Eirane and Belina: excerpt from Kinless Book One of Two (to be published on September the 30th 2013)

Kinless Cover ebook

Eirane swooped down into the courtyard of the House of Healing, as invisible as a breath of wind. She drifted across the wounds of dying men, giving them solace, allowing them to pass on, offering them the touch of mercy.

Some of the men, close enough to the gates of death that they saw into the spirit realm, reached out to her, but one man cried out in fear.

A white-robed healer bustled across the gardens to calm his terror. She had iron-grey hair and the flashing eyes of one who commanded. There was no doubting her position as leader of this House. The other healers stopped in their ministrations and bobbed their heads to her as she wove her way through the clots of dying men to the one who had screamed.

‘She is here,’ the wounded man moaned. He stank of faeces, his stomach torn open and infected. ‘Death breathes upon me.’

‘Hush now,’ the healer said. ‘Hush now. Henath will guard your soul on your journey to the other side and no spirit can harm you here.’

Eirane stilled in the air, offended by the words. That this foolish man thought her a demon, a creature of the night, was to be expected. The priests of the Karisae lied to their congregations. But this was a healer and ignorance of the truth was no excuse for such nightmarish tales.

‘Cast the spell,’ the dying man begged. ‘Drive her away. Make the walls shine with light.’

‘No such spirit can enter these sacred walls. The gods guard us.’

‘She is here. I can see her. Drive her away. I beg of you. She wishes to feed upon my soul. Please. For all that I have given to my King, please.’

The healer lowered her head. ‘Very well.’ She lifted her hand and drew upon the power of the shrine, of the white-spiralled walls, of the water that bubbled from the spring — a spring fed by the waters of the sacred lake Calovinid, the lake the Karisae called Kalon, the lake at the heart of it all, the lake of Tanaz — the goddess enchained. ‘Be gone, foul spirit! I, Dame Belina desainJasi of this House of Falas, command you. Leave this place.’

But the vinraf, the shrine spring, existed long before the Karisae came to this land. The chips of haraf they wore about their necks as amulets were taken from the huge haraf monoliths that encircled each of the shrines. For haraf meant shrine stone in the language of the Anthanic. And Eirane was as much a part of the chains that bound the goddess as any mere chip of stone or flowing spring.

So, though the amulet around Dame Belina’s neck glowed with glorious light, the vinraf, the shrine spring, did not pick up that light, and the haraf of the walls surrounding the vinraf did not glow with magic.

Dame Belina paled, lifted her hand again and called out the same command.

Is this how you thank me? Eirane asked the men, though they heard her voice only as a murmur of the wind upon the shrine. Some of them, those sensitive to the spirit realm and those so close to the gates that they were already within its embrace, turned their heads away to hide their faces. I come here to help your passing and this is how you thank me, this is how it ends? So be it.

Engulfed in sadness, she turned and flowed away from the shrine. And the walls glowed with light.

‘There,’ Dame Belina said. She smiled down upon the soldier, but he had already died.

[Edit: Updated after the final copy-edit of the novel.]


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The Lamia and the Dragon Part Sixteen


Ozandris flew along the ridge.

Faster. Faster.

Dive upon these puny Shonri.

As they crouched there, waiting for the attack.

Unleash his flame upon them.

Then away, up, spiral, turn, swoop back upon them.

Use his talons.

Rip them, tear them, shred them.

Then away, down over the edge of the mountain.

Turn, return, more flame, again and again, rip them to shreds, boil their blood.

Burn them.

Rend them.

End them.

Go to Tales of the Shonri if you want to read more of this story

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Dying for this Shimmering Land (excerpt from Kinless)

Kinless Cover ebook

‘Formed of blood and guts and steel

Made to die but never yield

Born of woman

Born of man

Born upon this Shimmering land

Throw the mud and dirt and clay

Freeman born until this day

Dead to woman

Dead to man

Dying for this Shimmering land’

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In Praise of Editors: from first draft to last it is always a blast


I write pretty good prose first time up, but I want my finished work to fall somewhere between pretty good and perfect.

