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?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shadow Dragon: sequel to Aranya available for pre-order

I'm delighted to announce that the second book in my Shapeshifter Dragons series, Shadow Dragon, will be available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The release date is set for December 10th.

"Chameleon Shapeshifters, uncontrollable storm powers, and the rise of Sylakia’s Dragon-elite. The battle against evil scales new heights, but the price of victory grows ever dearer. 

Once, a Shadow Dragon ravaged the Island-World. Insatiable. Unstoppable. A Dragon-killer. Now the Shadow Dragon has reappeared, on a collision course with Aranya and King Beran’s campaign to liberate the Islands from the scourge of Sylakian tyranny. He is dark, beautiful and deadly, a predator of untold power. 

Meantime, Thoralian weaves his web of guile and betrayal right in the hearts of Aranya’s friends and allies. He will bring them to an encounter only he can win. 

Incredible aerial battles. An Ancient Dragon bent on enslaving Aranya. The treacherous secrets of Dragon magic. This is the fight for which destiny has shaped a heroine of rare courage–Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Criminal. Shapeshifter Dragon. A woman who will confront evil at any cost. Spite her at your peril."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

99p UK Sale - the Girl who Sang with Whales

This weekend The Girl who Sang with Whales is on sale in the UK, just 99p!

Rated 4.6* from 16 reviews on Amazon, and an Amazon.com bestseller in Coming of Age fantasy, this beautiful ocean fantasy is one for those who love unspoiled fantasy worlds, the tang of salt in the air, and the rub of sand between their toes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Aranya blog tour, win prizes!

The Aranya blog tour kicks off today! Do visit Deal Sharing Aunt for your chance to win an $25 gift voucher and subscribe to this excellent blog.

I will update this page as the tour progresses.

Aranya is an Amazon bestseller in Sword & Sorcery, a thrilling and fun coming-of-age story which has attracted 29 5* reviews from 45 reviews, and is rated 4.6* overall on Amazon. Customers say:

"Dragon shape shifters. Fierce princesses. Evil Princes. Magic. Fate. Hidden destinies revealed. Epic battles. Pygmies. Romance. Betrayal. All this and so much more can be found within the pages of this sweeping fantasy tale. Once you start, you won't want to stop."

"Aranya handles herself as a girl of strength and courage"

"If you loved all the dragons & riders of Pern, this is for you."

"the action was awesome"

As with all my books, Aranya is available in eBook format, print, and on Kindle Unlimited. Grab it for a great read!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tiny dragon, tiny price - 99c special!

The #1 bestseller in Coming of Age fantasy on Amazon, The Pygmy Dragon is on special until 15th October, just 99c on Amazon.com. Come discover why readers say:


"The Pygmy Dragon is a sweeping and majestic fantasy story that gives the reader a front row seat to a world full of one of fantasy's all-star creatures: Dragons."

"What a FUN book. Not too complicated, but a story filled with interesting and varied characters, interwoven plots, and intrigue. I couldn't put it down!"

In other news, I have updated the Pygmy Dragon book file to include a wonderful map of the Island-World done by my artist friend, Joshua Smolders. You have to see this - it is one of the best fantasy maps I have ever seen.

This book has been compared to Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern, which is an honour for me as she's one of my all-time favourite, all-time most awesome authors. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Aranya map - update your device!

I'm delighted to offer an update to Aranya: Shapeshifter Dragons Book 1, in the form of an amazing map of the Island-World in which the story is set. Please update your Kindle or e-Reader device to receive this update to the book. You can view the map on my blog at www.marcsecchia.com by clicking on the Shapeshifter Dragons tab.

In other news, drafting of the 2nd volume in this series is proceeding well. I hope to release Western Isles during November. I'm also making good progress on the 5th book in the Shioni of Sheba series, The Fiuri Realms. Thank you for your interest in my work!

Friday, October 3, 2014

99c Sale! The Girl who Sang with Whales

The Girl who Sang with Whales, a beautiful ocean fantasy, is on sale until 8th October, just 99c! Grab a copy here.

Is an author allowed to have a favourite book? Or a favourite character of theirs? To say so is probably to break some unwritten law of being an author. Oh heck.

