The danger of going to the gym

I’m not the most active of people, I’m probably going to end up like the Mikon when I’m older. If you’ve ever read Dan Dare you’ll know what I mean. A couple of night’s ago I decided to go to the gym again.

I know what you are thinking. What again? Yes again. This time I had already stashed some gym clothes, shower stuff and towels so i knew if the notion took me I would have no excuses.

The notion grabbed me at around 4.15 Tuesday. I skipped (read shuffled) down to the changing rooms, opened my locker and took out my gym clothes. Bearing in mind these were stowed about 3 months ago it shouldn’t be any surprise when they were a tad tight. Oops.

Still I poured myself into my kit with a bit of wriggling and pushed my day clothes into the locker. Thermal t-shirt, check, normal t-shirt, long sleeved shirt and jumper check, trousers check etc etc. Disaster struck, while pushing the clothes I didn’t see that at the bottom of the locker there were two small holes which I believe were made in the construction of the locker (see picture).

As I shoved the jeans further in, I yelped as my thumb slid against the holes in the metal. Seconds later blood was streaming from the flap of skin that the metal sliced off – ow!

So there you have it, damaged before i even got into the gym proper.

Gyms are dangerous places!

My thumb hurts 🙁

I might stick to writing on the laptop. I might get RSI but at least there’s less blood.

My name is…

Not wanting to sound like an alcoholics anonymous meeting but I would like to introduce myself. My name is Ceri Clark and I adore writing.

Now the reason for this introduction is not just for self promotion because I’m rubbish at that but because I hung out with a few friends who I’ve never met in person in the hang out feature on Google Plus yesterday. These were the excellent writers Connie J Jasperson and Alison DeLuca who are published through Fantasy Island Book Publishing (books available at the publisher’s website http://fantasyislandbookpublishing.com/).

Why would that make me blog today you may ask. Well, I am proud of where I come from but it can cause a few problems with the way my name is pronounced. These are my friends and I love them to bits in a non-homicidal way but I kept being called Seri as I do around England and sometimes while travelling.

I’m just interjectimg a paragraph break while I process that. My name is pronounced Kerry. Now this is where my Welsh heritage is so annoying. My full first name is Ceridwen. I am named after the Welsh goddess of wisdom. It’s an old name and firmly embedded in Welsh culture. If you are wondering it’s pronounced Keridwen.

So why the weird spelling you may think. Well it’s not weird if you are Welsh. The Welsh language is completely separate from the English and one of the oldest in Europe. It has a few extra letters and crucially a few missing. Until recently it did not have the letter J but to my horror they added it since I was in school.

Now back to my point, there is no letter K in the welsh language but the sound is done always through a hard sounding C.

So  if you spot me wandering around like a lost sheep, shout out Kerry and I just might respond.

Hwyl!

Samsung Galaxy Tab for Writing

I’ve recently bought the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I primarily bought this as a reading device but I wanted something that wasn’t too heavy but which I could write on.

Hardware:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (running Android with ADW)
    Samsung bluetooth keyboard case (the official one)

I can’t praise the tablet enough. I wanted something that was flexible, with a good battery life and which was light enough to carry oround. I usually charge the tablet every couple of days and I am an intensive user!

The tablet is light and if don’t want to use the keyboard for any reason I can hold it one-handed for a loooooonnnng time. 😉

The keyboard is also just what I need. It isn’t noisy and while it is heavier than a rubberised bluetooth keyboard it is nicer to use. It feels like a quality product and has all the features I need.

Software

The tablet comes with Polaris Office. This is amazing. I am using it to write the second book in the Elerian Chronicles (Elementi).

I save it as an Office document format and back it up to my Skydrive using Sorami. I know with Docs to Go I can back it up to Google (I also have this)  but I rather use Skydrive for my writing. I do find it frustratng that you can only back up files to Box.net with Polaris but I hope this will improve with time. May be they will do some sort of sync option?

For those who are short sighted like me, you can increase the font on Polaris to 200%! Simply reflow the text and you can edit in comfort.

Of course the question now is do I really need a laptop now my Samsung is so good?

Time will tell…

Soldiers, War and Europe


This is going to be somewhat of a rambling post. I was between the state of dreaming and awake this morning and I started thinking about soldiers and the cost of having them.

