Tuesday 20 December 2016

The Reality of Fighting in a Fantasy World

OK, most weapons in fantasy tend to be swords, axes, spears etc. My experiences are in Saxon/Viking reenactment and although it's clearly not a real battle there are parallels that can help you visualise the true brutality of fighting with these types of weapons, and to be honest, it's pretty grim.

Given that most opponents are armoured, fighting becomes brutal and the aim is to break bones rather than pierce the armour. It's also a bit of a scrum as shields make the use of swords and spear very difficult to use effectively. In a scrum though you don't have to watch out for someone lying on the ground stabbing at your unprotected favourite bits with a knife. Your feet also become an easy target. The shields themselves become a weapon and on occasions someone has bashed my shield so that the rim has hit my face and that can really hurt and momentarily distract you.

Spears are horrible. Often you face an opponent but then a spear from someone else lances across several feet and catches you in the gut or chest. A spear has a better chance of penetrating chain mail so this is a real threat. That a spear can come from any direction is another real threat and makes fighting incredibly hard. Spears can hit virtually any part of your body so speed of response is vital. However, lower your shield and you open your vitals to other weapons.

Occasionally I have faced arrows and again this is a nightmare as again they can come from anywhere. If fired in a volley, high into the sky then raising your shield will protect you (in most instances). It is the lone, predatory archer that is more of a worry. Again, if you have faced off against a few opponents you may not be watching for an archer to one side.

As to the reality. I have broken fingers and ribs in my clashes. Weapons are blunt but still very effective. What is missing though is the blood, gore and screaming. Apparently battlefields were misted with arterial blood. Imaging a mist of warm blood and tasting it on your tongue. The ground would become slippery with blood and gore, making every step a nightmare.

Many of us enjoy reading fantasy but the reality of a medieval battle is far from what any of us can visualise. It also makes it harder to imaging a true hero when so much depends on luck, a chance spear thrust, a slip on a bloody patch or an arrow in the face. Brutal times and usually a brutal end.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Author Admits Plagiarising Work and Reveals Books' Origins

I was day dreaming, staring deep into the dying embers of the coal fire, my eyeballs dry from the heat as I ignored the howl of the wind on a bitter January night. I jumped when a knock at the door interrupted my reverie. This was an insistent knock, a loud demanding knock; one that shattered the calm, refusing to be ignored. Sighing, I went to the door, angered by the loss of solitude made worse by the frigid wind that greeted me.

He was an old man with an old man's frailties. His face was long, and his flesh grey and wrinkled. Dark bags beneath his eyes suggested insomnia, the curse of the old.

"Yes," I said, not hiding the anger that I felt.

"I need to speak with you," he snapped, seemingly equally irritable.

"Do I know you?" I asked, for his tone was one of a relative, making demands.

I did not like his look and was already pushing the door too when, remarkably swift for an old man, an arthritic claw grabbed the door and a boot thudded against the base.

I was scared now. He had shocked me. Feral eyes locked on mine, deep dark and accusing. "I need to talk," he insisted.

My first thoughts were to call for help. Phone the police perhaps, but that would be too late. He was wild ... a mad man standing halfway in my house. The simplest course seemed to be to let him in and listen to his ramblings, after all he was an old man and what harm could he do?

As he swept inside, I noticed for the first time his attire. It was outlandish to say the least, a long flowing tunic, grimed with dirt, and the cuffs frayed. At one time, it had probably been blue, probably a deep rich colour, but under the dirt it was now hard to say. He smelt old, and a scent lingered that I found hard to place, but an image of a dragon swept to mind and I shivered, even though the door was now shut.

With a thud, he dropped a sizable doorstep of papers on the coffee table. The paper was sun-bleached and aged as much as he was. I shook my head; it was going to be a long night.

As I sat, a hand shot out and with strength belittling his years seemed to seek to crush my bones as though talking was insufficient to hold my attention. Well that did it; he had my attention now as dread coursed through my veins.

