Trees? Yes, trees!

With me today is another new author, Sam Smith.  His debut novel, Trees, releases on October 31 from Safkhet Publishing.  Take it away, Sam!

My thanks to Kay Kauffman for asking me to guest on her blog.

Although I’ve done many things sub-literary in my writing life – organised poetry festivals and book fairs, run a small press, Original Plus, and for nearly 20 years now the poetry magazine The Journal (once ‘of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry’); and although I’ve had many publishers of my work, 2 of which went disastrously bust while I was working as editor for them, Safkhet Publishing is the first that has suggested that I be a guest blogger.

treesThe novel by the way is Trees and Safkhet are based in Germany.

I’m based in the UK on the Cumbrian coast. Maryport describes itself as ‘By the sea near the Lakes.’ Not wholly sure
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War!

Well, I’m feeling rather terrible at the moment.  A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Jim Webster asked me to join in a blog tour for the release of his new book, and I happily agreed to it.  But then life happened, and the post I meant to share on Sunday (or Monday) didn’t go up…

*sigh*

I hate messing up.

TS2 War 2-2So here’s that post, with my profound apologies for not sharing it sooner.

An action packed investigation, from Delta mud to the palaces of Merchant princes, Haldar is back in War 2.2

Haldar Drom is starting to worry. The long running insurgency in the Zala Delta suddenly starts to spiral further out of control. Who is arming the insurgents? How and why? Then a leading local politician who is using his influence to try and keep things calm is threatened with assassination. It’s obvious that things are moving to a climax.

All Haldar has immediately available is a third year university student who gets given a dissertation project she’ll never forget; young journalist who he convinces to investigate the situation of the ground; and a retired marine librarian whose job is to keep the politician alive. As the investigation proceeds, from the mud of the Delta to the luxurious surroundings of the Drake Islands, Haldar comes to realise that he may be facing Wayland Strang’s counter-attack. Faced with a coup d’état spearheaded by off-world mercenaries Haldar has to react quickly to stop a major war.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?  Wanna sneak a peek?   Then read on!

How to keep things straight (or maybe not-so-straight)

Today I’m excited to have Jim Webster here with a guest post.  His book, Justice 4.1, releases today from Safkhet Publishing, and it sounds like a fantastic read.  But don’t take my word for it – here’s the blurb:

When a journalist is shot down in a backward area of Tsarina, Haldar Drom of the Governor’s Investigation Office is sent to investigate.  He uncovers a hidden medical facility dedicated to the production of Abate, a drug used for population control, as well as evidence of the implantation of pre-created embryos in women brought to Tsarina for the purpose.  He also discovers a deeper plot with far-reaching political ramifications.  A senior member of the Governor’s family, Doran Stilan, is running a personal feud with the major pirate/Starmancer Wayland Strang.  Indeed, he begins to suspect that Stilan may even be angling to take Strang’s place.

The medical facility is destroyed after it is attacked by mercenaries hired by Strang, and Drom has to travel off world to untangle the threads of the conspiracy.

Arriving back on Tsarina, he has to deal with a failed Starmancer attack, punish the guilty, and arrange for Doran Stilan to get what’s coming without undermining the position of the Governor.  To do this, he’ll need skill, know-how, and a whole lot of luck to ensure that the guilty face justice.

Talk about an action-packed book!  That’s a lot of things to keep track of.  With that in mind, here’s Jim to tell us a bit about how he keeps everything straight (or not-so-straight) while writing:

An interview for the ages

Today I’m excited to be interviewing Irene Soldatos, author of the wonderful book, Bad Bishop.  It really is a fabulous read, and I jumped at the chance to learn more about it.  Share my curiosity?  Then pull up a chair, relax, and get ready for a little fun with history!

KK: What inspired you to write this story?

