Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

It’s only 7 days until the charity book for the year is released, yes, the 12 Days of Stickleback Hollow is coming out on 30th September and all the royalties are going to charity!

12 Days of Christmas promo 1“The whole concept of the book started out as simply being 12 blogs that I could do in the run up to Christmas,” said C.S. Woolley, “I got through 8 of the 12 days and ran out of time with all the other Christmas stories I was doing for the other book series. So when it came to deciding what I was going to do as my charity book for the year, finishing this collection off seemed the logical choice.”

If you haven’t read any of the Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow yet (or even if you have), you might not know that most of the characters in the series are named after cricketers.

“I love cricket and as well as following the national side, I am also a member of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. Trent Bridge really is my Disneyland and I spend as much time as I can there. I’ve done some fundraising over the last year for their charity, the Trent Bridge Community Sports Trust, and I thought it was only fitting that the book benefit them in some way.”

But then why the Broad Appeal?

“The Broad Appeal is a charity that was set up by Chris Broad (former cricketer), Stuart Broad (current cricketer and publican) and Gemma Broad (who used to work for the England Cricket Board). As I was fundraising for the TBCST it seemed a good idea to include the Broad Appeal as well – especially considering how much time I spend writing in Stuart’s pub.”

Stickleback HollowTitlesThe 12 Days of Christmas in Stickleback Hollow is based on the song, the 12 Days of Christmas and features 12 short stories that are each set around the 12 verses of the song in some way, shape or form. There are different characters followed in the different stories, it doesn’t keep to a strict timeline and the stories slot in at different points in the series narrative but you don’t need to have read the series to enjoy them. C.S. Woolley has also written them so that they avoid as many spoilers as possible, so you can read them without worrying that you’re going to discover any major plot points.

The 12 Days of Christmas in Stickleback Hollow is currently available for pre-order for £1.99 from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo and Nook in digital format and will be available in paperback from 30th September.

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Below is some more information about the two charities that the book is supporting. To find out more, please follow the links.

The Trent Bridge Community Sports Trust:

Chaired by Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Lisa Pursehouse, the Trent Bridge Community Trust delivers projects that have a profound and meaningful impact on communities across our county.

This impact is highlighted by statistics, but equally by the personal stories of young people who have prospered having been given the one thing they need, a sporting chance.

The Trust is the charitable arm of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and our fortunes are intrinsically linked. All Trust staff are directly employed by the Club, allowing commercial partners and grant aiding bodies to have confidence that every penny they provide has an impact on frontline community initiatives.

The Broad Appeal for the MND Association:

Few disorders are as devastating as motor neurone disease (MND). Imagine a healthy and alert mind trapped inside a body that can’t move, that’s the devastating reality of MND.

MND attacks the nerve cells (motor neurones) that send messages from the brain to the muscles. As these motor neurones gradually die, the muscles stop working. If affects people in different ways, so no two people will have exactly the same symptoms or experience of MND.

In the majority of cases MND is a rapidly progressive, fatal disease that can affect any adult at any time. The cause of MND is unknown and with NO cure half die within 14 months of diagnosis.

It is impossible to convey in words the overwhelming and devastating nature of a disease which in as little as a year can turn a potent, able parent, partner and employee into someone totally dependent on others for the simplest and most private actions we all take for granted.

 

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16 Days in and we hope that you are all enjoying the short stories from our Advent calendar. Today is another story from the Chronicles of Celadmore and the diary of Caslo Morgan.

First Ride

2650GL 35th Spregan

We left the comfort of the city of Anamoore seven days ago. Shammah was called to meet with the Lady Gekendra at midnight on 2650GL 28th Spregan. Helez came and woke me and told me to meet with the others down in the stables. Only Jashobeam was there when I arrived but it was not long until all but Helez and Shammah were with us. We waited for over an hour in the freezing cold night; our horses saddled, supplied and ready to head out of the city. When Shammah and Helez joined us not a word was spoken. Shammah simply nodded and mounted. The rest of us followed suit and were left the city without fanfare or ceremony.

We rode to the coast, not the port and were met by Keldrak, Captain of the Queterian Navy and the most discreet and unbreakable man to ever grace the face of Celadmore. He was waiting with a skeleton crew and one of the small clippers that had recently been built and had yet to be named. We were taken onboard with our mounts and shown to our berths with orders to stay below deck until the Captain gave the order.

I fell asleep for what seemed like days but was only a few hours. Keldrak came down to my cabin to visit me with news from the mainland and from the rest of the Queterian fleet. He couldn’t tell me where we were headed but merely sitting with a man I had known since I was knee high to a grasshopper was a great comfort after the last few weeks of uncertainty and no small amount of intrigue. He told me that four hours after dawn we would be able to come on deck and Shammah would explain what was happening.

Sure enough, the call came four hours after dawn and we assembled upon the deck of the unnamed vessel to hear what our mission was. Lady Gekendra had received word from the mainland that her daughter, Gevana, and her son, Lucas, had both disappeared into the wilds to the south of Ziya known as the Chesil Void. One man had ventured after them without orders, but none had heard from any of them. The Eight had been called upon to find the three missing members of the Order and bring them home to Anamoore whether they were dead or alive. If they were dead, then vengeance was to be wrought on those that had killed them.

It seemed to strange to think that any member of the royal family would be able to go off on such a treacherous journey alone, but Tusala informed me that the princess Gevana was a girl of extraordinary talent when it came to avoiding detection and strategy. Lucas was a promising young warrior, but as both were only 11, their disappearance was a worry.

No one seems to know who the warrior is that went out after the royal twins, but Shammah and Helez assured us all that there would be time to discover who he was when we reached Ziya. The crew on Keldrak’s ship have been placing wagers as to who this man is. The most popular name I have heard is Jadow, a man named after the father of the legendary Queen Kasnata, but much of his reputation seems to be posturing. I asked Keldrak who he thought the man was. The captain merely shrugged and smiled “Bandecai.”

 

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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’ve only got twelve days left until Christmas! If you haven’t finished shopping yet, time is running out! Today we are back in Victorian England for another of the 12 Days of Christmas in Stickleback Hollow.

4th Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four colly birds

Doctor Jack Hales sat in his house sipping on a glass of sherry in front of a large fire. The doctor had done well in his life. He lived in a village that was an interesting place to live and was much more pleasant than any city he had ever visited.

He had spent the day visiting the Manchester Royal Infirmary to help the doctors with an influx of people suffering from chest infections.There had been so many this year that the doctors had been struggling to cope before Jack had arrived.

“Father, you’re back.” his son, Richard said as he walked into the library where the doctor sat.

“Yes, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would.” the doctor yawned and took another sip from his glass.

“Well, that’s very nice, but we weren’t expecting you back until tomorrow.” Richard said looking furtive.

“What are you up to?” the doctor frowned at his oldest son.

“Nothing.” Richard said, trying to sound off-hand.

“Where is your brother?” the doctor asked as he put down his sherry and leaned forward on his knees.

“Nowhere.” Richard replied too quickly.

“You always were a terrible liar.” the doctor tutted.

“Please, don’t ruin things, father. Promise me you won’t ask any questions and that you will stay here until we come and get you.” Richard begged.

“Fine, but if whatever the two of you are up to gets Constable Evans coming to visit us again, your lives won’t be worth living.” the doctor warned.

Richard disappeared from the room quickly and the doctor picked up his sherry again. He loved his sons dearly. He had raised them alone as his wife had died giving birth to his youngest son, Gordon. Richard was almost thirty in age and was training to be a doctor. He had tried a few different career paths before deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps. Gordon was in his mid-twenties and training to be a lawyer. Both boys had applied themselves to their studies and the doctor was proud of them, though he rarely expressed such emotion.

The two boys, though studious, also had a knack for getting into trouble. They often argued over the same girls, and though neither seemed inclined to marry, they were in and out of love as often as the moon changed.

In the next room, the doctor could hear shuffling and the odd expletive being uttered as his two sons worked on whatever surprise it was that they had in store. The doctor had an uneasy feeling about it all, but he was a man of his word, so he waited patiently until Gordon and Richard came to fetch him.

The two boys were grinning as they led their father into the next room where there was a coup of four blackbirds sat by the windows.

“What is this?” the doctor asked.

“Well, you said that you always waiting birds to send messages with to the hospital to save on sending messengers from the village. So we went into Chester and found these.” Gordon smiled.

“We thought they’d be less likely to be shot at that pigeons. Not many people like colly bird pie round here.” Richard grinned.

A Thief in Stickleback Hollow

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can read more about the characters in Stickleback Hollow in the first book the series of The Mysteries of Stickleback Hollow. Digital copies from £1.80 and paperback copies from £6.99.
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Available from Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Createspace, our Etsy Store and other good retailers.

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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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There have been no shortage of celebrations going on this morning in the Mightier Than the Sword UK office as C.S. Woolley’s book – Nicolette Mace: the Raven Siren – Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld: Volume 1 has been in the top 100 since 13th December!

Our web gremlins may have gone and done a screen print just so everyone can see!

FTAFTU 18.12.14

 

Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld is a collection of short stories that take you into the world of Nicolette Mace in a completely different way to Beginnings, the Kevin Metis Saga and the Derek Long Saga. Instead of focusing on the overarching villains, the short stories look at the day to day grind of her life and offer some fun little insights, infill between the books and years that are jumped over in the stories and introduce you to other people in Siren’s life that are friends, enemies and sometimes a little of both.

Though these tales might not keep you on the edge of your seat, they are funny, sarcastic and a refreshing change to trying to cram a full mystery, thriller, suspense plot into a small word count.

Filling the Afterlife from the Underworld: Volume 1 is available in paperback and digital print from amazon.com.

As well as in paperback and/or digital print from the following retailers:

Waterstones Smashwords-Buy-Button Powell's Books nook Kobo Indigo indiebound_button iBooks half FoylesBook Depository barnes and noble Amazon Amazon Kindle Alibris Abe Books 

In honour of this achievement we are going to gift five copies of the digital and five copies of the paperback books to ten luck people! To enter see below. The contest begins at 12:00AM GMT on 19th December and ends on 24th December at 12:00AM.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And how might you ask does C.S. Woolley decide to celebrate?

By going to see the Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies in 3D HFR wearing a cardboard beard…for the second time.

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We’d all love to say we disapprove but really we’re a little bit jealous that we don’t have one of our own. Especially since though there has been some spirited debate in the office as to whether the new editions to the realm of Middle Earth have been any good, we are all agreed that the Battle of Five Armies was amazing! Badass Elrond was well worth the wait. Though we are all just a little bit sad that there won’t be any more trips into Middle Earth (aside from the multiple re-watchings of the six extended movies) we can be consoled with the fact that we do have Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor to play on after we finish playing on Dragon Age: Inquisition and Alien Isolation that is.