Announcing the release of Andrew Joyce’s latest work, Mahoney.
Announcing the release of Andrew Joyce’s latest work, Mahoney.
I have just finished reading the book below. Thoroughly enjoyable. Read my review below.
Did you get your FREE copy of The Never-Dying Man? Now you can get Book 3, Wolf Moon free from today. 24th April until Sunday 28th April.
Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what happens to the other members of Wolf who escaped in The Never-Dying Man.
The group called Wolf have been enlisted into the Erian Army against their will, and they soon learn that an invasion is planned into their homeland of Grosmer.
As the heroes make their escape, they accidentally stumble upon an old Dwarven city, and become friends with them.
Facing enemies on all sides, the five must find where their loyalties lie, and save their homeland from certain destruction.
You can get Wolf Moon by clicking here, or on the picture.
If you want to buy the other books in the series click here for The Wolf Pack (book 1)
or here to buy The Never-Dying Man (Book 2)
If you buy any of these books, I would be very grateful if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are important to both authors and readers as they help authors get visibility and readers to find out if they think they would like the book.
With thousands of books being published each day, you can see it might be a problem to get people to know the book exists.
Please leave a comment in the comments box.
Sean, whom I featured last week, has kindly provided me with a couple of extracts from his book, Crimson Deathbringer. I hope you enjoy them
Sean tells me that Max is a car, just in case you become confused.
We returned home at around two AM. I was tipsy, and with Liz pressing up against me and kissing my neck, I didn’t realize we’d arrived until Max said, “Jim, we’re in front of your home.”
I owned a one-story Colonial house in Nassau County. Nothing too fancy, but not too shabby either. I got out of the car and walked through my small garden with its wintering rose bushes that looked like wooden candelabras to the front door with Liz holding my arm. I said, “Cordelia, I’m home.”
A soft, feminine voice said, “Welcome home, Jim.”
The door of my house opened. We entered the living room, laughing and kissing each other. Then, a faint smell of expensive cologne hit my nostrils, and I found a tall, blond man sitting on my favorite sofa. He had piercing gray eyes and a completely unfashionable goatee, and he was wearing a long black trench coat. There were not one, but two freaking lethal-looking machine pistols next to him on the coffee table.
There were a few small blood stains on his shirt, my sofa and the floor.
Liz let out a tiny shriek. I put my arm around her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s fine.”
“Hi, Jim. It’s been a while. Merry Christmas,” said the man.
My heartbeat hadn’t returned to normal, but pretending that it was an ordinary visit, I answered with an air of nonchalance, “Hi, Kurt. So nice of you to drop by. Just a few days ago I thought splashing some blood on my sofa would give it that gritty, rebel look.”
Yep. Kurt von der Hagen, the legendary freedom-fighter, tyranny-battling rebel, ruthless terrorist, deadly super-assassin, and number one on every security agency’s most-wanted list was sitting right there in the middle of my freaking living room. Right when I was about to propose. King Kong wrench, thrown.
Liz looked at me with wide eyes. “Why’re you two talking like you know each other?”
“Sweetheart, meet Kurt, whom I’m sure you recognize from all the wanted-dead-or-dead posters,” I answered. “Newsflash: He’s my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were in elementary school. Kurt, this is my girlfriend, Elizabeth.”
Kurt stood up, grimacing with pain and clutching his side, and in perfect Spanish—which I could mostly understand but couldn’t speak—said, “It’s a pleasure meeting you, Elizabeth. May I say you look absolutely stunning.”
Liz looked lost for words, but one didn’t become an acrobatic pilot/stunt woman without fast reactions and the ability to think under pressure. “Charmed, I’m sure”—she said in English—”but in case you haven’t noticed, you’re bleeding all over our furniture. Let’s patch you up, and then you can tell me what Public Enemy Number One’s doing in our living room.”
I snorted. “Public Enemy Number One? Huh! John Dillinger ain’t got nothing on Kurt. Mr. Super Assassin eats the likes of him for breakfast.”
“With all these movie references, I confess half of the time I have no idea what Jim’s talking about,” Kurt said, “but I can already tell the two of you are perfect for each other.”
Liz asked, “You’re ‘best friends’ with someone who doesn’t watch movies?”
“It’s a very long story,” I said.
Liz had some medical training and had dealt with many wounds and injuries in her career. She went to our bedroom to bring her bag of medical tools.
“Cordelia?” I said.
“What’s going on outside?”
“Nothing much. All quiet,” she said.
“Did anyone follow Kurt?”
