Sunday 29 June 2014

Stunning Scene

What an amazing scene. Gorgeous.

Really Great Review - Prophecy of the Kings

4.0 out of 5 stars Great TrilogyJune 18, 2014
By Samantha Grayson (UK)

This review is from: The Prophecy of the Kings - Omnibus Edition (Kindle Edition)

Fantasy book lovers will love the Prophecy of the Kings. It has everything a good fantasy book should have; from dwarves to dragons , wizards and a big battle. We have the 'journey,' and the friendship.

The author acknowledges that he is a fan of fantasy books, especially Lord of the Rings and this does show. There are points in the story where you can clearly see influences from other books. Writing something completely original though is not easy. It is original enough to be a book in its own right

The characters here are great, the story strong and the description of the locations amazing. In places it could do with a little editing but overall this is a great read.

Suitable for teens to older fantasy readers.

Thanks Samantha

Saturday 28 June 2014

Fantasy Dreams - Castles

This is Leeds castle in Kent. Just down the road from me. Gorgeous grounds and beautiful castle. A lot of it has been added in later periods but still impressive.

Gorgeous Fantasy Artwork

This is beautiful artwork, with the silvers and light. Nicely done.

Writing a Book - Creating a Plot

How did I create my plot? With a great deal of patience. In my novels, rightly or wrongly, I didn't plot out the entire novel. Instead I had a general idea of what might happen at points in the tale. In a sense these ideas were like islands, but on the main I didn't know how the islands were connected. The different characters were akin to new islands in my imagination and that helps to understand the potential complexity of some of the future plots.

The first scene, or island, I had was of two characters traversing an underground cavern, searching for something, but at this early stage I didn't know what it was they were looking for. It was, however, an incredibly vivid scene in my mind. The cavern was dark and warped, rock columns cast dancing shadows in the flickering torchlight. The atmosphere was thick and I could feel the presence of souls lingering in characters' peripheral vision. There was an imminent sense of danger and the souls were gibbering and shrieking, hurling abuse at the shadows. I then asked myself where the characters were going and what was their aim. That became another island that might have been three chapters ahead or even another novel (my books were a trilogy).

As a writer I wanted to know more about my initial scene and it was that desire to know more that helped me to create a plot. Who were the people in the cavern? Why were they there and importantly for the reader, what was the threat? From one scene, you have the potential for a story. This could be the start of a tale, but as someone pointed out recently -- any chapter has a beginning, even the first chapter of a book. This particular scene actually became the last chapter of my first book.

This method of plot creation is slow and very difficult to write, but has a marvellous reward. Occasionally I became stuck (writer's block). I really didn't know where tale was going, other than a scene as an island some distance ahead. This is where \I needed patience and sometimes months passed before inspiration struck. This is not something to be rushed. If you find yourself writing just to continue the tale then it may become flat and uninteresting. When inspiration came to me it was amazing, like turning the page of someone else's book.

In a later book the plot creation was marginally different. It was a prequel and some of the plot had already been formed in my earlier works. In this situation I had a skeleton of a plot and I actually knew the ending for this book. What I didn't know much about were the characters and how their tale involved. This time the plot evolution was more about them.

Unsurprisingly characters will alter the plot. They also need to go where they will. Their role should never be forced, otherwise the reader will not believe the tale. Sometimes a character is required of a certain nature to make the plot interesting. In Lord of the Rings, Pippin often gets into mischief because he is inquisitive. Pippin, on occasions, drives the plot. he is the unpredictable element that forces events to transpire that may not otherwise happen. He is the wild card that makes the plot snake rather than progress in a linear fashion.
It is well worth creating characters early and even perhaps before starting your tale. Creating characters early will help you to develop a plot. Knowing that a character is cold and cruel will clearly influence the tale.

You need to keep surprising your reader and external influences can also do that. A new enemy, an event (earthquake, ship wreck etc) can all keep the plot evolving and may actually lead you somewhere that you didn't envisage. Be careful though not to get too sidetracked. Readers want to follow a main plot and if you meander too much they will lose interest. Choose external events/influences that are part of a deeper tale. That might be something that you want to happen much later in the book and that you want to drop hints about.

I would also suggest thinking about what interests you. This may be about another story, or something that happened in life. This needs to be something that inspires you. For me it was telling stories as a child and being scared. I wanted to create a world that recaptured that early childhood fear of superstition. That had to be woven into may tale and I had to decide how I would do that. This superstition was certainly part of my plot creation.

