Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Old Ones Productions - Commission a Custom Chess Set

Cthulhu Themed Chess Set

I love chess, I'm not the greatest player but it is a pure game of one mind against another. There's no chance element except the players themselves. Beyond that the beauty of the game exists in the sets themselves. They make a wonderful gift both for players and as decorative items. There are many fine chess sets in the world, but for something truly special why not commission a unique set.

As well as creating sets for sale on the Old Ones Productions store I can create a chess set to your specifications and in this article I will outline the elements needed to build the set and determine its budget.

Theme

The overall theme for the chess set determines the style of the pieces and board. The theme can be anything and should be your starting point. Common themes can be historical periods or events, works of fiction, or even more abstract concepts. For the examples shown in this article I picked a Cthulhu theme (Lovecraft is one of my favourite writers) and a Fantasy Football game (Blood Bowl more specifically).

A chess set is composed of the game pieces and the board and the theme will guide the presentation of both.

Fantasy Football Chess Set

Game Pieces

Chess is a game of two sides (although other variants exist if you are feeling adventurous!) with both sets being equal. Each piece has it's own identity and in conjunction with your chosen theme will set the style for your set.

Here your available budget will also be a deciding factor as there are many options to consider. If the set is to be used for playing rather than for display purposes only then extra care must be taken to ensure that the pieces are identifiable for their positions in the game.

Typically the pieces on each side reflect each other exactly, but as can be seen in the Fantasy Football set each side can have its own style which in this case reflects the two opposing teams.

For these sets I source figures of different scales and materials depending on the theme. Some themes such as those popular in wargaming, model making or table top gaming are easier to source than others. This can vary in price from £100 to over £500 for the 32 pieces to be needed.

Size is important here, the most suitable is 25/28mm scales as these fit the most commonly available boards. However other sizes are available.

Bases for the pieces also need to be considered, these can be plain, or textured, usually depending on what works best with the board.

The finish of the pieces also factors heavily into the budget. Chess sets are usually duo-tone (white versus black) and similar colour scheme is effective. Further detail can be applied, although care must be taken to keep the two distinctive.

If you want something truly special then you can have the pieces designed, 3D sculpted and printed. This can cost upwards of £200 per piece depending on the design and materials used.

Board

The chess board is the battlefield upon which the game is played. As with the pieces this ties into the theme. Typically for chess sets it's the colour of the pieces that is reflected in the board. This doesn't have to be the case, but as with the pieces the two colours should be distinct.

The material of the chess board is dependent on budget, wooden chess boards tend to start at around £50. The hand made stone chess board for the Cthulhu themed set cost over £200 and is very heavy - but really makes the set stand out!

The pieces will determine the tile size for the board. Whether the set will be used for playing also factors in, a display set can have slightly smaller tiles, but for playing you really need adequate space around the pieces for comfortable play.

As well as materials more exotic options are available. You can really let the theme dictate the form of the board, an example here would be a Battle of Waterloo chess set with British soldiers in red facing off against French soldiers in blue and the fields of Waterloo as the board.

So if you'd like to commission a chess set of your own then email me at info@oldoneproductions.com and we can take it from there.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Old Ones Productions - Cthulhu T-Shirt Released


I'm pleased to announce the release of a new t-shirt in the Old Ones Productions store. It features superb original artwork by Luciana Nedelea of Cthulhu - the Dreamer - who has now awakened.

It is available in unisex sizes small to XXXL.

Purchase yours now from the Old Ones Productions store at the introductory price of only £14.00 and postage and packing:

http://www.oldoneproductions.com/collections/frontpage/products/cthulhu-t-shirt


Saturday, 26 December 2015

December Short Fiction Contest Winners

Painted by Luciana Nedelea - https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt/

December's image painted by Luciana Nedelea inspired some remarkable stories and it's taken me all day to whittle them all down to just three winners and here they are:

 - First prize of a £50 Amazon or PayPal prize goes to Sheila Deeth for her story 'Chalice'.
 - Second prize of a £20 Amazon or PayPal prize goes to Nicola Ferguson for her story 'Black & Grey'.
 - Third prize of a £10 Amazon or PayPal prize goes to Andrew Dempsey for his story 'Firestarter'.

Congratulations to the winners and a thank you to everyone who entered and those who support this contest.