"I am Vastra," he announced as though it was of some importance. "Vastra," he repeated, his mouth agape.

"My arm," I wheedled for I did not relish the pain.

He looked at me, before releasing his grasp. My wrist was red and burned still from his grip. The wind rattled the window, deepening the mood.

"I have done much wrong and I need to atone," he said, looking at me fiercely. I nodded and he sat back. His eyes swept around the room, glancing at the TV and the hi-fi, but somehow unseeing.

"I did them all wrong. I betrayed them, but I tried ... in the end. Oh, yes, I tried. It is in the manuscript, I have written it all down. A labour of love some would say, but to me it is a curse, for my part in it was real, too real and the impact had repercussions across the world, ours and theirs."

"Theirs?" I asked.

He nodded. "Demons. Dragons," he said in a hushed voice

I believed him. Why shouldn't I?

"Go on," I said, enthralled.

"I was an ambitious fool. I thought that I controlled the imp, but I didn't."

When he said the word imp, something appeared, hovering by his side. A small demon-like creature, hairless, a green glow emanating from deep within its flesh. I jumped and could not hide my fear.

"Do not worry," he sneered, glancing at the creature. "It is a memory, a shaol, a guardian spirit. That is all...

"Some guardian though! I can see yours, faint across the expanse of time. He will protect you as best he can; a sixth sense in the darkest hour. But why did I trust an imp? I was warned, by my friends... but I knew better, and the very people who would have helped me, I ignored, and worse, betrayed."

His gaze dropped and the final word was barely a whisper. A tear slid down his cheek and fell upon the manuscript.

"No one is alone," I said. "You must have friends, talk to them."

He sniffed wiping the tears with his cuff, shaking his head. "I cannot, for I am banished from that world. Shastlan understood. The ghost of a dead emperor, exiled from his own world for deeds as bad as mine. What a pair we made, arrogant and foolish, engrossed in our own self-importance.

"And what of the people I betrayed. Kaplyn. As good a friend as any, but so far beneath my ambitious scheming. Of all the people, I hurt him the worst. I would make amends, but I cannot.

"Because of me, his family and friends all died. I was responsible for Shastlan becoming his shaol. Mad whispering in the dark of the night. And dragons! An evil curse to blight the world. Demons and dragons, the choice was unfair. How could anyone choose and remain sane?"

"Surely it cannot be that bad," I said when he fell silent, his gaze riveted to the manuscript.

"Read it," he said through clenched teeth. "Judge me then, not before. I must atone."

"How is this atoning?" I said. "You chastise yourself with a stick of your own making. How can I be your judge? Surely your friends have judged and forgiven you. Everyone has a spark of good deep within. They must have seen yours."

"Read it! " he insisted.

I picked it up. Reverently. It was heavy as though weighted by the souls of the damned. When I looked up, he was gone. Yet the tearstain on the cover was as real as anything I had ever seen.

The Prophecy of the Kings, the title said. Flicking to the back cover it was signed Vastra.

Having now read the manuscript I wonder at our meeting. Was he a shoal, or a restless spirit wandering the worlds seeking redemption? Of one thing I am certain, if his world was real then the tale must be told. By doing so, it honours the dead, and forgives those who need to be forgiven.

Excuse me then for claiming to be the author. It is a wondrous story and it will move you. As you read, think then upon Vastra, and Shastlan. Perhaps we can find it in our hearts to forgive, for now I know why so many people in their worlds would not. But then, that was Vastra's intent, and if he knocks on your door in the dead of night, listen to his tale. It will move you, as it has moved me.

Visit my website for further details http://davidburrows.org.uk/

Friday 16 December 2016

Win a FREE Book

Only a few weeks left to enter this competition. Check out David's Fantasy Jokes Blog for details.

To enter, submit a Fantasy Joke at the above site. Any jokes about Santa, elves, dwarves, dragons, genies etc will do. Visit the site to give you some festive cheer.

Jokes from the Hobbit:

What's the most popular band amongst dwarves?
Durin Durin

Why did the Dwarves in The Hobbit all get asthma?
Too much Smaug

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Excellent Review for Legacy of the Eldric from Fantasybookreview.co.uk

This is an excellent review and greatly appreciated:

Solid fantasy; exactly what a fantasy doctor would order.
Long ago the Eldric mysteriously disappeared from the land, shortly after the Krell Wars when Drachar’s shade was finally banished from the world. Perhaps they believed the threat was gone, but in leaving they took with them sorcery, the only effective means of defeating demons. Then came the Prophecy and only one thing is certain in the cryptic lines, Drachar’s shade will one day return. Against this backdrop three men seek what became of the Eldric. One man, Vastra, recklessly ambitious and driven by greed for power, harbours a secret and will kill to protect it. His companions, Kaplyn and Lars have their own reasons for helping, but who will succeed?
If you have having a bad day, or worse still a bad week then a fantasy book can come to the rescue - no other genre can offer the complete escapism that fantasy does. Legacy of the Eldric, the first book in The Prophecy of the Kingstrilogy by David Burrows is a book that offers this escapism; within its pages is everything that a fantasy fan needs to allow them to let their imaginations soar free.
There are three main characters - Kaplyn, Lars and Vastra – and they are good, strong personalities. Kaplyn is noble; Lars is a rough diamond and Vastra provides the sinister element - the character you do not know if you can trust or not. David Burrows is a big fan of The Lord of the Rings and the friendship between Kaplyn and Lars can be seen as an affectionate tip of the hat to that of Frodo and Sam, both feature the same traits that so endeared the two hobbits to readers worldwide. The extract below shows Kaplyn’s second impressions of Lars shortly after he had saved him from certain death at the hands of bandits:
“Kaplyn regarded the other man. The night before he had cut an imposing figure, but the light of day told a different story. He was carrying too much weight and the colour of his nose suggested he was fond of ale. However, at the moment he looked genuinely sorry, like a chastised puppy.”
Chapter 2: Pendrat
Legacy of the Eldric is written in the third person although an argument could be made that it could also have made an excellent first person narrative with the reader experiencing events through Kaplyn’s eyes. The settings were vibrant with two locations in particular standing out; the magical ruins of Tanel and the majestic forest realm of Gillfillan:
They finally came to a door leading to a corridor, cut deep into the heart of the ancient tree. If they had expected the forest dwelling to be frugal then they were pleasantly surprised; dazzling silks decorated the walls and a deep, rich carpet covered the floor. The furniture was exquisite, formed from branches that had grown into odd shapes.
Chapter 24: Where God’s Dwell
David Burrows’s interest in fantasy began with The Lord of the Rings. Inspired by the epic tale he put pen to paper, determined to create a story with bold characters and an intriguing plot. 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."
If you like this then read more about my books on my website http://davidburrows.org.uk/

Saturday 3 December 2016

Fantasy Fans, Games and Virtual Reality. Are You Ready?

I enjoy reading fantasy and since Diablo have dabbled in some role playing games For me Diablo remains my favourite (excluding II and III), but I recently found Path of Exile. That's a very addictive game and like all the games in this genre part f the addiction is seeking new weapons and armour. Like most games, these are the Holy Grail and very rarely, if ever, drop, keeping you playing for hours in the vein hope of finding something. 

These games are a bit of fun and are great for fantasy fans fond of sorcery as well as sword. You get to clobber all sorts of monsters, many of which explode on dying -- probably taking your hero with them. 

In some respects, they are a waste of time and in other respects they are a bit of fun. Path of Exile is free which is a blessing, although you can buy things like Bloody Footprints. Why? I'm not too sure.

With the advent of virtual reality these sorts of games are likely to mushroom. However, what will it be like to play the main character and, of course, die? On recent TV programmes, I have watched others playing these games and how they duck when a swarm of killer-somethings fly straight at them. What that does to the nervous system, I'm not sure? It must be quite terrifying even though the graphics are surreal. Of course, as graphics and sophistication improve -- will be entering our own worst nightmares?

