Monday, December 23, 2013

My Writing Process

Thanks To Wendy Laharnar and Edith Parzefall for including me in this rather interesting blog hop.

Four questions... Can I get them right?

What are you working on at present?

Easy. Editing the final two stories in the Chronicles of Caleath.
Adrift: In Search of Memory and Adrift: The Fragile Sun.
These sea faring adventures have been fun to write and visiting them after such a long time is a great way of seeing where they can be improved.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Right, well, I am not sure I have ever read a science fiction fantasy mix quite like Caleath's story. With influences from epic fantasy combined with a modern look at society's addiction to television 'real life' shows like Survivor and Big Brother I have had plenty to work with.

Why do I write what I do?

I guess when I write about addiction, it reflects why I write. I am addicted to creating, whether that means painting, writing, or something less tangible like spending time with my grandchildren. Every day is a gift. We should make something positive of it.

Science fiction and fantasy offer the scope to explore new worlds, ideas and magic. Relationships, challenges and character development can get a real workout when imagination is let run free. I always try to ground my fantasy in reality, which means a lot of research. Another aspect of writing I enjoy.

How does my writing process work?

When writing a first draft I am like one obsessed. I can think of nothing else. Life gets in the way and I must write. Once the first draft is down I put it aside for a while. I will still be thinking about each character's agenda and reactions and after a few weeks will go through and tweak most scenes. Once happy with the plot I like to leave the manuscript for a while. Months even. Then go back and begin polishing. I will then work with a critique group. I find their feedback helps correct and find the nits.

I am always learning more and wanting to add what I have learnt to my work. It is hardest to walk away and leave the manuscript.

Learning is as much fun as writing, editing, and publishing. I enjoy interaction from other writers, critiquers, and writing workshops. Writing short pieces for  writing group meetings and workshops helps stretch my writing skills. Sharing what I have learnt too, is a thrill.

Now... I have been lax, with two deaths in close succession  my life has been turned upside down. I haven't been organised and apologise for not having more authors tagged.

Hope everyone has a SAFE and HAPPY Christmas.. or holiday season.

 ADRIFT will be released early in 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Artesans of Albia... Fantasy series by Cas Pearce. Blog Tour.

Go into the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win!

Artesans of Albia series synopsis.
 On a foolhardy foray into a foreign realm, Taran Elijah is attacked by a terrible weapon known as the Staff. Killing its wielder, he escapes into Albia, inadvertantly carrying the Staff.
Concerned by the vicious raids that follow Taran's actions, Major Sullyan of the High King's forces crosses into Andaryon to seek diplomatic resolution to the crisis. She is captured and tortured by Lord Rykan, aspirant to the Andaryon throne.
Slowly dying, Sullyan escapes his clutches. She offers her skills to the Hierarch in defense of his throne, finally confronting Rykan on the field of battle.
Her handsome Captain and lover, Robin Tamsen, embarks on a desperate quest to recover the Staff. But Rykan's greedy General, Sonten, is two steps ahead of him. If Robin cannot lay hold of the weapon before Sonten does, Sullyan's life and the lives of all Artesans are forfeit.
The race for the Staff has begun.

King's Envoy Excerpt.
Taran Elijah's quest for knowledge uncovers a plot that threatens the world...

"Are you quite sure about this, Taran?”

Cal’s voice echoed in the gloom as Taran Elijah closed the cellar door behind them. He raised the lantern and sharp-edged shadows fled up the walls.
Taran glanced at his Apprentice standing three steps below him and ran a hand through his short brown hair. It came away clammy and he wiped it on his shirt. Trying to keep his voice level, Taran said, “I’ve tried every way I can think of to find another teacher. My father was right, there simply aren’t any Artesans left in Loxton Province. Maybe even in the whole of Albia. Entering the Fifth Realm might be dangerous, but it’s the only place I’m going to find other members of our craft.”
Turning away from Cal’s doubts, Taran faced the portway. It was the smallest, tightest structure he could form and it was firmly anchored. There was nothing else to wait for.

He nodded to Cal and drew a deep breath.

Stepping into the portway, he left the cellar behind.

Taran was distracted as the Staff skidded to his opponent’s feet. The noble snatched it up and it flared blindingly, blue and green light rippling down its length. He drove at Taran with his sword but even as he parried the blows, Taran felt his opponent calling up power. He stared in shock—the Staff’s flickering tip was pointing at his heaving chest.

A killing bolt of pure elemental energy flashed from the Staff. With a wide-eyed look of horror, totally unnerved by this unforeseen event, Taran only just managed to twist sideways. He was showered with dirt as a sizzling bolt of Earth power pulverized a rock behind him.

Fear and anger goaded Taran and he leaped at his opponent. Taran rained blows onto his blade, striking viciously, trying to keep the noble off balance. There was a discordant clang, and Taran’s sword arm went numb. The noble roared a curse as his sword was sent spinning from his hand.