“Not so far as I can see, and you know I can see a lot.”
“Full lockdown mode,” I said.
Half-inch steel sheets covered all my housed windows and doors. The only way someone could enter now was using explosives.
“This won’t stop SCTU, you know,” said Kurt.
“True. But Cordelia can see them coming, and it’ll give us more time to figure out what to do,” I said.
Liz came back to the living room. Kurt took off his trench coat. I got my shoulder under his arm and helped him walk to our dining table and lie on it. Liz slashed Kurt’s shirt with a pair of scissors. She unwrapped the piece of cloth around Kurt’s waist and examined the bullet wound on his side. I tried to look over her shoulder.
“Give me some room,” she told me. A couple of minutes later she added, “It isn’t bad, but you’re losing too much blood. Hold still.”
She debrided the wound and started patching Kurt up.
“Before I forget, Cordelia?” I said. “Aren’t you supposed to inform me if an armed man tries to enter my house?”
She asked with concern in her voice, “Jim, are you all right? Have you had brain trauma recently? Do want me to call a doctor?”
Much like her owner, Cordelia was a wise-ass. Liz couldn’t stifle a laugh.
Kurt flinched. “Don’t make me laugh. It hurts too much.”
Cordelia continued, “This is Kurt, your oldest friend. He’s been in this house 523 times already. The last time he was here he was covered in blood and heavily armed too, and he was accompanied by Allen, who was carrying a grenade launcher.”
Liz laughed. “What? No bazooka?”
The crimson space fighter and its wingmen attacked Invincible, laser cannons blazing. Maada’s vessel dived at high speed, pulled its nose up at the last moment, and did a firing run close to the starship, hitting her repeatedly from bow to stern. The gray space fighters followed it, raining deadly laser bolts on the Akaki ship. Energy bolt after energy bolt tore into her, scoring devastating hits. As soon as the Xortaag vessels veered off, a massive ball of multihued fire engulfed Invincible, and in a flash, she blew up into millions of minute glowing shards shimmering in dark space.
Five thousand sailors, vaporized. Just like that.
The thought of his daughter made Tarq feel his hearts were about to give out. His only child, who could not wait to grow up, was dead. Varina, who loved his pranks, and who never got tired of listening to the stories of how her father had saved the galaxy multiple times, was gone, and it was Tarq’s fault.
The command ship was under attack. Someone shouted, “Brace for impact!” The vessel shook violently. Tarq did not pay any attention. He stared at what was left of Varina’s ship, and overwhelming grief cut through him like a thousand sharp knives. Trying to use physical pain to block his mental anguish, he grabbed his two front antennae and pulled them so hard the agony made his vision blur. That worked. For a brief second.
His PDD beeped. It was a video message from Varina. With terror in her eyes, she said, “Father, we did our best,” and the message cut into static.
His daughter’s last thought before being murdered by the Xortaags was how she had disappointed him.
The thought made his gut churn. He twisted his antennae as hard as he could. The severe pain pushed him to the brink of losing conscientiousness.
Here is a link to the Sean’s Amazon Author Page.
Sean is a brand new writer who has a book that will shortly be released by Creativia, the same publisher who has published my fantasy books. Sean’s book is currently on pre-order. The link is at the end of this post.
Welcome and thank you for giving me the opportunity to feature you on my blog, Sean.
What is the first book you remember either reading or having read to you?
Dick Sands the Boy Captain by Jules Verne. I was 8 years old at the time. That book opened up a new world for me and turned me into the bookworm I have been ever since.
Who is your favourite author?
My favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is probably how I ended up writing in a first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone as he does. The fact that my MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental though
What is your favourite book?
I honestly don’t think anyone can answer this question, but I have read The Dresden Files series three times (!), so maybe that.
If that book isn’t a ‘classic’, what is your favourite ‘classical’ book?
Gone with the Wind, hands-down.
Apart from writing, what is the thing you enjoy doing the most?
Reading novels, watching movies and teaching- I am an English teacher.
If you weren’t a writer, what job would you do?
My own day job
Why do you write?
This is how it started: I have got purely obsessional OCD. What this means is a thought enters my mind—usually something negative—and doesn’t leave. I end up having to think about it 5000 times a day, and once this starts, my life is ruined for a week, two weeks, a month, or six months. I’d tried a lot of different ways to get rid of this problem: therapy, medication, meditation… Nothing ever worked, until I read an article that said the people who had this problem had an overly active imagination, and it would help if they channeled it into something productive, like writing.
