Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: POSTPONING ARMAGEDDON by UK Fantasy Author, Adele Abbot

510x765-Armageddon 1
a fantasy by
Adelle Abbot

Gerard is a centurion leading a Roman legion. In his legion is Max, who resembles a Neanderthal, seems to be immortal and leads a small legion of his own, made up of other primitives. Gerard refers to Max as his uncle and also seems to be immortal. The two of them oversee the crucifixion of Christ.
A few years later, Gerard's legion is sent to the frontier of Germania. He sleeps with a captive only to be disemboweled by her. Max comes to his bedside and eases his passing away.
Gerard finds himself growing up in Germania, aided by recollections of his earlier life. He is a great help to his politician father who takes him away on a diplomatic mission to the Schonau where he meets his mother from his past life and also meets a striking girl with green eyes called Morion, who is attending the diplomatic meeting for someone called Max. On the way home he steals away from his father and goes to Mandor to take up a life with his past mother. 
He attends the wedding celebration of his cousin in a family made immortal by being related to Max. He sleeps with a woman, not knowing that she is the bride to be, is caught by the cousin and saved from execution by Max who sends him into exile. He is taken away with a bag over his head by Morion and a troop of primitives. By the time they turn him lose far to the west, he and Morion are attracted to each other and plan to meet further west as soon she has taken care of business for Max with a Bishop of Hypolita.
As Gerard travels along enjoying his freedom, he comes upon a monk who has just been waylaid and his companion slain. The monk warily introduces himself as Brother Simeon and offers to pay him to be his bodyguard whilst he travels to Mont St. Michael with eleven sacred scrolls which he believes his assailants were after.
Gerard agrees, and as they begin traveling together, Morion begins appearing to Gerard in his dreams, repeatedly asking him where he is. Simeon discloses that he is the Abbot of Hypolita. At the first town they come to, they fend off an attack in their room by a pair of ape-like primitives whom Simeon thinks are after the scrolls.
At Mont St. Michael, Simeon adds an eleventh scroll and reveals that not only is there a twelfth, but that he is Matthias, a disciple of Christ who wrote one of the very scrolls. There, they fend off an attack in the night by a large group of ape-like primitives. Matthias announces that the thirteenth scroll waits in Britain and that when all of the scrolls are assembled they can be read together to begin the process of rebuilding the world.
On their way across the Channel, they are beset by a tempest with a waterspout. Gerard and Matthias are the only ones to escape when their ship is turned into an inferno by lightning. When they find their way to the abbey at Venta (Winchester) and inquire about the twelfth scroll, they find that it has been declared an unholy work of the Devil. They are seized and tortured before they escape to find themselves pursued by the primitives again. Soon Gerard is not only having more visions of Morion, but of Max as well, and he and Matthias are now having enough close encounters with the primitives that it is clear that Morion and Max are indeed in league with them, attempting to get hold of the scrolls.   
How all of this leads to the postponing of Armageddon would not be fair to disclose to potential readers, but as one can see, it is the beginning of a most unusual and intriguing story which develops and engages the reader very much like the very best fast reading murder mysteries. As far as I am aware, it is quite a new twist to slightly alter biblical and natural history in order to make a good fantasy. In the midst of its first rate entertaining of the reader, it raises thought provoking questions. One can plainly see at the end of the story why Armageddon is indeed postponed, but just exactly who are the demons here? Are they Morion and burly low browed Max and their wolf-men followers? Or are they abbots who order people nailed to timbers in blacksmiths' sheds whilst scheming over plans of enlarged monasteries? 
Whatever the answer, Postponing Armageddon is outstanding entertainment, and as it is with the best films, I was compelled to read it twice immediately.
 Reviewed by: 
Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview with UK Fantasy Author of Postponing Armageddon, Adele Abbot