Earlier, writing a book-How to Start, I suggested writing short stories. These are your islands. Are they part of one tale or are they stand-alone? If they could be part of a bigger tale then the question is -- how are you going to join the islands together? Ask questions that you want to resolve about your short story and they become part of the plot.

Finally, remember that you need a beginning, a middle and an end. The plot needs to end leaving the reader satisfied.

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

Sunday 22 June 2014

Fun Friday - Are Sub-Genres Necessary?

Check out Old batt's Belfry - Fun friday Question. Sub-genres confuses the pants off me.

In some areas it is worth knowing. Dark Fantasy conveys what that is but Urban Fantasy?? Set in a city I guess. Are there sub categories of say Westerns? Dark westerns, urban Westerns, Cowboy and Indian Westerns?? As I say - confused.

Review of The Key -- Simon Toyne

The KeyThe Key by Simon Toyne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For a best seller I struggled with this and found I could only read a few pages a night. I nearly gave up on several occasions, but I am glad I persevered. The premise had significant potential but I found myself not drawn to the characters and not really caring about the plot for much of the book. However, it did pick up and the ending improved.

There were parts of the plot though that seemed contrived, e.g. with the two central characters having a very short amount of time to find a key location, with no real idea of where it is and then surprisingly finding it having set off in an almost random direction.

Overall, a little disappointing. Happy to take advice on potential of his other novels. I did like the premise -- that had massive potential.

View all my reviews

Maerlin's Storm by Nal Logan

Maerlin's StormMaerlin's Storm by Nav Logan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very good read. Nav is a new author and this was a very good debut novel. There's lots going on and clearly lots to come. The characterisation is good and each character brings new concepts with them. For example, the central character Maerlin suspects she can control storms and her fears are proven as she sets out on a journey of discovery that ends with her companions in peril and the land on the verge of war. There's an undiscovered prince, a beggar lord travelling the country as a tinker, fear and betrayal. Nav is from Ireland and his Celtic heritage shines through.

View all my reviews

Brilliant New Review for Prophecy of the Kings :)

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Trilogy, 18 Jun 2014

Fantasy book lovers will love the Prophecy of the Kings. It has everything a good fantasy book should have; from dwarves to dragons , wizards and a big battle. We have the 'journey,' and the friendship.

The author acknowledges that he is a fan of fantasy books, especially Lord of the Rings and this does show. There are points in the story where you can clearly see influences from other books. Writing something completely original though is not easy. It is original enough to be a book in its own right

The characters here are great, the story strong and the description of the locations amazing. In places it could do with a little editing but overall this is a great read.

Suitable for teens to older fantasy readers.

What a lovely review - thanks Samantha Grayson

Saturday 21 June 2014

Life's Not fair!! Book Signing.

Sorry to be petulant but in one video clip from Sci fi by the Sea, my son is on it and I'm not. Went for a tinkle and was only away for a few minutes. Mr Invisible!!

Thanks to everyone who bought a book. I do hope that you enjoy them.

Sci Fi by the Sea - Four Dr Whos.

Not sure on the spelling of Dr Who plural. It certainly isn't Whose!!

Me with Bat Woman and Poison Ivy. Except my son chopped our legs off!!

Andrew and Predator. 

Generally a fun day, except for being rather cool.

Fantasy Creatures - New Cat

Not sure what the link is to fantasy - except she has ears like Spock. We couldn't find her until we looked in a narrow shelf under the computer. How she got in there I don't know. She is tiny and was a stray.

Friday 20 June 2014

Writing a Book - My Top Writing Tips

1. Read what you write out loud. I made a video clip for YouTube where I read a short story and that taught me a lot. If it's written incorrectly you will soon find out -- you stumble when reading poorly constructed sentences.

2. Write somewhere where you feel creative. Strangely, I like writing on trains. Don't ask me why, I simply have no idea.

3. For convenience I wrote longhand and on paper. (shock horror, I hear you say) It was easier to carry around than a laptop (and I wrote before laptops were invented). I could also get my thoughts out more quickly. That is really important!! Paper is not wrong and it stops you editing and disrupting your thought flow. I am not sure this is necessarily correct, but it worked for me.

