English – the confusing language
Take the word ‘lead’ as an example of major confusion in my native language. 
In one form, lead is the name given to a heavy bluish soft ductile metal. But in numerous other forms it has a completely different meaning. Here are just a few for you to consider:
To lead – the act of leading someone or an animal, or, and here comes yet another confusion, he ‘led’ them – lead minus the ‘a’. 
Then you have ‘to lead someone on’, in other words to take advantage, to deceive.  
Next comes ‘lead to’, a route or a means of access to a particular place. 
How about ‘lead someone to’, the act of motivating someone into an action or belief.
Or finally how about ‘to lead off’, to be in charge of, or to begin a report.
Is it any wonder that non English speakers have so much trouble with our hybrid language?
And as for the other versions of the English language across the world and their own local ways of spelling and colloquial meanings, don’t even go there…

Knorrasky: The Deception by R.A. Knowlton

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Price: $2.99 – $4.00

Where to Get It:

IFWG Publishing
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble (Nook)

KnorraSky the Deception, is an exciting story of courage and heartbreak amidst a medieval setting. The opening pages describe a confident king, Noman, who leads his people without hesitation. Soon things changes when during an epic battle a Deception occurs and Noman is forced to confront his worst fears. KnorraSky the Deception covers 3000 miles and five years as King Noman tries desperately to regain what he has lost.

KnorraSky The Deception Special addition has more to offer. In this special edition published exclusively on Kindle you will also see character artwork by Author R.A. Knowlton.

What they’re saying about it:

“This is an enjoyable story that has it all. Action, romance, humor, twists and turns and struggles between good and evil. Full of emotion, strong and well-developed characters and well researched details like sword and knife making. A great start to the series.”–Amazon Reviewer

“I’m impressed. This book kept my attention! I put the book down, to sleep or work and found myself wondering what was going to happen next and how the current situations (several are going on throughout) could possibly work out. I can’t wait for the next in this series. The new creations were a fantasy dream! Keep them coming! This is a 5 STAR, hands down!”–Amazon Reviewer

Circle of Seven by MF Burbaugh

Type: Novella

Genre: Science Fantasy

Price: $2.99 US

Where to Get It:

IFWG Publishing
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble (Nook)

After being kidnapped by pirates, a young earth girl, Myra, finds herself on a strange planet full of magic, hate, and ancient prophesies. Befriended by a Dwarf Princess, she struggles to understand her environment or die.

War looms on the horizon as Elves, Dwarfs, Dragons, and others face the reality of an ancient judgment to come.

This is the story of pirates, death, war, magic, and ancient prophesies.

Myra may hold the key to their planet’s destiny in her tiny hands as she struggles to fulfill the ancient writings and stay alive.

What they’re saying about it:

“Imagine Tolkien’s characters in space and you have the basis for M.F Burbaugh’s novella.”–Amazon Reviewer

“I was privileged to read this before publication. This is truly a fun, fun, fun novel/novella. It has everything, and it has a unique take on the stereotype fantasy creatures we are all used to, and exposed frequently to.

It is a short novel – around 47k, but it moves fluidly and full of action, intrigue and wonder.

I heartily recommend this wonder to you.”–Amazon Reviewer

SQ Magazine Edition 1 by various artists (IFWG Publishing)

Type: Magazine

Genre: Multiple genres

Price: $3.99

Where to Get It:

IFWG Publishing
Amazon.com (Kindle)
Amazon UK

Short stories including the winning story and finalists from the annual Story Quest contest.

SQ Magazine gathers together the work of new and established writers to the reading public. Through short fiction, essays, articles and illustration, we want to showcase writers from among IFWG Publishing’s ranks of authors, visiting talent, and the winner and finalists in our Story Quest annual competition. While leaning toward speculative fiction, this edition is not confined by genre, or intended age-groups. Our objective is to delight the reader, and encourage growth for all authors. 54 print page equivalent of short stories and articles. In this issue. Story Quest Contest Winner and Finalists. An interview with Jack Eason Writing Spec/Fic Parts one and 2 And much more!

What they’re saying about it:

“I read this a while back and I can say that all the stories in this magazine are of top quality. It has a large collection of speculative fiction (dystopian scifi – several, classic and non-classic fantasy, and even a great historical fantasy), but it also has a few left-fielders – including a very humorous story about a dog. All in all I would recommend this to readers, particularly specfic readers.”–Amazon Reviewer

Arn – The Knight Templar
An excellent film with a stellar cast including Stellan Skarsgard, Simon Callow, Bibi Andersson and Joakim Nätterqvist in the starring role as Arn Magnusson.
 Arn – Knight Templar Is a tale of abiding love, set in a time of religious intolerance, deep hatred and bloody holy war.
 Arn is driven away in punishment from all he knows to join the ranks of the Knights Templar during the crusades after making many enemies by humiliating and defeating the King’s champion in a fight to preserve family honour and by falling in love with the defeated man’s daughter.
This is the type and quality of film that Hollywood sadly seems incapable of making today. Thank goodness that countries other than the US have the foresight to produce new films, not merely remakes…
My rating – five stars

Guardian of the Sky Realms by Gerry Huntman

Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy

Price: $5.00

Where to Get It:

IFWG Publishing
Amazon.com (Kindle)
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

Maree Webster is an ‘almost-emo’ from the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. She hates school and only has a few friends. She has an infatuation with Angels and Fallen Angel stories. Life was boring until she one day decided to steal a famous painting of angels from a small art gallery.

Her life will never be boring again. She meets a stranger at the gallery who seems to know her. She stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land below.

But not all is well. Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity, what makes her Maree, and more importantly, human. She has ties to the human world that she can’t bear to sever.

Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, but also across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, and the Himalayas to Manhattan.

It is about transformation.

What they’re saying about it:
“I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of Gerry Huntman’s YA novel “Guardian of the Sky Realms” earlier this month. Gerry is not only my good friend but also my editor at IFWG Publishing. Despite the fact that fantasy is not normally my preferred reading, with the exception of J.R.R Tolkien’s timeless tales, I loved reading this wonderfully crafted tale. Well done my friend and congratulations. Sky Realms has been a long time coming.”–Amazon Reviewer

“This is an excellent story that starts out with a revelation and becomes an adventure. The action and turns never let up.

I enjoyed Maree’s gradual discovery and acceptance of who she is. It was very well done and believable, despite the fantastic circumstances. I enjoyed the intermixing of the two worlds. It gave it a ‘real’ grounding that was important.
The world of the Sky Realms is rich and vividly drawn, and beautifully described. My favourite character was, surprisingly enough, Darius.

An enjoyable tale that was easy to read. Highly recommended.”–Amazon Reviewer

Onet’s Tale by Jack Eason
Genre: Science Fiction

Price: $4.00

Where to Get It:

IFWG Publishing
Amazon.com (Kindle)
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

Onet’s Tale is a classic tale of good versus evil, but it is interspersed with unexpected and challenging twists. It is an epic science fiction, spanning eons. It is mythic in scope and theme.

Onet is an ancient being whose sole purpose is to trap and remove the evil he awaits. He is the story teller.

Onet’s tale takes us across the cosmos as our heroes, transformed into magnificent berserker warriors, are caught up in an ancient intergalactic power struggle between the Alliance of Planets, led by a consortium of Human and Nephile nations, and their arch enemy, the Drana Empire, who use Onet’s own kind – the Khaz – to carry out their spying, and expedite their evil intent across countless worlds.

Just when Onet finally believes he has captured his evil foe, the story changes yet again for the worse…

What they’re saying about it:

“…bravo Jack Eason, for penning an ambitious and provocative science fiction epic.” – Paul Goat Allen, reviewer-bloggist for Barnes and Noble.

“Imagine slaving in a mine on a distant planet, where each swing of your pick throws poisonous dust into the air that will kill you in a few months time from breathing it. This is where “Onet’s Tale” opens, but it doesn’t stay there long. This epic sci-fi tale from Jack Eason includes a large cast of characters from various planets, including the human/nephile Akhen and Khan, who is a Drana. Once enemies, the two band together to escape the mine and start a rebellion that eventually leads to a war that spans years and galaxies.

The story itself is narrated by Onet, who happens to be a Khaz. Think little gray alien guy that might land in Area 51. Except Onet is albino and has red eyes. He’s watching all this unfold, waiting for his chance to stop the evil that his own kind started, which spread through a goddess-type being called Shu, and continued through her horrible creations of berserker warriors.

Murder, war, and mayhem reign throughout this book, while the main characters try very hard to live normal lives. Their efforts are always ripped out from under them, and I sympathized with the tortuous events they lived through. On the other hand, I kept wishing for more character depth. I’m really partial to character-driven novels, and this one seems mostly plot-driven. For me, I would have liked to have been inside the characters’ heads more, really feeling what they feel.

If you like sci-fi packed with battles, futuristic weapons and modes of transport, you’ll like “Onet’s Tale”.”–Amazon Reviewer

Skyline – the movie. And they have the nerve to call this gripping Science Fiction?
A reality check for all the superficially shallow among us, this is another pathetic Hollywood remake of an old story, this time bearing a blindingly obvious comparison to H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds”.
Starring nonentity actors drawn from the detritus of the Hollywood pool of available (in this case desperate to be employed) actors, with weak acting and an even weaker storyline, Skyline’s slow start seemingly going nowhere, hardly inspires the mind.
Thank god the aliens arrived to rid the world of these mindless idiots, by harvesting humans for body parts. The trouble is they take ordinary law abiding, hard working and clean living people to!!! Now if only they would appear to rid us of the idiots who conceived Skyline in Hollywood….
While the faces of the actors are vaguely familiar, I can fully understand why no well known actors wanted to be associated with this D grade movie.
The movies only redeeming feature is the CGI effects employed, especially the alien craft as they first appear, and later, the aliens themselves. The rest of the effects are hardly top draw.
I begrudgingly give this movie two stars, both of them for the CGI aliens.
Thank God H.G. Wells is dead. Were he alive today, the Hollywood based film-makers responsible for Skyline would have a major lawsuit to contend with…

The Seventh Age
The Mayan clock stopped predicting events beyond 2012. Why did it not continue beyond that date?
Rebel archaeologist Nick Palmer experiences an almost unnoticed event at Stonehenge during the summer solstice celebration he attends along with hundreds of others, that worries him greatly. 
He is made aware through a blog, of a sinister organization known as the ‘Order’, that are seemingly bent on preventing his every move to discover the reason behind the worrying event. 
During his voyage of discovery, Nick is tracked across the world by an enigmatic entity that has been trapped here on Earth for over twenty-five thousand years, awaiting the discovery of the event by what she refers to as a ‘surface-occupier’.
Together with her and the few people Nick trusts implicitly, they set out to prevent the alarmingly inevitable catastrophic conclusion that will affect not only the Earth, but the whole Solar System’s very existence.
Jack’s latest science fiction novel is a tale told in the present day. 
Beside its topical theme concerning the dire events in 2012 predicted by the Mayan clock, it is also a story full of mystery and adventure in which the unrequited love story of a human and an alien female gradually unfolds.
Want to know more? Then you will have to wait to read the new science fiction mystery “The Seventh Age” by Jack Eason, next year, in 2012, published by IFWG Publishing.

Toothache or Editing…

At the moment I’m suffering from two afflictions – toothache and the first editing session of my current science fiction project – “The Seventh Age”.

The first (toothache) painfully comes then slowly goes. The second (editing) just keeps on keeping on. While my darned toothache manifests itself in waives of pain within my mouth, the same cannot be said for the editing I am engaged in thank God.