I agonised over the cliffhanger ending in this story. I mean, I almost put myself in bed with stress over it :-), but in the end, it was I thought a great way of rounding off the first book in the IsleSong series. That, or another 100,000 words. Zhialeiena discovers her powers. She makes friends and enemies alike. She battles sea dragons and prejudice, grief and depression. And her destiny begins to unfold, when ... wham! The problem with cliffhangers is that some readers hate them. Just like some readers hate books in which events do not unfold in a linear, logical order, or an ending is left somewhat unresolved. No matter how good the rest of the book might be, if there isn't a neat little package wrapped in ribbon beneath the Christmas tree, author, you are about to get it like a dragon's talons to the neck.

For me, if the book says "Book 1 of XYZ series" on the cover, that's a fairly strong hint that the author will leave some plot and character development for a second or a third book. That's the point of a series, unless you expect every book in the series to stand alone. Television episodes often end on a cliffhanger, because that's a way of 'hooking' the customers into buying the next episode or season or whatever. Aha, you tell me, literature is different to TV. Of course. People invest perhaps more time in a book, and you have to give payback to your reader, or they'll feel cheated.

Take, in the fantasy genre, the obligatory final battle. Apparently, if you don't have one (or at least, cinematic action throughout) then your book is one in which 'nothing happens'. Please, don't talk about character-driven plot or drama! This is fantasy, right? If you don't have a Peter Jacksonesque spectacular battle thrown in at the end there, then you've failed. So, what about a humdinger of a cliffhanger? Well, perhaps if the series was a single package (3 or 4 books) readers might stand for it, but until then, there will be those who avidly watch through TV series packed with cliffhanger after cliffhanger between episodes, but can't stand for them in a book. Such is life.

Back to playing favourites. I love it that The Girl who Sang with Whales is a slower read, overall, than my bestsellers Aranya or The Pygmy Dragon. There's plenty of action! Just read the first couple of pages as Zhialeiana and her mother go for a wild ride. But there's also an emphasis on understanding the deeper, spiritual side of Zhialeiana's world, periods of contemplation of both her inner world, and the extraordinary oceanic world in which she lives. To read this book, is to be totally and utterly immersed in her world, her culture, and her thoughts. That is deliberate. It is poetic, lyrical, ebbing and flowing like the ocean itself. And that, dear reader, is the secret to the cliffhanger ending of Book 1 of Islesong. The ocean can be calm one moment, and suck you too your doom the next.

I love it that this story is like a slow-brewed cup of coffee. Nothing cheap or instant about this one. The best coffee takes time to prepare. And so, if I were to claim a favourite, for prose, it would be the story of The Girl who Sang with Whales. It hearkens back to my childhood in Cape Town, that supremely beautiful city at the end of Africa, surrounded on many sides by the wondrous, ever-changing oceans.

Just 99c this week! I invite you to experience a beautiful, dangerous new world through the eyes and fate of Zhialeiana, The Girl who Sang with Whales.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cover makeover: The Girl who Sang with Whales

The Girl who Sang with Whales is getting an exciting cover makeover!

Do please update your Kindle reader device, as the updated book is now available on Amazon (although they haven't updated the product image as yet). There's a new appendix at the end of the book, and a brand-new cover from Victorine of bluevalleyauthorservices.com! I hope that you like it as much as I do.

I have also been planning the 2nd book in detail. Yes, I know there's a cliffhanger ending in Islesong Book 1, dear reader, and I don't want to leave you in suspense for too long. (I thought long and hard about this, but writing further would have meant another 40-50,000 words in Book 1, making it very long)

Many exciting adventures are in store for Zhialeiana as she learns about her heritage, defies the pain-worshipping Argalioi pirates, and is hunted by a warrior Whale ...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Goodreads giveaway: The Pygmy Dragon

I am giving away 2 copies of my exciting new YA Fantasy release, The Pygmy Dragon. Enter on Goodreads for a chance to win!



Goodreads Book Giveaway


The Pygmy Dragon by Marc Secchia

The Pygmy Dragon

by Marc Secchia


Giveaway ends October 17, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Praise for The Pygmy Dragon:

"This is Secchia at his best, spinning a paranormal narrative that is beautiful and moving ... it's his ability to create evocatively imagined worlds that make his books so endearing ... an exceptional read" - Stephan J Myers, author of The Prayer

"Epic dragon-battles against beautifully described landscapes; ancient magic and mysterious lore; the warmth of genuine relationship and the wretched loneliness of being different; the bitter sting of betrayal; the power of forgiveness; the wonder of finding that we are loved." - Allie Cresswell, author of Tiger in a Cage

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Unfinished Song (Book 1): Initiate by Tara Maya

Today I have the privilege of hosting Tara Maya, author of the excellent "The Unfinished Song" series! The first book is FREE on Amazon. Described as "100% original", "enchanting" and "very creative" ... grab a copy while you can - I did!

DEADLY INITIATION

A DETERMINED GIRL...
Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

AN EXILED WARRIOR...
Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

EXCERPT
Blue-skinned rusalki grappled Dindi under the churning surface of the river. She could feel their claws dig into her arms. Their riverweed-like hair entangled her legs when she tried to kick back to the surface. She only managed to gulp a few breaths of air before they pulled her under again.

She hadn't appreciated how fast and deep the river was. On her second gasp for air, she saw that the current was already dragging her out of sight of the screaming girls on the bank. A whirlpool of froth and fae roiled between two large rocks in the middle of the river. The rusalka and her sisters tugged Dindi toward it. Other water fae joined the rusalki. Long snouted pookas, turtle-like kappas and hairy-armed gwyllions all swam around her, leading her to the whirlpool, where even more fae swirled in the whitewater.

"Join our circle, Dindi!" the fae voices gurgled under the water. "Dance with us forever!"

"No!" She kicked and swam and stole another gasp for air before they snagged her again. There were so many of them now, all pulling her down, all singing to the tune of the rushing river. She tried to shout, "Dispel!" but swallowed water instead. Her head hit a rock, disorienting her. She sank, this time sure she wouldn't be coming up again.

"Dispel!" It was a man's voice.

Strong arms encircled her and lifted her until her arms and head broke the surface. Her rescuer swam with her toward the shore. He overpowered the current, he shrugged aside the hands of the water faeries stroking his hair and arms. When he reached the shallows, he scooped Dindi into his arms and carried her the rest of the way to the grassy bank. He set her down gently.

She coughed out some water while he supported her back.

"Better?" he asked.

She nodded. He was young--only a few years older than she. The aura of confidence and competence he radiated made him seem older. Without knowing quite why, she was certain he was a Tavaedi.

"Good." He had a gorgeous smile. A wisp of his dark bangs dangled over one eye. He brushed his dripping hair back over his head.

Dindi's hand touched skin--he was not wearing any shirt. Both of them were sopping wet. On him, that meant trickles of water coursed over a bedrock of muscle. As for her, the thin white wrap clung transparently to her body like a wet leaf. She blushed.

"It might have been easier to swim if you had let go of that," he teased. He touched her hand, which was closed around something. "What were you holding onto so tightly that it mattered more than drowning?"

LINKS
Tara’s blog  http://bit.ly/MtlSRJ
Tara’s Twitter  http://bit.ly/162sCtE
The Unfinished Song on Facebook  http://on.fb.me/1400mMq
Barnes and Noble  http://bit.ly/13yM5Dr
Smashwords  http://bit.ly/17zK8Xn

Initiate is free everywhere except on Barnes and Noble (where it’s $0.99). You can download a free .epub version via Smashwords.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Painted by Eliza Wyatt - Book Review

Painted is a fantasy novella of courtly drama, intrigue and high magic set in a world with more than a hint of the Spain of yore - where masked balls invite romance but hide an assassin's blade, where rulers and countries plot and scheme and form shaky alliances.

This is one fabulous novella. Do not be fooled by the length. I rate stories on entertainment value and Painted boasts a satisfyingly complex heroine and plot, with a unique take on magic, all packed into a quick-read length. Our courageous heroine Wyrren has Moebius Syndrome, with partial paralysis of her face, and is at the beginning of her study of magic. But she has a deep and interesting backstory. The tale starts with her being the ward of the Grand Meister of Hael Maelstrom, a political exile from her own country, which is renowned for its magic and assassins. She has played a part in the downfall of her country's ruler, the King of Marla, and was queen for a day before she had to flee.

