Tag Archives: books

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.

Some thoughts on Enid Blyton and the 50p coin

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Recently, it was proposed to put Enid Blyton, the children’s author, onto the 50p coin. This was rejected on the grounds that she was a racist, homophobic and sexist.

This worries me slightly because we are judging someone from a different era in the light of our own. Admittedly, the three things she has been accused of are deeply unpleasant—at least to our more enlightened eyes. I personally abhor all these things.

She has also been condemned and removed from libraries, not because of this, but because some people thought that she used too simple language and did not stretch children’s vocabulary.

When I was a child, I loved her books. I read them avidly. They were exciting. Her Famous Five books, her Mallory Towers books, the Adventure books, the Faraway tree books, the Secret Seven, and my favourite as a child, Shadow the Sheepdog were all read with great pleasure.

Now let us examine the accusations.

Racism.

She certainly had golliwogs in the Noddy books, and they were the baddies. But golliwogs were common toys in the 40s and 50s and no one thought anything was wrong with them. There was The Black and White Minstrel Show on the TV, and the blacking up of white men as black minstrels was accepted.

Now I’m not saying it was right, Clearly it must have been deeply offensive to black people. What I am saying, is that when she was writing, golliwogs were not considered to be offensive, and so to brand her as racist on the grounds of having gollisogs in the Noddy books, and making them bad, was acceptable at the time.

Sexism.

Was she sexist? At that time, it women usually stopped working when they married. They then devoted their time to looking after the home and raising the children. That was how it was.

Because Anne, in the Famous Five, did the cooking when they were camping does not make Miss Blyton a sexist. She was reflecting the way things were at that time. Boys simply did not cook.

That they do now, shows how far we’ve come. When she was writing, boys didn’t learn cooking and needlework at school, neither did girls do woodwork and metalwork. Now they are all merged together under the title of Technology, or Design and Technology.

Homophobia.

Homosexual acts were illegal in England and Wales until 1967, but only between consenting adults over the age of 21, and even then, not in the armed forces, It was illegal in Scotland until 1980 and Northern Ireland until 1982. Thus, during the time when Enid Nlyton was writing, homosexuality was frowned upon by the state.

Having said that, reading the Famous Five books, Miss Blyton had a transexual (although the term was not used in those days.) Georgina, one of the five, and known as George, always dressed as a boy and had her hair cut short (unlike Anne who had long hair). She also expressed the desire to be a boy and behaved as a boy. That sounds very much like a transexual to me.

To conclude, I think that it is unfair to judge someone from a totally different era, with a totally different mindset by our much more enlightened and liberal standards.

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Miss Blyton was very important as an author. She got many children interested in reading. I am one of them. I devoured her books, as I said at the beginning of this post.
Some of her works, I understand, have been reworked. Things that we now consider wrong, why can’t they be altered. Noddy’s golliwogs could easily be changed into something else. Her baddies in the Famous Five, Sevret Seven and Adventure series, if people don’t think having them as foreign is right, could have their nationality changed.

The very first story I wrote was based on Shadow the Sheepdog. I was only about seven at the time. Would I have become a writer if I’d not had that early inspiration?

I think it’s wrong to judge people by today’s standards when the standards they lived in were so different.
I would love to hear what you think of this. Please post your comments in the comments box.

The Day on Vimar. How the people of that world break up the day.

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I’ve often wondered why we start the day in the middle of the night, and the year at a date that seems rather random.

Let’s think about the day first.

To me, it would seem obvious that the day begins when the sun rises. Or, I suppose you could say it ends when the sun sets, which would mean the next day begins at either sunrise or sunset. But why did someone—who?—decide the middle of the hours of darkness was a good idea? Anyway, midnight isn’t the middle of the hours of darkness all the year round, anyway.

Now if we say the day begins at sunrise, I can see that would be a problem, especially for the modern world. That can be solved by saying the day begins at the time of dawn on the equinoxes. That is round about 6am.

When I devised my world of Vimar for my Wolves of Vimar Series, I had to decide on how the people would break up their day. This is a totally different world from Earth, although, for simplicity’s sake, I still use hours and minutes. The people on Vimar hold the number six as sacred and all multiples of six also have power. Thus 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day makes sense.

So, on Vimar, the day begins at what we would call 06:00 or 6am. That to them would be 00:00. They begin counting from there. 7am would be 01:00. 10am would be 04:00. What we call midday, to someone on Vimar would be 06:00.

They also use the 24 hour clock.

If a person wanted to have a meeting at, say, 10am, by our standard, they would say, “I’ll meet you at the fourth hour.”

I don’t use the time very much in the book, but I thought it would be essential in my world building to try to think about this.

I will go into the year on the third Tuesday of next month,

If you want to read more, and about Carthinal and his friends and their adventures on the world of Vimar, you can buy the first 3 books by clicking on the covers in the sidebar. I am serialising Carthinal’s early life on the first Tuesday of every month.

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

Review of Relissarium Wars, Part 1 by Andrew C. Broderick

 

I’ve just finished reading Book 1 of The Relissarium Wars and found it an excellent read.

It is, in fact, more of a novella than a book, but it is the first part of a series, and so is probably simply an introduction.

The characters are introduced in this book, along with the main storyline, which will, I presume, continue through the other books to come.


Theo is a farmer on the moon of Reliss, but is persuaded by his brother to pick up a package for him on his regular trip to the market. Little does Theo realise that this simple favour will land him into something much bigger and more dangerous than he thought. He is in over his head, but has to take part in a rebellion as there is no way out for him to get back home. Especially as his moon home has been annihilated, and so, with a price on his head, he has no choice but to help the Carbonari.

The book is well written. I was delighted not to come across typos and grammatical errors! There is plenty of action and the characters are believable, if not much development, but this may come in later books. This is after all a very short book taking place in a very short time. Hardly enough time for anyone’s character to develop.

I would recommend this book to any scifi fan and fans of action adventure.

A Poem from my Work in Progress.

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This story is set in Britain, in what is now Yorkshire at the time of the Danes and tells of the trials and tribulations of Helgha. This is a saga told by a scald (the Danish equivalent of a bard.) It tells of how Erik won Helgha from her father.

“Erik loved the beauteous maiden, Helgha,
The most beautiful maid
Amongst all the Danes.
Her flaxen hair flowed like moonlight on the seas
And her blue eyes glowed like the sky in summer.
But they could not marry.
For Erik was promised to another.
He visited his love often
Until her father challenged him
To a battle.
Sword rang on shield.
Axe split the air with sound like thunder.
Young and strong, was Erik,
Older and wily was Biorn.
Who would win?
Youth and strength or
Guile and Experience?
Biorn struck first with his axe,
But Erik raised his shield.
Biorn’s axe glanced off.
Erik fought bravely
Until Biorn’s shield broke.
Biorn hit Erik with the edge and drew first blood.
Brave Erik did not flinch.
Blood streamed from the gash in his cheek
But he fought on, ignoring pain and blood.
The battle continued for hours.
Erik parried the axe with his shield.
His sword longing for blood.
His eyes burning with the pleasure of the fight.
Then Erik saw Biorn tiring
The man’s steps became slow,
His axe dragged
As if reluctant to hit this brave young warrior.
Erik backed into a barn wall and feigned a slip.
When Biorn came with raised axe
To finish the battle and send Erik to Valhalla,
The young warrior rolled beneath the axe
And as Biorn raised his weapon,
Erik sent his sword upwards.
Into the heart of his foe it went.
Blood flowed over both.
As Biorn crashed down, Erik rolled away.
Helgha screamed.
Her lover and her father both drenched in blood.
Who lived and who died?
Then Erik rose and seized the maiden.
He fled to Stjarna, his horse,
And leaped to her back with Helgha.
They galloped all night
Until at dawn they arrived in Jorvik.
Now Erik has a beautiful bed-slave.
And a scar on his cheek
To remind all of his bravery.”

The book is undergoing the editing process at the moment. I’ll keep you all informed as to how it’s getting on. Nearly through the first rewrite.

New Design

I decided to have a new design for my website. I’ve given my dragon a little holiday. I think she needed one. As you can see, I replaced her with some of my books. (There’s one that’s not there, you’ll notice. )

I wanted to have my books showcased on the front page with a link to Amazon wherever you are. It will make it easier for people to go to their page and have a look (look inside and prices etc), and of course, buy.

If you want to know more about each book without going to Amazon, you can click on the My Books tab and read a blurb about each one.

At the moment, Vengeance of a Slave is self-published, but shortly, when I’ve gone through it once more to check there are no major errors and plot holes, it will be published by the same publisher who has published the other books. I hope it wont be too long.

The next book in that series, that follows a family through the ages, is on the way. It’s currently being critiqued. Then I need to go through it again at least once. I’ll be sending that to the publisher, too. This one is called Jealousy of a Viking and follows the personal conflicts of a young Viking girl, descended from Adelbehrt, the protagonist in Vengeance. I’m really looking forward to this being published. I’ve had some excellent comments from the critiquers, including one that said it has the potential to be a great book!

I’ll keep you informed about what is happening in future posts.

l love hearing from you, so please leave a comment in the box. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A Review of Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak

I have just finished reading the book below. Thoroughly enjoyable. Read my review below.

 

Dangerous Alliance by Randall Krzak
Dangerous Alliance
by

Randall Krzak (Goodreads Author)

The story is set in present day North Korea, Somalia and London. It tells of how an alliance is made between North Korea and Somali pirates. Of course, everyone cheats everyone else, and to add to the intrigue, the Somali pirates kidnap an important personage who is working in a refugee camp.
An undercover group, working for MI6 (or is it 5, I forget) is sent to both rescue the prisoner and to capture the pirates.
Of course, there is the North Korean ambassador, being forced, under threat, to bring about the trade between his country and the pirates.
Randall Krzak is an accomplished writer, and tells the story with authority. He brings the places and characters to life. His prose is excellent.
There is a twist at the end, when some of the relationships of the people are brought to light.
The story is full of action, and keeps you turning the page.
An brilliant read. I have no problem with giving it 5 stars.
Please feel free to leave a comment.

Free, Free, Free

 

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader

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. 

 

A couple of extracts from Author Sean Robbins

 

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.

Extract 1.

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.
“Yes, Jim?”
“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?”

Extract 2.

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.
And Varina.
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.

https://www.amazon.com/Sean-Robins/e/B07PS1116K