I’d always wanted to be a writer. This is literally a childhood dream, one of those you give up when you grow up. I had the story of The Crimson Deathbringer in my mind for years (even started writing it and stopped a few times). When I read that article, I was going through a tough time in my marriage (fighting with your wife is no fun, even for sane people), and my mind had gone into its life-destroying over-drive, so I told myself, “Well, you’ve tried everything else, let’s give this a shot.”
And then a miracle happened.
My mind put the same energy it used to put into producing BS and making my life miserable into coming up with stories. Ideas would come to me fast and furious, and I had to stop whatever I was doing several times a day to write them down. I’ve been OCD-free since then (I know, I sound like a recovering alcoholic). When TCD (cool, eh?) was finished, it took my out-of-control brain half a day to plan my second novel, which is about a nerdy scientist and a sexy female mercenary who use a time machine to defeat an alien invasion
A question I can’t answer, myself. Where do you get your ideas from?
They just appear to me on their own. I can’t turn my brain off even if I wanted to!
When you go out to eat, what type of food do you prefer?
I prefer anything sweet. Often I don’t even order food and go straight to desert
Do you enjoy sport? Do you prefer to watch or take part?
I am a swimmer, and I play volleyball regularly. I love watching soccer to, and hockey when the Canadian National Team plays.
What, in your opinion, is your best trait?
I am super positive, which you can probably tell by the tone of my book.
Which is your favourite city?
Do you cook? If so, what is your favourite thing to cook?
No. Like never. The maximum cooking I have ever done is to put chicken or fish in my steamer.
Do you have any siblings? Do any of them write?
No. I had a younger brother who sadly died a few years ago.
Can you swim?
Big time swimmer here.
Here is a bit more about Sean.
“Who am I? I am Spiderman.”
Well, not really, but this should tell you all you need to know about me and my writing style.
I’m a huge Marvel (plus Game of Thrones, Star Trek AND Star Wars) fan, which shows since my novel is loaded with pop culture references. If you are a sci-fi fan you will enjoy them tremendously. I even went full Deadpool in my first draft and broke the fourth wall multiple times, until my editor told it was distracting and kept taking her out of the moment. Shame. Those fourth-wall breaks were hilarious. Still, I can guarantee a few laugh-out-loud moments. Case in point: The “good” aliens in my novel are a race of pranksters, whose main goal in life is pulling other people’s legs (They have four legs, hence the slight change in the idiom).
And here is what his book is about.
The Akakies, a peaceful, technologically advanced alien species known as “the galaxy’s pranksters,” are under attack by the Xortaags, a vicious military race bent on conquering the universe. The Xortaags are deadly, but Tarq, the Akakies’ chief strategist and legendary shadow master, has a plan.
Meanwhile on Earth, Jim, a wise-cracking, movie-quoting, OCD-suffering fighter pilot, is about to propose to his girlfriend Liz when his childhood friend Kurt shows up at his house, injured and covered in blood. Kurt is a freedom fighter/super- assassin hunted by a brutal military dictatorship’s security forces. Soon after, Jim, Liz and Kurt’s lives are set to crash with a galactic war that threatens the very existence of the human race.
Can our heroes save humanity from the wrath of an overwhelming enemy?
The Crimson Deathbringer seamlessly blends breathtaking action sequences with mischievous humor. If you are a science fiction/space opera fan, this book, with its memorable characters, formidable antagonist and Game of Thrones style shocking moments, is written especially for you.
To pre-order, click here.
You can connect with Sean on his website.
Author Website: https://seanrobins73.wixsite.com/website
It would help Sean, a new writer, if you could reblog this.
From tomorrow, April 15th, the second book in The Wolves of Vimar Series, The Never-Dying Man, is FREE for 5 days only. The offer ends on Friday 19th April.
Hurry and get your copy before it’s too late. You can get it by clicking on the title or the book cover. You will be taken to its Amazon page where you are.
You can also get Book 1, The Wolf Pack, by clicking here,
and Book 3, Wolf Moon, here.
On Tuesday, I will be hosting a new member of the Creativia family. Sean Robbins has his very first book on pre-order. It is a scifi tale, so especially if you are a fan of that genre, don’t forget to come around and find out more about Sean and his book. It sound interesting.
This is a chapter at the beginning of Elemental Worlds. At least, it was going to be the first chapter, but I decided to eliminate it. It tells how Pettic, the son of a farmer, came to be the friend and companion of Crown Prince Torren of Pondoria.
