Saturday, 29 December 2012

Last Blog Post of 2012: A Christmas Story


As my last post of this year, I would like to tell you a story. I'm always talking about the magic of Christmas and how, as a children's writer, I love the stories related to the holidays, so why not tell you one myself? My favourite one of all. I have the perfect Christmas story, one that is equal to all the great classics like Scrooge and A Christmas Carol. After all, that's what us writers do, right? Tell stories.



Once upon a time...*wavy lines*

There was once a man who lived in the world of Harsh Reality, a land where life was hard and joys came far and few between. There were no real happy endings or anything magical to speak of. When people died, they were really dead, and when people suffered, they really felt pain.

This man was luckier than most. He had a way of escaping the world of Harsh Reality. It came in the form of a gateway into a world filled with beautiful people where hope and opportunities were a reality. It was a world where magic and adventure actually existed.  He loved this world so much where his friends really cared about him, gave him self-worth and a belief in a bright future. He had a dream, you see. He was a writer, and dreamed of a day when he could become an author and share his stories with the world to make it a better place. But sadly, despite being lucky and having a gateway to escape the bad things in life, he still lived in the world of Harsh Reality.

One day he came home to find his gateway had been destroyed by a member of his family. He was sure it was just an accident, but this didn't lessen his devastation. How could this happen? What could he do? There was no way of replacing this most precious item. In the world of Harsh Reality, Christmas was fast approaching, but he had lost his job and had no money. He couldn't provide his family with lavished gifts or special treats to celebrate the season. In the world of Harsh Reality, Santa didn't really come bearing gifts for his children. It was a world filled with pain and disappointment.

As expected in a world like this, this was just the tip of a very big iceberg. Life became unbearable for this man as one bad thing after another wore him down. He struggled to cope without any escape from this land where he had nowhere to turn and all hope had been lost. He soldiered on for the sake of his family, trying to put on a brave face, but life had never seemed so bleak at a time when it was meant to be filled with joy and laughter. He missed his friends trapped in a realm that he could no longer get to. He roamed the world of Harsh Reality lost and alone, dreaming of the world he loved so much and the people that cared for him.

But as everyone knows, Christmas is a magical time of year. The spirit of Christmas can overcome any obstacle even in the land of Harsh Reality. Unknown to this man, his friends plotted to be reunited with their friend from the other realm. They wanted him back as much as he wanted to be with them. They devised a cunning plan, and being from a world where magic and adventure really exists, they had everything at their disposal. They used friends, family, Father Christmas, and even a character from this man's books to bring their plan into effect.

Christmas came, and this year Santa really did come to the world of Harsh Reality. The man woke to find he had brought a brand new Gateway. He was speechless! Opening his stocking, he wept with pure joy. Things like this didn't happen in this world, but there it was. It was so beautiful, so shiny and so...PINK! He used his Gateway to return to the beautiful world when his friends were waiting for him with open arms. They showered him with love and greetings that were so overwhelming, they changed his whole perspective on life and humanity. It made him a better person. It taught him so much.

Just like all the classic Christmas stories, this one also has a fairy tale ending. The beautiful people from this world did everything they could to make this man's dreams come true. And come true they did! He became an author and spread his children's stories throughout the world, bringing joy and happiness to so many and making the world of Harsh Reality a better place to live.


Okay, you may be asking yourself why I made the outrageous claim that this Christmas story is as good as the classic stories you've heard so many times. My reason for this claim is because my fairy tale is a true story. I am that man, and everything that happened in this story happened in the real world of Harsh Reality where I live.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Especially my beautiful friends.

Monday, 24 December 2012

The Magic of Christmas


Christmas really is a magical time of year, and being a children's author, I love that so much. I know Christmas can be a sad time for many, but today I just want to talk about the Christmas magic and the joy it brings. When you're a child, it's the most exciting time of the year. It's all about the presents! No matter what adults may tell you, they're wrong. LOL No school, loads of goodies and the presents. You don't get more exciting than that!

From my experience, and having three children of my own, it doesn't change much either throughout your teenage years except the added enjoyment of partying. And I'm not talking about jelly and ice cream.

Then you become an adult yourself, and maybe have children. Christmas becomes exciting all over again. You get to see it from another perspective. Admittedly, the stress factor does increase by a lot. Responsibility is a heavy responsibility. I did a post about this a few years ago, The Real Santa. But on the day, it all becomes worth it when you see the joy it brings to your own children.

As you get older, the joy of Christmas comes in the form of spending quality time with the people you love, friends and family, and new additions like grandchildren. The whole process starts all over again in a never ending circle.

Christmas means many things to many people, but what I love most about it is the magic of Christmas. It's like no other time of the year where people become a little nicer. They do things they wouldn't normally do. As a children's author, I love the classic stories where peace and good will prevail in the most unlikely places by the most unlikely people, like during the world wars when the soldiers stopped fighting and played football together in no man's land. Only the magic of Christmas could do this. I find this very moving. I write children's fantasy where this magic only exists in stories, but at Christmas time it really does come to life. It's a shame people couldn't keep this magic with them throughout the whole year.

What is it about Christmas that you love the most?