Eventually the toothache will subside – the editing for the moment will not!

Each time I re-read each chapter, paragraph or sentence, like most authors I find myself constantly rewriting, searching for brevity and clarity within the text.

For me the act of editing/rewriting is almost a pleasurable undertaking after the pain of setting out the storyline, inventing the characters, time-line and back history, necessary to that story deep within my mind in that hard won first draft.

Eventually I know I will have to relinquish control of my precious story and deliver it into the capable hands of my editor. But will the editing end then? Not at all. He will continue to involve me as he works his way through it with his red pen, exhorting me to change this word for that, until he is satisfied.

The editing will end when the manuscript is finally sent off to the printers with both our blessings, and that is when you the reader will see the product of our endeavours for yourselves.

Happy reading…

The Hunt for a Friend

            It was three summers before I once again had the good fortune to share another adventure with all five of my dear goblin friends, Globular Van der Graff, (Glob), Makepeace Terranova (Make), Byzantine Du Lac (Byz), Eponymous Tringthicky (Mous) and finally, curmudgeonly old Neopol Stranglethigh (Neo).
I was busy making myself a new flint headed spear one day in midsummer when I became aware of a small rapidly approaching shadow at the extreme periphery of my vision.
“Mornins yung Mica me lad, fines day ain’t it.”
Glob sat down heavily and out of breath beside me while scratching his ancient leathery ears, taking advantage of the cool shelter on offer courtesy of the extended thatch above the entrance to my home away from the heat of the noon day sun.
“Morning Glob,” I replied as I looked at my old friend’s expressive face. Clearly something of great import was worrying him.
“What’s wrong Glob, what is it that brings you out of the forest in the middle of the day?” I enquired.
“Tiz Byz I’m afraids yung Mica,” he began, shaking his head. “Peer’s he’s gorn wandrin orf on a fool’s journey,” Glob continued with a glum look that spread across his face like a black rain cloud, revealing much more of his deep concern for our friend Byz than what he was actually saying.
Goblins were not generally known for fully explaining what it is they actually meant.
Apparently a few days earlier Byz had been told a tale by a passing traveller he met on the forest road about a hoard of precious jewels somewhere beyond the valley to north and had gone off on his own to seek them out.
Mention the word jewel to a goblin and they quickly begin to foam at the mouth in sheer ecstasy at the thought of finding those elusive and brightly coloured gemstones.
Of all my five goblin friends, Byzantine Du Lac was the most gentle and simple minded. Byz always had the stupid grin all simpletons share on his highly expressive and kindly face.
He often wandered off on his own, distracted by something as simple as a pretty flower or a coloured toadstool or any brightly coloured thing come to that, so when Glob told me about how poor Byz had swallowed the traveller’s tale hook line and sinker, it came as no real surprise that he had wandered off to find a hoard of pretty coloured gemstones.
“Me n the lads is wurrid bout him Mica. E ort’nt go off on is own n we wuz wundrin if you’d come with us to get im back like?” Glob asked, as he frantically reached inside the collar of his jerkin to grab at a spider that was slowly crawling up his back, tickling his leathery skin with its furry legs and driving him to itchy distraction as he scratched his back raw with his torn fingernails.
Glob didn’t have to ask twice for my help. He knew I would always come when called without needing to know the reason why, after all we were more than brothers now since the time of my manhood trial three summers earlier.
“Let’s go my old friend, it’ll be dark soon,” I replied as we began to prepare.
By nightfall Glob and I were sat around our campfire together with the remaining members of our rescue party, my other goblin friends, Make, Mous and Neo – all happy to be together once more.
As the evening wore on, fuelled by drinking horns filled to the brim with the finest goblin brewed mead, courtesy of cross-eyed Neo’s personal supply, we were busy burping, hiccupping and laughing so much that tears rolled down our faces as we competed with each other to see who could make the loudest noise when passing wind after eating a supper fit for a king thanks to Make’s delicious honeycomb that followed our main course of freshly caught fish and wild mushrooms, courtesy of Make.