“Yield,” panted Taran, but his opponent didn’t falter. Raising the Staff, he attacked Taran with renewed ferocity. Huge bolts of Earth energy shot from its tip, forcing the exhausted Journeyman to deflect them.

Taran’s powers were stretched far beyond their straining limits. Terrified, he only had one choice and he grabbed it, throwing all his remaining metaforce into one vast Earth shift. The ground bucked beneath his opponent’s feet, nearly toppling him, and Taran rushed him. Ignoring the Staff’s awful power, he brought his sword around in a powerful backhanded sweep.

The noble’s head suddenly dangled from a half-severed neck.

There was shocked silence.

The Count led Major Sullyan to the far end of the hall, where a tight knot of people surrounded a tall, regal-looking man dressed in black trimmed with red and silver. The man in black turned to see who was approaching.

Taran felt the shock that ran through Sullyan as she saw his face. He sensed, rather than heard, her tightly hissed whisper in his mind—Beware!—before her mental shield snapped down. With amazement, he saw the very deep obeisance she accorded this arrogant-looking lord, and watched as he took her hand with a predatory smile. A strange light glowed in his pale yellow eyes.

The Count licked his lips and cleared his throat before announcing, “Most noble and gracious Lord, may I present the Lady Ambassador Sullyan, of whom you have heard me speak many times. Lady Sullyan, it is my privilege to present to you his Grace Lord Rykan, Duke of Kymer.”

The saturnine lord gazed intensely into Sullyan’s face. She had frozen her expression in a smile but Taran could feel tension radiating from her.
“My dear Lady Ambassador.” The Duke’s voice was deep, rich and silky-smooth, and his eyes looked as sharp as an eagle sighting prey. His darkly handsome face was perfectly complemented by an aquiline nose and the very pale gold of his slit-pupiled eyes. Despite his clear middle age, his slim and powerful body positively radiated strength and virility.

He smiled, showing white, even teeth, and held fast to Sullyan’s hand as his raptor’s eyes traveled her body, drinking in her curves.

“The Count has told me of your beauty, Lady,” he murmured, “but at his most effusive he did not do you justice. You are a flawless gem among women. No one here could outshine you.”

“Your Grace is too kind,” responded Sullyan, casting down her eyes. She tried to reclaim her hand but the Duke was having none of it.

He turned, obliging her to fall into step beside him, and moved toward the highborns’ feast table at the far end of the hall.


The Count scuttled nervously after him.

“Your Grace?”
“It is my pleasure to be the lady’s escort tonight. Make other arrangements for her … companions.”

“Yes, your Grace.”

With much flapping of his long hands, the Count ushered Bull, Robin and Taran to tables at the long side of the hall. Bull and Robin went reluctantly, the Captain clearly unhappy at being separated from the Major. Sullyan, when Taran glanced back at her, seemed to be coping with her shock, for she sat and talked with the dark lord while the other guests found their seats.

“The Duke of Kymer?” hissed Robin. “What the hell’s he doing here?”
Bull shook his head.

“I’ve no idea. All I know is that we’ve been warned about him before. Leaving aside our suspicions as to who’s behind the invasion, Rykan’s probably the most influential and dangerous person in the entire Fifth Realm. He has a reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty and I’ve heard he has an insatiable appetite for women.

“Coincidence it may be, and nothing to do with the raids, but his presence here means there’s something afoot. He’s got under Marik’s skin too, by the looks of things. The Count may be gloomy by nature but he’s not normally so nervy, although I’d expect him to be on edge with Rykan here. The Duke’s a harsh overlord and Marik’s not wealthy.

“Keep your wits about you, lads. Sullyan’s in no danger at present but if Rykan takes a fancy to her, she’ll need all her diplomatic skills to wriggle out of it without giving offense.”
Sprinting toward the guard house, Taran ignored the sounds of combat behind him and slipped quietly through the door. The building was deserted. Re-emerging, he saw that Robin had tied his man securely and was helping Cal and Bull, neither of whom seemed under pressure. Swiftly, he looked around, identifying the mansion’s entrance as the only other possible source of danger. He ran around the courtyard, keeping out of the direct line of sight of the open doorway, and sidled along the wall until he could see into the passage beyond. It was clear.

He jumped through the doorway and listened intently in the pale light of a few tallow torches. There was nothing to hear or sense. When he turned back to the others, two of the guards lay bleeding their last on the slick cobbles and Robin was menacing his prisoner, trying to make the demon tell him if there was anyone else inside.

The guard stayed defiantly silent, staring at Robin through pale, slitted eyes until Bull came up behind him and casually sliced off an ear lobe. The demon’s agonized shriek echoed around the courtyard.

“Where’s the Count?” repeated Robin.

“Gone,” rasped the demon, blood streaming down his neck.
“Gone where?” yelled Robin.

Bull laid his dagger beneath the guard’s other ear and the demon flinched, sweat beading his face. “They’ve gone to Kymer,” he spat. “They left two weeks ago.”
Robin and Bull stared at each other.