Friday, 23 November 2012

Stigma of the Self-Published Author—Kurt Chambers


This has been a very exciting year for me as at the beginning of the year I published my MG fantasy novel, Truth Teller, as an e-book. It’s the first book I’ve ever published and it has been many years in the making. To heighten my excitement, my story has just been published in paperback also. My first thought was to tell the whole world that I had become a published author. What better way to do that than contact my local newspaper that runs stories on local people’s success stories. I have seen them print articles on local authors before.

I wrote a letter explaining about my exciting news and eagerly waited for a reply. None came. That’s strange, I thought. Maybe I made a mistake and sent it to the wrong person. I spoke to some friends that suggested I wrote a press release. What a great idea! Give them a real story they can use in the newspaper. I set about writing my story on how I grew up in the town, and about my local school and how my English teacher would be proud of me as well as be very surprised. It was, after all, a real life success story in my eyes. This time, I made sure I sent it to the right person. I waited for a reply, more confident. None came.

I am a local. I have lived in this town for forty-five years, worked at the local church as a volunteer working with local children, as well as at the schools. My family lobbied to get a zebra crossing that is now outside the local junior school. I have had three children here and three grandchildren. I consider myself as part of this community. Why weren’t they interested in my story? A local success story?

This wasn’t the end of it. When my book came out in print, my wife was so proud of me, she decided to write to a different local newspaper. They had a large ad saying, Advertise your Celebration Announcements Free of Charge. So she did, adding a picture of me (the one above) posing with my book. The ad was never printed.

Is there some kind of conspiracy against me? Or is there a conspiracy against self-published authors? I know there is a stigma for self-published authors in the publishing industry. I never claim to be right about all things, but the only reason I can possibly come up with is that my local newspapers are publishers and they have an attitude towards self-published authors. Maybe they would have been willing to run my story if I had been published by a mainstream publisher? What other reason would they have to completely ignore me and not even reply to my letters?

Is this a worldwide thing, or just a stuck-up snobby English thing? I would love to hear any other self-published authors’ experiences.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Highs and Lows of Self-Publishing—Kurt Chambers


There are many good and bad points when it comes to becoming a self-published author, I thought I would talk today about my experiences in the hope that it will be some help towards any other authors who are considering going down this route.

  
Let me first give you my reasons for why I decided to self-publish my MG novel, Truth Teller. I never intended to self-publish this story. I was confident I could get it published in the traditional way. I did everything that I feel an author should do. I spent a couple of years writing my novel. Once completed, I joined an online forum and met other writers, who, over a period of many years, taught me how to perfect my craft and write and edit my work to a publishable standard. In this time, I learned a lot!

  
Once confident that I had done as much as I could to make my story just perfect (if there is such a thing), I set out into the world of publishing, querying all the top publishers and agents, expecting to be the next big thing since Harry Potter. Then came the rejection letters. Oh the pain! My world crumbled when I couldn’t get any interest in my creation. All those years of work for nothing! My youngest daughter started calling me, The Rejectionator.

  
The truth was, my book wasn’t ready in the early days. I had been so eager for fame and fortune that I was blind to this. But, being a determined sort, I continued to learn and grow. The rejection letters continued to come, along with self doubt. What was I doing wrong? Were my friends lying to me? Maybe my book was rubbish. It took me many more years to realise it wasn’t my story that had a problem, but the publishers who dictate what is marketable or not. My story simply wasn’t marketable. Not the in thing.

  
Faced with this dilemma, I had to decide whether to shelve my story and wait for the market to change, or learn how to publish the story myself. Truth Teller meant so much to me, I couldn’t face putting it aside, and was persuaded by some close friends to publish it myself. I know now it was the right decision for me personally.

  
Should You Self-Publish or Not?

  
Self-publishing isn’t for everybody. I have given you my reasons for doing it, but before I came to this decision, I spent many years learning my craft. I would suggest all up-and-coming authors should go through this process before they ever consider self-publishing. It is a massive learning curve. Joining a good writing group will teach you how to craft your writing to a level you could never achieve on your own. It will make you a stronger and better writer. Think of it as an apprenticeship. It’s not something that can be rushed if you want to be as good as you can be. Going through the submission process is also good experience. As a creative writer, you are going to have to face a lot of rejection in your life.

 

On the plus side, self-publishing does give you 100% control over your work. I have known a few authors who have been offered a contract with a publisher and then had their books changed to such a point that they no longer liked their own stories in order to make them more marketable. A publisher will also like to use their own cover artists, so be prepared to have no say in what your cover may look like. Then there is the matter of royalties. Typically about 15% from a publisher, or 70% as a self-published author.

On the negative side, becoming a self-published author is a LOT of work. You will be responsible for making your work as good as it can be. If you want to do it properly, this will mean hiring someone to proofread your work to ensure it is at a publishable standard. Sadly, not all self-published authors do this and give self-publishing a bad name by publishing sub standard work. You will be responsible for purchasing your own ISBN numbers (International Standard Book Numbers). Find a good cover artist. Learn how to format correctly to upload your work to publish in e-book or print format. Of course, there are many people out there that you can hire to do this work for you, but it can come at a high price tag.

 
Lastly, once all this work is done and your book is launched into the world, then comes the hardest bit of all. Selling your book. This really is no easy task, let me tell you.

