Saturday, 1 August 2015

Jim Webster - Spotlight

Today I'm handing over the blog to Jim Webster, so he can tell you all about the exciting things happening today!

I’d like to announce that 1st August 2015 is the culmination of a cunning master-plan which is aimed at getting as much good literature in front of you as possible.

Unfortunately if I’m honest it’s just something that’s happened in spite of my best efforts, and I’ve picked the 1st of August because it’s almost convenient.

You see, after discussion with my publishers, AUK, it was decided that the four Fantasy novels they’ve published of mine really deserved to be released in paperback. But being methodical types they suggested that I re-proofread them first. So that’s fine, that’s done.

‘Swords for a Dead Lady’

‘Dead Man Riding East’

‘The Flames of the City’

‘Learning a Hard Trade’

These four are available in paperback from 1st August. Book sellers will be able to get them through their usual wholesalers or if you want to buy from Amazon, they’re there.

If you’ve never seen them before, Swords for a Dead Lady can be found at

But I’d also had this cunning plan, a truly brilliant idea. Rather than doing a full novel, I’d do a series of short stories, say about 20,000 words each. They’d be detective stories set in my fantasy world with one of my more popular protagonists ‘in charge.’
Not only that but I’d have half a dozen of them set up to go, and I’d release them at strict regular intervals so people came to expect them. Perhaps it’s a case of trying to build the market?

But anyway, thus and so, ‘The Port Naain Intelligencer’ was born, and the first story in the series, ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ is out on, yes you’ve guessed it. The 1st August. This has meant that whilst proof-reading four novels I was also writing, editing etc 120,000 words of new work. But anyway, ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ is available as an e-book on pretty well every platform, but for those who use kindle it’s at

To quote the Amazon synopsis, “Benor arrives in Port Naain intent on the simple task of producing a handbook for merchants. Then there is a murder, and a vengeful family who will stop at nothing to silence those who found the body. Suddenly Benor’s life is no longer simple.”

Finally there was something of a diversion. In the ‘Port Naain Intelligencer’, Benor’s landlord and friend Tallis is a poet. So he drops lines of poetry into his conversation.
But Mike Rose-Steel my editor is also a Poet. (With a capital P indeed.) So he asked if he could borrow Tallis. He then proceeded to write ten poems. Benor supplied cultural and historical background to them and Tallis’s somewhat bitter contemporary Lancet Foredeck provided literacy criticism.

Thus, ‘Lambent Dreams’ was born.

This fine work of cutting edge cultural relevance is also available as an e-book at

As the synopsis says, “The Poetry of Tallis Steelyard. This appropriately slim volume is the fruit of a unique artistic collaboration, bringing together the writings of one of Port Naain's most major minor poet with the personal commentary of an esteemed cartographer and traveller, and the guiding notes of an informed poet-critic. You cannot say you have not been warned.”

As a special treat, a way of saying thank-you to those who’ve bought my books in the past, Lambent Dreams will be free from 31st July to the 4th August. Admittedly it’s only £0.99 normally but it’s the thought that counts.


Find Jim Webster online:




Friday, 31 July 2015

TBR Orphans Challenge - July Update

Another month in which I've mostly neglected my reading and have been playing Dragon Age.

I still managed to read two Orphans, which I'll be reviewing soon.

Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne
Halfway to the Grave Jeaniene Frost

Both books have been on my shelves since May 2014.

How did your challenges go?

Thursday, 30 July 2015

An Interview with K.A. Krantz - Author of Larcout

As you might have noticed: I loved Larcout, the first book in the Fire Born, Blood Blessed series. So I did an interview with K.A. Krantz (aka KAK) to find out more about her and her books.

Welcome to Pearls Cast Before a McPig.
Could you tell a bit about yourself for those people who don’t know you yet?

KAK: I am a three-toed sloth. No? Fine. In truth, I do have five toes per hairy foot. The rest of the description is absolutely true.

What can you tell us about your books?
KAK: The Fire Born, Blood Blessed series begins in LARCOUT, a desert nation rife with political intrigue, the rumblings of civil war, and a long festering fear of the noble family Le Sri.

When the foreign-born daughter of the most reviled le Sri suddenly appears in Court as an acolyte to the ruling Lar, those who accused the family of treason scramble to stop the strange woman’s investigations into the national tragedy that led to her mother’s banishment.

