Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Monday, 9 January 2017

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog: The Gateway

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog: The Gateway: The scarecrow’s evil knows no bounds ... Having failed to save her friends from the scarecrow’s malevolence, Sullyan...

Monday, 16 May 2016

Just Books: The Captives by Cas Peace

Just Books: The Captives by Cas Peace: Let's get to know the Author before we take a look inside this book. Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, wh...

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Hello everyone! Today I'm pleased to welcome to my blog author Terry W. Ervin ll, creator of the First Civilization Legacy series and the Crax War Chronicles, and author of the short fiction collection, Genre Shotgun.

Terry has a new release this month - Relic Hunted, sequel to Relic Tech - and further down you will find a fascinating insight into Security Specialist Krakista Keesay, the main character.

First, let's get to know Terry a little better ...

 Terry W. Ervin II is an English and science teacher who enjoys writing fantasy and science fiction. His First Civilization’s Legacy Series (fantasy) includes Flank Hawk, Blood Sword, and Soul Forge.

The Crax War Chronicles, his science fiction series, includes Relic Tech and Relic Hunted (his most recent release from Gryphonwood Press).

In addition to writing novels, Terry’s short stories have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, magazines and ezines. Genre Shotgun is a collection containing all of his previously published short stories.

To contact Terry or learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at www.ervin-author.com and his blog, Up Around the Corner at uparoundthecorner.blogspot.com

If you'd like to know more, and you're keen to discover Terry's writing for yourself, here's a link to where his work is available:  http://www.ervin-author.com/whereavailable.htm

Now let's take a closer look at some of Terry's previous work:

Flank HawkWhat happens when fire-breathing dragons battle Stukas for aerial supremacy over a battlefield? Can an earth wizard's magic defeat a panzer? Krish, a farmhand turned mercenary, witnesses this and much more as he confronts the Necromancer King's new war machines resurrected from before the First Civilization's fall. Worse yet, a wounded prince tasks Krish to find the fabled Colonel of the West and barter the royal family's malevolent Blood-Sword for a weapon to thwart the Necromancer King's victory. Flank Hawk is set in the distant future where magic exists and brutish ogres are more than a child's nightmare.

Blood SwordThe Necromancer King has been defeated and his surviving forces are in retreat. But a new threat marches against the Kingdom of Keesee, promising destruction. Scouting along the western frontier, Flank Hawk and Grand Wizard Seelain discover an army massing, the army of Fendra Jolain, Goddess of Healing. Weakened and battle weary, Keesee and her allies cannot withstand Fendra Jolain’s powerful army of men and beasts arrayed against them. One hope of survival remains: Retrieve the Blood Sword from the immortal Colonel of the West and bring its sinister strength to the battlefield. To accomplish this end, Flank Hawk accompanies Grand Wizard Seelain as she leads a mission across land and sea. Together they find new allies while confronting new foes, learning that the war ravaging Keesee is part of a larger struggle whose roots stretch back to the First Civilization’s Fall. If the Blood Sword can be obtained, it must be done quickly. Every day means more death for the defenders of Keesee. Every day is one day closer to utter defeat. Even if Flank Hawk can deliver the Blood Sword to King Tobias’s hand in time, will the malevolent blade’s magic be enough?

Soul Forge: Young Enchantress Thereese lays stricken and silent, her vital essence sapped by the Shard Staff, edging ever closer toward death. Supreme Enchantress Thulease refuses to allow her daughter to fade beyond recovery. To that end, Enchantress Thulease recruits Mercenary Flank Hawk to accompany her as she seeks the legendary Sleeping Sage, and confronts the secretive Svartálfar, known only for their magical prowess and for their menacing cruelty.
    But first, the mercenary and enchantress, and their stalwart company, must survive brutal beasts and ruthless nomads roaming the Southern Continent’s harsh desert. Then, the untamed wilds of the Northern Mountains must be traversed in a final bid to reach their ultimate goal—the Soul Forge. 
     Even if Flank Hawk and Thulease reach the mythical forge in time, can its magic revive the ailing young enchantress, the one whose life is somehow tied to the Kingdom of Keesee’s ultimate fate?

Wow, that all sounds very exciting! Let's see the cover of Relic Tech and read the blurb:

Relic TechThe Silicate War has been over for fifteen years, and the tension among the dominant galactic races is growing. Many fear that the Umblegarri, the ancient alien race that ushered humanity into the interstellar galactic community during the Silicate War, have been targeted for conquest by the Crax and their allies. It’s no longer speculation. The invasion is underway and Kra finds himself strapped to a hospital bed, critically injured and surrounded by hostile corporate lawyers, high ranking military and intelligence officials, ambitious members of the criminal justice apparatus, and an Umbelgarri diplomat. All are demanding answers or their pound of flesh. Krakista Keesay, a Class 4 Security Specialist, doesn’t have the answers they demand. Why did he sabotage a top secret research facility? What was he doing on a quarantined planet? Why did he set up the civil transport Kalavar for destruction? Is that all? Not even close. Kra turns to his only option: Allow his brain to be hooked up to an experimental device so that he might prove his innocence. Or lose his mind.

