Saturday 17 August 2013

Guest post by Cas Peace

Today, my blog features a guest post from Cas Peace, author of the Artesans of Alba series from Rhemalda Publishing. An article about getting the books published, the blurb for the books (and trust me they are a wonderful series) and a chance to enter a draw to win copies.
So, please welcome Cas
Cas Peace.jpg

Author Bio:
Cas Peace lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She then spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. As well as working on her writing, Cas loves walking, growing cacti, and playing the bodhran. She supports many animal charities and owns two rescue Lurchers, Milly and Milo. She also loves to sing, and is currently writing and recording nine folk-type songs to accompany each of her fantasy books.
See the video of her performing ‘The Wheel Will Turn,’ from King’s Envoy, live at the King’s Envoy book launch in 2011:
All her songs are available as free downloads from her website:
Blurb for King’s Envoy:
Taran Elijah’s quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world…
In Albia, the Fourth Realm, the precious Artesan gift is dying. Although born to the craft, Taran is struggling to achieve his potential. Against his friends’ advice, he embarks on a foolhardy plan to acquire the teaching he craves. Alone, he crosses into Andaryon, the Fifth Realm, but instead of finding a mentor, he stumbles upon a treacherous plot.
In the wake of Taran’s actions, Albia suffers a series of vicious raids. Major Sullyan of the High King’s forces is sent to oppose them. But a dark and treacherous force is moving through the realms and both Taran and Sullyan will feel its power.
Their craft, the lives of their friends, the very existence of their realm are under threat unless they expose and oppose the evil.
Blurb for King’s Champion:
After surviving brutal torture and escaping from Lord Rykan’s dungeons, Major Sullyan is trapped in Andaryon, too injured to cross the Veils. Slowly dying and determined to find some purpose in the shattered remains of her life, she travels to the Andaryan capitol to offer the Hierarch her sword and Artesan gifts in the fight against Rykan and his vast army. Because women hold no power in Andaryon, Sullyan is met with prejudice, hostility, and suspicion.
Before she can seek vengeance on the field of battle, she must prove herself to the Hierarch’s generals. Finding support from the unlikeliest sources, Sullyan sets a plan in motion to defeat Lord Rykan and end his bid for the throne. The fate of two realms depends on her success, but her strength is fading fast, and time is running out.
Blurb for King’s Artesan:
Unable to purge herself of the poison that is slowly killing her, Major Sullyan remains trapped in Andaryon. The only thing that can save her is the Staff, which still lies buried in Taran’s cellar.
Robin Tamsen sets out on a desperate quest to recover the artifact, but the enemy is two steps ahead of him. Sonten knows where the Staff is, and he will stop at nothing to get it back. If he does, Sullyan’s life will be forfeit and no Artesan will be safe.
The race for the Staff has begun.
How I Kept Going in the Dark Days
Sometimes, when I look back on the last two and a half years, I have a really hard time remembering what it was like trying to get my fantasy series published. Here we are in 2013, and King’s Artesan, the third book in the first trilogy of my Artesans series, has just been published by Rhemalda Publishing. The entire process has been a wonderful experience – from Rhemalda’s initial request to read the full ms of King’s Envoy, to getting an offer, receiving the contract, trying to understand the contract, getting advice on it and doing some negotiating, to signing (and becoming a bona fide “AUTHOR” – Yay!!) through the editing process, the book layout and cover design. All of this has been a true rollercoaster of excitement, self-doubt, euphoria, worry, achievement depression, elation, and stress. Pretty much the full gamut of human emotions. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I coped with it!
Having said that, I guess the dark days of researching publishers and agents, submitting, and getting rejections, were just as high and low. I’d forgotten the childlike excitement of finding a new outfit to submit to. That initial buzz when you read “what we are looking for” and realise that your book fits the bill to a T. Writing that very carefully-worded query letter I mustn’t sound cocky – but how do I sound upbeat and enthusiastic without sounding cocky? and agonising over the synopsis. Just how DO you condense 150,000 words and a complex plot and sub-plot into three pages?? It simply can’t be done! And then printing off the brand-new, shiny white, never-touched-by-human-hand sample chapters of your masterpiece that you just know they’re going to love, and slipping it into a specially-bought, double-strength manila envelope that – yes! – you lovingly kiss for luck as you send it on its way.
Then – eventually (maybe) – there’s a thump on the doormat. Your fingers tremble as you struggle to open the SAE you so carefully enclosed. You can tell before you open it that they’ve returned your sample chapters. Oh-oh. Is that good or bad? It’s good, surely – they’ll want the entire ms sent in one go, silly, they won’t ask you to just send chapters 4 – 31! Still trembling, you slip out the letter – only to find it’s actually your letter, the one you spent so much time on. Not a good sign. The heart begins to droop. It droops further when you fish around in the envelope and find (if you’re lucky!) the standard, pre-printed rejection slip. “Thank you for your query, but I’m afraid your work doesn’t fit our list at present. Yours, A. N. Agent.” If you’re even luckier, you might get a personal letter from your chosen recipient telling you that they thought your work was good, it just wasn’t for them. Is that better or worse than the standard, impersonal slip? What’s even luckier – and I was fortunate indeed to receive a few of these – is the entirely personal, hand-written reply giving you valuable feedback and even a suggestion as to whom you might try next. Those really help lift spirits downtrodden by the evil rejection of your potentially-award-winning masterpiece!
So how did I keep going during the ten years it took me to find Rhemalda Publishing? The answer is Faith. Faith in myself and my work. Every time I received a rejection, I allowed myself to feel disappointment. It’s no good telling yourself not to, you will anyway so you might as well accept it! Then I picked myself up and looked for someone else to query. I didn’t waste too much time thumping the wall, or smashing plates, or being grumpy to my husband (yes, I was sometimes, sorry Dave!) I just tried to stay positive. I do believe that if you feel negative, you invite negativity, but if you stay positive, positive things will happen. Somewhere deep inside, I just knew my books would find their home. Too many agents and publishers told me that for me to doubt it. I just hadn’t found the right one yet. Too many coincidences associated with my characters or storyline kept happening and they all helped keep me motivated and pushed me to keep trying. And I took notice of that old mantra we’ve all heard a million times – NEVER GIVE UP. Because it works.
And now here I am, celebrating the publication of Book Three, King’s Artesan. I am in talks with Rhemalda regarding the next trilogy in the series, Circle of Conspiracy. If all goes well, the next three books could be published during 2014. After that comes the final trilogy, Master of Malice. And I am also working on a YA prequel to the series, working title Maiden of Mysteries.
So you already know my advice – have faith and KEEP TRYING. You never know how close you could be to that deal … J