 
So, these are the good and bad points of becoming a self-published author. There are many other issues I still haven’t covered, but these are the main ones that came to mind as I was writing this. The answer to whether you should self-publish or not is not an easy or straight forward one. It depends on many things. It really is a personal choice. I hope this has been some help towards your decision, and good luck to anyone who is venturing into the crazy world of publishing.

Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers 





Sunday, 4 November 2012

My MG Fantasy Truth Teller Is Finally Available in Paperback—Kurt Chambers

I did it! I actually did it!!! My eight-year long dream came true. And wow, what a journey it has been. The most exciting adventure of my life. It all started so many years ago when what I thought was a good idea at the time. Little did I know what lay in store for me. Laughter, tears, joy, rejection, frustration, sadness, elation, every emotion you can think of, I went through it all. I never imagined in a million years how much was involved in writing and publishing a novel. It’s actually mind-blowing.

For me, this was an almost impossible task. I was the least likely person in the world to become an author. I worked in the building trade as a carpenter and had no experience in anything writing related whatsoever. I wasn’t even very good at reading. English was one of my worst subjects. By pure accident, I started working with children as a volunteer, helping to run a Brownie pack. Twenty-six screaming kids aged seven to eleven years old. It was so much fun. I became an official member of Girl Guiding UK and did this for about six years. Working with children is an inspiration. They inspired me to start writing children’s novels.

I spent a couple of years writing my first book, and when it was finished I sought advice on what I should do. I didn’t know anything about writing or the publishing industry. A friend of mine suggested I join an online forum and talk to other writers, so that night, that’s what I did. I eventually found my way to the Young Adult Novel Workshop where I met some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They took me under their wing and started teaching me how to be a writer. I became friends with writers from all over the world. The writing community is the most amazing place in the whole world. So many wonderful people who put themselves out to help me and asked for nothing in return. It was nothing short of awe inspiring.

Eight years since that day I decided to sit down and write children’s stories, I can finally announce to the world that my book is available to read in paperback. It is such an amazing feeling. Truth Teller is book one is a series of three fantasy children’s books: Truth Teller, The Wrath of Siren, and Favian’s Law. I hope to have all three books published by the end of next year. I also have another complete novel, Unknown Reality, a sci-fi/fantasy novel that is almost ready for publication.

Today is a wonderful day for me. It really is an almost impossible dream come true. I can never thank all my wonderful friends who helped me on this journey. Without them, this would have never happened. I will never forget what you have done for me. Thank you with all my heart.

There is a moral to this story I would like to share with all other up-and-coming authors that are struggling to bring their stories into the world. There were so many times when I thought I could never do this, but I was told time and time again that there is one golden rule. Never give up! I wanted to give up more times than you could ever imagine, but their advice was the most sound advice I ever had. I didn’t give up and now this day has come. The moral is, never give up. Dreams really can come true. Good luck to each and every one of you.

Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers

Createspace Store
https://www.createspace.com/4029198

Amazon US

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Teller-1-K-Chambers/dp/0957327919/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352578574&sr=1-4

Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-Teller-1-K-Chambers/dp/0957327919/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352578343&sr=1-1




Truth Teller Reviews:

Dawne Dominique - Multi-published author and professional cover artist.

The Truth Teller is one of the best children's fantasy book I've read in a long while. Charlotte is so easy to picture in my mind, and the fantasy aspects are brilliant! There are underlying currents of "real life lessons" that are subtly included...ideal for parents looking for that perfect bedtime story to read to their children. I loved the entire premise of the novel and will definitely be purchasing the next ones in this series.

Kurt Chambers has captured the genre with a wonderful story that will delight many a child's (and adult's) imagination.

Annie McMahon - Editor, published author, and Novel Workshop moderator.

This book has everything a bestseller should have: compelling story, endearing characters, vivid descriptions, genuine emotions, and a lot of surprising twists and turns. This is a story about a friendship that transcends race, gender, age, and even realms, between Charlotte, a ten-year-old girl, and Elderfield, a teenage elf. Beautiful and heartwarming. I strongly recommend it and have reviewed Kurt’s story on my blog, Dutch Hill News.

Ralene Burke – Writer, Editor for Wives in Bloom:

Honestly, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read these books. Kurt has written an amazing series that emphasizes such wonderful themes as friendship, family, hope, and faith. I’ve read Truth Teller and Wrath of Siren and, even though they are MG, enjoyed them immensely. If you’re looking for wholesome reads for your children, check out the next big thing for MG.

Truth Teller is also available in all e-book formats from here:

Amazon UK: Click here to sample or buy

Amazon US: Click here to sample or buy

Smashwords: Click here to sample or buy

Goodreads: Click here to sample or buy

Shelfari: Click here to sample or buy

Barnes & Noble: Click here to sample or buy

You can connect with the author at:

Author’s Web page http://kurtchambers.net/

Author’s Blog http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/emailmanROCKS

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurt-Chambers/296957780317055

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Dream Come True--Kurt Chambers

My MG fantasy novel, Truth Teller, is about to come out in print. Wow! This is an eight-year long dream of mine, and to say that I’m VERY excited is the understatement of the century. I just know that when I finally hold my book in my hand, I will probably cry. LOL I’m not ashamed to say. It has been the most amazing journey of my life creating this novel. It’s not just a book, it’s been a massive part of my life, and now it’s finally about to materialise into reality. Today, I’m so thrilled to show off the final cover design for Truth Teller before its official release.