I have been in a historical re-enactment society for many years and have fought in a shield wall using weapons as real as any of the time (albeit blunt), faced cavalry charges and storms of arrows (Battle of Hastings), but even still these new virtual reality games leave me fearful. Facing dragons and demons in a gore-drenched clearing is more than my simple mind can take. I look forward to it with trepidation.

Image From The Unspoken - Insomniac Games

Thursday 1 December 2016

Fantasy Fans -- David Burrows on Authors Den

Anyone wanting to find me on Authors Den - check me out here:


It's a great place for a natter for all fantasy fans :)

Thursday 17 November 2016

Win a Copy of Legacy of the Eldric

Check out my fantasy jokes site for this competition by clicking the link http://davidsfantasyjokes.blogspot.co.uk/

This site contains a compilation of fantasy jokes, many made up from Elephant jokes etc. It's a bit of fun so feel free to join in. Leave your joke in the comment box and I'll judge the winner by the 17th Dec 2016.

Good luck


Saturday 8 October 2016

Interesting Tale -- Company of Liars, by Karen Maitland.

Company of LiarsCompany of Liars by Karen Maitland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Updated version of Canterbury tales set in the time of the Black Death. A company of travelers form, each hiding their own dark secret. An interesting tale with some good characterisation. The group of travelers clash personalities but the hardship of the road keeps them together as they travel through plague ravaged England, trying to keep one step ahead of the plague. The book features very little about the plague, but there are enough hardships dogging the travelers, including a mystery wolf sent by the Bishop to recover an artifact. Interesting ending to the book, an ending I didn't see coming. A good tale, not for everyone, but one that fantasy fans might enjoy. The prologue was excellent, about how to deal with a witch. However, it was only loosely linked to the following tale, if at all.

View all my reviews

Sunday 25 September 2016

What Makes a Castle Look Lived In? Surprisingly, only a light touch needed.

OK, strange question but walking around Leeds Castle today they had a Flower Festival and it didn't half make the castle feel lived in. Castles are usually cold and sterile but a few flowers made the place seem more vibrant, as though the occupants from the 12th century were just about to pop around for tea (or mead??). Anyway, it was a nice touch. Perhaps a few dragons next time...

With winter looming (for all you Game of Thrones fans) it reminds me of the tradition of decorating halls with evergreen at Christmas (or Yule perhaps). That really brightens even the dullest room.

Sunday 18 September 2016

Goodreads Giveaway - Only 3 Days Left. Hurry, Please Enter.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Legacy of the Eldric by David  Burrows



          Legacy of the Eldric

          by David  Burrows


            Giveaway ends September 21, 2016.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

    Enter Giveaway

Reviewing an Old Read: Night Angel Series

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was reviewing some books I've read and thought I'd share this one on the Night Angel Series, staring with The Way of he Shadows.
I enjoyed this book immensely and would highly recommend it. It reminds me of the game - Assassin's Creed and the books may have spun out the game (or is it visa versa?). The characterisation is especially good whilst the tale is very brutal at times. Very gritty and lots of character detail. The thieves are very believable characters and very well developed.

Kylar is brought up in the gutters and dreams of finding a way out. His path crosses that of one of the top assassins and, crazy as it seems, he is smitten with the idea of becoming one.

Good plot with plenty of suspense. As a warning though, Brent Weeks has lots of imagination but reading his books can at times be a challenge. I read a few paragraphs and was left wondering what I'd just read.

View all my reviews

Saturday 27 August 2016

Great Amazon Review for Legacy of the Eldric. Thanks!

Format: Kindle Edition
Legacy of the Eldric is a book that's hard to put down as you're led through the twists and turns of the story. Well written with strong characters that develop with the plot. Can't wait to find out what happens next!