And here are the winning stories:

Chalice by Sheila Deeth

www.sheiladeethbooks.com

He couldn’t quite believe it, that first time. The pre-school teacher handed sheets of paper around, pristine and white, together with thick black crayons. Then she told the children to scribble all over their pages.

Tom’s crayon had that slightly murky scent of something buried too long in a drawer. Its paper sleeve slid off under his eager grip. Underneath the surface was stickily slick, like blood. It coated his fingers; drew its own dark promise on his hand. Meanwhile the pristine white paper grew dark, covered in thick black whorls and swirls, with intersecting curves, its pure clean spaces falling prey to night, with black black black black black, till all was done.

“Look, class,” said the teacher, lifting Tom’s page from his desk and displaying it around. “Tom’s got the idea. This is what I want you to do. Just cover the page.”

“Shoulda given us black paper then.” One of the pristine white girls muttered behind pink fingernails as she flapped her red-clothed arm in sweet dismay. Tom imagined the red-clothed arm uncloaked and the smoothness of blood like crayon slippery and thick in his hands.

When the pages were covered, just the way the teacher wanted, each child was given a pencil-shaped piece of wood.

“it’s got no writing bit,” the red-dressed girl complained, to which the teacher responded it didn’t need one. Instead it had a point.

Tom tried the point out on his palm. Not quite sharp enough, it didn’t cut, though maybe, if he pressed harder...

“I want you to draw on top of your crayon,” said the teacher. “No Tom. Not on your hand.”

So he pressed harder on the crayoned page, watching the black blood carve itself into shiny white-colored lines and pristine shapes. “Yes, like Tom’s doing. Press down harder, Elaine.” Elaine was the girl in the red dress.

Tom pressed harder and carved and cut. He was making himself a small Elaine all of his own. But when the teacher held his image up, she didn’t understand. She said he’d drawn a chalice and host, like in church, and he was a wonderful holy little boy.

Tom couldn’t quite believe it; he’d done just what he wanted, destroyed and scribbled, made white turn to black, and carved with a cruel point, and he was holy.

They found Elaine’s body in the woods not long after that. She wasn’t pristine and white anymore, but red and black with mud, slick-shiny with swirls and whorls of smooth red crayon. Her dress spread around her like a chalice drawn on the ground. Her hair curled out from her face, which shone as pure as the holy host. She smelled of something buried too long in a drawer. She was his first.

Black & Grey by Nicola Ferguson

Mandy flicked though the sticky plastic pages of the album sitting on the table. This was her first tattoo and she was looking for something unique that would be a talking point in years to come. One design immediately caught her eye, a black and grey piece of the angel Belial; wings stretched out in flight.

Not her usual style at all, the design was intricate and full of vitality, leaping off the page past the tired butterflies and dolphins that characterized the typical tats her mates had. As she looked at the design more closely, Mandy saw what she had taken to be shading was actually elegant, cursive script, twisting and snaking across the models skin.

“I love this one, but what does the writing say?”
“That’s one of Jared’s designs. He’d be able to explain but he only works Tuesday and Saturday nights. Let me check his dairy and get you booked in for a consultation”
“Well you’re in luck! We have a last minute cancellation for tomorrow at nine. If you’re happy with the design he could start on the tattoo straight away then work through the night until it’s finished. Sound good?”

It wasn’t much notice but Mandy was already caught up in her growing excitement of how the angel would transform not only her back, but also her confidence and even her life. No-one could say she had no self worth with an angel as gorgeous as this protecting her. She could just imagine its wings spreading and rippling across her shoulder blades as she worked her moves on the dance-floor. If she was out of the parlour early enough she could even go onto The Palace and show everyone. Wear that backless dress she had been keeping for a special occasion.
“Yeah, definitely get me booked in.”

Jared carefully eased the tracing paper off Mandy’s fine, porcelain skin. A work of this size with spells of this complexity and strength would take hours, so he would start with the essentials, filling in the details as the piece grew and took on a life of its own. Speed was imperative as even though the ink was fresh, it would quickly cool and coagulate, clogging the tattooing machine. The inscriptions binding Mandy to Belial had to be finished by midnight to give Belial enough power to materialize and Jared knew he could make no spelling errors or mistakes. Otherwise the piece would remain cold and lifeless, just another cool tat to be admired

Quietly so as not to startle Mandy, Jared begins to whisper the spells which will help summon Belial. The fallen angel is deceptively beautiful for a demon, his name meaning ‘without worth’ he resonates and speaks to certain customers on a subconscious level. In effect they choose themselves.

“Per Vitam Vero Doloribus Urguentibus”  Through Pain Comes Life..........


Gently steadying the skin of her back Jared smiles to himself as he inhales the inks warm, coppery scent and he begins to tattoo.

Firestarter by Andrew Dempsey

Subconsciously he played with the weight in his trouser pocket. It was the tenth time in the last three minutes that his hand sort the comfort of the lighter. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he still had cigarettes, but the last one was smoked, days ago. Not that it would matter much longer. Cigarettes or no cigarettes, he was still lost.

The plane had gone down somewhere east of the mountains. How he survived the crash when everyone else died was a mystery.

Still, what was life, if you couldn’t smoke?

He had tried pieces of grass, fallen twigs and even the end of a bone he had found, but nothing could replace the real thing, the cravings were becoming unbearable.

To make matters worse, the rain had begun again.

He fell to his knees and vowed to stay there till his eyes closed for the last time.

He turned his head, something had made a noise. It sounded like laughter, but that was not possible. No living creature lived here. The mountains weren’t called ‘death’ in the native tongue for nothing. But, there it was again. A soft laugh, it sounded like it was mocking him. It teased him to enter the cave and seek shelter.

He slowly rose from his dirty knees and took a step forward.

*****

Where the creature, demon, or whatever it was had sprung from he didn’t know. It was made of pure fire and swirled and danced before him.

“Another foolish creature, that I will consume,” it howled.

He tried to speak and it was a long time before he managed to stammer, “Why. Do. You. Want. To. Eat me?”

“They always ask the same thing,” it boomed. “Never is it anything else.” The flame drew closer. “I live on the life force of the living. I consume the fire of souls.”

“Why not eat animals instead?” he managed to ask despite the rising terror within.

“Did you see any animals out there?” the creature said.

He shook his head.

“That’s because I have consumed them all. I haven’t eaten anything for over five centuries. So hungry am I.”

He could see the creature’s teeth, hundreds of tiny pointy flames.

He felt the weight again in his pocket. His hand had gone there, as it always did in times of stress. He felt the lighter. He withdrew it from his pocket and shakily held it out front. “Stay back or I will consume you like I did with the last of your kind,” he commanded.

A warm mocking laugh was the creature’s reply.

“Do not lie to me human, lies will not save you here?”

“I’m not lying. I’ll show you.”

With a flick of his thumb, the lighter erupted in a small golden flame.

The creature’s eyes went wide with terror and it turned and fled screaming into the depths of the cave.


He put away his lighter and fled back out into the rain as fast as he could.

Old Ones Productions - Cthulhu Chess Set


The unique Cthulhu inspired chess set I've been working on has been finished and is now available from the Old Ones Productions store - take a look here:

http://www.oldoneproductions.com/…/produc…/cthulhu-chess-set

Note that this is a different set from the concept and modelling I've shared, there will be more news on this soon!

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Tau Ceti Mission - 25.07.2116 - Termination Shock

"Solarmap" by http://interstellar.jpl.nasa.gov/interstellar/probe/introduction/scale.html.
Licensed under Public Domain via Commons
The Venti probe crosses the termination shock boundary and into interstellar space with Seb's latest report:

http://www.taucetimission.com/2015/12/25072116-termination-shock.html

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Old Ones Productions - Fantasy Football Chess Set



For fans of Blood Bowl and other fantasy football games a hand painted fantasy football chess set with a classic match-up between Elves and Orcs.

All figures are mounted on textured bases which have been weighted and felt bottomed for easier movement and protection of the board.

The board in the pictures is included.

The Elven team is painted in forest silver and contains the following:

  • The pawns are the swift and agile linemen (a mix of plastic and metal figures).
  • Two massive Treemen provides the strength and the vulnerability of the team as the King and Queen (metal pieces).
  • Deadly wardancers protect the flanks as the Rooks (metal figures).
  • Sly Wood Witches confuse and penetrate the opponent's ranks with their magic as the Knights (metal figures).
  • Throwers confound the opponents with their cross pitch diagonals as the Bishops (metal figures).

The Orc team is painted in war-torn bronze and contains the following:


  • Brutish linemen form the battle line of pawns (plastic figures).
  • Hulking Trolls are the heart of the team as the King and Queen (metal figures).
  • Mighty Black Orcs guard the flanks with their strength as the Rooks ( plastic figures).
  • Cunning Goblin Catchers skip through the defence as the Knights (plastic figures).
  • Throwers provide the diagonal movements as the Bishops (plastic figures).

The chess set is available from the Old Ones Productions store here:

http://www.oldoneproductions.com/products/fantasy-football-chess-set

Tau Ceti Mission Christmas Giveaway


There's a Christmas giveaway being hosted on the Tau Ceti mission blog and you could win one of the following prizes:

 - Tau Ceti Mission T-Shirt
 - 3 x Mission Mugs
 - 5 x Mission Patches

Take part in the giveaway here:

http://www.taucetimission.com/2015/12/the-tau-ceti-mission-christmas-giveaway.html

January Short Fiction Contest

By Penny Dreadful Newspaper (Penny Dreadful Paper 1838) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I'm going old school again with January's contest image with a classic cover from Penny Dreadful magazine. I'm looking forward to seeing what stories you all come up with for this image!

As always the stories can be of any genre. They just have to be inspired by this month's image and no more than 500 words.

Entry to the contest remains free and there are prizes for the three winners. I will also feature any of the stories that don't win but I believe are worth showcasing on this blog.
  • First prize is a £50 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Second prize is a £20 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Third prize is a £10 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
The money for the prizes come out of my own pocket, although I do make a little from advertising on this blog. So if you see something of interest then feel free to click on the links and purchase away! If you haven't tried my books yet then check them out at the top of the page, as well as buying a good read you'll be helping this contest.

Please make sure to check your story for typos before submitting. I don't mind a few errors, but my enjoyment of a story is diminished if I have to wade through too many.

I'll post the winning entries by Febuary 1st 2016.

As with everything in life there are a few rules:
  • Only one entry per person.
  • The story must not be longer than 500 words.
  • Closing date for submissions is January 24th 2016.
  • By submitting the story you grant me a non-exclusive license to post the story on this blog. I do request that I post it here first.
  • You also grant me a one time non-exclusive license to include the story in an e-book release.
  • The judge's decision is final.
Use the form below to enter your submission. After you've submitted please leave a comment on this page stating that you have submitted. And please help spread the word. Great stories deserve great readers!


As well as comments section below you can chat about this competition in any of the threads I've listed below. If you don't know the sites then entering the competition is a good way to introduce yourself. Note that these sites are not affiliated with the competition in any way!




If you've started your own thread or discussion somewhere about this month's competition then let me know and I'll add the link to this page.

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Tau Ceit Mission - 16.02.2115 - Comet Chaser

"Comet 67P on 13 August 2014 NavCam" by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0-igo via Wikimedia Commons

On their journey out of the solar system Seb reports that the Venti probe has discovered a comet!

http://www.taucetimission.com/2015/12/16022115-comet-chaser.html

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Book Review - Marrow by Robert Reed

I wanted to like this - the idea is a good one with a giant ship of unknown origin and full of mystery. The introduction worked well and drew me into the story, but then it lost it. The first issue is that the story drags with some odd diversions that do little to strengthen the tale.

It's a shame really as the basic premise is good, but 500 pages later nothing is really resolved. There is a rich menagerie of aliens, but nothing is done with them. Humans are now effectively immortal which devalues the epic timescales involved in the journey.

I very rarely finish a book I don't like, especially one as long as this, but there are flashes of genius here. Unfortunately they don't develop into anything meaningful. A shame as it had some potential, but ultimately unfulfilling.


The Ship has traveled the universe for longer than any of the near-immortal crew can recall, its true purpose and origins unknown. It is larger than many planets, housing thousands of alien races and just as many secrets.

Now one of those secrets has been discovered: at the center of the Ship is . . . a planet. Marrow. But when a team of the Ship's best and brightest are sent down to investigate, will they return with the origins of the Ship--or will they bring doom to everyone on board?

Robert Reed, whose fantastic stories have been filling all the major SF magazines for the past several years, spins a captivating tale of adventure and wonder on an incredible scale in this novel based on his acclaimed novella.


Click here to buy Marrow from Amazon (I can't recommend it though)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Book Review - Biblical by Christopher Galt

Note that this book appears to have had a name change since I first downloaded and is now called 'The Third Testament'.

This book has languished on my TBR list for quite some time and now that I've finally read it I can say that if it's in your TBR list then you should get round to reading it! It's a technological thriller, but will a metaphysical twist and one that is exceptionally well layered.

It's main strength is how it builds the mystery of the world changing events. It captures the strangeness of what's going on by following a small number of characters, while still maintaining the global effect of what is going on.

The quality of the writing is excellent and explores some interesting concepts. The technical side is well handled providing enough detail for those (like me) interested in such things, but not so much that you're wading through details.

For all of its strengths it does have its faults, the most obvious of which is that it's longer than it needs to be. In parts it feels more like a character study, although fortunately the writing and characters are robust enough to carry this.

My other complaint was the reveal for what's going.While the basic premise works well, there are some aspects that seemed thin and unqualified, so fell a little flat. Especially when considering how effectively the author built the story up.

In fairness those are both minor considerations, this was a quality read and a cracking thriller, one for science fiction fans and those who enjoy something a little more contemporary.


A strange phenomenon is sweeping the globe. People are having visions, seeing angels, experiencing events that defy reality. Bizarre accounts pour in from distant places: a French teenager claims to have witnessed Joan of Arc being burned at the stake; a man in New York dies of malnutrition in a luxurious Central Park apartment; a fundamentalist Christian sect kidnaps and murders a geneticist.

Then there is the graffiti WE ARE BECOMING that has popped up in every major city around the world, in every language. And everywhere people are starting to talk about John Astor, the mysterious author of the book that seems to be at the center of it all.

After a rash of suicides around the world by individuals experiencing the time traveling hallucinations, psychiatrist John Macbeth and a team of FBI agents and scientists assemble to find out what’s going on before it’s too late. Is this a spiritual phenomenon or something more sinister?


Click here to buy Biblical from Amazon (and it's a fascinating read)

Currently Reading - Lovecraft Unbound by Various

Click on image to buy from Amazon


The stories are legendary, the characters unforgettable, the world horrible and disturbing. Howard Phillips Lovecraft may have been a writer for only a short time, but the creations he left behind after his death in 1937 have shaped modern horror more than any other author in the last two centuries: the shambling god Cthulhu, and the other deities of the Elder Things, the Outer Gods, and the Great Old Ones, and Herbert West, Reanimator, a doctor who unlocked the secrets of life and death at a terrible cost. In Lovecraft Unbound, more than twenty of today's most prominent writers of literature and dark fantasy tell stories set in or inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft.


Click here to buy Lovecraft Unbound from Amazon

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Tau Ceti Mission - 28.09.2114 - Leaving the Kuiper Belt

"14-281-KuiperBeltObject-ArtistsConcept-20141015" by ASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)
Following in the footsteps of the New Horizons probe almost 200 years previously, Seb reports from the Venti probe as it heads out of the Kuiper Belt:

http://www.taucetimission.com/2015/12/28092114-leaving-kuiper-belt.html

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Tau Ceti Mission Archive Added


Mission control for the Venti probe's mission to Tau Ceti have created an archive so you can read Seb's posts from the beginning or browse through them at your leisure. The archive is available on the Tau Ceti mission website here:

http://www.taucetimission.com/p/archive.html

Last Week to Enter December's Short Fiction Contest

Painted by Luciana Nedelea - https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt/

We've entered the final week of December's Short Fiction Contest, so if you haven't entered yet then now is the time to do so! It's easy to enter - simply write a story of no more than 500 words inspired by this month's amazing image painted by the talented Luciana Nedelea. Once you've written the story you can submit it through the contest page here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/december-short-fiction-contest.html

There's no entry fee and you could win one of the following prizes:

 - First prize is a £50 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
 - Second prize is a £20 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
 - Third prize is a £10 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize

The winners from November's Short Fiction Contest have been announced and you can read their stories here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/november-short-fiction-contest-winners.html

Friday, 11 December 2015

Monday, 7 December 2015

Tau Ceti Mission - 09.05.2111 - Sun Dragon C Encounter


Seb reports from the Venti probe as it passes through the Sun Dragon C entity - it is also on it's journey to the Tau Ceti system although it will take thousands of years to reach it's destination.

http://www.taucetimission.com/2015/12/09052111-sun-dragon-c-encounter.html

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Have You Entered December's Short Fiction Contest?

Painted by Luciana Nedelea - https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt/

December's Short Fiction Contest is well under way and this month's image is a lovely image painted by the talented Luciana Nedelea. To win one of the three Amazon or PayPal prizes write a story of no more than 500 words inspired by this month's picture and submit it through the contest page here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/december-short-fiction-contest.html

Last month's contest winners have been announced and you can read their stories here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/november-short-fiction-contest-winners.html

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Tau Ceti Mission T-Shirt Now Available



The official Tau Ceti Mission t-shirt is now available from the Old Ones Productions store. It is available in unisex sizes S to XXXL for only £15.99 here:

http://www.oldoneproductions.com/collections/tau-ceti-mission/products/tau-ceti-mission-t-shirt

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Tau Ceti Mission - 02.08.2110 - Saturn Slingshot

"Saturn family" by NASA - JPL image PIA01482. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Seb on the Venti probe passes by Saturn in the final gravity assist on their journey to Tau Ceti:

http://www.taucetimission.com/2015/12/02082110-saturn-slingshot.html

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Guest Post - A Much Arranged Marriage by Jim Webster

Jim Webster joins me today to talk about his latest release 'A Much Arranged Marriage' and his new approaches to spreading the word about his work.


You might have noticed that the Internet is filling up with writers trying to promote their books. If the number continues to increase at the current rate it’s been calculated that by some time in August 2019 there will be no room left for cute cat pictures.

Some writers are getting particularly imaginative in their promotions and are putting in an awful lot of work. Michael’s Tau Ceti Mission is one of the better examples, and one that I’m enjoying following.

One question that really intrigues me as a writer is what happens to Seb. Is his character going to change, evolve or grow? As it is we’re getting to see this ‘real time.’

It’s only when you’ve run your own promotions that you perhaps appreciate fully the work that goes into them. I took a long hard look at promoting and decided that perhaps I ought to try something different. I’d already written four fantasy novels set in the ‘Land of the Three Seas.’ (Which inevitably has its own Facebook page with hopefully some interesting and fun stuff on it, https://www.facebook.com/Land-of-the-Three-Seas-426394067386022/ )

To promote them I decided that rather than writing a fifth novel I’d do some ‘short’ stories, between 15,000 and 20,000 words, set in the same background, involving some of the same people. These would be detective stories, and a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories, you don’t really have to read them in any order. So I have these written and one is going to be published every four months, regular as clock work. So every four months there’s a bit of publicity and promotion. The first one has been out for four months, it’s ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ - available from Amazon here.

It features my ‘hero’ Benor, and I’d like to say this came out to great critical acclaim, but people bought it and liked it and said nice things about it so that’s at least as good.

But then I realised that I had to promote these short pieces. How on earth was I going to do that? So I took one of the secondary characters, Tallis Steelyard, and let him write a blog. The blog is composed of reminiscences from his past, suggestions as how to make a living as a poet, all told by the great man himself and hopefully as much fun to read as they were to write. But what has really fascinated me is Tallis himself. In the books I’m promoting, Tallis is a secondary character and you see him through the eyes of Benor, the hero. So Tallis is intelligent, loyal, a source of advice and information and a good friend.

But when writing the blog, writing as Tallis, I became aware that Tallis is far more complicated a character. In the blogs we have the working poet writing for his audience and potential patrons. In effect he’s promoting his work and his services. So he’s very careful of his image, determined to maintain the front as the successful poet. But of course he’s still the nice guy that Benor

knows. So somehow this, plus a certain world weary cynicism has to slip out as well. If you want to read the blog of Tallis Steelyard, then it’s at

https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/

Taking things the full circle, looking at the quantity of stuff there is on the blog, I’m tempted to add some more stories and publish it as a separate book, perhaps called, “The jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard.”

But at this point you can probably see why I’m so interested in Michael’s character Seb, and am wondering what’s in the pipeline for him?

But anyway, the second of the short stories has now emerged, blinking, into the light.

Click on image to buy from Amazon


‘A Much Arranged Marriage.’

“Benor is asked to help warn off a blackmailer who appears to be threatening a young girl's chances of marriage. But the deeper he digs, the more dangerous things become”

So there you are, I hope you’re intrigued enough to give it a whirl

Click here to buy A Much Arranged Marriage from Amazon


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