Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The Wind-Up)

Pondering one Did you see how the major characters tided up last week’s post?

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The Plagiarism Approach)

worried-man (2)

I did indeed….Spectacular. I almost felt optimistic, had to go and lie down.

furtive-1Yeah…Awesome…I mean, like we’re not going to try do anything ..Y’know???

Puzzled Yeah… I mean like all the other efforts have been so…..what’re the words I’m looking for?

Wives and lovers woman clothedNot ones I’d want you to use in front of my two daughters.

Cautious 2 Wait! Wait I have this brilliant idea.

Impatient fellowSo do I. It’s called ‘Quitting While You’re Ahead’ 

Doffing a hatWell said my dear sir. Thus ladies and gentlemen we leave you with this reminder.

The Precipice Dominions

Idiot man 2Amazon Kindle @ 0.99

Ok…We’re done. See you around folks………Yes, dignity at all times.

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The Low-Key Approach)

SkirmishersThe Book

haughty response 2 The author has declined to appear for this post; he says he may not appear ever again; which may, arguably be a wise move. That said the team….. Well to be frank a certain selection of the team who have a more realistic view of the world and didn’t inform the others decided on this approach.

Doffing a hatThere we are m’dear. Nothing to be worried about, just say what comes in your head.

Impatient fellowYeah you bozos listen up. Ok, this is not how I would have done it. But you give the girl some space here. Or you’ll be speaking with the Knuckles Brothers.

Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised Heck, I don’t know how I got caught up in this; that’s one of the things about surfing the net, you never know. Anyway, since I’m here. This book, Vol II of what’s called The Precipice Dominions which I guess is allegorical. Y’know like the state of the nations and folks in the books, all wired up and on the edge with their plots, plans and ‘stuff’ you get in Fantasy Novels.

So the sometimes cute, sometimes deadly couple Arketre and Karlyn are making the best of The Sweet Life up in some faraway place called Terasonia’ cause they know sooner or later ‘stuff’ is going to happen. Trelli is being taught how to use her powers by some girls in this Libratery place (think of nuns, but not like the Sound of Music, and a lil’ bit like those weird women in Dune whose names I can’t remember ). Then A & K are sent off to see what they can make out of a sort of rebellion against the local prince, while Trelli gets despatched with a long beautiful & snooty called Coltello and some escorts to do something which didn’t make sense to me in another faraway place, called Fenshan. Then there’s all sorts of mini-adventures with Trelli turning up like a faux-ghost to rescue A & K from “The Dark Side”  that’s got into them.

After that Karlyn goes off one of those freaky path ways she uses to help Trelli with her task, and Arketre having been promoted to officer starts throwing military intimidation around in all directions. This is when things get all complex, because some renegades from that even more far off Shadow Lords realm invade. And this is the good thing, unlike most books they  don’t get to slay hundreds of locals until only our heroes are left with magic doo-hickies; the girls are just part of the army. Some guy I know who reads military histories says its also all allegorical (I like that word; I’m gonna use it a lot at coffee breaks) to do with other wars, but I switched off after he started on his fourth example.

Anyway, the girls do well. Trelli swings that power of hers about, keeps her cool and gets ‘lucky’ (y’know…. I mean lllluckieeee!). We get some of Karlyn’s back story which is fun because she gets dual identity; her usual kooky self, and sometimes all regal, and imperious, like in one of those historical dramas. And Arketre goes action mode and kinda edgy.  Impatient fellow I like that girl!!

Y’know it’s no spoiler to say it works out, because by now you should know that’s what the writer is all about. There’s a bit at the end which is really funny, in a way which is sweet, and a take on how men still see us girls but A & K use to their advantage. 

There’s lots of other things going on with other characters which I guess Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised leads into the next volume, so you might want to get a notebook out to remind yourself of who is doing what, where, when and why for future reference. 

Although, it’s like 200,000 words and lot going on, it’s not a bad read. Even if Fantasy is not your thing, despite some gory bits it’s a kinda light. Not Game of Thrones, and my boy-friend says ‘Joe Abercrombie; it’s not’  he reads a lot of Fantasy so make of that what you will. So for 0.99 whatevers; y’know.

anger-clipart-rage-2 Too many women having there own way! Naah that won’t do! If you ask me…..

Wives and lovers woman clothed

WE AN’T!!

worried-manI’ve never seen a man so out of shape move so fast….

Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised(I was warned something like this might happen) Anyway. Like I was about to say. It’s on Kindle Amazon, and it’s free for the rest of Friday then it’s 0.99

And that’s about all we have to say on it. OK?

Re-Launch

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

victorian-mens-costumes-2Well that’s was rather restrained. In an trans- Atlantic sort of way, wouldn’t you say Chumbleigh-Smythe?……. Oh quite so old chap. Mind you 200,000 words, that’s rather large book…I say haven’t you heard about these Thimbles they can put books on? Dashed clever…… I think Fotherington-Jones you might mean a Kindle…….Kindle Harrington-Carruthers? What sort of word is that???…..Oh it’s something to Americans dreamed up…… Hmmm how very curious…..Now what were we talking about?…..Where to go for lunch I think…Good idea. 

Pondering oneI saw worse on the last marketing run. The girl saved it……again.

Re-Launch

Some folk of a ‘certain’ age will recall back in the late 1950s & early 1960s the number of failed launches of American unmanned space craft. And yet within 10 years the USA was the first and only nation to land men on the Moon.

I take comfort from that.

Anyway

Skirmishers  Latest edition

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Skirmishers-Lace-Steel-Fire-ebook/dp/B07SSLN1GQ

And is currently free for 4 days. (Tuesday to Friday).

In this volume the same trio are involved directly with various parties, leading to them taking part in fighting off an incursion by a renegade Shadow Lords Prince in the princedom of Terasonia. 

Those who purchased the previous flawed versions are thus able to avail themselves of an improved and final version. 

For those who did get Vol I Of Patchwork Warriors’ but went no further below in an extract from ‘Our Skirmishers of Lace Steel and Fire’ 

Extract: Having been separated from Karlyn and Arketre and finding her abilities growing Trelli reaches out to her friends to break them out of a dangerous influence….. 

