Tag Archives: The Wolf pack

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.

The Wolf pack OFFER

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

From today, The Wolf Pack, Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar Series, is only 0.99 (£ or $).

This offer is for a limited time only, so be sure to pop over to Amazon and get your copy before it’s too late. The offer ends on Friday, 2nd July.

Here is the blurb

To end his apprenticeship and be admitted to the ranks of the mages is all that Carthinal wants and so he is excited to travel from Bluehaven to Hambara, where the tests will take place. He did not expect to end up travelling far beyond Hambara on a quest to find the long lost sword of the legendary King Sauvern.

Along with three strangers that he met on his journey, the beautiful but headstrong elven cleric, Asphodel, Fero, a dark foreigner from lands far to the south, known as the Black Ranger and a fearless dwarf, Basalt, Carthinal reluctantly sets out on this seemingly impossible quest.

Followed by Randa, the snooty aristocratic daughter of the Duke of Hambara and a very young runaway thief, known as Thad, Carthinal has to decide whether to send them back or allow them to continue on this dangerous quest. There will certainly be fireworks as Randa will try to take over the leadership of the group.

Faced with floods, wolf attacks and near death in the mountains, Carthinal and his friends will have to accept help from the least likely sources and face their innermost fears.

But this is more than a simple adventure. The fate of a nation hangs in the balance.

And a short extract.

Carthinal, a half-elf mage, and Basalt, a dwarf, have been trying to find out where the lost Sword of the legendary king, Sauvern, might lie. They are searching in the library of the Duke of Hambara, helped by his rather snooty daughter, Randa.

The next day, Carthinal and Basalt returned to the Palace to try to find anything about the whereabouts of the tomb. Lady Randa arrived again, saying that she had risen early in order to exercise her stallion, Storm, and she did not have any weapons practice that day. She should have gone to practice her music, but her music master had reported that he felt ill and so they had all day. Her expression said that she was glad of this excuse to get away from her music, even if it meant spending the day with “riffraff”. Truth to tell, she found the work interesting. She had never taken much interest in history before and it surprised her how fascinating she found it.

Carthinal and Bas exchanged a glance at this dire prospect, but both wisely refrained from making comment.

Lady Randa did not make it any easier, however. She did most of the time remember to call them by their names, but made it abundantly clear that she considered herself above them in all ways and that only her father’s request made her come to work with them.

Shortly after lunch, just after Lady Randa had returned from lunching with her father as usual and as Carthinal searched for a specific scroll, he noticed an unusual crack around a particular bookshelf. He called Lady Randa over and asked her if she knew of any secret passages in the house.

‘There are tales and rumours of course,’ she replied, ‘as there always are in old houses and this house is very old. It has been rebuilt, modernised and extended many times over the years. Why do you ask?’

‘Because,’ responded Carthinal, ‘unless I am very much mistaken, there is a hidden door here which may lead to a secret room.’

‘This is part of the old house,’ Lady Randa told him, ‘but I hardly think that a secret passage would have gone unnoticed by my father, or myself—or my grandfather come to think of it. Why would a half-elf find something in a few minutes that the family hasn’t found in generations?’

‘Elvenkind have very good eyes, and we are good at spotting such things,’ retorted Carthinal, keeping his temper with difficulty.

Basalt spotted the warning tone in Carthinal’s voice and glared at him. It would not do for him to lose his temper and anger the daughter of the second most powerful man in all of Grosmer. However, Carthinal managed to hold onto his temper and suggested that he try to open the disputed door.

‘If it will satisfy you,’ replied Lady Randa imperiously, and turned away.
A few moments later, a grinding and rumbling came from behind. She turned and her eyes popped. Where there had been a bookcase hole had appeared with steps leading downwards.

The three stood looking at each other in amazement. Carthinal had been sure that the bookcase concealed a hidden door, but not that it would open so easily, nor that it would reveal a secret passage. He had thought at the most that it would reveal a hidden room.

The stairs looked dark and cobwebby. Carthinal shuddered to think of the spiders running around. They had had generations to breed down there. However, he would not reveal his feelings of revulsion to Lady Randa.

Instead, he said, ‘Lady Randa, do you think it pertinent to explore this passage at this point. We are not sure that it will aid us in our quest.’
He secretly hoped not to have to go down the stairs with their cobwebs and spiders, and that she would say that others could explore. However, Lady Randa decided that since they had found the passage, they should be the ones to explore it.

‘Why give the pleasure of discovering something new to people who did not find the passage?’ she said.

Carthinal had to admire her guts. She reached for a torch on one of the walls and lit it, then made her way to the entrance.