Later on, Pettic needs to put his own life in danger when the prince is kidnapped.
Pettic woke up early. It was still dark, but he could hear his mother moving around in the downstairs room. Today they would have to get their chores done early. Today they were going to take the two day journey to the capital city of Ponderia.
Pettic had never been to Glitton. In fact he had never been further than a half day’s journey from the farm his parents owned. This journey was to celebrate his thirteenth birthday.
He poked his little brother in the ribs. ‘Derkil, get up. We need to do our jobs quickly. Don’t forget today is the day we’re going to Glitton.’
Eleven-year-old Derkil rolled over and opened his eyes, then closed them and rolled back.
‘Derkil, come on, get up!’
At that, Derkil opened his eyes wide and laughed. ‘Did you think I’d forget, Pettic? I’ve not been to Glitton either, remember.’
With that, the younger boy jumped up and dressed quickly. The two boys climbed down the ladder leading from their loft bedroom into the main room of the cottage.
Their mother was preparing breakfast and packing a large hamper to take with them. ‘Come on, boys,’ she exclaimed when she saw them. ‘Go and get your jobs done. Your father’s milking the cows today, so I can pack the food we’re taking, but the chickens need feeding, the sheep watering and checking over, the dogs and cats fed and the horse harnessed to the wagon.’
Their father, Brimar, was pulling down hay for the two cows to eat while they were being milked when the boys appeared. ‘Get on as quickly as you can, lads,’ he called. ‘I want to be on the way as soon after sunrise as possible.’
‘When will Yelldon be coming?’ Pettic asked.
Yelldon was a neighbour who had handed over the running of the family farm to his son the previou year. He was still an active man, though, and agreed to look after the farm while the family were away.
‘At dawn, he said,’ replied Pettic’s father. ‘I want to be ready to leave as soon as I’ve told him what’s what.’
The two boys ran to their tasks and finished before the sun poked its head over the horizon. Yelldon arrived soon afterwards. Being an experienced farmer, he did not need much instruction. It was more a case of telling him where things were.
‘Are you ready Helra?’ the boy’s father called impatiently to their mother. Pettic could swear his parents were as excited as he was about the coming visit.
Helra came out brushing a lock of her long chestnut hair from her eyes. ‘Just making sure everything is left tidy.’ She climbed onto the wagon to sit next to her husband on the driver’s seat and they trotted out of the farmyard about half an hour after Yelldon had arrived.
They drove through through familiar land for the first half-day until they reached the village of Prind. The land around was fertile and quite flat and much was produced. Here they came each week to the market to sell any surplus produce and buy things they did not produce themselves. People came from the towns around too and not only produce was exchanged, but news too.
They called in at the local tavern and bought some lunch and exchanged comments with the various friends and acquaintances gathered there before continuing onwards.
The boys found this second part of the journey much more exciting, and, truth to tell so did the adults the adults. The land began to rise into rolling downland as they left the plains behind. Here the farming was predominantly sheep. As it was summer, the spring lambs were growing quickly and many had been rounded up to go to the markets.
The first day ended with the family approaching the town of Clind Row. This town seemed like a huge metropolis to the boys who had never before seen anywhere bigger than their village. In fact, it was quite a small town.
They found an inn for the night and as soon as Brimar ensured their horse was well stabled, the family went into the inn and had a hot meal. Brimar struck up a conversation with one of the locals and stayed down drinking ale, but Helra and the boys went up to their room. Pettic wanted to stay down with his father, but Helra had insisted he was still too young, thirteen in two days or not.
The next day was much the same as the previous one, except they ate the food Helra had packed rather than eat in inns or taverns.
About an hour before sunset, a city appeared over the horizon.
‘Is that Glitton?’ asked Pettic.
‘Yes, that’s the capital city,’ replied Brimar. ‘That is unless I’ve taken the wrong road somewhere,’ He winked at his wife.
‘Oh, no,’ wailed Dirkil. ‘Could you have done that? What happens if it’s the wrong place?’
‘Stop teasing the boys,’ scolded Helra with a smile. She turned to Dirkil. ‘Yes, it’s Glitton.
There is only one road to the capital. Even your father can’t get that wrong.’
Brimar aimed a friendly punch at his wife who ducked, laughing.
The little party soon passed through the gates of the capital city. All four of them looked around in wonder. Here the houses were built of stone and looked huge to the country folk. The roads, too, were paved and not the muddy tracks they had known in the villages around their farm. There were churches with tall spires or towers that looked as if they were trying to reach the heavens, so tall did they seem.