adeleWhat is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

Adele Abbot (one T), I was born in York, UK & I live between Leeds and Bradford, UK
Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).
I’m the daughter of an Indie writer and honorary niece to another
How long have you been writing?
Since 2006
What do you believe is the most difficult thing about becoming an author?
Finding readers! That’s a little mischievous, obviously, putting one word after another to make an interesting and coherent read is probably the most difficult – especially when you have a 4 year old needing your attention. But once you've served your apprenticeship, and I think I have, getting your name out there is difficult and frustrating, I do have a few novels that have fallen by the wayside.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Getting out and about, what my son calls ‘Mummy & Daddy’ days.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 510x765-Armageddon-250x375words what would you say?
It’s called Postponing Armageddon. A historical fantasy, dogmatic religion versus creatures we think of as myth and legend about to be made extinct.
Was there any particular thing that inspired you to write Postponing Armageddon?
It was written after I was made redundant as we say here – what you call being let go in the US. It was something to fill my time between looking for jobs. The original idea came from an ages old short story which happened to come to mind.
Is this book part of a series?
I would like it to be. Ideas for volume two are settling down. I guess it depends on how well volume one does.
Would you share a blurb with us?
When history goes off course, can it be nudged back? The second coming of Jesus Christ was supposed to take place in the thousandth year of His era, but it did not happen as scheduled.
Would you share a short excerpt?
Almost on the horizon, a waterspout was visible; a long writhing tail of dark air descending from a bulbous blue-black cloud.
“The Summer Hawk,” I heard someone say – that was the Viking ship which had sailed a little while before us. The men looking over the stern rail had a better view than those of us in the waist and I went back up the steep slope of the after deck which, at the stern, was quite high above the sea level.
Looking back, it was now possible to see great waves breaking about the lean shape of the Summer Hawk. As I watched, lightning scratched a jagged line from the cloud to the single mast, rigging and sparks flew skyward, snatched by that writhing funnel of air. The stern seemed to rise up and twist, the bows disappeared behind curtains of green and black water; the ship slid beneath the waves and was gone in a space of heartbeats. Gone, leaving only a wake to show she had ever been there.
Do you have plans for a new book? Would you tell us a little about it?
I mentioned that I would like to make this a series. A second volume might be placed in Northern Italy, early in the 12th century. The then Pope was a nasty piece of work and there was an attempt by the French to have him arrested and tried before a court of law which failed. I have a feeling that my characters might take a hand…
How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?
I guess I have to blame my Dad and my Uncle for inspiration. I've been writing since 2006 when I put Postponing Armageddon on paper but I wrote another fantasy between that and getting Postponing Armageddon published. Called Of Machines and Magics, it was actually written second and published first - both are published by Barking Rain Press.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I do. I’m very grateful for a thoughtful review; they’re worth a lot to me.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
With Postponing Armageddon it was a lot of discussion with Dad & my Uncle and since it reached the shortlist of the Sir Terry Pratchett/Transworld 2011 competition, that’s set in stone. Of Machines and Magics came out of equally long email discussion with Sheri Gormley, our President & Executive Director. The cover in both cases was created by Michael Leadingham who got the flavor so absolutely right.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I've pinched names from people I know for my characters – with permission – but if I've based actual characters, it was unconsciously. Events, though, oh yes, especially where they have involved me.
Is there a certain Author who influenced you in writing?
Probably Mary Gentle, who wrote some great fantasy & science fiction, including an historic which certainly wasn't the history we remember. My mentors too – Dad and my Uncle – introduced me to their favorite – Jack Vance. His Dying Earth series drew me into the setting for Of Machines…, a tale from the last days of Earth.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
It has to be hardback but, maybe paperback for bath-time and eBook when the readers get to be waterproof.
What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
That’s a difficult one. I've read quite a few more than once but let’s say formative rather than favorite, which might put the Egyptian by Micah Waltari and his other books as very influential, though Waltari is not a well known author. And of course, Mary Gentle who wowed me with Rats and Gargoyles any number of times.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Why or why not?
I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to that one. Apart from a few scenes, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit both worked well, I thought. Shakespeare usually does. But there are many that just never do – as a character in a UK TV show used to say scornfully: “Straight to video” in a very Yorkshire accent. (Which I have too.)
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback)

The Outcast Blade, sequel to The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood. Makes my toes curl, makes me weep, “gritty, grimy, decadent, compelling” says the Sunday Times. It’s a hefty paperback.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I've been disappointed by Alastair Reynolds’ Terminal World and I’m not quite sure why. I didn't finish it, either.
What do you think about book trailers?
So, so. My father had one made for one of his books; I don’t think it did anything for the title at all.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Be prepared for a lot of writing to hit the shredder or the delete box. But enjoy it, all the same. When you do get published, don’t worry about the occasional vicious review or posting. You got there, they didn't.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Have been known to! Adele Abbot didn't just happen to be at the front of the alphabet!
If you could be any character in your book, who would it be and why?
Morion – she’s so damned cool.
      Morion – she’s so damned cool.
If your book was ever made into a movie, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character(s)?
Gerard:          Damien Lewis
Matthias:       Hugh Laurie
Morion:          Anne Hathaway
Max:               Dwayne Johnson
      Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why.
I haven’t thought about that. I’d like Adele Abbot to continue to be associated with fantasy – and somewhat out-of-the-ordinary themes.
Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend?
I think it’s more than a passing trend. The eBooks on phones is a phenomenon I wouldn't have guessed at and I think that will see them well into the future.
Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate.
The Traditional Publisher lost the war, in my opinion. They were over-confident and self-opinionated and slow and suffocating. The Indies are great, they are nimble enough to take advantage of new technology, new ideas and new authors.
Would you ever consider writing as a part of a team, rather than on your own?
My Uncle and my Dad manage it very well but it needs two (or more) people who complement & respect each other. If such a one comes along, I’d try it out.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?
I think anyone who works on their own must get writer’s block or it’s equivalent in other disciplines. But I’ve got a 4 year old son who is going to be the greatest fantasy writer ever – he’ll keep me fresh!

