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.

Passing

Food for thought from Kevin Morris.

Another of his wonderful poems.

K Morris - Poet

I left the woodland path
To let the couple pass,
And heard the young girl laugh.

I think on urban foxes mating
And remember men impatiently waiting
Whilst the police cleared away.

All this fleeting thought
Of our brief day
Must end in nought.

View original post

Recipe for DELICIOUS PUDDING

This was a recipe in a book my mum wrote out for me when I got married. I don’t know if she gave it this name, or if it was called that when she got it.

Anyway, I think it’s well-named. It’s one of my favourite puddings and very easy to make.

Ingredients

220g sugar

1x20ml tablespoon butter

2x20ml tablespoons plain flour

Rind and juice of 1 lemon

250ml cup milk

2 eggs (separated)

Method

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.

Beat the egg yolks into the creamed mixture.

Mix in the rind and juice of the lemon, flour and milk.

Beat all together.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the mixture.

Bake in a greased dish in a bain-marie in the oven set to 180C for about 30 minutes.

This makes a light lemony pudding with its own lemon sauce at the bottom.

Sadly, I’ve not got a picture of this pudding.

You can find this pudding as well as savouries and cakes in Viv’s Family Recipes. This little book is the culmination of many years of cooking for my family, and collecting recipes from all and sundry.

This includes a little book I got from my Grandmother. There are some accounts in the back that make interesting reading and are dated 1909.

Grandma has several recipes in it that I’ve incorporated in this book. I doubt if anyone would make them now, as they take a lot of time (2 hours steaming, for example) and many have large amounts of fat. However, I think it’s interesting to see the kinds of things people ate over 100 years ago, and how our diets have changed.

If you are interested in this kind of thing, the ebook version of Viv’s Family Recipes is on offer for a limited time only, starting today, September 1st, until Monday 6th. Only 0.99 (£ or $)

The book is also available in paperback, and in Portugese.

To get your copy, click the button below or on the book image above or in the sidebar. The link will take you to Amazon where you are.

Would you like an exclusive short story? Of course you would! Who’d not want a free story? To get your copy, click the box below. This story will not be published anywhere else, so this is the only way of getting it.

When Maria and Jack move into a 16th century house, they wish to furnish it with period furniture and so they buy a table from that century.
That night, Maria hears a strange crying sound. On investigation, she finds it is coming from the table.
Fearing it might be haunted, and that they’ve brought a ghost into their home, they turn to a medium, only to find it isn’t a ghost.
If not a ghost, then what? The truth is stranger than either of them could have imagined.

review of the tigress and the yogi by shelley schanfield

Overview.

This book is in the genre Historical Fantasy. In this genre, the author takes some history and juggles it around a bit. They might add magic, change a person’s gender, talking animals, something about the setting or anything else that will make it fantasy. This book is set in the India of The Buddha, around 500BC.

Blurb

A talking tigress.
A wandering yogi.
A young woman’s harrowing journey through an ancient land where chaos threatens gods and mortals alike.

A tigress speaks to the outcaste girl Mala, and as she flees in terror, she stumbles upon an irascible old yogi. Though she is an Untouchable and her very shadow may pollute the holy man, she offers him hospitality, and he accepts, repaying her kindness with stories that awaken her hunger for forbidden spiritual knowledge. Soon after he leaves, she is brutally orphaned and enslaved, but the Devi, the Mother Goddess, appears as the warrior goddess Durga and offers her hope. As time passes, Mala, with the Devi’s help, gains the courage and strength to fight for her freedom.

Thus begins her quest for liberation, on which she meets gods and goddesses, high-born Brahmins and lowly keepers of the cremation grounds, outlaws and kings, and young Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who is prophesied to become the Buddha.

The Tigress and the Yogi is a historical fantasy that brings to life the vivid mythical world of ancient India and transports the reader to the Buddha’s time in a story filled with love and fear, anger and desire. This visionary novel creates a memorable portrait of a powerful woman, her extraordinary daughter, women, and the men they challenge and inspire. It examines the yearning for spiritual transformation and inner peace, and the ways in which the pursuit of wisdom and compassion can go terribly wrong.

