The ‘C’ Season is coming…

… and I have two new books out for you to read!

The first one is actually the third book in “The Land Far Away” Series – Father Christmas and Quinza the Linzer.

As Christmas comes to Land Far Away, all creatures make ready for the festivities.

One young Linzer is not satisfied by the prospect of gifts – she wants to capture the big man, Father Christmas himself.

In Linzerland the Linzers build snow houses with chimneys to give Father Christmas somewhere to put their presents, but Quinza is determined to capture Father Christmas’ undivided attention and get hers first. So she makes sure that her house and chimney are the biggest and brightest in the whole of Linzerland.

Unfortunately, she’s gone just a little too far…

* * *

I wrote this story to explain to my kids why capturing Father Christmas and forcing him to stay to dinner would be a bad idea. I never realised that it would inspire Maria K. quite so much! It was the first book that she just had to illustrate and is really the one that set the whole collaboration off. Not to mention a friendship that has developed from it!

Fancy picking up a copy to read to your kids? I have it on the best authority (ie: from the mouths of my children and their friends) that it’s worth reading! Zip over to lulu on the link below and grab one. The pictures are clear and colourful, the paper smooth and the text easy to read. The spiral binding was a conscious choice for us – we wanted kids to be able to read the book with it spread out on their lap, without breaking the spine and the spiral binding does that perfectly.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/maria-k-and-kira-morgana/father-christmas-and-quinza-the-linzer/paperback/product-20422545.html

* * *

The second of my new books is for older kids… and adults. In fact it sits squarely in the older  Teenage bracket…

Cover design by Maria K.

Jenni and her twin sister Morgana have never been apart until divorce separates them. Morgana stays with their mother and Jenni leaves Cardiff with their father, moving to the town of Arkingham across the border in England.

Once there, she makes friends and settles into her new school, determined not to allow the separation change her, but there are still many challenges facing her. Her father gets a job as Head Gardener at The Grange and Jenni meets Aderyn Archington, an eccentric scientist and Lord of Arkingham. 

Aderyn Archington is more than he seems. Racked by illness, his interest in Jenni and her family appears benign. His death brings both rewards and new challenges for Jenni; it quickly becomes apparent that there is more to being Lady of Arkingham than living in a big house.

And life will never be the same again…

This is my first full length novel and is the first book in a new series. “The Secret of Arking Down” came from my 2009 NaNoWriMo entry. That year I wrote the first 50,000 words of the book and almost overnight, a series came flooding out of the world that I created.

“The Angel’s Crown” introduces all the major players of the series as well as the world they live in; an alternate universe where it is possible to move between dimensions and visit alternate universes. So far, there are two finished books and  one in progress and I am planning the fourth book now – NaNoWriMo starts Nov 1st and I am writing book 4 for it!

Fun Huh?

Check it out on:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/242194

And its Back…

Now you might remember that Pfoxmoor Publishing took on my novella series, “The Tower and The Eye“, but unfortunately, due to problems beyond Pfoxmoor’s control, they had to close down their business.

Pfoxmoor Cover – by Sessha Batto, published Spring 2012

I learned a lot about writing and Publishing from my time at Pfoxmoor and I wish Diane Nelson all the best in her new venture, Pubwrite Manuscript Services and I can recommend her editing services without reservation.

All of this meant that I had to republish the first book in the series, “TTATE: A Beginning” – so I started with a read through, just to check everything was up to scratch. Then I edited a little, to change some things that I felt might be difficult on the copyright front; the reason being, that there were a lot of cases floating around the internet about authors being sued or attacked for using things that were similar to an existing, bigger franchise, so I wanted to protect myself.

Then I decided that I needed a fresh look for the cover.

This wasn’t because I didn’t like the cover that Pfoxmoor had published it with – on the contrary, I loved it. I just wanted to make it feel like a new edition of the story – considering the changes I had made – so I went to Elizabeth Bank of Selestiele Designs and asked her to come up with a new idea for the cover based on the original.

When the design came back to me, I loved it as much as the cover Sessha did –

Cover by Elizabeth Bank

Then finally, I got it primped, polished and ready to go…  Here’s an excerpt to remind you what it’s like:

 

They had been in the treasure room for nearly two hours.

Loric had relaxed his guard and idly watched Silvertree examining a large emerald the size of Loric’s fist with an eyeglass. Grimhelm had found four matching rubies and was sifting through another pile to find a fifth one, as a wedding present for his sister, he claimed.

Kalytia was the only person who had not relaxed. She was getting more and more stressed as the evil that permeated the stones of the dungeon affected her.

“Please can we get this crystal and get out of here!” she pleaded for the tenth time.

“Just a bit longer,” Grim muttered.

“Relax, Lady Cleric. There is nothing to worry about, this place is deserted.” Thiert said, grinning at her.

It didn’t help.

Loric frowned. Earlier the thief had been advocating a quick get-away, now he seemed content to plunder the dungeon. What’s going on? It’s like the treasure trove in here has them hypnotised. He watched Thiert select his route through the room, and over to the biggest pile of gems.

At the very top of the pile was a massive Fire Opal, twice the size of the large emerald Silvertree had in his hands.

“My Gods!” the thief exclaimed. “I have to have that one.”

“Be careful!” Loric barked as Thiert reached up, balancing precariously on one foot.

Grimhelm and Silvertree looked round as the rascal got the gem, but tumbled onto the pile of treasure underneath it. He lay there, sliding the gem into his pouch and grinned weakly when he saw them all looking down at him. As he turned over and sat up, the gems behind him slid down and Kalytia saw the top of an alarm trap under him.

“Thiert! Stay still, you’ve sat on a trap!” she called.

The thief froze. His hood slid back off his head, exposing the tattoo Loric had seen earlier in the Inn and Silvertree gasped.

“A spell tattoo!” The elf moved closer to examine it.

That ink is definitely darker than it was earlier. Loric frowned. “What do you mean a spell tattoo?”

“I sent you books about Aracan Katuvana when you started researching this quest. Didn’t you read them?” Silvertree frowned at his pupil.

“Well, sort of.” Loric looked down, squirming slightly. “The ones I read had more stories in them than anything else.”

“You always were an indifferent student Loric, preferring fantasy to history.” Silvertree sighed. “Your brother paid far more attention to what I was teaching than you did.”

“Explain it, Mage; don’t have a go at the lad.” Grimhelm said slipping a fifth ruby into his pouch and tying it back on his belt.

“When the Aracan Katuvana was in power, those humans who accepted his rule or sold him their soul were tattooed with a thorny branch that extended up their left arm, up their neck and around their left eye.” Silvertree turned to look at the thief, considering. “The only difference between the two types of human servants was that those who had accepted his rule had tiny black roses in-between the thorns. Those fully possessed by him had red roses. ”

Loric looked back at Thiert. The tattoo he had glimpsed on the back of the thief’s right hand had been a thorny branch and now that the rogue’s hood was down, he could see the tattoo ran up the left side of his neck, across his forehead to curl around his right eye socket. There were no tiny black roses between the thorns. “So you sold your soul to the Aracan Katuvana, did you?”

“You don’t understand. When I was a tiny child, my parents couldn’t afford to keep me so they left me on the doorstep of the nearest Guild they could find. Unfortunately it was the Thieves and Swindlers Guild and though they took me in, they also sold my soul to the Dark Ones to make the guild rise in status. Two days ago this appeared.” Thiert sounded distraught.

“I knew we couldna trust ye!” Grimhelm snarled drawing his hammer and advancing on the man.

Kalytia went white and took three steps forward, her right hand outstretched as if trying to stop the dwarf from doing anything. Her foot slipped on the gold scattered across the floor and she fell, hitting her head on the floor.

She didn’t move.

Silvertree scrambled across to her and Grim turned to try and help.

Loric could hear something coming from the door behind him. As the noise got louder, a foul stench filled the air. He turned, raising his sword and shouted “There’s something…” but he never finished his sentence.

 

The south door burst open and the fattest demon Loric had ever seen stood there with two more behind it. The creature waddled in and Loric backed up as he realised that the smell was coming from the demon. As it advanced, it farted, each step releasing a cloud of gas that made him gag. Use the gas mask, he told himself, pulling the red mask from his pocket. One handed, he managed to get it over his head while holding his sabre out in front of him. Good. Now what do we do?

Once the demons were in the room, they spread out, not caring what they trod on. Loric didn’t dare take his eyes off them to find out what his companions were doing. He brought his shield round from his back and slipped it onto his arm, praying fervently.

The demons roared and shook their heads, rattling the Flails attached to their long horns. He backed up further, until he bumped into Thiert who was still half lying on the alarm trap.

“Duck, Loric!” Silvertree yelled and the prince dropped to the floor. A green fireball flew through the air where his head had been and hit the centre demon. It lodged in the creature’s stomach for a few minutes and the other two demons crowded round to examine the wound. They appeared puzzled and the injured demon poked at it with one long, dirty fingernail.

The fireball contracted slightly and Silvertree called out, “Stay down!” as it expanded rapidly.

The injured demon was torn into bloody chunks, throwing the other two demons through the air and into the side walls. The audible snap as they hit the walls indicated that their necks had broken. The bodies slid down to lie still on the treasure.

Loric barely had time to blink before a horde of tiny Gremlins wearing dirty red tabards rushed into the room through the east door, cleared up the bodies and rushed away shouting “Hup, Hup, Hup,” at the top of their voices through the opposite door. The door slammed shut behind them and they heard a key turn in it.

“Why did they lock it?” the Prince asked no one in particular…

 

* * * *

Here are the links you’ll need, should you be intrigued enough to read more!

For UK readers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginning-The-Tower-Eye-ebook/dp/B009B0XRSM/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348091225&sr=1-2

For US readers: http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-The-Tower-Eye-ebook/dp/B009B0XRSM/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

I hope y’all enjoy!

Poetry, Pam Ayres, 50 Shades and Banana The Poet

I don’t talk about Poetry enough.

It’s a wonderful form of writing and is the one that most people experiment with as teenagers. I’m certain that everyone reading this has tried to create a rhyme or two… and I’m pretty certain that most of those people have come across their poetry years later, read it, cringed and thrown it out.

I’ve written enough poetry to know I’m not serious about writing it – I’m a Noet (NOt-a serious-poET) and proud of it. I use Noetry to write my children’s books and that is about it. I have got a few more than that and one day I might let them see the light of day… however, not yet – I don’t think the world is ready for that…

Anyway. I know enough about poetry to know when I like a Poet. I like Pam Ayres and have done ever since my Dad let me read a couple of her books.  Here’s one of my favourites of hers from when I was little:

Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

by Pam Ayres

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the lollies I licked
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

If I’d known I was paving the way
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fillin’s,
Injections and drillin’s,
I’d have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lie in the old dentist’s chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine
In these molars of mine.
‘Two amalgam,’ he’ll say, ‘for in there.’

How I laughed at my mother’s false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath.
But now comes the reckonin’
It’s me they are beckonin’
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

Taken from the The Works: The Classic Collection 2008. 

And borrowed from http://www.pamayres.com

I also like Shakespeare, T.S. Elliot, A.A. Milne and Lord Byron…

She Walks in Beauty

by Lord Byron

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that ‘s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

I also know a fair few Poets from the writing websites I have been on.  Some of them are sticklers for form and metre, others are more relaxed.

My absolute favourite thus far, is Michele Brenton, a.k.a. Banana the Poet. She has three blogs. One is a Funny Poetry Blog, the second is a Serious Poetry Blog,  and the third is her ‘normal’ blog – where she talks about anything and everything.

Now, to step aside from my current line of thought for a moment (stay with me, it is relevant) I suppose that you might have heard of  “50 Shades of Grey” and the other two books in the trilogy.

These books have spawned a whole slew of copycats, tail riders, spoofs and parodies, all hoping to get just a little of this success that E. L. James has garnered. She worked very hard to get it, and despite my reservations about the books and the origin of them, I have to say, she has done what the majority of writers want to do – sell enough books to make a decent amount of money from them. So well done to her.

Michele also created a parody of  50SoG. However, her parody was so incredibly original and well written that it has knocked Roger McGough’s latest book off the top spot in the Poetry Top 100 Paid Bestsellers list!

I read the three poems in the book recently and I spent the entire time laughing. I’m warning you, do not read this book with anything in your mouth, liquid or otherwise, because more than likely it will end up splattered all over the screen of whatever you are using to read the e-book!

Combining Roger McGough’s storytelling ability, Pam Ayres’ naughtiness and Victoria Wood’s pith, Fifty Shades of Blue is the best of her work yet!

But don’t just take my word for it, here’s a sampler of the reviews she’s garnered thus far:

“THIS needs to be at the top of all the best-seller lists! (And not just the poetry ones)

I’ll admit it now that I’m not the world’s biggest poetry lover. But, thanks to Michele’s fantastic sense of humour and fabulous way with words, I’m finding myself devouring it in ever greater portions.

Fifty Shades of Blue is probably the greatest parody that the Fifty Shades series is going to see. Brilliantly funny, you’ll be crying with laughter before you’ve even turned the first page. Michele’s acute awareness of current pop culture has spawned a piece which is going to live on a lot longer than any of us can imagine. You NEED to read this whether you loathe the Fifty Shades series or think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.” – Rae Gee, Amazon.co.uk

* * *

“I’ve sampled several parodies of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, and nearly all come off as pastiches riding the inexplicably successful coat-tails of this bestseller.

And then there’s “Fifty Shades of Blue” – a true feat of literary and poetic parody. Written by the accomplished Michele Brenton, whose original work is reminiscent of Hillaire Belloc, she manages, in this equivalent of a Kindle single, to unleash a flurry of arrows in E.L. James’ direction that would make Katniss of “The Hunger Games” slack-jawed with envy. The humor is raw, and the aim is true.

Whether you love “Fifty Shades” or not, this parody will have you laughing out loud… and serves as a fabulous and affordable introduction to Brenton’s other, highly-recommended, poetry books.”– Semaphore, Amazon.com

* * *

“First, let me admit that I really don’t care much for poetry. In fact, it’s a little embarrassing whenever someone asks me what I think of their poem – because the answer is always the same, “I don’t really understand poetry” (which seems preferable to outright lying! HaHa)

That said, Michele’s new book, “Fifty Shades of Blue”, is the first book of poetry I can honestly say I love! It’s hysterically funny – without trying to be! Unlike a lot of poetry, you won’t need a dictionary to appreciate this book. Her poetry has a grounded, earthy feel.. real life in prose. Real poetry for real people!” – SM “sm-1” Amazon.com

So go on, treat yourself to a spot of poetry that will exercise the imagination and your diaphragm without breaking the bank!