Wednesday 24 August 2016

Goodreads Giveaway - Celebrating the New Cover for Legacy of the Eldric


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Legacy of the Eldric by David  Burrows
          Legacy of the Eldric
          by David  Burrows
            Giveaway ends September 21, 2016.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

    Enter Giveaway

Thursday 7 July 2016

Legend of Tarzan

OK so I'm a big fan of the novels, but using every unbiased bone in my body I thought this was by the far best Tarzan film I've seen since my childhood. The script wasn't taken from an Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) novel which is a shame, but it had all the ingredients of these epic tales. I wasn't a fan of Greystoke, Legend of Tarzan. That dwelt on Tarzan's upbringing with the apes, which was relatively close to the book, but then it deviated hugely from the book when he is in civilisation and that ruined it for me. 

Legend of Tarzan gets it right in my view. Lord Clayton in London is indistinguishable from other lords. But, once in the jungle, he becomes Tarzan and, like the books, he is an immovable force that nothing can stop (Alexanader Skarsgard plays an apt role). All ERB's books have the heroin in dire straights and the hero having to rescue her. Legend of Tarzan uses that theme but brings it up to date with a modern slant that Jane isn't quite as helpless as the villains would like. Margot Robbie is nicely cast as Jane. 

The scenes shot in Africa are beautiful. The CGI is good and the apes play their part well. The tale uses flashbacks into Tarzan's upbringing and I thought that worked well. The story is an adventure and doesn't dwell too much on his past. Instead it's a romp across Africa with diamonds at the heart of the tale. Great stuff.


Monday 4 July 2016

Coming Soon New Book Covers for the Prophecy of the Kings

I have just invested in new book covers for my books. Let me know what you think. these are the Kindle versions and may take a few days to appear. All comments welcome

Saturday 2 July 2016

A Tribute to the Fallen: Ghosts and Mayhem.