“Kymer?” said the Captain. “That’s Rykan’s province.” He turned back to the guard and shook him roughly. “Are you telling me Rykan came back for the council meeting?”

Despite his pain, the guard smiled wolfishly. “He never really left. There was a tasty morsel here he fancied.”

Robin stamped furiously on his arm and the demon grunted in pain.
“I knew we shouldn’t have left her here,” raged Robin. “If Marik’s betrayed her, I’ll slice out his heart. The gods know what’s become of her now. Curse Blaine for recalling us too soon.”

Bull frowned. “Calm down, Robin, getting angry won’t help us. We don’t know this is Marik’s doing. And if Rykan’s that enamored of her, he’s not going to do her any harm.”

They became aware of a rasping sound. It was the demon guard laughing at them as he bled. “No lasting harm?” he wheezed. “She’ll be dead by now if I know my Lord Rykan. He’ll have had what he wanted of her ten times over. There will be no stopping him now.”

King's Champion Excerpt.

Trapped in Andaryon and slowly dying, Major Sullyan is determined to find some purpose in the shattered remains of her life...

Branches whipped past Rienne’s face as she clung to the horse’s neck. The darkness and the wind of their speed were unremitting. Horse sweat slicked her fingers. Her arms and legs ached fiercely with the effort of staying on the galloping beast, and neither the wiry arms circling her waist nor the unfamiliar chest pressed into her back were helping. She wasn’t used to riding this fast and certainly not riding double.

A quick glance to her left showed Cal, his horse weaving its own hectic path through the trees. Taran should be just behind him, Robin and Bull even further back. At least she hoped they were there. She couldn’t hear them, couldn’t hear anything above the rasping breath of her horse and the rough slap of branches. She felt rather than heard the pounding hoof beats as they jarred up through her thighs and into her protesting back.

Would this ride never end?

Her laboring horse kept trying to slow, but the thin man seated behind her repeatedly dug his heels into its lathered flanks. Rienne heard the poor beast grunt as it plunged on through the trees. She grimaced in sympathy. How much more could it take? Neither she nor the Count were heavy, but even the stoutest horse would struggle to maintain this pace while carrying two riders. Rienne didn’t like to think what might happen if it foundered.

How long had it been since she, Count Marik, and Robin had brought the gravely injured and unconscious Major Sullyan out of those dreadful dungeons? How long since they had fled Rykan’s palace and the patrols sent to hunt them? Rienne shuddered, trying not to think of Sullyan’s unresponsive face as Robin took her onto his horse. Marik had kicked their shared mount ahead of Robin, desperate to lead them far away from Rykan’s palace. As she passed him, Rienne saw tears glistening in Robin’s indigo eyes. Since then, she hadn’t had an opportunity to gauge the Major’s condition. Was she still alive or had she, as Rienne privately feared, already died? Her injuries were severe; this wild, panic-stricken flight through an unfamiliar forest might be one ordeal too many.
Sullyan removed her cloak and jacket, handing them to Robin. Ky-shan’s eyes widened when he saw her rank insignia and battle honors, and wariness showed on his face. He waved his men back to the walls of the compound to make space for the fight. This hid them from the soldiers outside, and Sullyan noticed Robin eyeing the Guardsmen. He would be wondering how long it would be before news of the duel reached the Hierarch. Sullyan could hardly deny inciting Ky-shan. Knowing Robin trusted her, she pushed the thought to the back of her mind, waving him to a position not far from the compound entrance.

As she drew her sword, Ky-shan positioned himself across from her, his heavier blade already balanced in his right hand. Poised on the balls of his feet, he looked angry and dangerous. Sullyan chose a double-handed grip. It wasn’t her usual style, but when the pirate attacked with no warning, she was glad she had. She blocked the mighty swipe and let Ky-shan’s blade shiver off hers, the two-handed grip giving her stability against his heavier weapon.

He came back at her at once, and she allowed him to make contact with her sword, jumping away without striking back. She would test his skill and strength and let him spend the first flush of his anger. Moving easily around the space, giving ground as necessary, she made him do all the work. Yet he was not without subtlety and soon realized what she was doing. After a few testing passes which she parried cleanly, she saw him begin to re-evaluate her. She gave him her full attention, anticipating the real start to their duel.

The pirate lunged at her and she switched to a single, left-handed grip, parrying his thrust and following up with a lunge of her own. The very tip of her sword parted the sleeve on his right arm and she saw a thin trace of blood follow the blade.
His men saw it too and erupted, roaring their anger. It was only a flesh wound and could hardly have stung, but seeing first blood go to her refueled Ky-shan’s rage. He bellowed and pressed her with a flurry of furious strokes. Sullyan parried smoothly, forcing him to circle, trying to tire him out. Where she could, she sidestepped his lunges, letting him spend his strength on empty air, and then followed up with a lightning-fast attack of her own.