   ………………..       Beritt in an undignified sprawl gaped at the sight of her friend, all spectral. The LifeGuard, seeking a religious comfort touched two fingers of her right hand to her forehead, her lips and then her heart. The action stung as if offensive.

          ‘Dear Lord God. Trelli. You’re dead. You’re a ghost,’

          Trelli tutted in derision, now folding her arms.

          ‘No. I am not. My living body is on board a ship out in the Centrus somewhere. Me? I am here because I felt a great,’ she stopped pointedly, attention on Karlyn ‘Karlyn let go of Arketre’s hair. Will you both sit in a more modest fashion, and please wipe your faces clean,’ she cleared her ethereal throat ‘To repeat I was suddenly aware of a great peril about my dear friends, but as I drew closer sensed a greater unpleasantness, reminding me of Ragithyl,’

          Both were about to voice objections, when Trelli’s hands lifted towards them and they were bathed in a swift-flowing of red and blue light, making them both to splutter and gasp as if being drenched in a cold, clear waterfall.      

          Trelli examined her hands.

          ‘My. A bit unexpected, I was intending just to talk to you,’

          Beritt was sitting up straight. Legs tight together. Head in hands.

          ‘Was I really discussing killing a prince of the empire, in a casual tone?’

          Karlyn gave the matter five’s worth of serious thought.

          ‘Yeah. An’ you convinced me too. Oh, Frib and Spiffle. Whychie-in the-Spectral, did we ‘appen to look particularly stormhiggle dirty?’

          ‘Ha. I should say. Well I appear to have cleaned your faces too.  I was wondering why you seemed to have an Ethereal…bother. Stommigheid appearance of having been sloshed with buckets of the sort of water which runs out of slaughterhouses,’

          Karlyn slapped her forehead.

          ‘Oh, arse-blasts. We was sproggled, thence kerfluffeged into being seduced by the Zerstorung,’

          Beritt and Trelli did not appear to be any the wiser.

          ‘Flaxi. When we was fighting that spikie in the bad desert. We got splattered, we did,’

          ‘We’ll explain later,’ Beritt told Trelli, Karlyn rushed on.

          ‘In Zerstorung infected territory. Right? We got it poured over us. And it slowly started to seep in,’ she clenched her fists, her hands shook ‘We were on our way down the spikies road. Talking about murdering poor Krafty,’

          Beritt had been more inclined to think back to her own experiences and tales from the LifeGuard of the troopers who had walked so far into bad places they didn’t just not understand how to get back out; and they did not see the point of doing so. There again with Trelli saying they’d looked particularly stained, in a Stommigheid way she wasn’t going to argue with either girl. She was out in the middle of a fast-flowing river again and the banks on either side very far away.  Scraith. She had started to be dragged over to the Zerstorung ways. ‘Go with the current medician, go with the current, until you meet some sort of landfall…Fine advice if you know what sort of river you are in,’

          Karlyn meanwhile was in admiration of Trelli, Beritt wondered if the girl was going to kneel and offer up prayers to her.       

          ‘Oh my Whychie. You truly are one of them forces of Nature people. Yeah. See, makes sense, I mean you’ve been doing things without knowing how to do them,’

          Trelli was too cross with the pair of them for being so careless she was not in the mood for praise.

          ‘Nice of you to notice. Now how did you both get so dirty, scruffy and half-dressed in this reasonable room?’

          Karlyn said ‘urr’, suddenly feeling very much, the naughty housemaid. Neither girl felt confident enough to explain to their friend Trelli about their romance. It didn’t seem the time, nor the place. They did find time to exchange a chastened look. Neither could remember much about last night apart from a general impression of being somewhat ‘basic’. Beritt after her few years in the LifeGuard was naturally quicker with an excuse, though one based on a reasonable assumption. Which she launched into as she pulled on undershorts and trousers.

          ‘Y’know Kit- Karlyn I reckon from what you pair been sayin’ being very much possessed by unnatural forces, was causing us to be careless in our dignities,’ her mouth quirked inwards as she continued with the invention ‘Hence our unhappy state of poor cleanliness and dress. Must have come about through rolling in confusion?’ she winced; the last part did sound weak. 

          ‘Yeah,’ Karlyn enthused ‘Lost our dignities,’

          They had talked about what they would say concerning their romance to Trelli when they next met but the conversations had petered out into vaguenesses. Neither wanted to have her feeling she should no longer be around. This was Trelli, friend, equal partner in the ventures and the sensible one.

          Thus by the time this excessive agreement was done they were presentably dressed, and hair brushed. Karlyn was then swift to change the subject back onto Trelli.

          ‘You are a marvel Trelli. Everything is natural to you, don’t ‘ave to think about it. And you with your good heart are bound to be against anything spikie,’ without thinking Karlyn reached out intending to hug Trelli, only realising she was halfway to hugging herself managed to stop. 

          Beritt was suddenly awash with a great sense of relief coming riding over her nagging fears, doubts, and memories, even if only for a short time. Her head was clearing, she could see beyond the getting here. It was a time to take strong battlefield decisions without orders. No killing unless in self-defence. She wanted to get the talk to conversational.

          ‘What y’all doing thereabouts Trelli?’

          ‘I’m with the Devoteds in Tuscatalia now travelling to a port Drolis, in Anthes, I think then going north-east, somewhere,’

          Karlyn sounded quite relieved.

          ‘Then you’re not eloping with Wigran?’

          A discernible frost settled about Trelli.

          ‘No, I am not. After we lost you, we all ended up in Elinid and when he met me, he had some sort of stupid idea about pretending to hate me, frib knows why. Anyway, I was hurting, frightened, tired and upset over you both, and had no time for his rock-headed scheme,’ she sniffed ‘So I threw him over a table and threw the table after him,’ she paused ‘Or maybe the other way around. It was a confusing time. He never thinks things through,’ she sniffed again ‘I then went to the nearest Libratery,’

          Beritt whistled low in admiration.