They found an inn and asked if they had rooms, but were told all were taken due to something called “The Proclamation”.
The innkeeper sent them off down a side road to a smaller inn. ‘It’s clean and does good food, but it’s not so fashionable as this one, although I say it myself. They may have space for a family if you don’t mind sharing a room.’
That turned out to be the case they booked the room for a week and unloaded their things. A groom took their wagon into the coach-house and their horse to the stables. Brimar was secretly glad the other inn was full. This inn was, as they had been told, small, but it was clean and the landlord friendly. It was also cheaper than the other one, an important consideration for the country folk.
They ordered a meal and this time took it in their room. They were all tired after travelling and so they went to bed early. Being used to going to bed with the sun and rising with it too, it was no hardship.
The next morning, Helra told the boys to put on their best clothes. She had insisted they were going to the big city, home to the king, and so they should look their best.
Dirkil protested. ‘But mother, it’s not as though the king or anyone important will see us. My best clothes are so-o uncomfortable.’
Helra insisted, however, and as usual she got her way.
Shortly after they had eaten, and Helra had inspected the boys (and incidentally, her husband too) they set off to look at the city. It was huge. No one in the family had ever been in such a big place. It was busy too, and noisy. On every street corner, it seemed, there was someone selling something. Flowers here, sweetmeats there, pies too. They entered a square where a market was in full swing. The stall-holders cried their wares, calling to passers-by to look at what they had for sale. The scents of food and flowers filled the air. The boys wanted to stop and look at the wares, but their father hurried them on.
‘Why can’t we stop to look?’ asked Pettic.
‘We’ll look another time,’ replied Brimar. ‘We have a week here, after all. I thought we’d begin by looking at the palace. Today, I believe, they’ve opened it to the public because it’s the Prince’s thirteenth birthday.’
‘Just like you, Pettic,’ pointed out Dirkil.
‘Oh, I hadn’t noticed,’ replied his brother, sarcastically. ‘I thought we were here to see the king!’
They passed through some inner gates into the oldest part of the city. Here the houses were even bigger and the place looked tidy and well kept. The streets were clean and the windows of the houses were polished. Helra surreptitiously peeped into one of the windows as they passed.
‘It’s beautiful inside,’ she whispered.
They came to the palace gates and were admitted. After crossing a large courtyard with a variety of buildings in it, they arrived at the main doors and were ushered into a large hall. There were chairs in this hall as if there were going to be some kind of ceremony. The ceiling had flags hanging from it. Brimar told the boys they were the emblems of all the nobility and knights who would be called on to fight for their country in times of war. The ceiling itself had large wooden beams and the walls were covered with tapestries, mainly scenes of warfare and hunting.
Several families filled the room, all with at least one boy around Pettic’s age. Some sat on the chairs and some walked around looking at everything there was to see. Those on the chairs were looking bored as though they had seen it all before, which they may have done because they were all richly dressed. Their parents were talking quietly together as if they had known each other for a long time. These were obviously noble families, but what were they waiting for? That they were waiting for something was obvious.
After looking around at the tapestries, and Helra admiring the fine stitching, Brimar suggested they sit down ‘for a rest’.
Dirkil protested he did not want a rest. He was not tired. Why could they not go and look at somewhere else. They had seen this place now.
‘Your mother needs to sit down for a while,’ Brimar responded.
Pettic looked at his mother. She did not look in the least bit tired. What was his father up to? Anyway, he needed to go to pass water. He had been holding it in for quite a while now, and he was getting desperate. He whispered to his father who went to one of the guards standing around the room and asked.
‘Come with me, young man,’ the guard told Pettic, and walked off through a door on the opposite side of the room from where they had entered.
Pettic followed and the guuard took him down a number of corridors until they came to a door.
‘In there is the garderobe,’ said the guard. ‘I need to be in the Great Hall now and so I trust you can find your way back. If you get lost, just ask one of the servants. There are usually plenty around.’
With that, he walked off leaving Pettic in front of the garderobe door.
When he had finished, Pettic left the garderobe and started back towards the Great Hall. After a while he found he had become quite lost. He was just beginning to panic when he spotted a young boy of about his age at the end of the passage.
‘Hey,’ he called, ‘I’m lost. I need to get back to the Great Hall. Can you tell me which way to go, please?’
The boy stopped and looked round. He came down the corridor towards Pettic.