Where can readers follow you?
Your web site?                       Adele Abbot
Your Facebook page?        Adele Abbot on Facebook 
Your Twitter details?            Adele Abbot on Twitter


Buy Links for Postponing Armageddon: sign up for a preview & get 35% of the cover price…


Carol 1

Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to interview with us today. It has been a real pleasure having you here on our blog. I hope you will visit again in the future.

Friday, June 7, 2013

REVIEW: Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings

 photo (1)
Jade Nova is just an ordinary 17 year old girl with aspirations of becoming a film maker some day. Well, that is if you overlook the fact that her best friend is a Deva who grows her own body, except for feet, she was still working on those. That’s D-e-v-a, not Diva, a spirit being whose job is to engineer nature. And if you also ignore she spends a great deal of time with a huge insect-like being, nature spirits, a tree spirit, a giant magpie, and sometimes flies inside a glowing, living orb she names Orbit and even travels in an organic spaceship.
Jade’s acquaintance with the Deva and other nature spirits began in her early childhood when the Deva, who she had named Sammy Pong seemed to be merely a magical invisible friend who made things grow at an astounding rate and talked to Jade in her head. But one day Sammy Pong went away and soon so did Jade’s memory of her.
But, Jade and the Deva were destined to be reunited and when they were Jade could not believe her ears when she found out what the Deva wanted her to do. She was just a teenager after all. How could Sammy expect her to make a film about the Deva and the nature spirits and their desire to reunite with humans so they could work together to stop any more species on the planet from becoming extinct before their time? A film that would be professional enough to get the attention not only of the people she knew, but also of the people of the entire earth? Especially when her mother thought she had become some kind of nut case and her ex-bestie was convinced she was some kind of witch?
Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings  by Keith Tutor and Jade Fishburn is a delightfully creative and unique young adult fantasy that could certainly be enjoyed by people of any age. If you have a desire to read a tale that is refreshingly original, I highly recommend it.
Review By:
Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview with Keith Tutor, YA Fantasy Author of Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings, Who Will Also be Representing Co-Author Jade Fishburn in Her Absence