          ‘Frib sweetlin’. Throwing fellahs an’ tables. Strong girl,’

          ‘Poor Whychie,’ Karlyn said ‘An’ after all you did. He’s not worth your time,’

          ‘He can be a bit hasty,’ Trelli replied forlornly, at that juncture she felt very lonely, even though they looked dishevelled and abashed, seeing Karlyn and Arketre together had her realising how closer the three of them had become. She missed that so much.

          Beritt was insistent on getting back to the subject of location.

          ‘And whence onwards are y’all bound?’

          ‘Fenshan,’

          ‘Fenshan’ Beritt drew out the word and looked from one girl to the other. ‘Tremoran,’

          She had made the words sound worse than a visit to The Third Hell. Trelli hovering became a little less stable, her voice tart.

          ‘I’ve already been warned. Everyone seemed to have much fun in warning me,’

          ‘But not from me Trelli,’ Beritt was back to her clipped military voice. Karlyn stopped thinking the way Karlyn usually did, memories from elsewhere calling from far off as Beritt continued ‘We were allowed to sneak into Terasonia but would not be allowed by any means to go into the patch from Tuscatalia over to Tremoran and in between, right Trelli?’

          ‘I was told they come under Devoteds jurisdiction. Some convention or other,’

          ‘Concord of 175, as confirmed in 283, by Imperial Edict,’ Beritt rattled off ‘Just so. However it was common knowledge a few of our deniable scouting half-files were sent to the Tuscatalian borders and some places to the east just to take a sniff around,’ Karlyn sniggered but was ignored ‘Only to make sure, you understand there Trelli?’

          ‘Pleased to say, I don’t,’ and looked very proud of herself, Karlyn clapped in admiration, Beritt briefly raised a hand, fingers splayed in indulgent acceptance, then returned to her plain straight and cold face, Karlyn could imagine her standing guard on those hard Drygnest walls in the worst of a winter storm, unbending. When Beritt spoke next, her voice was low, almost as if she suspected someone could overhear.

          ‘The thing is, no matter how hard the Commanders try, things can seep out. Like when y’all alone in a Drygnest dark night mixing up potions an’ in a forgotten room next door to an archive, which never closes and folks are always speaking in whispers ‘bout the very best and the very soft-padded of our wolves who were sent into those Tremoran lands, only they never sent messages back, nor trace was found of them. LifeGuard vanishing,’ she shuddered before continuing.  

          ‘When I was a Devoted, we learn about the Age of Conceits. The story goes the royal family held control over a fayre substantial amount of Call-It-What-You-Will, just like it was their private wine cellar. They had some plan to do good, and of course, it went wrong. Damn killed most of them, except for this one Prince and his, apparently beautiful daughter. He tried to pretend all was sorted, but she’d gone unsettled and thought she could rule through this wealth. Things got out of hand. Stories vary but this is where The Revered Captain Green Vixen accounts start. She being innocent an’ kind of getting’ swept up in the business. She and others fought the princess, things went good, then bad, then good again, but actually everything had got unsettled and so the teachings say this is when the Age of Retribution started. Fenshan is where the last of that particular piece of power is supposed to be all locked up,’ she shook her head unhappily ‘Sweetling, they are sending you into the wilds where a bad ol’ bear is lurking,’

          Trelli cocked her head.

          ‘I heard a similar tale, but some of the meanings and details are different. It was all about caution and hubris,’

          ‘Who was he?’ Karlyn asked, as she was bound to.

          Who apart from that brief interruption had been sitting hands around knees in rapt attention, mouth slightly open. She blinked, sat back and slapped her hands on her legs.

          ‘Wait a five. Wait a fribbin’ five,’ she paused frowning and gathering thoughts ‘Whychie turns up and cleans us up of spikies’ stuff. Then Flaxi, you warn our bold wandering girl, she’s being sent into a midden,’ Karlyn stared into middle-distance, hands clenched ‘Something is working through us isn’t it? It’s getting us together, we’re warning each other, but we all still got those dangerous things to do,’ she looked one to the other ‘Dontcha get it? We’re being put back together. Things what started lunations ago an’t done with us, nor we with them neither,’ she rocked back, a look of something approaching happy excitement ‘We in the nor’ east an’ Whychie in the south-east, well sort of. The stormhiggle is binding us. It all makes sense,’ her eyes darted rapidly from right to left ‘Annnddd, this place. More I think with a clearer head, the more I think it’s sproggled itself,’ she looked around, eyes darting ‘There’s something more than spikies here,’ sniffed, one finger raised tapping into thin air ‘Dangerous, but not what you could call evil. Dunno. Yet. I tell you wot though, there’s a sorta link. Because that stuff in this Fenshan, you didn’t call it evil, neither of you, just dangerous. All most the same.  I mean, two crisis, with us involved and overlapping,’

          ‘That’s a fayre summary Kittlin,’ Beritt said.

          ‘Kittlin?’ Trelli thought ‘When did that start?’

          Concentrating on the business to hand Trelli’s hands drifted out as if she was balancing herself upon some unseen and narrow spectral walkway.

          ‘You’ve got a point there Karlyn. Dearie me, you pair should be careful too,’

          Beritt whistled another one long low note.

          ‘Y’ reckon so Trelli? Is our little squirrel here talking Stommigheid  sense?’

          ‘’Course I am Flaxi. Remember? The crows warned me,’

          ‘It does Arketre,’ Trelli shivered ‘Spiffle. I’m being drawn back. Got no more time,’ her shape began to fade, her hands reached out to them ‘Do be careful. Don’t go charging,’ her voice dimming ‘I will reach you again. I will…’

          And was no longer there.

          ‘Oh my,’ Beritt intoned ‘Lady Green Vixen; Captain-Sister-to-Us-All, guide this thy poor sat-upon trooper,’ She loved her Kittlin, but the girl was deep in the Call-It-What-You-Will and sometimes Beritt had trouble keeping up with her explanations. Trelli was solid in the middle ground, it was one of the reasons Beritt was growing to love her as a friend, she was kind, dependable, stable and just as importantly could adapt.  

          Karlyn moved close and put an arm about Beritt, her nose twitching.

          ‘Lawd Gawdelpusal Flaxi. It’s so clearer to me now that Whychie spoke. We’re confronting holes in places where there shouldn’t be and someone here is not being careful,’

          When Karlyn and Trelli got together everything did become a bit clearer to Beritt.             

          ‘Second Hells Kittlin. Looks like we have to have ourselves an audience with a prince. Kraftenlos needs to be clarifying; if nothing else only to be proving he knows Frib’ All about what’s going on,’ She looked wide-eyed in the general direction of the Grand Duke’s army ‘And someone else needs a finger wagging,’

          Karlyn gripped Beritt’s hand.

          ‘Agreed,’ she now whistled softly ‘Us thinking about killing and plotting. Oh my. Then Whychie turned up to save us. Oh my, oh my,’……………………………..

Another Launch (Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, But It’s Satisfying)

4th EDITION

Yes, all sorted, tidied (as much as any book a writer wants to display in public can be tidied) the finalisation of the processing through the Amazon Kindle System completed 30th January 2021 at 9.35am GMT UK, and thence to sit back remembering to check later on to see when Amazon has made it public so the promotion via free books can be allowed (please, please Amazon co-operate and don’t do something ‘interesting’). Of course try as you might as a humble self-publisher you cannot guarantee that Kindle will (1) Align the word ‘Chapter’ at the centre of every single heading, no matter how hard you slaved over the business on WORD (also not the most dependable instrument for a writer of fiction) (2) Adhere to the same page breaks as WORD for much the same reason. But for the price I am settling either ‘Free’ (Don’t let me down Amazon) or 0.99 (whatevers) one should not make too much fuss over such matters; it shows a lack of taste. Thus sometime in the next 72 hours the 4th Edition will be in the Amazonverse. And those are the mechanics of the situation.

For those readers who are new to the saga of my own journey here (and there) and have not seen the dedicated site. The outlines of the categories / genres sub-genres / themes are as follows:

Fantasy: Epic (ie very long and lots of characters)

Feel-Good & Upbeat endings (Not fashionable in Epic Fantasy)

Action & Adventure: (Heroic, of course)

Humour: Various – Acerbic, Bawdy, Observational and some Satire

(Did I mention Feel-Good?)

Convoluted Events: Based on Reality- No perfect plots, no cunning villains always one step ahead, basically a Real World environment- If it can go wrong, it will. No one, like no one is every in control. If you want Illuminate stuff, go elsewhere.

Characters: Three main. Building through the experience. Bonding through trials.

The Special Power?: Oh yes, but no one really know how it works, so don’t expect any enigmatic folk of unspecified age turning up with an ancient mystic staff and talking at great length about the historical back story as if that was The Only Fact. That sort of thing doesn’t happen in this world and it certainly doesn’t happen in these books.

Controversial Aspects or Things That Might Annoy Some Readers (apart from typos, syntax and grammar that is): (A) In case I forgot to mention there is a Feel-Good Factor- a possible heresy in Epic Fantasy. (B) Then there is the portrayal of religion as simply institutionalised, generally only nodded to by the population, and also somewhat inefficiently run. So no sinister Bishops plotting in dark corners (C) Strong female leads, who are not particularly alpha, a positioning which might annoy all sides (D) LGBTQ female romance- potential minefield for a male writer. Don’t you shudder when the characters take over the narrative? (E) Just to repeat, no very all powerful, very all-seeing, darkly ruthless person or group who have minions who laugh a lot when someone can’t pierce their armour (Man! That is so boring) (F) Introspection- Not the brooding sort, more the ‘What the heck do I do next?’ sort or a lot of general grumbling (you know you do it too, so don’t complain). (G) A lot of folk and organisations- that’s the way History works, so that’s the way I wrote.

Reason for Writing: To hopeful produce a work which is there to entertain and provide a distraction from the Day around you. (Oh yeah, Annnddd I because I wanted to!)

That’s all then

For anymore information on the books, characters, lands, peoples, motivations, environments as an introduction please visit:

The Precipice Dominions… (A Fantasy Trilogy) — WordPress.com

And as I was about to close this down Amazon has notified me the revised volume is up and available. Please note this will free on Kindle from Sunday 31st January 2021 to Thursday 4th February 2021.

One Prologue is Worth a Dozen Chapters

Sometimes your have one volume with a very complicated plot which requires a foundation so the reader isn’t pestered with blank spaces which are filled in some stage down the narrative by one character suddenly breaking into a quite out of context explanation or the sudden desire to give a back story.

There again you may have embarked upon a multi-volume work and are up to your syntax and continuity in characters of various degrees of importance, plots, sub-plots and conflicts of interest. Whereas you may be living a portion of your life in this world you should not expect your readership to so and thus remember whether this character vital to Volume III had had a walk-on part in Volume I.

In these situations The Prologue is a useful device. If you are writing Fantasy…

He’s up to something….No I am not. It’s a prologue of a prologue!!

… it is almost a necessity otherwise you do have characters indulging in long explanations to another character which in normal circumstances the latter would not require, being it is hoped familiar with the nuances of their own world. In this genre you will have enough of a problem fitting in those explanations or discoveries which are generally unknown without having to include a running commentary for the reader. Prologues set the scene. Many successful authors use this device. As did many before The Bard and contemporaneous with Shakespeare. For instance he has a Chorus in the opening Scenes of Henry V and in Romeo and Juliet and you should not quibble over the fact this is one person, it would only sound confusing to have a lot of folk saying the same thing. Thus, if you are paying attention you will have an idea of ‘what’s what’.

A prologue can take many forms, a piece of action or dialogue before the main narrative. Sometimes it can take the form of a potted portion of history, this type should be approached with caution, lest it morph into a style which would be better suited to a factual history book. I had this problem upon reaching Vol III of my Fantasy trilogy….

Here it comes folks!.. Stealth Marketing…. I shall ignore that with all the dignity at my disposal

….. I was simply going to record because the overall plot was reflecting the many facetted aspects of conflicts political and military when more then two parties are involved. There was by then a great deal of detail swirling around and this begged a summary. So I tried a few ‘historical accounts’ by various anonymous writers and none worked (See above-History)

It then occurred to me, at least one character would be in a similar situation trying to make sense of everything. The natural choice was Arketre Beritt, being military and without particular ‘Ethereal’ Powers she would be short of the extra perceptions Karlyn & Trelli have, and since she was military would be wary as to where the next crisis might come from. Thus between us (I always work with the characters, they have a far better insight than I do) we put together an incident where she attempts to chart and list all the possible threats, influences and problems on the various horizons.