‘My Lady,’ murmured Bas, ‘we don’t know what’s down there. Maybe we shouldn’t go down without some weapons.’

‘Are you afraid, Dwarf?’ retorted her ladyship. ‘If you are, then stay here. I’m going down.’ She started to move towards the open door.

‘Basalt is right, Your Ladyship,’ Carthinal backed up his friend. ‘At least get a sword or a dagger.’

‘Hmm… I suppose that makes some sense,’ Lady Randa eventually agreed. ‘You two stay there and I’ll get some weapons. What’s your preferred weapon, Dwa…er… Basalt?’

‘A battle axe, if you have one, your ladyship,’ replied the dwarf.

‘Typical. A rather messy weapon, but I understand the dwarves prefer it to a sword. A sword takes so much more skill to use.’

With that she disappeared through one of the library doors to go in search of weapons. It was just as well that she did, for she would have had Basalt taken to the nearest prison and the key thrown away if she could have heard him cursing at her condescension.

‘A battle-axe takes as much bloody skill in wielding as a bleeding sword,’ he spluttered. ‘Dwarves begin to learn at a very young age to become proficient. To become a master of the weapon takes years. That little minx knows nothing. How old is she? Seventeen? Eighteen?’

Fortunately, Carthinal had managed to calm him down by the time Lady Randa re-appeared with the weapons. She had a rather fine long sword, which she claimed as her own, and a rather less than fine battle axe, which she gave to Basalt, for once having the grace to apologise for it.

‘It’s the only one I could find,’ she explained. ‘My father captured it in some war or other, I believe. We don’t have anyone here that uses a battle-axe now. Carthinal, just in case, I’ve brought a dagger. I understand that mages often use one, as they do not have the time to learn more subtle weapons.’

This she handed to the mage, hilt first as was polite. It appeared she did know some of the niceties of life.

‘Diplomacy is not her second name, is it?’ hissed Basalt to Carthinal.

The mage grinned at his friend in reply.

After they were armed, and Bas had hefted his battle axe a few times and proclaimed it ‘Not too bad, considering’, they made their way to the hidden entrance to the staircase. Basalt insisted on going first, much to Lady Randa’s annoyance. She told him that she had trained in weapons with her father’s master at arms and could use the sword, and since it her father owned house, and she outranked the others in the group, she should lead the way.

Basalt pointed out be that as it may, but her father would have their heads if anything happened to her, and he was not going to allow her to go first.

Carthinal held his breath, waiting for the explosion from Lady Randa. She did not disappoint him.

She rounded on Bas like a whirlwind. ‘You…you…Dwarf!’ She said the word as though it were the worst insult in the world, (which to her it may have been.) ‘You DARE to speak to me like that! Me! The Honourable Lady Randa! I am my father’s only heir and will inherit this Dukedom. Yet you tell me you will not allow me! How dare you?’

However, she had not met with the stubbornness of the mountain dwarves. Carthinal thought they would remain there for the rest of their lives with the two arguing, and finally with Basalt standing, arms folded in front of the doorway so that no one could pass. Lady Randa tried to push him out of the way at first, but Bas stood his ground. A dwarf standing his ground is very hard to move, even for a grown man, and Lady Randa was no grown man.

Eventually her curiosity over the passageway overcame her anger and she said, rather reluctantly, ‘Go in front if you wish then—and hope that whatever’s down there kills you before I do.’

So the three crept stealthily down the stairs, Basalt in the lead, Lady Randa next, and Carthinal in the rear. Carthinal was grateful for that as most of the cobwebs had been swept away by the others, but he still had to steel himself not to cry out as a stray one swept his face. It would not do for them to think him such a coward as to be afraid of spiders, even if it were the truth. He kept a look out both to the side and behind, trusting to Bas to watch for anything in front, but they had an uneventful descent of the stairs, although the stairs were old. No one had passed that way in many, many years and their feet sent up clouds of dust, which made them sneeze. The stairs were not worn away either, in spite of their age. Another indication that they had not been much used.

To his consternation, Carthinal saw many small glowing creatures with his infra-vision. Spiders he assumed, that had lived and bred there for aeons. He shuddered, then suddenly, after what seemed like a very long descent, they found themselves in a passage leading straight ahead.
He called to Basalt and the dwarf looked round. ‘We seem to have come down a long way. You dwarves are used to being underground. How far down do you think we’ve come?’

Basalt frowned, did some calculations in his head and replied, ‘We’re very deep, Carthinal. Well below the foundations of the present Palace. If you ask me, we are at least two hundred feet down. This looks like old stone. About a thousand years, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less.’