None of this would have been possible without the amazing support I’ve had from some of the most amazing and wonderful people I have ever met. I want to introduce some of these people to you as they are the backbone of UK Children’s Publishing, and the reason my dream made it into the real world.



Dawne Dominique is not only a wonderful person and a great friend, but also a massively talented cover artist and multi published author. In 2008, Preditors & Editors ranked her 2nd Best Artist of the year. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, she's taken home the Best Cover Artist award. She also heads the Art Department at Damnation Books and Eternal Press.

This week she surprised me by creating a brand new cover for Truth Teller, as seen above, for its release into paperback. I was speechless. Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?



Anastasia V. Pergakis is such a lovely lady and a very dear friend of mine. She has worked so hard to make my story just right by formatting both the e-book and the paperback to include the finest of details down to perfection. Nothing is too much trouble for her. She has been a joy to work with, and I can never thank her enough.

Anastasia is a published author and a genius at creating stunning websites. If there are any authors out there looking for the services of a professional web designer, book design, or formatting, then I would seriously recommend Anastasia Creatives.



Annie McMahon is a real life angel and my best friend. We run a novel workshop together where we help mentor new and published authors. She is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met. Annie has dedicated so much of her time editing my novel to bring it to a publishable standard. She is an amazing editor as well as an amazing children’s author and a very special person.

Annie is currently offering proofreading services to middle grade authors at a courtesy price. This is an offer not to be missed if you’re a children’s author looking to polish your manuscript to perfection before publication. See her site Dutch Hill News for more details.



There are so many people I have to thank in my journey to bring my novel into reality, way too many to mention in this post. But I am so unbelievably grateful to every single one of you. You know who you are :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You really did make my dream come true.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Top Ten Behind-the-Scenes Moments of The Hands of Tarot!

Top Ten Behind-the-Scenes Moments of The Hands of Tarot!

10. Destroy, destroy, DESTROY!

I’m a very anal outliner. Before I write a chapter, I have to craft the outline. Now, granted, there’s still a lot of room to wiggle with and not all my scenes follow the “script”, but it’s there for me anyway, giving me and the characters the direction we need.

However, there was on night during NaNoWriMo when I was pushing out 3,000 words an hour, when Veronica (QueenCalisto on Twitter) leaned over and started laughing. She read my chapter outline for one of my chapters. It was quite simply, “DESTROY! DESTROY! DESTROY!” It was bolded, underlined and in big handwriting. We still laugh about it to this day.

9. How is the word “Sky” a curse word?

Cursing is like breathing for me. I’m a military brat who joined the Army and went into construction. It’s all around me.

But I had to find a way for the characters in this book to curse. They’re on a different world! They’re not going to drop the F-bomb, and they don’t have dams.

In The Hands of Tarot, you can tell where each person originates by how they curse. Joshua is a land dweller, so he praises dirt and curses the sky. Synn is a sky dweller, so he’s the exact opposite. We have such a diverse world, it’s a lot of fun for me to listen to them curse.

And because of that, I now curse using “monkeys”. It’s a lot of fun and gets some strange looks, but people react by laughing! It really is funny. And because of this book, I get emails, Tweets, and texts of people cursing at me with “For the love of Sky, Frankie!” I really get a kick out of it.

8. One thing you would never know about Synn.

His sister, Zara, used to dress him up like a doll until he was four. Apparently, his best color is purple and he looks great in ruffles. It’s because of his eyelashes. They’re very full. Ladies, be prepared to be envious.

7. Not so quick quicksand.

I have never been in quicksand. I’ve seen Indiana Jones and a couple of other Hollywood movies, The Jungle Book, where some nameless dude falls into quicksand and drowns.

I don’t even know how this came up, but I was sitting at the table with my parents and my daughters one night. I’m pretty sure my inside voice escaped because Dad just looked up at me (he was reading a book) and said with a frown, “Most people don’t drown in quicksand. All you have to do is float.”

That reaction, that statement, the whole package was the inspiration for the scene where Synn is leading the sphynktor bugs to the ocean and he falls into the quicksand pit. The part of Synn was inspired by yours truly. The part of Haji, by my dad.

6. The sphynktor bug versus the sea snake.

This scene was inspired by the latest Star Trek movie, which I’ve seen nearly a dozen times. I love it! I was watching Kirk running, screaming like a little girl from this giant snow monster, only to have the giant snow monster taken out by this gigantic red sea monster!

I said to myself, “Self, you have a sphynktor bug problem. This could be the solution!”

Okay. So it wasn’t original, but there you go.

5. Food for the brain…is not just caffeine.

I am addicted to King Soopers’ cranberry orange soft top cookies. They are amazing! I’ll get them as bribery for myself.

“Frankie, if you sit down and write an entire chapter, you can have one cookie.”

“But, Self, I want a cookie now. They’re calling my name. I promise. I’ll eat the cookie now, feed the brain, and then write the chapter.”

“Frankie, we’ve been over this before. You don’t write after the cookie. Your brain goes into sugar overload and you FB and Tweet when you should be writing. Now, be a good author and go write a chapter.”

“Self…you’re a bully!”

4. Developing technology that…doesn’t quite work.

I think my favorite scenes involve really cool tech that doesn’t work! Like the scene where they’re escaping from Sky City and Synn finds out there’s no landing gear.