Aside from this prologue having an element of acerbic comedy, which is Arketre’s forte, it would also serve to show the reader just what a convoluted hoo-hah everything had become. This state of affairs being a visualisation of the tangle which became WWII, Vietnam in the 1950s-1970s, Iraq in the previous decade and any patch of European history between …..well any time …In short no one was every truly in control or genuinely working with each other. We decided italics would work best to illustrate when she was writing or maybe having particularly vivid (polite alternative) thoughts.

Thus Arketre and I give you…The Prologue (aside from the initial physical scene setting and Arketre’s brief look-back, left out as not truly pertinent to the post). The romantic ending is deliberately left in as that plays several very important parts in the narrative….No, not The Relationship in general, causes for banter, noble sacrifice, tensions and scenes of an intimate nature. You need the book to find out…

Oh Marketing! The Horror! The Horror!

 …….         Late night in the town of Yermetz. The air chill, a reminder Spring was still young. A figure seated at a desk, candle flickering due to a draft whose source still evaded detection.

          As satisfied as she was Beritt was not inclined to be complacent and expect things to go on this easy. There were wars brewing, wars happening, wars in places far away and wars right under your nose, most folk could not see those last sort of wars. Beritt was realistic enough to appreciate she could only see a fraction of them at any time, so all the more reason to make sure she would be alert to anything coming her way.

          It was a simple task really. Sit down with a large sheet of parchment, in the centre draw three circles with their first names written therein, then around them draw more circles with the names of all the organisations and people she reckoned could affect them. Once this was accomplished draw lines from these others to Me, Kitlin and Trelli, then lines which would link each of the organisation or people to each other. It would be like drawing a map, on scouting missions, you just had to keep a clear head and be methodical.

          She carefully inscribed their names, adding extra curves to the letters K-I-T-L-I-N.

          Then those to watch out for. The LifeGuard were, naturally, her first choice, only she found herself writing under its big circle, smaller ones to hold the names ‘Centre of Command and Decision- Drygnest’, ‘Colonel Rachteg’ and ‘Captain Dekyria’, because all three had been in contact with her or once through Kitlin at differing times with differing messages or in the case of the amorphous first trying to incinerate her as an acceptable loss. She didn’t feel inclined to draw lines yet.

          Next came ‘The Libratery’, she had once been a member; a humble Novice Devoted. Take into account Trelli had grown up in one of their orphanages and of late had been at their tuscatalian fortress Altoviani Settentrionali, working for them. Bear in mind, last year when seeking out Trelli, apparently Kitlin had annoyed a Surveyoress Coltello who Trelli reckoned was up to more than she seemed. Thus once more two separate circles under a bigger circle. The lines would certainly take some careful work. Then she remembered The Devoteds had Ragithyl sort of imprisoned or something. So she had to add his name, grunting to herself for he would cause a tangle.

          She then wrote ‘Decoryx’ the land of Prince Atherlin. She had been based in his realm and Trelli came from there, and he seemed to be held in ‘Fond Regard’ with The LifeGuard. Not actually pressing into her space, but worth putting down because for her that was where everything had begun. This was going to be more involved than she had reckoned. Some lines would have to bend all the way around the parchment if they weren’t going to get in the way of others. Some might intersect, she would have to think of symbols to indicate what sort of intersection. She frowned, sipped cooling coffee.

          ‘Elinid’ came next. That was where Kitlin originally claimed she had come from. Trelli had ended up there for a short time, so had Ragithyl while Wigran part of Trelli’s earlier life and deeply involved in the original mess now worked for The Silcs, and when you mentioned The Silcs it seemed they were in contact with Captain Dekyria. Another long line which would have to curve. Now there were several more circles all in a little huddle as if they were keeping a secret from her….Oh yeah and the Silcs were probably involved with that Coltello girl……Frib!

          And while she’d been thinking of Kitlin, Custodian Meradat loomed into her head, he was supposed to be of the Office of Custodians (or whatever they called themselves) but didn’t appear to get on with his seniors. Also neither he, his seniors nor The Libratery didn’t seem to pay any attention to the Official top of Religion The Ecclesiastes. She scowled at the thought of the fresh number of circles ,which in a fit of resentment at this intrusion into her military and civil world she placed in the far away bottom right corner of the parchment ensuring they kept out of her way until she was good and ready for them.

          Of course she had to include Terasonia. Of late the land had loomed large in the three women’s lives, this led to her having to include separate items for the Four Grand Dukes, the new prince, More-Than-He-Seemed Zweideutig and The Terasonian Church. Hoping they were no longer her problem she placed them off to the far left in the middle. Her modest amount of satisfaction at this arrangement soured when she remembered Osavus Trelli’s lover. He would have to be included because you could never tell with love what might happen. Beritt was glad she did not know the name of the girl he was betrothed to.

          And when you mentioned Terasonia, you had to mention The Shadow Lords; she put them next to the terasonian collection. She couldn’t really remember if there was more than one lot of Shadow Lords, she decided not to press the issue. Between that grouping and her, Kitlin and Trelli’s names she placed the evil The Zerstorung, got more confused and found she had had to put a separate entry for each group of them, being Air, Land and Deep. She glowered at the name Ragithyl for his previous involvement with at least two of them and cursed him for reminding her of at least of the Silcs being, possibly attached. 

