’s grin disappeared. “Nothing, yet. Not even how to get that little flame every time. Mabryl says I’m too ill-disciplined and that magic needs concentration. Apparently I’m not able to concentrate well enough to learn any spells safely. Nor am I disciplined, he says.”


“You’ve got new clothes. And you’re clean. You smell good. Come on, let’s go to our room.”


But that had to wait, Rooster strode across the room. “Fox. How is it going.” He shook Carthinal’s hand.


“It’ll take some time. Magic is difficult to learn. Harder than picking pockets, it seems.”


“Well, we can wait. Time is something we have plenty of. As long as we eventually get the upper hand and become top gang, then we can wait.”
Carthinal stayed all night, but as the birds started to sing, he rose from the bed he was sharing with Wren. She woke.


“I’ve got to go, Wren,” he told her. “I shouldn’t have stayed so long. I only came to tell you what was happening.”


She reached up and pulled him down, kissing him. “Can’t you stay for another hour. I’ve missed you so.”


Carthinal protested, but eventually, Wren had her way and after an hour of love-making, he left.


The sun had risen and people were beginning to fill the streets. Mabryl would be up by now. Had his master missed him? What would he say? Would he refuse to teach him, now? After all, he had been insistent Carthinal stay in his house, and made a big thing about discipline.


As he approached the tree he had climbed down, the door opened and Lillora emerged carrying a basket.


She stopped and put her hands on her hips. “Well, the truant returns.”


Carthinal groaned. So his escape had not gone undetected.


“Mabryl thought you had decided not to learn. After all, it’s hard work, learning magic. You’d better go on in and see what he says.”


Carthinal plodded up the steps and entered through the door Lillora had left open. He paused in the hallway, looking around.


Emmienne came rushing down the stairs. “Oh, are you in trouble! Mabryl is both anxious and angry at the same time.” She grinned. “Where’ve you been? Going out at night to see a girl, are you? Who is she? Is she pretty?”


“Yes…no…er…”


“There you are!” Mabryl’s voice came from in the study. The man himself strode out, lips pressed tightly together and hands clenched by his side. “What do you mean by sneaking out at night? What have I told you about magic needing discipline? It needs honesty, too. Where have you been that you needed to sneak out like that?”


Carthinal took a deep breath. He would be honest. His Grandfather had taught him not to tell lies, and now Mabryl was talking about honesty. “I went to see my old mates. They needed to know where I am and what I’m doing. If they didn’t know, they’d think I’ve betrayed them and come after me.”


“Hmm. You could have told me that. I understand.” Mabryl’s tone softened. “But no more of it. You have had no one to discipline you or teach you right from wrong for a long time. I expect no more of these night-time excursions.” He swung around and entered his study. His voice came back. “Come and start today’s lessons. I think more writing practice is needed.”


Carthinal groaned and followed his master into the study. Writing and reading. That’s all he seemed to be doing. That and learning the names of plants and the stars. When was he going to learn some real magic?


The days passed. Carthinal read the books and copied spells and other things Mabryl gave him. Soon he was writing a fair hand, and his reading improved. Still Mabryl made no move to teach him any magic.


His mind wandered when he was reading the books on the history of magic. What was the point of learning about things long past?
He voiced this to Mabryl one day.


“We need to remember what has gone before, and the results of these things,” his mentor replied. “If not, we will be condemned to repeat the mistakes of those who went before us, and also we can’t benefit from the good things, either.”


“Hmm. I suppose so.” Carthinal went back to reading about how King Sauvern united the warring kingdoms of Grosmer into one kingdom.


He still wanted to see his old friends, though, especially Wren. They had been good to him, and saved him from starvation. He could not forget them, and so, one night, a few weeks after Mabryl had forbidden nightly excursions, he climbed out of his window once more.


He made his way to the Beast’s HQ. Tapping on the door in the usual way, Porcupine admitted him.


She grinned to see him. “Wren thought you’d forgotten her. She’s…”


“Never.” Carthinal made his way along the hallway.


As he entered the main room, he spotted Wren on the other side. He called out to her.


She stopped what she was doing and stood stock still, eyes wide.


Her hand flew to her mouth. “F…Fox.”


Carthinal frowned. Why did she look like that? Her attitude was not one of pleasure—more like fear. He’d never done anything to make her afraid, so what was going on?