Pretty good, ain’t good enough. And perfect ain’t possible.

And that is where my editors come in.

First up strike the beta readers, who aren’t editors as such but people who read the first draft and go: ‘Did you really mean that?’ ‘What is all that about?’ ‘I like this guy?’ ‘Is this even English?’

Go to Walking the Duck to read more

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So who the hell’s head are we in now?


Transitions between scenes, between acts, between storylines, are an important part of storytelling. They ease the reader from one place to another without making their eyes stop as they pause to try to puzzle out where the hell they are.

But in multiple POV storytelling, transitions are vital.

Who? What? Where? When?

Those four questions have to be answered at every transition from one POV to another.


Go to Walking the Duck to read more of this post

Image attribution: every stock Photo

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The Lamia and the Dragon Part Fifteen


Haram wiped the sweat from his face. He had dropped down with Lorak and Trant to pull the young-ones to safety after their crazy fall, but his mind kept returning to the ledge above, returning to the memory of the last free Turmerix left in this hive, handing him the talon, returning to Lucina.

The dragon’s talon was three-foot long, curved like a scimitar, sharp enough to flense the skin from a man’s flesh and strong enough to tear through rock. It had power, this claw of a beast long thought extinguished, magic was formed into its matrix.

Lucina! Even there, standing on that ledge, looking at her in the form of giant insect, he had felt the call of her.

She was gone now….

Go to Tales of the Shonri if you want to read more of this story

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Structure is not a Formula


A formula is a precise mix of ingredients put together in exactly the same way to achieve the same result every time. Which is fine for cleaning agents, but not so good for stories because a formula is easy to see working in a story.

The ‘Ordinary World’ beginning. Oh look he’s a farm boy feeding the chickens. Oh look she’s a cop just going on shift. Oh look he’s a rich playboy waking up from another night of excess. Oh look she’s a CEO dealing with the board.

Yeah, that opening is so stale it’s beginning to stink.

Go to  Walking the Duck to read more

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Awesome Indies: a new aid to helping reader find books worth reading

This post from Tales of the Reading Room dropped into my inbox today and I was exceptional happy to see it. It’s about time somebody started to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Hopefully, as Tahlia Newland says in the interview, this is the first of many such sites. Of course there maybe other sites out there starting along this route too. If so I haven’t heard of them.

More power to your elbow, Awesome Indies, the world of Indie Publishing needs initiatives like this.

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August 6, 2013 · 2:42 am

Tales of the Shonri: The Lamia and the Dragon Part Fourteen

Zaj reached the hole in the ceiling of the cavern. The chamber below bloody red, filling with lava so quickly now, pushing upwards a flood of superheated rock, bubbling towards the tiny figures of the climbing Shonri.

Kuli dangled below him. Hanging free. It was quicker this way, no need for handholds. They would leave a rope for the others to climb. Climbing fast, Kuli didn’t see the pack of Turmerix waiting for her in a broken open birthing chamber.

Go to Tales of the Shonri if you want to read more of this story

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Kinless: Book One of Two. Cover Reveal

Here it is, the cover for my next novel. To be published by Firedance Books on the 30th of September 2013.

Kinless Cover ebook


They broke his sword, they cast him out, and still he returns to fight for them.

Rejected by his people, stripped of his honour, betrayed by the woman he loves, Drustan desainCoed is naught but a sell-sword. But when an army of demon worshippers attacks his homeland he will risk all that he is, all that he holds dear, to deny them victory.

And the battle for the soul of the land tears apart all that he knew to be true.

Let the fight dictate the moves. Do not plan: act. Do not think: be. Let the fight dictate the moves. Drustan opened his eyes. Lifted the spear in his right hand, the throwing dagger in his left.


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