This is where I had died.
I stood overlooking verdant fields that were now alien to me. In my day this was mud, shell craters, barbed wire and death. Even the sky was different, intensely blue and probably crisp on this October day. Ghosts do not feel cold, but I remember it, clutching my rifle which seemed to suck the heat from my hands; white and nerveless, shaking from either cold or fear -- I do not remember.
I looked to my left; others were appearing. Friends and comrades that I had known so well in a long forgotten past. Jack nodded, a smile hovering on his lips. I nodded back, a response enacted every year on this Halloween day. My actions were not my own, although this was how it had happened. Ghosts enacting a tearful day. I knew what was to come, but I could not change it. I was in a play and we were mannequin's, our strings pulled by an unseen hand, making us dance to a tune no longer remembered.
Corporals dressed the line, there was no sound for ghosts do not hear. Nevertheless Old Frank's mouth formed words I knew so well. Old Frank was his nickname, but he wasn't old. Twenty three, whereas I was a mere youngster having just turned nineteen. We looked up to Frank; he gave the impression of knowing what to do. That I couldn't hear him was a blessing in anticipation of the hell to come. The guns had already fallen silent and the silence was soon to be replaced by the clack of machine guns, the crack of rounds and the cries of the wounded and dying.
To my right others were appearing. Why did we dress the line, I pondered? I no longer remembered. It was probably important once, but not now. Then the line was moving and I took a few tentative steps. We were the second rank and the men in front of us, including Frank, blocked our view. We could afford to be brave for that line of soft, yielding flesh was a barrier against the hail of lead to come. Hail of lead. Such an inadequate and over used phrase to describe the reality of war. One throw away line that encompasses all the terror and horror to come. I cried, but tears would not come, the puppet master had not yet decided it was time for tears.
What a waste. I had wanted a future; a wife and children and perhaps even grandchildren. A dream far too distant for a nineteen year old boy. All too soon someone fell in the line in front and then another man to my right. It looked as though he had tripped. My eyes were riveted on the men in front of me, praying that my protection would remain. I needed them to absorb the horror. Perhaps this time I would live? I remembered hope and prayers. My eyes flickered to the heavens. It was at this point that Old Frank had sworn, his left arm ripped from his body as something unseen had ravaged his body. A preacher had told me that swearing was a sin. I prayed that Old Frank went to heaven and not hell. Swearing was not too bad, not among all this terror. Please God, forgive Frank and do not commit his soul to purgatory.
His blood and flesh had splattered my face and I ducked, as I had done, so many years ago. I remembered the warmth of his blood and a copper taste in my mouth. I spat and wanted to vomit. This was not how war was meant to be. When we joined up we had talked of heroic deeds and how swiftly the enemy would collapse.
A gap had formed in the line of men to my front and I could see the barbed wire and beyond that the enemy trench. Terror tore at my heart. I remember I had wailed then, not for Frank but out of fear for myself. I felt the wind of a round buffet my cheek and my wail turned to a scream. That had been close and I looked to my left just as Jack spun on the spot; I watched as he collapsed to the ground; I could almost hear the puppet master's glee as his strings were cut. Jack, a furrier from Blackheath. A man who had comforted me as I had crouched crying at the bottom of our trench last night, so long ago. He had given me his chocolate. Such a princely gift in this time of deprivation and squalor.
I crouched as more men in the front line fell. Blood misted the air and again I remembered it's coppery tang. I wiped my eyes, nearly dropping my rifle and having to fumble to hold it firm. I should have dropped it. I should have jumped in a shell hole like some men did. The terror of failure and cowardice outshone the fear of bullets. Why? Bullets are far more deadly; a testimony to the front rank thinning dangerously now to the point that we were the first wave. I could see helmets above the enemy trench and flashes from muzzles. I remembered the sound: the din, the screams and the bangs and the thumps. The slap of something fast hitting flesh. Men to my side fell and I stumbled, thinking that I was hit. I remember the screams of incoherent rage from my remaining comrades, the only act of defiance as we walked to our deaths. The enemy suffered then, our screams must have haunted their dreams. We suffered more though. Flesh against lead. It was a very uneven contest.
Simon fell. We had worked at the same hop farm for several summers past. Our summer holiday away from the colourless terrace street we called home. A different life. Cool summer evenings spent outdoors under cloudless skies. Stars rather than shells. I prayed that I was invisible, which I was. I was a ghost and yet terror tore at every fibre of my once body. Memory is a terrible thing. I remember men funnelling towards a gap in the wire. We had been told not to do this. It was a death trap covered by more than one machine gun. Such a terrible weapon where more than one round span bodies around, the puppet master working hard, tugging at strings in time to some forgotten beat.
My time was coming. I remember no longer caring. Death was better than this hell. Was I a coward? I still walked forward, but my rifle was forgotten. I was doing my duty, sacrificing myself for my king. I couldn't even claim that. I had been told to advance. I had been trained to do so. Failure and the fear of cowardice still dogging my steps.
I spun then as something punched me in the kidney and then the other way as something slapped my right shoulder impossibly hard. The sky and the earth exchanged places and I looked up into a blue sky, a bird winging its way as though fleeing the battle. I should have done that. I should have had the sense to flee. I would have had children and spent my summers working at the hop farm. Life was leaving my body. I remembered the pain fading and night surrounding me.

My thoughts turned to my comrades. We would meet again. Next year.

Friday 17 June 2016

Brilliant Book Reviews and Many Thanks.

Great fantasy book review site https://sfbook.com/ -- Well worth a visit. My books were book of the month in 2010 which was a great achievement. Made my month :)

Check out my Amazon author page for books 



There are alternative book sellers on my website http://davidburrows.org.uk/ as well as sample chapters and much more.

Saturday 11 June 2016

Self Published Authors and Dealing with Piracy

Piracy is a very difficult issue. When I started self-publishing I used Kindle  because of DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection. However, DRM removal tools are now common place and so this is no longer a protection. I do not know what Amazon are doing about this, if anything.