Story

Mala is a very young girl when we meet her for the first time in her encounter with the tiger and the yogi of the title. Little does she know how her life is going to be affected by this chance meeting.
We learn about how her life as an Untouchable affects her, and follow her through sorrow as her lover and child are taken from her.
She commits terrible deeds on her life’s journey, until she finally comes back to the old yogi from her childhood.
Can she become enlightened and forgive herself? And can she let go of her longing for her daughter?

Characters

The character of Mali is well drawn. She is a complex person, and we can understand her loves and hates. She develops through the book in both good and bad ways, but we are always rooting for her.
Her daughter, Kisra, is also well drawn. We see a young girl gradually coming into womanhood, with all the changes that implies.
Siddhartha Gautama, who eventually becomes The Buddha, is a young man in the story. Actually, he’s a boy when we first meet him. He has extraordinary powers, but we can’t help but like him.
I cannot go into all the characters here, but one I must mention. That’s not a person, but the setting. Ms Schanfield has successfully brought us to the India of 500BC. She describes the monsoons, the heat, the cooling waters of the river and the magnificent palaces. We could almost imagine ourselves there. I would have, perhaps, liked a little more description of the towns, though.

Writing

The writing is excellent. Grammatically correct and well spelled. The words are used correctly.

Conclusion

This story is hanging about in my brain. It’s a beautiful tale, and there is much we can learn from it. There are examples of the philosophy of the times, much of which can still be applied today.
I’m glad I read it in ebook format, though, because there are many Sanskrit and Hindu words throughout. Being on the Kindle App, I could highlight them and their meaning came up.
I am definitely going to look for Book 2 in the trilogy. I want to know what becomes of the characters.

Please leave your comments in the comments box.

Would you like an exclusive short story? Of course you would! Who’d not want a free story? To get your copy, click the box below. This story will not be published anywhere else, so this is the only way of getting it.

When Maria and Jack move into a 16th century house, they wish to furnish it with period furniture and so they buy a table from that century.
That night, Maria hears a strange crying sound. On investigation, she finds it is coming from the table.
Fearing it might be haunted, and that they’ve brought a ghost into their home, they turn to a medium, only to find it isn’t a ghost.
If not a ghost, then what? The truth is stranger than either of them could have imagined.

historical background to vengeance of a slave

This book is the first in a series, following a family from their origins in Roman Britain.

The Batavian revolt indirectly led to the taking of Adelbhert and his sister as slaves, and hence began the tale told in Vengeance of a Slave.

arch-1590569_1280

This revolt took place between the years 69 and 70 CE. The Batavi was a small tribe living in Germania Inferior, near the Rhine delta. They sent some conscripts to Rome, who became what was known as The Germanic Bodyguard and were personal guards of the emperor.

The emperor Nero was becoming more and more despotic, and so the governor of Gaul, decided to try to do something about it. He found what he thought as a worthy successor to the emperor. A man called Galba. He fomented a revolution, Galba became emperor and Nero committed suicide.

Galba disbanded the Germanic Bodyguard because he mistrusted them as they had been loyal to Nero. The Batavian people took this as an insult.

After the death of Nero, Rome was plunged into civil war. There followed what is known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Galba’s deputy, Otho, overthrew him in a coup, then Vitellius prepared to take the Rhine legions to Rome to overthrow Otho. The Batavi joined the Rhine legions and overthrew Otho at the battle of Bedriacum.

After the battle, the Batavi were ordered to return home, but then Vespasian, commander of the forces in Syria, revolted. He was joined by the legions of the Danube.

Vitellius tried to conscript more than the agreed number of conscripts from the Batavi. This, on top of the insult of disbanding the Germanic Bodyguard, the brutality of the conscripting centurians and the sexual assaults on Batavian boys brought things to a head.

In the summer of 69, Civilis was commander of the Batavian troops in the Rhine regions. He persuaded the tribe known as Cananefates, to revolt and to attack a number of Roman forts.

