Bargain [Fiction] [Write Club]

Back at the end of January I wrote The Bargain for February's Write Club. In genre it's closest to urban fantasy, although it's set in a small central European village sometime in the early to mid-nineteenth century. The sort of place where traditions are still important, but where the outside world is still there. February's Write Club had a change in the weather as the theme. Bargain Tomas strode towards the Baron's house. He wore his best clothes, a dark green wool suit with yellow braid. He'd had it ready for the midsummer celebrations. The Baron's house was off the village green, near the inn. Before Tomas got there, the front door swung open. Rupert, the steward, beckoned him in. 'What's going on, Rupert?' 'His Lordship was insistent you come in the front.' 'Well best I come in then.' 'Let…
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Sanctuary 87 by Patrick Skelton [Book Review]

Sanctuary 87: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller by Patrick Skelton My rating: 4 of 5 stars Sanctuary 87 is a pretty bleak place. In a deeply fascist future only those that can work are worth keeping alive.  'Bedside compassion' is scheduled for those that aren't expected to recover. This is US style healthcare, so curable/treatable cases still get euthanised (murdered) if they don't have a good enough job with insurance. Sanctuary 87 The sanctuaries are to protect people against solar flares, which have got significantly worse over the previous few decades. These coincide with the discovery of a rift in space in the outer solar system that allows interstellar travel to another planet with humans on it. The title sanctuary is one in the former USA. The protagonist's quadriplegic son is sent there after he loses his job as a journalist. A…
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dark ages

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown [Book Review]

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown My rating: 5 of 5 stars An awesome mix of documentary history and archaeology, to bring a character to life. Even though we can't be sure hat Gudrid was a real woman that actually existed the combination of the sagas and the archaeology give a great understanding of life in the viking period, and particularly from a female perspective. This is not a tale of warriors and raiders, but one of persuasion and influence and a hard life on the very frontiers of where humans could exist. Gudrid was born in Iceland, and went to America with Erik the Red. Later in life she went to Rome. Far Traveler I read this last year, the Far Traveler was the first book that I read in 2020 but for…
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The Mother’s Dream [Write Club] [Fantasy]

The Mother's Dream is my story for the January 2021 meeting of Write Club Surrey, which had dreams as its theme. I chose to write a creation myth for Skyss, the world that I've my fantasy novel is set in. One inspiration for The Mother's Dream is my love as a child of a book of Australian aborigine myths called Dreamtime Heritage. The stories are how the world was formed and shaped in the dreams of the early people. The idea has stuck with me, even if I can no longer find the book on my shelves. Troll head and fist in the woods atop Mount Floyen, Bergen, Norway. An inspiration for The Mother's Dream. (Photo: James Kemp) Another source of inspiration for The Mother's Dream was me thinking about how to describe the trolls in Fierce. I read quite…
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Sonny’s Gift [Write Club]

Sonny's Gift was written for the September meeting of Write Club Surrey. The theme was mysteries, and I drew on some African folklore and religion, and also riffed off Neil Gaiman's American Gods. There was also a little bit of inspiration from the Black Lives Matter protests too. Shipping container being unloaded (Image by Hessel Visser from Pixabay) The mystery in the story revolves around a shipping container, which has been delivered to the front door of the local police station. There's a couple of competing points of view in Sonny's Gift, and perhaps the real mystery of Sonny's Gift is not who sent it, but how they knew what was needed months before Sonny even had his epiphany! The title character of Sonny's Gift is a black ex-cop. He rescued a woman from drowning when on patrol, and as…
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