“Without—Wait.” I followed Joshua into the belly of the beast. “We won’t be able to land?”

The characters are just so much more…real when they’re thrown pieces like that. Their dialogue sounds more genuine. And I laaaaaaaugh!

3. One thing that would surprise you about Queen Nix.

Her favorite color is pink.

2. The most watched movie, most played soundtrack while writing The Hands of Tarot.

The Prince of Persia. OMW! It’s just such a lovely movie. I deeply enjoy it! Though, I think it’s going to be awhile before I can watch it again. I love the visuals, and the sites, and the sounds. The Hands of Tarot is nothing like it! You can’t tell that movie was playing in the background. At least I can’t, but there it is.

Oh, and Synn speaks with an Adalic (Arabic) accent, not Handish (English).

1. Not the ending I was expecting.

The Hands of Tarot actually had a HEA ending (Happily Ever After). Everything was closed up very nicely. It was tidy. There were no loose ends.

But then Keeley got stuck on Sky City and Synn took over the scene. It’s not because he’s in love with her. This isn’t a love story. He just wasn’t about to leave her behind. I still could have saved it, given the reader and the characters the HEA, but then Queen Dyna (Queen of Swords) stepped in and changed everything!

The reason for the chapter title is because I wasn’t expecting it. However, I think this ending works much better for the book! I’m very pleased with it.

Well, thank you so much for letting me stop by! It’s been wonderful! I hope you enjoyed the Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Moments of The Hands of Tarot! Have a super awesome day!!!

o_O Could I have a few more exclamation points, please?

!!!!!!!

It’s been awesome! Thank you!



The Hands of Tarot

SM Blooding

Available: August 7, 2012

Format: E-book & Paperback

Blurb:

She killed his father.

She imprisoned and beat him.

And now she thinks he’s her trophy.

Synn El’Asim will do almost anything to prove her wrong. But he’s only proving her right.

Queen Nix awakened his Mark of power and inducted him into the House of Wands. She knew what she was doing. The son of the two most powerful Families standing against her is the ultimate prize.

What she didn’t take into consideration was that maybe he was too strong for her.

Maybe.

But the Families aren’t. They’ve been weakened and it’ll take a lot more than one young man with a powerful Mark to take on the Hands of Tarot.

EXCERPT:

As soon as my eyes adjusted to the brightness, the air escaped from my lungs. Before us was carnage. There were two wooden pyres burned to smoking ruin with the charred remains of people on top of them. The air reeked with the smell of burned flesh. Several more pyres stood, two currently burning, three more untouched, all of them in a circle surrounding a large cage.

Filled with children.

Guards walked from one of the burning pyres and lit torches, walking to the neighboring one to set it ablaze.

The children inside whimpered. One screamed, her hand reaching through the bars. Most of them silently wept, watching as their loved ones succumbed to the smoke.

I couldn’t just stand by and watch this. I took a step forward, my hand going for my sword.

My father stopped me, his eyes troubled with sorrow.

Queen Nix turned to me and smiled. “Do you wish to declare war?”

“Let them go,” I commanded, my voice ragged. “What have they done to you?”

She stalked toward me, her nose nearly touching mine, all semblance of beauty twisted with rage. “They refused to submit to me.”

I stared at her aghast, my hands clenched, my jaw tight. “So because you couldn’t control them, you’re going to destroy them?”

The rage turned cold across her features as she drew away, her shoulders back.

“Are you so weak?” The muscles in my cheek twitched.

Father took a step toward us. “Perhaps we can reach a mutual agreement.”

Someone in the cage screamed, the scream turning to ravaged sobs.

I let out a growl. “You will stop this!”

The queen turned her eagle-eyed stare to me. “I do not take orders from a mere boy.”

“Queen Nix,” my father started, “let us be reasonable.”

She took a step back and assessed him.

“The Umira have never been a harmful Family.” My father’s hands were wide at his side, his expression open. “They have always lived in peace with the Hands.”

Her eyes flared and she advanced on him. “You’ve allied yourself with them.”

Father’s eyes widened as he took a half step back.

I watched in alarm, unsure of what to do. My father was the strongest man I ever knew.

The queen grabbed his coat and pulled his face close to hers. “The Umira have always been a peaceful Family, so imagine my surprise when they assaulted us with cannons and weapons.”

“They have the right to defend themselves, Nix.”

“Not against me.” She pushed him away and turned to her gathering guard. “Take him and his heathen son. Throw them on the pyre.”

My father drew his sword and faced the guard. “Go, Synn, now!”

Our men drew their weapons and stood by his side.

“I’m not leaving you, Father.” My sword was in my hand. I was ready to die an honorable death by my father’s side.

He backhanded me and roared, “You will protect our people, Synn El’Asim.”

I was torn. I wanted so badly to fight beside him, to protect him.

But my father had given me an order. One I could not ignore.

I turned and ran.



About the Author:

SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, their new addition, Mr. Bird, who’s a real bird. She likes to hike the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and is learning to play the piano and guitar. Currently, she’s trying to MURDER them both. Friends call her Frankie.

She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.

She’s also an investigator with a

local paranormal investigation group, Colorado Paranormal Rescue!