The three looked around in awe. The dry air in the room had preserved the stonework well. The fact that no more cobwebs hung from this ceiling pleased Carthinal too. The walls were well built, and strong. They walked slowly and quietly down the corridor. They passed doors on either side, but none of them could manage to open them, no matter how hard they tried. They walked until they came to the end of the corridor, where another door stood in the end wall.

‘Should I try?’ whispered Basalt. (It did not seem right to speak normally in this ancient place.)

‘Go on then.’ said Lady Randa and Carthinal together, and Carthinal added, ‘Although why this one should be any different Majora alone knows.’

He had hardly got the words out of his mouth when he saw that the door swinging open with a loud creak. Bas had hardly had to try. It had not been either locked or stuck. As they entered the chamber in front of them, each drew a breath of amazement.

Fabulous carvings decorated the room. Unicorns and satyrs played in woods where dryads peeped shyly from behind their trees. A Centaur appeared to be discussing something with a nymph, half in and half out of her pool. Dragons basked in the sunlight and elves and humans were gathering flowers and making garlands to adorn each other. Here a group of dwarves, hard at work, dug minerals from their mines, there some merfolk sat on rocks in a cove while the waves broke around them. The surf looked so realistic that they almost thought they could actually hear its booming as the waves crashed to the shore.

The room was circular in shape and in the centre stood a large round table. On the table lay a number of books, a quill pen in its stand, rather tattered after all the years that had passed, a knife for sharpening the quill and an ink well, which had dried up.

The books were stacked neatly, all except for one, which lay in front of a chair drawn up to the table as though the room’s occupant had been working there and just slipped out for a moment. A piece of paper in the book seemed to mark a place.

The three walked slowly around the room, gazing at the superb workmanship of the carvings. Basalt declared that it must have been dwarves who carved the stone, and no one, not even Lady Randa, disputed this statement.

Eventually, Carthinal left Lady Randa and Basalt admiring the room, as he felt drawn to the books. He picked up one at random. It was a spell book. He carefully opened it, and it crackled with age. It seemed to be the spell book of a powerful mage.

There were many very complex spells in it, which Carthinal could not begin to comprehend. He put it down in its place, and picked up another. This one he recognised. These were the simpler spells that he himself had in his own spell book, but it had been written in an archaic style and he had some difficulty recognising some of the words. Then he noticed that Bas had gone to the desk, and had picked up the book with the “bookmark” in it.

Basalt thought he would look at the book although he could not read. Maybe he would be able to recognise the word shape that Carthinal had taught him stood for ‘Sauvern’. To his surprise, part way through the text, he thought he recognised the word. He was not certain. These letters were formed in a slightly different way from the way Carthinal had taught him, but it was enough for him to call Carthinal over.

Carthinal looked over Bas’s shoulder, and Lady Randa came to see what Bas had found.

‘It certainly seems to say “Sauvern”,’ Carthinal confirmed.

‘But the rest?’ queried Lady Randa. ‘What about the rest? It looks like no language I’ve ever seen.’

‘No. You won’t have, and probably won’t again,’ Carthinal told her. ‘If I am not much mistaken, this is an archaic form of Elvish.’

‘Can you read it?’ asked Randa.

‘Unfortunately, no,’ Carthinal replied, ‘but I know someone in the Mage Tower who may, or at least, she may know someone who can translate it for us.’

‘There’s some writing on the paper that kept the place too,’ observed Bas. ‘It looks different.’

True enough, the writing was in Grosmerian. Again, it was an old form of Grosmerian, but Lady Randa had learned something of this during her extensive education as the heir to a Dukedom.

‘It’s a poem,’ she said. ‘Should I read it?’

‘We’d better not ignore anything. Especially in view of the fact that the book seems to mention Sauvern,’ Carthinal said. ‘Go ahead.’

‘It’s called “The Wolf Pack.”’, she went on.

“The wolves will fight ’gainst every foe
The balance to maintain.
Though far and wide the pack must go
All borders they disdain.

“The pack contains the strangest group
One whose pride comes with her,
And one who slips through every loop,
The wilful one, the tracker.

“The leader with his anger held,
The ones who hunt the horse.
The rock that’s strong completes the meld
And makes the pack a force.

“The wolf pack’s members are filled with zest
And all do have their place.
They hunt their foes with ruthlessness
Then vanish without trace.

“In times of danger, all must know
The wolf pack will be there.
They work as one; they keep their vow.
For each other they will care.”

‘Doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I think it’s just something the writer of this book used as a book mark.’

‘I think you’re right there, Your Ladyship.’ Basalt always seemed to make his use of the honorific sound like an insult, and Lady Randa bristled. ‘No reference to Sauvern or his Sword.’

Carthinal replaced the “bookmark” in the place in the book where it came from, remarking that they may as well use it for the job the original writer did.

He went on to remark that the books were all very old, and moving them may damage them, so, with the Lady’s permission, he would bring his friend to the Palace so she could translate it in situ as it were. Randa agreed, and with that, they left the hidden room, almost having to drag Bas out from his examination of the carvings.

When they came up the stairs to the library they found that darkness had fallen. The candles had been lit in the chandeliers and the light bounced around the room, split into colours by the glass, and making rainbows everywhere. The slight draughts moving around the room caused the candles to flicker and the light looked like thousands of fireflies dancing around.

‘This never fails to impress me,’ said Lady Randa, momentarily forgetting to be the Duke’s Daughter. ‘My grandfather had it done. Look at the way the windows reflect the light back into the room. Isn’t it beautiful?’

The others agreed, and reluctantly tore themselves away from the beautiful library to make their way back to the inn and dinner.

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TEASER

The door opened and Mabryl entered shaking his cloak out as he did so. ‘It’s cold out there and it’s turning to snow if I’m not much mistaken. Unusual this far south.’

He hung his cloak on a stand by the door before turning to his three apprentices. ‘Have you finished the tasks I set you?’

Carthinal walked to the fire and added a fresh log to the flames. ‘Come and get warm, and, no I’ve not finished. I can’t settle down to anything until I hear about whether I can take the tests soon. Emmienne has finished though. I can’t say about Tomac.’

‘Nearly,’ Tomac jumped from his chair and carried his workbook to his master. ‘I was a little stuck on the moon phases though. It’s complicated trying to work out both moons at the same time.’

‘Stick to it, youngster,’ Emmienne said from the window seat. She smiled at the younger boy, the smile lighting up her otherwise plain face. ‘I had problems too, but it comes eventually.’

Tomac groaned and went back to his seat.

Mabryl strode to the fire and held his hands out to the blaze. ‘I’ve made what I think might be a big discovery. Perhaps the most important one for many years. Look.’ He strode over to his cloak and pulled something from a pocket.

It was a book. He carefully paced it on the table.. ‘It could be a spell book from before the Forbidding.’

Emmienne gasped. ‘That is old, and if it is, we’ll be able to find lost spells. You’ll be famous, Sir.’

‘Calm down, Emm. It might not be the spell-book of a magister, or even an arch-mage.’ Carthinal smiled at her. ‘It might have the spells we already know and not any of the lost ones.’

Carthinal picked up the book Mabryl had bought and began to leaf through it. He could not understand what was written there. It was in an archaic script and language and he was, as yet, only an apprentice. He had not the knowledge to understand more than a limited number of spells.

Frowning, he tried to read the words on the page. He lifted the book from the table to take it nearer to the light when a loose page fell to the floor. He stooped to pick it up and realised he could read it, and it was not a page fallen out, but a note that had been inserted. He took it to the window seat and sat down next to Emmienne.

‘What’s that?’ She strained to read it upside down.

‘I’m not sure.’ Carthinal wrinkled his brow. ‘It fell out of the book Mabryl bought but it’s not the same writing, nor is it in the same archaic script. It’s a note of some kind.’ He paused to read it.

Mabryl noticed the paper Carthinal held. ‘What have you got there?’

‘It fell out of the book you bought. It doesn’t seem to be by the author of the book. It’s in a more modern script that I can read. It doesn’t make much sense though.’ He handed it to his Master, who read it, then read it again, this time out loud.

‘“When Kalhera descends from the mountains, and orcs once more roam the land,
When impossible beasts occur and the Never-Dying man is once more at hand,
Then the Sword that was lost must once more be found; only it can destroy the threat
And kill the immortal mortal to balance out his debt.”

Mabryl frowned. ‘How can Kalhera descend from the mountains? She’s a god and the gods don’t come to Vimar.’

He turned the page in his hand and saw some more writing on the back. ‘This says it’s a quotation from something the writer heard. The author says he visited the Oracle on Holy Island and was told that the Oracle had said this earlier, but to no one in particular. Only the attendants were present.’ He replaced the paper in the book on the table.

Emmienne picked the paper up and examined it. ‘Not only the stuff about Kalhera, but none of it makes sense, Sir. Orcs haven’t been seen in Grosmer for hundreds of years. And what are impossible beasts?’’

‘What is the Sword that was lost, and how can a man never die?’ Tomac took the paper from Emmienne.

Mabryl answered his question. ‘I can tell you about the Sword. I think that refers to Sauvern’s Sword. King Sauvern lived centuries ago and united the six warring kingdoms of Grosmer. He was supposed to have a magical sword, but the whereabouts of both sword and Sauvern’s tomb have been lost to history.’

‘I must take the book to a colleague of mine in the Mage Tower. She’s working on finding the old spells and this might be of use to her. The loose note might be a prophecy if it came from the Oracle, but who knows when it was made? It could be it was centuries ago—or yesterday. And it could refer to a time well in the future or even in the past. We should ignore it for now. Lillora says our lunch is ready, so I suggest we go to the table before she gets mad.’

Tomac muttered to Carthinal. ‘It still doesn’t make sense. Immortal mortal? That’s a contradiction. And if he’s immortal, how can he be killed?’

Need something to read over the Easter holidays? You can find out more about the Sword and where it is by reading The Wolf Pack, which is FREE for today and tomorrow. (ebook version only) Get your copy before it’s too late. Just click on the title or the cover in the side bar.

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my christmas present to you.

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

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

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

Here is a review from Amanda Griffiths Jones

4.0 out of 5 stars A Perfectly Set Scene

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

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

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the Writing of The Wolf Pack, and a free offer

In the mid 80s, when I was teaching in secondary school I ran a Dungeons and Dragons club. We played a number of ready produced scenarios, but then I thought I could do this and write one of my own.

The game went well, and the players all enjoyed it. I played it with several groups in two different schools.

I had read (and played) the Dragonlance Saga by Weis and Hickman, which had grown from a D and D game, so I thought, “Why Not?”

After I took early retirement, I thought I could turn it into a book as well and I began writing. Surprisingly, the first book only took the heroes a small part of the journey. It took them to the finding of the Sword of Sauvern, needed in the quest to kill the antagonist.

I wrote this book without any planning, although I suppose you could have thought of the scenario I had written as my ‘plan’. I did know where it was going.

As to the characters, they came unbidden. One, who was only an npc in the scenario took on a part in the adventure as a whole. Another gave me a big surprise at one part in the first book, and another toward the end.

Thus was born ‘The Wolf Pack’, Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar Series. It gets its title from the group deciding to give themselves a name and calling themselves Wolf.

I have written the next two books in the series, and am part-way through the fourth. I still write without a written plan, although I know where the stories are going in my head.

From today, September 23rd to September 27th, you can get the ebook version of The Wolf Pack absolutely FREE from Amazon.

Just click on the title in the sidebar, or on the links in this post.

The Wolf Pack can also be bought as a paperback.

Blurb for The Wolf Pack.

All Carthinal wants is admission to the ranks of the mages. Traveling from Bluehaven to Hambara, where his rite of passage is to take place, he doesn’t expect to end up on a quest to find the long-lost sword of the legendary King Sauvern.

With strangers he meets on his journey, Carthinal sets out on the seemingly impossible quest. Followed by Randa, the snooty aristocratic daughter of the Duke of Hambara, and the young runaway thief Thad, Carthinal and his companions face tragedy and danger.

Watched by the gods and an implacable foe, they will have to accept help from the least likely sources and face their innermost fears. As the fate of their world hangs in the balance, they realize that this is more than an adventure. This quest will change them all.

The ebook versions of Books 2 and 3 can be got from these links. They are also available in paperback format.

The Never-Dying Man

Wolf Moon

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the prophecy

The Wolf Pack starts where four friends are given a task to find the magical, lost sword of the legendary king, Sauvern. Prior to that, Carthinal had found a prophecy. This is the tale of the finding of that prophecy. I originally incorporated it in the book, The Wolf Pack, but decided to eliminate it.

If you want to know more about what happens later you can buy The Wolf Pack by clicking on the title, here or on the book cover in the sidebar.

Find out how Carthinal and his friends searched for an artifact the whereabouts no one knew, and read about the dangers they faced in tracking it down.

Prophecy

The half-elf leafed through the book he was studying. He was due to take the tests to end his apprenticeship soon. Mabryl, his master and adopted father had sent off to the Mage Tower in Hambara asking for the young man to be considered for the tests at the next opportunity.

He was a tall, handsome young man, just over six feet with shoulder-length auburn hair, a closely trimmed beard and eyes of an intense blue. He was sitting in the study at the home of Mabryl in Bluehaven, which was situated on the south coast of the land of Grosmer. With him were Mabryl’s other two apprentices, 14 year old Tomac and 16 year old Emmienne. Tomac pushed a lock of his unruly dark hair out of his eyes.
‘I think that’s the Master coming in now, Carthinal. You’d better look as though you’ve been doing something instead of moping around waiting for that letter or you’ll be in trouble.’

