Bookish Squees

I’m having a lovely day today. It didn’t start out lovely: I was feeling sick and tired, and didn’t really want to go into town even though I was meeting writerly friends.

Of course, when I got there, I had a wonderful time. After that I got very tired running around between op-shops and vintage shops with the Mum, which was a mix of nice and exhausting until the ear-ache started, and then it was just exhausting.

Then I got home to find my post-box simply stuffed with catalogues. I decided to empty it and found a parcel wedged in between all the glossy pictures. It was a nice surprise, since I could tell from the feel of it that it was a book, and the only book I was semi-expecting (and not very hopefully, since I’d been told there was a post office snafu and that I probably wouldn’t ever receive said book) was Lloyd Alexander’s THE BEGGAR QUEEN, the final book in the Westmark Series.

I ordered the books ages ago, all marked as library binding, and all in the hardcover because I thought they looked nice and I liked the way they felt. The first two arrived very quickly, but the third book was more expensive and very hard to source, and about a week or two after I ordered it I was sent an email saying it would probably never arrive, and asking me what I wanted to do.

So I was very excited as I opened my parcel. Sure enough, it was THE BEGGAR QUEEN, completing my trilogy.

all three

It was in the most gorgeous condition, the cover flawless, the spine not even cracked, and I wondered who on earth could have owned this book and never even opened it? Why would you not read it?

beggar queen

And then I opened it.

And then I squealed very, very loudly, and danced around the kitchen with the book clutched to my chest, before opening it again because I couldn’t believe my eyes.

signed!!

It’s a signed copy. A SIGNED COPY, GUYS!!

I never got to meet Lloyd Alexander and the chances of me getting a signature were so remote that I’d never even hoped for it.  And the icing on the cake is that the book is 1st edition, which probably doesn’t mean much with a book from 1984, but it means a lot to me.

And today is a wonderful, frabjous day after all.

Book Launch: The Illuminator Rising by Alina Sayre

Guys, today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Alina Sayre, author of The Voyages of the Legend Series!

 

The third book in the series, The Illuminator Rising, was launched last week (for a short review of the first book on the Bookwyrms Pinterest Board, click here!) and is already receiving great reviews.
 
 
Alina is joining me for a guest post today, but don’t go away after that, because below that will be further info on The Illuminator Rising and a sight of the truly GORGEOUS cover!

Five Tips to Jumpstart Your Creativity

with Alina Sayre

When I tell people I’m an author, they often sigh and say something like, “I wish I were that creative.” I do think of myself as a creative person, but I also think everybody has a creative side—it’s not a special gift awarded only to a select few. Wherever you are in your creative journey, though, creativity has to be nurtured. Especially with a long project like a book—my latest novel, The Illuminator Rising, clocked in around 76,000 words!—it takes careful habits to cultivate a well of creativity that regenerates every day. Here are some of my favorite tips for jumpstarting your creativity.

1: Get enough sleep. Nothing good ever happens in my life without enough sleep. Including writing. It may seem counterintuitive, but I will actually get more writing done in less time if I sleep that extra hour. Really. Sleeping in is productive. (Okay, sometimes.)

2: Walk outside. Sometimes when I’m in a really intense writing phase, I feel like I’m living in a cave.  Even a short walk outside totally reorients my perspective. The exercise, the fresh air, the beauty of nature—they all combine to give me not only less anxiety, but more good ideas. At any rate, it’s a way more productive and refreshing break than wasting ten minutes on Facebook.

3: Read. Some authors are afraid of reading because they’re afraid it will subconsciously lead them to plagiarism. That can be OK, especially with books in your genre. But at the same time, reading widely can help you cultivate a rich and diverse mental landscape. Obviously you don’t want to steal the words or ideas you read in other people’s books! But sometimes just immersing yourself in the language and imaginative richness of another person’s story can inspire your own brain to generate more creative ideas.