Ok, now I want to see the new cover and learn all about Class 4 Security Specialist Krakista Keesay:

Character Interview: Contract Discussions Regarding Security Specialist Keesay

Location: Secure Conference Room, Io Colony, adjacent to the Umbelgarri Sector
Participants: Deputy Director of Intelligence Cavelvar, Special Agent Staygar Guymin, and Special Agent Allision Vingee
Topic: Recruitment of 4th Class Security Specialist Krakista Keesay

Agents Guymin and Vingee enter a small conference room. Guymin is middle aged, nondescript, with short dark hair and matching eyes. Vingee is young, tall, and with her braided hair affixed in tight bun. Behind the small table stood a bald man, elderly with a round face. He signals for the two agents to take their seats across from him.

Cavelvar: Taps his computer clip, bringing it to life. “Computer, record this meeting, Security Protocol 43-B.” After a second he continues. “The Agency is considering picking up the contract of Security Specialist Keesay. In addition to both of you having witnessed the Documentary, the downloaded audio-visual recording of his memories, requested to prove his innocence, you have each spent time with the security specialist. I request your thoughts on the topic before making my decision.” His eyes stray to the base chronometer mounted on the plain gray wall. “Please be succinct as I am on a strict schedule.”

Guymin: Glances to his right, at Agent Vingee, before beginning. “Specialist Keesay would be an asset to the Agency. Although he is not always a team player, he has demonstrated the ability to work with individuals he dislikes, especially under difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Cavalvar: “You are referring to his working with Senior Engineer McAllister.”

Guymin: “That is correct. Their history—Specialist Keesay killed her fiancé. Despite the fact that she attempted to kill, and subsequently frame him, when given orders and a direct mission, both he and she were able to put that aside.”

Cavalvar: “Do you concur, Agent Vingee?”

Vingee: “Engineer McAllsiter used the specialist as one would a tool. As a weapon directed against the Crax.”

Guymin: “Keesay recognized this, Director. During that time and others, such as serving as a conscript in the defense of the Tallavaster Colony, he proved capable of moving from subordinate to leadership positions as needed.”

Vingee: “Specialist Keesay has spent a good portion of his career securing warehouses on Pluto.”

Guymin: “Due to his participation in the Colonization Riots. After he survived, Intelligence saw that his next and only contract offered was in an out-of-the way assignment.”

Vingee: “Because he killed fourteen citizens, including Engineer McAllister’s fiancé.”

Guymin: “As you know, Director, the objective was to draw the ire of the crowd, and public discontent away from the planned Umbelgarri breeding area. The situation got out of hand. Snipers killed the Security Supervisors. Keesay took charge of the largely untrained and unprepared mass of newly graduated security trainees. He and his group of trainees broke up the riot. He survived.”

Cavalvar: “That is true. The mob wasn’t expected to be armed with anything more dangerous than clubs and sonic blades.”

Vingee: “The Specialist’s solutions to problems favor violence. While he can work with others, he is a loner and holds a measure of enmity for I-Techs. For modern electronics and equipment.”

Cavalvar: “He does use old-style equipment. Com-sets with headset and mic, shotguns and revolvers, and a bayonet. His chosen attire is the button and collared, loose-fitting R-Tech style, which sets him apart from his peers when aboard ship and space colonies.”

Guymin: Tips his head with eyebrows raised. “And he favors brass knuckles when he gets into a brawl, Director. But shotguns are still used on penal colonies, and he survived using his old-style equipment. Keesay is trained and competent in the use of magnetic pulse firearms, and light and medium-duty lasers. He is competent interfacing with standard computer systems and networks.”

Vingee: “Surprisingly, Director, Specialist Keesay is marginally competent as a pulse laser gunner.”

Cavalvar: Nods. What about his motto: Nemo me impune lacessit?

Vingee: “Which translates to: Nobody injures me with impunity. On more than one occasion, Specialist Keesay has gone looking for trouble. A reason to be insulted or injured.”

Guymin: “More accurately, he made a point of not avoiding the confrontation. That could be detrimental, functioning as an agent for Intelligence, depending the assignment. He is intelligent and well-read, and can problem solve.” He smiles. “Even if part of the solution includes the application of brass knuckles.”

Vingee: “Specialist Keesay is loyal. We all witnessed that not only through his actions, but thoughts revealed through the Documentary.”