As he said this, the door opened and Mabryl entered, shaking his cloak out as he did so. ‘It’s cold out there and it’s turning to snow if I’m not much mistaken. Unusual this far south.’ He turned to his three apprentices. ‘Have you finished the tasks I set you?’

He hung his cloak on a stand by the door. Carthinal stood and walked to the fire, putting a fresh log on to the flames. ‘Come and get warm, and, no I’ve not finished. I can’t seem to settle to anything until I hear about whether I can take the tests soon. I think Emmienne has finished though. I can’t say about Tomac.’

‘Nearly.’ Tomac, jumped from his chair and carried his workbook to his master. ‘I was a little stuck on the moon phases though. It’s complicated trying to work out both moons at the same time.’

‘Stick to it, youngster,’ Emmienne said from the window seat. She grinned across at the younger boy, the grin lighting up her otherwise rather plain face. ‘I had problems too, but it comes eventually.’

Tomac groaned and went back to his seat.

‘I’ve finished though, sir,’ she said. ‘I’ve learned the new spell you gave me and am sure I can make it work. When can I try it?’

Mabryl laughed. ‘Such enthusiasm. We’ll try it out tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve made what I think may be a big discovery. Perhaps the most important one for many, many years. Look.’ He put an ancient book on the table.

The three apprentices gathered round.

‘I think it may be a spell book from before the Forbidding,. Mabryl ran a finger over the book’s leather spine.

Emmienne gasped. ‘That is old, and if it is, we’ll be able to find lost spells. You’ll be famous, sir.’

‘Calm down, Emm. It may not be the spell-book of a magister, or even an arch-mage.’ Carthinal smiled at the girl’s enthusiasm. ‘It may only have the spells we already know and not any of the lost ones.’

Seven hundred years previously there had been a war between conflicting mages. It had caused such devastation and hardship to everyone that the king forbade the use of magic on pain of death and all spell books were burned. Some mages, however, managed to rescue a few books and occasionally these came to light.

During the time of the Forbidding, as it came to be known, much knowledge had been lost and there some mages currently worked to re-discover the lost spells. If this book were to be of use, it would need to be taken to one of these mages.

As they discussed this, the door opened and Lillora, Mabryl’s housekeeper entered. ‘Sorry to disturb you, sir, but a bird arrived a few minutes ago. I thought you should know.’

‘I’ll come and look then,’ The mage stood and left the three apprentices to their own devices.

Carthinal picked up the book Mabryl had bought and began to leaf through it. He could understand little of what was written there. It was in an archaic script and language and as he was only an apprentice he had not the knowledge to understand more than a limited number of spells.
He frowned as he tried to read the words on the page, then, lifting the book from the table he carried it nearer to the light.

As he approached the window a loose page fell onto the floor. He stooped to pick it up and realised he could read it, and it was not a page from the book that had fallen out, but a note someone had inserted. He sat opposite Emmienne to read it.

‘What’s that?’ asked the brown-haired girl, straining to read it upside down.

‘I’m not sure.’ Carthinal, wrinkled his brow. ‘It fell out of this book but it doesn’t seem to be the same writing, nor is it in the same script. It’s a note of some kind.’ He paused to read it.

Mabryl came back holding a paper in his hand. ‘It’s good news, Carthinal. There’s space for you to take your tests in the next batch, which takes place just before Grillon’s Day. That’s in about five sixdays time. We’ll need to leave here in three sixdays to allow us time to settle in before your ordeal.’ He looked at the paper in Carthinal’s hand. What’s that you’ve got there?’

‘It fell out of the book you bought.’ Carthinal, handed it to his mentor. ‘It doesn’t seem to be by the author of the book. It’s in a more modern script that I can read. It doesn’t make much sense though.’

The Prophecy.

Mabryl read it, then read it again, this time aloud.

‘“When Kalhera descends from the mountains,
And orcs once more roam the land,
When impossible beasts occur
And the Never-Dying man is once more at hand,
Then the Sword that was lost must once more be found;
Only it can destroy the threat
And kill the immortal mortal to balance out his debt.”

‘That seems a strange thing to write and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. How can Kalhera descend from the mountains? She’s a god and the gods don’t come to Vimar.’

He turned the page in his hand and saw more writing on the back. ‘This says it’s a quotation from something the writer heard and wrote down. The author says he visited the Oracle on Holy Island and the priests were talking about what the Oracle had said earlier in the day when only the attendants were present.’