This was a good time to do this since most of the troops were fighting the civil war in Rome.

The commander of the Rhine regions sent troops to put down this rebellion, leaving the rest of the area vulnerable. Civilis and his men defeated the Romans near what is now Arnhem.

To deal with this insurrection, the commander sent two legions, V Alaudae and XV Primigenea to fight them. These legions included some Batavian cavalry, who defected to their countrymen during the battle and so the Romans lost, after which the Batavians were promised independence.

Civilis wanted vengeance, however. He wanted to destroy the two legions. He besieged their camp. With the civil war in Rome, the Romans could do little about this. They did not have the troops to spare.

Then came the news of Vitellius’s defeat. This had been helped by Civilis pinning down two legions, but his aim was not to help Vespasian. He launched an attack on Krefeld, sending his eight best cavalry troops. This time, the Roman army was successful, destroying all eight troops, but at great loss to themselves.

Civilis then lifted the siege, saying that the legions could have free passage, providing they left everything behind for his men to loot. The two legions left with nothing, but a few kilometers away, they were ambushed and all of them destroyed.

Vespasian, once he had established himself on the throne, sent an enormous army to deal with Civilis and his rebels. On hearing of the approach of the army, one of Civilis’s allies surrendered, but Civilis himself continued to fight.

He made a series of raids from land and from the river, once capturing a Roman flagship. The Romans then invaded Batavia and the revolt was over.

It is against this chaotic time in the Roman Empire that Vengeance of a Slave is set. Adelbehrt’s father and some of the other villagers take the opportunity of a weakened army on the Rhine to raid across the river into the Roman lands. This leads to the terrible punishment of the men at the beginning of the book.

Here is a review of the book.

R. J. Krzak, Award-Winning Author

5.0 out of 5 stars 

A Riveting Story Set in Roman Times

Reviewed in the United States on 30 December 2019

Verified Purchase

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!

And a brief taste of the story.

In this extract, Adelelbehrt is growing up and is not the pretty small child he was when he became a pet. There is a threat to his life with his current owners.

One day, when the children had been slaves for six years, Marcus approached Adelbehrt.
“Have you a minute?” the older man asked.
Adelbehrt looked at Marcus. “What do you want?”
The boy sat on the edge of the impluvium and trailed his hand in the water. The domina did not seem to want him at the moment. In fact, she had not had much for him to do for a while now. He thought the novelty of his appearance might be wearing off, especially as he was now beginning to grow up.
He crossed to where Marcus emerged from the office of the dominus. What did the accountant want? He had little reason to ask Adelbehrt for anything. Marcus was an important man, even if a slave.
As Adelbehrt approached, Marcus began to speak. “How long have you been here now, Adelbehrt?”
“Six years.”
“That will make you about twelve then.”
The boy nodded “About that, I suppose.”
“Now I don’t want to worry you, but you’re growing up. You’re still an attractive boy—attractive enough to still be a pet—but as you get older, yes, from now on probably, the domina will find you less like her pretty, little slave boy.
“Your unusual hair colouring is no longer a novelty. No one comments on it any more. Soon the domina won’t want you as her slave and will find a new pet. Or perhaps she has already. Look at how she dotes on that little dog the dominus bought her.”
Adelbehrt looked at the older man. He had thought long about this himself. He noticed how the domina played with her puppy and spent less time with him. He wasn’t jealous. Not really. In fact, he often felt glad she had another toy to play with. After six years of petting and fussing he felt heartily fed up. Still, he found it galling to be ignored.
Marcus continued and he pricked up his ears and listened. It did not do to ignore one’s elders.
“I spoke to the dominus yesterday. It seems he’s noticed how his wife seems more concerned with her puppy than you and he talked about selling you.”
Adelbehrt drew in a sharp breath at that news and looked at Marcus.
“He said he’d noticed you liked the horses and are good with them, but he doesn’t need another slave in the stables. He thinks he can sell you as a stable lad, though.”
“But…” Adelbehrt did not know what to say. He thought of Avelina. Oh, the little girl seemed happy enough as Claudia’s slave, but she was still only ten summers old. She could not really remember their home by the Rhenus and had completely forgotten their native language.
Claudia treated her well. In fact, they were almost like friends rather than mistress and slave, but Adelbehrt had promised his mother he would look after her. How could he do that if the dominus sold him?