4: Work in the same room with someone else who’s being creative. Doesn’t matter if they’re working on the same project, or even if you know them. When my writing stagnates, sometimes I get together with a group of creative friends and we all work silently around a table (taking breaks to crack geeky jokes, of course). Sometimes I head to a local coffee shop and get motivated by all those productive-looking people hammering away at their keyboards (the caffeine also helps). Maybe it’s the shame factor, or the inspiration molecules bouncing off other bodies (don’t trust me with your science class), but for some reason it works.

5: Change places. I feel like each physical location only has so much creative “juice” in it. I can write like mad at my desk for two days, then sit down the next morning only to stare blankly at the screen. Or just loathe the thought of plunking down in that chair one more time. So I switch places: the couch, my bedroom, the floor, a coffee shop. Gardeners rotate crops in their soil; why not change places to stimulate more creativity in your life?

I hope these tips help you cultivate your creativity, in whatever form it takes. The world needs to see what only you can make. Unleash your inner genius!

 

And now for the gorgeous cover of The Illuminator Rising!

Book 3 ebook cover, Amazon, medium res

Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend:

 

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world? 

 

Advance praise: 

“…a thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.” 
-Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review

About the Author:

Alina Sayre

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she gets to work with them every day as an author, educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

 

Links: 

Strings, Bows, and New Books

June has been an odd month, so far. I’ve been feeling like I’m drifting aimlessly, which is more or less normal procedure after a book release, but it doesn’t make the feeling any more comfortable. What I’m meant to do during and after a new book release, of course, is write the next book; but I find that I’m rarely in a cohesive enough frame of mind to concentrate properly on the next book while the new book is in the process of being published. That means that I’m usually scattered, undisciplined, and inclined to waffle for both the duration and about a week after launch day.

Today, I’m happy to announce, I seem to be back to form. The last couple days have seen anywhere from 500-1500 words consistently written, which means that the new book is settling in well–or, to be more accurate, the new books.

That’s right. I’m obviously mad. This time, I have two strings to my bow. And by that I mean that I’m writing two books at once.

One of the WiPs is the next book in the Two Monarchies Sequence, BLACKFOOT. Carrying on almost directly after the end of SPINDLEBLACKFOOT concentrates on the adventures of a young girl called Annabel, her friend Peter, and Annabel’s cat Blackfoot–along with a parliament of cats, sneakily growing ruins, and a certain staff that supposedly vanished years ago. Some previously-met characters will be appearing again *coff*PolyandLuck*coff* and many questions will be answered. I don’t want to say too much because spoilers, Sweetie, and I haven’t finalised the blurb, but I’m really looking forward to this one.

The other WiP is a romance. That’s right. An actual romance. Well, it’s in an Edwardian/Korean style setting, with distinct fantasy elements to it, but it’s my first fully romance novel. I usually do Fantasy With A Smidge Of Romance or SciFi With A Smidge Of Romance. With BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU, the focus will be on the romance. I’m planning on publishing a chapter every couple of weeks on Wattpad as soon as I have a cover to upload. I’m hoping to get feedback from native Korean speakers (and romance readers, if it comes to that) since BATEOY is a bit different from my usual kind of book. Below is a rough blurb for your information. I’m having a lot of fun with this one, and since I have THE WHOLE MONTH OF JULY OFF FROM WORK, I’m hoping to finish the first draft of both books reasonably quickly.

BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU: Confined to her couch because of an inability to walk, Clovis Sohn spends her days and nights dreaming, drifting further away from the reality closest to her with each passing day. But Clovis’s dreams are also real, showing her the outside world and people that she otherwise has no access to. As Clovis dreams and watches, she becomes caught up in the complicated love life of publishing assistant Ae-jung, an ordinary young woman who has three very different men in love with her.

There is Clovis’ mischievous half-brother Jessamy, arrogant writer Hyun-jun, and bored, playful composer Yong-hwa. Ae-jung is mistress of many secrets, not the least of which is her love for Hyun-jun, and neither Jessamy, with all his delightful humour, nor Yong-hwa, with his fondness for games and subtlety, can succeed.

Jessamy is young enough to love again, and Hyun-jun is just beginning to learn to love, but it is playful Yong-hwa that Clovis connects with. Ae-jung’s rejection of him has hit as hard as his unexpected love for her did; and Clovis, who has always thrown her bread to the wounded bird over the healthy, decides that Yong-hwa needs another game to bring him back to himself.

And in the end, perhaps it will take Yong-hwa to bring Clovis back to herself.

In addition to all this, I’m learning Korean and Hangul, and enjoying every moment of it! Hangul is like decoding and deciphering all at once, and as someone who practised to be a spy as a kid, I’ve taken to it like a duck to water, proving that some people don’t grow up, they simply grow older.

What are you guys up to? What are you writing? Reading?

Book Launch: MEMORIES OF ASH by Intisar Khanani

Release Week Blitz: Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles #2) by Intisar Khanani with Giveaway

MoA RWB

 

Hello readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles #2)
by Intisar Khanani

Fantasy lovers, this one’s for you! Love magic, look no further!
And you definitely need to check out the awesome giveaway found below.

 

Happy Book Birthday Intisar!

Let’s celebrate everyone!!

 

MoA Cover

 

In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.

Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.

If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

add to goodreads

Title: Memories of Ash
Series: The Sunbolt Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Intisar Khanani
Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Kobo

 

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excerpt

“It needs a meal,” the mage says, voice rasping, “and it won’t be me.” He yanks me off balance. I cry out, jerking away from him and lashing out with my glowstone. I manage to smack him hard across the face, but then his boot comes between my feet. For a sickening moment I teeter on the edge of the stairs.

Get back!

I barely register the words ringing in my mind before the mage shoves me, hard. I swallow a scream, throwing my arms up to shield my head as I fall. I slam down the stairs, bouncing toward the mass of tentacles.

Feet first—get your feet first!

I follow the shouted advice mindlessly, twisting my body as I come to a stop amidst a tangle of three or four great tentacles.

Don’t move.

Someone is talking inside my head, and it’s not me. Somehow, that’s almost worse than lying surrounded by the talons of a nightmare monster. Almost.

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

 

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The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

add to goodreads

 

About-the-Author2

Intisar Khanani

 

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters.

Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar’s current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, an epic series following a street thief with a propensity to play hero when people need saving, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

 

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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

 

Multi-Author Kindle Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN Book Launch

Hooray!

Or, in other words, it’s Launch Day for THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN! (Actually, it was yesterday, and I should have written this post yesterday, but I was too busy falling in love with imaginary characters in Korean Drama).

So. Go and get it! It’ll only be 99c for the next few days before it goes back up to $2.99.

You can get it at AMAZON || KOBO || iBOOKS || BARNES & NOBLE || SMASHWORDS ||

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“Not Only Happiness…”

“Nothing lasts forever. Not only happiness, but also sadness will pass by, too…”

I’ve been watching this Thing.

It’s a wonderful, glorious, hilarious, sweet Thing. It is, by turns, a vast, overarching saga of corporate espionage, a tale of revenge and redemption, a supernatural thriller, a murder mystery, a deeply sweet and funny love story, and a triumph of the new man over the old.

Telling you all that probably makes it sound very dramatic and sweeping; and it is. But it’s also one of the funniest shows I’ve ever watched.

It’s a Korean Drama by the name of Beating Again; or, if you want the literal translation, Falling for Innocence. This post isn’t titled as one of my These are a Few of My Favourite Things blog posts (mostly because I love the quote above and wanted it to be first), but just in case anyone mistakes, I’ll put this right here:

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Because Beating Again is not just one of my Favourite Things when it comes to movies and tv: it is probably my FAVOURITE THING out of them all. I’m serious. It’s that good.