Guymin: “His dedication to humanity’s survival, even at his own expense, can’t be questioned. He’s a proven Crax and Stegmar Mantis killer, and his opposition to the Capital Galactic Investment Group is obvious.”

Cavalvar: “Yes, their treachery, working with the Crax to the detriment of humanity and her allies...the Specialist did play a major role in uncovering their deceit.”

Vingee: “And those remnants of Capital Galactic are motivated to seek Specialist Keesay out for retribution. It is reliably reported that they are now, offering a substantial bounty.”

Cavalvar: Presses his hands together before glancing at the chronometer. “Thoughts on the modification the Umbelgarri made to the Specialist’s cerebral cortex while under the experimental Cranaltar IV?”

Guymin: Shrugs. “He is able to comprehend the Umbelgarri’s visually color-coded language. Like all humans, he remains unable to detect the low frequency sounds that add emption or emphasis to their ‘words.’ Dr. Goldsen relayed that the procedure was necessary to better enable the Specialist to survive and recover from the Cranaltar’s downloading of his memories. Otherwise, all higher-level thought processes would’ve been destroyed. Are there deeper implications to the implanted ability?” Again, he shrugs.

Vingee: “There is his affinity with the Chicher, beyond being a fellow Relic Tech. The Chicher diplomat Specialist Keesay befriended while aboard the Kalavar, and worked with to escape Selandune, the quarantined planet then under Capital Galactic’s control.”

Cavalvar: Nods. “It is believed in the Chicher Diplomat’s death throws, a ritual which included biting Specialist Keesay, altered the Specialist’s DNA, so that he releases a pheromone combination which marks him as a sort of pack member of that alien race.” He pauses. “Your thoughts, Agent Vingee?”

Vingee: “The Chicher appear to be more direct than the Umbelgarri. I believe the Chicher Diplomat responded to Specialist Keesay’s loyalty exhibited over time, which runs along the line of their inbred pack loyalty. The bond formed between the Diplomat and the Specialist, serving as a surrogate pack member, during times of peace and through several shared life-and-death struggles is what did it. Specialist Keesay’s bond, now apparent to every Chicher, regardless of pack, could be an asset if his contract were picked up by the Agency. As for the alterations made by the Umbelgarri?” She mimics Agent Guymin’s shrug. “Dr. Goldsen is of the most experts when it comes to neurology and human psychology. She doesn’t believe the procedure altered the Specialist’s personality or reactions to the Umbelgarri. He still refers to them using the derogatory term, Phibs. His strong disapproval with respect to the subservient role the Bahklack play, even though they’re genetically bred servants to their Umbelgarri masters. That remains, which wouldn’t track if they’d altered the Specialist in some manner to align his allegiance with them. ”

Cavalvar: His eyebrows rise as Agent Vingee completes her extended answer. “Any final thoughts before I call an end to this meeting?” He nods toward Agent Vingee.

Vingee: “Specialist Keesay has survived cold sleep, future use of that procedure isn’t a concern.”

Cavalvar: “That closing thought isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, or recommendation against.”

Vingee: “He could be an asset or a liability. He loyal and driven, but I am not sure he will fit in with Agency culture or methods. He’d make a better soldier. He’s proven that.”

Cavalvar: “Fair enough. Agent Guymin?”

Guymin: “Specialist Keesay is relentless and daring. Not the most socially astute, yet tends to get the job done. I doubt the Agency will assign him to management or culturally inappropriate assignments. He may make bad decisions, but the root of the choice is always to pay back others who’ve injured him, which in the most pertinent case tends to be those loyal to the renegade Capital Galactic Investment Group and the Crax, and their allies. On the balance, he would be an asset to the Agency. At least until the war is over.”

Cavalvar: “Your recommendation would be to end his contract upon the war’s end?”

Guymin: “We’d have to win the war, Director. Currently we are losing with little evidence of our turning the tide. I agree with Agent Vingee in that Specialist Keesay has the characteristics of a good soldier. But I believe the Agency could make better use of his talents. If he is assigned the right job, he’ll get it done.”

Vingee: Tips her head side to side. “Or die trying.”

Cavalvar: Taps an icon on his computer, deactivating it. “Thank you, Agents, for your input on the matter. I will render my decision within the hour. If Security Specialist Keesay is offered a contract, his first assignment will be as part of your team. In either case, details will follow before I depart. You are dismissed.”

And that's it, folks! If you enjoyed hearing about Terry's novels and his new release Relic Hunted, please show him some love, and feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Milo – My Saluki Boy.
The ongoing story of his recovery from a nasty hind leg injury.

Say hello to my gorgeous boy, Milo. Milo is now 5 years old, and although he is a rescue dog, we’ve had him from 8 weeks of age. His story is that he was handed in to a vet by someone who said they found him abandoned in some woods, tied to a tree. This person wouldn’t give any of their personal details, so I suspect they were actually Milo’s first owner. Maybe he was one puppy too many, maybe they just couldn’t cope with him, or maybe they were gypsies (who breed running hounds like Milo to illegally hunt deer and hares). Whatever the truth of the story, I am pleased they handed Milo to someone who could help him find a new home.

We don’t know whether Milo had a name from birth, but the kennels he went to once the vet judged he was healthy named him Freddie. It just so happens that a friend of mine works at these kennels and she knew we were looking for another dog, having recently lost our beloved Pepper, a blue roan Cocker Spaniel. Pepper lived to 16 years of age and was a sweet and lovely dog. We had a second dog, Milly, who also came as a rescue from this kennel, and so when my friend learned we were looking for a companion for Milly, she told us about “Freddie”.

"Freddie" at the kennels.

  "Milo" settles in.
We went to see “Freddie” and fell for him. He was such a little bundle of energy! He eventually came home with us and soon settled in. We renamed him Milo after a character in my Artesan novels – only because I liked the name. It was clear from the start that Milo originated mainly from Saluki stock, and as he grew, his heritage became more obvious. I always thought Salukis had “feathering” on their ears, legs and tails, but we now know they can also come in the Smooth variety. It seems Milo might be purer bred than we first thought!
Milo, nearly fully grown.

Milo, true to his breed, loves to run. He’s quite the character and is very playful. Our next door neighbour has a dog that Milo adores, and they love to run together (although Milo can be a bit of a naughty boy – he likes to roll other dogs over!!) Up until now, we haven’t worried too much about Milo’s energetic running – he’s a young, fit dog doing what he loves. However, on Thursday December 3rd, while chasing his friend, Milo must have either caught his hind leg in a rabbit hole or managed to twist it awkwardly. We’ll never know how he did it but he ended up squealing and holding up his right hind leg.

As soon as I saw it I knew it was either dislocated or broken. We carried him to the car, bundled Milly and our neighbour’s dog in the back, and sped off to the vet. Fortunately, Tracey, our wonderful vet, was on duty that day. She took Milo in, gave hin some immediate pain relief, and put him on a drip to help with his shock. We left him there, my poor boy, and went home to await Tracey’s verdict.

Later that day she called to tell me Milo had badly dislocated, and maybe even broken, the bones just below his right hock (ankle) joint. The joint itself was fine, but he would need specialist care to mend the leg. We’d have to take him to AndersonMoores, a specialist hospital in Winchester. To shorten the tale, he went to the specialist and they have plated and pinned the bones in his leg. With care and rest, he should make a complete recovery, and I will write other posts and add pictures to show how he’s doing. Here he is on the evening we brought him home after 4 days in the hospital. He looks happy to be home, don’t you think? 

More updates as Milo's recovery progresses. Please send him love and hugs!

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Today I am proud and excited to reveal the fabulous cover for my latest Artesans release:


Book One of the MASTER OF MALICE epic fantasy trilogy.

The cover designer is the truly fabulous Mikey Brooks, who has designed all but one of my fantasy covers. I adore working with Mikey. He has a vision and understanding second to none and has that wonderful ability of transforming my half-baked ideas and vaguely described images into the most amazingly vibrant covers.
With THE SCARECROW, I think he has surpassed himself.

Here you see The Scarecrow himself, the traitor Baron Reen, and the former queen, Sofira. Between them, they intend to take revenge on their enemies, fulfill Reen's original plans, and restore Sofira to Albia's High Throne. And due to an unprecedented incident on Reen island prison, the Scarecrow now has additional resources on which to call...

Here's the back cover blurb:

Pure evil rises once again in Albia…
Three years have passed since Baron Reen’s trial. A terrible accident on the island of his exile has transformed him into a nightmarish scarecrow creature with dark, mysterious powers. Staging his own suicide, Reen breaks free of his prison and, with the help of the former queen Sofira, embarks on a ruthless quest for vengeance against his worst enemy, the woman responsible for the overthrow of his schemes and his own ruination: Brynne Sullyan.

Sullyan is tasked with investigating Reen’s suicide. The missing body and a series of disasters in Port Loxton—a vicious murder, a brutal ambush, and a devastating fire—raise suspicions in her mind. She probes deeper, determined to uncover the truth, unsuspecting of the evil that’s about to be unleashed…

MASTER OF MALICE Book One: THE SCARECROW is due for release around the middle of December 2015. Watch out for preorder links before then!
There's also a Cover Reveal and Amazon Giftcard Giveaway going on HERE:  Why not head on over and enter before it's too late?? :-)

Hope to hear what you think of my new cover, and the story itself very soon!