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Sharpe's Tiger
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Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories
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Elric of Melniboné
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Magician, Man and Beast: The Hero Within
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#Art of Fantasy 17: Allen Williams


I thought I would do my bit by featuring Allen’s art on my #Art of Fantasy series to spread the word about the Gate of Fire project, but I can tell you now, if you see what he does, you’ll realise quickly enough that this man’s talent speaks for itself. Far louder, in fact, than what I could hope to achieve with my words. So consider my post a gentle nudge in the right direction. Just make sure you’ve a tight hold on your sanity before you dig in.


You can see the rest of Allen's art here.

Source: http://woelfdietrich.com

Little Mouse: A Short Story of Paranormal Horror

Little Mouse: A Short Story of Paranormal Horror - R.A. Williamson The sheer awesomeness of this story forced me to write this review.

Little Mouse is about a little girl and her attempts at coming to grips with her parents’ separation. The tale focusses on her trying to make sense of the ugly things grownups do and showcases the emotional vulnerability and dependency of children.

Mia is the only child of a recently divorced couple. The daddy is abusive, physically and emotionally, but he has never laid a hand on Mia whom he calls his little mouse. Mia’s mom, however, is not so lucky. Mia lives with her mom full-time, but you get the impression the couple received joint custody of Mia, the details of which are not so important right now.

Mia’s dad was supposed to take her for the weekend, but he cancels at the last-minute. He pays them a surprise visit later the same day and matters deteriorate quickly. It gets all too much for Mia who, it turns out, is much more than just a meek little girl.

The author originally asked me to write a blurb for the story, but I was so blown away after reading it, I felt compelled to write a review. It is a beautiful and sad story and domestic abuse is ugly, but Williamson succeeds in bringing beauty solely through his ability as word artist.

Williamson uses imagery that are tonally precise, that conveys little Mia’s perspective–how she views the relationship between her mom and dad, how she sees the world—with painful accuracy. The way Williamson describes Mia’s emotional evolution and how it informs her view of her surroundings and people in her life is so real, you forget you’re reading a tale of paranormal horror.

Writers use words to create feeling and convey emotion, and if a writer is expert enough, he’ll allow you to see the created world through the eyes of his characters. Williamson succeeds remarkably well in this regard.

Here is an example :

“She sighed melodramatically and blew her bangs out of her eyes. Rolling over, she stared at the underside of the tabletop, crossing her eyes until the crayon drawings on the rough particleboard split into dancing, blurry doubles of sad trees and dark houses and tall, angry men.”

This one also stood out for me:

“Nearby, He-Man reclined in a too-pink lounge chair and watched television with Strawberry Shortcake. A thimble of beer sat on a thread spool beside him. Sometimes He-Man let Strawberry Shortcake have a tiny taste of beer when She-Ra wasn’t looking.

He-Man was tired from a long day at work and told She-Ra to move her lazy ass. He was hungry.”

Of course, there are many more examples of woven magic in the story, but one needs to tread carefully when writing a review, especially of a short story. You don’t want to spoil it, but trust me, just the imagery alone makes this story worth your while. The rich descriptions, little details here and there, are exquisitely done. I remember sitting back, after reading Little Mouse, thinking, “What the hell just happened?!” And I wasn’t referring to a scene in the story, but my emotional reaction to the overall story.

It therefore came as no surprise when I learned later that Little Mouse received an Honorable Mention this year from the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest.

This story deserves to be read by many. It is one of the better ones out there. Trust me.

Cover Reveal: Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones

I accidentally wrote a short story called Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones. Date of release is set for 1 December 2014. This tale is a bit different to my usual genres of fantasy and the supernatural. It’s about bullying and about how it feels to be bullied.


The plot description is pretty succinct:


A tale about a boy and his dog, about bullies and soggy soup bones, and about finding courage in the unlikeliest of places.


The cover was designed by James aka Humble Nations at GoOnWrite.com:



Although the story is purely fictional I do have memories of being bullied. These are not comfortable memories. And yet they are tolerable because of time and age, and because I dealt with the bullies at the time. I didn’t always win, but neither did they escape unscathed. Yet, I still remember the fear. A palpable fear that is both pervasive and unrelenting, even when you do stand up for yourself. This is a story about finding courage despite that fear.


I've tried to capture that emotional turmoil honestly without glamorizing it or making it sound easy. I hope I succeeded in doing so.


Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones is available for pre-order at Amazon. And for a measly buck it's almost a giveaway.


I really hope you enjoy it.



Midnight Falcon

Midnight Falcon - David Gemmell After finishing Sword in the Storm I rushed out to get this second book in the series. It has a totally different feel to the previous one, but wasn't less enjoyable. I liked the story, but as with all tales that span a generation or two, the cycle of time does bring with it heartache and sorrow and I felt it while reading the story of Bane. A big chunk of that emotion came from being reunited with familiar characters from the previous book and to see how time has carved its progress in their lives. I enjoyed Bane's evolution from hothead fighter to lethal gladiator in the Arena. That was a satisfying experience. And as with the previous book, the story is far from predictable, and as with my previous review I'm keeping it short and vague. This is a great book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in heroic fantasy. I'm on a mission to read all of David Gemmell's books, and I think my next one will be Legend.