You look at the description and you think, Oh, rom-com. Well, I did, anyway.

“After enduring both business and family upheavals, a ruthless investment director has a heart transplant and finds a new way to look at love and life.”

FFI all three

Then you look at the opening credits and that impression is strengthened, along with an interest in the dude with the crazy hair, a faint interest in the one with a pretty face, and a brief worry that this cutesy-faced girl is going to be one of the annoyingly childish heroines who can’t make up her mind. (Spoilers: she’s not. She probably my all time favourite female tv character. EVER.)

It’s not rom-com. It’s a very deeply plotted tale of corporate espionage and redemption and love.

I will say this now: there are very few movies and tv shows that will make me cry. It happened when I was a kid and Matthew died in Anne of Green Gables. It happened a couple of years ago when I watch Guillermo del Toro’s Mama. It hasn’t really happened (that I remember) between those two instances. Maybe a slight sniffle toward the end of Princess Caraboo and a few throat-catching moments in The Hunger Games (you know when).

I cried twice during Beating Again.

So. The Premise.

As a boy, Kang Min-Ho saw his father displaced as chairman of the Hermia Company. He saw his uncle take his father’s place after charges of corruption and embezzlement. He saw his mother fight a losing battle to win back the honour of her husband; and, having failed, he came home at the age of ten to find his mother hanging from the ceiling of their house. That was twenty-five years ago. Now Kang Min-Ho is back…for revenge. The only thing that may stop him is his weak heart–and perhaps Kim Soon-Jung, a secretary of Hermia who doesn’t so much serve the chairman of Hermia as she serves the company itself.

Recurring threads to the base plot-line of Hermia’s gradual take-over by Gold Partners are a murder, Min-Ho’s swiftly failing heart, and the shenanigans at Hermia’s main factory. Also of great interest is the instant animosity between Min-Ho and Joon-Hee.

mad hair and beautiful face

As Min-Ho is battling to take over and sell Hermia from under his uncle, his heart fails at last. He manages to faint on Kim Soon-Jung (he does that quite often, actually: a bit tropey but fun, nevertheless) who rushes him to the hospital. Kang Min-Ho gets his new heart–and a heck of a lot of new emotions that he never expected.

Suddenly the heartless businessman has a heart. Emotions. Perhaps even a conscience. Is he going to be able to finish what he started? Does he want to finish what he started?

And why does he feel so sick whenever he sees Lee Joon-Hee’s beautiful face? Is it just because of Soon-Jung, or are there other reasons?

The Players.

Ma Dong-Wook

I list him first because I love him the most. He’s just sheerly wonderful. Okay, to be honest, if you smile like this, you don’t actually have to do anything else to make me fall in love with you:

Ma Dong Wook smile

But Dong-Wook does so much more. He’s the fiance of Soon-Jung, who is a secretary at Hermia. He’s a detective, and he is currently very interested in knowing who is behind the leaking of certain classified materials from Hermia (or the creation of fake documents, as the case may be). He’s also interested in beating up people who upset Soon-Jung, being a lovable guy, and what he calls ‘photosynthesizing’ (aka, sunbaking):

Ma Dong Wook photosynthesising

Ma Dong-Wook is full of odd sayings and solid wisdom for today. There is no tomorrow, he says. Today is all there is. He and Soon-Jung are possibly my favourite screen-couple ever, and are a couple for whom I break my ‘if-you’re-already-together-at-the-start-of-the-movie-I-don’t-care-about-you’ rule. Their chemistry is undeniable and completely delightful.

Kim Soon-Jung

soon jung

She’s the character (apart from possibly one other) who has the hardest time in this series. Soon-Jung is a secretary (pretty much THE secretary at Hermia). In one of the most amazing female power-scenes I’ve ever watched, she faces up against Kang Min-Ho and his cohorts by bowing and very politely asking where their visitor’s badges are. When they attempt to force their way past her, she simply holds up one hand in the most pleasant way imaginable, whereupon alarms go off and a bunch of Hermia’s heavies come out to Take Care Of Things. She does it without raising her voice, losing her cool, or becoming unladylike. And at the end of a very unpleasant scene, where one of the other secretaries asks her if she’s ok, she simply shrugs and says: “Why not? I even got a sticker.”