He replaced the paper in the book and turned to Carthinal. ‘We must take this book to a colleague of mine in the Mage Tower when we go. She’s working on finding the old spells and this may be of use to her. The loose note may be a prophecy if it came from the Oracle, but who knows when it was made? It could be it was centuries ago, or yesterday.’ He shrugged. ‘It could be referring to a time well in the future or even in the past. We should ignore it for now. Lillora says our lunch is almost ready, so I suggest we go to the table before she gets mad.’

The three apprentices forgot all about the book and the note as they enjoyed Mabryl’s housekeeper’s excellent cooking. After the meal they returned to their studies. Mabryl gave them all tasks to complete and went out again to visit the Duke of Bluehaven, who was an old friend of his, taking the book with him.

Duke Danu of Bluehaven had trained at the Mage Tower in his youth. He had some talent for magic, but with the death of his elder brother in an epidemic, he had to take over the duties and prepare to become the Duke. He had never taken the tests to end his apprenticeship, but he retained an interest in magic and still practiced it in a small way.


Today he was sitting in his study going over the accounts of the duchy when a knock came at the door.

‘Arch-mage Mabryl to see you, sir,’ said his butler.

‘Send him in.’ Danu rose from his seat and walked over to clasp Mabryl in a hug. ‘You’ve not been to visit in some while, my friend. Busy with your three apprentices, I suppose.’

‘Yes, they keep me busy. Carthinal’s ready to take his tests and become a full mage now.’

‘Is that so?’ Duke Danu raised an eyebrow. ‘Hardly seems any time at all when you took that scruffy little urchin off the streets. Everyone thought you were mad, you know. Taking a street child to be your apprentice and then adopting him. Well, it seems we were wrong. He’s turning out all right.’

‘Considering his background, yes. He still has his faults and I can’t say there weren’t times when I agreed with you I’d done the wrong thing. But I didn’t come here to talk about Carthinal. I’ve made a discovery and I want your opinion.’ He pulled the spell-book out of a bag at his side. ‘I’m going to take this to Yssa at the Mage Tower when I take Carthinal. She’ll be the best to decide how important it is.’

He handed the book to Danu.

The Duke whistled. ‘This is important, Mabryl. I can’t read it, but it certainly looks like a spell-book to me. It’s old and could easily date to before the Forbidding.’ He picked up the note still between its pages. ‘What’s this?’

‘A little note someone left in the book. Carthinal found it. It doesn’t seem to belong to the book and I thought it could be a hoax. Someone putting a seeming prophecy in an important old book.’

‘Maybe, but I don’t think so. Some research I’ve been doing suggests Grosmer is about to face some danger. This may be a prophecy about that. I would suggest you take it to Rollo in Hambara when you go. His library is much more extensive than mine and he can find out more.’

‘I don’t know Duke Rollo,’ Mabryl replied, frowning. ‘He may not believe me. I’ve heard he’s a suspicious man. I think this note maybe a hoax even if you don’t. I’ll need to prove I’ve come from you.’

‘I’ll write you a letter to give him.’ Danu walked to his desk. ‘I’ll also give you this.’ He picked up a small statuette of a trotting horse about three inches long and two high that sat on the desk. ‘It’s one of a pair we found in our adventuring days. He has the other. He’ll know I’ve sent you when he sees that, especially if you ask him about the other one. Now, sit down and I’ll get some wine for us to drink while we talk about other things.’

The old friends passed the afternoon remembering past times and gossiping about the goings on in the city of Bluehaven as the afternoon passed into evening and the Duke’s work lay unfinished on the desk.

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Please let me know if there is a problem with the video. It’s the first time I’ve uploaded one to WordPress.

my favourite #reading place

We planted a vine in our garden when we moved into the house. It has now become a lovely shady spot for sitting and reading. The leaves shade your eyes so that it’s possible to read without squinting.

For visually impaired readers, the picture shows a garden bench against a fence with some patches of ivy growing up it, and the trunk of a vine. On the bench is a pair of spectacles and a book. the book cover shows a young man with shoulder-length auburn hair. The background is a pale blue with the shadow of a wolf behind the young man.

The book on the bench is The Wolf Pack, which was my first ever book to be published. It is the first of a series that I’ve entitled The Wolves of Vimar (Vimar being the world where the action takes place).

The story is based on a Dungeons and Dragons scenario I wrote, but in the writing, it changed somewhat. Some places where certain things happened in the scenario I moved to somewhere else in the book.

I was excited to hear from Next Chapter that it has been translated into French and Spanish, too.