Find out more about her at:

Twitter

Facebook

Website/Blog

Amazon -- Kindle

Amazon – Paperback

B&N – Paperback

http://www.smblooding.com/the-hands-of-tarot/



Thursday, 9 August 2012

Alligators Overhead by the Amazing C. Lee McKenzie


Thanks for letting me talk about my book on your blog, Kurt. I appreciate this opportunity a lot.

Here’s what the book is about.

Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors. Unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town's bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he's up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn't the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete's guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find the witches and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.

About the author:

C. Lee is writer who captures the pulse of adolescent confusion in her Young Adult fiction, Sliding on the Edge and The Princess of Las Pulgas. She admits to revealing a lot of her Old Adult confusion while doing that. Alligators Overhead is her first Middle Grade novel. She lives in California with her husband and assorted animals at the edge of a redwood forest. Lee blogs at The Write Game and she’d love a visit at her website.

So why alligators? I’m asked that question a lot. My answer is, “Why not?” After all, cats have been done. Dogs have been done. Horse stories are everywhere. There are only a few stories with alligators out there. I know they’re not cuddly and cute critters, but they are fascinating when you know a bit about them.

Alligators were common in the Cenozoic era and looked a lot like they do today. In 65 million years they haven't changed their fashion statement much at all. Now that’s being self-assured, don’t you think?

In the 1980's American alligators were limited to the Everglades National Park in Florida. They were in danger of extinction because of human beings. Once they were protected, they made a major come back. They’re kind of like Rocky Balboa, the come back king.

Alligators are less aggressive than their cousins, the Crocodiles, and their snout is shorter and broader than the Crocs'. You can tell the difference if you get close enough. I suggest that it isn't really important to tell the difference.

They lay 20 to 50 eggs in vegetation along marshy banks, and when the hatchlings start yelling, "Let me out!" Mom opens the nest for them to leave the nest.

If the nest is kept hot, only little boy alligators are born--if cool, only girls pop out. As always, girls are way cool.

I know more about alligators than I need to, but it’s great to learn new things and that’s another reason my book is about alligators. I got curious about these scaly reptiles, then I wanted a story to put them in. Hope you found these alligator facts interesting and that you’ll enjoy my book.












AMAZON KINDLE

http://tinyurl.com/7hv8j5a

SMASHWORDS

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/204548

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

http://tinyurl.com/7fcvk48

B & N

http://tinyurl.com/8ywogjt


You can connect with the C. Lee McKenzie at:


WEBSITE

http://cleemckenziebooks.com

FACEBOOK

https://www.facebook.com/cleemckenziebooks

TWITTER

@cleemckenzie


Bio: C. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can. She takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Alligators Overhead is her first middle grade novel.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Novel Book Reviews -- Kurt Chambers


How do you feel when you first launch you book into the world and eagerly wait for the reviews to come pouring in? Are you excited? Scared? What will the rest of the world think about your masterpiece? Hopefully they will totally get it and crave for more. But everyone is different, right? You can’t really expect everyone to love it. Some might even hate it. You know the saying … There is always one. No matter where you go. Let’s hope the ‘one’ isn’t into reading hehe!!

I am on the brink of releasing my MG fantasy novel, Truth Teller, into print, and in order to celebrate this, I have been giving away free copies of the e-book version. (Please see previous post if you would like a copy.) Last week, I received a review from one of my readers via email, and I would like to share this review with the rest of the world.



Truth Teller Review

Hi Kurt,

I just finished your novel Truth Teller. It was wonderful. I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing through in one sitting.

You have a talent for descriptive writing. I was impressed with how well you portrayed Charlotte. Her character truly reads as the typical 10-year-old little girl, self-absorbed, needing the reassurance of those she trusts around her, yet setting out boldly on a grand adventure. Elderfield is also a great character. You sense the strength of the man he is becoming hidden at times behind the remnants of the boy. Both characters are very well developed as are the supporting characters. Swallow is the mother of every child's dreams. The relationship between Elderfield and his parents and in turn their welcoming of Charlotte is truly an ideal family situation.

I thought the plot progressed with just enough conflict and tension to keep me interested to see what was going to happen next. The scene where Elderfield is attacked by the wolves was just violent enough to keep kids interested without being overly gory as so much media targeted towards children is these days.

Although at 47 I am quite a bit older than your target audience, I can still remember reading books at that age and I am sure I would have loved it then as well. I look forward to reading more of you work and to revisiting Charlotte and Elderfield as their story develops further. I look forward to the release of Wrath of Siren. Thanks for sharing your work.

KJ Conrad


If anyone reading this has a review story you would like to share, I would love to hear it :)


Truth Teller is available in all e-book formats from here:

Amazon UK: Click here to sample or buy

Amazon US: Click here to sample or buy

Smashwords: Click here to sample or buy

Goodreads: Click here to sample or buy

Shelfari: Click here to sample or buy

Barnes & Noble: Click here to sample or buy

You can connect with the author at:

Author’s Web page http://kurtchambers.net/

Author’s Blog http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/emailmanROCKS

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurt-Chambers/296957780317055

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Free MG Fantasy Give-Away – Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers


This week I applied for my ISBN numbers (International Standard Book Numbers), and I’m expecting them to arrive by Thursday at the latest. I’m very excited! What this means is I’m finally able to bring out my MG fantasy, Truth Teller, into print.

My story has been released on Kindle and other e-book formats since January 25th, 2012, and started to build a fan base, but I have found that MG novels are not so popular in electronic format. Although my fantasy story can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, it was written especially so younger children can enjoy an epic fantasy tale without becoming overwhelmed as they could by some of the classic fantasy books. But as a rule, young children don’t read books on expensive electronic devices for obvious reasons. Just having my story as an e-book means I can’t reach my targeted audience in the way I want to.

But hopefully, all this will change in the near future. Truth Teller will now finally be coming out in print. This means I can donate it to local libraries and to schools so that it can be read by the people I wrote it for. As I said, this is very exciting for me. I have had lots of beta readers from my target audience age range read my story, and the feedback and reactions I received have been little short of awe inspiring.

So, to celebrate this occasion, I am giving away free copies of Truth Teller to anyone who does like to read MG fantasy on their Kindle or other devices.

Here is how you can get yourself a free copy:

It couldn’t be easier. Simply send me an e-mail to authortruthteller@googlemail.com Please put ‘Free Truth Teller Give-Away’ in the subject line to show you have visited my blog, and I will send you a coupon code and a link to where you can download your free copy.


Truth Teller Reviews:

Dawne Dominique - Multi-published author and professional cover artist:

The Truth Teller is one of the best children's fantasy book I've read in a long while. Charlotte is so easy to picture in my mind, and the fantasy aspects are brilliant! There are underlying currents of "real life lessons" that are subtly included...ideal for parents looking for that perfect bedtime story to read to their children. I loved the entire premise of the novel and will definitely be purchasing the next ones in this series.

Kurt Chambers has captured the genre with a wonderful story that will delight many a child's (and adult's) imagination.

Annie McMahon - Editor, published author and Novel Workshop moderator:

This book has everything a bestseller should have: compelling story, endearing characters, vivid descriptions, genuine emotions, and a lot of surprising twists and turns. This is a story about a friendship that transcends race, gender, age, and even realms, between Charlotte, a ten-year-old girl, and Elderfield, a teenage elf. Beautiful and heartwarming. I strongly recommend it and have reviewed Kurt’s story on my blog, Dutch Hill News.

Ralene Burke – Writer, Editor for Wives in Bloom:

Honestly, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read these books. Kurt has written an amazing series that emphasizes such wonderful themes as friendship, family, hope, and faith. I’ve read Truth Teller and Wrath of Siren and, even though they are MG, enjoyed them immensely. If you’re looking for wholesome reads for your children, check out the next big thing for MG.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Writing Advice - Becoming a Success


Did you hear, I’m a published author? Wow! How did that happen? For over eight years, becoming a published author was nothing more than a dream in a sea of rejection letters and despair. But what an adventure it has been. Have you ever tried writing a whole novel, then attempted to learn all the rules in order to bring it to a publishable standard. Felt the wrench in your heart when you realise you will have to destroy that novel in order to make it fit the current market trends, only to find no one is interested in it anyway. So you write another one and another and go through the whole process all over again. It’s not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. But what choice do we have? We are writers, it’s just what we do.

Writing is so addictive. I started late in life and never imagined on one single occasion that I would become an author at some point in my life. In fact, I would have laughed at the suggestion. I wasn’t a writer type of person, even though the idea did appeal to me. Then one day I just started writing. I had a story to tell and off I went, knowing absolutely nothing about the process. Man, was I in for a shock! Looking back, I’m glad I never knew what I was letting myself in for or I would have probably never bothered. The only way I could possibly describe it is … mad! It’s a roller coaster of emotions. Overpowering, draining, enlightening, disappointing, magnificent, crushing. Only another writer who has been through this process could possibly understand what I’m talking about.

Being a father of three and a grandfather of three, I have been on many adventures in my life, but my adventure into the world of writing has been one of the most exciting ones. I made friends all over the world, wonderful friends. It taught me so much. Good times and bad, I would do it all over again without question. I’m not what you would call a successful author, but success is something that shouldn’t be measured in how many books you sell or how wealthy you become. Success should be measured in how much you grew on that journey and how much it enriched your life. From my perspective, I’m as successful as a best selling author.

My advice to any up-and-coming author is, don’t get hung up on becoming published. This is something that will come with time and experience. The secret is to enjoy the journey to becoming an author. This long journey is what makes us grow as writers and as people. When I look back on the amazing adventures I’ve had to get to where I wanted to be, this journey was the most amazing thing of all. Keep writing, keep learning and keep growing. Even if you never become published, you will be a better person from the experience and still be doing something you love. It’s a win-win situation.

Shameless plug


Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers is free to all readers


How can ten-year-old Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? The place for other realms belongs in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thinks, until she discovers the strange shopkeeper and begins an adventure that changes her life forever.
Discovered alone in a far away forest, Charlotte embarks on a journey encountering heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.
But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

Download a free copy in any format for any device:


Smashwords:

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:
You can connect with the author at:

Author’s Web page http://kurtchambers.net/


Saturday, 12 May 2012

The New Fantasy Novel, Truth Teller, FREE For One Week!


Yes! Your eyes are not deceiving you, I am actually giving away this fantastic fantasy novel for FREE!!!

For a limited time only, you can download a free copy of Truth Teller in any e-book format from Smashwords as a celebration for the release of the first book in this fantasy series. Please see below how you can get your free copy.