I recently checked on Google for Free downloads of my books and surprisingly found numerous sites. I was also irritated to discover people blatantly Googling for the best sites for pirated ebooks. So what is the impact on the author of pirating? I spent a lot of time writing and editing my books (many years) and also paid to have the books edited and for cover artwork. Books simply aren't free. Having pirated copies is heartbreaking, especially when reading how grateful folk are at finding one. I have tried very hard to make my books competitively priced and even offer an Omnibus Edition.

Back to the piracy. The first thing I did was to notify the website with an email along the lines: "I am David Burrows and I am the author of the Prophecy of the Kings. Your site is offering free downloads of my book which is infringing  my copyright as I have not authorised this. Please can you remove any offer of free downloads of my book and notify me when this happens."

Some sites required proof of ownership of copyright and I referred them to my website http://davidburrows.org.uk/

It was not easy to contact some websites so I used http://whois.domaintools.com/. This site told me who owned the URL and sometimes it supplied a contact email address. 

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) is another route and I emailed them following the guidance provided here http://readpdfonline.com.unlimitedbooks.club/dmca.php - The information required seemed quite detailed and I had some reservations about this.

The worst one to contact was Amazon. I found someone was using their cloud to offer free copies of my book. Given my books are for sale on Amazon this highlights how ludicrous it is that authors have to do all the work. To contact Amazon I used https://aws.amazon.com/forms/report-abuse. This was incredibly complex and I am not certain that I got this right so feel free to post here if I am wrong. 

Anyway, I hope this helps other authors. Together, let's sink the pirates. 

Wednesday 8 June 2016

The Ill-Made Knight: Christian Cameron

The Ill-Made Knight (William Gold, #1)The Ill-Made Knight by Christian Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apologies it's not fantasy but it has close similarities, being set in medieval times. Very interesting book but faded in the middle. Set mainly in France after Poitiers 1356. The main character William Gold wants nothing more than to become a knight and his route to that goal is set with difficulties. The tale tells of mercenary bands of soldiers making a living after Poitiers and much of it relies on looting and rape. Overall I enjoyed it. I did get a little bored in parts as it did seem to go on but the perspective was interesting and the battle scenes lively.

View all my reviews

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Warcraft: The Beginning

Anyone else seen this? I thought that it was fun and an excellent film although the acting was a bit stilted in my view. However, the CGI-Orcs made up for this. They were tremendous and the Shaman was truly evil. The tale was good and there were nods throughout the film to the game, World of Warcraft, that made me smile. Travis Fimmel was good but not as good ad his role in Vikings, which almost seems made for him with that sly twinkle just before a good double-cross.


Thursday 26 May 2016

The Reviews - The Good, the Bad and the Awful

Generally I have some really excellent reviews, but I have had a few less favourable ones.

How do I deal with this mix? Well like most human being I have feelings (although the wife disputes that). I feel elated when I get a good review and I can also feel very dispirited with a bad one. Having seen many reviews for books other than mine, I realised that even very well known authors get the occasional poor review, which shows that you cannot please everyone.

Fortunately, the number and quality of my good reviews outweigh the bad ones so I am clearly pleasing more people than not. I would never ignore negative reviews and do try to learn from them, so any future writing may incorporate these comments. However, an author then runs the risk of alienating existing fans so this is a constant struggle.

My proudest reviews are:

But my favourite by far was by Neo on  Kindleboards.com:

"I'm halfway through Shadow of the Demon (book 3) and couldn't agree more: this is a fantastic trilogy, one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a while, really! Now it's getting bitter sweet though: can't wait to read what happens next (and how it finishes) and I NEED to read on, but I also don't want it to end and so find myself slowing down, aaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for writing it and bringing your readers such a good time through it David"

This was so heartfelt that it made all the struggles of writing and publishing worthwhile. 

