On reading one’s own reviews…

I really don't get this whole thing about not reading reviews of one's own books. To me, that's like writing into a vacuum. 

Most of us novel authors write because we love to create a story* -- few would do it, then never ever let anyone read those stories.

Yes, we sometimes get scathing reviews. You can't please everyone. But you also might get called "This decade's best fantasy writer" as one recent Amazon reviewer said about me. I don't actually believe that, mind you, but boy, does that boost the ego, and inspire me to write!

*Few do it  for the money -- most of us don't make sufficient income from books to live on!


The second book of THE FORSAKEN LANDS is out today.

If you haven't read book 1, THE LASCAR'S DAGGER, look here for reviews to see if it might interest you. To my intense pleasure, it made "the best fantasy of the year" for one SFF blogger, and featured on a couple of "best-books-read-in-2014" lists compiled by book bloggers.

So what is Book 2, THE DAGGER'S PATH all about? 

Well, half of it is set on the opposite side of the world, in the spice islands of the story. That's the Sorrel, Saker, Juster and Ardhi thread.

Back in the Va-cherished Hemisphere, those left behind (Fritillary Reedling, Lady Mathilda, Gerelda) have their own horrors to confront. 

Both sides of the known world are under threat, but the threats are very different ... or are they linked? The characters have been pushed by the dagger into confronting these dangers, but how they tackle them, and whether they find solutions -- that's up to them.

The world of The Forsaken Lands Trilogy

Below are some photographs of some of things and places that inspired me. 

Much of the background of the story has its roots in South-east Asia where I have lived and worked  for most of my life
     -- only this time with buccaneers, unscrupulous merchants, battles, mystery, conflict and mayhem. 
A morning in tropical rainforest, Malaysia

Pulau Tiga (the original Survivor island of first show)

Sabah -- glorious tropical Islands
Sabah mountains

As part of the book includes the journey of getting from one side of the world to the other, I had to pay attention to sailing ships. I went on board every one I find, but the two which offered the greatest authenticity and were more appropriate to the period were two replicas found in Australia:  Dufken, below, from 1606 and the Endeavour from 1770.
 Below: officer cabins on Endeavour

Endeavour replica mess
Interior of the Duyfken replica - 1st European ship to Australia
Main crew mess of Endeavour


It's actually very easy.

Give book tokens or books as presents.
Buy books. For yourself. As presents for others.

Any books. Books for babies and toddlers, so they'll grow up in a home with books. Books for kids who've just learned to read, to give them the feeling of accomplishment. Books for kids, books for teenagers. Fiction. Non-fiction. Picture books, eBooks, real books, graphic novels, how-to books. Biographies, thrillers, whodunnits, fantasies, science fiction novels, horror stories, cookery books, romances, literary novels.

Why would any of that make authors happy? Because it keeps bookstores going, it keeps the publishers alive, it keeps the industry healthy. And it fosters a new generation of readers, and keeps an older generation of readers happy.

Of course, if you want to make a particular author ecstatic, buy their books. 

If you don't have enough money to buy, then get their books out of the library, read them, blog/tweet/facebook/review them anywhere or everywhere. Tell your friends about them. In fact, we're actually very easy to please!

And remember: Book 2 of THE FORSAKEN LANDS 
will be out mid-January! It's called