Game of Thrones Withdrawal? Try the Jakirian Cycle for a Heroic Fantasy Fix!

Hi, everyone. Today, Saturday 28th June (US),  the Kindle ebook version of The Calvanni will be free on Amazon!

Click on the Calvanni thumbnail to link to Amazon.

Calvanni front cover (Small)

I’d recommend the book to anyone who likes David Gemmell. Since Gemmell is my all time favourite author, The Calvanni and the other two books in the Jakirian Cycle – Scytheman and Sorcerer – were no doubt heavily influenced by his work. Although, expect a broader canvass and a ton of unique worldbuilding.

Basically, the Calvanni is Heroic Fantasy in world of ceramic weapons where all metal is magical .

In The Calvanni, first of the epic Jakirian Cycle, the cavern-dwelling Eathal have emerged to wreak their vengeance on mankind. The fate of innocent thousands rests on finding the Scion – lost heir to the fallen Empire. The Temple has outlawed the ancient practice of Sorcery. Its Druids dominate religious and secular power, but are ill-equipped to resist an unknown evil once contained by the Emperors.

The Jakirian series is Heroic Fantasy set on the world of Yos, with unique ecology and twin suns, where all metal is magical and control of magic is the basis for power.

Hard-edged. Inspiring. The Jakirian features gritty, fast-paced action. The setting includes fantastical magical artefacts such as glowmetals; ceramic weapons and an array of new creatures. The characters travel through both urban and rural landscapes, where a depth of history and a layering of cultures gives texture.

During Storm Season on the world of Yos, the twin suns eclipse and the planet is plunged into bitter cold. It is usually a time of quiet, when the wise lock their doors, praying for the demons of the red sun-Goddess Uros to pass them by. Yet deep in the Caverns of Maht, Hukum, the Sorcerer-Lord of cavern-dwelling Eathal, plots his vengeance.

Cedrin, a street-wise calvanni (knife-fighter), is summoned to the secret underground tunnels of the Brotherhood of the Night. There, Cedrin is forced to join in a rebellion against the rulers of his native Athria. Caught between the threat of death and his suspicions that all is not what it seems, he must try to keep his friends alive and escape.

Ellen, daughter of the assassinated Athrian Sarlord, is named as heir before his death. She struggles to assert herself as the new ruler, little suspecting the civil war that will be unleashed on Athria within days.

Ellen’s father warned her never to reveal her hidden powers of Sorcery, but as Hukum’s minions close in, it seems she has little choice.

The Jakirian series comprises three books – The Calvanni, Scytheman and Sorcerer. They follow Cedrin and Ellen as they face deeper and more hidden threats. Pursuing them is Raziin, a vicious renegade who seeks to claim the ultimate power of the Spear of Carris for himself. Eventually they must face a final challenge as the most ancient secrets that bind their three bloodlines are revealed.

The Calvanni has attracted readers of all kinds, including readers who, up until now, had never read books from the fantasy genre.

The Jakirian series has given me the room to explore my own unique world and to convey to readers the richness of my flavour of heroic Fantasy.

Check out the great reviews on Amazon and once you’ve read it, post on my blog/website and let me know what you thought about it:)


Getting Started

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I’ve talked about quite a few elements of writing over the last few years, but since I’m starting a new series of blog posts about writing, I thought I would start right at the beginning.

Getting started on writing.

Off the mark, writing a novel can seem a pretty intimidating thing. For a start it’s a lot of words – thousands upon thousands of words. Even a typing monkey would need a good chunk of the year to fill up a Word file with the odd million characters or so that would equate to say 100,000 words, which is the length of a typical paperback fantasy novel.

So how do you do it? How do you know what to say? How do you sustain that input over such a long period of time?

As the hackneyed old phrase goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. That’s true, but it does not tell the whole story. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but then continues with another, then another . . . until the journey is done. It’s sticking to the process, keeping the momentum in the forward direction.

To use a writing Australianism: it’s about ‘bums on seats’. Physically spending the time it takes in front of your computer (with Word open, not Facebook :)).

No matter how much progress you gain from each of your single steps, the key is sticking with it. Everyone has periods of their life where they are tight for time. That step might be 10 minutes snatched from a harried lunch hour. It might be half an hour hiding in the emergency exit stairwell with a notepad. Twenty minutes on the bus with an iPad. It might be a precious hour in the quiet of the house before the crazy day starts and the kids clamour for breakfast, or a midnight hour stolen from your sleep.

It doesn’t matter when. Although one thing I do know: the earlier in your day you can manage to write (or work on your story), the easier it tends to be. Days seem to get more hectic as they go, demands increase – and energy wanes. But that’s individual choice.

But what to write?

Well – why do you want to write? Think about it for a moment. Only you can answer this. And the answer gives you the solution.

Every single story has a way in.

There will be a creative spark that drives the process. It might be an idea for a character, or an undefined sense for a story that blossoms into a frenzied exploration of setting. Or it might be a single scene – a key clutch moment where the story starts, or perhaps a heroic triumph in the latter part of the story.

Whatever it is, expand it. See it. Write what you see.

But however you find your way in, just stick with it! You are bringing something new into the world. You are creating something that has never been before.

Worried about writing something that will be like everyone else’s novels? Well, think of how many rock songs have G C and D chords. The variations are endless. With work and tenacity, you can bring a unique edge to anything. The odds are that if you stick with your initial conception, that spark that was the genesis of your work, you will find an expression all your own.

But what about characters? Storyline? Setting? Building a plot? Improving your expression? Your craft? Getting published? Marketing?

Don’t worry about that now. Just start. Just keep going. Keep your energy up. Seek out like-minded people or others that encourage you. Take in creative work that charges you up (writers are also readers – don’t forget that!).

One thing is for sure, your novel will never exist if you don’t start – and you don’t keep going.

Welcome to the journey. . .







Yes – Our Solar System Really is Weird

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The lengthening lists of new planet finds have allowed astronomers to start building on the science and knowledge of planet and solar system formation to draw some fascinating conclusions.

According to Astrophysicist Lars Buchhave (Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics) there are three sorts of solar system. The key to the classification system is the elemental composition or ‘heaviness’ of the progenitor nebula – specifically how metallic they are. Rather than the observation of a smooth transition between these three types, the collected data on exoplanets shows distinct types of solar system with little in between.

Planets above a blue planet

Planets around the most metallic stars tend to be big – gas giants in the Jupiter class and above. The reason being that the presence of these heavier elements allows more planetary development before the protostar ignites, allowing the growing planet to get heavy enough to attract the lighter elements of hydrogen and helium.

Planets around the least metallic stars tend to be mainly rocky planets, but larger than the rocky planets around our own sun

Those suns in the middle range of metallicity are associated with a third (unfamiliar) type of planet called gas dwarfs. These planets have rocky cores, but are large enough to hold an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

So where does our own solar system fit in? Apparently nowhere. Our solar system with our four small rocky planets and four gas giants is an unusual one. In terms of the metallicity spectrum, Earth’s Sun is an example of a metal-rich star, common in the spiral arms of the Milky Way galaxy, so I guess at least our gas giants make sense based on this latest theory.

This got me thinking. Maybe our solar system was formed in the collision of two proto-systems early on? Would this explain the weird fact that Venus rotates in the opposite direction to all the other planets that spun off the ecliptic? Perhaps a metal-poor (Population II) star that went supernova leaving its drifting rocky planets to be snapped up by our Sun?

This oddness in our planetary composition is just the latest in a series of weirdness that relates to our solar system. I’ve noticed this before. The more we look – with the benefit of science – the more atypical we are. Like how both the Moon and the Sun are exactly the same angular size in the sky.

Some of these strange coincidences allowed the development of life as we know it. Jupiter has had a very positive role in protecting life on Earth, acting as our planetary ‘guardian’, preventing many of the asteroid impacts that would have sent life back to the drawing board again and again.

Back with a Vengeance

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Hey, everyone. After a bit of a hiatus, I’m going to be back with a vengeance:)

Starting from next week I’ll be blogging three times a week – Cosmic Monday with Space, Science and Astronomy news, Writing Thursday with tips and discussions on the Writing Craft, then Giveaway Saturday with special offers and freebies on the Jakiran series and more.

Stay tuned!