Dark Tidings by Ken Magee

Dark Tidings is the first of a pair of books by Bangor author, Ken Magee. It's a funny, contemporary fantasy which asks the question "What happens when ancient magic meets the Internet".

Ken started this book many years ago, but it wasn't until 2011 that he got the chance to write full time and finish his début novel. He describes the delay in getting the book finished as 'life getting in the way'.

Ken has always loved fantasy novels, particularly the work of Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin. He says "I was always going to write in the humorous fantasy genre, and twenty years experience of working in the IT industry, was bound to influence the storyline." 
Here's the book's blurb...

What happens when ancient magic meets the internet? One thing is certain, modern life will never be the same again.

A thousand years ago, a young thief, Tung, and a disgraced wizard, Madrick, are thrust together in an executioner’s dungeon. In the darkness, Madrick reveals an incredible secret about a legendary spell. The great spell helps them escape their prison cell... and eventually their century.

Catapulted into the present day, their lives collide with Michael, a computer hacker who plans to destroy the world’s largest bank. But sinister people are tracking their every move and they will stop at nothing to steal their spell.

Dark Tidings is available from Amazon and has already had some great reviews:
"Imagine the worlds of Terry Pratchett and Dan Brown coming together- Dark Tidings provides a witty and clever read that will appeal to all readers."
 "This is a super book! It's intelligent, extremely funny and very relevant to what's going on in the world today."

If you would like some more information about the books or the author, you can email ken.magee@gametheworld.com or Tweet @Ken MageeAuthor or have a look at Ken's blog.

Still Dreaming and WAKE

Still Dreaming: Poetry and Short Stories, the first book by Northern Irish author, Ellie Rose McKee, was first released in May 2012 and then re-released as a second edition earlier this month, on September 17th. WAKE, which is the sequel, is due for release in just a few days – on September 28th.

While Still Dreaming included some experimental and less common literary styles and dealt with some hard hitting issues, WAKE goes further. WAKE is darker, more personal and much longer too. It includes a Haiku with an advanced structure, a Limerick, a Sonnet, a Monologue and a Soliloquy alongside ‘typical’ poems and short stories.

The covers for both books come from photographs taken by the author herself. The first being of Groomsport bay, part of County Down’s Ards Peninsula and the second being of Northern Ireland north coast – near the Giant’s Causeway.
Ellie really enjoys photography and even produced a paperback containing all her own ‘shots’ over the summer entitled Overlooked Awe.

All three of the aforementioned books were self published, but Ellie is hoping to go down the traditional publishing route with her novel – Rising from Ashes. In the meantime, however, she has plans to release a second photobook in February 2013.

When not writing or taking photos, Ellie enjoys travelling, making YouTube videos and getting involved with Children’s and Youth Work. You can find out more about her by visiting her website, Facebook Fan Page or Twitter Profile

Dusk Chorus by Colin Dardis

Taken from Gerry McCullough's review on Amazon.co.uk

I've read a lot of Colin Dardis's poetry, both in magazines and in his first book Left of Soul; and he never ceases to delight. This new collection (which includes a few from Left of Soul such as Sleep Becomes Her and The Night Birds) has so many strikingly beautiful lines and images that I could spend the whole of this review in quoting them.

In Shimmer, for example, there is 'Each star a celebration / suspended in the sky/ by the memory of your grace';and in Take the Sun, 'And if she danced/ there would be sunsets/ where the evening paused in splendour.' 'The eye of the moon is upon me / and the trumpets echo now.' Colin Dardis in many ways reminds me of Tennyson or even Jon Stallworthy, both poets with an eye for beauty and the ability to convey it; and particularly successful in their love poetry. But Dardis, here, is writing not just about love but also about a particular subject, the cycle of day and night and how we deal with this never ending movement of our lives. Sunshine Bed and Home for the Stars are marvellously evocative examples of this.

Awake to This focuses on dawn, which we so regularly miss '...in order to witness / the slow fracture of dawn / trickle down the black mountainside.' A Shift of Seasons is another love poem. 'Come light your fire around me / let's set up camp in each other / and settle down for the rest of our hours/ together, peacefully.' A fine example of a pun used to convey a double meaning full of beauty, in the manner of the Metaphysical poets. 'I have seen your star in my sky / and it has guided me home.' Then there's the effective image in Sunset at Bridge, 'The Lagan shining like a debutante's necklace / lovingly wrapped round the city's neck.' And Teasing the Sleeper, '...each one sewn into the air / with God's promise / of another day.'

If you like good poetry, then you really shouldn't miss out on this very good book.

Link to download pdf version:

Kindle for UK users:

Kindle for US users:

Débuting with ebooks

FOR some time my writing - average though it is - has been languishing on hard drive, memory sticks. Let's face it, yer average Northern Ireland author has enough hassles through paying the mortgage to spend time chasing the dreams of agents and publishers.

Thanks to good friend Mike Thomas, an English musician, teacher and writer of children's books, I discovered that publishing ebooks yourself wasn't that difficult. He pointed me in the direction of a US-run site called Smashwords, and I disted down the stories, freshened them up and hey presto their live!.

Now I have seven short stories online and available to buy via Smashwords and, through Smashwords iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Dieselm, Sony e-reader, Kobo and Diesel.

Yes, it can be a little fiddly to start with, but it is worth the effort.

You can check out my stories here. They are five dark tales, a Belfast romance, and a bit of sword and sorcery nonsense that was escapism for me. Even more important, it has given me the confidence to tackle two ideas for novels that have been nagging me for some time!

While it is gratifying that people can access and buy my stories, like all such ventures the lack of an editor as a critical friend means that you never know whether your prose punches as it should (or spot any typos!). But it perhaps should be regarded as a gateway and the reward? Telling friends and family: "Aye, I'm a published author!"

So if you want to chat about e-publishing put your queries in the comments, or if you enjoyed any of my stories let me know (better still post a review on Smashwords!)