Monday, 29 July 2013

Book Release - Penwinnard 3.

The third Penwinnard Story is called 'Trevanian's Leap.'

The release date is 14th September, 2013.


The winnard tattoo.
   Frank is facing new hurdles - a new place to live, a new school, and he'd lose the friends he'd made at Penwinnard - Bob, Dallas, and especially Greg.  He’d never really had friends before.
In many cultures and throughout history, there have been manhood rituals. For the boys of Penwinnard, it is Trevanian's Leap - the jump off a high point on the cliff into a deep rock pool below.

Taking the Leap is foolish, dangerous and strictly forbidden.  Nevertheless, Frank is tempted. And then afterwards, the tattoo. What would his mum say?  His mother was in prison for embezzlement. As Bob says, she really doesn't have the right to say anything. 


The boys of Penwinnard have free access to the beaches and the cliffs.
The boss has never lost a boy to drowning.  He hopes he never will.

Thanks to Wade and to Rob, skateboard kings, who gave me permission to use their images for my books.

Rob is the one in front, currently pretending to be Sid, hero of  'You Gotta Have Manners.'

 My books can be bought from online stores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

Images of falcons are by photographer:
Greta Van Der Rol.

Penwinnard 4 is in progress.  In this story, the vine covered chapel plays an important part.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The blog that grew

Diane Dickson talks about her book: 'The Grave.'

       'The Grave' began life, in common with most of my other novels, as a blog serial.  The original was about half the length of the finished work but when I put it on Authonomy for feedback, I had lots of comments suggesting that I change the outcome and take the thing further.  I decided to do that and the book became a very different thing.  
It is based mainly in the Lake District and Liverpool which are places in the UK that I know very well as I spent my childhood and teenage years living in Liverpool and love The Lakes and have camped, and walked and sailed and swum there since I was a child.  
The original location is totally imaginary as I needed the long car journey and so it had to be in the south of England and, though I have spent some time down there I am not as familiar with that area. 
The cover was designed by Angela at - (my daughter who is a very gifted illustrator and graphic designer).
 The story is very harsh in parts with a fair bit of blood and violence which I have to admit I enjoyed writing


Editorial Review  (or 'the blurb.')

Samuel is reclusive, He visits town rarely and mixes with no-one until the day he buys Sylvie a drink. The results of the encounter are tragic, life changing and dreadful. Samuel knows that he must get away from his present situation and Sylvie is swept along with him. As the relationship between them deepens Samuel's shadowy past is the biggest threat to any sort of future.

Excerpts from reader comments:
'The storyline flows beautifully with the suspense building to an ever increasing pitch.'
Vivid writing -  'The opening, struggling through the the way his raw fingers catch and make him hiss. The way he cleans up the blood that the reader can 'see' because you so clearly describe it.'

'This was very powerful and compelling writing.'

 About the Author

Born in Yorkshire and grown up in Lancashire, England. I have spent many years living and working in the Middle East which was wonderful. Now, I am based partly in South West, France, in a lovely house in the middle of a forest and partly in Solihull in the UK. We have an apartment overlooking the Severn Trent Waterway, where I can frisby bread to the ducks right from my balcony. I am married with two wonderful children and two amazing grandsons who like my children's stories.

I have loved reading and writing ever since I can remember and have published some poetry in addition to my three children's books and now adult fiction.

I also write short stories most of those can be seen on was delighted to be voted Shortbreader of the year recently

To find out more:


Friday, 12 July 2013

Vampires, Werewolves and Waffen-SS.

Author Richard Rhys Jones has some unusual books - far from your usual thriller or romance:

This review of his first published book should give you the general idea.

Vampires, Werewolves, Commandos and Waffen-SS... what are you waiting for?,

By bladerunner2180,  May 13, 2012

The genre-mixing of the Second World War with the realm of the mystical and supernatural has always had me in its thrall, ever since I watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc as a teenage boy. Seldom tried and even less often successfully so, it has remained a niche genre with limited overall commercial appeal outside two of the Indiana Jones movies. The first Hellboy movie incorporated some of the occult links to the Third Reich and, in my opinion, would have been better all around had it concentrated on such a setting. Not that a Rasputin eldritch abomination wasn't nice, too, don't get me wrong... The last good instalment of a WW2/Supernatural mix I know of was the 2008 horror movie Outpost (the less said about the sequel the better). And as far as books go: in case they exist they did their very best to avoid my attention.

That is until now.

Richard Rhys Jones' novel took me by complete surprise.

The tide of war has turned against the once unstoppable German armies, and Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, is approached by a Romanian count claiming to be part of the ethnic German minority of the Siebenbürger Sachsen who promises him an army of soldiers capable to fight during the night. Enamored by the occult and by the obvious advantages of such a deal he send newly promoted Eastern Front veteran Markus von Struck and a select band of trusted Waffen-SS soldiers into Romania to escort his envoy Dr. Rasch to finalize the deal.

At the same time the British apparently are approached by the same count and decide to send Major James Smith onto a commando operation, dropping him via parachute into the Carparthians.

What starts ordinary enough for the peak of WW2 soon branches out into the fields of legend, religious myths reaching back four thousand years, and horror. The lines between ally and enemy begin to blurr, and soon a motley crew of the most unlikely heroes are all that stand between survival and an all-consuming darkness.

Jones' human characters, even the secondary ones, are all well-rounded, three dimensional people with strengths and weaknesses and they, even more so than the extremely well-paced story, are what carries the novel to its action-packed climax. This is even more so stunning since a large parts of the protagonist we follow are German Waffen-SS soldiers, a group not commonly attributed with positive traits. But over the course of the narrative Jones manages to turn them into layered, likeable individuals, and while they share the limelight with a handful of other characters like a pair of Jewish KZ inmates who turn into unlikely - and ultimately really satisfying - heroes, they are the true protagonists of The Division of the Damned.

What's at stake and who are the heroes? Well this quote narrows it down more succinctly than I ever could:

"Who'd have thought it would come to this?" Michael asked nobody in particular.

"What?" Rohleder asked without looking up from scrubbing his barrel. "That the final fight for mankind would be fought by a couple of modern-day knights, German SS, an Englishman, a Communist, a Jewish woman and a Jewish werewolf?"

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is The Division of the Damned in all its glory - and it is a glorious read indeed - condensed into half a dozen sentences. If you haven't figured it out by now: I'm totally enamored by this book. If you can even remotely get into the WW2/Horror combination this is a read you must not pass by.



 And his second, published more recently:   


The House of Wales: 
Book Description:


From the flames of Man, straight to the flames of Hell.

Recently orphaned by the bombing of Liverpool at the start of World War Two, Danny Kelly is evacuated to the relative safety of Colwyn Bay, unaware of the evil that awaits him there.

Once there, he is cast into the oppressive realm of Satan and his acolytes, a world of escalating human sacrifice and voracious desires, lorded over by a village priest and his seemingly prim housekeeper.

Will Danny, isolated, inexperienced and vulnerable, survive where so many others have recently succumbed?

Or will there be another victim claimed by ‘The House in Wales’?

 A review by  G. Polley "blogger and writer"
Richard Rhys Jones's "The House in Wales" is an unforgettable tale of evil into which young Danny Kelly finds himself unintentionally dropped. From the first words, we know that we are in for a very chilling ride through Hell.
"The door slammed shut, and instantly Danny was awake, his reason screeching at him in alarm." From the first paragraph to the last, this is a story that will stick in my mind for a long, long time.

I'm wondering what Richard Rhys Jones, author of "The Division of the Damned" will have in store for us next? Whatever it is, I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for it.

Here is Richard has to say:

I thought I'd put a bit down about myself and how I came onto the idea for 'Division' and "House".

I'm married, the wrong side of forty with two kids and a cat. I hold a British passport and hail originally from the sunny shores of Colwyn Bay in North Wales.  I now live in Germany and have done since coming here as a young soldier in 1987.

Writing is like a drug; the more you write, the more you want to write. I'd written lots of short stories, poems, rhymes and song lyrics but I'd never actually tackled a full length book.
It was always on the horizon, but if I was to tackle a novel it'd have to be something that really interests me, something special. So I waited for inspiration.

Vampires were always my favourite monster, and I knew that if I was going to pen a book, then I would definitely include or write about 'the children of the night'.   The thing is, following vampire folklore could only lead to cliché and the regurgitation of the old mythology, and I wanted to do something new.   But what?

My interest in the Third Reich came about after a visit to Dachau in 1988. I'd never given much thought to the awful events that befell the German people between 1933 and 1945, and Dachau was the epiphany that ignited my fascination.   How was it possible that one of the most cultured, civilised countries in the world could stoop to such barbaric depths? I refused to believe  that all Germans were purely evil, therefore there had to be another reason. So I read up on the subject, actually I read an awful lot on it in an effort to understand what happened.

On a creative level, I knew the malevolent politics, the tragedy and the confusion of the Third Reich would be the perfect vessel for any story I cared to construct. But how could I write about something in the Third Reich that hadn't already been covered?

This attempting to understand the background of the Holocaust led me onto another subject that spiked my interest, the Nazi obsession with the occult.  The Nationalist Socialist hierarchy had all sorts of fanciful notions about German Blood and Earth, the supremacy of the Aryan race and even
Atlantis. However, the man who took this fascination to its greatest lengths was Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS.  The architect of the Final Solution, who caused untold misery throughout Europe was in reality a very sickly, small minded person who would sooner listen to his astrologer than his generals. The castle at Wewelsburg near Paderborn in Germany stands perfect testament to his
penchant for pseudo-mythology and costumed ceremony. It was his unstinting belief in the supernatural, and all the fictitious possibilities it held, that lingered in foetus form at the back of my
mind for a long time.

A couple of years ago, whilst working with a German colleague I noticed that, though his German was flawless, he had an accent that I didn't quite recognise. At first I'd placed him as being from Bavaria but the more we worked together, the more I was convinced he wasn't German.
Finally, I asked him.   His family, he told me, originally came from Transylvania.  Transylvania, I was about to learn, has a large community that uses German as its first language. These Transylvanian Germans are considered Auslandsdeutsche, or Foreign Germans, by the German
government and therefore have the right to German citizenship.  His family came over to Germany at the end of the cold war.

A German colony in Transylvania.  Transylvania, the traditional home of the vampire.  It wasn't a great leap of the imagination for me to connect the Siebenberger Sachsen, (Transylvanian Saxons in English) with the vampire theme.
I had my idea and I started researching for the book as soon as I came home from work.

The idea for The House in Wales has far more mundane foundations.

My publishers at Taylor Street were looking for someone to write about a haunted house. The series "American Horror Story" and the film "The Woman in Black" had hit American audiences in a big way. American Horror Story, with its creepy characters, perverse subplots and psychotic undertones, and The Woman in Black with its eerie atmosphere and dark isolation, had turned the haunted house genre around in the public mind, putting it firmly back on the map.

I was asked if I'd like to have a go at writing something along those lines. At that time I was stumbling around the sequel for "Division". The plot was weak and missing something, (which I now have, by the way) and my fire was waning, so they couldn't have asked at a better moment.

I knew I simply couldn't copy those two films; it had to be set somewhere different, remote and unrelated. So, ingeniously, (well not really, as we'd just returned from a family holiday in my home town), I decided to set in North Wales during World War Two.

The arch villain of the story is the house keeper, Fiona Trimble, a slender, refined looking lady. My problem was how could this graceful example of womanhood force her will on the hero of the story, a seventeen year old lad from bombed out Liverpool? Surely not by womanly guile alone?
I pondered the question and liked the idea of someone weak using a large fearsome dog as their muscle. However, I didn't want to use the clichéd Rottweilers, Dobermans or German Sheepdogs, so I decided on an Irish wolfhound.  Irish wolfhounds, as lovable and as domesticated as they are, have
always intimidated me by their size alone. A friend of mine shared his home with one, (he definitely didn't own it), and though he was as friendly as they come, and not particularly large for his breed, he
always prompted a minute tremor of fear when he barked, (which he did  to every guest before licking them to death). Which is why I used one in the story.

So, I don't want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that Satanists, ghosts of sacrificial victims, possessed hounds, perverted house keepers, fraudulent priests and deluded policemen all join forces to make our hero and main protagonist in The House in Wales a very unhappy chap indeed. However, you'll have to read the book if you want to know how.

So friends, you now know how they both came about, I hope you can find the time and the inclination to give them a read. Hopefully you'll enjoy them.
Thanks for giving me your time.

