Archive for fantasy

Looking for a Halloween read?

Posted in Book Club with tags , , , , on October 23, 2017 by Kate Jack

Here it is, available from: 

http://katejack9.wixsite.com/kate/books

From horror, ghosts & fantasy, fifteen stories to entrance, scare and enthral.

http://katejack9.wixsite.com/kate/books

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First 5* review for “A Pocketful of Stories”

Posted in Book review with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2017 by Kate Jack

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the Silver Flute trilogy I looked forward to reading some short fiction by the same author. I was not disappointed. Katrina Jack delivers a collection of wonderful fantasy stories that have an immediate impact on the reader. It is not easy to write engaging short stories but she has brought together a very satisfying collection of quite different tales, some lighter, some quite dark. A personal favourite was A dream of thorn and bramble, and I found Starlight, starbright very moving.
Free to download from: 

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Available now…

Posted in Book Club with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Kate Jack

… from Amazon, Smashwords, itune and Kobo.

For your delight and delectation – absolutely FREE! 😀

Welcome to a world of faeries, dreamers, history and much more. A Pocketful of Stories contains twelve short fantasy tales, filled with delightful, and not so delightful, characters, plus a bonus free chapter from book I of The Silver Flute Trilogy, Land of Midnight Days. From the dreamer who does not wish to face up to reality, to the shopkeeper and his daughters who yearn for adventure, A Pocketful of Stories will take you through multiple worlds and situations.

 

Amazon UK

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Magical books

Posted in Book review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 17, 2017 by Kate Jack

No, I’m not talking about spell books, or grimoires, but fiction books in general. They allow access to adventures, mysteries and places the reader has never seen or experienced; the possibilities are endless. Of course speculative fiction, such as I write, allows the use of magic to enhance a sense of wonder and enthralment not perhaps available in other genres. The bonus of urban fantasy is that it also allows a combination of the real and fantastical.

silver flute trilogy

 

 The Silver Flute Trilogy

An example of a mixture of the magical, mixed with realism, is one of the most unusual fantasy books I’ve ever read. Set in the 19th century this story is beautifully constructed, using a wonderful mixture of the author’s own characters and real, historical figures such as mad King George III and Lord Wellington.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

The story follows two English Magicians and their partnership as master and pupil, until a falling out sends them careening down divergent paths. The tale contains weird and wonderful creatures, from a world outside our own. There are elements of adventure, conflict, wickedness, tragedy, and reconciliation. To say that Susanna Clarke has produced a tale of wonder and enchantment, that completely draws the reader in, is an understatement. So it’s possible to combine genres successfully and satisfy readers who would not normally read historical fiction or fantasy.

The above illustrates that it’s perfectly possible to combine more than one genre and produce a book that will take readers’ breath away and send them spinning through a story that will immerse and engage with stunning effect.

Face booking

**If you liked this post, please give it a star rating**

A very unexpected adventure indeed!

Posted in Book review with tags , , , , on December 25, 2016 by Kate Jack

josephine-2

Just finished reading An Unexpected Adventure, by Josephine Montgomery, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s my review of her work:

A very unexpected adventure indeed! This is not your typical historical fiction. Yes, there is a 16th century setting, along with some fascinating facts about life in that time. King Henry makes a guest appearance, along with his warship, the Mary Rose. But there’s no bodice ripping or be headings, just plenty of adventure, fantasy and above all pirates! This is a wonderful read for young and old alike, with twists and turns to leave the reader longing for more.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book, it can be found here:

http://goo.gl/O7p3Vt  Amzn US 

http://goo.gl/9vTxy2 Amzn UK

Stepping stones to becoming a writer.

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2015 by Kate Jack

stepping stones

All writers travel a long road to reach their ultimate goal, but what happens along the way? What stepping-stones do we cross to achieve our aim? For most it’s a hard journey, from trying to decide what to write, to learning how to actually get their ideas down in readable form. “Write what you know”, is a common phrase, and for the most part it’s true, at least for “realistic” fiction. But what about speculative fiction, such as sci-fi and fantasy?

animated

Most non fantasy readers assume it’s easy to write. All you have to do is conjure up some fantastical creatures from your imagination, throw in a few swords, dragons and dungeons, and there you go. Far from it. A great deal of research goes into such work. For classical fantasy, research is needed for weaponry, horsemanship, battle tactics, etc. Even though the world and characters are products of the author’s imagination, they still need to convince the reader to suspend their disbelief and believe in the story and live the adventures of their heroes and heroines, and this means getting the “real” parts of their stories correct, in order to give them verisimilitude.