It’s such a delight to announce the first book in my children's fantasy series has finally been released. This story came into creation back in 2006 and has grown into a three book series. It's a truly delightful tale about a modern-day girl, Charlotte, who finds herself drawn into a world of fantasy.

***

Ten-year-old Charlotte stumbles upon a strange shop when searching for a present. The creepy shopkeeper gives her an enchanting antique snow dome, but refuses to accept payment. All he asks is she promises to always tell the truth. She accepts his strange request.

Woken in the night, Charlotte is drawn by the globe’s eerie light and hypnotic power. With a sudden jerk, she finds herself stranded and all alone in a dark forest where she is discovered by a sword-wielding maniac. He calls himself, Elderfield, and he turns out to be a kind and brave teenage elf. He offers to take Charlotte to his family farm on a promise that he will help her find a way home.

They embark on an epic journey to find out why Charlotte has been brought to this realm and to pursue the one person who might be able to help, but none of them realise just how much is at stake. Strange things start to happen; visions come to her in dreams. They are hunted by real life monsters that attack with terrifying fury, but a far greater threat shadows their every move.

Fleeing for their lives, they reach the safety of an ancient mountain fortress and find the shopkeeper who gave Charlotte the dome. Her hopes of returning home are dashed as she is abducted by a druid assassin. Charlotte thinks she is defenceless against such a powerful foe, but in this realm, she is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

***

Truth Teller Reviews:

Dawne Dominique - Multi-published author and professional cover artist:

The Truth Teller is one of the best children's fantasy book I've read in a long while. Charlotte is so easy to picture in my mind, and the fantasy aspects are brilliant! There are underlying currents of "real life lessons" that are subtly included...ideal for parents looking for that perfect bedtime story to read to their children. I loved the entire premise of the novel and will definitely be purchasing the next ones in this series.

Kurt Chambers has captured the genre with a wonderful story that will delight many a child's (and adult's) imagination.

Annie McMahon - Editor, published author and Novel Workshop moderator:

This book has everything a bestseller should have: compelling story, endearing characters, vivid descriptions, genuine emotions, and a lot of surprising twists and turns. This is a story about a friendship that transcends race, gender, age, and even realms, between Charlotte, a ten-year-old girl, and Elderfield, a teenage elf. Beautiful and heartwarming. I strongly recommend it and have reviewed Kurt’s story on my blog, Dutch Hill News.

Ralene Burke – Writer, Editor for Wives in Bloom:

Honestly, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read these books. Kurt has written an amazing series that emphasizes such wonderful themes as friendship, family, hope, and faith. I’ve read Truth Teller and Wrath of Siren and, even though they are MG, enjoyed them immensely. If you’re looking for wholesome reads for your children, check out the next big thing for MG.

Here is how you can get yourself a free copy:

It couldn’t be easier. Simply send me an e-mail to authortruthteller@googlemail.com Please put ‘Free Truth Teller Give-Away’ in the subject line to show you have visited my blog and I will send you a coupon code and a link to where you can download your free copy.

This promotion give-away will last for ONE WEEK from when I post this blog post, so hurry if you want to claim your FREE copy!

Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Very Best Indie Resources


My favourite thing about the writing community is all the awesome friends I made. I met the most amazing people who put themselves out to make my dream come true and asked for nothing in return. There are so many writers out there that know exactly what I’m talking about. The writing community is an amazing place.
Today, I would like to share some of my good fortune by introducing you to two of my closest friends who played such a massive part in bringing my dream into a reality. So much so, that I dedicated my debut novel to them. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. The very least I could do is share them with the rest of the writing community.

Anastasia V. Pergakis is a massively talented author and an amazing designer. I have worked closely with her for some years and we became great friends. She designed and created my author page as well as formatted my novel, Truth Teller, for publication. Not only that, she has helped me in so many other aspects of my writing career and has been a constant encouragement in times when I needed it the most. You couldn’t work with a nicer person. Her understanding and insight into producing exactly what I required was nothing less than outstanding.
Anastasia Creatives is my number one recommendation for any authors out there that are looking for affordable book and website designs. Anastasia also offers an outstanding design service for artists, authors, musicians and small businesses at a price that is hard to beat. Go and have a chat with her if you’re looking for that something special, you will be glad you did.



Now I would like to introduce you to Annie McMahon, my favourite person in the whole world. Annie has been my editor for many years and a very close personal friend. We run a novel workshop together. She is currently offering her services to MG indie authors who are looking to polish their manuscripts to a publishable standard. She is an excellent proofreader, and in a bid to help self publish authors, she is offering a special rate to make proofreading affordable. This is the best deal you will get on the entire internet. Please visit her site for all the details.
In my opinion, these are two of the best resources for authors who are looking to make an impact without having to spend a fortune in the process. I can personally recommend them to you from experience. But whatever you choose to do, I wish you all the very best of luck. The publishing industry is not the easiest place in the world to get on with, but with the help and support of the writing community, you can make it. Never give up!



Shameless plug

Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers is free to all readers


How can ten-year-old Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? The place for other realms belongs in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thinks, until she discovers the strange shopkeeper and begins an adventure that changes her life forever.
Discovered alone in a far away forest, Charlotte embarks on a journey encountering heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.
But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

Download a free copy in any format for any device:


Smashwords:

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble: