Satyulemas is coming…

Mid-Winter is a tricky time of year for me.
Firstly there’s all that nonsense about Christmas being warred upon. People get up in arms about the strangest of things – who really cares what sort of paper cups that Starbucks is using?
It’s annoying and amusing at the same time.

Then there’s all the hoo-har about what we should be saying:
“Merry Christmas!”
“Happy Holidays!”
“No, it’s Christmas…”
“It’s not just Christmas, there’s:
Saint Nicholas Day (Christian),
Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican),
St. Lucia Day (Swedish), Hanukkah (Jewish),
Christmas Day (Christian),
Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian),
Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish),
Kwanzaa (African American),
Omisoka (Japanese),
Yule (Pagan),
Saturnalia (Pagan)…”
“We’re a Christian Country everyone should be saying Merry Christmas!”
That conversation is always more annoying than amusing, because it drags way too much religion into a season that should be more about Family and Love than which version of god you worship.

Then the Seasonal Affective Disorder hits – the dark mornings and short days, coupled with predominantly cold and damp weather make me feel depressed, ill, irritable and definitely not festive.

I grew up as an Anglican, which meant that I went to church carol services like Christingle and church christmas parties. I sang the carols and bought into the stories that were told… it wasn’t until I was a lot older that I realised it wasn’t the religion I wanted to be a part of.
But I still loved the music and the happiness that the carol services seemed to bring to the children at that time of year.

After I met TOH, we spent Christmas with his family and for several years we had holidays full of music, wine, family and fun… until his mum left us and although his sister tried hard to keep it going, the holiday fell apart.
For a while it was hard to keep the festive feeling going. We managed to do Christmas itself, mainly for our kids sake. Being in Guiding helped because we’d do carol concerts and christmas activities.

After we had so many problems with housing and finance, TOH and I decided that we’d celebrate what we called “Satyulemas” – this starts on the 17th December  (Saturnalia),  takes in Yule on the 21st  (Astronomical Midwinter) and covers Christmas on the 25th Dec, then finishes the day after my youngest Daughter’s birthday.

So this year, I’ve decided to start a new tradition –

 

Three of these books have homes to go to… but the fourth one (signed & dedicated)  is going to be going to the winner of my Satyulemas Competition!

There will also be E Book Copies for four runners up.

All you have to do is comment on this Blog post with your favourite, book related,  Mid-Winter Holiday Memory.

The competition will end by midnight (GMT) on Satyulemas – 17th December 2018 – the winner will be notified by email, so don’t forget to leave a contact email!

Feel free to share the news – I want to hear about everyone’s memories and hopefully make a new one for someone!

 

 

 

 

The end is nigh… and it’s not in the doldrums!

It’s all right, I haven’t suddenly become a Prophet… I’m talking about “The Tower and The Eye”!!

cropped-cropped-ttate-fb-cover-photo.jpg

In the last  few months, the first four novellas have been gone over with a fine tooth comb, had all the problems pulled, adjusted and reinserted with surgical precision.  My editor went over book five and pronounced it not too bad… just needed a few tweaks…. and now that’s almost done, I’m allowing myself a moment or two to pat myself on the back.

I’ll get back to you with a release date etc when I know for certain  – we’re hoping that it will be next month!!

In the meantime, I’m going to do a bit of promoting of my other books. They’ve been languishing in the doldrums (not literally – I’m not at sea…) for the last few months. I had four sales through Amazon.co.uk last month and two of those got returned (I hate that ability) so they deserve to have some love showered upon them.

The first one to show some love to is…

The Heir of the Dragon

Turn a city upside down and shake it – what falls out?

The Treaty that binds the Vampires, Werewolves, Humans and the rarely seen True Dragons is over 1000 years old. It provides stability and safety for all the citizens of the city of Te Ling. Triads and Yakuza are not welcome here and Tourism flourishes amongst the bright lights, Night clubs, Temples and leisure facilities.

But many lights cast a multitude of shadows and they just get darker as you get deeper. Li is as deep into the darkness as you can get: cop by day, shadow by night, he eats and drinks the lifeblood of the city. A threat to the current Te Ling Triang Leader is a threat to the City and The Black Dragon cannot be risked. Li is handed the responsibility of tracking down and removing the threat…preferably permanently .

You can read an excerpt of it on Baby-Boar House,  so I won’t add one here. While you’re over there, take a look at the other book excerpts available; every single author on the site is trying their hardest to produce books to entertain you, so at least take a moment to read about the books!

What I will add here, though are the buy links for “The Heir of The Dragon” –

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Smashwords

If you do decide to pick it up, would you please do me the honour and the favour of reviewing it please? Post a review on whatever site that you buy it from – this makes it more attractive to the site’s other browsers and could possibly help me by inspiring a sale!

And do you know what sales do? They keep my cats in the style which they have become accustomed to!

*****

And Finally…

I want to put together another book of short stories, but what I’d like to do is get some reader input.  I want you to challenge me!

So from now until 31st July 2015, I am asking my readers to give me a prompt. Those prompts chosen for the book will get written and the reader who posed it will be mentioned in the introduction to the story, as well as get a free PDF / ebook copy.

To enter, just comment on this blog post or on my Facebook Author page with the following information:

1) Name of the main character – can be yours or a friend’s or just made up; just remember if you use your own or a friend’s it will only be the name being used; the rest of the character will come out of my mind…

2) A place – doesn’t have to be real, a ten word description will do.

3) An object – feel free to get crazy with this…

4) A Genre – I’ll attempt anything; it’s good practice!

5) A Colour – Why the colour? Well, I’m going to call the book “A Rainbow of Inspiration”, so this will help me put the story into the right place in the book.

I will include a minimum of seven stories in the book, however, depending on how many prompts I get and how inspired I am by them, I may go as high as twenty one stories. If I have a lot of prompts, I may even do a second volume…

So don’t be shy – have a go!

Sunday Musings… the growth of a story.

I may have mentioned recently that I managed to actually finish the first draft of a book. Well it’s out with my Alpha Readers at the moment and getting relatively good report. So I’m happy…

So, as I mentioned, I’ve gone back to working on something in Quargard. “The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer” started out as a picture actually. I was mucking around with clay and various bits of stick and a picture appeared out of the impressions. It looked like a man with a pig’s head and the name Pigsnout the Wanderer appeared in my mind… don’t you love it when that happens?

At that point in time, Autochthons hadn’t appeared in “The Tower and The Eye” stories yet, so I snapped a pic and filed the idea away for a later.  After Virrinel appeared in TTATE Book 4, I looked at the picture again. A snippet of poetry occurred to me:

“Gather ye round and list ye right well,
For on this cold night, a tale I shall tell.
Of adventure and monsters,
Of ships that set sail.
From the far south,
Bringing silk by the bale.

‘Twas an eve dark and cold; one just like this,
The scent of the sea permeated the mist.
And into the harbour,
All battered and torn,
“The Wandering Lady”,
On the last tide was bourne.

She bumped into the wharf; her decks stained with blood,
Her sails ripped in two; her lines mostly cut.
No hands alive,
No bodies to tell.
The fate of the crew,
Or the passengers as well…”

For a long time, that was all I had. I was too interested in getting TTATE finished to play with any of the side stories that kept popping up. However, after I drew a revised map of Quargard, a country called Giranath drew my eye and I went back to the poem I’d written. I couldn’t, for the life of me,  continue it. So I left it as the snippet and started telling the story as prose.

The hooded figure slipped over the side of the ship and down onto the wharf, trotting through the obstacle course of crates and barrels fast enough to blur in the gloom.
Clambering up a rotting ladder from the wharf to the harbourside, the figure made a whimpering noise as one of the rungs broke beneath its feet, dropping it down a foot and throwing the voluminous robe it wore wide open as the figure scrambled to reach the next rung.
“You all right, mister?” a voice called from the stone harbour above the figure.
The figure looked up to find a hand extended down toward it. “I’m fine.”
“You look like you gots a bit battered there.” The boy’s face on the other end of the arm smiled, a gold tooth glinting in the low light. “I’ll shows you to a nice inn where you can rest up.”
“You mean you’ll take me to a dive where you and your mates can get me drunk and rob me blind.” The figure muttered.
“I’m ‘urt. I’d never dream o’doing such a thing.” The smile drooped and the boy looked thoughtful. “Does I know you?”
“I very much doubt it.” The figure finished its climb and the hood turned to look toward the boy. “You can tell me something though.”
The boy extended his right hand out, palm up and tapped the fingers into the palm impatiently. “I don’t give in-fore-may-shun for nowt, mister.”
The figure fished around inside his robe and brought out a silver coin. “This had better be good and truthful, mind.”
“What’s you wanna know?” the boy eyed the coin greedily.
“Where’s the Duke right now?” the figure rolled the coin across the back of its fingers.
“He jus’ got back from Giran this aft’noon.” The boy grinned. “He scattered gold coins as he rode in with his new bride, so he’s probably up at the palace givin’ her a good beddin’ in.”
The figure grunted and dropped the coin into the boy’s hand. “Well done. Now get out of here and be thankful that I don’t give you a stripe for trying to lure me.”
The boy’s eyes bulged when the figure flashed a silver badge with a ruby and emerald flag on it. He bowed deeply to the figure, spun on one foot and ran in the opposite direction as fast as his legs could carry him.
The figure put the badge away, glanced around at the buildings around it and started walking up hill.

Once I’d written this piece, I knew who I was writing about and how to explain what happened on the ship. Between this, the timeline I use to keep my world in shape and the maps this story created, I know that I can keep it going. So now I’m back on the keyboard and writing…

O’course, it doesn’t help when I keep getting interrupted – the baby insists that she needs her nappy changed and the older two have this strange craving for food every few hours, can’t they see that I’m busy?

*wanders away muttering about kids and their odd habits like eating and sleeping.*

* * * * *

While I’ve got you here, can I mention something? Well, its like this –

My first story collection... a gentle introduction to my mind.

My first story collection… a gentle introduction to my mind.

This particular book is currently on Permafree on Smashwords and 99c on Amazon… I’d love it if you picked it up and had a read – don’t forget to review it if it moved you in any way, wherever you get it from!

Amazon UK
Smashwords