auth_keithWhat is your name, where did life start for you and where do you live now?
My name is Keith Tutor, I was born in Cowra, New South Wales, Australia.auth_jade
Jade Fishburn comes from Stuarts Point, New South Wales, Australia.
I am currently living in a camping ground basically in the 'bush' near Crescent Head on the NSW coast. It is an ideal location with few distractions, perfect for me to concentrate on completing our book series.IMAG0252
Jade is currently employed as a hostess and deckhand on a Super yacht. At the time of doing this interview she is somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.
Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).
In another profession I am known as the 'Rockgod' and not because I am a musician. I come from a Landscape Design and Teaching background.
Some years ago I invented a method of building 'Artificial Rock'. I became the first teacher of my 'art' as I refer to it in Australia. The majority of my students were home owners who wanted to create rock features in their own yards, obtaining this knowledge was another first at the time.
My method was based on simplicity and, recycling building rubble. I ended up demonstrating on a variety 'how to do it' television shows and developed a following so much so I ended up producing a DVD series so people anywhere could utilise my methods.
The upshot is that my 'idea' has been sold and is practised in 85 countries.
Sorry if this is a bit long winded but the development and production of our 'Jade and the Deva' series and where it is today is based on and from what I learnt from doing what I did with 'Artificial Rock'.
And what are the similarities; would you share that with us?
Well (laughter) having a potentially good idea is a start, feeling a passion for that idea, being realistic about its potential and its possibilities.
For me it is important that people can enjoy the results of what you create, identifying that there is a niche for your idea and in our case finding people who you feel can help you bring the idea to life and communicating a similar passion.
How long have you been writing?
I started piecing Jade and the Deva together in 2006 so I guess I'm a latter day writer whereas Jade was still in High School when she started.
'Hidden Wings' has two authors with a goodish age difference between them. Did this happen by chance or was there a strategy in mind?
You could say meeting Jade was by chance, I first met her through her parents.
Because of the nature of our story I thought it would be great if its authors represented their respective generations. Jade Nova, the name of one of our stories main characters is attending high school for a good part of the story.
What did I know about life for a young woman in high school in this day and age? To be honest, pretty well zilch.
As the story developed Co author-Jade came into her own. I would write a 'rough' scene, send it to her and together we would 'work on it.' When we started working with our Ghostwriter is when we were able to produce our final draft before passing it on to the Proofreader.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I live across the road from a row of virtually untouched beaches. Fair to say being on one of them fills a big part of my time away from writing. I can't get reception for my cell phone or the internet in my little pocket of space. So, my phone calls and emailing happen on a beach walk, on a headland in my car, or in one of the adjoining town’s cafes. I don't have a TV but I get to watch the latest DVD releases on my laptop. And, I still do a few landscaping projects each year.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in 20 or less words what would you say?
'Hidden Wings'. It is an impossibly possible story, refreshingly original, wonderful characters, a voice of our times, captivating, heartfelt.
Is there anything in particular that inspired you to write 'Hidden Wings'?
Absolutely! Rarely does a day goes by that we as individuals, parents and grandparents are not shocked by an event somewhere on 'our' planet that questions our sanity and humanity. There are 7 billion reasons for peace on this earth and many of us yearn for what appears the impossible dream. A gentleman by the name of 'Gandhi' once voiced a few poignant words... 'Become the world you want to see'.
They are hugely challenging words because he's saying, peace starts with each and every one of us, in us, from us and where possible to 'be' a living example of it in our own little ways. As I said, 'hugely' challenging.
At one point in our story Sammy the Deva says to Jade Nova 'when you are at war with yourselves you don't realise you are at war with your Earth, a point will come when she will not be the silent witness you fully expect her to be'.
Just want to say I mainly refer to our story as Jade and the Deva'Hidden Wings' is the first book in our series. I discovered some months ago another book by the name of 'Hidden Wings' was released some months after we released our 'Hidden Wings' so that's an interesting coincidence.
Would you share a 'blurb' with us?
Because we have created an extensive website (JadeandtheDeva.com) for this purpose it would be much easier for myself and readers to pay it a visit because there’s lots of blurb ready and waiting there.
Would you share a short excerpt with us?
Love to but again, you will find sample chapters on our website and Amazon offers six chapters for you to read at no cost of course.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes we do, we really appreciate people who take the time and interest. This is all new to us. At the time of writing we have four 5 star reviews on Amazon that's after 11 days of having 'Hidden Wings' on there. I don't know if that's good or, if it’s the 'norm' perhaps you could let us know.
Australians including me are not that exposed to the world of eBooks especially when it comes to sale price. The thought of selling an eBook of 95,000 words and years spent bringing it to life for $1.99 is for want of a better word 'madness' as is $2.99 or $4.99. Aussies are so used to buying a print book for $19.99 or $24.99; it’s hard to get your head around prices like that even though we are talking eBook formats.
We have a 'glut' of wines in our country right now and you can get a very good bottle of wine for ten dollars at the moment. There are people here who throw a dinner party and won’t buy that particular wine because they don't want their guests to think they are 'cheap'.
We have just set our price for 'Hidden Wings' at 99c and it was hilarious because we, the decision makers involved, could hardly get the number 99 out of our mouths. We are first time unknown authors, we want to make our first book available to as many people as possible. We’re learning as we go. We’re currently self publishers so it’s a sensible move, especially because we have two books following this one as a series.