If you are interested in reading more about Adelbehrt and his sister Avelina, click on the link below.

The e-book is on offer for a mere 0.99 (£or $) from today, Saturday 28th until Wednesday 1st September.

It is also available in several other formats, including audio.

bramble, the dog

I don’t usually interview animals, but today I’m welcoming a dog to my blog. Rather than ask him questions, I think I’ll allow him the freedom to tell you about himself in his own words.

Hi. My name’s Bramble and I’m a dog.

I’m quite a big dog. At least I’m bigger than the others I lived with. I’m what humans call black and tan.

I live in the pages of a book, or rather, a series of books, called The Wolves of Vimar, and you’ll meet me first in book 1, The Wolf Pack.

Let’s get back to me and my life.

After Borolis came and took me from my mother, I cried. I cried quite a lot. He took me to his farm where I met three other dogs, his wife and three children.

His wife, a kind woman, was called Elpin and they had three children, twin boys called Krom and Voldon, and a sweet little girl called Amerilla. I loved that little girl. She was kind to a frightened, lonely puppy.*looks sad*

I learned about the smells on the farm: which belonged to the other farm animals and which were enemies’ scents. There were wolves that tried to take the larger animals, and foxes that would try to get the hens. The big dogs chased them off. Sometimes a big bird, called an eagle, tried to pick up a lamb. Those big birds scared me when I was little. One of them could easily carry me off and eat me.

Once, Nettle, a large black dog, who led the pack, managed to catch and kill a fox. It didn’t taste good when we tried to eat it, though.

This is Nettle.

My humans smelled good. Borolis smelled of fields and hay. There was also a lingering smell of horse about him. Elpin smelled of cooking and kindness, while the twins smelled almost the same as each other. I can’t tell you why, but their scent reminded me of adventure and fun.

But Amerilla—ah, little Rilla, as they called her—she was special. She had a light scent. Candles, sugar, spices. I loved that little girl. *whine*

The other two dogs, another black, called Bracken, and a black and white one called Bandit, all obeyed Nettle. He was fierce if they didn’t give him priority, and showed his teeth.

Bracken
Bandit


I didn’t cross him either, even though I was now bigger than him. He could be scary.

One day, I went to the water trough for a drink. As I drank, Nettle approached and growled at me to let him drink first. I was thirsty and ignored him, so he attacked me.

He knocked me from the trough and stared at me. I stared back, and began to growl. He walked stiff-legged in my direction, growling in response to my growl. I could smell the aggression coming from him, and knew he meant to put me in my place, once and for all.

Once he was bigger than me, but now I’d grown. I leaped at him and bit his ear. Blood flowed as his ear tore. He tried to bite my neck, but I grabbed his jaw and held on.

I shook his head from side to side, and he began to make puppy noises. That didn’t affect me. I knew this was a fight for leadership in our little pack. He’d bullied me for long enough.

I bit harder, and tasted blood. It tasted like iron horseshoes smelled.
I released my grip and tried to grab his neck, but was too slow. He managed to bite me in my shoulder as I dodged, and I felt blood trickling through my fur.

Then I leaped and got him onto the ground. I seized his neck and shook. I didn’t want to kill him. Not really, but I would have done so if necessary. He whined again. I don’t think the other dogs had ever challenged him and he didn’t like this fight that was going against him.

He rolled onto his back in surrender. I walked away, back to the trough and took a drink, watching him out of the corner of my eye.

He slunk away to wait until I’d finished before slaking his own thirst.
It was then I knew I was now leader of the farm dogs.

I believe I was a good alpha male.

This was my life until I ended up with the group of people who call themselves Wolf. Wolves have very little to do with it, but this group of humans decided to call themselves Wolf for some reason.