Now, for the link to the rafflecoptor prize draw

Good luck to all and thanks for joining us today

Friday 9 August 2013

The Demi-Monde (Summer) by Rod Rees - a review

And the fun and adventure continue with Summer, the third book in Rod Rees' quite wonderful Demi-Monde series. For starters though, let me advise that you read Winter and Spring (books 1 and 2 in the series) first because, believe me you will be completely and utterly lost. This is a series that rewards you for sticking with it by opening up a new area of the Demi-Monde with each new book - this being the third we visit the area known as The Coven (Rangoon, Tokyo and Beijing) as well as the places we visited in earlier episodes.

The usual characters are here, but there are a bunch of new "figures from history" again, half of the fun is wondering who will make an appearance next. If you've got this far really you'll know what to expect - the humour and clever wordplay once again running strong throughout.

With Summer things are slowly starting to come to a head, ready for Fall, the fourth and final book in this thoroughly entertaining series. All the major players are starting to show their hands, things in The Demi-Monde and The Real World may never be the same again. It's going to be down to a small group of heroes to save both worlds.

In short, rip-roaring, non stop action in a cyber reality and the real world. Don't miss this series, it's a real treat.

Four and a half stars

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Doctor Who - The Tick Box Terror

Right, first things first - a few little points

  1) This post is just my thoughts and opinions on the recent revelation of the twelfth incarnation of Doctor Who. The thoughts and opinions are all my own and I am not trying to upset anyone. If I do upset you, please feel free to let me know.

  2) This may be a bit of a rambly post.....

Still with me?


Right, earlier this year Matt Smith announced his intention to leave the role of Doctor Who incarnation number 11. Straight away the usual questions and statements started to be raised in the press and public -  It's time for a black actor to take the role, it's time the Doctor regenerated into a woman etc etc.

I don't get it

I really just DO .NOT. GET. IT!

Okay, in the Let's Kill Hitler episode Melody, the friend and (although they didn't know it at the time) daughter of Amy and Rory was  a darker skinned actress who regenerated into River Song so the possibility of The Doctor changing skin colour I can accept.

The one that really gets my goat is the idea that a The Doctor should change gender. It really does not make any sense to me. It is a fact of life that men and women are 'built' differently. If it were possible, the mechanics of it just, for me don't add up.

But, and this, to me, is where I feel strongest - why can't it just be left alone. The character of The Doctor is a white, male so let's just leave it at that and be happy. There is no need whatsoever to enter the Tick Box realm where a character is not chosen because he/she is the right person but because it's seen as pc to give them the part ( and here's a small point - I've never heard anyone suggest he should be Chinese or any other Asian race)

Now, after my little mini rant (or rantlet ,if you will), my thoughts on the new Doctor

In 1996 I just happened to fall across a drama on BBC1 and watched it just because there was nothing else on at the time. That drama was The Crow Road (based on the Iain Banks novel of the same name) and one of the main characters was Uncle Rory (who was missing but appeared to the main character Prentice McHoan as a ghost type) who was played by Peter Capaldi.

This show turned out to be one of my all time favourites and my initial thoughts included "that guy would make a brilliant Doctor." So, as I'm sure you'll have guessed by now, when Peter Capaldi was announced as Doctor 12 I was over the moon - matter of fact I still am. I think he will do a great job.

But, as you would expect, and I suppose it's inevitable, some people are not happy. He is too old, he is not 'pretty enough', he is white, he is a he yadda yadda yadda......

I believe he is the right person for the job and the future of the show is in safe hands.

As I said at the beginning of this post I have not set out to offend or upset anyone here and if you feel I have, please accept my heartfelt and most sincere apologies. Please feel free to respond or get in touch.

Right, if you've stayed the distance here, thank you for listening/ reading.

I'll be back to the book reviews soon but Doctor Who is a show that has been my 'thing' since seeing The Sea Devils in 1972 and I felt I had to say my bit.