It wasn’t the noises we made so much as the strained expression on each contestant’s face as he manufactured his contribution to the contest that brought on our raucous drunken laughter and floods of mirthful tears. The powerful effect of the strong mead added to it of course.  
Behind us hobbled for the night, not that she would have wandered off at all while Neo was close, magically illuminated by the flickering light of our campfire stood my father’s tired old pony Miranda munching contentedly from her feed bag filled with fresh sweet hay. And, as all grass eating animals tend to do, was freely contributing her own loud and smelly efforts to our contest, glad to join in and to be free from the shafts of our families’ heavy old cart, which I had borrowed to carry all of the things Glob and I believed we would need to rescue our friend Byz.
She had complained a lot at first, moodily stamping her hooves refusing to move while neighing, whinnying and rearing up to emphasize her reluctance, stubbornly objecting to being hitched up to the cart until Glob had a sudden brainwave.
Climbing onto her neck and carefully leaning forward he whispered in her ear that her friend Neo would be looking after her for the journey. That did the trick and we were soon underway heading towards the beginning of the forest road to pick up the rest of our party.
Miranda loved the curmudgeonly old cross-eyed goblin with all her equine heart and soul. Whenever she saw him approaching from the shadows of the forest, she pricked her ears and fluttered her huge eyelashes, whinnying like a young filly in love as she trotted over to him with her nostrils flaring and swishing her tale with delight.
Neo, while not having much time for most other living things, loved our old pony in return like the sister he always wished he could have.
Whenever he disappeared, bored with our company, or in another one of his sulky moods, we could usually find him sitting astride her neck, when he thought no one was about, gently combing her hair through his long bony old fingers while weaving brightly coloured meadow flowers into the thick body of her luxuriant mane, as he whispered the latest gossip from the forest in her large soft ears and, always, always giving her handfuls of the freshest most succulent grass he could find, unfortunately for her, often missing her soft lipped mouth and sometimes trying to stick the grass in one of her ears as his badly mixed up eyesight meant he mistook them for her mouth on numerous occasions.
But Miranda didn’t mind so long as she could spend some time with her small cross-eyed friend.
The following day after Neo had hitched Miranda to the cart once more, with him sitting astride her neck gently whispering directions in her ears while Glob, Make, Mous and I sat on the cart behind, we set of to find Byz.  
We had travelled only a league along the path, shouting and whistling hoping to attract a response from Byz, when Miranda stopped suddenly and sat down on her haunches between the shafts of the cart refusing to go any further, with her great ears twitching frantically to and fro, despite Neo’s pleading with her.
What to do?
“I can’t get er to stands up no matters wot I sez to er,” Neo said shaking his head, totally at a loss as to what he could do next to encourage the seemingly stubborn Miranda. He tried waiving fresh bunches of her favourite kind of succulent grass in front of her. He even promised to come and live with her in her stable – all to no avail.
Reluctantly we decided to begin the process of getting her out from between the cart’s shafts when, she suddenly stood up, her large ears now twitching left and right, and, letting out a whinny of delight, took off at a fast trot with all of us hanging on for dear life as the old cart bounced along the forest path threatening to spill us all onto the ground.
Around the corner in a small clearing Miranda suddenly slid to a halt beside an old rotting tree stump, causing us to fall in a jumbled heap. Her large ears had allowed her to pinpoint the sound of Byz’s loud snoring echoing through the forest.
After we had extracted ourselves from the tangle of arms, legs and the broken mead pots that littered the cart’s tray, guided by the snoring, we found him curled up in a ball on a bed of dry leaves at the bottom of the hollow in the stump with that simpleton’s smile spread across his face.
On the way home we asked him why he had stopped where he did. It turned out he didn’t get very far simply because he forgot why he was going north in the first place so he decided to lay down to take a nap for a while to think about it, and the rest of the story you now know…