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Release Day: Conviction’s Pain – Book 2 of The Mahaelian Chronicle

Hey everyone, I hope this finds you well. 🙂

Book 2 of The Mahaelian Chronicle is available!

Avidar and its people are reeling in the aftermath of a deadly attack. Alun Dronald, now Lord General of Avidar’s armies, must contend with a murder investigation, political games, and growing religious fervor, while Del’Ahrid, seemingly the most powerful man in the kingdom, plans his next move. Elsewhere, Brice Serholm serves an enigmatic, powerful being with direct ties to the growing conflict and its ancient roots, while Khyber, the only free Elvayn, makes a discovery which could put an end to millennia of war and strife. The Mahaelian Chronicle continues. And the true enemy will finally be revealed…

Get it from Amazon and add it to your Goodreads shelf, and let me know what you think of it! 😀

Oh, and book 1, Betrayal’s Shadow, is currently free and will be until Sunday, so grab it if you haven’t yet. 🙂

Until next time,


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Posted by on December 2, 2020 in Uncategorized


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The Mahaelian Chronicle – New Editions and Translations

Hey everyone, hope you’ve been well. 🙂

I hit ‘publish’ on the 3rd edition of Betrayal’s Shadow yesterday, so that’s out there again. Book 2 will follow in December, and Book 3 should be finished and out by March ’21. 🙂

Here’s the cover, Amazon and Goodreads links, in case you’re interested:



I have also joined up with BabelCube and have had ‘A Song of Sacrifice‘, the prequel novelette, translated:

French Edition: Translated by Rosine Ekobe



Portuguese Edition: Translated by Rafael Juck



Spanish Edition: Translated by Carolina La Rosa and Jorge Ledezma



Next up for translation, hopefully, will be Betrayal’s Shadow, and then Conviction’s Pain (book 2), at which stage I’ll also attempt to get ‘A Song of Conflict’ translated. I’ll keep you all up to date on things. 🙂

Book 3, Redemption’s Price, should be done and available my March next year. 🙂

I’m kind of ecstatic that my work has been translated into three languages! 😀

Thanks for sticking with me and continuing to check out my work – I hope you’ll consider supporting these excellent translators, too. 🙂

Until next time,



Posted by on October 2, 2020 in Uncategorized


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Review: Shadows of Faerie by Martin Owton

Since reading Martin’s previous novels, ‘Nandor’ and ‘Exile’, I became a fan of his world building and characters, and the fact that Martin is a really good guy and also supports many writers in the SFF community, plus his writing and story-telling ability, made it so that I know everything he publishes is quality. Shadows of Faerie is no exception.

In this book, Martin introduces the reader to a kind of mash-up world: shades of police procedural, portal fantasy and urban fantasy combine with interesting magic and world building, and these all connect believably and interestingly with our world.

The main character, Charlie Somes, is struggling with his studies, the trauma of a broken familial relationship, and life in general. Despite the problems he faces, he’s not an unlikable character – far from it. But Charlie also has an interesting gift – one which adds to his problems. His gift ends up linking him, despite his fear and misgivings, to police investigations: the murders of women, and the dealings of gangsters and drug dealers.

Charlie shows different sides throughout the tale and reacts in believable ways. He’s a complicated young man trying to deal with everything already on his plate, and offering up information to the police after coming across a murder victim not only adds to his problems, but also draws him into a relationship he might not be ready for.

When the world and the people more intricately linked to his gift begin to intrude, Martin takes us into the positive and negative consequences these changes bring to Charlie’s life. He needs to learn how to navigate escalating danger, unexpected relationships, and the consequences these have on his studies.

Once the mythical and magical trickle into the tale, Martin manages to keep everything balanced. I mention this because most writers either remain too fixed in the ‘mundane’ or focus too much on the fantastic/strange/different, but Martin retains his focus and control of the various plot threads.

This isn’t a large-scale epic, but it doesn’t need to be. The story is close and personal, and Martin does a great job of setting up the premise, characters and world, before taking the reader on an entertaining ride. I hope to read more about Charlie and his unfolding world, and I’m very glad to be reading Martin’s latest novel, which you will all be reading in due time. 😉

All in all, Shadows of Faerie was an entertaining page-turner, and I highly recommend it. 🙂


To order your copies, click here for Amazon, and don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf. Have a squiz at Martin’s website, too.

Until next time,


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Posted by on July 6, 2020 in Uncategorized


A Writing Update

Hey everyone, I hope you’re all well. Even though we’re all going through some trying times, when you sit and think about it, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

One way to remain hopeful and positive is to stay off social media – or to at least take a break from it. There’s a lot of negativity out there – it seems that some people, feeling down or angry or demotivated, want to share their misery, and seriously, you have no-one but yourself to blame if you allow what others are thinking or saying to affect you.

