Friday 31 October 2014

Legacy of the Eldric -- Low Price $0.99 #Smashworlds

Legacy of the Eldric is now available in several download formats from Smashworlds: Low price of $0.99

In Legacy of the Eldric he has certainly achieved his aim; the characters are memorable and the plot is fast-paced and exciting. It is an opening chapter in a series that I look forward to reading the mid and end parts to. This is solid fantasy; exactly what a fantasy doctor would order for those looking for an enjoyable escape from reality, fans of Tolkien, Hobb and Moorcock will love what they find here. Definitely recommended. 7.8 out of 10

Saturday 25 October 2014

New Low Prices on Kindle Books

My Kindle ebooks are available at a new low price. Check them out here for UK customers. Or for US customers, click here.

"...a sweeping tale of high fantasy that will keep you hooked until the very last page." 

Two Fantasy Tree Houses

These really fire the imagination. I love the top one especially. Nice artwork.

Fairy Fantasy Art.

Gorgeous fantasy artwork from FairyGodMother. Have a look at the original full sized. It's brilliant.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Fantasy Dreams: Castles

Bedzin Castle, Poland. I particularly like this for the artistic shot. Farming the sun and with the trees either side it looked more like a painting than a photo. Looks particularly vulnerable to me though, being in a valley. I wonder if you could fill it with water. Sounds like one of my fantasy genie jokes

Film Review: Fury

Excellent film but not for the faint-hearted. Lots of gore but very well contrived film and plot. As to the gore - it is second world war and tanks. Brad Pitt is excellent in this as a war-weary sergeant tackling yet another mission. The newbie support driver is well cast and plays the part well and gives the other side of war. It's loud and dangerous both inside and outside the tank. Even protected by a hull of thick metal there's lots to be afraid of, especially with Tigers on the prowl. Overall, well worth seeing and very moving.


A little like The Beast  towards the end of the film so if you enjoy this film then look out for that one.

Fantasy book review: Landmoor by Jeff Wheeler

LandmoorLandmoor by Jeff Wheeler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Some good ideas -- I liked the concept of Everoot and the characterisation was well handled. For some reason the use of Bandits and Bandit chiefs grated. Not sure whether I am just being picky.

Having said that, it was readable and kept me entertained. I was influenced  a little bit by having read two other good fantasy tales, so the competition was high. I get the feeling though that this tale was about to start and would improve in the next book. I may get it to see if that is the case.

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Photos from US Visit

Here are a few photos from my US visit. Washington and Phoenix on this occasion. Washington was really good and the photos are from the Great Falls Park. The weather in Phoenix was spectacular with blue skies and temperatures in excess of 90 degrees F. Brilliant.

 Spot the snake!

Saturday 11 October 2014

Legacy of the Eldric, a fantasy book by David Burrows

On Amazon UK

Writing a Book - Creating Character Names

Ok, this issue really applies mainly to fantasy and sci-fi authors. It is an important issue and can be quite a challenge. From a reader’s perspective, there’s nothing more off-putting by names that don’t quite roll off the tongue, as it were. For example -- Gragle, Rambalin, Dfrolph are names off the top of my head Surely the reader expects and deserves a little bit more than this. Some names (the latter one) are impossible to pronounce or even imagine, so what does make a good name? I think it’s some sense of familiarity, but not too familiar to be in a fiction novel. Odds are if you liek teh sound of a name, it should work. (I actually quite like Graggle. Hmmm, perhaps another time).

For a great name, I am reminded of a Dragon Lance book which opened with Flint Fireforge. He’s a dwarf of course, but the name is brilliant. It immediately conjures up a character without actually writing much else. Of course it’s great to have a description, but get a name right and that’s half the battle. This reflects the power in a name.

So where did I get my inspiration for names. Initially it was easy, but then later as the character list grew I had to resort to a few tricks. These tricks may or may not suit you, but the way I went about this may inspire other thoughts so bear with me.

I used several different approaches. I wanted names that were familiar to us, but different. The following methods formed the backbone of my naming convention:

  1. Changing names I was already aware of.
  2. Making an anagram of someone’s name
  3. Looking at maps and other sources for names for ones I liked.
  4. Shortening a common name.

Changing a name is easy and that immediately sounds familiar. Steven can become Stefan. Jonathan became Chanathan. The familiarity of the name made them acceptable in my view. If the name is still too familiar then try the next suggestions.

I needed the name for a witch in book 2 of my trilogy. My mother-in-law is called Moira and so I used the letters of her name to make up another. It wasn’t quite an anagram, but it was close. I came up with Ariome. This name and character has grown on me over the years and, like many of my characters, I cannot now see her named anything else. My worst mistake though was mentioning her to my mother-in-law. A lot of creeping on my part and I am just about forgiven.

The third suggestion on the list proved interesting. I looked at a map and then settled on names I just liked the sound of. Dalamere was one and Dalamere the third just seemed to leap from the page. He became a historical figure who caused another figure great angst. Dalamere had an ability to detach his spirit from his body and he used this ability to spy on people and then to blackmail them. Again, Dalamere is another character that I couldn’t imagine being called anything else. A purist could point out that a mere is a small mountain lake and some folk may even know of  the place, but again familiarity makes it immediately acceptable, in my view.

Another name I liked was Chanteal, and I used that as a mountain range, which I think it was on the map. Chanteal is probably not a well known name and I am relying on that unfamiliarity to help me gain an acceptable name in a book.

For the last suggestion on the list I liked Nathanial as a name (I have several great grandparents and great great grandpa etc called that) so I shortened it to Nate. It’s a familiar sounding name, but not too common so could easily feature ins a fictional novel. This character was a simple soldier and helped me to give the perspective of my land from a low born person. Nate is a simple name and seemed to work, in my mind.

I also used some naming conventions. In Scotland mountains are called Bens (Ben Nevis for example) so I used Kin for forests (KinAnor, KinKassack) and Ban for mountains. (BanKildor). I admire authors who take the time to make names of different races similar. For example in Poland everyone seems to have ...ol at the end of their name. For Russian it seems to be ...ov. Adopting a naming convention may help to make your characters sound as though they are regional. I think that would be incredibly difficult to do. I didn’t, so please treat this suggestion with caution.

A pet hate is when people start a book with a string of names and place names. For example Gragle, Rambalin, Dfrolph were travelling to Front, a city at the heart of Kronk Empire.

It’s very difficult for a reader to pick up several new names in one go, especially when they are unfamiliar. Making the names more familiar would help, but don’t throw them at a reader like a handful of grit cast so carelessly aside. You need to nurture the name and the character in the reader’s mind. Introduce them singly and get the reader familiar with them before introducing more characters.

Further sources of names that you could play with are historical names. You could use these immediately as they are familiar in some sense, but again not too familiar. Have a look at Appendix:English_surnames_from_Old_English 

I liked Buckley which immediately sprang out. Then you can start playing with that name, Bruckley, Brackley...etc, Then there’s variations on an anagram theme e.g. Rubley. I am not suggesting these names are good, but I am showing a process of how to generate names.

A tip someone else gave me was to make each character memorable. Bruckley may have an eye patch, so when you describe him several pages on you can remind the reader which character you are referring to by mentioning, Buckley adjusted his eye patch, a habit more than anything else... Finally, keep a character list with their mannerisms, dress sense, hair and eye colour etc as you may need to refer back to this several times. Don’t skimp and a page per character is probably sensible.

The important thing is that you are the author. Have fun and play around with names. If you like the sound then it is likely your readers will as well. Good luck.

Monday 6 October 2014

Help needed with my blurb - sounds like an affliction :)

Anyone help me out to improve this please??

"In a heart-pounding adventure Kaplyn must find the whereabouts of the Eldric and more importantly their sorcery. Demon activity is on the increase and only sorcery can defeat them. However, the Eldric mysteriously disappeared soon after the Krell Wars many years ago and no one knows their fate.

An Eldric city holds the key, but its ghosts are reluctant to give up their secret. Vastra, a self professed sorcerer claims to know about demons and the Eldric, but he is arrogant and manipulative. He also harbours a secret for which he will kill to protect.

The scene is set and the enemy are not idle. Summoning demons is fraught with danger. However, a gateway to the demon world would release untold power at little cost. The race is on to stop the demon hordes and countless lives … and souls are at stake."

Many thanks in advance


Who Needs Fantasy Creatures When we Have This...

Imagine a six foot one of these coming at you!! Shiver. I'd want a 12 foot spear and a bloody big axe. A couple of mates with bows would also be quite useful of course. It's a naked mole rat. Probably quite loveable -- perhaps to its mother.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Gorgeous Castle - Could be Straight form a Fantasy Tale.

Le ch√Ęteau de Ross

This castle is stunning and I love the reflection. It could be straight from some fantasy novel. Imagine the thoughts of some enemy commander having been sent to destroy the castle as he espies it for the first time. Very tall walls, an outer defence and a lake or at least a wide moat. No tunnelling under this monster. Ballistas and trebuchets would gain struggle due to the range. time to make a cup of tea (or some fantasy equivalent drink) sit back and decide whether to go home or not. Brilliant.

Saturday 4 October 2014

Apprentice Swordceror by Chris Holloway

Apprentice Swordceror (Blademage Saga, #1)Apprentice Swordceror by Chris Hollaway
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this after reading The Heresy Within and there was considerable contrast between the two books both in style and story. While Heresy Within was action packed and gritty, with a blunt writing style, Apprentice Swordceror was a much simpler style and easier to read. Some folk reviewing it have said it's standard fantasy, but I found it to be very easy to read and quietly enjoyable. There are Orcs, but their introduction heralded and interesting type of creature and threat. Magic is different to other books I've read and perhaps more similar to that found in fantasy games such as Diablo, with scrolls and staffs of a particular magic type.

The main character develops well with an interesting mix of magic and swordsmanship. Apparently the two shouldn't go together and the author leaves you guessing why this might be and promises a tale for the future.The tale holds a lot of promise and I enjoyed the first book and will certainly read the next.

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The Heresy Within by Rob J Heyes

The Heresy Within (The Ties That Bind, #1)The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, I struggled initially and some of the writing put me off but then I was gripped. it's the wild west set in Africa with a fantasy edge. The characters slowly grow on you and then grip you. Arbiters are witch hunters and one man - Black Thorn seems out to kill as many as Arbiters as he can. His face is burned from one confrontation, but that doesn't stop him trying.

Thanquil Darkheart is an arbiter on a quest and of course his path crosses Thorn's but the tale is not obvious and there's plenty of twists. It's a dark fantasy with some interesting female leads. The writing is gritty and to the point. It is not always easy to read, but it is well worth the effort. I'm definitely buying the next volume. A good read with memorable characters.

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