During the blog tour, Broken Life will be just 99p …
Universal Amazon Link: myBook.to/BrokenLife
For more than a week now, I have had this new character in my head. He has been following me around, watching my every move. I have tried to talk to him, in my head, you understand, but he has this enigmatic smile, and that’s all I get from him.
I think he wants me to figure out what to do with him, guess what he wants to do but so far, my brain is siding with him and refusing to cooperate.
This morning, I decided I would try to interview him, something I have done before with several of my characters, but you guessed it, he wouldn’t even sit down!
All I know so far is that I do want to write about him, and if I must go through hoops to do it, so be it!
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him nod just then, so it would seem the game is on…
At first glance, he seems an unlikely hero, at least for one of my books. Not very tall, and slender with dark eyes and long hair tied back in a ponytail. Simply dressed in a dark shirt and jeans. But there is an aura about him, he could be a magician, magically producing doves from balls of tissue or flowers from thin air.
He has moved a little closer. I seem to have his full attention…
He is probably something in law enforcement, a police officer or detective, or why would he have turned up on my doorstep? I get killers too, but somehow I know he isn’t one of them. I hadn’t intended to write another crime thriller, I fancied a change, something haunting or spooky perhaps.
There is another character in my head, and although this one looks harmless, all blonde and attractive, the boy next door type. But I know instinctively that he means trouble. Are these two men destined to cross swords? I am beginning to think they are…
I have a lot of thinking imagining to do and to save confusion; I will call the dark haired one David and the blonde William. I already know they are two very different people, and discovering what they are about will be very interesting…
Silent Sea Chronicles The Lost Sentinel – Book 1
The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?
Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.
Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.
On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.
Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?
Available at Amazon The Lost Sentinel
The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its guardian, the Sentinel. This is caused by the ruling Assembly with their determination to rid Kalaya of magic and the people who practice it, thereby giving them total control of the island and its inhabitants. The people go along with this, for they are starving and believe that magic is the cause.
As the people turn their backs on magic and the people who use it, Tia is forced to flee to the Turrak mountains with her father to join the other exiled inhabitants. Shades of Game of Thrones here, as the leaders of Kalaya battle to be victorious against the Exiles.
I began to despair of Tia’s future, convinced that she was the lost sentinel. This was enforced by the conversations she has with the dying sentinel. But when the dying Sentinel declares Tia as the ‘confidante’ to the next Sentinel, I hoped he was wrong.
I knew this book to be the first in a series but was unprepared for such a cliff-hanger at the end. The people of Kalaya had a new sentinel, but it wasn’t Tei after all. Their new world was a mess with more disasters looming.
There are several villains in this story, and I was hard pushed to say who was the worst. I have the feeling it will turn out to be Rathnor, as his motives are the strongest.
Although I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a little more magic in this story, it was a frustrating and exciting beginning to what promises to be an extraordinary series.
Suzanne Rogerson Author Profile
Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.
She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.
Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.
She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.
Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.
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Today we welcome Tallis Steelyard to our blog. He has kindly come along with another of his lovely stories.
This image is a painting by the great Frank Frazetta, an artist my son adores and tries to emulate, and suits the story very well.
Officers and gentlemen?
In a world of bitterness and evil where gross unpleasantness is rife, it is good to talk occasionally about the decent people one meets. Thus I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of my patrons. Now anyone would think that all my patrons are ladies, and to be fair a considerable majority of them are. But there are still gentlemen who feel the finer arts are worthy of support.
Two of them, Sir Stee and Sir Regald, lived together in a pleasant enough house on the edge of Dilbrook. They lived alone save for their
cook/housekeeper Solia and a handful of other staff who didn’t live in.
As patrons they knew what they wanted. Sir Stee liked something with a good steady rhythm and a strong rhyming pattern. He also felt that poems should commemorate stirring actions. I confess that whilst I could write what he liked, after a while, you run out of convincing rhymes for ‘gore’ or ‘slaughter.’
Sir Regald, on the other hand, liked something more lyrical. He appreciated the melody within the language, and for him, rhyme and rhythm should be subordinated to this. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy combination to achieve, and to be fair, they tended to accept this.
Solia on the other hand, I frankly adored. She was almost a surrogate aunt to me. The gentlemen kept a good table, and when you dined there with them, you dined heartily and well. Solia would always send me off with ‘a little something for your Shena.’ This little something would feed the pair of us for a couple of days.
What always irritated me over the years was the gossip that seemed to
circulate about this household. There were all sorts of unpleasant rumours, including one that claimed that the two gentlemen remained in the same house because of their common passion for Solia.
Now that the last of that household has taken their final journey I can
reveal the truth. They were three siblings. Their mother was a chambermaid who fell in love with a common soldier. Not even a horseman, but an infantryman. He marched south before they realised she was pregnant and with no sign of him returning it was arranged that the child, a boy she called Stee, would be adopted by a childless family nearby. The errant father returned, and when it was explained to him what had happened, he swore he would marry his beloved. Alas, there was trouble in the south, and he was swept away to the wars, leaving another child to be born. This boy, called Regald, was adopted by a second local family. When the father returned he
married the mother on the day he got back, got his discharge and became a cobbler. Their third child, a girl called Solia was born a year later. All three children knew of their siblings and to some extent grew up together.
The boys went for soldiers and not long after Solia, sharing their love of adventure, followed them. For many years they worked in Partann, signing on with this company or that company, or working directly for petty warlords.
This saw the brothers acting as sergeants and their sister in great demand
because of her command of logistics.
One story worth telling came from when the three of them were travelling in Partann, having finished one contract and whilst they were looking for the next. They arrived at a small village to find it in uproar. It seems that the minions of a local mage had arrived in the village to kidnap one of the village maidens and after something of an affray had taken not merely the girl, but also a young man who had been passing through and had got caught up in the fight. The three siblings put their heads together and in return for board and lodging, promised to see what they could so.
Now, in the best traditions of storytelling, I will transport you to the
dungeon in the tower of the mage. The tower was a simple affair with four stories above ground and a cellar which acted as a dungeon. Each storey was a single large round room. The cellar was illuminated by lanterns hung around the walls, with a burning brazier near a long work table. In the very centre of the room was a pit and over the pit dangled the maiden and the young man. The pit was of unknown depth, and from above could have been mistaken for a narrow opening to some fiery hell. Both the two potential victims were stark naked and hanging upside down, with the mage busily writing cabalistic symbols across their naked bodies in blue ink. A score of
the mage’s lickspittle henchmen clustered around, watching the process with unnerving attention.
From upstairs came a hammering sound, four sharp blows. A senior minion made its twisted way to the Mage.
“There is someone outside Master, they demand entrance.”
There was another flurry of heavy blows.
“They are hammering on the door Master.”
The mage impatiently gestured around him. “Then take these upstairs. Then when the intruders enter, slay them.”
The senior minion made his limping way up the spiral staircase that ran around the outside of the tower. He was followed by a shambling crowd of twisted and misshapen creatures, clutching a selection of implements having blades, points, or both. Once the malformed brutes had left, the mage started marking out two pentangles on the floor. One enclosed the pit, the other the brazier next to the workbench. From above came another flurry of heavy blows.
The mage cast a handful of powder onto the brazier. The flames flickered green and purple. From the pit came a yammering and howling. The mage checked his pentangles. From above came an explosion.
Above the two brothers had exploded the petard which they’d fastened to the door. Shattered fragments of wood had scythed through the deformed guardians waiting for them so that when Sir Stee and Sir Regald burst into the hallway, they found no-one in any fit state to dispute their passage. With Solia close behind them, they headed down the stairs. The mage was waiting.
Tackling a prepared mage in his own workroom is not a task for the faint-hearted, but the siblings were also prepared. Even as the mage raised his hand, Sir Stee hurled a piece of the door at him. Instinctively the mage flinched, and the missile disintegrated into grey powder. As Sir Stee dropped down from the stairs onto the floor, Sir Regald hurled his piece of timber and then sprinted down the stairs. The mage was forced to duck the timber to conserve his powers and then rose to face the two soldiers. He raised both hands and started chanting. At this point, a heavy steel crossbow bolt, fired by Solia, tore through his chest and buried itself in the wall behind him.
The mage was hurled back by the blow, and Sir Regald leapt after him and struck off his head with his sword. Then, fastidiously and at sword point, he dropped the still chanting head into the brazier and waited until the flames had entirely consumed it.
After that, it was purely a matter of freeing the prisoners and letting the local peasantry loot the tower. Then they cleansed the tower with flame, burning it so that it collapsed, burying the dungeon.
Looking back, the three siblings never told this story to anybody. I often wonder how many more of their deeds have been forgotten. As it is, I can recount this one only because I was the young man dangling naked upside down over the pit with esoteric symbols scrawled across my buttocks in blue ink.
I am reliably informed that it took months for them to wear off.
At this point, it might be an idea to mention the publishing of another
collection of stories from Tallis Steelyard. Some have been on the blog, but some are completely new. Now you can acquire more of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. This work includes the unexpurgated account of the Mudfold and Cockeren feud, the dangers inherent in light music, and how Tallis first met and wooed Shena.