IS: That’s a difficult question. There was no one moment of inspiration, rather an idea that slowly developed. I read a lot of history. And there are three historians in my family, so I’ve grown up steeped in it, and I suppose I am more conscious than most of the enormous differences, cultural, social, ideological, technological between the people of one historical period and those of another, but also the very many similarities. I found myself often wondering what someone who was born and grew up in classical antiquity would make of the middle ages, for example, if he or she could somehow see it. I suppose this book is a thought experiment on that concept. I wanted to bring together and juxtapose people from various different time periods, in one story. One way to do that would be time travel.  But I didn’t like that idea, because it would mean they would have missed the process of history. And the process is even more important than the time period they would arrive at, i.e. the one I set the story in.

KK: The amount of research needed for this book must have been incredible.  What did that process involve?

Review time!

Today I’m reviewing Bad Bishop by Irene Soldatos.  But first, the blurb:

August A.D. 1120
Dijon. A headless corpse is found in a room with shuttered windows and the door locked from the inside. The man’s name was Salonius and he was the Duke. His young heir’s grasp on the throne is precarious, yet a new alliance is made to safeguard his position.

November A.D. 1120
Barcelona. Alexander, the Prince, learns that the emperor Enmerkar is looking to add Barcelona to his territories.

January A.D. 1121
London. Julian, the Governor, finds that Enmerkar has turned his hungry gaze toward England.

April A.D. 1121
York. Medb, the Queen, discovers that Enmerkar hungers for the whole Isle.

Many now recognize the threat posed by Enmerkar’s continued expansion, so a game of politics begins…

The Banned Underground: The SatNav of Doom

TSODThe latest installment in The Banned Underground series, The SatNav of Doom definitely holds up to the standard set by the first four novels (you can read my reviews of them here, here, here, and here).  Chock full of humor as always, I laughed my way through The SatNav of Doom at an admittedly slower pace than the previous books, but that was due to my overwhelming open house (and moving) preparation and is in no way a reflection on this fine novel.  Indeed, settling down with Fungus and the gang for a rockin’ gig was a welcome relief from my moving stress. 🙂

The discerning reader will find many gems along the way to the Edern’s enchanted Fairy Hill hideout.  From wonderful musical jokes to brilliant pop culture references, there’s plenty here to make you giggle, grin, and even guffaw.   For example:

All you need is love

Today, I’m feeling the love.  And for some reason, as I was thinking the words, “Feel the love,” I heard them in Peter Griffin’s voice.  You know, from the episode where he spends time with Meg?  No?  Okay, fine:

I haven’t watched Family Guy in years, so I have no idea why that particular scene popped into my head this morning, but you can’t unsee it! Muahahaaaa! 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to share a bit of blog love today. And, you know, make up for the clip I just shared. 🙂

Thoughts on self-publishing

I generally try to stay out of the self-pub vs. trad. pub debates because so often, what starts off as reasoned analysis/debate devolves into screeches of, “My way is better than your way!” or “My way is the only right way to do it!”  Both ways have their pluses and minuses.  For me, I think traditional publishing is the way to go and I hope I’ll be able to succeed in it.  However, if it’s not meant to be, I “have lots of friends who will help” me “through the self-publishing process,” according to one Jeremy Rodden, self-publisher extraordinaire.  I’ve been assured that I’ll do great and I’m inclined to believe him because he’s done quite well for himself in the self-pub arena, as has our mutual friend, Lisa Wiedmeier. With that in mind…

Out like a lamb

Well, the old adage rang true this year – March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.  A sheared lamb, but a lamb nevertheless.  It was supposed to be in the mid-70s yesterday, but I don’t think it even reached 60°.  Thank goodness I had the kids dressed warm when we left to run errands.  The day was mostly cloudy, but at least it wasn’t raining.

The last few days have seen quite a surge in views here, which has me pretty excited.  I don’t know what it is that’s attracting so many lovely visitors (aside from posting more regularly than I have in a long while), but whatever it is, I’ll try to keep doing it. Formatting guidelines and what one publishing house had to say are this-a-way!