How did you come up with the title and cover designs for your book/books. Who designs the covers for your books?
The name 'Hidden Wings' came about after I watched a 'Kingfisher' one day as it hovered over a waterhole, it was fishing. The little blue bird remained motionless but its wings were fluttering so quickly they appeared to be invisible.
A young man by the name of Jake Stollery conceived our first book cover way back in 2007. He was in Year 11 at the local high school when I first heard about him. I was entering a large photographic piece in a local art competition and wanted to add some graphics to my piece. Even back then I thought 'wow' this young guy is some kind of graphic design 'prodigy'.
Amazingly, our cover is the very first he had 'a go' at designing. To say I am proud of this young guy’s achievement and our ensuing relationship is an understatement, but none more than him being flown to New York last year to accept his award in a global design initiative. To top it off when our PA of everything, Kelly Trevisan, travelled to the Gold Coast to catch up with Hugh Howey, one of the first things he said to her is, 'man, that book cover of yours is just awesome'. Suggest you go to Jake Stollery.com and have a look for yourself.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Of course, our lives and stories, the stories over a dinner table or around a camp fire are nearly all based on our experiences of people, places and things.
Is there a certain author who has influenced the way you write?
Yes, for better and for worse. I admit I am not an avid reader although Jade is.
Mary Stewart wrote a series based on the life of 'Merlin' I read her books when I was a young fella.
She presented Merlin in such a practical 'real' way, not in the mythical enchanted manner we are so familiar with. It was a revelation to me, an author writing with such clarity and insight about a man who could well have been the way he is depicted in Mary’s series. On the other hand I have read books that are lazy and non nonsensical leaving me with the thought... why bother?
I am sure we have all seen a film or two that falls into the same category.
One Author revealed to me how to write a story and another author taught me how not to write a story. Guess you could say both were teachers to me.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback or paperback?
Arr, I have never read an eBook… just being honest. I prefer paperback they are easier to carry around.
What is your favourite book and why? And have you read it more than twice?
In earlier years, 'Lord of the Rings'. I enjoyed Neale Donald Walsch's ‘Conversations with God' Series. I thought it was such a fresh, innovative concept and lately Mike Dooley’s 'Leveraging the Universe'. His material is super easy to read, cleverly done and enlightening.
Do you think books transfer to movie's well? Why or why not?
Personal opinions... oh boy, there are a lot of entangled circumstances as to why a book does or doesn't transfer onto film successfully.
If musicians want their music played on commercial radio they have to tailor their songs to, or... just under a designated time limit.
Most films have a time frame I have often heard people complain about the amount of storyline left out of a film. Lots of stuff had to be left out of Lord of the Rings trilogy and they were three hour films.
How much 'say' does an author have over the screenplay, the direction and production of their story... is the time of release a bummer, how is it promoted... what about the reviews? Will they be 2 star or 4 star, will it be rave reviews or the film gets slammed? So many factors.
When we were developing Jade and the Deva I wrote as if I was watching a film... a film I always wanted to go and see.
I'd hear a song and would see a whole scene right down to the location, the camera angles, the emotion of that scene and its effect on an audience.
I have already picked out a young up and coming Australian Director after watching his debut film and listening to him in the 'extras' afterwards.
I also have a growing list of muso's (musicians) who I would like to approach for the soundtrack. Maybe that sounds a bit over the top given at this point we only have one book that’s been on Amazon for less than a fortnight.
But, we project what we want to create and we do the little things that start the ball rolling and hey, we’re confident in our stories potential.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?
Apart from the sports section in a newspaper my reading centres around research, self publishing and working on our next two books.
Is there a book you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
couldn't get into Harry Potter at all or the movie offshoots. Don't know why, maybe it’s a bit like food, we have our individual tastes.
What do you think about book trailers?
I don’t know much about them so I wouldn't be the best person to ask.
Like any form of promotion or advertising it can be hit or miss. If you produce a high quality book, have a great cover and a great storyline then produce a cheap tacky trailer to represent it, you’re not doing yourself any favours. Every authors new book is the best thing since sliced bread we want to tell people that, spruiker it wherever possible.
What I've learnt is... don’t overdo it. The simple and the understated is a formula that gets results more often than not regardless of what you’re promoting.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Well, we are new writers so what do I say? From a 'life' point of view, I have come across so many people who have an idea; they have a passion for that idea but never once make a start on it. They talk themselves out of it, convince themselves it’s impossible or they have people around them who tell them that.
A great journey can start with as simple an act as sitting your butt on a chair and penning... once upon a time. That’s enough, make a start.
The other thing I would say is this. Get yourself away from negative people. I would rather have helium balloons tied to me instead of anchors.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Arr, no I haven’t and I wouldn’t.
If you could be any character in your book, who would it be and why?
One of the Orbs. When I'm finished here as a human being I would love that to be my next adventure.
If your Jade and the Deva series were to be made into films, what actors would you like to see play the main characters?
We haven’t thought about it but I figure we will down the track. Maybe they will be relatively unknown. I am sure some of those actors will be completely unknown there is an awful lot of awesome talent out there I do know that.photo (1)
Buy Links for Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings:


Carol 1

I want to thank you, Keith for taking out so much of your valuable time to do this fascinating and informative interview for us today. I wish you much success now and in the future with Jade and the Deva.