Poetry

A little tale

Dark lets down its itching feet

to wriggle its toes in the springy grass.

It waves to Moon, who winks her encouragement,

and then it rushes down the hills to dance in the glades,

to leap onto roofs and chimney pots.

All night long, it can be seen merry making,

laughing with owls and chittering after bats,

but after so many hours of leaping about,

weariness rushes over it

and up to its bed it goes, dragging its feet back

under the orange sky.

Poetry

Thoughts from a shipwreck

Ocean life ignores the iron

desperately holding onto its skeleton, only knowing

another part of bed where prey can hide and predators seek.

Motes of debris sink to the port hole, or where it used to be

before rot came and the coral took root.

The ghosts don’t mind, the deep is quiet

and the pressure a comfort. Here they can rest

far better than their kin in the ground,

away from the irritating buzz of fear.

Poetry

The Darkened Heart of Thra (inspired by The Dark Crystal)

Once, they were white roots that spread

from the heart of the world,

seeping life while chanting song.

The song of the earth, the song of the people,

connected, one. Sprouts no matter the ground.

But then the heart was trampled, torn

from what it loved

to hold up what it despised.

Shadows crept into it, whispers of malice

disguised as pure intent, and it was too gullible not to see.

The roots morphed into bulging veins

filled with poison, and there they bled out.

Reviews

Book Review, Artania: The Pharaoh’s Cry by Laurie Woodward

Laurie Woodward is a fellow Next Chapter author (previously, they were called Creativia Publishing) who writes middle grade books the same as I do, and when I read the synopsis for the first book in her Artania series, I was so intrigued I had to grab a copy for myself.

The basic premise for the Artania series is that art is alive and the creations there have their own realm – Artania itself – that is under threat from monsters that want to wipe out all the hope and creativity from the world so they can take over Artania for themselves.

The denizens of Artania, fearful of losing their home, reach out to two young boys who have been prophesied to save them, both of whom have a passion for art but come from drastically different backgrounds: Bartholomew Borax III, whose mother is the head of a bleach company and has such an obsession with cleanliness that he has to hide his art from her lest she declare it unclean and confiscate it, and Alexander DeVinci, a cool kid who moves to a new home with a larger room for him to paint in where he spends most of his spare time, much to his mother’s sadness when he becomes so absorbed in his work that he rarely speaks to her.

As the plot gently unfolds by the switching of viewpoints between the two boys with each chapter, I found I sympathized most with Bartholomew, as his mother is so strict about him staying clean and presentable, and not picking up germs from anywhere, that he really has no interaction with other kids his age at all. When she reluctantly agrees to let him go to a public school, he is very much an outsider and knows none of the social nuances most of the kids in his class use, and it’s only when he draws a detailed portrait that he gains any sort of respect from them.

Alex is very much the opposite of Bartholomew – confident, lots of friends, easygoing parents etc, but his problems begin when his mother becomes seriously ill, and he blames himself for prioritising art over spending time with her. This neglect for art and the negative emotions around it are what the monsters feed on, making them stronger. Yet when the boys are summoned by the Artanians and learn to be friends, Bartholomew manages to help Alex rekindle his love of art.

As this is book one of a series, it only covers a small part of what the boys have to do to save Artania, focusing on a group of pharaohs who have been kidnapped by the monsters. Because of this, a lot of time and detail is spent building up their world, and it’s clear that a lot of research has gone into this book. Many of the characters are true to Egyptian mythology and history, and I actually learnt a bit while reading.

The characters’ motivations were all crystal clear, and I did find myself rooting for the boys when it got to the nitty gritty of the story. I did, however, find the pacing a bit too slow for my liking, but that’s just personal taste – I like fast paced middle grade that doesn’t let me rest, and this just didn’t have that factor. But the idea behind it was still fresh and well thought out.

I don’t know whether I will continue with the series, as despite the strong writing and plot, I can’t say it gripped me as much as I’d hoped it would. But I imagine it will be a firm favourite with many middle grade readers.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good read.

 

Official blurb:

Young Bartholomew isn’t allowed to go to school, play outside or make art, so he sketches in secret. When Bartholomew meets the skateboarding artist, Alexander DeVinci, he’s yanked into a mythical realm of living paintings and breathing sculptures: Artania.

The two soon learn that the strange world, where everything seems to be possible, is on the verge of destruction. With Egyptian gods and goddesses by their side, they face daring battles and narrow skateboarding escapes.

But can they defeat the evil Sickhert’s army, and bring art back to the world?

Artania

books, Uncategorized

Unofficial Detective merchandise!

My publisher surprised me today by announcing that they’ve designed merchandise for Unofficial Detective, the first book in my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy. I’m rather chuffed with how they look, and just how many options there are (mugs, t-shirts, cushions, posters).

There are two different designs, one featuring the book cover, and one with just the main image:

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If you would like to order one, you can get a 10% discount by using the code NCHAPTER. You can find them here and here.

As always, thanks for your continued support!

Poetry

The kings of our past

Your footprints are swamped by his

no matter how old you get, how tall you grow or how wise.

Because the ghosts will always contort the mirror

so you appear small, a mere cub

hiding in his father’s shadow.