          At this stage she sat back and huffed, then grimaced in spectacular proportions. Several of the circles seemed to want to be somewhere else. Maybe she should have put all the names on small bits of other parchment and shuffled them about on the larger piece. The ever growing numbers of groups and characters caused her to relate it to the patchwork of The Oakhostian Empire. At this thought she ground her teeth, she now had to make one entry for The Oakhostian as an empire and one for the Emperor Loosiderue because if you were a LifeGuard you didn’t think an Emperor as half as important as the whole. An image of the court and the princes came into her thoughts. Princes made her think of Henrich (The Useless) of Valeneg (her current location) and to his eastern borders, Prince Habgierig of Krenderenberg of whom Prince Atherlin of Decoryx had very unfavourable opinions. More circles. More lines. She shuddered at the notion of just how many little coded symbols at the intersections she would have to make. She forced down other names bubbling up, some from the winter’s activities around Terasonia and others due to the possibilities of ‘unpleasantness’ on Valeneg’s borders. Irritation invited her to vent its smouldering by her petulant drawing on the bottom central edge of a very untidy circular shape into which she inserted the phrase ‘Other wobblers and sheep-chasers of the Nobility’

          This done she dropped her elbows onto the table and her chin into her clenched fists, glaring at the confusion of circles whose numbers and arrangements  had there been any further additions these might have been set to form a mocking grin. She looked to ‘Kitlin’ for comfort and fond memories, only to remember her bride had mentioned that evasive fellow ‘Krongar’ in terms which had suggested his own entry and his presence of course reminded her of the danger of Karlyn’s Shadow Lord’s family. With a growl she found a place far from any other and attacked the parchment, the circle was bigger than that of Loosiderue’s for whom, presently she didn’t give a mouldy carrot. She savagely addressed the circle, got as far as ‘Krong-‘  and the tip of the quill snapped off.

          In fact due to impact coupled with the snapping the word looked like ‘Kronpf’ which was a type of honeyed oat cake favoured in the most central regions of the Oakhostian and suggested she might be the clerke for a bakery cartel which had a ridiculously grandiose idea of marketing.

          Cursing quills in general Beritt turned her anger into determination. She had spent precious bedtime on this, her investment would not be lost. She would not cut up the parchment into strips for use in the privy, something Trelli disapproved of, saying used parchment aside from being rough left ink stains on places you did not want ink stains. Also Beritt resolved she would not take the infernal work outside to tear into small bits, an act which might provide interest to the local cats out on nocturnal patrol. No, she could take up her charcoal stick and draw fribbing lines!

          But first to inscribe in angry charcoal letters ‘Kitlin’s Fribbing Interfering Family’.  To anyone else a rather enigmatic statement perched in the top left corner.

          After sometime of trying straight lines, curved lines, lines which went into loops and lines which gleefully forced her to have them cross over each other and despite the invention of symbols still became confused as to their direction; after the appearance of lines, which on other occasions, possibly when drinking wine, might have been seen to form amusingly vulgar shapes Beritt broke the charcoal stick in two and threw it at the wall.

          Obviously the whole business was not one suitable to sane folk. Folk who when attacked by someone simply hit back until that attacker either ran away or stopped moving. Folk who stood ‘here’ and if they had to go ‘there’ went in the least dangerous way. Folk who once in a while would like a very simple set of orders which had a start and a finish. Folk who had not been transferred and thence trained to work in one of the select LifeGuard units. Such as The Office of Expropriation’s Leopard Company, whose members after rigorous training and only having a casual acquaintance with sanity, went out to spy on suspect groups or burn down suspects groups’ habitations or slay as many members of the suspects groups as necessary and slip away, without anyone noticing; all the while not really caring who the groups were or why this group had been selected when a lunation ago the group had been considered allies. 

          No, she would not scrumple up, stamp on, nor tear up or even bite chunks out of the parchment, each urge briefly considered as feasible. She would roll the whole stupid mess up, tie a piece of string about it and place in her backpack for later use. Either as a point of reference, or if the need arose to symbolically wave under the nose of any senior officer who asked her for a report, or in very trying situations she would threaten (at some later stage) to insert up their backside if they dared asked her some damn fool question when she was otherwise engaged.

          The lesson learned. She would simply have to stay alert for danger from all sorts of directions, trusting only in her friend the ever maturing Trelli and, smiling fondly in the direction of the bedroom door, her darling, funny, caring, wonderfully unpredictable Kitlin.

          And she would go back to the easier task of studying the manual on infantry company tactics which she had found in The Translator Pastoral’s library. He had feigned surprise at it being there. She did not ask. 

          Stowing away the parchment roll in a less than tender manner, and disrobing she padded to the bed. She paused to smile fondly at her Kitlin. Maybe the girl was of Shadow Lord’s blood. So what? She was still a beautiful woman, and Beritt congratulated herself on having ensured the girl had finally discarded those concerns, dismissing the pleas made by folk they had encountered who claimed to be relatives. Yes, her Kitlin had spouted off some references to her heritage and expanded on that to those Shadow Lords soldiers but that had all been a bit of an act to scare them. Of late discussions on the subject often ended in Karlyn assuming the role of a haughty princess and Arketre Beritt in other guises, all play with one objective.

          To fall into bed laughing. And then for loving to begin.

          All hers, made formal by a patronising yet useful ceremony. Once more relishing the irony Beritt then as she often did when Karlyn had gone to bed earlier stood and enjoyed the sight.

          Her love was in deep sleeping, arms wrapped around Beritt’s pillow. She gently eased the pillow from out of the embrace; there came a whimper of protest, which she stilled by taking the pillow’s place causing a murmur of delight and a sigh of satisfaction. As she settled in, her Kitlin’s long, lithe arms slipped around her accompanied by a sleepy kiss on the back of her head. Beritt managed to get the pillow back in place and falling into the rhythm of Karlyn’s breathing, joined her beloved in sleep.  These nights she didn’t even need the candle still burning. Her Kitlin’s arms would keep the doubts and fears away..………..

End of Prologue……

If it has worked readers will now be prepared for the lot of tangle, and a fair idea as to the number of who are doing the tangling (or untangling)….

PS: Any long term followers and kind supporters/contributors to my posts and books are more than welcome to ask for a PDF version in advance of the official publication: All enquiries to nnqp1863@yahoo.co.uk

A Journey into the Exultation (In a modest sort of way, of course)

I will be spending some time going around various blogs and apologising for not visiting the entertaining, thoughtful or provocative sites. The story is long and mostly one a lot of folk can relate to.

The Computer: Well my usual one finally died and I dug out my back up which approached all the requests with the ill-humour you would associate with a bear being poked out of hibernation with a stick (a very, very long stick). Thus I embarked on purchasing a new one. Now being in the Covid-19 era and also wishing to purchase one for a reputable supplier ANNNNNND trying to find one which everyone agreed on was dependable (Don’t you hate those Reviews Sites which are peppered with 5 & 1 stars in equal measure?) this was a journey. One replete with delays, confusions, mixed up e-mails and an incident at a store which was like Kafa had written a Marx Bros script- that has to be a separate post! Anyway I got a new laptop, a cute lil’ 14″ light-weight ASUS which some ‘superior’ sorts may sneer at…to which I reply ‘Like I cared about your HD or your download speed for films and all that stuff you write which I swear is half-made up in an attempt to make us feel like lesser mortals’

So, thus to the other important cause.

NB: Those who might not have read my previous posts should bear in mind none of the following is advice in any form. This is about how I write- you can shake your heads and say ‘Oh dear’ and I will not be offended in the least. 

Yes firstly I apologise for mentioning the word Re-Write yet again however this evolved into more than a simply hunting out of mis-spellings, eradications of odd-syntaxes, ironing out those continuity fractures.

I finished the narrative, too a very deep breath and went back to the very, very beginning set ‘Review’ and ‘Read’ and began Microsoft Word Actually Being Useful in Self-Editing

This is quite a long process and there had to be several returns to the beginning due to a whole lot of issues not just creative ones but such problems as convincing WORD I was not actually planning on writing portions of the book in Italian (Warning, be careful writers in English should you use another language’s word or phrase…..WORD might decide you are writing the whole book in that language, it will even start narrating in that accent….Yeah I know….Go Figure).

Anyways as I progressed the journey became one of discovery and dare I say affirmation, the proof-reading/editorialising turning into an experience of witnessing the various characters trying to cope with situations which were beyond their complete control; the more successful ones adapting as they went along. Slowly the narrative was definitely slipping away from my influence changing me to the reporter. There was no problem there, if this was going to work for me anyway the tale had to have its own life, the situation described in the narrative snowballing beyond anyone’s authority. Read any histories (good ones that is, no Conspiracies!) and you will see no one is ever in control, the winners are the ones who make the least mistakes or learn by them. If there were any outside influences in my writing then they were all based on military and political history. The comedy and romance interludes were probably me co-operating with the characters.

I have not finished this process yet, hopefully half-way through this month, then it will be numbering chapters and toying with the idea of giving them titles, and of course the glossary. Following from this I will be waiting for a cover from Matthew who produced a stunning one for Volume II ‘Our Skirmishers of Lace, Fire and Steel’

I really am looking forward to his next interpretation.

There we are then 233,000+ words and maybe little chance of it being a successful.

Why do you do it then, some might ask. Others will of course know the answer.

‘Because I wanted to write this’

Violence in Fiction

The intention of this post is not actually  about raising the profile of  my trilogy nor the last part of it; the project and its characters are merely the anchors for some thoughts on the use of Violence. Bear in mind this is written from a Fantasy perspective so if you are a reader/writer of other genres you may feel some of the points need tweaking. Feel free.

Fantasy, particularly ‘Heroic/Epic rely on large swathes of violence as there will be Wars and there will be Battles, which considering Human History has to be a given. War is part of us whether we like it or not. Somewhere along the line in response to the Opposition or Villains of the narrative the central character(s) will take up arms, several times in fact maybe leading up to one climatic battle, when all may be resolved or some part left unsettled for future tales in a series. Once upon a time in much popular fiction there was a simple sort of tale when Good vs Evil had Evil defeated and that was that, which was about as Fantasy as you can get! Folklore and Legends actually produce a more realistic overview with morally ambiguous central characters and tragic endings. These days there are many Fantasy series rather than stand alones, either one theme such as Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn

Mistborn

Or very complex interactions in which very few nice folk ever appear (and if they do, they don’t live long)

Game of Thrones

All are replete with unavoidable violence, the authors’ mirroring Human history and maybe their views on society in general. Joe Abercrombie being particularly adept at tales dealing with the very gritty, dirty end of violence in which sometimes ‘Fantasy’ hardly rears its head. Take for instance.

Best served cold

Being intentionally set in a land similar to 16th century Italy and nary  a rune or magic staff in sight- nor anyone you would wish to invite over for an evening. The central character (on the cover there) is not a nice person at all, but there again she does not have an idyllic back story.

As with many forms of fiction Fantasy is replete with its own set of genres and sub-genres and in the overwhelming number of works there will be violence of some sort, which since we are dealing with in some form either ambition and/or malignant forces, to repeat is bound to happen. How is this dealt with has many options and variations, from Good eventually triumphing to the very nihilistic someone walking off into the sunset in a devastated landscape, in which evil lurks under a rock (beloved of the writers of comic books/graphic novels and horror movies)- why people think the latter is entertainment is beyond me there are plenty of ‘live’ examples in the world we live in.

Anyway since the post has gradually, as it must, drift into my opinions of the subject this is where I use my own characters to ‘sound off’ (Actually I am fairly certain they do exist from in another part of the Universe and probably in another segment of Time, thus  they have a great influence on my own views)

Heroic Fantasy loves kingdoms and empires which since the setting is usually based in semi-classical or Middle Ages to Renaissance  settings is only natural. History indicates both could be quite robust in carrying on but were prone to their own shares of less than dynamic rulers who were propped up by systems or cliques of self-interest. Thus The Oakhostian. As an empire it is composed of princedoms, city-states and other set-ups. The current dynasty started off with one  fellow who seized power by being physically ruthless against other nobles and the the emperor, albeit in a surgical way, so no rampaging. His son was more inclined to secret police and espionage. Neither bothered the mass of the population as the mass of the population didn’t bother them and both sides saw that as fine. The third in line was more easy-going, affable, with a gift of selling himself and his ideas, and knowing which side to play and when, he also appreciated women a lot and died when as gamboling about with his latest squeeze he fell into a fish pond, knocked his head on an ornamental statue  and drowned. The fourth in line is too young for the job, nervous and doesn’t make decisions. There are of course vested interests big and small. What I did want to create was something far from perfect. An environment  in which an great deal of compromise, morally elastic actions and pragmatic activity went on, most folk just wanting to keep the whole thing going and get by as best they could, because there was always the danger of the Unknown breaking out (Either as demonic forces or the catastrophic ill-use of a nascent power known by various names, commonly Ethereal of Stommigheid)  Thus in some respects mirroring post WWII Europe in the latter half of the 20th Century.  In this empire Violence being contained in the local law and order problems, the spats between princes, princes and their own nobility and the occasional uprising by one group or another. These can be ugly, but since they occur ‘somewhere else’ most folk don’t worry about it. Which I feel is sadly ‘business as usual’ and fairly realistic.

Like most Fantasy series these days, you’ve got to be ready to produce something of maybe 200,000+ words per volume and have a whole world peopled by an entire cast. In fact this is half the fun of it. Since this is not my own web-site for dedicated readers in their thousands (ahhh, per chance to dream). I will only concentrate on how the three central characters individual approaches the question of violence.

In alphabetical order:

Arketre Beritt: From somewhere which might be similar to parts of the Southern USA. Brought up traditionally rural, in an attempt to find a direction joined The Devoteds (like Nuns) however with a tendency to be disruptive and a girl-chaser, by a long standing   agreement was sent to the LifeGuard. This was originally supposed to be the Imperial Guard but is now a state within a state. Initially she was trained as a medician (think medic).  To begin with she appears the nice, little fair headed, eager helper in a file (unit) but as the saga continues and she is exposed to persistent violence she reveals a more deadly side to her nature, killing without compunction, partly as she sees her duty but also in her own urge to deliver retribution. This is of concern to folk she is close to, lest they lose her to a pathway into nothing but violence. Her close friend Trelli is most adept at warning her and under her influence Arketre will display her healing skills and a rough diplomacy. She is something of one type of ever present soldier, conflicted between duty, rage and a softer side. Being in a steady relationship with Karlyn supplies another anchor. She is at her most stable with Karlyn and Trelli otherwise she is a person of War, although looking for a way out at any cost as long as Karlyn and Trelli are not harmed.

Karlyn: Originally with no memory of her past, only her recent life of being washed ashore from a ship. She lived in a city before venturing out on her own mission to strike down evil by burning down places at random. She, has an affinity with the inflammable, talks to and clambers above trees empathises with most creatures, has a very esoteric sense of smell and adept at finding and navigating pathways out of the conventional world into different realms. As the saga progresses it is found she is of another species of Humans, The Shadow Lords, was sent on a scouting task to the world of Humans but it transpires was ambushed by malevolent forces. Initially very scatty  and askew I was somewhat alarmed at how parallel she could be with Harley Quinn and together we had to work quite hard to ensure folk knew she was her own girl…Or actually two as at times her previous noble identity (Lady Maighdean Ardea )takes hold. She has no problems with killing, although being far swifter and precise than Arketre and only as a response to a direct threat, once the threat is dispatched, that is that. Fallen sweetly in love with Arketre and a friend verging on bossy big sister to Trelli. Her principal concern is staying with Arketre and not being drawn back to her family, quite at ease with punching her brother or cousins from trying to make her.

Trelli (aka Trelyvana Waywanderer): In Fantasy terms Trelli is not unusual, there she was an ordinary housemaid (later self-promoted to Housekeeper, if anyone asks her) when due to the son of the household’s research into ‘The Ethereal’ forces, she was inadvertently inculcated with its energies. Thus she can knock folk over, tackle those using Ethereal for evil purposes, learnt how to fly (in an eclectic way), travel between realms and sometimes influence minds. She was initially very suspicious of this, particularly as it manifested itself in red and blue aura about her fingers, causing her to wear thick gloves or tuck her hands under her armpits in an attempt to avoid folk noticing. Whereas she has come to terms with this circumstance, she is constantly aware of the potential corrosive effect on her character and thus to possibility of loosing destructive forces; she is therefore ever wary of any external or internal influence to lead her down such a path. Of the three she is therefore the least willing to launch into battle and even then is restrained, unless in direct conflict with the demonic forces (The Zerstorung), in which case as it is a fight to the finish she has no qualms. Due to the encouragement of her two friends she always has a tendency to resort lesser forms of physical violence when provoked. Through her friendship with Arketre and Karlyn and the mutual reliance which is fostered within the trio she is able to navigate a pathway through conventional experiences with little trouble.

It is my usual inclination when writing to give the malignant forces a very hard time, since if there is one thing I find irritating is the self-satisfied, monologuing, god-complex villain whose perfect plan is only foiled at the last chapter either by supreme sacrifice or some sudden burst of amazing whatever. My own narratives tend to be influenced by my reading of military histories and the fact there never is a perfect plan, that things go wrong and its the folk who make the least mistakes who usually come out on top. Thus no one in my books ever does things adroitly, it’s all about that catching of the other out and either then pummeling them, or skipping out of the way to come back for another shot. This normal lack of over-arching competence in situations allows the trio of central characters to escape some of the more excessive fates and experiences seen in other books (Note: As these books are self-published for their own sake the characters and I reckon we can between us get away with this as much as we please- look upon it as a sub-sub-genre Fantasy-Heroic-Feel Good )

Violence or the threat of it is ever prevalent and sometimes the central characters in particularly Arketre are the instigators. As stated earlier, the backdrop of the narrative is an empire under threat external or internal  so this is to be expected. Whether the use of violence is as necessary as the characters (or I) see it remains very much up to the perspective of the reader. Whether the central characters come across as likeable people is also left up to the reader to decide for themselves. Personally over the years (since about 2014) I have grown quite fond of them, seeing them as people of their time and circumstance, dealing with matters as they see fit and in general authority or those they work with or for having to catch up with the trio as individuals or in various combinations.

Therefore Violence exists. When using this in fiction the responsibility lies with the writer and to an extent the reader as to whether the levels, perceptions and morals of the usage are acceptable. Personally I use it a great deal, and dear reader don’t expect the villains ever to walk away from it.