It’s easy to forget that we all have choices in our online lives, and that those choices have consequences; we’re not just hiding behind keyboards. If there’s one thing that our current troubles have shown me, it’s that some people have been hiding their true colours for a long, long time. There’s all kinds of anger and hatred being revealed.

I’ve tried different ways of dealing with it all, and the one way that works is to step back and concentrate on what makes you happy – seeing as so many people seem to want to surround themselves with what makes them sad or angry. Consequently, I’m hardly ever on FB anymore – I have two accounts; one I’ll be using for the business side of writing, networking and leads, that kind of thing, and then an account for my close friends and family. And it doesn’t matter which account I log into, I make a point of not spending too long online.

One of the upshots of stepping back from social media is that I’ve given myself more time to be creative. 🙂

I’ve been hard at work these last couple of months getting my books ready for re-release, and some more exciting stuff has happened, too.

The first bit of cool news is that there will soon be translations of “A Song of Sacrifice” available. The prequel novelette to my trilogy will be available in Portuguese and French, and those translations will hopefully lead to “A Song of Conflict” being translated, too, as well as the novels making up The Mahaelian Chronicle.

I’ll keep you all updated regarding the translations and when they’ll be available.

On the novel front, I should be re-releasing “Betrayal’s Shadow” sometime in September or October, and then “Conviction’s Pain” should follow in November or December. Once I’ve finished writing the final novel, “Redemption’s Price”, I’ll continue working on my standalone Horror novel, “A Canticle of Cloud”, and if all goes well, the completed Mahaelian Chronicle and the Horror novel will all be available next year.

And while I’m busy with all of that, I’ll hopefully be editing, too, so I’m looking at keeping myself busy. 🙂

I’ve got ideas percolating for other projects, but those will have to wait in line.

So, that’s where I am at the moment – busy, and steadily getting everything squared away.

As I said, I hope you’re all well – let me know in the comments how you’re doing. Social media may not be a happy place, but there’s nothing keeping us from remaining positive elsewhere online. 🙂

That’s it for now – look out for new reviews coming during this week and next week: one for a cool Urban Fantasy novel from Martin Owton, and reviews for a grand SF epic from Greg Egan and Larry Niven. 🙂

Until then,


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Posted by on June 15, 2020 in Uncategorized


And So a Writer Begins Teaching…

Hey everyone – it’s been a while, hasn’t it? 🙂

For those who don’t know, I have moved to Thailand, spent just over a month prepping and learning the in’s and out’s of teaching ESL (English Second Language), and on Monday (19 August) I will begin teaching English for Communication at Princess Chulabhorn Science High School in Nakhon Si Thammarat, in the south of Thailand. 🙂

To say that I am both tremendously excited and absolutely terrified would be an understatement… BUT as with any new and challenging experience, I am embracing this venture and journey wholeheartedly.

What does that mean for my writing and reviewing? Well, it’s going to take a while to get back into my passions, especially since I have to put all my focus into being a teacher in Thailand, which means creating lesson plans, teaching High School kids, learning to speak Thai as well as I can manage, assimilating into Thai culture, learning how to buy street food and haggling, and, well, basically, building a life here.

I’m still reading SFF – make no mistake about it. But my time needs to be focused on the more important tasks of living and working in Thailand, and until that all becomes as second-nature as living in a western society was, my passions will have to simmer and burble in the background. 🙂

You’ll be glad to know that the first book I purchased in Thailand was Robert V. S. Redick‘s sequel to the truly excellent ‘The Red Wolf Conspiracy‘, namely ‘The Rats and the Ruling Sea‘. I found a copy at an amazing store in Bangkok and it’s simply deliciously ironic that the epic journeys in the books are mirrored by the epic journey I’m busy undertaking. 🙂

So, I’ll check in with you all from time to time, and you can follow my exploits on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like. Until then, keep on reading and loving genre fiction – support it and those who write it wherever you are, and most importantly,


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Posted by on August 18, 2019 in Uncategorized


Review: Kingshold – Book 1 of The Wildfire Cycle by D.P. Woolliscroft

Hey everyone, Dave here – it’s been a while, I know!

Being both a reader and writer (why it’s been a while) of Fantasy, I’ve noticed quite a cool trend – at least in the last couple of years, and I think this trend has shown itself because of different, but important, gears clicking into place. The two biggest gears would be the Mark Lawrence-championed Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off – if you don’t know what that is, or who Mark Lawrence is, I despair of one day meeting you and will endeavor to wear a disguise so that you don’t recognize me. But check out this post to get a good idea of what SPFBO is and does. 😉 The other big gear would be the fact that self published SFF is carving out a space for itself (as it should and deserves to do) and becoming more widely talked about, shared and celebrated. I’m not saying that there isn’t still oceans of garbage to wade through, but the writers who are serious about their craft have upped their game considerably, to the point where the ‘big publishers’ are the ones on the back foot and struggling to catch up.

A great example of this exciting and powerful trend is the book I’m reviewing in this post – Kingshold. Not what I expected at all, but better than all my expectations.

I came across this book on Twitter – David had tweeted that he would be giving away paperbacks of Kingshold to a lucky number of folks who RT”d the Tweet – I was one of the people who retweeted, simply because I knew that I have many friends in both the US and UK who would be intrigued by the book and would want to take part. I was one of the winners, (I know; books above the lottery, any day) and I DM’d him, thanked him, and let him know that he might want to draw another winner in my place because I’m in South Africa and postage here is both expensive and prone to the kind of mishaps you’d think a heist-gang was behind… Anyway, David said he’d send me an ebook, which he did, and a couple of months later, here we are. 🙂

The book opens with the king and queen in Kingshold, the capital city of Edland, gazing dully out at their subjects. When you, the reader, find out why the monarchs seem so dull, you realize that this isn’t what you’ve been expecting – and that it also may be the start of something cool. As the tale unfolds, we meet a varied cast of characters (all central to the main- and side-plots) and also get such a wonderful mind’s-eye picture of the city that I didn’t feel the need to flip back to the maps (yes, there are two; kickass, right?). So, I was immediately struck by how well David balanced not only the main plot (which kicks off on the first page; no joke), but the characters and the world building. Seems really effortless, and that’s how I know how damned difficult is probably really was. We meet the different characters in different districts and get to know them a bit as the districts become more detailed and present in our minds, and all the while events continue to keep the plot-threads ticking and twitching.

Swinging back to the characters, we meet a sorcerer, his servant, her sister, an inn-keeper, a bard, three mercenaries, assorted noble-people (mostly rich and few of them nice), the chancellor, the spy master, and a young woman with cool magic who has an important link to the sorcerer. And many others, but that there is the main cast – and another reason why I was really enjoying the book as I was introduced, because reading a book featuring a ‘main’ character invariably means that the character is safe, i.e. he / she won’t die. Of if they do, they come back. Or possess someone. Or something. You know what I mean. So, with many characters shifting into and out of the spotlight, the sense of that safety net isn’t there. At all. Which also means that there’s a constant thread of tension in each chapter, and calls for more investment from the reader because will they all survive?!

And the plot, which keeps rolling on from the point of dull-eyed royal gazes, makes many twists and turns while keeping the tension tight and also offering many moments of laugh-out-loud comedy (or misfortune). There are cool battles and duels, witty comebacks and cutting remarks, cool magic backed by a great magic system, and an ever-expanding sense of ‘this world is biiiig’. In my estimation, Kingshold is exactly the kind of novel which long-time readers of Fantasy will enjoy and which will also reel in newcomers. It’s evident to me that David had a lot of fun writing this novel, and also that, in it, he celebrated much of what makes Fantasy so inclusive, fun and memorable.

Now, what did I expect? Vast battles! Sieges! World-breaking sorcery! Why? (blame that on Steven Erikson). Is that what Kingshold gave me? Nope – and I’m glad, because the novel is so much better than what I expected. Too often we allow ourselves to pushed into a corner by reading almost exclusively in one sub-genre, and yes, I love Epic Fantasy and Grimdark, but those sub-genres couldn’t pull off what David has done in Kingshold. It’s fresh, fun, considered, and an absolute page-turner, joyfully using all that makes Fantasy such a damned cool genre to read – and write in. Seriously, order your paperback and begin reading the ebook while you wait; you’ll thank me. Or not. But I live sufficiently far away from most of you that I’ll be safe. 😉

10 out of 10 – read this!


To order your copies, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK. And don’t forget to check out David’s site, either – he goes into his writing process, introduces the characters, explores Kingshold and its environs, and you can also get a free ebook by signing up for his newsletter.

Over at Out of This World Reviews, Nick Borrelli revealed the cover and detailed the line-up of tales in David’s Tales of Kingshold  – a collection which features many of the characters you’ll meet in Kingshold, both before and after the events of the first novel. It’s on my MBR (must-be-read) list, and I’m sure it’ll be on yours once you’ve enjoyed Kingshold. 🙂

Until next time,




Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Reviews, Uncategorized


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Review: A Coin for Charon by Dallas Mullican

Hey everyone, Dave here again, hope you’re all well. 🙂 I hope you got yourselves copies of ‘Thou Shalt Not’, which I reviewed on Wednesday.

In this post I’ll be reviewing a serial-killer thriller which is right up there with the work from folks like John Connolly and Thomas Harris, at least in my opinion.


Gabriel isn’t murdering anyone. He’s saving them.

The media has dubbed him the Seraphim Killer. He believes the gods have charged him to release the chosen, those for whom life has become an unbearable torment. Gabriel feels their suffering—his hands burn, his skull thunders, his stomach clenches. Once they are free, he places coins on their eyes to pay Charon for passage into paradise.

Detective Marlowe Gentry has spent the past two years on the edge. The last serial killer he hunted murdered his wife before his eyes and left his young daughter a mute shell. Whenever she looks at him, her dead eyes push him farther into a downward spiral of pain and regret. He sees the Seraphim as an opportunity for revenge, a chance to forgive himself―or die trying.

Gabriel performs the gods’ work with increasing confidence, freeing the chosen from their misery. One day, the gods withdraw the blessing―a victim he was certain yearned for release still holds the spark of life. Stunned, he retreats into the night, questioning why the gods have abandoned a loyal servant. Without his calling, Gabriel is insignificant to the world around him.

He will do anything to keep that from happening.

This novel is the first book is Dallas’ ‘Marlowe Gentry’ series, gentry being the main character and a detective.

Marlowe is a no-nonsense, seriously unhappy man; having gone through a massively traumatic experience and working as a detective, he sounds like the kind of character it would be difficult for the reader to associate with, but I found myself really caring about this guy; Dallas’ reveals more of Marlowe’s inner self chapter by chapter instead of giving the read *everything* about the man as soon as he’s introduced, a mistake which many writers in this genre have made. Marlowe comes across as an living, breathing person, and when I finally found out just what had been driving -and hounding- Marlowe, it rounded out his character perfectly. He’s a damaged man, but then, all great, memorable characters are.

Marlowe’s supporting cast is split between his superior, McCann, and his friend, Spence – the back and forth between them is entertaining and doesn’t feel forced at all. McCann is a man under immense pressure and Marlowe’s past (which is known to him) doesn’t make things any easier for him. Spence is, in many ways, Marlowe’s opposite, yet still manages to stand out among the cast – he supports Marlowe but also calls him out from time to time, the kind of thing a true friend does. Koop, the medical examiner, is another stand-out character who, along with Spence, could easily star in their own series’.

There are two other characters, Becca and Max. Becca is a psychologist and the wife of a bad cop; Max is a husband and father who gets very bad news, which impacts and changes his life. How these characters swirl into each others lives and then intersect with Marlowe’s, was expertly handled – they are all important and central to the plot, as well as to the plans and choices of the man who will change all their lives.

Which brings me to Gabriel, one of the most interesting serial killers I’ve met in this genre. His view of life, his personality, his choices, motives and methods are pretty damned unique and memorable and I was absolutely helpless as his tale unfolded.

The novel has an air of mystery and just-perceptible supernatural elements and the writing is tight and controlled; Dallas’ creates and maintains a balance between evoking the gritty urban world the characters inhabit and their inner selves, both deeply realized and explored.

When there’s a tangible sense of place as well as stand-out characters, a tale works well, and this tale, focusing on people trying to find their place in an unforgiving and brutal world, is excellent.

The only writers of the genre who have so captured me before this have been Thomas Harris and John Connolly – Dallas Mullican deserves to stand alongside them, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next Marlowe Gentry novel.



And how awesome is the cover art?! 🙂

To order your copies, follow this link for all the other links and info you’ll need. 🙂

Until next time,

Be Epic!

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Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Reviews, Uncategorized


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Review: Biblia Longcrofta by Simon Marshall-Jones

Hey everyone, Dave here. 🙂

I’m a sucker for short story collections and anthologies – collections because a writer’s skills and imagination unfold from story to story, and anthologies because the talent and ideas on offer are always something to be excited about.

Simon’s collection, featuring an incredible cover by Jim Burns, is a stunning showcase of a storyteller with heart, wit and an incredible imagination.

Biblia Longcrofta 1

The first tale, Biblia Longcrofta, follows the journey of a man in search of himself and his place in the world. It is also an exploration of many different ideas and philosophies, which not only make it one of the most unique stories I’ve read but also one of the most memorable. In this tale you’ll come across living statues, mysterious and monolithic Black Ships, gods and goddesses, souls and their own journeys toward rebirth, cosmic terror and war… And that’s by no means everything! 😉

Simon also manages to stitch together each of these ideas into a unified whole, using them not only as a means to further explore the world the main character finds himself in but also allows the reader to get to know the main character in deeper detail. Not only is the tale a journey of the heart and soul but also a journey into myriad realms, realms which has Longcroft as its focus.

I also can’t help feeling that this journey with the main character is also a journey with Simon; even though I’ve yet to meet the Marshall-Jones’, it feels as if I know them well, to some degree. Putting that much of yourself into a tale you’ve written could be a risk, but here it comes across as something exciting and beautiful, a tale beautifully told and explored.

The second tale, Feathers, is simply beautiful. Taking place in both the past and the present, it is an exploration of love, longing, memory and the magic all of these can create together.

And the third, Leaves, is a clever, wonderful tale of a boy, his Auntie and their adventures. As both the closing of a circle and the beginning of a new cycle, it’s a surprising, wonderful tale.


I give this collection a resounding 10 / 10 for its inventiveness, soul and uncompromising beauty. Wonderful stuff! 🙂

You can order Simon’s collection from Tickety Boo Press, Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Until next time,


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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


Review: The Rage Wars – Book One: Predator – Incursion by Tim Lebbon

Predator Incursion

Hey everyone, Dave here. 🙂

I had high expectations for this after reading Tim’s excellent Star Wars novel, and Tim managed to knock even my expectations aside.

The characters in this are superbly written and fleshed out, with their own believable motivations – quite a feat, considering that Incursion is also a fast-paced novel which expands along two different timelines, includes a lot of cool, new information on the Colonial Marines, the Predators and other groups, and has plenty of awesome action.

One of my favourite characters -introduced in the very beginning of the novel- has an interesting, important and ever-building arc which ties her to basically all of the novel’s events, while the other characters unravel the mystery of the novel’s premise is different, attention-holding ways. Most never meet but all have an important part to play.

The Predators were awesome handled – they remain the powerful, incredibly dangerous and mysterious race we have come to like and yet Tim also deepens their mystery while adding more layers to their society. Tim really should be the go-to guy if Titan wants a Predators-only novel.

The action was frenetic and brutal, as we’ve come to expect from anything involving the Xenomorphs and the Predators, and the plot is really damned good – Fox should have waited for this novel to arrive; I’m pretty sure they would have been orders of magnitude more successful with this trilogy.

There’s even a link to one of the Predator movies which deepens the immersion into this universe.

All in all, highly recommended! You should definitely be reading this if you’re a fan of this universe. Looking forward to the next novel in the trilogy! 9/10

Predator Incursion

Predator – Incursion was published by Titan Books; the second book in the trilogy, Alien – Invasion will be published this year, so keep an eye on Tim’s and Titan’s websites for more information.

To order your copies, click here for Amazon UK, here for Amazon US, and here if you’re in South Africa.

Until next time,


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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Reviews, Uncategorized


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‘The War of the Worlds’ Sequel from Gollancz and Stephen Baxter

Hey Folks, Dave here – with some very exciting news!

On the 19th of January, 2017, the sequel to one of the best-loved SF-tales ever will be published! Titled The Massacre of Mankind , the sequel will be written by Stephen Baxter and will chronicle the Martian’s return to Earth.

In Stephen Baxter’s terrifying sequel, set in late 1920s London, the Martians return, and the war begins again. But the aliens do not repeat the mistakes of their last invasion. They know how they lost last time. They target Britain first, since we resisted them last time. The massacre of mankind has begun.

Steve Baxter said: “HG Wells is the daddy of modern SF. He drew on deep traditions, for instance of scientific horror dating back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and fantastic voyages such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726).

“And he had important near-contemporaries such as Jules Verne. But Wells did more than any other writer to shape the form and themes of modern science fiction, and indeed through his wider work exerted a profound influence on the history of the twentieth century. Now it’s an honour for me to celebrate his enduring imaginative legacy, more than a hundred and fifty years after his birth.”

Marcus Gipps, Gollancz Commissioning Editor and the editor overseeing the book, said, “Steve has a great track record of collaborating with other authors, from Arthur C. Clarke and Alastair Reynolds to Terry Pratchett. I’ve seen early material from this remarkable new project, and can’t wait to unleash Steve’s new Martian terror upon the world.”

The Massacre of Mankind will be published in hardback, £20, and eBook, £19.99, on the 19th January 2017.

I’m looking forward to it! 🙂


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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Uncategorized



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