I made a brief appearance in The Wolf Pack, but I didn’t think that was enough for a dog like me, and so I told the author, V.M.Sang, I thought I should have more to do.

She kindly added me to the second book, and I’m also in the third. I’m hoping to be in the fourth, too, although at the moment she seems to be more concerned with a stupid, irresponsible little dragonet, called Muldee. If I could catch him, I’d chew him up a bit.

I think Muldee also asked her if he could have a bigger role than the one he had in Book 1. She’s too soft with these characters, if you ask me. She also let in Grimmaldo, who’s a friend of Carthinal, and someone who didn’t even appear in Book 1! Called The Cat, of all things. That’s something I’d never want to call myself.

You can find out more about Wolf, and why they call themselves that by reading The Wolf Pack.


You can buy it from Amazon in a variety of formats, including Audio.
V.M. tells me that if you click on the link below, it will take you to Amazon wherever you are. Sounds very clever to me. How does it know where you are?

Thank you, Bramble. It was good to have you here on my blog.

I would love to hear your opinions. Please leave any comments in the comments box.

Would you like an exclusive short story? Of course you would! Who’d not want a free story? To get your copy, click the box below. This story will not be published anywhere else, so this is the only way of getting it.

coming soon dreams of an elf maid

I’ve received the cover design for the latest book in my Wolves of Vimar prequels.

This one tells us about Asphodel and how she became a priestess of Sylissa, goddess of life and healing.

Asphodel is a young, naive elf maid. She falls in love with a handsome elf and, when her parents suggest an arranged marriage with a man much her senior, the pair run away.

Of course, things go wrong. Her lover can’t find a job in the city where they find themselves. He gets in with the wrong crowd and becomes addicted to a drug made from powdered dragon scales.

When he tries to take her jewellery to buy more drugs, she refuses and he hits her. She then realises this will not work and she leaves him, catching a caravan heading for the land of Grosmer.

She has a strong sense of right and wrong, and a steely determination, and this gets her into trouble more than once. Can she achieve her dream of becoming a priestess and helping others, or will she be banished from the temple?

Here’s an extract to whet your appetite.

CHAPTER 1

“Aspholessaria!” called the young elf’s mother, “Are you going out?”

“I’m meeting Syssillina, Mother. There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantissarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and we’ve heard it’s fantastic. We’re going to suss it out.”

“I do wish you’d refrain from using slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.”

“Only distantly, Mother,” Aspholessaria skipped out through the door to meet her friend. “I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.”

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantissarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

“My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s real cool,” Syssillina said as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissillaran, the land of the elves. “He says there were elves playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.”

“It sounds amazing.” Aspholessaria grinned at her friend. “Did he say how far it is?”

“Oh, Asphodel.” Syssillina used the elf’s diminutive name. “I told you it’s only a few trees over. Well, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.”

The elves built their city of Quantissarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not know they had arrived. The elves had built some of their buildings into the trees themselves with knotholes as windows. Walkways stretched from tree to tree. To anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways, passing residences and workshops, until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath. “Well, we’ve come, so we might as well go in.”

She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. A dance floor occupied the centre of the room with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. They made their way to it and sat to claim the seats. Syssillina got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks and listening to the music.

“Isn’t that Llinisharrovno over there?” Asphodel whispered. She named a young man who had been at school with them. “Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.”

Syssillina looked to where Asphodel pointed. “Yes. I’ve not seen Llin for a long time. His friend’s hot, don’t you think?”

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men smiled and walked toward them.

“Are they coming to us?” Asphodel looked at her drink.

“I don’t know. There’s a group of girls at the next table. I expect they’re going to them.”

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

“I’ve not seen you two since we left school,” Llinsharrovno said. “Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?”

“Don’t forget, you live at the opposite side of the city from us,” Syssillina said. “We’ve not been hiding. We don’t get over there very much.”

Llinsharrovno sat down on an empty seat. “This is my cousin, Vassinamorro. Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.”

The other young man pulled a chair over and sat. His smile made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair and was tall for an elf, being five feet ten. He had the build of one who looked after his body.

“Pleased to meet you. I’m new to Quantissarillishon. Llin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of its girls.”

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the compliment.

“Can I get you a drink?” Llin stood.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and he escorted her to the dance floor, putting a guiding arm on the small of her back. Asphodel’s heart began to pound.

Vass danced as gracefully as a dragon in flight and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, baby dragons began to dance in her stomach, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew around her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her around and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

The dance ended and they returned to their seats.

Llin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

“My cousin has that effect on women,” he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. “I wish I had his looks and charm.”

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking turns to dance with both of them. It grew dark. Time stood still while they talked and danced.

The master of ceremonies announced the last dance. Vass handed Asphodel onto the dance floor one last time as the slow music began. He pulled her close as they shuffled around the floor. All too soon the music stopped and the young people prepared to depart.

They left the building together. The lights that had lit it up so brightly were going out one by one and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

“I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,” Vass said. “May we walk the two of you home?”

The girls agreed and the four young people wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

“Will you be going to Alli’s again?” Vass asked as they stood outside Asphodel’s home. The venue had become known as Alli’s to all that went there.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass were going to be there.

“What do you think, Syssi? Should we go again?” Asphodel asked.

“I think we should give it another go. I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.”
Vass looked at both girls in turn. “Perhaps we’ll see you there another time.”

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.
Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, she fell asleep.

Asphodel spent the next few days in confusion. Her mother reprimanded her several times for forgetting little things. “Really, Aspholessaria. Anyone would think you were in love. What’s wrong with you?” Her father laughed. “Perhaps she is in love. She’s at that age.” Her mother turned to her husband. “She’s of House Royal. She can’t be allowed to fall in love. She will need to marry someone suitable.”

Am I in love?

She wandered into the city. She had an errand to do for her mother anyway, but she found her steps taking her on a detour past where Llin lived. As she passed his house, the two young men came out.

“Asphodel,” Vass called. “I’m glad we’ve seen you. Are you and Syssi going to Alli’s tonight? Llin and I are, and I’d very much like it if you were there too.”

“I don’t know. I’ve not seen Syssi for a couple of days. I’ll go and ask her when I’ve done the jobs Mother wants me to do.”

Syssi agreed to go to Alli’s that evening to meet the two young men. Asphodel was still in confusion. Vass had said he would like it if they were there, but did he mean her, Syssi or both of them?

Later that evening, it became apparent that Vass’s interest was in Asphodel. He danced with her all evening and hardly took his eyes from her when they were not dancing. That evening he walked her home without the accompaniment of Syssi and Llin, who walked home separately.

Halfway to Asphodel’s home, their hands touched. Asphodel’s stomach turned over again as Vass took her hand in his. They walked along in silence, each happy in the other’s company.

The world around them had vanished. There was only Vass in the world as far as Asphodel was concerned.

All too soon the walk ended and they stood outside Asphodel’s home. Vass put a finger under her chin, lifted her face and bent his head to kiss her. When his lips met hers, she thought she would faint with pleasure.

The kiss seemed to go on forever, but finished all too soon. Asphodel leaned against Vass’s chest and he held her close.

“You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. I wish we could stay like this for always.”

Asphodel sighed and her practical side came to the fore. “So do I, Vass, but my mother will be wondering where I am. I’m afraid I must go in.”

Vass bent his head once more and delivered a passionate kiss on Asphodel’s mouth. He stood and watched as she walked up the ramp leading to her home in the trees.

Asphodel and Syssi’s visits to Alli’s became more frequent over the next few months. She did not deliberately keep her relationship with Vass secret from her parents; she just never bothered to tell them. It didn’t seem important they should know.

She was engrossed in her growing relationship with Vass. That was all that seemed important to the girl. He was kind and attentive and always complimented her on how she looked.

Twice a week she and Sissi went to Alli’s and met the two young men. This went on for two months. They danced and talked amongst the lights and music of the venue.

One evening, as they stood on the balcony of Alli’s, Vass turned to Asphodel and kissed her. An owl hooted in the tree next to them and he smiled.

Turning to Asphodel he said, “We always seem to meet where there are others, Aspho. Let’s go somewhere we can be on our own, Just the two of us”

I’d like that. Just the two of us.”

“Are you busy tomorrow? We could go for a walk. Perhaps out of the city.”

Asphodel smiled at him, her grey eyes dancing. “I’m not going anywhere tomorrow afternoon. Yes, let’s do that.”

The following afternoon, the sun shone and it was warm, being nearly midsummer. They sat outside the city next to the river that flowed through it. A tree had fallen long ago and its trunk lay across the clearing it had made.

They sat on the trunk, dangling their feet in the water to cool them. The river burbled along, ignoring everything except it’s own journey. Birds hopped from branch to branch, calling to each other. A pair of turtledoves sat on a tree close by preening each other.

“Look at them.” Vass pointed to the birds “They’re in love.”

The male flew up and called his coo-hoo-hoo-hooo before landing next to his mate and beginning their preening again.

“Like I love you, Aspho.” He leaned over and kissed her.

She closed her eyes and felt as if she were flying with the doves. Once more, time stood still.

They talked and kissed and kissed and talked until Asphodel decided she had better return home before it became dark.

The pair continued meeting other than at Alli’s and took frequent walks in the land outside the city. If her mother thought anything, she assumed her daughter was out with Sissi somewhere.

As soon as I know when the book will be released, I’ll let you know, but I’m quite excited about it.

Did you enjoy this extract? I would love to know. Tell me by writing in the comments box. And feel free to reblog if you wish.

I have an exclusive short story for you. It’s called The Haunted Table.

When Maria and Jack move into a 16th century house, they wish to furnish it with period furniture and so they buy a table from that century.
That night, Maria hears a strange crying sound. On investigation, she finds it is coming from the table.
Fearing it might be haunted, and that they’ve brought a ghost into their home, they turn to a medium, only to find it isn’t a ghost.
If not a ghost, then what? The truth is stranger than either of them could have imagined.

To get your free copy, click on the button below. This is the only way to get this story. It will not be published elsewhere.

Clicking will add you to my email list, but don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time, even when you have just received the story!
I only send emails out at quarterly intervals, with the occasional extra one if I have any exciting news.
I promise I will never share your email with anyone else, nor will I spam you.

Jealousy of a Viking ~ #Historical Norse & Icelandic Fiction ~ @vm_sang ~#Review

Thanks to Anita Dawes for this great review.

Our Thoughts

This unusual medieval story of one woman’s quest for love, reminded me of so many other star-crossed lovers throughout history. The author has cut away most of the myths surrounding the Vikings, revealing their wisdom and their beliefs. A far cry from the blood thirsty tribes we see all the time on TV.

a review of a chilling revelation by paul cude

Overview.
This is the second book in Paul Cude’s White Dragon series. It follows on after the events in book 1.
If you’ve not read any of his books before, I will tell you that the concept is an original one.
Dragons live below the ground in a complex society. They have houses, monorails and many other things we have. The one thing they can do which we can’t is use magic.
Dragons use this magic in order to protect and help humankind. In order to do this, they take human form and live amongst us.

Blurb
Treachery from the sands of Egypt to the plains of Antarctica.
Following on from the harrowing events of ‘A Threat From The Past’ (Book 1), a new found friendship with the dragon king is forged.
Soon though, young and old alike are unwittingly drawn into a deadly plot, when a straight forward meeting with the monarch sees them helping an injured dragon agent, straight back from his mission in Antarctica with news of a devastating encounter with another ancient race.
Blackmail, intrigue, forbidden love interests, a near fatal mantra gone wrong, a highly charged rugby match in which Tank takes a beating, combined with enough laminium ball action to please dragons the world over, stretch the bonds of the dragons’ friendship like never before.
New friends and ancient enemies clash as the planet braces itself for one of the most outrageous attacks it has ever seen.
Lost secrets and untold lore come to light, while sinister forces attempt to steal much coveted magic.
Explosive exploits, interspersed with a chilly backdrop and unexpected danger at every turn, make for an action-packed, electrifying adventure.

Story
The tale begins in the distant past, with an exciting chase. A dragon, in human form is trying to help prevent a meeting between Ptolomy and Alexander the Great, for the good of Humanity.
We then learn that this is a story being told to young dragons in the ‘nursery ring’.
Peter, Tank and Ritchie, from Book 1, are again featured.
Peter has struck up a friendship with the dragon king after he visits with Peter in the hospital at the end of Book 1. He and his friends are invited to visit the king. While they are there, some terrible news breaks and they become involved in solving a dastardly plot from Antarctica.
The story was exciting, especially at the end.

Characters
Peter, although the main character in the story, is the least well-drawn. He has very few outstanding characteristics. He’s a ‘nice’ young man. He works for Croptech, a company involved in the production of the metal, laminium, that is very important in the dragon world. Here, he is in charge of security.
Tank, on the other hand, is a kind-hearted dragon. He does seem to have more about him than Peter, especially when he stands up to his boss. He works in a shop selling and researching spells (called mantra).
The last of the trio is Ritchie. She is a feisty young woman, and often gets herself into trouble for ignoring rules.
Tank’s boss, Tee Gee is my favourite character and the most well-drawn. He is an ancient, irascible dragon who hides a kind heart beneath a grumpy exterior.
In this book, we are introduced to Flash, a member of the King’s Crimson Guard, an elite force. In many ways, Flash is an innocent of human and dragon society, having spend much of his life working alone.

Writing
Sadly, like the first book, the writing leaves much to be desired. Mr Cude hops from head to head. One minute we’re looking at the world from Peter’s point of view, then the next from, say, Ritchie. On at least one occasion, he changes viewpoint in the middle of a sentence.
Many of his paragraphs are overlong. I assume he got carried away with the story.
There are occasional wrong words used.
He seems to think the readers have poor memories, and he keeps reminding us that dragons have eidetic memories, that Ritchie, is small, etc.
And the sports. There were 31 pages devoted to a hockey match at one point. This match was not essential for the plot, nor did it add anything to our knowledge of the characters. I skipped it.
One final thing that I found irritating was Mr Cude’s seeming reluctance to tell us who a chapter was about until at least a page and a half in, using the pronouns, ‘he’ and ‘she’.
I got the impression that Mr Cude got to the end of the book, wrote The End, sighed with relief and pressed ‘Publish’ without reading it through again.

Conclusion
This was an excellent, and exciting story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the writing lets it down. This is a pity. My feelings about the series are mixed. I want to know what happens next (this book ended with a cliffhanger), but will I be able to cope with the amateurish writing?
I’m giving it 4*, in spite of the writing, because it’s a good story.

Again

A moving piece by Andrew Joyce. One that should teach us all something the world seems to have forgotten.

I went off to war at the tender age of sixteen. My mother cried and begged me to stay, but my country needed me. I would not see my mother again for four very long years.

Due to my age, I was assigned to field headquarters as a dispatch courier for the first two years of the war. However, by the beginning of the third year, I had grown a foot taller and was shaving. And because men were dying at an alarming rate, I was sent into the trenches.

They say that war is hell. I say hell is peaceful compared to living in a muddy trench with bombs exploding around you at all hours of the day and night, although there were periods of respite from the shelling. Those were the hours when the enemy had to let their big guns cool or else the heat of firing would warp them. I lived like that for two years.

I was at Verdun where I saw the true hell of war. After eleven months, we fought to a standstill. When the dead were counted, almost a million men from both sides had given their lives and not one inch of ground had been gained.

By November of 1918, we were out of food, out of ammunition, and almost out of men to send to the slaughter. The people at home had had enough of seeing their sons and fathers and brothers shipped home in boxes. There were marches and protests against the war. Near the end, the dead were not even sent home, but buried in the fields where they had fallen.

At last, the war was over. I am told that nine million men died in those four years, and another twenty million were wounded. I was there and those numbers seem a little low to me, but what do I know? I was only a private.