Ky-shan’s was the stronger weapon, but it was heavier and slower. His thick, meaty fingers weren’t as flexible as Sullyan’s and his control over his blade not as sure. His was a slashing weapon and his style reflected this, more suited to shipboard skirmishes than the finer art of dueling. Soon he began to tire, his breath coming in gasps. She guessed that her level of expertise had both surprised and infuriated him. Sustaining his anger was sapping his strength. As he fought, he gave a series of grunts and cries, whereas Sullyan fought in silence, only exhaling hard during a particularly vicious cut.

His men were jeering her, yelling encouragement to their leader. Ky-shan altered his tactics and advanced hard on her, attacking with a series of cross-body strokes so powerful they turned his torso from side to side. Each slash was punctuated by a heavy grunt. Sullyan blocked, backing away before him, his men parting to give her room. She was still using a left-handed grip and Ky-shan had the measure of that now, compensating well for the unusual angle of her blade. He was grinning. She moved sideways, parrying awkwardly, sliding away when she could. Ky-shan pursued her relentlessly, pressing home his advantage. His men roared and he swung his sword round to attack her unprotected right side.
Flicking her sword into her other hand, she ducked his violent swing, thrusting swiftly at his completely undefended left flank. Her blade opened a long, bloody cut down his side.

Ky-shan staggered, gasping in pain. As his men swayed forward, yelling their anger, Sullyan pursued him across the courtyard, opening two more superficial cuts before he recovered his balance. Enraged beyond thought now and egged on by his band, Ky-shan chased her back, beating down on her sword, raining blows as fast as he could. He drove her backward on the icy ground where the footing was treacherous, pressing her so fast that suddenly—she went down. With a roar of triumph echoed by his furious men, Ky-shan raised his blade.

At the base of a small hill, twenty men crouched in the trees. Their leader gestured and three of them followed him as he began a slow, stealthy upward creep. All had knives in their hands.

On reaching the crest of the hill, they saw a group of four Albians oblivious to their surroundings and totally engrossed in the drama below. The one woman in the group had both hands tightly clenched and pressed to her mouth, the pressure of her huge companion’s arms around her waist unheeded as she stared with blank eyes. Two younger men—one of them the target—stood apart from the other two, closer to the trees. They were far enough away that the man and the woman couldn’t directly see them.

Silently, the leader indicated the two men. His three followers nodded. The Albians had heard nothing and remained ignorant of the danger behind them.
Taran’s sight faded to black as the spellsilver knife pressed in below his ear, shutting off every sense he possessed. Shocked and frightened, he tried to cry a warning to Cal or Bull, but a hand clamped painfully over his mouth, making speech impossible. Weakened, sickened by the spellsilver’s touch, he felt himself being hustled backward into the trees.

“The General wants a word with you,” growled a threatening voice in his ear.
The words sounded oddly muffled, and all he could see were vague, dark shapes. Coldly fearful, he could do nothing as his captors wrestled him away, leaving his companions oblivious on the hill.

King's Artesan Excerpt.

Robin Tamsen sets out on a desperate quest. The race for the Staff has begun ...

With a savage cut to the throat, Robin dispatched his opponent and drew a breath, using the brief lull to glance around him. He was pleased with the progress they were making, but could not understand what had happened to Parren. He and Parren were supposed to be supporting each other, driving Sonten’s forces away from the village and out into the marshy ground around the pond, yet Robin’s command were doing all the work themselves. There was no sign of Parren.

A sudden commotion to his left caused Robin to spin round. With relief, he saw the remnants of Baily’s command come pouring down through the houses to engage Sonten’s flank. This gave him respite to try to locate either Parren or Vanyr. He could see neither man, but what he did see, to his dismay, was the unmistakable shimmer of a trans-Veil portway. Limned against it like a blue halo was a tall figure wielding what could only be the Staff.

Robin went cold. Summoning his strength, he yelled, “Torman!” There was an answering shout from somewhere in front of him. Abandoning caution, Robin linked with Vanyr.

Sonten’s man is opening a tunnel. He’s got the Staff and he’s getting away!
Vanyr’s response was tight with strain. Don’t worry, I’m on him. If he tries to use the tunnel, we’ll follow, but it’s not ready yet.

Reassured that Vanyr had the situation covered, Robin again scanned the mêlée for Parren. There was still no sign of him, but in the slowly growing light Robin could just make out some of his men outside the tavern. Before he could wonder what the sallow captain was doing back there, an Andaryan swordsman aimed a lunge at Robin’s chest. Whirling, he deflected the stroke, his blade ringing on his opponent’s as he sidestepped, avoiding the backslash. There were more Andaryans facing his command now as those from the eastern end were rallying the ones surrounding Sonten. The battle was turning desperate.

Vanyr knew he was gaining on the General. He also realized that Heron was not fully in control of the portway. He could feel its instability through the element of Earth from which it was formed. Casting aside thoughts of his own safety, he had eyes only for the two fleeing men and the artifact they carried. As he ran, he tried reaching out with his own metaforce, wondering if he could disrupt Heron’s concentration. If he could wrest control of the Staff from Heron, he might be able to seal the end of the tunnel, trapping Sonten inside. He was aware that Heron was metaphysically stronger than him, but Sullyan’s words concerning his ranking five days ago had given him new confidence.

Exerting his will, Vanyr latched on to the strange signature of the Staff. He could now feel Heron’s pattern of psyche and sense how tenuous his grip on the Staff was. Ignoring the weird sensations the Staff sent crawling through his body, Vanyr succeeded in severing Heron’s connection to the weapon. Triumphant, he saw the enemy commander stumble and then glance fearfully over his shoulder.

Vanyr grinned, but his triumph faded as a strange and ominous rumbling came from behind him. Glancing over his own shoulder, he frowned at the eerie ripples advancing toward him, warping the air. The figures of men seemed to bleed, their shapes flowing like muddy water. Sound warped too, the cries and screams of men swelling and ebbing in his ears. He felt sick.

He grabbed for the substrate, trying to control the strangely fluctuating power. Before he could act, a shockwave barreled into him. The sound of a thousand souls screaming in agony whipped Vanyr around like fluff in a gale, making him gasp in pain. He stared, helpless, as the weirdly augmented scream rebounded wildly through the tunnel, blasting over Sonten and his fleeing men. Vanyr’s eyes widened in horror as the tunnel wavered on the verge of collapse.

He shielded instinctively, turning to yell furiously over his shoulder at Ky-shan and the seamen. “Cover your ears! The tunnel’s collapsing! Go back! GET OUT!”

Without waiting to see if they obeyed him, he plunged his metasenses into the Staff, grasping at the vat of power with no restraint. He took a deep breath, for the ripples of the shockwave had reached the far end and were racing back toward him with mindless fury. He saw Sonten and Heron fall, both men crumpling like slaughtered deer. Clapping his hands over his ears as the wave raced over him, Vanyr fell to his knees. His body was blasted and shaken like a rag, yet his mind clamped desperately over the tunnel’s structure as it shuddered around him, threatening to fall apart. It ripped at his senses and he screamed, fighting to hold it together. The sound wave bounced back once more, punching him flat to the ground, searing his nerves and burning them raw. In anguish, he called upon the power of the Staff, just enough to direct the tunnel’s opening. He forced himself to crawl forward, desperate to snatch the Staff from Heron’s hand. He had to make it out before the tunnel collapsed completely.

Holding his connection to the Staff was agony. Its power charred his barely shielded mind. Needles of hot pain lanced into his eyes and boiling liquid spilled down his face, making him shriek. On hands and knees, he blindly forced himself forward, pace by tortured pace, crying with pain as he grimly held on to the tunnel.

One thought kept him going, distracted him from his agony. It was the image of Sullyan fighting for Bull’s life as the big man lay unresponsive after his heart seizure. She would never have given up on him, and Vanyr knew he could not give up now. Everything she had suffered—at Rykan’s palace, in the arena, and then to save her friends—could not be wasted. Without the Staff, she stood no chance of life.

Vanyr could not let her down. Setting his teeth in a rictus of urgency, he clamped his mind around the disintegrating tunnel.

He had no idea if anyone else was left in the structure. He had no thoughts, no time to speculate, no capacity for anything but this bitter battle for survival. He felt it like a sword in his back when the Albian end of the tunnel fractured, broke, and collapsed. He shrieked aloud as it raced up behind him, tumbling and buffeting his body as it imploded, shattering all around him.
Robin composed himself to report to General Blaine. He hadn’t intended to put it off this long. He walked away from where the pirates were getting ready to leave, and sat on a pile of rubble. His quest for contact got the General’s attention immediately, and he ran through the events leading up to his arrival in Hyecombe succinctly. Blaine heard it all without comment. Then Robin described the battle for the Staff. He managed to keep his emotions at bay until he reached the part where the tunnel collapsed. He got as far as describing the Andaryan General’s desperate scramble through the structure and Vanyr’s heroic pursuit. When he tried to continue, however, he choked.

There was a short silence before the General asked, What became of them, Captain? Do you have the artifact?

Shame and sorrow colored Robin’s tone. I’m afraid not, sir. They were all inside when the tunnel collapsed. It would have killed them, sir. I think the Staff is lost.
Lost? Do you mean permanently?

I don’t know, sir. I searched, but I couldn’t find any trace of Sonten, his Artesan, or Vanyr. If they were trapped inside the tunnel when it blew, as I’m sure they were, then it’s gone for good.

Reader Reviews for the Artesans series:
"Better than A Game of Thrones" - SCIFI, Amazon reviewer.  
"Most impressive. Fantastic series ... don't miss it!" - K S, Amazon Vine Voice and Top 1000 Reviewer
"A must-read for fantasy fans" CR, Blogger and Amazon reviewer
"5 stars, but deserves so much more" AA, Amazon reviewer
"Splendidly written in a wonderful voice" RM, Author and Amazon reviewer
"One of the best fantasy books I've ever read" DC, Author and Amazon reviewer

Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She also loves to sing and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can download all the songs from her website:
See the video of her performing live at the King’s Envoy book launch here:
Find out more at her website:

Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here’s the series trailer on YouTube: 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Introducing Pam Kelt's newest release 'The Cloud Pearl'

Book One in The Legends of Liria.

Heights of fantasy

By Pamela Kelt

I don’t have a head for heights. I get dizzy on a stepladder. So why did I suggest a trip alongside the infamous Ladder of Cattaro to a monastery perched high in the mountains of Montenegro?

You guessed. It was all in the name of research for a new fantasy series I was planning.

It all began with my daughter, Lauren, who in her teens attended advanced circus skill classes at our local youth theatre. She specialised in silks, aerial hoop, trapeze, acrobalance and rope. The shows these youngsters put on were breathtaking. If you’ll excuse a shameless piece of name-dropping, Lauren’s best friend there was Sophie Turner. (Yes, that one.) When Sophie landed the part of Sansa Stark, everyone was talking about Game of Thrones. Fantasy fans were beside themselves.

It crossed my mind, though, that a younger generation of readers (and viewers)
would be excluded, given the adult content. It’s a little rich for my blood, too. So I began to ponder on a fantasy series for tween/teen girls but I struggled with the setting. Everything seemed to have been done. Teutonic, Nordic, Persian. That summer, we went to Montenegro for a family holiday, and it clicked. I went Balkan.

Montenegro has it all. Its dramatic mountains out-Tolkien the alps of New Zealand. Its stunning blue bays and inlets are as dramatic as Norway (the Bay of Kotor is, in fact, the most southerly fjord). Then there are the exquisite Italianesque towns, stone villas, Roman mosaics, monastic eyries …

Lord Byron himself was one of many visitors taken by its spectacular scenery and gushed: ‘At the moment of birth of our planet, the most beautiful meeting of land and sea was on the Montenegrin coast.’

The old name for Montenegro was Illyria, which is a little hard to say, and so Liria was born. The sheer diversity of the country, due mainly to its huge mountains, led to a concept of a six adventures in six contrasting settings.

The opening scene is in a villa based on a church overlooking the Bay of Kotor, for example. Morenija, a city of bell towers, takes its inspiration from Perast with its Venetian architecture. (The swimming there is wonderful.)

I devoured the guide books for inspiration and became captivated by a famous warrior bishop/poet. His name was Petar Petrovic Njegos, a national hero, for whom a massive mausoleum was built on Mount Lovcen.

This had to be seen. Despite my fears, I suggested the trip and off we went.

We left Kotor and took the road that followed the Ladder of Cattaro, a zigzag path of almost impossible hairpin bends. It was a former mule track that linked Cetinje, the traditional capital of Montenegro, to the outside world until the late 19th century. Nowadays, the narrow road is easily the most terrifying I have ever seen, as it winds its way up into the mountains. Looking down was terrifying. Worse were the regular sightings of flowers at periodic bends where unfortunate travellers had misjudged the turns. The safety barriers were crumbling.

Up we climbed, almost into the clouds, past subsistence-level farms and orchards as the scenery shifted from coastal to alpine. The medieval past of Montenegro is still apparent, lending itself well to an imaginary past, free from modern technology.
The mausoleum is perched on a grey mountain, approached by a flight of nearly 500 white marble steps with precipitous drops on either side, so vertiginous my palms sweated. The panoramic views of the Montenegrin mountains were epic. I can’t even describe the fear of the trip back down to sea level. I sat in the back of the car with the guide book, not even daring to look out of the window. However, the plot for the first book began to form, featuring a mountain citadel called Gorach that you can now see on the book’s cover.

The Balkan theme also came into its own when it came to the characters’ names. I decided to have two complementary protagonists who would be my young questers. In keeping with the aerial skills that had originally sparked the story, it seemed fitting to make them athletic and physically gifted. Svila (Serbian for silk) is a silks specialist (think Cirque de Soleil), haughty, instinctive, confident. Her younger companion is Petra, steady as a rock, skilled in fire poi more by dint of practice than natural ability. At first their friendship is a little sticky, but their relationship firms as they progress through the story. Zoran is the name of an eccentric academic my husband knows, also from Serbia.
The fun thing about the Balkan theme for English speakers is that the names are so totally different that you have no preconceptions of what a character might be like. Mirko – good or bad? What about Kurto? Lukas? Dmitri? Dvora?

The history of Montenegro and the Balkans in general is filled with larger-than-life heroes, villains and monsters (from dragons to vampires), so it was delicious fun creating the villain. In fact, I decided a series required a whole dynasty of nastiness, and so Kurova Grax and her misfit brood were fledged.

One day, I would love to return to the Balkans, but next time I’ll stick to the coast.

Find Pam on Twitter and Facebook. There is a Legends of Liria blog, featuring The Cloud Pearl, and click here to see the book trailer. Pam also has a blog and author page.

Read Chapter One of The Cloud Pearl here.

Fascinating trip, wonderful story and amazing story-teller!! Thank you Pam for being a return guest on my blog. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall into Fantasy this OCTOBER

This October we'll be holding the FALL INTO FANTASY giveaway.


Authors of fantasy and paranormal stories are eager to get their books into your hands. We'll be giving away books and swags to lucky readers so don't miss your chance to win!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Presenting Mind Over Psyche by Karina Fabian

 Book Two of the Mind Over trilogy

 Deryl’s supposed to save their world—but can he save his own sanity?

 Deryl isn’t crazy; he’s psychic. Desperate to escape the insane asylum, Deryl teleports to Kanaan, a world of telepaths who regard him as an oracle. The Kanaan expect their oracle to teach them to wage war. He falls in love, but to be with her means to share his psyche, which could drive her insane. Most dangerous of all the Master, enemy of the Kanaan, would will forge Deryl’s powers into a weapon to kill all he loves or destroy his mind trying.

Read on for a chance to win this exciting new adventure as an ebook.


 He found himself in the small glen Tasmae had imagined for them the first time they’d actually “spoken” together in the Netherworld. The canopy of branches and leaves shrouded them in privacy. It cut off the view of the sky, yet somehow there was plenty of light to see by. It didn’t matter; Deryl only cared about seeing one thing.

She ran to him, and they embraced. Then he pulled away. “Terry said I’d hurt you—”
 She touched her fingers to his lips, and he understood that Terry didn’t know everything, and that the only pain she felt was at their separation.

Then she flooded into his mind, and where she touched, waves of cool healing washed over his psychic wounds. He sighed with relief, and actually swayed a little. She caught him, and he wrapped his arms around her, first for support, then for something far more intimate. This time, they would be alone.

A familiar voice, a voice from nightmare, interrupted them.


As one, they turned toward the intruder and blanched.



They turned and stared at each other. They knew him?

The Master, once known on Kanaan as Alugiac, laughed. A triumphant satisfaction flowed from him like the thick fog that was slowly rolling from where he stood at the glen’s edge.


“Tasmae, run!” Deryl shouted. A sword was suddenly in his hand, but though he held it at the ready, he was shaking so hard the blade quivered.

The fog had surrounded them now. The trees, moss, even the rocks had eroded at its touch. Colors fled, leaving them in a gray and black world, with only an indeterminate ground and low fog as landscape.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Aboard the 'Notorious'... research for Adrift: In Search of Memory.

Part of writing any novel is doing research to bring reality into your story. Even in a fantasy novel, there has to be research. Getting first hand experience of a wooden vessel is incredible. 
For Adrift: In Search of Memory, a sea faring adventure complete with pirates, this visit from the replica caravel is perfect.
In Adrift the pirate Black Betty is one of the challenges faced. The Notorious is a perfect vessel to provide hands on detail not only for Black Betty's ship, but for the Wayward Spirit and the Golden Dragon. Just a few of the wooden ships you will meet in Adrift.

These photos show some of the heavy woodwork, carvings, handrails, hatch, cabin, and construction of the hull.

Amazing space below deck. Sturdy construction, low ceiling and cramped spaces transport us back in time to around 1480. This is the type of vessel Vasco De Gama and Columbus sailed across the ocean. They aren't very big.

The base of the mast showing an old wooden pulley.
Here is an enthusiastic author getting hands on experience. :)

Thanks to Trisha for taking these great shots.
Stay tuned for extracts from Adrift... complete with photos to illustrate the story. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Aboard the Notorious... or "when a pirate ship docks in our harbour'

I have to say it is an exciting event when a vessel like this docks in our harbour.
 How often can you climb on and experience 15 century sea worthiness first hand?
 The incredible workmanship, the way the boat bobs on the water, despite 12 ton of blue stone ballast. The carved wooden door, the mast, the sails, everything looks as though it has time travelled.

 Some of the ropes look new... okay.. it's moored to a modern wharf. Still...
 How cool is the door?
 And the decorative rope carving?
It really looks like the 'Black Pearl' has arrived!
If only Jack Sparrow was aboard. :) Still...
Tomorrow we can climb aboard.

Thanks to Trisha and her camera for these shots!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Talking about ADRIFT: In Search of Memory

 on PAM KELT's Blog
Drop in to find out more about this 'soon to be released' sea faring adventure.
The next step in Caleath's adventure.

Pam Kelt has recently released ICE TREKKER a YA fantasy adventure, sea faring, thrilling...
See the previous post on this blog.

Today I am thrilled to be her guest on her stunning blog.
See you there!

Two 'stand alone' ebooks that conclude the Chronicles of Caleath.

Coming soon from Museitup.

Friday, September 6, 2013

ICE TREKKER... a Young Adult Fantasy... for all ages.

It is with great pleasure I can finally introduce this wonderful story.
  ICE TREKKER by Pam Kelt

I am thrilled to have her latest book featured on my blog.


“Hide!” hissed the old sailor, eyes white with fear. He slithered across the icy decking and burrowed into a tangle of fishing nets lying on the dock.

