Saturday, February 21, 2015

New dragon fantasy - Dragonfriend!

I'm delighted to announce the forthcoming release of my new dragon fantasy, Dragonfriendon April 11th.

Set in the same world as the bestselling dragon fantasy Aranya, this is the moving and romantic tale of the first human destined to break the ancient taboo and ride a dragon. When love is forbidden but friendship grows beyond conventional boundaries, the result is nothing less than world-shattering.

Sample the first two chapters here!

A third great race will rise in the Island-World. Enter the world of Hualiama Dragonfriend, an epic fantasy tale of forbidden romance and deep secrets, mighty dragon battles, an usurper to the throne, and a friendship which paid the ultimate price. Prepare to be swept away to a unique world of volcanic islands which rise above the deadly, occluded Cloudlands, a world where humans have recently thrown off the yoke of slavery under the draconic claw. Grudges are fresh. Passions run high. And love is only an excuse for murder.

The first of a planned two part series, the second is already being drafted.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Aranya audiobook in production

I am delighted to announce that an audiobook is in production for Aranya, and I'm pleased to have secured the services of an excellent narrator. Watch this space for more news! I have a big announcement later this week ...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Shapeshifter Dragons - suggested reading order & sequels

I've had a number of suggestions through from you lovely readers about the order in which one should read the Shapeshifter Dragons series. Thanks!

Here's my suggestion based on your feedback:

1. Kick off with an awesome dragonride - Aranya
2. Grab yourself a feisty little dragon - The Pygmy Dragon
3. Enter the darker realms with Shadow Dragon
4. Leap into the Pygmy Dragon sequel (drafting underway, no date as yet)
5. Travel beneath the Cloudlands and across the Rift with Aranya #3 (planned, no date set as yet)

And then? I'll be working on Aranya #3 and The Pygmy Dragon #2 over the course of the next few months. I haven't set publication dates yet, but I'm hoping for mid-year for one of the two books and later in the autumn for the other. They need to be written in tandem for reasons I shall not reveal - don't want to spoil it for you!

Thank you so much to all who have posted up a re
view of my books, either here on GR or on Amazon. I read them all :-). Also thanks to those who've sent through suggestions and questions about publication dates.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review - Zero Time by T.W.Fendley

What a terrific time-travel / alternative history adventure! Meticulously researched and imagined, with a Gordian knot of a plot that taxes the grey cells in a most enjoyable way, this is a story different to anything that I've read before, by turns informative, imaginative, and lucidly written. The author has clearly spent a great deal of time constructing a thoroughly believable yet unpredictable plot.

Buy it here!

The story is told in two clearly demarcated threads which come together at the end like the very serpent ropes that are the key to travel through space and time in this epic tale - and it certainly is epic, spanning thousands of years. In a bid to save their civilization, people from the planet Omeyocan in the Pleiades travel to Earth to mingle their genes and save the species. They setup the ancient Inca, Maya and Aztec temples which have so baffled and amazed archaeologists. Not only this, but there's a thorough explanation for technologies which are alien to Earth but could provide the abilities shown by some characters in this novel, such as spatial travel, levitation and channeling of energies.

At a technical level the editing is perfect and the story told at a good pace. Some readers may struggle with the names, which are difficult to pronounce but absolutely appropriate to the story. I referred to the handy guide at the front. Parental advisory - some violence and a sex scene feature in the book. A fair amount of time is spent on the properties of crystals, vibrations, higher levels of consciousness, chakra points etc. giving the book a New Age feel. Some reviewers commented on this but I felt it gelled well with the tale.

Overall assessment? A truly excellent, absorbing tale that is more than worth reading. I learned a great deal while being entertained, which is always a high recommendation. Worth it!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Inspiration - the elusive writer's muse

Once, I saw a photograph of a gorge between two huge cliffs, with clouds lapping in the space between them, and a tiny ant of a man standing on the edge, looking over that space. I imagined a world which existed above the clouds. I had a setting, but no story. I was 14 at the time. So I packed the photograph away in my 'ideas box', and pulled it out earlier this year, when I had a dream of a girl being thrown off a cliff. She turned into a dragon. That became the inspiration for my bestselling YA fantasy, Aranya. I had a setting but it took over 20 years for an idea to germinate.

