Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cover and Title Rebadge for Fisherpriest - Meet The Priestess, the Prince and the Dragon

After repeated customer feedback, indicating there was a large proportion of customers who would not buy Fisherpriest because it might belong the the Christian fantasy genre, I decided to change the title. I was also unhappy with my original cover, and decided now was the best time to change that, too.

So, please welcome The Priestess, the Prince and the Dragon, with its new cover.

If you have already purchased Fisherpriest, you do not need to purchase The Priestess, the Prince and the Dragon as well. The content, apart from the title page an explanation in the Author's Notes and an updated Other Works by this Author page, remain the same. The story is unchanged.

When the two halves of her soul rejoin, Linna finds herself in a city she does not recognize on a world she thought existed only in her imagination. To make matters worse, the god she serves has rejected her, and she is captured and sold to four princes from a distant land, who require a priest of the sea. What starts out as a journey to regain her deity’s approval, soon becomes a flight for her life. With one prince at her side, and unspeakable evil at her back, Linna embarks on a journey where she must survive pursuit by the purist Silver Mountains tribeselves, and captivity by the cave spider clan in order to find her place in the world.

The Priestess, the Prince and the Dragon (originally titled Fisherpriest) is the first novel in the Tales of the Five Kingdoms series, set in dark fantasy world of Tzamesch, at the same time as the Shadow Series
WARNING: The Priestess, the Prince and the Dragon contains slavery, a sex scene, and refers to slave breeding. You must be an Adult to purchase and read this work.

Monday, December 2, 2013

First Pages: Death Comes in Bone by C.M. Simpson

Last week, I released Death Comes in Bone. Today, I'll share the first page with you.

Death Comes in Bone is a dark fantasy short story about a skeletal assassin.
Murdered by his closest friend, Tanag is not surprised to wake and find himself dead. He is surprised, however, that others have come to the caves hidden not so far from what used to be his home. As the adventurers plunder his bones and move on, Tanag remembers who killed him, and the vow he made as he died. In order to fulfil that vow, Tanag must rise and leave his impromptu tomb—but first he has to get his sword back from the adventurer that woke him and took it from his remains.
Death Comes in Bone is, or will be, available in electronic form from, among others: Smashwords, OmniLit, DriveThruFiction, Amazon-Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, and Nook.

In the meantime, here's the first page.

First Page: Death Comes in Bone

Tanag woke as light broke into his resting place. He didn’t know how long he’d been dead for, knew only that he’d been murdered and that he was still angry about it. His best friend had betrayed him, had chosen his family’s ambitions over loyalty and friendship after all. Tanag had made a serious misjudgment of character. He worried that it had cost his family their lives.
Careful, lest he should be destroyed before he’d woken, Tanag lay still. His sword lay in its sheath—Arrin had given him no time to draw it, plunging the weapon he’d taken from the yellowthorn thicket deep into Tanag’s kidney and holding his friend, his prince, until he was sure Tanag had died of the injury and the poison in the yellowthorn’s sting.
Tanag remembered the pain, so great he hadn’t been able to make a sound, but not as great as the pain in his heart. Arrin had gone to great lengths to ensure Tanag’s murder remained undiscovered, bringing down the cave roof with a magical ability Tanag had not even suspected. The wielding had brought about a distinctive stench and the prince wondered just how long Arrin had consorted with demons, or when he’d found the time. Arrin had spent his off-hours and many stolen moments in the arms of dark-eyed, dark haired Lannara.
Rocks tumbled, metal gauntlets scraped against stone and the light grew stronger. Tanag tried to resist the urge to squint against the light, and registered that he had no eyes, no eyelids. He started to raise a hand to feel his face, but the first twitch of his fingers brought a startled shout to ears that were no longer there. Retribution was swift, even though he’d stilled his hand. A sword was driven through his ribs. There was pain, but not the kind of pain Tanag expected. This time it was no effort to keep himself still.
Magic bound him together… Why would magic bind his bones together when his flesh was clearly gone. He had known he was dead, but this… Why?
Laughter interrupted his thoughts.
“The great knight Devas, frightened by a pile of empty bones.” Mockery.
“I swear I saw it move.”
“Well, it’s not moving now. Who was it, do you think?”
Tanag listened to them try to work out who he’d been. Not a single word was close. He did not protest when they took the sword, well-preserved by its sheath, and rifled through the trinkets and coins that had fallen into his remains when his pockets had rotted away. He did not try to stop them scattering his bones when they noted the glint of gold that had once adorned his fingers or the entwined gold and solid medallion that he’d worn around his throat. None of that mattered.
What mattered to him now, was to work out why he lived beyond death—a death unfairly given, certainly, but an ending none-the-less. As the big man in plate mail and his trio of less well-protected companions made their way further into the cavern complex, Tanag wished them luck.


If you would like to read more, Death Comes in Bone is, or will be, available in electronic form from, among others: Smashwords, OmniLit, DriveThruFiction, Amazon-Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, and Nook.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Release: Death Comes in Bone by C.M. Simpson

Death Comes in Bone has just been released to Amazon, Smashwords, OmniLit, Kobo and Drivethrufiction. Of these, Smashwords and OmniLit are now live; the others will follow over the next few days.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Carlie Simonsen on Writing for the Youngers

Carlie Simonsen originally wrote this piece for the Dark Side Down Under website, six months ago, and we’ve asked her to repeat it here. Carlie writes mostly speculative and paranormal fiction for Younger readers, and very rarely hint at romance. She also writes science fiction (Dear Tiger, Rocky to the Rescue), fantasy (Assassin, Not), contemporary ‘reality’ with a twist (Long Hair, Tag Man One, The Dog’s Way), science-fiction-fantasy blends (Spit), and contemporary reality with no twist (Legacy of Dreams, All Alone).

Take it away, Carlie:


Thank you, Publisher dear. Well, people ask me why I write for a younger audience, and what they need to do in order to write successfully for that age group. Over the years, I’ve come up with the following tips, or rules:

The first rule is DON’T WRITE DOWN: No one likes being talked down to, or having it all explained as if they are too stupid to work it out for themselves. Just write the story. Write to entertain. Youngers are *young*; they’re not morons, and they’re far from stupid. Don’t treat them as either.

Secondly: LEAVE OUT THE LECTURE: A story should never be a lecture. Sure, you might have some points you want to get across, but you’re a story teller first, and, for that, the story MUST come first. You’re not there to preach, or ram a few good points down anyone’s throat. You’re there to tell a story. The hardest hurdle to get over when I started in this genre was to get my head around this simple point. Editors wanted stories ‘with meaning’, stories that ‘had a moral’ or ‘a point’, or they wanted it to be wrapped in humour, or ‘e: all of the above’. Forget that. Write the story. If Youngers are your audience, then write a story they’ll enjoy, just the same as you would, if you were writing a story for an adult audience.

Third: FORGET THE MARKET: Think of the story you want to write and the audience you want to write it for. Some might think that a story that doesn’t ‘fit’ a market isn’t worth writing, or that the audience *is* the market, but this isn’t the case. What a publisher asks for isn’t necessarily what the audience wants to read. The story is king, and, as with every other genre, you can stifle it by trying to make it fit into a box (or set of guidelines) it was never made to go in. Worse, it can make it very difficult to write anything. Remember, you can independently publish. If a publisher doesn’t want to take a chance on your work because the content doesn’t match their perception of the market OR because your work simply doesn’t suit the style and flavour of the lines they have established, don’t try to jam your story into a shape it was never meant to be. Chances are it won’t be worth reading, or it will come across as forced.

Fourth: KEEP IT SIMPLE: And I don’t mean the story; I mean the sentence structure and words. Remember, Youngers don’t have the word experience of an adult (although a few would give the “grown-ups” a run for their money). In terms of writing for Youngers this means keeping the following in mind:

  • The nuts and bolts of your work need to have a simple but clear structure.
  • Shorter sentences work best, but varying the length of sentences is still important for a smooth flow.
  • Use words that don’t require a PhD to understand (another good rule that applies to books for Olders).

·         Use words Youngers are likely to encounter in everyday life, over words they’re going to need a dictionary or an Older for. Every time your reader has to stop and check something out, they are pulled out of your story. You don’t want this, no matter what age you write for.

Fifth: SUBJECT SUITABILITY: Yes, I know I said the story is king, but you are writing for Youngers. Some stories are best told to an older age group. If you wouldn’t talk about it to your own children, or you wouldn’t feel comfortable reading it out loud to a Younger audience with an adult (teacher, parent, person off the street) looking over your shoulder, then you might want to re-think who you are writing for: perhaps, that story is not a Younger tale, but something for the Olders. Having said all that, you can see that some of the subjects I write about touch on “issues” such as being in a wheelchair and losing your original hopes and dreams (Legacy of Dreams), being away from your parents and not fitting in (Dear Tiger), and some are mostly story with only a little bit of controversy, such as law enforcement and gun control in a semi-war setting (Spit), or facing down fear to save your family and move house (Rocky to the Rescue).

Sixth: RELINQUISH REALITY: Okay, not all of reality, just a little bit—just enough for your story to live and breathe. It’s like writing a story where the world isn’t quite what it seems, where the unlikely *can* reasonably happen. For instance, where you can use your hair as an effective weapon in karate (Long Hair), or a Younger can climb into the cockpit of the latest fighter jet and fly it away from a bunch of bad guys trying to steal it (TagMan One). You’re telling a story. Always remember that.


Now get out there and write.

And all the best of luck

  More About Carlie Simonsen:

Carlie Simonsen has independently published twelve chapter books for Youngers, and is working on her thirteenth. She started writing in the genre in response to a number of publisher calls for submissions. Unfortunately, she soon learned she couldn’t write ‘funny’ to save herself, and took the hint from a few good-hearted editors that her work just wasn’t going to ‘fit’ an established market, although they encouraged her to keep trying. The result is a number of quirky stories that entertain while touching on issues such as children left alone after a supermarket bombing (AllAlone), bullying in—and out of—the playground (The Dog’s Way and Yard Boss—both soon to be released), pursuing the most unlikely dreams through hard work and effort (Long Hair), and doing the right thing even when it means change (Assassin, Not).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First Pages: The Reptiles' Blade by C.M. Simpson

The Reptiles’ Blade is a science fiction novella about a retired military member, a lizardine warrior-come-“diplomat” and some high-level negotiation that very nearly goes astray before it even gets started.

When Felicity Shannara Jones is ordered by her command to infiltrate a criminal organization using humanitarian aid as a front, she isn’t sure she’s the right girl for the job, but then she finds Mika, second planetary adviser to humanity’s current foe, and she knows things just got serious. When Mika escapes custody, things go from serious to dire in one jet-propelled moment and Felicity, with her history in the lizardine war, finds herself in the firing line once more.

The Reptiles’ Blade is available from Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Omnilit, DriveThruFiction and iTunes.

First Page: The Reptiles' Blade

Felicity Shannara Jones, Captain Jones to most who knew her, Felix to her friends, Jay to Manx Carlisle who followed her up the steps from the car.
“You could drop the uniform, you know,” he said. “After all, you don’t wear one anymore.”
“Can it, Carlisle.”
“And I know you’re pissed when you go formal on me.”
“You have no idea.”
Carlisle placed a hand on her forearm. It was just a touch, firm, a warning. Felix stopped half way up the stairs, let him partially block her path and catch her eye.
“Take a breath, Jay. They are the dumbest damned civilians we’ve yet come across, but they are holding all the cards.”
It took an effort, but Felix managed to halt the epithet before it crossed her tongue. This was what they paid him for. This was why she had kept him around, long after she had given most of her other PAs the can. Carlisle knew the playing field, and knew her well enough to warn her when she was letting too much of her inner self show—and, tonight, she had to present a cool, collected fa├žade. The institute they were visiting was holding someone she dearly wanted to meet. If they caught a whiff of who she really was and what she was doing here, she’d be out on her ear before she could see him.
She laid a hand over the top of Carlisle’s fingers, acknowledging his assistance. Turning her head so she could meet his eyes, she took two deep breaths, careful to stay aware of her surroundings even as she lost herself in the color of his eyes. Blue and green swirled together to remind her of the oceans of Aquapearl.
Aquapearl. Not all of her memories of that distant world were so peaceful. In fact, most of them were highly disturbing. She had been a killer then, worn a uniform, led a squad against one of the most cunning and adept enemies humanity had ever had the misfortune of irritating. Attempting to claim someone else’s planet tended to have that effect on the inhabitants. The oceans, though.
She had been given time to heal beside one, and had learned to associate the uniquely colored water with security—and then they had whisked her out of the war zone and slotted her with an advisory position. It was too dangerous to send her back to fight; she’d draw too much attention to any unit to which she was attached.
Felix had learned a lot about the politics behind the conflict, since then, was active in trying to find a way to peace that would let both sides retire with grace. Or, at least, with their economies intact. The lizardine warrior being held was probably the emissary they had been waiting for, and that was going to put a big hole in their hopes for an equitable ending.


If you would like to read more, The Reptiles’ Blade is available from Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Omnilit, DriveThruFiction and iTunes.