He was about the same height as Pettic but with dark hair whereas Pettic’s was fair. He had brown eyes and was wearing a dark blue jerkin over a maroon shirt. Pettic knew these were the royal colours so he assumed this boy was one of the royal attendants.
‘I can show you the way back. I’m not wanted for a while yet,’ the boy answered.
‘Thank you very much,’ Pettic said. ‘I suppose you work here. Are you some kind of page, doing your training?’
The boy smiled. ‘Yes. I am in training.What do you do?’
‘My father’s a farmer in a village two days’ drive away. We only have a small farm, but we do have two cows,’ He drew himself up a little as he said this. ‘Not many farmers have a cow. They get their milk from goats. My mother makes butter and cheese from the extra milk. It tastes different from goats’ cheese and butter.’
‘Yes, I know,’ the boy answered. ‘I’ve had cows’ cheese and milk. I prefer it to goats’.’
Pettic was pleased to meet someone who liked the cows’ milk and cheese. Most of his friends preferred the goats’ but that was mainly because that was what they were used to.
The pair chatted on as they wended their way back to the Great Hall. Pettic learned about life in the palace and the boy learned about Pettic’s life on the farm.
When they reached the door to the Great Hall the boy said, ‘It sounds a great life, living on a farm. So free. I loved the story you told about falling out of the tree you were climbing. I’m not allowed to climb trees.’
With that, he ran back the way he came and Pettic entered the great Hall once more.
His parents had been getting anxious about him and were pleased to see him back. He told them about getting lost and meeting the trainee page and how the boy had shown him back to the Hall.
‘I think we should tell him why we are here, don’t you, Brimar,’ Helra said suddenly.
Pettic looked at his mother and frowned. ‘We’re here for my birthday, aren’t we?’
‘Yes, dear, of course, but there’s something else too. Now I don’t expect it will come to anything, but the king sent out a proclamation a few weeks ago. Crown Prince Torren is thirteen today, just like you and all the other boys here today.’
Pettic frowned. His father continued. ‘The king sent a proclamation to ask if any boy with a birthday on the same day as the Prince would care to come to the palace today, then the prince would choose one of them to be his friend and companion. So here we are.’
Just then, the first of the boys was called and he stood and went through a door at the far end of the room.
‘Mother, Father,’ Pettic said. ‘This is ridiculous. You know one of the nobles’ sons will get it. We should go now before we’re embarrassed.’
‘No, son,’ Brimar insisted. ‘We’ve come this far and I don’t intend to leave until you’ve at least seen the prince. The king has said he’ll leave the interviewing and choice entirely to Prince Torren. It’s said the prince is not in the slightest snobbish and I think everyone here stands a chance.’
Pettic sighed. The boy who had been in to see the prince came out and another boy went in.
This went on for a while until Pettic’s name was called. He stood and looked at his parents for help. His mother gave him a little push and he crossed the room towards the little door feeling as if all eyes were on him. (Which of course they were.)
He entered a small room. There was a large table in the centre and a window behind it. Pettic bowed to the pair seated on the other side of the table. A voice he recognised bade him be seated.
He looked up eyes widening as he saw the boy he had been so casually talking to, and whom he had unceremoniously asked for help. He could hardly believe he had been in the presence of Prince Torren and not known it.
Next to the prince was a man that could only be the king. He was a tall man with the same dark hair and brown eyes as his son, but he sported a well-trimmed beard. He looked a kind man and he smiled at Pettic to give him courage.
Prince Torren also smiled at Pettic. ‘Well, Pettic, we meet again. I hope you won’t hold it against me for not telling you who I am. I’ve so little chance of talking to someone not of my family, who doesn’t treat me as different.’
‘N-no, Your Royal Highness.’
Prince Torren asked more questions about Pettic’s life on the farm. Pettic quickly relaxed and soon had both the prince and his father laughing at some of the tales he told. Eventually, though, Prince Torren told Pettic he had seen enough to make up his mind, and dismissed the other boy.
‘You were a long time in there,’ his mother said when he came across the hall to them. ‘I was wondering what was happening.’
Pettic smiled. ‘We were just talking, mother. Prince Torren is friendly. Did you know he showed me the way back from the garderobe when I got lost?’
‘What?,’ Dirkil said ‘You were talking to a real prince and didn’t know it? I’d have spotted him right off.’
‘I don’t think so. He looks normal and speaks normally too.’
It took a long time for all the boys to be interviewed. Derkin had been complaining for quite some time about being bored and Helra said she would take him out to look at the market. Thus it was that when the last boy came out, only a restless Pettic and his father were sitting waiting.
‘Why can’t we go and meet mother and Derkin, father?’ Pettic asked.’It’s not as if I’m likely to be chosen, is it? The prince’ll want someone from his own class as a companion.’
Brimar insisted they stay. They had come this far and they were not going to leave before they found out who the prince had chosen.
It was only about ten minutes after the last boy had come out that the prince and the king emerged from the little room. Everyone stood and bowed as the pair went to a platform next to the room where the interviews had been held. The king bade everyone to sit and took his place on the throne. Prince Torren stood next to his father, glanced once at him and then stepped forward.
‘I have made my decision,’ he began. ‘It was not an easy one. All of you had things to recommend you to me, but eventually I thought there is one of you I took to immediately.’ The prince paused and looked around the room. His eyes caught Pettic’s and held. ‘I would like to employ as my companion, and I hope my friend, Pettic.’
Pettic eyes scanned the room. There must be some mistake. There must be another Pettic here. But no, no one else was moving, and all eyes were on him.
The prince smiled and said, ‘Yes, Pettic, I’ve chosen you. Come up so everyone can see you.’
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Here is something about the book.
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 other 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.#
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The version I read of this book had loads of errors. Spelling, grammar, syntax, you name it. I therefore was intending to give it a low rating because of it. However, I have been assured that it was published in error, and a new version has been released. As I haven’t seen this version, I cannot give the book the full 5 stars, but have only deleted one.
Clio is a cadet on a starship carrying secret ‘super-troops’ called Aegis to a laboratory Colony 115. Commander Grimshaw is in command of this operation .
When the starship sights a strange ship never before seen, and it attacks, they crash-land on Colony 115 only to find an invasion by strange creatures going on.
The crew has been scattered all over the planet, and they need to come together to leave. But Clio is the only pilot left alive. They must fight these aliens in order to get to the starship in the laboratories.
The characters are believable. They all have their good and bad points. Clio has a violent temper, but also a softer side which is shown by her care for a sentient creature she befriends.
Commander Grimshaw has his anxieties, too. He must do what he can to ensure they leave the planet to tell the rest of the galaxy of these aliens.
Then there’s Randai. He’s a dropout on Sentinel. It is obvious he was once more than he is now, but he has drowned himself in drugs and alcohol, as well as getting involved with criminals.
I thought the characterisation very good.
An excellent and original plot. It is exciting and moves rapidly.
The jumps from one character to another were done well. Making you want to continue reading to find out what happened to the ones you’ve just left.
Aside from the errors, the writing moved the plot along, and kept you reading. The author set the various scenes well, and the reader can imagine the places and visualise the characters.
I have deducted one star, due to the fact that I’ve not seen the latest version of this book, otherwise it would have got a resounding 5 stars. It kept me on the edge of my seat while reading, and I am looking forward to reading book 2.
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Some very useful tips about creating characters.
This is an extract from my latest work, Jealousy of a Viking. It follows Helgha, a descendant of Adelbehrt from Vengeance of a Slave.
At the beginning of the book, Helgha helps young man, Erik, who is lost in the forest and finds him very attractive. She begins to have dreams of a life with him, but her father has arranged a marriage with a neighbour’s son.
One morning, about ten days after Erik’s final departure, her father came to her. ‘I’ve chosen a husband for you. I’ve decided on Gunnar Janson’s son. I spoke with Gunnar yesterday and he is in agreement.’
Helgha hung her head. She must obey her father, but her dream of becoming Erik’s wife dissolved as she foresaw a life lived with a man she did not like.
Gunner Janson’s son will not make any woman a good husband. On the few occasions they met, he had treated her with disdain. He did not seem to like women and had told her once that he thought them weak. They did not know how to fight, and fighting was life.
But she must do as her father said and so she whispered, ‘Yes, father’, hoping she sounded acquiescent, but a feeling of tightness encompassed her chest, and her hands clenched involuntarily.
Helgha took a deep breath then carried on with her tasks with a heavy heart. She would have to obey her father, but all her dreams of a life with Erik came crashing down around her ears. Thoughts of rebellion flashed through her mind but immediately disappeared. She did not know if Erik felt the same way. Most probably he did not. They had been beautiful dreams though.
Crushing those thoughts, she left the longhouse and walked to the well. Hearing the drumming of hooves on the road, she looked up. Her stomach turned over and her heart beat faster as Erik rode through the gate. He slid from his horse and jogged over to where she stood. Taking the buckets from her he looked into her eyes. Helgha thought she saw something there. Something that made her think her dreams were not in vain.
‘Hello, Helgha,’ Erik said, then looked away.
Had she imagined what she saw in his eyes? ‘Hello, Erik.” She felt redness creeping up her neck and infusing her face.
Leaving the other women who were at the well staring after them, the pair walked to the house in silence.
Why had he come? Surely her dream had not come true and he intended to ask for her hand in marriage. He must have some other reason to come here. Yes, that was it. He was on his way somewhere else and stopped at Thoringsby because it was convenient.
They entered the house, Erik following Helgha. He put the buckets down and spoke to Aedelflaed. ‘Thank you for your hospitality the other week. I would not be alive now if it weren’t for your kindness.’
Aedelflaed smiled at the young man. ‘No thanks are necessary. We did what anyone would do. You could have been killed by wolves or bears out there in the dark.’
‘I have something for you. To thank you. Wait a moment and I’ll go and get it.’ Erik ducked through the door, and a moment later returned with his saddlebags over his arm.
First, for you, Aedelflaed, I have this.’ He handed over a necklace of glass beads.
Aedelflaed gasped. ‘This is beautiful, Erik.’
‘It was made in Jorvik. We don’t make much glass there, but what we do is usually made into beads or rings, and is of fine quality. Now, for Biorn I’ve got some wine. I’m sure he’ll enjoy it when he comes in.’
Helgha smiled at the thought. Biorn drank more ale than wine, but she felt sure he would enjoy the change.
Erik pulled something else from his saddlebags. ‘For Hartvigg I have this wooden sword. He needs to learn how to fight like a true Dane. I have a Kubb set for Laeff and for Sighmund this toy boat.’ Then he turned and smiled at Helgha. Her stomach turned somersaults. ‘And for you, this amber necklace. The amber comes all the way from the Baltic Sea.’
Helgha blushed as Erik fastened it round her neck, and she looked at her mother.
Aedelflaed frowned. Helgha knew what thoughts passed through her mind. Like the ones passing through her own head. Why had Erik brought her such a valuable gift? Did he want to court her? Neither she nor her parents knew anything about him. He appeared to be well off if his clothing were anything to go by. But would Erik’s father want his son to marry someone from a family of lower status?
Helgha sighed, pushing those thoughts away. If it were the case that Erik wanted to marry her, then his father would speak to hers. She would be the last to know.
After this, he came every week on some pretext or other, but no message arrived from his father to Biorn suggesting a marriage. Erik, however, behaved as if he and Helgha were already betrothed.
One day, Biorn tackled Erik on this subject. Helgha held her breath, half-hoping Erik would say his father would send a message to Biorn about a betrothal.
‘You’ve been coming here a lot, Erik,’ Biorn said. ‘You spend a lot of time with Helgha, but we’ve heard nothing from your father about a betrothal.’
Erik went red and hung his head. ‘I would truly like to be betrothed to your daughter, but my father would never agree. You cannot pay the dowry he would expect.’
Biorn’s face grew dark, and his eyes flashed. ‘You come here courting my daughter, yet you have no intention of marrying her. This is an insult to my family.’
Helgha held her breath as Erik continued to look at the floor. ‘I mean no insult to you, Biorn. My father will not agree to me marrying Helgha, but if I could, I would do so.’ He looked up and into Biorn’s eyes. ‘I’m afraid my father wishes me to marry someone who can bring wealth and influence to our family. Someone, I suspect, who is closer to Halfdan than he is.’
‘Then this means I will have to defend the honour of my family. I will not have you dishonour my sons and myself.’ He went to the wall and took down his shield and battle axe. ‘I must kill you. You have insulted my family. Have you amused yourself with my Helgha? Is she ruined?’
Erik faced Biorn. ‘Should we not fight outside?
Biorn grunted. Helgha stood with her hands over her mouth and her eyes wide. As the two men went through the door, she ran after them screaming.
‘No! No! No!. Don’t fight over me. Please. Father, don’t kill him.’
She rushed over to Biorn and tried to pull his axe from his hands.
He shoved her away. ‘This is man’s business. Go back to your mother.’
Helgha fell to the floor, scrambled up and ran back towards the longhouse. Her mother appeared through the door.
‘Mother! Stop them. They’ll kill each other.’
Her mother looked at her. ‘One of them will kill the other. That’s the way it is. Erik has insulted our family by coming here as if to court you, but making no offers. Your father has to have his honour satisfied. If he fails, then it will be up to your brothers to kill Erik when they are old enough.’
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