Many thanks and keep the reviews coming - good or bad :)

Outlaw by Angus Donald

Outlaw (The Outlaw Chronicles, #1)Outlaw by Angus Donald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed this book. I was concerned a Robin Hood book would not be new, but the writing was good and the tale interesting. It had a gritty realism that was good. The outlaws and the Sheriff's men were in small bands that was probably accurate for the period. The book is written from the perspective of Alan Dale which makes it interesting. Alan is quite young at the start of the tale and due to circumstances, a thief. His relationship with Robin and the outlaws develops over a year or so and the tale is nicely interspersed with action. Overall, not bad.

View all my reviews

Friday 22 April 2016

New Author Website Design

OK so I am not particularly talented when it comes to website design but I quite like the latest attempt.

The banner is particularly pleasing for me at least but I may play with the colour scheme. Any views? I think a blue to match the sky on the right might be a bit more cheerful but then again I like the brown and that the text stands out.

I like fiddling with the webdesign and look at other author sites for inspiration and to also check what themes are current. That is what drove this recent change so fingers crossed it is more effective/pleasing.

Check out my website to see what you think, or to read sample chapters or find my books on various Internet book sites.


Best wishes


Wednesday 3 February 2016

Jekyll and Hyde TV Series

OK, I actually quite liked this. It was nonsense but it was also fun. As a series it improved over time. It's a shame the second series is cancelled as I think it would have improved again.

I never liked the original Jekyll and Hyde premise so I was relieved this was different. There was a host of very strange creatures led by Captain Dance, a thoroughly nasty character with a very strange torso; no skin and a beating heart. Tom Bateman was interesting as Jekyll (and of course Hyde). The difference from the usual tale was rather than drinking a potion Jekyll has a genetic defect and turns into Hyde when angry (rather like the Hulk, but less green)

The main problem with the series was screening it before the watershed. Some monsters were very macabre. It seems a common practice, after all Dr Who was screened in prime time and much later than it used to be, so no wonder children have not been watching it and ratings have dropped.

Picture courtesy of de.wikia


Saturday 23 January 2016

Path of Exile versus Diablo 3

Well, one is free for a start which is always a good thing. I recently played Path of Exile and it certainly kept me entertained. There are similarities with Diablo 3 in that you have to find better weapons/armour. (For some reason the original Diablo was the better than Diablo 3 as the weapons had names suiting their status, whereas Diablo 3 has cards and somehow that doesn't work. POE is more alike the original Diablo.)

I did play both games solo so perhaps in a group it might be more fun.

In POE you have to find gems to add to weapons/armour to increase their ability which may already be quite high. I liked the different colour weapons later on in the game (blue, yellow then white) denoting rarity. I loved that after a battle, arrows were embedded in everything. Overall I think I preferred POE. The Diablo series never improved over the original game. I personally do not think that added graphics is key to good games and POE shows this. Don't get me wrong, the graphics in POE was good but perhaps wasn't as good as Diablo 3 -- but who cares.

Diablo 3 became tedious in my mind with tasks that were identical between different characters. The weapon drops were getting better so you had a good chance against the opposition. In Diablo 3 I didn't like that characters had little overlap, an archer had very little ability as a magician, as an example. Some of the arrows became grenades and I really hated that. Exploding arrows OK but grenades??

POE had its downside and some were serious niggles. The programme bombed me out after defeating two big villains/bosses and the last one was the end of the game. On going back into the game, it hadn't logged that I had defeated him and I would have to start that episode again. The villains can be seriously hard and the final one almost impossible. In Diablo 3 the villains (bosses) died after a couple of arrows which was far too easy and on occasions I hadn't realised that I'd actually defeated a boss.

In POE some drops just didn't exist, for example I only ever found one jewel for the skills tree. The same was true for various cards. I also did my best to improve my skills against against fire, chaos etc, but on the skill tree they seemed spread out and difficult to find. The skill tree is enormous and I think there was even a skill on dealing with ingrowing toenails. I never did find a minion unless a golem is one.

I think I spent more time on POE than Diablo 3 (including the expansion pack (Reaper of Souls). For a free game it is epic and entertaining. For me I preferred POE and for a freebie that can't be bad.