The Wolf Pack tells of a group of people, unknown to each other in the beginning, who are commissioned to go and find a magical sword that used to belong to the legendary king, Sauvern. Its whereabouts has been lost for many centuries.

There are surprises and dangers to be encountered in the tale. Death is never far away, and help comes in unexpected ways. Every character has to confront their fears, and they are all changed by their experiences.

Due to the very different characters, there are arguments and confrontations on the way as well.

The book has been generally well received and is currently number 47 in Teen and Young Adult Fantasy Interactive Fiction. (Although I didn’t write it as a teen book, and it’s not interactive! Still, who knows the workings of the Great Zon!)

Here is one of the reviews it received in the USA:

John Thornton 5.0 out of 5 stars

A solidly done, and crafted fantasy novel

“The Wolf Pack” is an original and well crafted fantasy novel. If you like novels like the “Earthsea Saga” by Ursula Le Guin or “When the Heavens Fall” by Marc Turner then I suggest that you may well enjoy “The Wolf Pack.” British style and spellings throughout. Not really a negative, just a difference to be noted.

I found the characters well developed, and complex (in a good way).

The plot is unique and unusual. It is not easy to explain, but does unfold nicely as one reads through the book. I am trying to avoid spoilers, so I do not want to give too much away.

Dialogue is well written and each character has his or her own voice.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, it is available in ebook and paperback format. You can buy it by clicking on the cover in the sidebar or here. This will take you to Amazon where you are.

If you read the book, please leave a review. Reviews are the lifeblood of authors as they are the best way to let people know about books, good or bad, so people will have an idea if they will enjoy it.

I welcome any comments you wish to make. Please add them to the comments box.

What to do in Self-isolation

These are difficult times. We are all facing unprecedented restrictions to our lives. We are told to stay at home and keep our distance if we do go out.

Some people find this difficult. Some more so than others. If you are used to an active social life, and work with many people, you will undoubtedly find all this hard to do.

For those of us who are used to working from home, like writers, it’s not so difficult to keep on working. We are used to working in isolation, but for people who work in restaurants, cafes, and the like it must be very hard. Some people can work from home, but many cannot. What to do to fill the time?

Some people have decided, stupidly, that this is a holiday. The weather is good and they’ve nothing else to do, so they go off to the seaside, or National Parks. We’ve all seen the pictures of the crowds in these places. What are they doing but risking spreading the disease? It can spread fast enough on its own without stupidity helping it.

This sort of behaviour will force the government to create a lockdown when people are not allowed to go out. Do we really want that?

So what can you do in this self-isolation? Well, read a book. (Of course I would say that, wouldn’t I?) Or even several.

If you have been following the serialisation of Carthinal’s story, you might like to read this to find out what became of him in later life.

As it happens, from today (23rd March) until Friday 27th March, the ebook version of my fantasy novel, The Wolf Pack, will be FREE on Amazon. Why not pick up a copy while you can?

All Carthinal wants is admission to the ranks of the mages. Traveling from Bluehaven to Hambara, where his rite of passage is to take place, he doesn’t expect to end up on a quest to find the long-lost sword of the legendary King Sauvern.

With strangers he meets on his journey, Carthinal sets out on the seemingly impossible quest. Followed by Randa, the snooty aristocratic daughter of the Duke of Hambara, and the young runaway thief Thad, Carthinal and his companions face tragedy and danger.

Watched by the gods and an implacable foe, they will have to accept help from the least likely sources and face their innermost fears. As the fate of their world hangs in the balance, they realize that this is more than an adventure. This quest will change them all.

What have you got to lose? After all, it’s absolutely FREE, and you’ve now got time to read.

What are your opinions on this self-isolation? Will it work, or are there just too many people who are too stupid to understand what it’s all about?

Will this behaviour cause the government to impose even more draconian laws?

Let me know via the comments box.

The Wolf pack is Free

From tomorrow, Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar is FREE until 28th December.

This fantasy tale brings together a group of disparate people. They set off on a quest to find the long, lost sword of the legendary king, Sauvern, in response to a prophecy found in an ancient book.

They meet with dire adventures on the way, and come near to death, only to be rescued by unexpected sources.

On the journey they each have to face their greatest fears and not one of them returns unchanged.

But they learn that, despite their different backgrounds, what really matters is friendship and loyalty.

Click on the link here to go to Amazon where you are in order to get your free copy.

Don’t forget that Vengeance of a Slave is due to be released on Thursday. Pre-order your copy now from here.

Another Chance at a Freebie.

theneverdyingman

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,

thewolfpack1

and Book 3, Wolf Moon, here.

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader
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.