All the best.
Richard Rhys Jones


To buy his books, check on booksellers such as Amazon.

Above are a few of my own books, because I try never to finish a blog post without a hint that my books are worth reading. The Shuki books have had some great reviews, but the Penwinnard Stories are lighter and will suit some readers better.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Child Abuse by Institutions.

There has been so much commentary about the issue of child abuse within families. My last post was about the way that the cycle of abuse repeats itself. 

There is also abuse by institutions. I used to think it was mostly 'olden times.'  I read a book recently, full of facts and figures.  The author, Allan Gill, must have done an enormous amount of research. The book is 'Orphans of the Empire,' and while it started out to detail the way that 'orphans' were sent from Britain to provide good white stock for the former colonies, his research showed that Australian-born 'orphans' had it no better.  And the more 'religious' the institution, it appeared the more wickedly they treated the poor kids in their power.  Not their 'care,'  their power.

But that was the not the present day, surely.  We're civilised now - aren't we?  Maybe in the 19th century, there were orphanages where children were dressed in rags, and maybe begged for a little more gruel, but that would have long ended by the 1950s.  The 1950s in Australia was an era of prosperity. We had civilised values - didn't we?

Author Lorraine Cobcroft has opened my eyes.  This is the story of a brother and sister taken from their home and placed in an institution.  Their home was not perfect - poor housing,  occasionally not
enough to eat. But the institution run by nuns was a  lot worse. Now the kids never had enough food, had no care or affection, and were beaten at the slightest excuse or for none at all.

Why were the nuns like this?  Is it because their motivation for becoming nuns was never to do with the love of God?  Could it be that they were casualties of two world wars leading to a shortage of young men and an excess of women?

I am only a few years younger than 'Paul' of the story. I remember hearing that the nuns who taught at the Catholic school could be absolutely wicked.  I didn't take much notice at the time. But these poor kids were in the power of sadistic nuns all the time, not just in school hours. 

'The Pencil Case' is a very important  book.  It deserves to become widely known.

A recent review by Julie on the readers' site, Goodreads:

Throwing children into a lion's den, for their own good? save them from some "perceived" hardship?!!?

This is the true story of Paul Wilson (not his real name) and his younger sister Jennifer.

Robbed of the parents he so loved, and robbed of their essential love of him.
Robbed of the chance to grow up with his siblings and his would be status in that order....or indeed to grow at all.
Robbed of any chance at individuality or a unique identity.
Robbed of his very spirit. mementos, big or small, no photos or keepsakes or any trophy to mark his progression from childhood through adolescence, save for the physical and mental scars he'd been shackled with from a life which had been moulded by the premeditated cruelty and injustice, from so called people of trust and influence...."Carer's".

From the moment of, and as a direct consequence of, his wrongful incarceration at the age of eight years, into what was loosely termed as "Care", Paul's life was plunged into a nightmare of incredible and unbelievable torture and sacrifice of self, which must have seemed to him that he was never again to awaken from.
Even after finally surfacing into adulthood, then marriage and children of his own, as he tried to pick up the pieces and build a future for himself and his family, it seems as if life itself had conspired against Paul by thwarting him at every turn.
Some of this later pain and suffering was a result of his inability to cope in the outside world after so many years of desensitization by the "powers that be", who systematically put him down and calculatedly undermined his self esteem.
Then some was as a direct result of the actions of greedy, manipulative, self preserving and ego driven people, who were wrongfully placed in positions of power, and who used that power to lie and cheat, in order to promote their own selfish interests and keep whatever cost...a position that would otherwise be redundant.
These include people from religious groups, community leaders, politicians, law enforcement agents, military groups, legal people and so on...none are exempt, and all of which agencies have, at times hence, had representatives who have been held accountable for such abuse of their powers in other circumstances unrelated to this case.

...And yet still, in 2013 certain church leaders are condoning and concealing these and other kinds of atrocities which are being perpetuated on children in their "care"...children who suffer alone, because they don't have a voice. These people have no conscience!

Every person in any position of authority, or in any way affiliated with any organization even remotely concerned with the well being, care and education of children... Should read this story....Especially "religious care", as the very term erroneously implies that they are trustworthy and above suspicion.
This has to be addressed and understood that it is not an acceptable state of affairs.
Is it any wonder genuinely good Christian people struggle with their faith!

It can only be hoped that those responsible for exacting such extreme, brutal and atrocious methods of uncalled for punishment on children for reasons of..what can only be construed as... perverted self gratification... will one day cross over and have to face their own judgement day! Hallelujah to that day!

It makes me very, very angry and sad, and just as it did also, for the aborigines, it leaves me feeling both frustrated and hollow at our inability to make amends... NOTHING on God's earth, can bring back or repay a stolen childhood, nor heal the bruises which for so many victims remain buried deep within, unseen ...and for others, are permanently tattooed on their flesh as a constant reminder of just how many ways a heart and spirit can be broken.

This is an important story that needs to be heard.
Congratulations 'Paul Wilson' for finding the courage to relive it in order that it be are an inspiration. Kudos to your wife and family also.
Congratulations also, to Lorraine Cobcroft for telling it so very well.

To buy 'The Pencil Case' go to an online bookselling site such as Goodreads or Amazon.

I very much hope that things are a lot different for children in care these days. My Penwinnard Stories tell of a beach home where the children are treated well, are not beaten, and have sufficient to eat. It is not a religious home, but a private charity home, though it still has to fulfil standards set by the government. There are no nuns.

The third Penwinnard Story is called 'Trevanian's Leap.'
Its release date is September, 2013.

Frank Ryan was coming to the end of his time at Penwinnard. He felt himself so much more grown up now than the scared kid he’d been when his mother had been sentenced to a prison term. But now there was more change coming – a new place to live, a new school, and he’d lose the friends he’d made at Penwinnard, Greg and Leon. He’d never really had friends before.

He shouldn’t be frightened. He was so much more grown up now...

In many cultures, in many countries, there are manhood rituals.  Penwinnard has its own manhood ritual.

To jump off a cliff into a deep pool - it requires courage and it requires judgement. To make an error could mean injury or death. Naturally, it is strictly forbidden,  but when a boy needs courage, it becomes a real temptation.

Frank Ryan leaps off Trevanian's Point, and afterwards,  feels himself that much closer to being a man.

To buy my books, check on online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords'.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Patterns of abuse

How often do we hear that girls who were abused in their homes go on to partner with men who abuse them? And boys who sees their fathers abusing their mothers go on to abuse their own wives and families. 

It is a cycle, and it takes a real act of will to break the cycle. The women have to see themselves as worth more than they've been taught.  The men have to realise that those who abuse their wives and their children are simply cowardly bullies. They have to make the decision not to be like that. It is not destiny. Men and women do have control over their future. They can choose not to be the abused, and most certainly, they can choose not to be the abuser.

Author Tricia Drammeh

This is what author, Tricia Drammeh, has to say.

The Legacy of Abuse

 The subject of domestic abuse is often discussed in the media. Unfortunately, much of this coverage is sensationalized, often focusing on shock-value rather than the causes and solutions of this widespread problem.

You might have heard (or possibly uttered) statements such as, “Any woman who stays with a man who beats her deserves what she gets.” Many people say such things out of ignorance. Though intellectually, they might understand some women stay out of fear or financial necessity, they believe leaving an abuser is as simple as packing up and moving to a shelter.

It’s easy to oversimplify abuse when you look at the issue as a problem that only affects the abuser and the victim. But, in most cases of abuse, there’s a community of people involved, either directly or indirectly. There are the enablers, from the mother who refuses to hear her husband molesting a child in the very next room, to the neighbor who notices bruising, but decides it’s none of her business. And we must not forget about the children who grow up in an abusive household, many of whom are destined to repeat the same patterns of abuse, secrets, and shame.  

Abuse is a multifaceted problem, and oftentimes a legacy that is passed down from generation to generation. For a victim who grew up in an abusive environment, leaving an abusive relationship as an adult involves more than a change in their physical situation—it also requires a change in perception. They have to redefine normal. They have to create new patterns, not only for themselves, but for their children.


Tricia has written a book that conveys a real understanding not just of abuse, but what goes on in the head of the abused, and also, to a lesser extent, of the abuser.  It is a very good book.

"Fifth Circle' by Tricia Drammeh.

'Sean is no stranger to darkness. He's overcome a dangerous addiction, struggled with mental illness, and faced relentless bullying by his peers. His best friend, Alex, has always been there for him, but when he falls in love with her, he replaces his online gaming obsession with a possessive interest in her.

Alex's survival depends upon her ability to lock memories of her troubled childhood deep inside her mind, but an unhealthy relationship with Sean causes dark visions of her past to rise to the surface. Sean's obsession and Alex's complacency collide, resulting in tragedy.

Together, Sean and Alex live in a hell of their own making. One will escape at the expense of the other. Both will discover why Dante chose to condemn the Wrathful and the Sullen in the Fifth Circle of Hell.'

A review:


5.0 out of 5 stars Distinctive,  compelling, heart wrenching April 8, 2013

I have to say this is not an easy read. It is a read that delves deep. Sometimes its even difficult to read and accept the reactions of both MC's and the circumstances they face in their lives. But there are so many layers here to explore in both these characters, and the author is not holding back on pulling punches. I love these kind of reads. The ones that stay with you for a very long time. And the fifth circle is exactly one of those reads.
I can't say that I fell in love with the characters, but they sure as heck captured me and wouldn't let me go till I'd finished reading and then even afterwards.
Alex is introverted and a victim in so many ways, at times I wanted to counsel her myself, but that shows powerful writing, when you are so invested in a character, you want to leap into the pages and help them.
Sean, is so complex. There are so many layers to him. Some violent, some generous, some annoying. I could go on, but his narrative is so gripping, you have no idea which way he'll go next or what he'll do, definitely compelling reading.
I loved all the references to Dante's poem, so apt, so in tune to the story and a nice over arching theme to incorporate, particularly with Mr Chalmers, the teacher who cared to inspire and encourage.
This is an excellent read, one to be savoured and one to ponder. Not many authors could pull this off, but Ms. Drammeh has.

My review of 'Fifth Circle.'

This is a story of the relationship between Alex and Sean. Each side is told with conviction. It tells of the sad and the bad, and of the abused and the abuser. It speaks of patterns repeated. I was pleased with the ending, happy that Alex managed to move on to make a life outside of that of a victim. It is something that many victims never manage.  Sean was shown as moving on as well, right at the very last.

or look for it on Amazon.

I heartily recommend Tricia's book.

Some of my own books refer to the victims of abuse, but these are a great deal different. These are boys who live in a home, and while many have come from poor homes,
some are victims of circumstance, and just a few are orphans.

But they are survivors - like the animal that lived in this shell. The shell is scarred. It shows signs of creatures that bored through the hard material, and other creatures, limpets or barnacles, have attached themselves to it. But the creature that lived in that shell survived to become bigger than all the other shells washed up on the beach. 

The Penwinnard stories speak of the boys' mischief, their aspirations, and their difficulties. They speak of their spirit, the spirit of survivors.

 An excerpt from the 4th Penwinnard Story, a work in progress.  The beginning stages of an abusive relationship. But this time, foolish Mandy will not end up as a beaten down woman. Isaac is not only on the way to prison, (he doesn't know it yet) but he will have constant pain from his bullet-scarred  legs. And so should end all abusers.
'Isaac Lands had a very masculine look about his face, a little harsh even. He was often unshaven, and projected a feeling of power along with the slight body odour that always seem to cling to him. His looks made him attractive to a certain type of woman. Blonde Mandy believed his unabashed professions of love, and didn’t object when he moved in with her. Now he had meals cooked for him, sex whenever he chose, and if Mandy showed herself too independent, she’d soon learn. It was a mistake to beat up a woman too early, better to convince the stupid sod that she was pathetic and worthless first. He’d already started, just a few hints that she was putting on weight, sneers when she expressed an opinion, and furious indignation when she criticised him in any way. She thought that he should get a proper job, but he was perfectly happy with the dole supplemented by whatever ‘deals’  came his way.'

All colours and all the same.

Mutty said to the new boy,  Max, who was as black as he was, "We're all colours. You and me and Gary are black as black and some are a bit brown, and others look sort of Chinese - we're all colours and all the same so it don't matter." 

“All the same?”

“We’ve all had something bad happen to us or we wouldn’t be here. But now we’re winnards – from Penwinnard, you see. We’re falcons.”

*excerpt from the third Penwinnard Story, 'Trevanian's Leap.'
This book is to be released September, 2013.

Look for my books on Smashwords, Amazon and other online booksellers.


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Favourite Indie books.

It is a real privilege to own books by authors that you know, even if it is only online 'knowing.'

My collection started with 'If Only I Could Talk' by Tony Lewis.  It was quite quickly followed by 'Spoilt' by Joanne Ellis, and 'How To Meet a Guy At The Supermarket' by Jessica Degarmo.  Others followed until I now have a full shelf of books. Most of the authors I 'met'  on the Authors' site, Authonomy. Several are from the Crit Group I was in, 'Stampman's' and later 'Stampman's Orphans.'

Some of these books are exceptional, some are good reads, but all but one are 'Indie' published, that is, published by a small publisher or by the author themselves.  The exception is Casey Watson, who was on Authonomy, but had her book picked up by Harper Collins, not just one book, but a three-book deal, (by memory, my information could be out of date by now.)

Cyndi Tefft: 'Between.
Richard Bard: 'Brainrush.' This book has done very well, and now has (I think)  two sequels.
Katy Walters:  'Phobic Dawn.'  Katy has written some great books. 
Shalini Boland: 'A Shirtful of Frogs.'  This is my favourite of Shalini's books.
Charlotte Castle: 'Simon's Choice.'  A story that speaks of life and death. This is a short book, and very, very good.

Jessica Degarmo:  'How to Meet a Guy at the Supermarket.' Jessica is now a popular romance writer. 'Supermarket' was her first book to be published.
Matt Hammond: 'Milkshake'  This is what one could call an 'ecological thriller.'  There is now a sequel called 'The Destiny Stone.'
Diane Nelson: 'Dragon Academy.' A YA (young adult) book, but I've never allowed that label to interfere with my enjoyment of a good book.
Joanne Ellis: 'Spoilt'  Joanne is an Australian author. She's had criticism from Americans because of the title of her book - it seems that American don't know 'spoilt,' just 'spoiled.' 
Joanne has several books published, and her sales are high enough that she can call herself a 'bestselling author.'   'Spoilt' was the first. It achieved the prize of the 'Editor's Desk' on the writers' site called Authonomy.
Scott Strosahl: 'Framed.'  An excellent thriller, which I must read again.
Casey Watson: 'The Boy That No One Loved.'  Published by Harper Collins.
Shalini Boland:  'Outside.' YA thriller, now with a sequel.


'The Dragon Academy' is notable for the way it looks.  It is just such an attractive book.

I am so impressed with 'The Pencil Case' that it has had two blog posts all to itself.

And I will not forget my own. 'Not a Man' achieved a great deal of attention when on Authonomy, and earned the prize of the 'Editors Desk.'  I was offered the contract to publish in the same month.
The blurb:
From boy of the slums to Oxford Graduate. This is the story of Shuki Bolkiah, modern day eunuch.

'Not a Man' is set in an unnamed country of Arabia. Shuki is aged ten, and a 'bed-boy.' His master wants his beautiful boy to stay beautiful, so arranges for him to have 'a small operation.' This traumatic event changed forever the life of a clever, determined boy.

Shuki learns to manipulate his master. He learns to read and write, he gets his master into the habit of giving him large sums of money, and he makes friends with the master's sons.

Shuki becomes more beautiful with every passing year. His master becomes more possessive, more jealous, and Shuki is guarded. When his master takes him to England, he escapes and starts a new life with the money he's saved. He is fifteen.
A typical review is by Shalini Boland  (on Amazon UK) 
‘This story began by breaking my heart. It's such a compelling read, even though I cringed through the more graphic parts. The characters' relationships are complex and I like the fact that the master isn't a caracature, which would have been an easy route to go down. The tension was kept up throughout and I found myself racing to see if Shuki would find his freedom and a more unfettered happiness. This is a first class novel about a difficult subject that has been handled beautifully. But more than that, it is a story about the struggles of life - the injustice, the strength of will, the terror and the beauty of it all.’

 There are now three books in the series, with a fourth and final yet to come.
Look for them on the usual online booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.