Sword in the Storm

Sword in the Storm - David Gemmell This book pushed all my emotional buttons and reminded me how much I missed reading heroic fantasy. I want to finish this series. You get invested in the characters, their heartaches, challenges, and joys, and then there's the feel-good satisfaction well timed revenge brings, along with the consequences. There are always consequences. The action, battle strategies, and weapons are all well described. The magic system makes sense and is both familiar and strange. The plot is good and character development logical and satisfying. Nowhere did I find myself skipping pages out of boredom. I did however read faster certain parts as I became more and more enthralled. I love the author's writing style and will, apart from this series, read more of his books.

The Bone Road

The Bone Road - Mary  Holland Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I won’t rehash the plot here as I see many reviews dealt with that already. This review will therefore only be about my experience reading The Bone Road. It took me a while to settle in the story and it wasn’t a particularly fast read, but that probably says more about me than it does about the book. I’m glad I didn’t give up. It is a good story--part adventure-quest, part romance, part social commentary, with some added mystery--all wrapped up in a fantasy/sci-fi setting. I have to say though, at first the story had more a feel akan to those old western settler stories; mostly the wagons on the Bone Road (trail), the way the people survived and bartered, and lived from day to day, but then later on--for me at least--it took on a more distinct sci-fi feel and less a fantasy. After all, Deo is an alien world with alien customs and concepts (albeit familiar social norms, class division, issues of property ownership, etc.). It is well written and the author is good at exploring the emotional turmoils that often plague ordinary human beings in extraordinary circumstances, and it was done naturally which is impressive given that this is no ordinary world. The same goes for the imagery used. I like the author’s voice. There is a relaxed tone to it, the way she describes the world, the people, the first protagonist’s daily routines, and is partly why I enjoyed it and why I initially thought it closer to an old western tale. Yes, I did say first protagonist for there are two. The Bone Road is essentially divided into two books, and each book is told from the perspective of a different protagonist, but their respective stories are aligned and it makes sense in the end.

Despite The Bone Road not being my usual taste and despite my inability to identify with the characters, I enjoyed the book. The writing style and talent of the author kept me immersed and I thank her for that.

I won’t penalize this book for not conforming to my taste. Objectively speaking, there is nothing wrong with the story, so I’m giving it five stars.

Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Digital, #2)

Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Digital, #2) - David Gaughran Author David Gaughran, as usual, did not disappoint with Let's Get Visible. It's filled to the brim with useful strategies and other information to help you navigate through the emerging landscape of indie publishing--and you'll need it. Believe me you'll need it. It is so easy to fall into a trap because of all the disinformation and sharks out there, and with so much of it spread far across the internet it tends to be difficult and time-consuming finding the most appropriate and correct information, and when you do find it, you first need to test its veracity. Let's Get Visible helps with that, plus there is enough information in there that you don't have to scour the web aimlessly. If you are contemplating a career as indie writer, get Let's Get Visible. You will have a hard time finding a better read to equip you for the journey.

The Alchemist

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho At last I read it. I wasn't sure what to expect and went in blind, but it was well worth it. Reading this book, for me, was an expedition of discovery. I'll read it again and I'll recommend it without a pause. My time is limited and I can therefore not elaborate much in this review, if you can call it such. The story is about self exploration against the backdrop of a quest to find treasure. There are mystical elements, but they were written plainly and made sense philosophically. Personal Legend, indeed. I now understand why this book sold millions of copies.

The Painted Man

The Painted Man  - Peter V. Brett I have just finished The Painted Man. In fact, I started it on Saturday and didn't want to stop reading. I finished it early the Monday morning. Impressive, considering I've a house full of kids. I liked it--loved it. It's part of a trilogy. I have the next book, The Desert Spear, next to me and already started on it. I'm not going into much detail here. This review is a micro one. I loved the story so much I'm reading the next one. And I will read the third one. I will write a detailed review once I've finished the trilogy as I want to do an overall review of all three the books. So far I am impressed. It's been a while since I've read a good fantasy tale. And this one is that, and more.

Devils in Exile

Devils in Exile - Chuck Hogan Hogan is simply brilliant. I loved the story and although not the greatest I've read, Hogan's technical ability made this a memorable read for me. He's use of imagery was superb. This was my first Hogan book and it won't be my last.


Persuader - Lee Child This is the one that had started it all for me, that had left me wanting more Reacher stories the way only Child can write them. I read Persuader a couple of years ago and, as it was my first Reacher novel, I remember how intrigued I was by Child's style of writing. I loved the short powerful sentences, terse and crispy without any fluff. Add to this an intelligent giant with a fierce sense of fairness and you know you are in for quite a ride.

As for Persuader itself, it is Reacher at his hulking best. That is all you need to know, in my opinion.


Wool - Hugh Howey The writing is tight and intimate and generally beautiful. I found myself engaged from the start and near the end of it I started running scenarios through my mind of how I wish the story to end. Howey's ability to drag you right into the innards of the story is amazing. I understand now what the fuss is all about.

The Paper Menagerie

The Paper Menagerie - Ken Liu This is the most powerful short story I have ever read. The Paper Menagerie is such an emotionally moving story, it left me reeling for a while after reading it. If you have blocked tear ducts, this story will unblock it.