Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Fantasy Freebooting Tour

I am thrilled to share with you, dear readers, the incredible talents of indie author Jan Hawke! If you’ve not discovered this writer yet, you’re in for a treat. Take it away, Jan! 


To Bard or not to Bard?

Once I’d bitten the roleplay bullet, I started out as a Woodelf raised by humans, but now seeking to re-connect with her natural kin in the River Kingdom. The place I felt most comfortable was with the Bards. Now, while I had embraced fan-fiction pretty quickly, the poetry/singing side of things was not quite so attractive to me. The reason for this was irrational, but deep-rooted. I had sworn off poetry big-time as a teen, when we were assigned Idylls of the King as our set book for our General Certificate of Education syllabus (Senior High level). Our teacher really sucked lemons at teaching poetry, and even though I loved Arthurian legend, I truly loathed the poor Lady of Shallot, and vowed to eschew iambic pentameter and all formal poetry forms forever and a day by the time I’d taken and passed my exams.

Becoming an elf is when I learned the meaning of ‘never say never’. Tolkien is arguably the greatest of the English poets of the twentieth century, and you can’t fall in love with Middle Earth like I had done as a ten-year-old, without also liking some of the songs that he wrote for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings… And all bards must sing…

By the time I was acclaimed High Bard in the River Kingdom (courtesy of our ‘lords’ the Kingdom moderators), I’d quite happily started to rhyme, or rather rap in free verse for the most part. However, taking my new role to heart, I finally backed down and decided I’d better do some ‘proper’ poetry as well. Only it was usually on my own terms, and always in character for Jano’s backstory.

Being immortal is not all roses and smiles. Imagine if, like Jano, you spent a lot of time around mortals and felt they were your family (let’s leave romantic lurve out this for the time being), then watching them all get old, infirm and then die in what seems like five minutes to the long-lived Elves. All that while always looking youthful and beautiful yourself. Frankly it’s depressing. Heart-wrenching in fact, especially when old family friends think that you’re your own daughter, or granddaughter, because so many years have flown by, but you haven’t changed in any way. Which is why Jano was in a state of extreme loneliness and despair by the time she got to the River Kingdom, after trying to tough it out living alone in her homelands, far from any elven community. She was an elf by nature, but mortal by nurture, and as such this gave her dark insights into the true differences between the Children of Eru. The immortal elves and mortal men.

Elf-mortal pairings, though celebrated in the Middle Earth legendarium (both Aragorn and Arwen were descended from a couple of elven princesses who had mated with mortal heroes by special dispensation from the Valar), were in fact extremely rare, because of the emotional trauma for the surviving immortal when they inevitably lost their lifemate. Although Jano had not had that particular pain (losing her foster parents, siblings and their offspring had been hard enough to bear), when she related the old stories to people visiting with the Bards Guild, she approached it from a more pragmatic perspective than most elves, simply because she had far more empathy with mortals than her biological kin.

Here’s her take on love between the two kindreds, done in simple couplets. Mandos’ Halls mentioned at the end is the equivalent of paradise, where elven spirits went if they were slain, or died of grief, to either stay in disincarnate peace, or to reincarnate in the West, where all the elves eventually came ‘home’. Mortals could not reincarnate, so although they went to a different part of the Halls of Mandos, they all eventually left the world altogether, to join their Maker in the heavens.


Kindred Love

(The Elves (the Firstborn) sing the first three verses)

You will go and I must stay

so whilst we share our lifelong way

we will not think on what will be

but take our time so lovingly.

For I am old and you are young,

so we take the path with starlight strung.

We fill our days with love and light

and take the warmth into the night.

I must stay and you will go

so since we know our love can grow

we will not think on what will be

but take our time so lovingly.

(Men (the Secondborn) sing the last three verses)

For I am young and you are old

and here we reach the time foretold.

Your eyes still shine like mine in youth

but my life’s strength soon fails in truth.

And I will go and you must stay

so whilst we share our lifelong way

we will not think on what will be

but take our time so lovingly.

So you must stay and I will go

and where I’ll end we do not know.

Time’s passing way – it is death’s call

for I cannot stay in Mandos’ Halls.




Siân Glírdan is the fusion persona of the elven roleplay character, Janowyn (Jano), High Bard of the River Kingdom and her ‘real world’ creator, author, Jan Hawke. Glírdan is the elven word for ‘songsmith’, and Siân is a Welsh variant of Jan (in case you were wondering!).
When it became obvious to Jan that Jano had a far better handle than she could ever have on writing in the fantasy genres, Siân was born, fully formed and raring to go.  A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac, which is basically the manual on how Jano was brought into being and developed, is Siân and Jano’s first official collaboration. They’re currently working hard on an epic future fantasy series, Tomes of the Havenlands, loosely based on the ancient Celtic world. The first volume should reach the shelves at the end of 2016.


Author image


A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac back blurb

This is poetry, wrapped in fantasy, within a memoir… Or, to put it another way, it’s a true tale that might well apply to many fantasy fans and gamers who can’t be bothered with keeping their realities separated from their more lurid imaginings.
In my case, this is a sort of ‘real’ cyberspace profiling, during a phase of my life when roleplay truly did need to be therapy, because what was happening around me for real was not what I wanted to participate in. So, buckle up your swash and prepare to witness a titanic battle played out on the field of sanity – where what happens in your head is the only truth that matters.

Book Image
Book links

Amazon (eBook only for now) –
Amazon Bio
A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac blog

Social Media links
Twitter – @SianGlirdanBard (
Facebook Author page –


“The tour sponsored by”


Novy’s Son: The Selfish Genius

AUTHOR EVENT:  Friday, June 24, 2016 @ 12 N
Hi, and welcome to the debut of “NOVY’S SON:  THE SELFISH GENIUS” BOOK TRAILER DEBUT!  This amazing story has been penned byAuthor, Karen Ingalls.  To find out more about Karen, please visit her blog tour page at 4WillsPublishing, where this event is being sponsored. We hope that you will enjoy this amazing story, told thru visuals, meaningful words and music.
Novy's Son by Karen Ingalls
From his early childhood, Murray Clark sought love and acceptance from his father, who was raised as the bastard child of a famous artist. Murray struggled with jealousy toward his younger brothers, and he questioned the morals and values of people around him.As an adult, Matthew lived life his way, with years of lying, womanizing, and heavy drinking. Though married four times, did he ever find unconditional love? Would Murray’s high intelligence, his love for his two daughters, and his unique philosophy of life help him rise above his demons?

Karen Ingall's photo

Twitter:  @KIngallsAuthor

Paranormal Fantasy Author A. M. Manay Offers Her Take On Vampires

Hello, dear readers! It is my pleasure to introduce to you indie author A. M. Manay. She writes vampire novels meant to be the anti-Twilight stories. So have a read and discover the new voice of the vampires! Take it away, Ms. Manay…


In the world of vampire fiction, there are several names that loom large.  There’s Dracula.  There’s Anne Rice.  There’s Sookie Stackhouse.  And, of course, there’s Twilight.

In writing She Dies at the End, one of my goals was for it to be the anti-Twilight.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I read all the Twilight books.  They are page turners.  There’s no denying that they’re fun.  But there are some things about them that really bother me.

First, I shall complain about the romance.  Edward emotionally abuses Bella.  He’s incredibly controlling, and her worship of him is disturbing.  Her total nervous breakdown after he leaves her paints a terrible picture to young girls of what it means love someone and of how you process your feelings after it goes bad.  This is one reason that November goes through a failed romance in She Dies at the End, Book 1 of my series.  I wanted to show that a girl can be sad about a first love gone wrong but still stand up for herself and move on.  I also wanted to acknowledge the fundamental creep factor of an ancient vampire going after a teenage girl.  The power dynamics of that are really unacceptable, no matter how much you try to gloss it over by saying that he’s a virgin or that she’s his one true love.  The romances in my book are portrayed as sketchy because they are, in fact, sketchy.

Another thing that irritates me about Twilight is the lack of diversity in the main cast.  You do have Native American werewolves, but otherwise, it’s white people as far as the eye can see.  The only Black dude has a handful of pages and then dies.  Why are all the Cullens white?  There is no reason for that.  They’re pretending to be a family formed by adoption, after all.  Representation matters.  When the default race for every character is white, that sends a strong, negative message to people of color, especially young people.  I deliberately create my characters to reflect the diversity of the world around me, here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I think that makes my books more interesting and sends a positive message to all readers, not just readers of color.

Finally, there’s the total lack of any consequences for bad decisions.  In the Twilight series, Bella knows that if she becomes a vampire, she is likely to kill someone.  Her vampire friends tell her this over and over again.  Some of the Cullens even take bets on how high the body count will be.  And yet, Bella wants to become one anyway, so she can be with Edward forever and never get old.  And instead of having to face the consequences of what is fundamentally a selfish decision, she’s conveniently such a special vampire snowflake that she can resist her urge for human blood with no mistakes.  I find that to be an unsatisfying cop-out, one I try to avoid in She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2).

My severely mixed feelings about Twilight have certainly informed my writing, and they serve as an example of how helpful it can be to read within your genre.  It helps you to see the elements you love as well as those that are more problematic.  I will likely never have the level of success achieved by Stephanie Meyer, but I’m proud of the story I’ve created.  I think my series is enjoyable, intelligent, interesting, and socially conscious, partly because I read Twilight with a critical eye.  I hope you’ll agree.

Read more about my vampires, fairies, and werewolves in She Dies at the End, She Lights Up the Dark, and She Sees in Her Sleep, all available this weekend for only $0.99 each!

Book blurb for She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)

A frightening vision stalks November, even in her grave . . . and things go severely sideways just as soon as she claws her way out of it. 

Continuing the story begun in the well-received paranormal romp She Dies at the End, She Lights Up the Dark finds November Snow struggling to adjust to her new life as a vampire with none of the support she’d expected. Her nemesis Luka has plotted to isolate November and scatter her allies as he executes his plan to bring human society under his control. Her loneliness leads her to become emotionally entangled with a charming but likely untrustworthy fellow vampire.


When danger flares, November discovers that her psychic gift has expanded in a powerful and perilous fashion. Coerced into close company with her enemy, she fights to master her power and to uncover the secrets that may help her to save both her friends and the human world from being crushed under Luka’s boot. November is determined to stop Luka as his plan builds toward an unknown and deadly climax, but she may find that lighting up the dark comes with a high price to pay. 

This books contains violence, some sexual content, and occasional profanity.


Short Excerpt from Chapter 1 of She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)

She knew only one thing after she clawed her way out of the ground:  she had to eat.  Two sheep and a billy goat gave their lives for November’s first meal of her new one.  She required no persuasion or instruction, falling upon them instinctively when she’d emerged from the earth, filthy and ravenous.  She tore into them, a gleeful savage.  

When she was full and they were empty, she knelt next to them, stunned, reaching up a tentative finger to touch the fangs protruding from her bloodstained mouth.  The animals had tasted of grass and sunshine and milk.  For a few moments, she had lived their bucolic lives, now over.  She felt warm, fuzzy with pleasure.  Her head spun.  

November wasn’t quite sure where she was, or even who she was, but then it all came back in a rush.

As she walks among her friends, a sniper’s bullet finds her belly.  She falls to the dirt as she takes the death meant for another.  Ilyn carries her inside, eyes burning.  She lies in front of a fireplace, her life bleeding away, but there is no pain on her face.  Her friends surround her.  She agrees to live to fight another day.  He takes her blood and gives her his own.  Now there is fear and struggle and rejection, but it is too late, far too late.  They watch her die  They watch her die because of them.

November returned to the present, the ground solid beneath her knees once again.

I died.  I’m a vampire.

For a moment, she wasn’t certain if she would laugh or weep.  The amazed cackle that escaped between her fingers settled that question.  It was only after the glow of feeding had faded that she noticed the pandemonium that had erupted around her.

They were looking for something.  Zinnia was on the ground.  She looked completely undone.  And Ilyn . . . Ilyn looked terrible.  It took November a long, confused moment to realize that what they were looking for . . . was her. 

She looked down at her own body, and it was perfectly visible and solid to her.  

“Zinnia?  Ilyn?”  

She tried to touch her maker, reaching out a hand to toward his arm.  Her blood-stained fingers passed right through him.

“It’s no use, kitten.  They cannot hear you.”  

November closed her eyes, willing that familiar voice to disappear, praying she’d imagined it.  When she got up the nerve to turn around, rage filled her, and she tackled Luka to the ground, fangs bared, screaming like a madwoman, “What have you done?”


In addition to her work as an indie author of paranormal fantasy, A.M. Manay is a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a singer, a yoga enthusiast, a Clerk of Session in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and a mother through domestic open adoption.  She has a passion for increasing diversity in popular culture and for strong heroines who stand up for themselves, make their own decisions, and don’t depend on romance as their reason for being.

Be the first to know about the release of the upcoming sequel as well as bonus material about your favorite characters by

Checking out her website:

Signing up for the fan email list: November’s News

Following the author on Facebook:

Following the author on Twitter: @ammanay

Following the author on Instagram:

Following her Amazon author page:

Author Links for A.M. Manay

She Dies at the End:

She Sees in Her Sleep:

She Lights Up the Dark:


Fan email list: November’s News


Twitter: @ammanay


Amazon author page:

“The tour sponsored by”

Review of The World’s Emergency Room by Michael VanRooyen

Here’s an interesting blog piece I thought I’d share with you, my readers!

Jennie Sherwin

The World’s Emergency Room: The Growing Threat to Doctors, Nurses, and Humanitarian Workers by Michael VanRooyen


A review by Jennie and Roger Sherwin

In 1945 when Allied troops liberated The Netherlands, an unlikely warrior accompanied them. American pediatrician Clement Smith flew into Amsterdam and then The Hague to study the effects of history’s first and only clearly delineated famine—in terms of its start and finish—on children born to Dutch women who were pregnant during the “Hongerwinter” of 1944. Following D-Day in May 1944, the exiled Dutch government called for a strike of the national railways to impede the German occupiers of The Netherlands, a call that was answered beginning in September 1944. The Germans retaliated by blocking all food transports into the western areas. Food, already scarce because most of the agricultural land had been destroyed during the war, began to run out. When the Germans finally relented, the severe…

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