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armour

My first stepping stone, on my way to becoming a writer, was to decide what I wanted to write. I began by writing short stories, but over the course of time I realised this wasn’t enough, I needed to expand my horizons. I’d always loved fairy tales as a child, and the first fantasy novels I ever read were Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking-glass by Lewis Carrol.

alice

As I grew older, I moved onto The Chronicles of Narnia, and even though I didn’t know it, my writing destiny was set – I would become a writer of speculative fiction. My first published novel, Land of Midnight Days, uses elements of my hometown, Liverpool, as its backdrop.

midnight 2

The second, Through the Gloaming, is mostly set underground, and for that I used memories from when I used to go away with my school to the Lake District. We would take day trips, some of which involved visiting, not only Lake Windermere, but also some of the caves in the area.

cave

I remember one of them had a pool in it, of such a deep blue, I instinctively knew it was bottomless. I retained this memory and conjured up the image when writing Gloaming.

gloaming 1So, by using these stepping-stones, from reader to writer of short stories, to novelist, I have grown and evolved as a writer. What does the future hold? I’m not sure, but I will hopefully follow my stepping-stones onwards, ever onwards, until the time comes to stop.

book tree

http://goo.gl/dyj5Fc

An interview with David Graham

Posted in New Authors section with tags , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by Kate Jack
deathbane cover
Today I’m interviewing, once again, fellow fantasy author, David Graham, or Davie as he’s known to family and friends. Davie writes highly entertaining and charismatic books, which any fantasy fan would be proud to have on their shelves. His current works, The Silent Blade Chronicles, are on sale on Amazon.
Q. Let me begin by asking you, Davie, now that you have three books published, via Ecanus publishing, what’s your next step?
A. Hi Katrina, and thank you for the chance to speak with you once again. The Silent Blade Chronicles are indeed becoming a true epic, and still have a way to go yet, with two more books in the pipe-line. The fourth book, sub-titled “Dawn of the Gods” is now well under way and will hopefully be out in the next few months. This particular episode is a bit of a departure from the first three books as it deals with events that occurred  between 1000 and 800 years in the past. This is also a slightly new venture for me as most of it is written in the first-person, with events seen through the eyes of Endovaar’s first Grand Master Wizard, Trellan. Following directly on from this the fifth book, sub-titled “The Demon Queen” will see our heroes being transported into a strange and terrifying land to deal with the ultimate evil, as a hitherto “minor” character rises up in a last-ditch attempt to destroy mankind… and I think that should be enough to give our readers something to ponder…
As for the future? Well I have already drawn up plans for yet another fantasy series called “The Bloodhoof Saga”, however this time I am pulling out all the stops! This new series will, of course, retain some of my trademark gentle humour, but there the similarity to the age-friendly Silent Blade Chronicles will stop…! This new series will be aimed at a more adult audience, with extremely graphic descriptions, leaving nothing to the imagination!
Q. When you first embarked on getting into print, what kind of support did you get from friends and family? For instance, where they encouraging or sceptical?
A. It is strange how peoples’ views are affected on this before and after the event. Family, of course, would always be encouraging (although there would always be guarded glances of scepticism when they thought I wasn’t looking), and friends and acquaintances would “almost” always say things like “Oh yeah… you, write a book…? Don’t make me laugh!”. Yet, after the first book came out with Ecanus Publishing everything changed. Even my most ardent sceptics suddenly changed their minds, saying things like “Hey, I always knew you could do it, well done!”. This just goes to prove that people should have faith in the abilities of others, and that those who do not try, will never succeed.
Q. Once the books were up on Amazon, what kind of feedback, or reviews did you get?
A. Feedback and reviews are always mixed, and I am sure this goes for any artist. I am lucky enough to have gained a good fan base, both on-line, and in the real world. I’m glad to say that the majority of people I speak with, both on-line and in person, all have good things to say about my work. It also amazes me that my work reaches out to so many “different” people. An example of this are two “elderly” ladies, whom I see in person regularly during the hours of my day job. These lovely old ladies have become fans of the Silent Blade Chronicles, and whenever they see me they are full of questions about up-coming books… And even my own sister (much older than me), who has never read any fantasy in her life, has been converted, simply through reading “A Sword for Hire”. So as far as feedback is concerned… yes, it is surprisingly good.
Q. What are your writing ambitions, in other words, what do you hope to achieve, writing wise?
A. Well, what does any author hope to achieve…? To see my work spread out across the world, with many happy people reading the words I penned: enjoying the antics of my characters; immersing themselves in a truly magical world. This is the joy of writing fantasy… it allows people to escape into worlds beyond their dreams, filled with people and creatures they will love, or hate, and basically experiencing the adventure. If I can make someone laugh at a sprite, smile with an old wizard, cry when a shape-changer is mortally wounded, or experience the adrenalin rush of a mercenary in battle, then I have done my job well.
Q. I’m sure any fledgling writers out there would be interested in what your creative processes are. For instance, once an idea for a story has formed, how do you set about building on that idea?
A. I mainly start with character building. In the beginning the original members of Silent Blade consisted of six characters, but I cut that down to four, and converted the two left over to the “evil” side of things. However this was only a very small beginning… What was I to do with these characters? For a long time they existed only on a notepad, with a few basic descriptive notes for each one. I had no idea what I was going to do with them for a long time, till one night I had a weird and very vivid dream. That dream showed me the emergent birth of a powerful dragon god, and was to become the core element for my books. After that it was relatively easy. With some help from a very clever friend of mine we constructed “rules” for the different magics I would use in the books, and all I needed then was a plot. Little did I know at the time that this plot was going to stretch into five books, containing over 750,000 words! 
Q. How do you feel about writing groups? Do you consider them useful, or full of hobbyists and egomaniacs?
A. I do belong to several writing groups on such platforms as Facebook etc, but I seldom use them. As with all of these things there are some really good authors on them, along with the inevitable egomaniacs ( as you call them ). But I baulk at these things, mainly because I feel that a true author would have no need for them. To explain this, I believe that if you are any good at writing, no matter what genre you work in, then your work will speak for itself, and there should be no need to keep showing up on a forum trying to explain your work to other authors… after all those other authors are only interested in “their” work. This might seem a bit harsh, but from what I have seen to date, most of these writing groups are simply platforms for authors to shout about their work to other authors.
Q. Do you write in any other genre, apart from fantasy?
A. To be honest, yes, I have tried… and failed miserably. I had an idea once for a detective series, however never having read any detective novels, I had no idea where to go with it, so it eventually got binned. Fantasy has been my life since I was a small boy, and I feel at home with the magic, the dragons, and the strange worlds. Some people say that high fantasy is the hardest genre to work in, yet I find it easy. I can relate to the mythical creatures I create, simply because they can be, and do, anything I wish.
Q. Name one or two of your favourite authors, and why you like their work.
A. There are so many, but of course I have to start with the great Father of fantasy JRR Tolkien. Without him the fantasy genre would be a poor place to work in. He is a man I have looked up to ever since I can remember, and has given this mortal world something very special indeed. One of my other favourite fantasy authors is the late Anne McCafrey. Her Dragons of Pern series is a masterpiece, and I would highly recommend them to any fantasy buff.
Q. Are any of your characters based on real life people?
A. Of course they are. I am a bit of a people-watcher, and often jot down  notes after seeing the antics of a “real” person. I believe that this is an important skill for any author… to be observant, and watch what is going on in the world around you. It is amazing what you will see, if you really pay attention!
Q. How important do you think it is for a writer to have a website, and/or a blog?
A. Very important. In this age of technology ( ebooks especially ) a website or blog is a valuable tool. Not only does this help to spread the word about your work, but it allows the author to interact with his audience personally. I have found that people like this interaction, and it helps them to relate to their favourite author.
Q. How long did it take for you to find a publisher for your work?
A. Quite a long time, actually. My first book was written over ten years ago, and to begin with I was going down the traditional path of sending printed manuscripts off to various publishers. Of course I received the usual rejection slips, but I never gave up! Then, back in 2011 my partner pestered me to sign up to Facebook ( something I said I would never do ), and low and behold within a few months I spotted an advert from a new publishing company, looking for new talent. I emailed them, and the ball started rolling from there. Up till that point I had never heard of ebooks, and had no idea what a kindle was ( showing my utter lack of tech knowledge ). But to my delight, on the 20th of December, 2011, my first book was published on Amazon, and I can tell you that was the proudest day in my life. So it was a hard slog, but as I said, I did not give up on my dream… and now people all over the world can share in that dream, and I have my wonderful partner to thank for that.
Q. Finally, what one piece of advice would you give fledgling writers?
A. There is so much advice I could give to any fledgling author, but mainly I would say: work hard on your manuscript, pay attention to detail, be sure to keep your plots strong and try not to wander off the story-line ( which is easy to do ), make your characterisation powerful because your readers will need to know who they reading about, make sure you enjoy what you write about… and above all, never give up!

Thank you for the interview Katrina, and before I head back to my writing I would like to add a few links for your readers, if that is okay with you.
Firstly my blog:  
And the Silent Blade Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheSilentBladeChronicles
And now the links to the first three books
davie
Thanks for sharing your work with us, Davie, and all the best for the future.
 
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