It is available from
Tallis has come to the attention of a world not entirely ready for him through the actions of a mutual friend, one Benor Dorfinngil. Benor is a friend and one-time tenant of the Steelyards, and it is my unworthy self who has been fated to chronicle some at least of Benor’s career. (This is career as in ‘the coach careered downhill’)
It was when I sent some of my labours to Mike Rose-Steel he noted a snatch of verse from Tallis and toyed with it.
The results, which represent the sole example of Tallis’s work published in our time can be found at
Further tales, including details of how they met may be found in ‘Flotsam or Jetsam.’
Obviously any lover of literature or even art in general will insist on acquiring copies, so I suggest you purchase now to avoid disappointment.
At this point Tallis has graciously allowed me, that is, Jim Webster, to mention some of my own work. Admittedly there is too many books to mention without trespassing too far on the generosity of mine host. Still if you wish to read the story in which Tallis is first introduced to modern literature I would recommend ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’
“I swore that I would never go home,
but in the end, I had no choice.
I had to confront what happened.
And them too.
It was going be icky. And totally scary.”
Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years. Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.
She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself.
She had to come home: There was no other choice.
Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.
Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place – including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around. Especially the lovable Steve.
Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:
A war which can only have one victor.
Soon, she wishes she had never come home.
But by then it was too late.
Much too late.
“We received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team”
The main character, Carol Prentice, made quite an impression right from the start with her dark clothes, hair and Doc Marten boots. She had come back to her family’s hometown after the death of her father, determined to sort her life out, and this involves a plan and a secret.
What does make someone choose one path over another and the hardest one at that?
A totally unpredictable and powerful story of what starts out as Carol’s revenge, but ends up being for someone else too. She came back home, knowing she would run into all kinds of bad memories, so what she intended to do had to be very important.
Some of the words Carol used confused me, but I am probably too old to understand the parlance of the young these days, but it did manage to help create a harsh rawness to the drama.
The other character I really liked was Steve, the bookshop owner. Steve is a thoroughly likeable older man and the perfect foil for Carol, giving the story another dimension. I did think it might have been better if Steve was younger, but maybe it worked better because he wasn’t, for there was enough going on without romance in the mix.
This is a gritty, well-planned story of revenge, every detail brings you slowly to the necessary showdown, but you won’t be ready for it. I know I wasn’t!
I didn’t want to enjoy this book quite so much, what with its nasty threads and even nastier people, but despite it all, there is redemption at the end and that for me, was well worth the read…
About the Author
Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.
He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people.
He has one son, Matt, on the brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club. Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.
He is based in Nottingham and Southwell, UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
I had a major epiphany yesterday. I had just posted yet another book promotion post on our blog and found myself disliking it intensely.
I have never liked the ‘hard sell’ and conveniently usually forget to do any, but if you want people to read (and buy) your books, you are supposed to do it well and often. But it always seems to leave a sour taste in my mouth, and I realised just how much I hate doing it.
It seems ok to do it on Twitter, probably because it’s quick and you don’t have to pretty it up. But here on our blog, it just doesn’t look right, so we have decided to stop doing it.
Our new books will get a mention, of course, plus any good news, but the constant blanket promotion will stop and be replaced with more interesting posts, something you would rather read, I’m sure.
Personally, I don’t think you need to plug away at your books anyway. The covers and links are all there in the sidebar, all you have to do if you’re interested, is click on the image and you go straight through to Amazon.
The pressures and stress of promotion have been gradually eating away at our writing time, and I am never sure if I’m doing it right, or in the right places. Which was another reason for my decision.
Gone are the days when I could spend hours playing games or surfing the web, I just can’t do it anymore. After four or five hours my eyesight goes for a walk, and the brain starts to seize up, and I have to walk away. So my time is limited, and I have to find ways to fit everything in. If there is a way, you can bet I will find it!
Anita is now an official reviewer with Rosie Amber, something we both love doing, and we have been doing some beta reading for some of our fellow bloggers/writers, which is reviewing really, just more in depth. We will be asking for help in this direction for ourselves soon!
Revision is finally finished on our non-fiction book Lazy Days, the long awaited transcription of the logbook of a 40-year-old family holiday on the Norfolk Broads. We might have a blog tour for this one after it gets beta read.
Work has begun in earnest on our joint WIP. This is another thriller, and it will eventually be terrific once I complete the outline for the story AND all the characters.
The weather was kind for a few days, so I managed to repot some of my smaller bonsai, and it was actually brilliant to get out of my office for a while…