She is an anomaly. An actually, morally good female character. In her quietness and her reserve, as much as in her straight-talking, she does what is right. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a female character this much.

Evidently neither have either of the male leads in Beating Again, because both Crazy Hair Man (Kang Min-Ho) and Beautiful Face (Lee Joon-Hee) are in love with her.

not only happiness

Kang Min-Ho (aka, Crazy Hair)

FFI 1

It’s so hard to know where to start with this character. He’s such a beautiful, pitiful mess. I disliked him intensely when I first saw him. I thought he was going to be one of those really annoying K-drama ‘heroes’ who was a hero simply because of his scornful face and bad treatment of the heroine.

I’m so SO glad I was wrong!

We meet Kang Min-Ho as he is arriving in a party of one of Hermia’s majority stock-holder, Gold Partners. They are coming to call in loans and appoint a dispatched director, prepatory to taking over Hermia and selling it off. Min-ho is with them because he is seeking revenge on his uncle. When we first meet Min-ho, he is brittle, dangerous, and more than a little insane. He is also very fragile.

As the story progresses, we get to see the gradual changes that overtake his character. His fragility remains, but it is overshadowed by his growing emotions, and the transparency of those emotions–particularly when it comes to his newly budding love for Soon-Jung. Jung Kyoung-Ho, the actor who plays Min-Ho, has done such a stellar, nuanced job of this part, that all you can do is gasp at his completely child-like confusion as he experiences new things and grows in ways that he didn’t even realise existed before he was given a new heart.

The idea of new hearts, redemption, and the new man triumphing over the old is a very precious one to me, as a Christian. It’s a huge part of what I live and believe. And it was so refreshing to see it portrayed in this way. Make no mistake, I don’t believe this to be a Christian show. But this part of it in particular really resonated with me.

When you're tired

Lee Joon-Hee (aka, Beautiful Face)

FFI 2

So, so pretty. And you know right away that he’s Boy #2, a consistent K-drama trope. Boy #2 very rarely gets the girl. But he’s so pretty, and his suits are really lovely, guys!

Lee Joon-Hee is a director of Hermia, and at first it’s very clear where his loyalties lie.

The problem with Joon-Hee is that although we know he’s in love with Soon-Jung, and that he’s a company man, we don’t know whether or not he’s a murderer. That can be rather unsettling, because we watch all his tender moments and his insecurities and his triumphs. And all the time it’s in the back of our minds that this beautiful boy could be a murderer.

He and Kang Min-Ho do not get along well, but I suppose that’s to be expected since one is trying to bring down Hermia, one is trying to save it, and they are both after the same girl. This leads to one of my favourite scenes from Beating Again:

head smak 1 head smak 2

My one complaint: subtitles.

Guys. They translated stuff wrong. GUYS. I HATE THAT. I’ve seen enough of K-dramas now to recognise certain words, and to have learned their meanings. I have an affinity for languages, and I love learning them, so I try to pay attention when I come across shows I love in new languages.

And guys. They put swearing in where there wasn’t any. GUYS. This bugs me! Not only because it was an incorrect translation, but because seriously, if you think you have to put in swearing to appeal to a western audience–you don’t!

I ignored it because: a.) the original writers didn’t intend it, and b.) there was only one really bad swear. So if you’re someone who hates bad language, just watch out for the first episode where there’s one f-word randomly in the subbies, and don’t worry too much about the rest.

All in all:

My grateful thanks to Jung Kyoung-Ho, Kim So-Yeon, Yoon Hyun-Min, Jin Goo, Lee Si-Un, Jo Eun-Ji, Ahn Suk-Hwan, Nam Myung-Ryul, and a totally amazing writer, Yoo Hee-Gyeong. The acting and writing combined to make this a completely mesmerising sixteen hours of television.

And guys, I KNOW. It’s SUCH A LONG BLOG POST.

BUT I LOVED IT SO MUCH, GUYS. YOU HAVE TO LOVE IT, TOO.

(Also it’s on Netflix, so what are you waiting for?)

Favourite Authors: NICHOLAS FISK

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I actually started writing this blog post quite a while ago, but it never got finished because I didn’t find myself as eloquent as I would have liked to be. I’m resurrecting it now because I learned just a few days ago that Nicholas Fisk has died. The news made me sad for a couple of reasons (and no disrespect intended to his family, who have many more–and far more important–reasons to grieve).

The first of those reasons is purely selfish: a reader’s reaction. That hollow, sad feeling that there will be no more books. I’m very well aware that there are, and will be, many more books; but they won’t be books like that. The Nicholas Fisk books are now a finite, fixed number. And that’s a real shame, because there are very few people who can write with the kind of clarity, simplicity, and at the same time incredible depth that Nicholas Fisk managed.

My second reason is even more regretful: it’s a writer’s reaction. There are only about ten authors who have really influenced me in terms of style, content, or characterisation; and Nicholas Fisk is one of those. Quite a few of those influencers have also died in the last few years, without me ever having the chance to meet them, shake them by the hand, and tell them how much I learnt from their writing, and how much I enjoyed their art. I didn’t even get the chance to write to them and tell them that. My fault, of course, but you don’t expect your heroes to die. I regret that I never took the opportunity to write and tell them each how much they’ve meant to me.

Nicholas Fisk’s books are, ostensibly, children’s books. Sci-fi, too, which I very rarely read unless I’m immediately caught by the idea or the characters. The main characters are children, and although the subjects can range from simple to quite complex, the writing is never such as to either condescend or confuse. The adult characters are drawn with the kind of nuance that you don’t notice as a child but very much appreciate as an adult. One and all, the characters are complete, real people. The bad guys are complex, detailed, and sometimes not so much bad as on the other side. The protagonists see them as bad because they’re on the opposite side of the fence. Sometimes that realisation is made by the characters, other times, not.

I can’t now remember which Nicholas Fisk book I first read: it was either A RAG, A BONE, AND A HANK OF HAIR; BACKLASH; or MINDBENDERS. Each of them was a revelation for me, and I hold special memories from each. A RAG, A BONE, AND A HANK OF HAIR appalled and horrified me, and at the same time fascinated me. I was thinking about it for months after I first read it, and I knew it was a book that I would love forever. I don’t want to say too much more, because Spoilers, Sweetie. BACKLASH was amazing in a totally different way: the character I remember most was a mechanical princess who had no idea of pain, or growing up, or humanity. She wanted a little mechanical baby, and I remember one of the characters worrying about that at the end, because the princess was beginning to learn, and he wondered how it would affect her when she realised her ‘baby’ would never grow, or learn, or develop. MINDBENDERS was just weird, and cool, and fascinating. Because, you know, when you’re ten, ants could take over the world.

Like Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones, Nicholas Fisk is one of those people who shaped my writing and my reading at a very important time in my life. He’s one of the reasons I’m an author today: his imagination made mine want to grow wings and fly.

The SHARDS Trilogy is Going Wide!

The SHARDS trilogy is going on its next adventure!

In other words, a little while ago I began the process of making the SHARDS novellas available at all good ebook retailers: Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (as well as Amazon, of course, where they were already available).

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Consequently, it is my pleasure to announce that TWELVE DAYS OF FAERY is now available for Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Smashwords, as well as Amazon.

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You can also preorder THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN at Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Amazon.

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FIRE IN THE BLOOD is upcoming, since its Kindle Select period isn’t up until June 24th, but it won’t be long before you can buy it on each of these retailers, too!