4. Don't read aloud on a train!! Although I suggested this in 1 -- you will feel foolish and may get arrested. You will also attract drunks. (remind me to write a later blog on how to get rid of drunks).

5. If you struggle with a long or difficult sentence -- think about what you need to say and write that instead. This is a really useful tip.

6. Vary sentence lengths. Short sharp sentences with lots of colons increases the pace, for exciting scenes, and then use long flowing script to slow it down.

7. A personal hate is authors who write stunning works and then their books become overly long, descriptive-riddled, door stoppers. The story is incredibly important. Never forget that.

8. Write and be prepared to write again. First works are usually not the writers best works. Often it is subsequent efforts that prove to be the best.

9. Embrace criticism. Never fight it. Not everyone will like your work so be prepared to listen why.

10. I paid an editor who changed every occurrence of ,but to But, -- it didn't work!! Stick to English as you were (or probably weren't) taught. Do not invent your own version of English. Being grammatically correct is very hard, but you must learn to be correct. It amazes me how very, very good some people are. There are so many pitfalls. For example, knowing when to use a hyphen between adjectives (compound adjective), brown-haired girl. There are (too many) websites that are very instructive.

11. Type compound adjective into Google, or click-here, and find a grammar guide that you understand from the list and use that in future.

12 Be patient. I was going to write about How to create a plot. However, I recommended writing short stories first, so I thought I'd give you more time to do that. I do hope they are progressing well and the above tips will help you to get further. My previous advice was choosing a genre and writing a book -- how to start, so if you missed those - dive in.

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

Thursday 19 June 2014

Medieval Clock - Amazing

Imagine having this strapped to your wrist. It's amazing just how inventive our ancestors were. One in Exeter cathedral is 14 C, if memory serves. Incredible how far back clocks go - look at Stonehenge. Predicted both summer and winter with incredible accuracy.

This clock is in Prague. It was first installed in 1410 and is really an astronomical clock - so very like Stonehenge in many ways.

Fantasy Creatures - Elf Lady in flight

Very nice artwork and gorgeous sunset.

Amazing Celte (Celtique) Site. Cracking artwork

Love this battle scene. Check out more at:

Saturday 14 June 2014

Writing a Book - Choosing a Genre

This depends whether you are writing for you own gratification or whether you want to make money. Let's start with writing because you want to, first of all.

In may case I was motivated to write because I truly enjoyed fantasy. I was totally captivated by worlds others had created and really enjoyed the escapism fantasy gave me. Now I'm older, I think I could equally enjoy writing historical fiction. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading many other genres and there are cracking tales in each. However, for some reason, few of these genres would make me want to write in the same way that fantasy does.

Choose a genre that inspires you. To write you need passion to flow from the pages. You need to engage your reader with a well thought out tale. If it doesn't inspire you, then it is unlikely to inspire your reader. You need to be coming home and rushing to the word-processor to capture the next chapter, rather than sitting there thinking -- where is this tale going and trying to force it? Picking the right genre  will help to achieve this, so think hard about which genre moves you most and that is likely to be your best bet to succeed.

Short Stories. As I mentioned in my previous blog - Writing a Book - How to Start - start with short stories in your early stages. That will really help you decide if your chosen genre is for you. If, as an example, you find yourself writing about spacemen and it feels silly, then Sci Fi isn't your genre. if the writing flows and feels correct then you have the correct area for you.

Creativity is another key to writing. That may also be a guide to your best genre. If you have a truly inspirational idea then try working with that. It's interesting, as an author, that when you write the ideas sometimes flow as if from nowhere. One good idea could unfold into a significant tale, by the time you have decided how the tale reached that point, the characters, their lives and aspirations. The idea may not be in a genre that you are used to, but with the right amount of creativity you could find a tale growing with no real knowledge on where the roots are.

Mood. This is a difficult one as your mood changes. Dark Fantasy, a Gritty Detective, a Failed Romance may all seem great choices on one day, but maintaining that could be hard. Don't force it, and see where the tale progresses. Equally a light hearted romp may flow to the page on some occasions and yet feel forced on others.

Real Life. Your life experience will help you to write and that may influence your choice of genre. This is key to writing a good tale; you write best about things that you know about. How can that to help write fantasy or sci-fi, after all how many people have been in a rocket or flown on dragon back? It's the small experiences that help, so don't be put off. How you feel when you are physically exhausted, on top of a mountain, falling down a mountain (hopefully not), been punched (accidentally??), will all come alive on a page if you know how these all felt. If you do martial arts, mountaineering, scuba-diving, flying etc then these are experience that you can transfer thoughts to page with a flourish. as an example having undertaken mountaineering can translate to a Roman trudging across a Scottish Ben, martial arts to a gladiator trying to summon strength from the pit of despair, flying to a dragon ride with the dragon plummeting to earth and the rider's stomach clenched in fear...and so on.

Homework. Some genres can be hard to write, as you really need to do some homework. A historical fiction wouldn't sound right with Nero fiddling as Venice burned, for many reasons. Homework is a key driver and needs to be done well. Some genres need a lot of groundwork, others need less, but still need to have an element of belief about them.

Making money. I left this to last as there is no magic genre that will sell your book. A good choice of genre and passion that flows from that is far more likely to sell books. Some of the biggest money spinners simply appeared against the flow of current fads. Harry Potter was fresh and invigorating and no one would have predicted fantasy could reach a new high at the time that it did. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was another that hit stunning heights, and again couldn't have been predicted. The common theme in each case was a well written book.

Some genre's may appear saturated with lots of authors writing in these fields, but a well written book will push these all to one side in a volcanic miasma as it powers its way to the top, just as Dan Brown and J K Rowling achieved.

Good luck and good writing


Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
My top tips
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

Friday 13 June 2014

Fantasy Dreams - Castles

Gorgeous early evening view. Not much space to land a dragon and orcs wouldn't like the sea. this one might actually do quite well. Bring on the kraken! Burghausen, Bavaria.

Come and Join me on Sunday - Sci Fi by the Sea

Look at all the stars coming - and me!! Book signing so keep an eye out for me.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Writing a Book - How to Start Writing a Book.

I thought I'd share some advice on writing a book with you. I have written four books and have lots of experience to share with you. I can offer some tips that should save you time, effort and frustration.

My first tip is to start by writing short stories. This may not appeal at first, but there are many advantages. It helps you to develop your own style and to also build a reader base. Readers are brilliant for helping you to develop characters and plots.This is a far better approach than seeking opinions from family or friends. No one wants to upset you and getting positive feedback from a complete stranger is a far more satisfying achievement. Also, people will automatically engage in a genre they, too, are interested in.

There are plenty of sites to publish short stories and some encourage feedback from your readers. This is helpful in seeing whether you can connect with your readers. It also allows you to judge your best style, chapter or whatever you would like. Often your readers will tell you which short story has the most appeal, just by the numbers of readers that engage. This approach helps to build your confidence and if your first few stories need some revision then that's a far easier starting point than writing and having to re-edit an entire novel.

I would recommend Wattpad for publishing short stories. Start off by looking at other people's stories. Comment on some, but remember to be polite as you may be on the receiving end of comments in the future. It is very daunting to publish your first story and it is a worry that the entire world can see it and comment on it. Break yourself in gently and you will gain in confidence and ability. Writing a short story is an art in itself and requires a different style to writing a novel. It needs to have an ending that leaves the reader satisfied and engaged.

More recently I have discovered Write-on run by Amazon and there, unlike Wattpad, other authors will provide a critique, but usually you have to critique theirs first.

Tops for Writing a Book - How to Self Publish
Should You Pay for a Review -- yes or no?
Making Your Writing Interesting
My top tips
Choosing a genre
How to Start writing a Book?
Creating a Plot for Your Book

Sunday 8 June 2014

New Terry Goodkind Novel - Soon

I liked most of his books so looking forward to this.

Gorgeous Scene - Straight out of a Fantasy Setting??!

Not sure where this is but it is gorgeous. Fougères in France?

Sci Fi by the Seas - Next Sunday!!

Celebrities attending so far
Paul McGann (Doctor who)
Colin Baker (Doctor Who)
David Prowse (Darth Vader himself)
Chris Barrie (Rimmer in Red Dwarf, The Brittas Empire, Spitting Image)
Hattie Hayridge (Holly in Red Dwarf and stand up comedian)
Peter Purves (Steven, William Hartnell's assistant in Doctor Who)
Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar in Doctor Who)
Richard James (Gerry Anderson's Space Precinct, Sir Gadabout, The Mysti Show, My Parents Are Aliens and MI High )
Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar inReturn of the Jedi and renowned puppeteer)
Pam Rose (Star Wars A New Hope, Space 1999)
Alan Flyng (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi)
Ken Coombs (Return of the Jedi, Goldeneye)
Virginia Hey (Farscape, Mad Max 2)
Peter Roy (Star Wars, Return of the Jedi)
Mike Quinn (Return of the Jedi, Jim Henson Productions)
Jermome Blake (Phantom Menance, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith)
Jamie Anderson (Gerry Anderson's son) will also be in attendance for a Q&A and various props/puppets.

The Dwarves by Markus Heitz

The Dwarves (The Dwarves, #1)The Dwarves by Markus Heitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have just read The Dwarves by Markus Heitz. Very very slow book to start with but what an ending!

Excellent read overall. Characterisation is brilliant with some characters extremely likeable and others less so. It's a hit in Europe and the chap deserves to do well everywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of twists and turns and unexpected parts to the plot. Good fun.

Be warned though - it takes getting into.

View all my reviews

Friday 6 June 2014

Off Travelling Today

Long drive to Exeter to pick up my son. I drive by Stonehenge and the traffic's always a nightmare.

Stonehenge is incredible. Bernard Cornwall wrote a very interesting novel about it, and the novel brought Stonehenge alive, making you think about the lives of the people who built it. Amazing. Too often we are dismissive of the incredible things our ancestors did. I only hope a Burrows was involved in its building

Fantasy Dreams - Castles

Polish castle this time. This has real fantasy quality with the towers and pennants. Forteresse en Kamenetz-Podolsk

A dragon would bring this down in minutes!!

Amazing Dragon Art

This is amazing artwork. Beautifully done.

Short Story - Fantasy by David Burrows

Wizard’s Downfall

“Help me,” the stranger demanded in strident tones. He stood tall and strong, dark haired with bushy eyebrows and a long thin face deeply etched with pain and fatigue; a man who looked as though sleep was elusive. His cold, flint coloured pupils glinted feverishly and his grey skin indicated a man near the end of his tether.
Paranor had barely heard the tinkle of the small bell at his shop front door, so swiftly did the man enter. Paranor stood, “You look terrible. Let me give you some tea. It’s a special tea with the ability to take away pain.” he stepped away from his small desk and made his way to the fireplace.
“Pah!” the other man replied. “Nothing takes away this pain.” However, he watched with fevered hope as Paranor took the kettle from by the side of the open fire, holding the metal handle with a teacloth. He poured steaming water into a cup and then sprinkled herbs into the cup, completing the ritual.
The other man watched and then said, “You are a healer according to your sign outside.” He was pale, gripping the back of a chair, standing in a way that suggested pure agony. His words came in a torrent and he panted when he had finished as though having run a great errand.
“Yes, I am a healer. Amongst other things,” Paranor answered proudly. He had a good reputation and earned a solid living in the town. His premises were small but he was content.
“I will give you three hundred gold pieces to cure me,” the other man demanded. His eyes were wide and Paranor nearly dropped the cup in shock. He passed it to the other man who sipped the steaming contents, wincing at first and then showing signs of calming; his shoulders losing their hunched appearance and deep lines falling away from his brow.
“Three hundred gold?” Paranor asked, unable to comprehend such wealth. The other man nodded and sipped more tea. “This is good. The pain has eased somewhat.” He looked genuinely pleased, which contradicted Paranor’s first impressions that this man was going to be difficult if not impossible to help.
“What are your symptoms?” Paranor asked, indicating for the other man to sit. The other man did so, his eyes cold and no indication of gratitude. 
“Symptoms? It is more than that. I have a demon that has latched on to me,” the statement was made almost in challenge.
Paranor was shocked to say the least. “A demon? Is that possible?”
The other man nodded, “I know not how, but my dreams are haunted with fear. It whispers to me in the night, plaguing my dreams with terror. It feeds on fear, I think. When I wake – it is no better. In the middle of the night it finds a nerve in my skull and picks at it. I have needles of fire in my brain at all hours, day or night.”
“But, a demon? That hardly seems possible,” Paranor arose and went to his fire. He sprinkled herbs on the flames, filling the room with a sweet smelling scent. He took a piece of chalk and drew a symbol on the table top between the two men.
“You are a wizard,” the other man choked, setting his cup down on the table. “I had assumed you were a sorcerer.”
Paranor looked up from his drawing. “Yes, I am a wizard. Sorcerers are rare and I doubt that you would find one anywhere hereabouts. You sound displeased.” There was something about the other man that was causing Paranor some disquiet. To announce he was possessed was alarming, but his manner was bordering on hostile. He seemed aloof and gratitude seemed difficult to fall from his lips.
The other man froze as though weighing his words. “It matters not. What are you doing and what is this symbol you draw?”
“This is a rune. It is a spell of seeing. When I cast it, it should reveal something about your illness,” Paranor explained.
“Will I feel anything?” The other man asked.
“No. I treat a great many people and they rarely feel anything. Now sit back and relax.” Paranor spoke the word of the rune. He peered intently at the other man before sitting back, stroking his nose and softly saying, “Hmm.”
“Anything?” the other man asked.
“Yes, but not what I was expecting. That spell is quite useful and it shows an aura around a person that reflects their illness. You described a migraine and the aura for that is blue. Your aura is green, however” Paranor shivered. “Has it gone cold?” he asked.
The other man shook his head. He massaged his brow; the pain obviously returned. “Can you help me?” he gasped. He sounded deflated and that pained Paranor. He genuinely liked to help people and didn’t like to see anyone suffer.
Without answering, Paranor arose and went to a dusty bookshelf, too small for the many volumes stacked in disordered array. He selected one volume and returned to his chair, placing the volume on the table where he opened it reverently. He skipped through several pages until he found what he wanted, using his index finger to follow the lines of text as he read.
“There’s a spell of banishment here. I have never used it before, but it must exist for a reason. If you don’t mind, let me try this and let’s see what happens.”
The other man had been leaning forward, but now he sat back, sighing softly. His eyes flickered upwards as though exacerbated.
“It’s worth a try,” Paranor suggested upon seeing his look. 
“It does rather seem trial and error to me,” the other man complained. “But, I suppose anything is worth trying,” he looked defeated as he slouched uncaring in the chair.
Once more Paranor sprinkled herbs on the fire before tracing a rune in chalk on the tabletop. He spoke the words of the spell and then fell silent.
“How do you feel?” he asked of the other man.
He shook his head by way of answer. “I do not know.”
“Any pain?”
“No. No – it is gone.”
Paranor wanted to ask about the gold, but he was too uncertain whether the spell had worked. “Come back tomorrow and tell me how you feel then,” he suggested.
The other man arose woodenly, holding on to the armrest as though expecting pain to cripple his next move. In silence and without even a backward glance he stalked from the room. The door closed silently and the small bell tinkled gently as he passed.
Paranor had expected something by way of gratitude; a thank you perhaps. He shrugged and went back to preparing his herbs.

Paranor turned in early that night. Almost as soon as his eyes closed he fell deep into sleep. A green glow swept into his mind, a premonition of the fear to come. His dreaming mind imagined scratching at the door. His heart raced. It sounded like rats, giant rats at that. He looked about for a weapon and in the way of dreams his mind latched onto a rope lying on a chair in his room. It was an ineffectual weapon, but his fingers clutched it with a fierce intensity. Glancing down, he saw that his knuckles were white and rigid, the veins standing up along his arm like a blue maze, the hairs standing on his skin.
Then the door exploded in a crash of splintering shards of timber and with a cry of horror he jumped back onto the bed, his rope raised like a whip. Something scuttled into the room and he gasped in terror as talons appeared on the bed’s edge. Lashing out furiously with the rope he beat madly at the talons, desperately trying to dislodge them, but to no avail. Terrified, he lashed out again and again, trying to exert greater force with each blow. A creature arose before him and he screamed as he beat it. It was rat-like with a long snout, but the teeth were not that of a rodent’s. They were sharp and more akin to fangs which only served to add to the horror of the visage. The creature’s eyes glowed green; baleful and hate filled. There was little doubt that the creature was intent on his demise.
Paranor turned to flee but his feet tangled in the sheets and he fell. River water cascaded over his head in torrents of sloshing, freezing liquid. He never questioned why he was in a river; nightmares didn’t work like that. Instead, he struck out wildly, trying to swim to the surface. A claw bit into his ankle and he instinctively exhaled, a clear sphere of air drifting from his gaping mouth. Frantically he kicked out and tried to swim upwards, but could not as the creature held him fast.
With mounting horror he realised that the dark waters were changing, blossoming with dark crimson. Water dribbled into his mouth and it tasted hot and of iron. The water was turning to blood, staining his hands and stinging his eyes, his hair billowing behind him like a dark, unfurling banner. Kicking out one last time, his muscles flagging and his heart sinking, he suddenly felt his body rise, his leg released.
Reaching the surface, thrusting through it in a sparkling shower of blood, he sucked air deep into his lungs. Droplets fell like red pearls, landing softly around him and morphing into rose petals that spat and guttered as though on fire. A throbbing pain abruptly split his head. A pain of such intensity that he wept, screwing his eyes tightly shut. Something flashed before his eyes, a visage of a snarling, inhuman face, twisted and slavering.
He awoke, but the pain in his head remained, intermittent stabbing needles of ice like flame. His mind racing, he thought about the stranger and his tale of possession. No. It was impossible. He staggered from the bed, his head pounding, and made his way down the rickety stair to his work room. The fire needed stoking and even that small effort made him retch. He put the kettle in the flames and waited for the water to heat, his hands shaking and his flesh cold and clammy. He felt weaker than at any time of his life. His heart beat and with every beat his head continued to pound. “By the Kalanth, stop!” he shouted out in prayer, but the pain continued unabated.

That was how the stranger found him in the morning; hunched over the fireplace, a cup of boiled herbs held tightly in both hands. A small smile lit up the stranger’s cruel, pale features, his eyes glittering with joy. He was cured, his skin changed in the night to a healthy pallor and seeming to stand taller than before, his lips ruby red and his eyes shining with new found vitality.
      “Here is your money,” he said in a voice injected with elation, throwing a small weighty sack on the table with a clunk. “I must say it’s the best money I have ever spent.”
“What have you done to me?” Paranor gasped between bouts of agony, his fingers trembling uncontrollably.
“A succubus, I think,” the stranger answered matter-of-factly.
Succubus?” Paranor asked in mounting horror, his vision swimming.
“It’s demon spawn, I believe. Not fully a demon, but very much one of their minions. It feeds on pain and I can’t thank you enough for what you have done. I am a sorcerer and dabbled a little too closely in the spirit world, freeing this nasty little creature.” With a final grin, he turned to leave.
“Wait! You can’t leave me like this. You are a sorcerer, help me. Please!” Paranor implored, spittle flecking his white lips, his stomach burning.
The stranger paused and turned around to face the ailing man. He hated to see weakness and especially a man begging. He waved a hand at the money, “Dupe another magic user as I have done. Seek one out and get him to cure you. Keep the money. You will be surprised how willing people are to help for a sizeable sum. I won’t get involved. Once banished it needs a host and leaps to anyone available. I would hate to ne caught out twice.” Again he turned to leave.
“Wait! I tried a spell of banishment. I tried several spells. My magic has failed me,” Paranor said with a whimper, his eyes pleading with the stranger.
“Yes, nasty creature isn’t it,” replied the stranger with a callous laugh. “While I was possessed it fed on fear and magic. It somehow blocked my spell casting too. It is a creature of the spirit world and has access to elementals and all manner of other creatures we can only dream of. You’ll meet some of those in your nightmares. There are lots of them as well; invisible to us and hidden by a fabric of magic.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.”

Paranor’s scream of pain and frustration followed the stranger from the shop. He shut it off, closing the door firmly. The sky was blue and the air smelled fresh, for it had rained in the night. It was going to be a glorious day.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Another Troll Joke

How do you kill a Pink Troll?
With a Pink-Troll gun

How do you kill a Blue troll?
(With a Blue-Troll gun? I hear you ask)
NO! Turn the Blue Troll inside out and shoot it with the Pink-Troll gun :)

Troll Jokes

Q: How can you tell if a Troll is in the refrigerator?
A: The door won’t shut.

Q: How can you tell if a Troll has been in the refrigerator earlier?
A: Footprints in the butter.

Q: How do you get a Troll into the fridge in the first place?
A: Open door; Insert Troll. Close door.

Q: How do you get an Orc into the fridge?
A: Open door; Remove the Troll -- Insert the Orc; Close door.

Q: What’s the difference between a dozen eggs and a Troll?
A: If you don’t know, I’m sure not going to send you to the store for a dozen eggs!