“Hi, Wren. I managed to get out again. I had to be careful, though. Mabryl caught me last time, so I waited until he thought I was going to be a good boy.”


Wren smiled, but Carthinal thought it looked a bit watery. Something’s wrong.


Cat entered and called to Wren. “Are you coming to bed?”


Carthinal whirled round. So that was the way it was. Cat had taken advantage of his long absence to make out with his girl. Well, that was going to end right now.


As soon as Cat saw who stood there, he paused. Carthinal took the opportunity and reached his erstwhile friend in a second. He swung his fist and it met Cat’s chin. The smaller man staggered back, but did not fall. He ducked in time to avoid Carthinal’s next swing and rolled into his legs, grabbing and pulling as he did so.


Carthinal fell heavily and Cat jumped on top of him.


The pair rolled around the large room, grappling each other and punching whenever the chance arose. Carthinal did not know how many of his punches hit Cat, but he knew he occasionally hit the floor. The young man he fought was agile while Carthinal had led a fairly sedentary life with Mabryl.


A loud voice sounded. “What do you think you are doing? One of the rules here is NO FIGHTING. At least, not where I can see.”


It was Rooster. Hands grabbed both young men and pulled them apart. When Carthinal looked round, he found himself held by Bull, and Cat was being detained by Ox, another one of the Beasts’ security men.


Rooster stood in front of them, hands on hips, looking at the pair through narrowed eyes.


Carthinal breathed heavily as he stood unable to move, with Bull holding him. He frowned and shot a look at Cat, his erstwhile friend. He wanted to smash the small man’s pretty face. How dare he take his girl?


Rooster was speaking, a severe look on his face. “Now, what’s this about? Fox, Cat?”


Carthinal balled his fists again and pressed his lips together. He took a deep breath. “Cat took advantage of my long absence to take my girl.”


Cat’s eyes flashed. “You were gone for months. We thought you’d decided the life in the comfort of a proper house was better than with us, and had gone over to ‘them’.”


Carthinal struggled against Bull’s iron grip.


“Wait,” Rooster said. “Fox, did you say Cat had stolen your girl?”


Carthinal nodded. “Yes. Wren was my girl before he took her.”


“Hmm!” Rooster looked at Cat. “What do you have to say?”


“What I just said. I thought—we all thought—Fox had left us. I decided he didn’t want Wren anymore. Perhaps he’d found someone else. He’s got a pretty enough face for any woman to want him.”


Rooster sighed. “Didn’t either of you think to ask Wren? She’s not a piece of jewellery to be argued over. She has a mind and she uses it. She will decide for herself who she wants to be with. You can’t make that decision for her, whoever wins the fight.” He turned to Wren. “Do you want to be with either of these two?”


Wren looked down at her feet, then at Cat. Carthinal felt his heart sink into his boots.


“Sorry, Cat. I’ll take Fox. I thought he’d gone for good, you see. It’s been so long.”


She walked over to where Carthinal stood, still being held by Bull. “Sorry, Fox.” She leaned her head against him.


“Let them, go,” Rooster said, and walked away.


Carthinal put his arm around Wren and held her tight. “I’m glad you chose me,” he whispered.


Cat approached, eyes glancing around. He stopped a good arm’s length away from Carthinal.


He took a deep breath. ”Please accept my apology, Wren. I should not have treated you like a possession.”


“No, you shouldn’t.” She turned to Carthinal. “And neither should you.”


Cat turned and walked away. After a few paces, he stopped and looked back. “Fox, we were good friends once. I hope we can be again sometime.”


Carthinal watched him go with a sad expression. He put an arm around Wren. “He’s right. We were good friends. I shouldn’t have hit him.”


As usual, Carthinal’s anger dissipated quickly and he went over to Rooster. “I apologise for causing a disruption. You are right. Wren is her own woman.” He looked to the door where Cat had vanished, then turned back.


“This magic business is going to take longer than I thought. I’ve hardly even started. Mabryl won’t let me start learning spells until I’ve learned discipline, he says.”


Rooster looked him up and down, then put his head on one side. “He’s right. It’d be dangerous to have someone with an uncontrolled temper able to do magic. Think what you could have done to Cat, and possibly others in the vicinity, if you had spells at your fingertips. Go back to your Mabryl and stay there until you’ve learned some control.”


Carthinal hung his head. He looked at Wren, still at his side, and hugged her.


She looked up into his indigo eyes and sighed. “I think that was an order, Fox. I don’t suppose I’ll see you for quite some time, then.”


“I can still come out at night and meet you.”


She shook her head, looking sad. “No. That would be ill discipline. Rooster, and Mabryl, have both ordered you to learn. I promise I’ll wait for you.” She reached up and kissed him, before turning away, tears in her eyes.

A 5 star review of Vengeance of a Slave

As you might know from my previous posts, Vengeance of a Slave was released on Boxing Day. I have already received a 5 star review.

It has reached the following positions on Amazon.com: #6182 in Action & Adventure Fiction #1481 in British & Irish Historical Literature #6419 in Adventure Stories & Action

Here is the review by Randall Krzak.

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 red of V.M.’s and it certainly won’t be the last! Well done and highly recommended!

And here’s another one I received when I had self-published it, before Next Chapter agreed to publish it under their Legionary imprint.

Review by Ashok.

Vengeance of a Slave (A family through the Ages) by V.M. Sang is about the horrifying experience of siblings Adelbhert and his sister Avelina, his sister, who witness Roman soldiers crucify their father and other men from their village. These small children are snatched from their mother by the Romans to be sold as slaves. Bought by a rich merchant, they are taken to a distant island Brittania where they are treated as pets. When they grow bigger, plans are made to sell them as house slave and courtesan.
Adelbehrt’s experiences have embittered him and he dreams and plans to extract revenge from the Romans, and he plans to escape with his sister. How they escape, the dangers they face, the stratagems they use to stay hidden, the helpful and cruel people they encounter, their adventures… These make up the remaining plot.

A great narration of a novel idea with good word pictures which drew me into that period, I found the overall narration and language to be gripping. But for some errors I found, I would have said it is five star material.

These typos have now been sorted, of course,

And it has also received another 5 stars without a review attached!

A Writer's Year

As it’s my last post of 2019, I thought I’d sum up my writing year.

This year I’ve been quite busy. I decided I’d write some prequels to my Wolves of Vimar series, some of which I serialised here. I originally thought I’d write them as short stories, but they have grown into novellas.

I wrote the back stories of Asphodel, and Kimi and Davrael. When I decided to submit them to Next Chapter, the publisher who published The Wolves of Vimar series as far as it’s got, I thought I should begin with the story of how Carthinal came into being. I told the tale of his parents. It’s a rather tragic story. I’ve now submitted it to Next Chapter, and am waiting for their next move.

I finished Vengeance of a Slave, my very first Historical Novel, submitted it and it is now live on Amazon. (http://mybook.to/voas/ ) It was released on Boxing Day. If any of you decide to purchase and read it, I would be grateful if you could post a review.

Researching this book, and the next one, Jealousy of a Viking, took a lot of time. Although some research is needed, even for fantasy novels, to get the history right, and the background is much more exacting. This book is not yet ready for publishing. It’s needs much more polishing before I submit it.

Earlier in the year I lost a lot of Book 4 of The Wolves of Vimar, and I searched all my places on my computer and also online. I felt demoralised by this, having lost several chapters. Then, out of the blue, I looked in one cloud storage I’d not looked in. In fact, I didn’t know I’d stored anything there, but there it was! Hooray!

I started working on it again, but it’s coming on rather slowly. This is because I started working on the backstory of Carthinal from The Wolves. This novella isn’t yet ready for submitting to Next Chapter. In fact it’s not quite finished, but I hope I’ll get it done shortly after the New Year. Then I can finish Book 4, probably to be called Immortal’s Death.

Next year I hope to release more of the novellas—Davrael and Kimi and Asphodel. I also hope to get Jealousy of a Viking released and finish Immortal’s Death. Quite a big task to get it all done.

I also have another fantasy novel that I started a couple of years ago that I want to finish, then there’s the on-going saga of the descendants of Adelbehrt from Vengeance of a Slave and Jealousy of a Viking. The next one is to be in Britain just after William the Conqueror beat Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Not sure of a title yet.

So that’s my year.

Thank you for following my blog, and to those of you who bought my books, a big thanks. I would be grateful for any reviews. They are most helpful, not only to me, but also to potential readers so they can tell if the book is for them.

You can purchase any of the books by clicking on the cover in the sidebar.

Please leave a comment in the comments box. I love to hear your thoughts.