They call her the Killer of the Kastra.
Vadrigyn os Harlo has eyes that see the dead. Strength to turn bones into powder. Fangs to rend her enemies asunder. Fire in her veins. Venom in her touch... And the magic to manipulate the minds of the masses.

She will be the salvation or the demise of the nation. Their future is her choice.

Have you ever used people you know as characters in your books?
KAK: I don’t. Perhaps it’s better said that I don’t do it consciously. I may use mannerisms, gestures, tics, or tells of someone I know, but I don’t intentionally construct fictional characters from real-life characters.

Where can you be found when you’re not at your desk writing?
KAK: I rarely write at a desk. I tend to play Goldilocks and All the Chairs when I write. As for where I am when I’m not auditioning chairs, I’m usually painting…something. Walls mostly, though, my clothes and hair far too often.

What did you do to celebrate the release of your first book?
KAK: I had a 5-Way. Seriously. In Cincinnati, we have our own style of chili—a thin meat sauce with the usual spices, except we include cinnamon and chocolate. It’s typically served between a bed of spaghetti noodles and a foot of shredded cheddar. That’s a 3-Way. Add onions and beans, and you have a 5-Way...and unkissable breath. It’s totally worth it.

What authors have been an influence to you?
KAK: My first and best love as a reader is historical fiction. Morgan Llywelyn, Nigel Tranter, and Bernard Cornwell. These authors snared me when I was young and are so prolific that I still have many of their books to read and re-read (even Tranter who passed away years ago). I love the notion of taking a nugget of fact and spinning an elaborate and compelling lie around it.

And have you read any books lately that you want to share with us or have you been too busy with writing to read?
KAK: I’m indulging in The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. The stories in the First Edition are the closest to the original oral tales, before Wilhelm extensively edited them for religious themes and narrative flow. In the US, we’re most familiar with stories from the Seventh Edition. It’s sort of like reading a Critique Partner’s final draft before it’s sent off to NYC publishers.

Are there zombies or pigs in any of your books or will there be any in future books?
KAK: Vadrigyn develops an alliance with a monster-hunting, shape-shifting boar in the next book, NIVURN (Spring 2016). The plethora of hyphens aside, Odosus finds that being Vadrigyn’s friend challenges personal definitions of faith, value, and glory.

As for Zombies (or bazombies as my wee nieces insist on calling them), Book Four in the Fire Born, Blood Blessed series takes place in Kethor, where the indigenous people don’t let the dead rest. That’s coming in early 2017.

Thank you for letting me stop by, Sullivan. It’s been a pleasure!

Thanks for dropping by, and for the exciting glimpse of the upcoming books. I'll be getting my trotters on NIVURN for sure!


Larcout (Fire Born, Blood Blessed Book 1)
by K.A. Krantz

Blood-beings can be chattel or char.

Fire seethes through the veins of every Morsam, demanding domination and destruction. Combat is a hobby. Slaughtering the inferior blood-beings is entertainment. Life is a repetitious cycle in the prison fashioned by the gods. But mix-race abomination Vadrigyn os Harlo suspects the key to freedom lies with safeguarding the blood-beings; until her blood-born mother uses foreign magic to turn the Morsam against Vadrigyn. Betrayed, bound, and broken, Vadrigyn struggles against the dying of her essential fire. Yet the ebbing flames unleash the dormant magic of her mixed heritage…

The magic to destroy free will.

Seized by the gods and dumped in the desert nation of Larcout to stop history from repeating, Vadrigyn discovers her mother’s legacy of treason and slaughter still festers. To survive the intrigues of the royal court, the roiling undercurrents of civil war, and the gods themselves, Vadrigyn must unravel the conspiracy behind her mother’s banishment. But manipulating free will unleashes a torrent of consequences.

If she fails the gods, she will return to the Morsam prison, stripped of all magic and all hope.

If she succeeds, she can rule a nation.

Kasthu. Roborgu. Inarchma.
Live. Learn. Burn.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Find Buy Links to the ebook here


About K.A. Krantz:

Blessed with a childhood rife with ogres, dragons, and castles, K.A. Krantz revels in fantasies dark and epic. To her great horror, reality occasionally insists on domination. Attempts at a business degree sent her fleeing into the catharsis of a B.A. in Writing; however, aspirations for a steady income and an emerging shoe fetish turned her into a dot-com masochist, during which time a Master’s degree in International Commerce & Policy proved useful. However, the lure of creating alternate worlds proved irresistible, so she bid fond farewell to the online communities she had nurtured via chat rooms, message boards, and dating services.

These days, K.A. Krantz splits her time between Cincinnati and the DC 'burbs with her ever faithful hairy beast. When the voices of characters impatient for her undivided attention are temporary silent, she indulges in a shoe obsession, conducts a love/hate affair with paint brushes, and pretends she has enough upper body strength to wield power tools.

K.A. Krantz writes high fantasy, urban fantasy, and fantasy romance.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cover Reveal - The Island

The Island
by Clarissa Johal

“Exploring a remote island can sometimes get you into trouble.

Especially when you stumble upon a cave and awaken two demons.

Emma Keller’s estranged grandmother has been missing for seven years. Emma journeys to her grandmother’s private island with the task of readying it for sale. Local rumors say it’s cursed, but she dismisses them as superstition. While there, she unearths a hidden cave, and is visited by two men soon after. Itu is well-spoken, though he hides his face in shadow. The other is more of a worry; with skin of alabaster, Thim’s feral presence sets her on edge. Emma discovers the island has a dark past. The two men aren’t human, but awakened demons…and they have their sights set on her.”

Amazon Pre-Order:

Barnes & Nobel Pre Order:

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Teaser Tuesdays - School of Fear

"Once you send that letter, he'll be watching you... everywhere you go, everything you buy, anyone you call, he'll know, he knows everything," Dr. Franklin said ominously.

(page 63, School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Under a Graveyard Sky - DNF Book Review

Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising #1)
by John Ringo

What is it about:
A family of survivors who fight back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.

When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.

For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived beneath a graveyard sky.

What did I think of it, and why didn't I finish it:
This book starts out really cool.

Steven and his brother are a sort of Doomsday preppers, so when the first news about an airborne zombie-virus hits, Steven and his family bug out and get to safety.

There's also accounts about how other people fare against this new plague, and how people are trying to find a cure. So far so good. i was really enjoying myself.

Then the two daughters, Sophia and Faith are called in to help out at the lab. I must say my first grumble began here. I found it hard to believe that a 16 year old girl really was best person to help out with looking for the cure. And taking her younger sister along, who had no skills to help out whatsoever didn't make sense as well.

Of course Faith, the younger sister, gets herself in trouble. I grumbled a bit about that, but decided that Faith being a young teen, it fit her age and character.

Then their parents turn up, and the whole family went to an illegal concert. Of course zombies turned up, lured by the lights and sounds of the concert...


Here I gave up on the book.

I just couldn't believe that the same family who was so smart to bug out when the shit hit the fan, would actually go to the most unsafe place to be during an airborne outbreak of a zombie-plague. I just didn't care for any of them anymore.

I'm guessing Ringo wanted to add some zombie action, but I wish it was done in another way than this, because I was enjoying the book up until that point.

Maybe I'll give one of Ringo's other books a try sometime, but I'm done with the Smith family.

Why should you read it:
If you don't mind illogical behavior, you might find this a cool read.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Friday, 24 July 2015

Partials - Book Review

Partials (Partials Sequence #1)
by Dan Wells

What is it about:
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island.

But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war's origin that she never knew to ask.

What did I think of it:
I picked this book up expecting it to be an entertaining read, but nothing special.

To my surprise this book turned to be a really engaging and gripping read.

Yes: there were some elements that keep popping up in most Dystopian YA's. Yes: one of the plot twist was visible from miles and miles away. Still I was hooked and didn't mind. The world building in this book is really cool, and the story suspenseful.

After being decimated by the Partials, humanity is slowly dying out, because all newborns die from the virus that is still present. The ways the leaders of Long Island deal with this is both disturbing and believable, although it surprised me that not more people stood up against their leaders.

I liked Kira and some of her friends. I loved how they supported each other, and stuck together (mostly). I didn't like Kira's boyfriend I must say. Even before he did some jerky things (imo), I just couldn't find anything in him to like. There seems to be a set up for a possible love triangle though, so I'm hoping for a change in boyfriend.

The ending of this book is satisfying, but also leaves enough things open to make me want to get my trotters on the next book soon to see what will happen next.

Overall this is a really great Dystopian YA read, that I will certainly keep for rereading. I'm also checking out what other books/series Wells has written.

Why should you read it:
It's an engaging Dystopian YA read.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery