Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Yes, it’s Christmas Eve! Only one more sleep until it’s Christmas morning – but if you’ve been enjoying these festive themed short stories, we’ve got a few more to come yet – 16 to be precise and none of them are themed around the 12 days of Christmas. So the last of the 12 days of Christmas posts for this year, we proudly present the final reprise of Siren’s 12 Days of Christmas (I found Harry Lee this time) and hope that none of you end up like Harry over your own 12 days of Christmas.

If you want to find out more about the Siren books – you can do so here.

12 Days of Christmas (I found Harry Lee)

On the first day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the second day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the third day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, with eleven girls’ phone numbers, a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas I found Harry Lee, whistling twelve tuneless bars, with eleven girls’ phone numbers, a ten gallon hat, nine broken fingers, eight pub bans, seven hundred pounds poorer, six in the morning, five sheets to the wind, with four laughing teenagers, three streets over, with two shots of vodka and upside down, hanging from a tree.

This is what happens when Fred goes out of town and leaves Harry to fend for himself – and somehow I will still get blamed! What I really want to know though is why those teenagers weren’t at home and asleep at 6am!

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

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It’s only 8 days now until Christmas, and we are all very excited here in the office, not only will we be getting a break until the New Year, but we’ve got the third batch of Nicolette Mace: the Raven Short novels coming out in just a week! But we aren’t blogging about those today. No we are taking another jaunt into the realm of Celadmore and picking up the fourth journal entry of Caslo Morgan in his New Year narrative (since there’s no Christmas in Celadmore)

If you want to catch up on the previous 16 days of our short story Advent Calendar, then check out our blog archives and you’ll find all of them there.

2650GL 19th Spregan

We were brought before Queen Annalia two days ago. I was not sure what to expect. Her reputation is that of being wise, strong and gentle yet at the same time so fearsome that even King Marlo is slightly afraid of her.

When we entered the Great Hall she was seated on a throne at the far end of the room. Her daughter, Venetia was sat at her feet pouring over maps and battle reports. Behind Venetia stood two women, one with dark skin and jet black hair, the other with skin as pale as the moon and blonde hair that shone like spun gold even under the candlelight of the hall. Both were dressed in travelling armour, light shadcrag leather over thinly beaten meran, deep chestnut in colour with light woven cloaks hanging from their shoulders.

The Lady Morrigan and the Lady Gekendra.

From the way they were dressed they had arrived not long ago, but to look at them, their faces did not show it. All four women looked undisturbed by our presence there. Jashobeam led our party as we entered. Maharai and Helez, Tusala and Hisanda, Shammah and I, the seven members of the Eight.

We knelt before the Queen and Shammah spoke to her. Lady Gekendra and Lady Morrigan seemed oblivious to our presence and Venetia was much more interested in the battle reports she held. Each member of the Eight was presented to Queen Annalia in turned, I was saved until last.

Shammah said my name and there was a change in the atmosphere. Venetia put down the battle reports; Morrigan and Gekendra stopped their conversation and stared. I have never felt so much like a tapestry before in my life. It seemed to go on for hours, but was merely minutes. Morrigan and Gekendra returned to their conversation, their attention no longer fixated on me. Venetia however did not go back to her battle reports.

Instead when Queen Annalia had finished speaking and officially naming us as the Eight, Venetia stood and asked if I would walk with her around the grounds. She was still wearing her sword and her battle armour. It was unusual for any to wear their full battle armour whilst away from the battlefield. She found it amusing that I was confused by it and explained that it was because she wanted to get stronger, and be able to move as though she was not wearing armour in battle.

There is something spectacular about her, the way she thinks and moves, the way she is still very much a child but more adult than most four times her age. She challenged me to fight as we walked around the grounds, I agreed and that duel is now set for tomorrow…it was to be a small affair, the Swordmistress adjudicating the fight but since Shammah and Lady Morrigan found out about it, most of the city is now coming to the event.

I partly think that Shammah wants to see me embarrassed in battle by the seven year old princess, but to lose to her in a duel would not be as embarrassing for me as he imagines.

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Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

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With just eleven days to go until Christmas, we’re taking you on yet another journey to Celadmore through the eyes of Caslo Morgan.

2650GL 20th Spregan

When I stepped out into the duelling arena today, I had never felt more adrenaline coursing through my veins than I did at that moment. The roar of the men and women of the Order, Queen Annalia and the rest of the royal family in the city sat on a platform at the far end of the arena. Flags and music filling the air.

Such an atmosphere is something I had never known before. I felt like a conquering hero returning home victorious from some legendary battle; that I was King Leinad, Lord Rathe, Lord Queteria and both Lord Allamontos all rolled into one.

Venetia was stood at the far end of the arena already waiting. In her hand was her sword, the Clambria Yesma, a sword crafted for her that had carved a reputation for her in the last year as she had seen battle. A sword that no man could help but envy. My own blade, the Astana Drecsar, looks almost dull by comparison to it.

Her heavy armour was missing for this fight, instead she wore the same travelling armour that I had first seen the Lady Morrigan and the Lady Gekendra in. I had nothing but the leather armour that I wore for moving around, worn and tatty in places, older than the young princess I was about to face.

I could feel the eyes of Shammah burning into me from where he stood in the crowd. There wasn’t exactly hatred in his gaze but more a command to prove that I belonged as one of his men; that I was truly worthy of the mantle of the Eight.

Swordmistress Talrana moved to stand in the centre of the arena and beckoned both myself and the princess to approach. She explained that this was a simple duel; that three strikes that connected with our opponent would secure us a victory, but no blood was to be drawn. I looked at Venetia who smiled back at me and nodded. Happy that we both understood, Talrana raised her sword and brought it crashing down to stand in the arena floor to signify the start of the duel.

Venetia rushed at me before I had even registered we had begun. I managed to dodge sideways and watched the princess dart past and recover herself enough to aim backhand at my legs. I felt the blow connect and stumbled forward slightly. A roar arose from the crowd as Talrana acknowledged the hit. I knew Venetia would be quick to strike again, so I rolled as I stumbled to bring myself up to face the young princess. I managed to catch her off guard and strike her upon the shoulder before she could dodge the blow.

The crowd roared more. I was vaguely aware of the clink of gold in purses as bets were taken and paid as the bout between the young princess and I continued. Venetia grimaced as she felt her shoulder spasm under the weight of the blade. Without thinking she switched her sword arm from right to left, so I did the same.

She lunged again and missed, a feint to throw me off balance that would have worked on a less seasoned fighter. I parried her feint and knocked her backwards, her shock briefly registering before it was replaced by glee. Clearly it had been a long time since she had faced someone that she needed to apply herself to beat.

It took three hours before we each received a second blow from the other and we both were near exhaustion. Her hands were shaking and my legs felt weak beneath me. I knew that our duel was coming to an end. Venetia was becoming more determined to win the longer the duel was drawn out. To see her so focused gave me hope that the woman that would succeed her mother on the throne was so fierce at such a young age.

She came at me again, her blade moving quickly as she tried to drive strike after strike home, waiting for a crack in my defence, her eyes eagerly scanning for an opening. Her focus on my defence gave me an opening. With one swift, sweeping kick to the ankles, the young princess went flying backwards, my blade flowing to touch her in the centre of the chest.

Talrana raised her blade from the ground to signal the end of the duel. The noise of the crowd that had been blocked out by concentration reached my ears once more. The people began to file away discussing what they had seen. I reached out my hand to pull Venetia back to her feet, which she accepted.

It struck me how mature she was for one so young and yet how free spirited. She was smiling as she dusted herself down and half-laughed. She spoke to me as she left “Next time, you shouldn’t hold back because you are afraid of showing your true abilities in front of so many.”

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Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

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We’re jumping back to Celadmore today with more from the diary of Caslo Morgan from the Chronicles of Celadmore. This is the third journal entry from his New Year diary (there’s no Christmas in Celadmore), the first journal entry was published in 7th Day of Advent and the 2nd on 10th Day of Advent if you want to catch up.

2650GL 15th Spregan

We have been in the capital now for three days. The whole city seems awash with excitement at the presence of some many of the royal family at one time and the arrival of the legendary warriors of the Eight.

When we made our way through the streets towards the castle, the streets were lined with people cheering and throwing flowers. Shammah led Maharai, Helez and Jashobeam with more pride and dignity than I thought possible. I rode behind them and tried to look as inconspicuous as possible…I wasn’t all together very successful. Being brought to the island by order of the Elders and being known as the man who saved the life of Prince Radow isn’t really the best way to avoid being the subject of gossip. That and news of my appointment to ride with the Eight seemed to have somehow managed to reach the city of Anamoore ahead of us.

When we reached the castle there were two people waiting on the steps that I hadn’t seen before. Shammah clearly recognised them as he saluted and dismounted as he reached them. They were introduced to the rest of our party as Tusala and Hisanda. The two of them had been chosen by Shammah as the next to ride with the Eight and had been asked to meet him here to be inspected by Queen Annalia. Shammah had chosen them both as candidates to join long before Elika and Elhanan had fallen in battle. After their deaths he had contacted both of them and asked them to meet him at the castle.

Tusala struck me as very young to be riding as one of the Eight, she is barely over the age of 14, but Shammah’s judgement has been impeccable in recognising those that are worthy of riding with the Eight.

This was the first time that I had ever been to Castle Anamoore. The building itself was impressive beyond reckoning, the palace in Queteria and the palace of Ice and Light though beautiful and ornate were a complete contrast to Castle Anamoore. The whole castle was designed for battle, from the narrow streets that led up to it, to the heavy barred doors at every entrance.

Lining the entrance hall to the castle were more royal guards than I have ever seen in my life. Each of them shone more brightly in their armour than the spires of the palace of the Ice and Light, it was almost blinding. Shammah, Tusala and Hisanda were called before Queen Annalia so the rest of us were shown into guest quarters to wait until we were called for.

The princess Venetia was the one who led us through the maze of corridors in the castle. She was seven years old, a mere slip of a girl and yet she was shown more respect by the warriors that we passed than any other living member of the Order. She already wore her own blade, the Clambria Yesma; she had proven herself in battle beside those that now saluted her as she walked. She strode through her home with a stature that comes to warriors after years of forging reputations in the fires of war.

She is the only member of the royal line that seems to be in residence besides Queen Annalia. Lady Morrigan is not in the city, neither is Lady Gekendra. The gossips in Queteria, though normally accurate in their information, seem to be misinformed on this occasion.

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Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

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And with the 11th day of advent, we are bringing you Siren’s reprise of the 12 Days of Christmas, but rather than what Fred has given to her, it’s what the city has given to her.

If you want to find out more about the Siren books – you can do so here.

12 Days of Christmas Reprise

On the first day of Christmas, the city gave to me, all the shreds of Fred’s dignity.

On the second day of Christmas, the city gave to me, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of Fred’s dignity.

On the third day of Christmas, the city gave to me, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of Fred’s dignity.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of Fred’s dignity.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the city gave to me, seven faulty firearms, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, eight irritating clients, seven faulty firearms, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, nine deadbeat boyfriends, eight irritating clients, seven faulty firearms, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the tenth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, ten packs of cigarettes, nine deadbeat boyfriends, eight irritating clients, seven faulty firearms, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the city gave to me, eleven day’s at Harry’s, ten packs of cigarettes, nine deadbeat boyfriends, eight irritating clients, seven faulty firearms, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the city gave to me, twelve bitter arguments, eleven day’s at Harry’s, ten packs of cigarettes, nine deadbeat boyfriends, eight irritating clients, seven faulty firearms, six life-threatening situations, five new enemies, four weeks without heat, three nights in hospital, two gunshot wounds and all the shreds of his dignity.

It’s nice to see that at least the city and Fred can agree on one thing

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

Sign up to our mailing list to get the latest news, releases and offers from Mightier Then the Sword UK.

It’s just over two weeks until Christmas now, and the advent calendar continues merrily on. Today we are back in the realm of Celadmore with the 2nd diary entry from Caslo Morgan.

2650GL 11th Sprengan

I was brought before the Elders this morning. They started by presenting me with all my faults and short comings that they had noted during my training. Three hours later the Eight were brought in. Shammah was still clearly taking the loss of his brother to heart, but his grief did nothing to diminish his stature as a warrior. His entrance into the council hall was enough to impress even Queen Annalia herself; silence enveloped the room as he stepped into it. Not a soul dared to breathe as he passed by, the effect of having a living legend before those that have only heard of the war is something that I cannot even begin to describe.

Mordecai, one of the Elders, told me that the final part of my training was to ride as part of the Eight, that when the time came for my task to begin I would be called for. That riding as one of the Eight is my final test made me worried, for the first time since I arrived on the homeland, as to what my task actually would be. Not even the gossips that seem to know of every move that every soldier on the mainland makes know what it is I am being trained for.

Shammah did not look impressed that I was to join his company. It is hard to describe the look of disgust that filled his face when I was presented to him as a new member of the Eight. Before now, the Elders have not been the ones to choose who rides as one of the Eight. It has always been the leader who has suggested warriors to the royal line and vice versa, the members being chosen by the consensus. The Elders have been scrambling for years to have more power, to even place themselves as equals to the royal line. Fortunately King Marlo is too strong a man to allow them to take too much and Queen Annalia could disband them upon a whim if she desired, but still the idea that they are slowly chipping away at the structure of our government makes them no better than Valians in my opinion.

I have not been introduced to the other members of the Eight. Eleazar and Tulsana will not be riding with the Eight any longer either. Tulsana died this morning and went to join Elika and Elhanan in Halsanda. By Arala’s will, Eleazar lives and is growing stronger, but it will be many months before he is fit to fight again.

I am to travel with Shammah, Maharai, Helez and Jashobeam to Castle Anamoore to meet with Queen Annalia to discuss who will be replacing those that have fallen. The gossips have reported that Lady Morrigan and all the young princesses of the Order will also be there.

With the amount of supposedly secret and confidential information that is being openly discussed on the streets of Queteria, I wonder at how inept the spies of the other nations of Celadmore really are when they know nothing of our activities.

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Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

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It’s getting ever close to Christmas and today we are back in Viking Denmark for another short tale about the snow in Ribe. If you enjoy this take and the other short story from the Children of Ribe universe, there are some discounted book gift sets that include digital and paperback copies of the books and A3 posters that make ideal gifts for children and adults who haven’t grown up yet, available exclusively from our Etsy Store.

First Snow Fall in Ribe

The mead hall in Ribe was full of men, women and children. The sound of laughter and celebrating echoed out of the town and out across the lands beyond. Pav stood on the wall that they had built around the town to defend against the invading armies from Hedeby and Schleswig. The lights from their campfires dotted the landscape, glowing in the dark of the night and giving the old warrior and unsettled feeling in his stomach.

The snow had fallen and driven back the armies to the shelter of forests that surrounded the town. The animals had all been driven out and the snow had made it virtually impossible for the army to forage for anything in the forest. There were other dangers that lurked in the trees like trolls, wolves and bandits. If the armies of Hedeby and Schleswig were foolish enough to remain in the woods during the winter they wouldn’t be in any state to assault the town in force come the first thaw of spring.

“Any signs of movement out there?” Kaleb asked as he joined his father on the wall.

“No, everything is quiet, just as you’d expect. No one is stupid enough to try and launch an attack against these walls when the snow is knee deep.” Pav replied gruffly.

“How many fires have you counted?” Kaleb asked as he warmed his hands in the bracer that stood beside him.

“Too many to count, rising smoke from denser parts of the forest too. Impossible to know how many warriors they’ve got there,” Pav sighed, “how are the preparations going?”

“Well, Axel and Frigg have the fires burning hot enough to keep me forging from now until Ragnarok.” Kaleb said with a grim expression of his face.

“There were plenty of blades left on the corpses now covered by snow.” Pav shook his head sadly.

“The cost of war we pay in the lives of the young. You told me that when I was begging you to tell me heroic stories from the tribe wars.” Kaleb said patting his father on the shoulder.

“All those lives lost because Viggo has lost his mind and now calls himself king.”

“We’ve loaded the bodies into the boats and they are ready to burn – children of Ribe, Hedeby and Schleswig alike.” Kaleb tried to console his father.

“We’ll sing songs of this day for generations to come, of the madness of ‘King’ Viggo and how the first snow of winter held him here and broke the spirit of his army.” Pav said.

“You don’t think he’ll retreat?” Kaleb frowned.

“No, his queen is here and all those that would consider themselves elders of both Hedeby and Schleswig. None of them have the wisdom or experience in war that would tell them returning home until the spring thaw is the only sensible thing to do. They’ll be starving in a few weeks, and those that don’t starve will fall prey to the wolves.” Pav growled.

“At least with their attention focused on us, the children have a better chance.” Kaleb sighed and looked up at the sky. There wasn’t a single star to be seen, so think was the cloud.

“It’ll snow again soon. I hope they’re keeping themselves warm.” Pav smiled to himself.

“Erland knows how to keep a fire burning, even in the heaviest rain. They’ll be warm enough.” Kaleb closed his eyes and tried to not think about passing the whole winter without any word of how his son fared.

“They were meant to search for the arm rings, just as we were meant to stand on this wall and hold back the tides of war.” Pav said warmly.

“Then we must all do what the gods have put before us and trust that when the spring thaw comes, our children will be home again.” Frigg said as she joined her husband and her father-in-law on the wall.

“Brave the cold of winter’s nights, bear our heavy hearts on high, for the sun will shine once more when spring is here again.” Pav recited and turned his attention to the blazing glow of the hundreds of fires that sprinkled the dark, snow covered lands of Ribe.

More about the Children of Ribe

A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.

To find out more about the four books in the Children of Ribe series, follow these links: FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT.

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Well it’s the 7th day of Advent, and our short story Advent calendar continues. For those of you that have been sharing and sending us messages about the stories, thank you, we’ve been passing on your comments to the authors, and we’ll continue to do so as we get them.

For the 7th day of our short stories, we’re taking a trip to the realm of Celadmore. There are a few stories that we have to share from C.S. Woolley’s fantasy realm, but the first of them comes from the diary of Calso Morgan, one of the characters from the Shroud of Darkness Trilogy. As there is no Christmas in Celadmore, the short stories from Caslo are his journal entries from the start of the new year, written several years before the novel, Shroud of Darkness, takes place.

2650GL 1st Sprengan

The first day of the new year, filled with such hope and promise…hope that we will see an end to the troubles on the mainland and promise that I will not be cooped up on the island forever.

It has been three years since I was called to Queteria to train for an unknown task. I was chosen for my swordsmanship, stealth abilities and horsemanship. My archery skills were called into question by the Elders upon my arrival in the city and I spent the first four months training solidly until they were convinced that I had improved by a satisfactory amount.

The training was not something that irritated me, however the attitude of the old vultures was something that gnawed at me. No one has told me what it is that I was sent here to train for, nor what was required of me before I arrived – this was told to me only this morning as my time is apparently drawing to a close here.

I was told I was expected to serve without question and die to defend my charges. I still am none-the-wiser as to whom my charges might be, but I was told I had to accept this responsibility or leave.

Leaving did not seem to be a sensible course of action, so I accepted.

There was a lot of commotion this morning as it is rumoured that the Eight have arrived on the island, or rather what remains of the Eight after they were ambushed by a force of two hundred from Hocuna. They lost two in the fighting, Elika and Elhanan are both said to have gone to Halsanda. I had never met either of them but their reputation spoke volumes for them both. Elika served as Queen Annalia’s personal bodyguard until she became Queen and was then asked to ride with the Eight. Elhanan was the brother of Shammah, the current leader of the Eight, the two having created tales of daring to rival that of the Anaguran Queens before they reached the age of testing. Shammah has led the Eight since the passing of Elisha, his mother, who led the Eight before him.

Eleazar, the youngest member of the Eight and Tulsana, his older sister, are reported to be severely injured leaving only Maharai, Helez and Jashobeam besides Shammah who are able to ride.

Considering the odds of thirty five to one, the losses are much in line with their fearsome reputation, given that none of Darnado’s men survived. I have also been told that Lady Gekendra, princess of the Order, has been dispatched as an envoy to Hocuna in response to the violence.

There seems to be more gossip mongering here than warrior training. I am more than tempted to request a transfer to undertake my sword training next week in the city of Anamoore. There is much more study and less intrigue in the capital than here.

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Shroud of Darkness Trilogy

A fantasy book trilogy that was 16 years in the making. The trilogy follows Venetia, a queen amongst her people in the fantasy realm of Celadmore. Strange occurrences in her home world have Venetia searching for answers as to whether an old evil has returned or if a new threat has arisen. Joined by a number of unlikely allies, who do not all get along with one another, Venetia has to fight against not only the darkness threatening to destroy her home world but the treachery of politicians, the fear in those around her, assassins that want to take her throne from her and those that would go to any lengths to try and prevent another war.

The Shroud of Darkness Trilogy contains the three volumes of the Shroud of Darkness trilogy in the Chronicles of Celadmore – Shroud of Darkness, Lady of Fire and End of Days

Shroud of Darkness

In the realm of Celadmore, evil is stirring. The war torn land has not recovered from the last conflict as evil rises and threatens to ensnare the world of light. Venetia, favourite daughter of Queen Annalia, must fight enemies and allies alike. She must uncover truth amidst deception to discover the source of this new threat to her world before the darkness engulfs it.

Lady of Fire

United they must stand for destruction is upon them. The realm of Celadmore faces it’s destruction as a war that none perceived is brought against them. Venetia, Queen of the Order of Anagura and Queteria, must forge a new alliance between the nations of Celadmore against the evil that Aksoth, Lord of Nether Roth, is set to unleash. The Allied Spirit of Celadmore must be raised and march once more.

End of Days

The end is here. Aksoth’s forces roam unchecked across the plains of Celadmore; the people of Celadmore have been forced to retreat to the fallen city of Grashindorph. Revolution stirs amongst the poorest of the people; Venetia seeks to restore Gruagadon to his rightful place on the throne of Nesca and will sacrifice anything to get him there. In this final bastion, they must find victory.

The Chronicles of Celadmore (in chronological order)

The Rising Empire Trilogy
1. Rising Empire: Part 1
2. Rising Empire: Part 2
3. Rising Empire: Part 3

Shroud of Darkness Trilogy
4. Shroud of Darkness
5. Lady of Fire
6. End of Days

Fading Dawn Trilogy
7. When Darkness Falls
8. Torn Allegiance
9. Fading Dawn

Ailing Light Trilogy
10. Ailing Light
11. Ill Blowing Wind
12. Shadow of the South

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Well we’re already six days into advent and it’s back to Siren for another tale for our offering to you today.

This particular story takes a look at the sadder side of Christmas, the loneliness that lots of people suffer from at this time of year, the idea of a perfect Christmas, what they end up doing for Christmas and how they deal with their loneliness is as different as the people who suffer from it. Siren, as a character has had a hard life and copes with it in her own way. She hides her emotions and even lies to herself about how she deals with her past and her present.

 

Christmas

Christmas happens to be one of my most favourite times of year. Not because the run up to Christmas is very busy for me with people wanting people followed to find out where money is being spent and why spouses don’t come home after office Christmas parties, but because there is a certain level of peace and harmony that seems to fall over the city.

Yes, homes get broken into on Christmas eve of the richer element and have their presents stolen, there are drunken brawls and drunken drivers galore and A&E is not where I want to step foot given the number of incredible Christmas related injuries that occur, but none of this seems to have any effect on dampening my spirit.

Even Fred and Harry are less annoying at this time of year. We don’t fight or scream or have any form of exciting adventures, we sit down to a nice meal together with Ryan and spend two days in peace and harmony

That is until I wake up and find the frozen pipes in my apartment, no food in the fridge, Harry has gone out of town with his latest conquest, Ryan has wound up in prison and Fred… Fred is sat with his girlfriend and her family in one of the large townhouses on the other side of the city having the middle class Christmas he loves so much.

Christmas is my favourite time of year because I get to have the peace and quiet of my place all to myself, the phone doesn’t ring, no one bursts in unexpectedly and tries to rescue me for dangers untold and most importantly, no one tries to drink from the bottles I have stored up for the day except for me.

 

More about Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren

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Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren is a book series by author C.S. Woolley. Written in the first person, this modern twist on the private detective pulp novel brings a refreshing take on the film noir world. Nicolette Mace is the private detective known as the Raven Siren and the eponymous heroine of the five books that come together to create the main narrative of the series. There is also a sub set of books within the Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren series that come under the title of Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld. These books are shorter tales that are written to fill in the gaps between the stories in the main five novels and round out the universe that C.S. Woolley has created. Some of the volumes follow cases that the Raven Siren has taken on whilst others are comprised of shorter thoughts and exploits from the day-to-day life of the female private investigator.

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So far we’ve had tales from Ragaris, stories from Siren and short narratives from Stickleback Hollow. So today, on the 5th day of Advent, we at Mightier Than the Sword UK are pleased to bring you something from a time long past and from a distant land.

Yes, we’re talking about the shores of Denmark back when Viking tribes roamed the land and a small band of Children set out to find the arm rings of Yngvar. If you’re unfamiliar with what we are talking about, we are of course discussing the Children of Ribe series by C.S. Woolley.

Yes, though the Viking Saga for children doesn’t contain any Christmas celebration (the Vikings not being Christian and all) there are four tales that C.S. Woolley has prepared for us that deal with the first snow fall of winter from the perspective of the children on their quest, the people in the town of Ribe that is under siege, those laying siege to Ribe and the guardians of the arm rings of Yngvar. These tales have been written to eliminate as many spoilers as possible, however, as they take place at the end of Book 4 (DOUBT), there are some that are unavoidable.

This is the first of the four tales and they are delightful little stories that can be read to children, especially those who are excited about it snowing at Christmas.

The First Snow of Winter

The children were sat huddled around the small fire that Riki had built. The darkness was closing in around them and the cold had caused all their spirits to dip. War hadn’t come to the shores of Skåne, but none of the children could keep the siege at Ribe from their minds.

Eva was sat with Wifrith curled up at her feet. Even the wolf seemed to feeling the cold in the air. He whined and shivered, despite the heat from the fire. The warrior maiden thought about her parents back in Ribe. They had raised her as a warrior, trained her because they knew that she was destined to search for the arm rings of Yngvar. She had been miserable growing up because all the other children in Ribe made fun of her for training to fight. The old ways were changing and the tribes needed fighters to protect the villages from bandits, not warriors to fight tribe wars.  Her parents were both warriors, some of the last to take the trials of their ancestors, though Eva hoped that one day that she would get the opportunity to take them.

Christian was sat beside Eva, both of his arms wrapped around his chest to try and keep out the cold. Opposite him sat his brother Riki and his sisters, Camila and Beatrix. The three of them were huddled together to keep out the cold and had fallen asleep. Oleg and Joas, the two men from Hedeby were somewhere in the darkness, they had chosen to take the first watch over the camp to make sure that everyone stayed safe throughout the night.

Erland was lying on the other side of Christian and was snoring so loud that Christian was sure that anyone thinking about attacking them would be frightened off by the noise. Christian was glad that his siblings were so close, somewhere that he could protect them against the dangers that searching for the arm rings of Yngvar presented. His best friend seemed unconcerned about his family on the outside, but Erland had been quieter than usual since the news of the siege of Ribe had been brought to them.

Erland was an only child, just like Eva, and his parents were warriors in Ribe. They had taken the trials with Eva’s parents and he knew that they would be the ones fighting in the worst of the battles that were to take place around Ribe. But it wasn’t just his parents that his worried about. His grandfather, Pav, was one of the elders of Ribe and he had once set out with his friends to find the arm rings of Yngvar, though they had been unsuccessful. If it came to the defence of his home, Erland knew that Pav would gladly give up his life to protect those he had spent his life leading.

Pieter was sat hugging his knees on the other side of Eva. He had been sent away from Ribe to search for the arm rings once the siege had begun and felt that he should be serving with the rest of the warriors in the town – by defending it. He was wracked with guilt and the cold was only helping to deepen the melancholy that he felt.

Dalla was the final member of the company. She was using a stick to draw patterns in the dirt and frost in front of her, using the light from the fire to see by. It was Dalla’s way of keeping her hands from wringing with worry about her grandparents. Her parents had died and she had been sent to live with her grandparents in Ribe. She had barely been there a few days before she had set out on the quest to find the arm rings.

There seemed little to be cheerful about as the ten children and wolf spent their first night on the shores of Skåne.

“Hey look!” Christian said as he noticed something white fall to the ground.

“What is it?” Riki mumbled as he stirred in his sleep.

“It’s snowing.” Eva said quietly.

“It’s snowing!” Christian cried waking up Erland, Camila and Beatrix.

“What did you say?” Erland asked grumpily.

“It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” Eva shouted with glee. Erland, Riki, Christian, Eva, Wifrith, Camila and Beatrix were all on their feet in a moment, clamping their hands and dancing around the fire as the snow fell.

“I don’t understand. Why are you all so happy?” Dalla looked at her friends as though they were all crazy.

“Because snow falling here means it has already snowed in Ribe.” Oleg grinned as he and Joas came out of the darkness.

“Snow in Ribe means that there will be no fighting until the spring. Winter is here and we’ve got until the spring thaw to find the arm rings and bring an end to this war before they can start fighting again.” Joas explained.

“We have time to get the other arm rings?” Dalla asked brightly.

“Yes, and more importantly, we now have hope.” Joas replied.

More about the Children of Ribe

A Viking Saga. The Children of the Viking town of Ribe must find the eight arm rings of Yngvar. The arm rings contain magic, which will save their town from the warrior horde of King Viggo Odinsen.

To find out more about the four books in the Children of Ribe series, follow these links: FATE, WAR, WIFRITH, DOUBT.

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