Monthly Archives: October 2011

Black Scars by Steven Montano

Black Scars by Steven Montano

Something ancient has awoken. Primordial and wholly evil, a living shadow emerges from a prison made weak by the magical cataclysm called The Black. Now the Sleeper stalks the land in search of its old enemies, leaving a trail of madness and destruction in its wake.

Eric Cross, a Southern Claw warlock, has been sent to find the Woman in the Ice, the only known means to stopping this evil. Aided by a grizzled ranger and a band of wardens and inmates from a sadistic prison, Cross’ mission will bring him into conflict with an array of foes: the barbaric Gorgoloth, vampire shock troops out of the Ebon Cities, and a cadre of mercenary nihilists called the Black Circle.
On a mission that will take him from a lost temple once ruled by insidious wolf sorcerers to the vicious gladiator games of the vampire city-state of Krul to the deadly ruins of an ice city, Cross will play a pivotal role in an ancient conflict whose outcome will determine the future of the world.
Return to the world of Blood Skies in this exciting military fantasy adventure!

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Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould

Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould

As Kriffle the Flidderbug investigates why his fellow ‘bugs find it impossible to agree on the pressing issue of how many points there are on the leaves of the tree on which they live, he finds that the truth is more complicated, and ultimately more terrifying, than he ever could have imagined.

Flidderbugs is a political satire, a modern fable, or maybe just a funny little story about a bunch of insects with some very peculiar obsessions.

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Bright Links Dark Links

Bright Links Dark Links by Su Yin Tan

A paranormal suspense which appeals to the huge fan-base for paranormal stories such as The Ring, The Shining and The Omen. Bright Links Dark Links delivers a spine-chilling tale of a couple who stumbled upon a demonic master plan to raise the dead. A bizarre part of this scheme was that only twins were involved, always with one missing and one left behind … alive.

Jeanie Shen, a young woman with the unwanted ability to see and communicate with spirits, went on a blind date and met Sam Wu, who had just moved into a large, sprawling bungalow, not knowing that it was the venue of two strange deaths earlier in the year.

On her first visit to Sam’s home to meet his family, the spirit of a frightened young boy connected with Jeanie, pleading for help against an evil man. Not long after, Sam was violently attacked at his home after a mysterious bottle the thief was stealing smashed into a million pieces.

As they dig into the history of his place, a spate of missing boys hit the news, bizarre in that only twins were involved, always with one missing and one left behind alive. The same pattern was uncovered in similar incidents in other countries, confounding the police who, assisted by Jeanie and Sam, raced against time to stop a demonistic masterplan from taking place.

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{Guest} Jim Murdoch

I’m not your typical fantasy author. Before writing my first novel Living with the Truth I’d never read a fantasy novel bar The Hobbit (which I reckoned was a fantasy novel because it had a dragon and magic in it and didn’t all fantasy novels have dragons and magic in them?) I never set out to write a fantasy novel. I never set out to write anything in particular. I began writing and when I stopped and counted up the words it amounted to a novel. Years later I had to think about classifying it which wasn’t so easy.

This is how one of the book’s reviewers described it:

The Whole Truth by Jim Murdoch

“[T]his is one of those novels that bookshops must hate: not ‘hard’ enough to be spec fic, not ‘weird’ enough to be fantasy, too realistic for the humour section and yet too humorous to shelve easily with the lit fic. And that, I suspect is going to prove to be its charm; for those who do read it, it’s a singular take on the world, and it will either resonate with you or leave you cold. […] But I can recommend that you try it — if you like distinctive fiction that rings no bells and blows no whistles but creeps up on you with its absurdities, this book will satisfy you, as it did me.”

I say it’s General Fiction. That’s the safest bet despite the fact that one of the main characters isn’t human. He looks human; mimics human behaviour but he’s not. We’re all familiar with Death playing chess in The Seventh Seal, gin rummy in Woody Allen’s Death Knocks or Battleships, Cluedo and Twister in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Death has appeared in popular fiction dating right back to the fifteenth century. If you can do it with Death why not Truth?

When I created the character of Truth I never thought of him as anything other than a literary device, a way to be able to get my protagonist to face the truth. Although I never thought about it when I was writing, the similarity to Scrooge being confronted with the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future is hard to avoid.

I didn’t do any great research at the time. When I wrote Living with the Truth there was no Internet so any research I did for the book had to be done the old fashioned way: trips to the library. Nowadays all you need do is type “truth personification” into Google and you’re away. The first entry I got was for Maat the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice, the next was Aletheia the Grecian spirit of truth, truthfulness and sincerity – both women. I never thought about making Truth female for a minute but I did imagine that if Truth existed he wouldn’t be alone.

The various pantheons of gods aside, a band of beings like this has been done before. Everyone familiar with The Sandman will automatically think of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Endless’. I indeed tip my hat to Gaiman in the first novel where Truth, in conversation, says to Death: “I thought you were running around as a skinny punkette these days?” to which Death replies, “It seems I was in infringement of copyright of something.” There is, however, an earlier group that I also had in mind. British viewers of a certain age will remember a television show entitled Sapphire and Steel which starred David McCallum as Steel and Joanna Lumley as Sapphire. These two were ‘elements’ – Lead and Silver also feature in the show – Operators as they are known and clearly part of some larger unnamed organisation. Fans of the show have expanded the roll of named operatives to over one hundred.

The group to which Truth belongs is known as The Dunameon. These Powers are briefly mentioned in the Bible but never explained. It’s where I got the name from and a part of the idea. That the apostle Paul believed them to be the invisible agents behind what really happens in the world is seen in Ephesians 6:12:

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (New Revised Standard Version )

“Dunameon” is the plural of “dunamis,” which is usually translated as “power”. This could obviously refer to the operation of all the gifts of the spirit, but this gift works in the specialised area of miracles. It’s an operation that changes natural law and material things, and produces visible miraculous effects.

Now, before we get tied up in scriptures, let me just state that all I was looking for was a name for my collective. Yes, God exists in the book’s universe but I don’t dwell on it. I’m more interested in his subordinates, the beings who get their hands dirty on his behalf. And not just dirty; they actually make a complete mess of existence; not just our universe – every universe. Although the name is similar the Dunameon have nothing to do with Terry Pratchett’s Gods of Dunmanifestin.

Truth has no superpowers other than being able to take on human form. His power is that he tells the truth and he knows every truth that has ever existed and he doesn’t mind who he tells. His kryptonite is that he can only see into the past. If he wants to affect future events he has to call in a favour from his ‘twin’ brother Destiny.

The point I’m trying to make here is that, in the process of writing Truth, he evolved from being a convenient literary device, the kind of thing I’ve used in dozens of poems, to a fully rounded character with his own mythology, something I had never planned. If you want a taste of how he turned out you can read an excerpt on my website here; Truth makes his entrance at the beginning of chapter two.

About the Author

Jim Murdoch is a Scottish writer living just outside Glasgow. His poetry appeared regularly in small press magazines during the seventies and eighties. In the nineties he turned to prose-writing and has completed five novels and a collection of short stories. His first novel, Living with the Truth, was published in 2008 and the sequel, Stranger than Fiction, followed in August 2009. A collection of poetry covering over thirty years appeared in 2010 entitled This Is Not About What You Think and his next novel, Milligan and Murphy is due out shortly. An excerpt is already up on his website.

The Whole Truth is an omnibus edition containing Jim’s first two novels and is only available as an ebook from Smashwords. The paperbacks can still be bought direct from the FV Books site.

Visit Jim’s website and his blog.

{Guest} Jim Bronyaur

Pulsate Season Two: Sneak Peek

Yes, here I am again, writing weekly episodes of Pulsate.  From the moment Pulsate was published back in September 2010, long before it won Best Horror Short Story 2010 and long before becoming a serialized story or an ebook, I always had that burning notion of Asa and the comparison to Buffy.

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Book Reviews

Any author worth their salt knows that book reviews can make or break you.

But how do you get reviews, favourable or otherwise?

Remember when you were young, trying to get your first job. At every job interview you were lucky enough to get you would be asked, “What experience do you have?”  How do you get experience when no-one will give you a job in the first place? Book reviews are like that, particularly for self-pubbed indies.

Now before we go any futher, I want to make it clear this is not about ‘bashing’ book reviewers.

However, too many book reviewers refuse to even consider self-pubbed work.  Why? We don’t have any ‘experience’, we are unknown. We are likely to remain unknown unless a few more of the hoighty-toighties step down from their ivory towers and give us a chance.

The overabundance of poorly written, non-edited, badly presented work of indies doesn’t help either.  Once again the majority are pigeon-holed and stereotyped because of a minority.

How do you, as a hard-working self-pubbed indie author gain some respect? You keep writing, keep honing your craft, keep submitting your work for review. If you think there is an easy way around this, you would be dead wrong and should probably quit while you’re behind.

There is absolutely no reason at all why you should listen to me. I am practically unknown an as author, certainly not a bestseller, and worse still I’m one of those dreaded ‘indies’ writers.

But why you should listen to me, and what I can tell you, as a human being with life and business management experience…nothing in this world worth achieving comes without hard work.

Forget the headlines stories of “record sales”, “bestseller in a day” etc. Sure it happens, but the likelihood of it happening to you is slim to none.

A “rolling stone gathers no moss”, but it sure does gather some momentum and that’s what you want. Yeah it’s hard work, sure it’s demoralising and frustrating, but you wanted to be an author!



Twice as Dark: Two Novels of Horror

Twice as Dark: Two Novels of Horror by Glen Krisch

This omnibus contains the novels WHERE DARKNESS DWELLS and THE NIGHTMARE WITHIN. A monster of a volume, this single ebook is over 195k words (or 700+ pages if in print).

WHERE DARKNESS DWELLS:  Summer, 1934. Two boys, searching for a local legend, stumble upon the Underground, a network of uncharted caverns. Time holds no sway there; people no longer age and their wounds heal as if by magic. By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns. Below a town ravaged by the Great Depression, an immortal society thrives, built on the backs of slavery and pervasive immorality.

THE NIGHTMARE WITHIN: Maury can pull dreams into the waking world, giving them corporeal form. From a boy named Kevin, he removes a nightmare dubbed Mr. Freakshow. Mr. Freakshow knows the rules: a dream becomes immortal by killing its dreamer. When the nightmare escapes his confinement, he has but one goal. Will Kevin survive his nightmare?

Available for Purchase


Straight To Hell

Straight to Hell (The Lilith Straight Series) by Michelle Scott

The moment Lilith Straight dies, the Devil appears to claim her soul and cash in on a longtime family curse.  Now, Lilith has no choice but to work for him as a succubus.  The job is bad, the boss is worse, and she can’t imagine how she’ll explain her new reincarnation to her eight-year-old daughter.  But then an arrogant, yet oh so yummy, incubus shows up…and hell heats up just a little more.

Available for Purchase



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Dawn of War

Dawn of War (Blood War #1) by Tim Marquitz

For hundreds of years, the bestial Grol have clawed at the walls of Lathah without success. Now armed with O’hra, mystical weapons of great power, they have returned, to conquer.

Witness to the Grol advance, Arrin can abide his exile no longer. He returns to Lathah, in defiance of death, with hopes to save his beloved princess and the child born of their illicit affair. He finds her unwilling to abandon her people. At her behest, Arrin searches for a sanctuary for them only to be confronted by the Sha’ree, a powerful race long thought gone from the world. Through them, he learns it is not just the Grol that threaten the land.

Empowered by a magic never before seen, the savage nations spread chaos and ruin across the realm. With Lathah under siege, and the world on the brink of cataclysmic war, Arrin must strike a deal with the Sha’ree to take the fight to the Grol, or forever lose his one true love: his family.

Available to Purchase


The Watchtower

The Watchtower by Lee Carroll

Picking up where Black Swan Rising left off, Garet has received a sign from Will Hughes, the 400-year-old vampire who once helped her defeat the evil threatening to destroy New York City. Hughes, tortured by his own violent history which is vividly reenacted here, has asked her to join him on a quest to rid himself of his curse of vampirism. While looking for Will in Paris, Garet encounters a number of mysterious figures-an ancient botanist metamorphosed into the oldest tree in Paris, a gnome who lives under the Labyrinth at the Jardin des Plantes, a librarian at the Institut Oceanographique, and a dryad in the Luxembourg Gardens. Each encounter leads Garet closer to finding Will Hughes, but she realizes that she’s not the only one who’s trying to find the way to the magical world called the Summer Country.

Available to Purchase



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