Sometimes I dream about books, sit down the next day, and write up a 3-5 page summary. But you might ask, "What started you writing and publishing books?"

I'll admit, I had grave reservations about putting my writing out into the market. With 10 books now published in 2 years, that sounds inane now. But the truth is that a writer exposes something intensely personal to public scrutiny. In my case, I grew up writing but never having published anything until last year. I went the rounds of rejection letters several times. I still have piles of them! Perhaps all I needed was the proverbial kick - in my case, it was a request from my children that started it off.

The Enchanted Castle is the first book in a series of 4 adventures set in ancient Ethiopia. Just 99c this week! It began with a visit to Ethiopia's beautiful Simien Mountains in December 2009. In that jagged volcanic landscape with its unique flora and fauna, I imagined, there could easily be dragons. But the plot itself evolved from a series of bedtime stories I began to tell my daughter. She insisted that I 'write them down'. Trust me, if you don't want to put your child to sleep (or maybe I'm missing the point here, parents?) the story needs to be engaging and exciting.

From my experience of growing up in South Africa came the larger-than-life character of Mama Nomuula, from living and working in Ethiopia (I speak, read and write Amharic), the characters of General Getu and Princess Annakiya, and the cultural and historical elements of the tale are as authentic as I could make them from my own experience of living in Ethiopia for 5 years. Ethiopia itself is a country with an enormously rich, diverse and ancient culture and history, which I have found to be a fertile ground for writing. My background in South Africa also provides some of the material for these books, which deal with the issue of difference - Shioni, a white foreign slave, serves the Ethiopian Princess of Sheba, who is also her best friend. This issue remains relevant today in the pain experienced by marginalised communities and persons, and sometimes by adopted children who learn that they are 'different' to their parents.

Well, if you're going to write a story down, you should do it properly, I thought. So I worked with a well-known Ethiopian artist to illustrate these stories. I read the outstanding historian Basil Davidson, amongst other sources. I have always loved a good tale, but only recently have begun to discover the deep, ancient history of stone-age and middle-ages Africa. Did you know Africa had its own knights and castles? Did you know that there was a thriving East-West trade stretching across the Sahara from Ghana and Timbuktu to India? That the Sahara was not always the desert it is today?

Right - the cover for The King's Horse, the second book in the Shioni of Sheba series. I tested each of these books on a group of Middle Graders and had them edited before release.


Inspiration, I discovered, can also result from research and discipline. In seeking to make these stories more colourful, historically accurate, and exciting for my children, I found more ideas rising for what has become a 4-book series, taking the reader into the shadowy depths of the Simien Mountains, and down south to the ancient city of Gondar and the stunning islands and monasteries of Lake Tana, pictured left on the cover of The Sacred Lake, Book 4 in the Shioni of Sheba series. This is a photo I took from the steps of a church on one island, peeking through the leaves at another island in the distance.

So? Inspiration, I've discovered, is often linked to what we fill our minds with, but also, you might need some encouragement - in my case, from my children!

And, for authors - I write down all my ideas, however wacky, and put them in a notebook or in an 'ideas file' on my computer. You never know when an idea might come back to bite you with 'the bug'.

Having finally decided to write an self-publish my own work in February 2013, I now have 10 books published, with plans for another 6 in the works. You can find my work on Amazon, available in both print and ebook editions.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shelf Unbound "Notable" books



Two of Marc's books - Aranya and The Girl who Sang with Whales - were honoured in the Dec/Jan issue of Shelf Unbound magazine as "notable" entries in the epic fiction and middle grades sections. Do check out this excellent magazine, it's free!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Upcoming specials on Marc's books

On the 6th November Aranya is scheduled to be a Kindle Daily Deal in the US - your chance to pick up Aranya for half price! So look out for that one. Meantime, lovely UK readers, Aranya will be just 99c in the Amazon UK store from 6-13 November. Aranya is rated 4.6* from 54 reviews on Amazon.com.

Following that, The Enchanted Castle, Book 1 in my unique African historical fiction series, will be on special in the US and UK Amazon stores from 15-22 November. Rated 4.8* from 18 reviews and a bestseller in African historical fiction for children (ages 10 and up) - and entertainment for adults too. Why not enjoy the unique flavours and culture of Ethiopia in this uplifting adventure?