Midge turned his face upward. The navy night sky turned green, laced with purple and orange like oil in water. “What is it?” he asked, ducking into the doorway of a battered wooden boathouse. A rippling movement swept over his head in a giant tidal wave of light. He held his breath as though he were being sucked under water.

“Skythons!” came the terrified reply. “You gets them in Krønagar. But never seen ’em so big before. Horrible things. Horrible!”

Midge stared upward to watch a shimmering snake-like pattern weave and twist across the sky. The effect of long, rippling muscles struck him as so strange and beautiful that he forgot to feel afraid as he gazed at the shifting colours. 

“They mean bad luck,” howled the sailor, arm over his eyes. 

Up in the cold sky, colours still shimmered. “Surely it’s just superstitious nonsense?” Midge said, still staring. “They can’t be real. Just a trick of the light.” He couldn’t drag his eyes away from the sight as the shape swooped toward the dark line of mountains, arched up, over, and back toward where he stood on the little jetty. He jolted as he realised a giant violet eye, bloodshot and terrible, was staring right at him. 

It was so close he could see it gleam.
I know you will want to read more, but for now that's it.
Never fear, now we have an insight to the inspiration behind this amazing adventure...

Some years ago, I was lucky enough to wangle a trip to Tromsø in Norway, just north of the Arctic Circle. It took three flights to get there and I’d never felt quite so intrepid. The place is stunning, with its colourful harbour and huge mountains, already covered in snow by October. On our last day, we visited Polaria, a striking museum itself shaped in the form of ice floes thrust up on land by the rough seas of the Arctic. A key theme of the place is that despite the powerful, rugged beauty of Polar regions, they are fragile.
The flora and fauna, indeed the whole landscape is at risk from global warming. At first, man just wanted to explore the poles out of a sense of adventure, but now, it is teeming with scientists, some working to improve bio-diversity, others looking for fuel. I’d already been thinking about a story about an icy trek, but I found myself resisting the ‘high fantasy’-style objectives such as talismans, treasure, mystic dragon’s eggs and so on. I hit on the idea of making the story an ‘eco-adventure’, so the Grells are desperately trying to find an alternative - and sustainable - fuel source to Blackfrost. Why else would you trek north through the frozen wilderness, after all? I received invaluable scientific insights on the matter from my husband, Rob, a chemistry professor (and co-author of Half Life). The nature of their mission led to other technological additions, and it was great fun coming up with new gizmos and gadgets that would fit the time and place. Truthfully, though, I’ve no idea where the concept of ‘abominaballs’ came from!

Obviously, the environmental lesson isn’t spelled out in the story, but I’m hoping the nature of this more modern ‘quest’, albeit in a fantasy world, will strike a chord with young readers. 

For those of you who don't remember Pam from our previous guest is her 
With a background in journalism, languages and educational publishing, it was inevitable that I would eventually say to heck with a career and try writing for myself. After a few years of trying out different styles, I landed six book deals in as many months and declared myself reinvented. Just as well, as it’s the ideal way to combat empty nest syndrome now that my daughter is at the University of Edinburgh doing History of Art. 

Three titles are for adults (Dark Interlude and Half Life with MuseItUp and Tomorrow’s Anecdote with Crooked Cat). Botanical mystery The Lost Orchid (YA/NA) is scheduled for an autumn release at Bluewood Publishing, along with two teen fantasy adventures, Ice Trekker and The Cloud Pearl, part one of Legends of Liria (both with MuseItUp). I now write full-time. I live in leafy Warwickshire, England, with my academic husband Robert (with whom I collaborated on Half Life, a ‘noir’ thriller set in 1936) and our two daft dogs. My favourite pastimes, apart from writing, are watching movies, trying not to overwater my windowsill orchids and keeping up with best teen fantasy fiction around.

Follow Pam's ICE TREKKER blog...
Thanks for returning to my blog Pam with this new novel. I have been looking forward to ICE TREKKER's release since I had the honour of editing the manuscript. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Roll out the red carpet... award winning time...

Two of my fellow authors with Museitup are celebrating at the moment.
They have both been successful in two different competitions.
Wendy Laharnar's 
A Time Travelling Adventure...
placed 3rd in the 
Young Adult category of the
International Digital Awards Contest for 2013. 

Follow Wendy on Facebook

Join her Forum, check out her other ebooks.

Huge congratulations and well deserved acclaim for this YA novel that will entertain adults as well.
Beautifully written and researched, if you haven't already discovered why The Unhewn Stone won, grab a copy today.

Another Museitup author I admire
EDITH PARZEFALL has won Bronze for her Thriller set in Rio

You can follow Edith Parzefall on Facebook

Check out her other books on Edith Parzefall's Blog 

Strays of Rio is available in Print as well as ebook and also available in German.

Edith has written several other novels. A fantasy series written in collaboration with Francene Stanley and another Psychological Suspense novel Crumple Zone.

 Congratulations... I have rolled out the red carpet and the champagne is on ice. Please join me in a round of applause for these two generous and talented authors.