Wyrren has attracted the attention of the powerful magician and ruler of Hael Maelstrom, Sebastian del Torlo. But he has his own secrets. For political reasons, Sebastian is pursuing an engagement with Kartania Reise of Doppel, a land which resolves all of its conflicts with an armoured fist in the nose or the edge of the blade in a duel. But Sebastian is also being threatened by another powerful magician, Edward Lowar, who seems to have a hold over him. With the help of her younger stepsister Ana, a courtesan, Wyrren sets out to delve into the strange, dangerous truth behind Hael Maelstrom's ruler.

A highlight of this story is the complex and refreshing take on the types and uses of magic, ranging from necromancy to vivomancy (healing), biskmatry, illusions, elemental magic, and threader-assassins. A second highlight is the character of Wyrren - smart, complex, flawed and wholly believable. I felt the world-building suffered a little, with much left unexplained or glossed over. Stronger visuals and a better explanation (smuggled in of course) of the uses and limitations of the types of magic would have been appreciated by this reader.

So, while it is not perfect as a novella, the story moves quickly, twists and turns, and in the end, is an entertaining and strongly recommended read. Get it! Read it! You will not be disappointed. (For only 99c on Amazon this is a steal)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shapeshifter Dragons Book 2: Western Isles

The sequel to Aranya is taking shape! Plenty of people have been asking, 'When will it be ready'? Well, I'm a writer fortunate enough to produce material very fast once I find my creative flow - so I have a solid draft of the first third of the book already in place. I hope to complete Western Isles, the second book in the Shapeshifter Dragons series, before the end of the year. Will Aranya solve the mystery of her mother's heritage and fate? Will she be able to thwart the treacherous plans of the Sylakians, which are more far-reaching than she ever imagined? And what does the Black Dragon want of her? Can he be trusted?

Meantime, why not read The Pygmy Dragon, also a teen/YA story filled with dragons, mystery and romance, set in the same Island-World as Aranya?

The Pygmy Dragon is the exciting first book in a planned two-part companion series to Aranya. It tells the story of Pip, a Pygmy warrior, born in the jungles of the Crescent Islands and raised in a zoo by apes. Pip has a power that will shake the world she lives in - a power that may save the Dragons. But that power makes her a target for the envy and ambitions of others. Set approximately 150 years before the events of Aranya at a time when Dragons and Humans still coexisted in relative peace, it features a young Nak and Oyda, as well as a cast of colourful characters at the secret Dragon Rider Academy at Jeradia Island. It is a tale of no small courage, heroism and magic, where the smallest Dragon will need to make a terrible decision which may save or doom all the Dragons.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Pygmy Dragon flies onto Amazon


Yesterday, a Dragon kidnapped me from my cage in a zoo. Today, The Pygmy Dragon is available on all Amazon stores in Kindle format.

There’s a Dragon! A Dragon, a tiny Pygmy Dragon,
She’s cute and sweet and rather neat,
But she’s sitting in my salad.
Oh, she’s sitting in my salad!



Stolen from her jungle home and sold to a zookeeper, Pip knows only a world behind bars, a world in which a Pygmy warrior and her giant ape friends are a zoo attraction. She dreams of being Human. She dreams of escaping to the world outside her cage. 

Then, the Dragon Zardon kidnaps her into a new life. Pip rides Dragonback across the Island-World to her new school - a school inside a volcano. A school where Humans learn to be Dragon Riders. But this is only a foretaste of her magical destiny, for the Dragon Assassins are coming. They have floated an Island across the Rift and their aim is nothing less than the massacre of all Dragons. 

Now, the courage of the smallest will be tested to the utmost. For Pip is the Pygmy Dragon, and this is her tale.

The tale of The Pygmy Dragon (Book 1 of 2 in the Shapeshifter Dragon Legends series) is closely linked to the Amazon bestselling story of Aranya, and is set in the same unique world above the toxic Cloudlands. It features a young Nak and Oyda as well as a new cast of colourful characters. In this story you will learn the answer to one of the questions which most puzzles Aranya - what happened to all the Dragons? Is she the last?

Born in a jungle and living half her life in a zoo, Pip, The Pygmy Dragon is unforgettable reading for teen & young adult readers and up. Epic fantasy packed with dragon battles, mystery, adventure and romance, this is a series for fantasy lovers to savour.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Aranya flies into Amazon's Fantasy bestsellers list!

It is a privilege to be listed alongside authors I have admired for years. Aranya has flown into the bestseller lists on Amazon this week, achieving #27 place in Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery and top 50 (#48) in Coming of Age stories.

This is what the reviewers say:

"With a host of colourful and many original character incarnations, the time honoured theme of good versus evil takes on a refreshingly unfamiliar dimension." - Author, Stephan Myers

"You want fantasy? Here it is, in its purest form." - Author, David Rose

"I especially enjoy reading about strong female characters."

"An imaginative tale, full of battle and heroism, romance and betrayal." - Author, Michael Andrews

Come and see why she's flying high. Aranya is available in all Amazon stores in Print and Ebook formats.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Aranya flies high at Bookviral

"He spins a mythical yarn, achieving a notable balance between luxurious detail and intense action" I was delighted to get a great review this week at Bookviral. "it’s Secchia’s world building prowess that really sets this tale apart" ... thanks to the excellent team there!

Aranya has been flying high since publication at Amazon.com. Come and see why reviewers are saying it's "full of battle and heroism, romance and betrayal."

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dragon Dreams by Dusty Holloway - GR Review


Dragon Dreams (The Chronicles of Shadow and Light)Dragon Dreams by Dusty Lynn Holloway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Dragon Dreams, the first in the Chronicles of Shadow and light, starts with one of the best opening prologues I have ever read. "In my shadow you sleep, hungry for my soul. In my heart you live, nurtured and at peace. In my life you belong, always. The red dawn of war clashes with the tide ..." Throughout the book the prose is rich and lyrical, yet the pace never flags. The tone is overwhelmingly dark, a world at the edge of ruin due to an escalating war between two powerful dragons, yet there are moments of light-heartedness and beauty amidst the fires.

Author Dusty Holloway has done a fine job of taking a fresh perspective on the Elves, Dwarves, Humans and Dragons of classic fantasy, and while there is a nod to old tropes, what is presented is fresh and well thought-out, each race characterised well, the Elves for example powerful and mysterious and very different to the Humans. The world-building is tightly woven into the story and never overwhelming or dry.

The main characters are the Human Nachal and the half-Elf Auri. The story concentrates strongly on the two of them, with minor riffs played by the Dwarf Dhurmic (who breaks his friend Nachal's nose at one point) and the Elf Watcher Liran, who has a decidedly unhealthy interest in Auri and plays the third point of a love triangle between him, Auri and Nachal. I am not big on love triangles, I have to admit, but this one was very well written. If I had any gripes, it was that I felt Auri came across a little weak - I would have preferred a heroine less at the mercy/sway of events and personalities around her and more in charge of her own destiny. However that destiny is complex and confusing to her, and the plot pleasingly complex enough to make their characters intriguing. I disagree completely with some reviewers saying that Auri is 'undefined'. Partly, that's the point. She's only twenty-one in this first part of the series, she's discovering who she is, and mighty forces of inheritance and destiny are coming to bear on her life. She has two very different men vying for her attention and the fate of the world resting on her shoulders. All in a day's work, eh?

All in all, this is a wonderful lead-in to series with great promise. A writer to watch!



View all my reviews

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Girl who Sang with Whales - Promotion!

Discover why The Girl who Sang with Whales has 11 5-star reviews on Amazon.com! Reduced to 99c until July 11th for a special holiday promotion.

This is how Gabriel Boutros, author of "The Guilty" (4.7 average from 42 reviews on Amazon) puts it:

"The story, of an orphan who is used by those she thought she could trust, and sold into indentured servitude to a harbourmaster far from her home, also could have been written by Dickens.
There are moments of quiet contemplation of Zhisu’s inner, spiritual world, as well as the outer world she inhabits, and both are fully-realized creations. But there are also scenes of political intrigue, violent action and high seas adventure. In the middle of this whirlwind stands Zhisu, struggling to find her inner strengths as well as some sort of meaning to the events which befall her."

A tale for anyone who loves the ocean and its whales, salt water in their hair, and the gentle rasp of beach sand between their bare toes. This story will transport you to a beautiful, unspoiled ocean world where people have to rely on Whales to travel between the islands. A world where danger can, and does, lurk beneath any wave.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A commitment to quality

There's often noise about Indie authors, but little more so than the reader's fear they are going to pick up a badly written or badly edited book. They fear they're taking a chance or wasting their money. I work with a number of very fine Indie authors. I can't speak for them (but I suspect most endorse the statement below), but I can speak for myself when I say this:

I am committed to producing quality, entertaining books.

I can't guarantee you'll love my style. I can't guarantee you'll be able to put my books down either :-). But what I will say is that I am relentlessly committed to providing a high-quality reading experience for my readers, including editing that strives for perfection, strong writing, unforgettable characters, unique worlds and stories that entertain. I love to grapple with deep issues such as child slavery, race, overcoming obstacles in life, and grief and loss.

This is my commitment to you, dear reader. You are my customer, you are king. Your dollar matters to me. Your reading pleasure matters to me. And I love hearing back from readers. Drop me a line! Put up a review on Amazon or Goodreads and follow me on Twitter!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Enchanted Castle giveaway this weekend

The Enchanted Castle giveaway starts this weekend! Friday 27 through Sunday 29th, FREE in all Amazon stores. Rated 4.7 / 5 stars from 14 reviews on Amazon, this exciting and unique African historical adventure will transport you to ancient Ethiopia, a land of mystery and great natural beauty.

A king bent on conquest.
A murderous warrior tribe,
And the slave-girl who dares to stand between them!

"It was amazingly written and I loved it so much. It's a fantasy for Middle Grade and think anyone out there that owns a child of 8-12 should get this."

"One of the best aspects of this book is the concrete yet dramatic drawing of the gravity of Shioni's situations."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Exciting new YA Fantasy release - dragons, battles and romance

Aranya Book 1
A unique island-world above the clouds is the setting for this exciting new fantasy release. If mighty dragons, stunning aerial battles and romance are your cup of tea, then this is the book for you.

Pick up a copy on Amazon or enter the giveaway on Goodreads.

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Aranya - Goodreads giveaway

I am giving away 2 copies of my new YA Fantasy book, Aranya: Shapeshifter Dragons Book 1, which will be published on June 14th. Enter on Goodreads for a chance to win!



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Aranya by Marc Secchia

Aranya

by Marc Secchia


Giveaway ends August 08, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Aranya sneak preview: coming on June 14th!

I'm very excited the publication date for my new title Aranya is coming closer. Can't wait for June14th! Here's a sneak preview of the cover art for the Kindle version.

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.


You can find my work on Amazon here.

I'll post up a direct link as soon as that becomes available.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dragons, battles and romance - coming soon!

I'm really excited about the way that my new project Aranya: Dragon Shapeshifters (Book #1) is coming on. In fact, while the editing progresses I've already written 45,000 words of a sequel.

I'm targeting June 14th for publication!

Here's the blurb:

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

Dragons, epic aerial battles and romance collide in this gripping YA and older fantasy story set in an unforgettable world above the clouds. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Girl who Sang with Whales - on promotion

The Girl who Sang with Whales is on promotion at Storycartel.com for the next 3 weeks. For your review you stand a chance to win prizes including a Kindle. The book download is free.

See and sample The Girl who Sang with Whales on Amazon.com. Rated 4.9 of 5.0 stars.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rise of the Retics review

Rise of the Retics fizzes with humour and imagination. It tells the story of Tyranna, an orphan with a secret, and is set in a skilfully blended world of late medieval Europe where churches and governments are trying to stamp out the 'retics' - creatures of fable and fantasy, who are actually real and persecuted. They have been driven into a large refugee camp, their city called Rosehaven. Tyranna is rescued (at some cost) from the bad guys and whisked away to her new life in Rosehaven.

The strongest elements of the book are the author's excellent imagination and sense of humour. Don't miss out on reading the footnotes as they come up, they are hilarious. The plot was also strong along with the characterisation. Each character has a unique voice. The story has a positive message about dealing with difference.

On the negative side the editing was below par and could be easily remedied. The pace lagged in places, however, the sheer strength of the author's imagination I believe carries this story through. Thoroughly enjoyable and well recommended reading for the younger set, with a few scenes that keep the book at the YA (not middle grades) level.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The One, subtitled 'A Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul' is an artfully observed psychological thriller which tells the tale of a banal life corrupted inwardly by first attraction, which morphs into obsession, and eventually madness and darkness descend. In some thrillers the reader feels as though they are on the shoulder of the main character, seeing their thoughts. Not so in The One. The reader is placed right inside the main character's head and thoughts, the good and the ugly, in a sharply observed and internally consistent dialogue which is nevertheless disturbing and ultimately compelling. You might not like the character. You might hate him. You might not like what he does. But you will be drawn into a spider's web of passion, madness and betrayal.

Well written with subtle and effective use of backstory to flesh out the main character, The One reminded me of a contemporary version of Nabokov's Lolita. Nevertheless I felt there were two main drawbacks; the caricaturisation of main character's wife as 'the wife' which denied her becoming a force in the story apart from an ephemeral and ineffective occasional voice, and occasionally a lagging effect in the pace as the internal dialogue overpowered the storytelling.

However, if psychological thriller is your genre, then prepare to have the obligatory shiver descend your spine as you turn the pages of this subtle thriller. Beneath the layers of an ordinary life lies a deep, dark well which is plumbed by the author; a dark obsession, dreadful deeds (I shan't give a blow-by-blow summary of the plot to avoid a spoiler) and a satisfying conclusion.

This is a worthwhile work and comes highly recommended. I thank Steve Justice for proving a copy in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Feynard - epic fantasy with a tongue-in-cheek twist - published

I am pleased to announce the release of my new epic fantasy Feynard in print and Kindle versions on Amazon. Feynard is a light-hearted fantasy which follows the adventures of Kevin Jenkins as he is kidnapped in order to save Feynard’s mythical Forest from the Blight. The only problem is that he is bedridden, forced to consume 57 different pills daily to stay alive, afraid of beetles, and he doesn’t believe in magic - or magical forests, or that his abductors, a Unicorn and a Dryad, are even real.

The Unicorn Zephyr begs to differ. He believes Kevin is the champion the Forest has been waiting for. And if he can talk Kevin into doing this small task, he will talk the hind leg off any four-legged creature to do it. The feisty Dryad Alliathiune thinks he's a forest-hater and just needs a jolly good slap, which she provides in style. Everyone else thinks he’s a wet blanket, an impostor, or by complete coincidence, some sort of mighty High Wizard.

Throw in a Dark Apprentice with a fondness for shiny black boots and slaying everything in sight, a ten-foot swamp monster, a lethal romance, and a prodigal Faun. What could possibly go wrong?

A quest to save the Forest. A mismatched set of companions. Feynard needs a hero, and his name is Kevin.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Legend of El Shashi

The Legend of El Shashi
A fantasy tale with an unusual, challenging plot, The Legend of El Shashi follows the story of a man who betrays his friend to a sorceress. The sorceress curses him with great power - the power to heal with a touch. But his every healing feeds her burrowing, ravaging Wurm, a storehouse of magic which she will use to her own evil ends. Every time he performs a selfish act, the Wurm rises to chase him for twice as long as before.

What if you could never be selfish? Could you live with such a great curse, which is also a gift?

At once an exploration of the power of miraculous healing on the human condition, the impact of grief and redemption on a selfish man, and the dangers, limits, and uses of power, The Legend of El Shashi is a story that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.

Come and experience The Legend of El Shashi on Amazon now.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Call for book reviewers

I am looking for book reviewers to read The Girl who Sang with Whales or the Shioni series and post their reviews on Amazon.com and/or Goodreads. Please get in touch with me to receive a free electronic copy of one or more of my books in exchange for a review.

Thanks! My email is marcsecchia [at] gmail.com, or please use the contact form on the right. I look forward to hearing from you.