It’s here, it’s finally here!

*dances around the room*

TTATE Collection (1)


That’s right, THE TOWER AND THE EYE has been let loose upon the world of ebooks!!!


On Facebook right now, there’s a party going on! Yup, I’m having a launch party!!
*Can you tell I’m excited?*
So if you’re on Facebook why don’t you pop in to the party and see what’s going on…


There’s a whole lot more in this edition of the book than there was in the separate ones; Blue Hour Publishing worked hard with me to enhance each book’s potential. There is also some brand new content  only seen by my editor and beta readers, so even if you’ve already bought / read the first four books, this one is worth getting!!!

So let’s take a peek at the new content shall we?

*grins wickedly*

A quick meal and several changes of clothing later, they were ready to go. Aranok kept glancing at Kalytia whose beauty shone even more in the tight fitting fighting harness of the Dark Mistress. Her blue dragonscale armour hugged her figure and the smooth faceless helm hid her own face completely, only her eyes were visible through a slot, making her allure all the more dangerous.

On one hip she carried a long coiled whip and on the other a wicked looking sword, its blade writhing like a snake moving through the grass. Her blue dragonscale tunic hugged her figure and fell over matching leggings which ended in spike heeled boots.

Kaltyia took a moment to check her sword and Aranook shuddered. Those spines on the back edge would make for a very messy wound and you could probably open someone’s throat with just the teeth on the hilt. He thought, trying hard not to cut himself on his own blade as he sharpened it. At least the sharkskin and wire will make for a good grip; you’d need one with the amount of blood using it is going to create.

“Where did you get all that?” the half elf asked.

Kalytia slid the blade into its sheath, the dragon headed hilt sparkling where the light hit the gems in the eye and teeth.

“I described the fighting harness of the women we… Loric encountered in the dungeon in Galivor to Eliethor. She had the leatherworkers make it and then she and a mage of Tyr modified it with some of the details from your report of the dungeon in Valdier and Kraaz’s information from Jinra.” Kalytia ran a self conscious hand over her body. “I’ve only worn it once, but it’s really quite liberating. There’s nothing to get in the way of quick movements and the Dragonscale stretches in a way that normal leather armour doesn’t.”

Joran grinned at her.

“If I weren’t in love with Julissa, you’d just have become a target for my affections.”

Want to read more? Well I’ll be posting excerpts in the launch party today or you can go pick up a copy – it’s on sale for the introductory price of £1.99!!

“The Tower and the Eye” should be available on all of Amazon’s sites…. please enjoy!!!!!!

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

Melt beads, Steampunk and Bladed Fans…

I’ve spent most of the day today sorting through melt beads. These are the sort of bead that you put onto a spiky tray and then heat with a hot iron through greaseproof paper to glue them together; rather neatly utilising the thermal properties of the plastic they are created from.

finished owl

The reason I am doing this, is that the Brownie Unit I work with are doing the Woodland Wonders Challenge and the owl is one of the activities. We had some melt beads and I volunteered to attempt the project so that we know what sort of pitfalls etc that the girls might come up against.

It’s a relatively easy pattern, but, due to some errors in the pattern I ended up rejigging it so that the poor creature had a beak. It also gave me a chance to count the number of beads we were going to need.
Each owl needs 254 beads. We have approximately 20 brownies so we were going to need well over 5000 beads. After a quick consultation we decided that it would be easier just to buy the colours separately.

But sadly, my favourite crafting shop let me down. They didn’t have enough black and no orange at all! So there I was this morning, sorting through one of those tubs full of multiple colours, trying to find enough beads to cover our needs.

I managed it, but my eyes were crossing by the end of the exercise – I’m pretty certain that I’ll be seeing multicoloured dots for at least a week…


Book 3 of The Finishing School Series

So having bagged up the beads, I turned my attention to a birthday present.

Gail Carriger is one of my favourite authors. I have all of the Parasol Protectorate books and I am avidly collecting the Finishing School series.
Due to the current Hachette / Amazon contretemps, this particular book came via Waterstones rather than Amazon. But to be honest, I don’t really care where I buy my books from, as long as I can get my grubby mitts on a print copy of my favourites!

I devoured it in 24 hours and would normally leave a review on Amazon, but again, because I couldn’t buy it from Amazon, I cannot review it on Amazon.


Waistcoats & Weaponry is a wonderful, highly absorbing book for ten year olds upwards. It links neatly with a particular incident in the Parasol Protectorate books (don’t worry I won’t spoil the story) and I loved every moment of it… especially the twist in the tail!

No, I haven’t misspelt that.

Now that I’ve finished it, my son is snapping at my heels to read it. I’ve delayed him somewhat by forcing him to at least finish one of the three books he is reading (a Discworld Novel) but I saw the gleam in his eye when the book arrived and I’m not going to let him have four books on the go at once… even when one of said four is actually a series of Graphic Novels.

The weapon that appears in Waistcoats & Weaponry is the bladed fan. I am assuming a little here that Ms Carriger was inspired by the Oriental War Fan.

There are different styles of Martial Art that use the Fan; it was an easily hidden weapon for Chinese Warriors and the Samurai, and I have no doubt that techniques were taught to women as a form of self defence.

It is an elegant weapon and perfectly suited to the female Intelligencier.