I even thought, do we even need to have them in this day and age? Sure we need some sort of deterrent for foreign powers who may want to increase their land but really a European army would be better than just a British one.

I was thinking about the old wars in the past against France, Germany etc and if we are one big happy family there is no need to fight. It would be like Florida having a go at California.

We could institute a European ‘national’ service. Young people would mix with others which would give an insight into other cultures some might miss out on. Imagine spending a couple of years barracked with a mix of Italian, French and German soldiers in your late teens/early twenties. If it was ensured that there was an equal mix so no nationality was in the majority in a particular unit this could be a great way to foster good relations.

Europe is a lot bigger than just one  constituant country and a European army made out of all those countries would be larger but spread the cost out between the countries.

I believe Europe promotes stability with checks and balances meaning one Head of State couldn’t take unilateral action. If it wasn’t for the Euro, I would give total support for Europe. A European army I think is a better idea.

Rambling over. 🙂

The death of Torberta Turchin by Shannon Mawhiney

I don’t often give five stars for a book, but I’m learning to reserve them for books that really wow me, the death of Torberta Turchin is such a book.

The story I would say is aimed at the young adult market, but at the advanced age in my, ahem, early thirties, I certainly enjoyed it.

From the beginning, you are hooked and three questions stand out through the story. Is she really psychic, who is trying to kill who and what will happen to Toberta Turchin. A death can mean so many things, she could change her life, her name or take the literal meaning.

The characters are interesting and I did guess one of the plot points early on but it didn’t detract from the story and I finished it in one day.

I think this story thoroughly deserves five stars and I wish the author every success in the future for entertaining me for a day. The book is under $3 on Amazon, what do you have to lose?

Modern Slavery

Britain was shocked by slavery news we had thought/hoped confined to history. It came out of the blue and was the talk I suspect of offices and in homes up and down the country.

There are two types of modern day slavery as far as I can see in the UK. There is the type which was blasted across the news over the last couple of weeks, where travellers had enticed migrants and English men alike to live in their camp with promises to be looked after only to be forced to work for free and live in squalor, treated little better than animals.

The other appears to be run by gang masters and involves migrants enticed or abducted to this country on (again) false promises and used in various industries from the oldest profession to restaurants and agriculture. A lady from BBC news mentioned that young people were put into foster? homes after arriving in airports only to disappear the next day. Some of these are found working as slaves in other European countries

This is truly sickening and to be honest I can’t understand why this is still happening in the 21st century!

 

Fantasy Book Review: Shifting Fate by Alexis Leno

 

As a not-so-secret romantic, I loved Shifting Fate. Set in a world where fate is predetermined by a Goddess, a force for evil is unleashed to change the destiny of the world.

The current ruling family took control by battling the former Royal Family. Who is to say if they were right or not but the legacy of the, murder? made the previous heir bitter which in turn twists him into the present day villain. A flawed bad guy which helps to make this book special.

The royal family has been preparing for the day that the prophesied evil would come. The Queen has the power of foresight but will not say what she has seen.

The heroine is a feisty lady who I believed in. I liked her but I did think she was getting obsessed with a village at one point, I felt like screaming ‘get over yourself’ at the book. Luckily for my husband nearby I managed to suppress the urge. This by no means should put you off this book. It was a great read and I am glad that I found it.

This was a book worth reading and one of the best that I have read as part of the Fantasy Book Club I started on Amazon discussions.

It has magic, a feisty heroine (I like that word, can you tell :-)), evil, deities, fate – what nore could a guy or gal ask for? This author has talent and we can only hope that she writes more!

Publishing for the Kindle: Images

Images are a nuisance. They can be beautiful when you design them but upload them to an ebook asn the magic can be lost instantly. This is my little guide, mostly for my own benefit so I don’t have to search the KDP website for minor details such as optimum sizes etc.

Covers

Covers are difficult. You might want to make them so they stand out on the Kindle store. If you have a non-fiction book sometimes it is nice to have a square cover, but otherwise I feel filling a Kindle screen would be better in which case a rectangle fits the need.

Another thing to consider is that when designing your Kindle Cover, have a look at a thumbnail before you make your final decision. This is what customers will see when they browse.

Inside Images

KDP advise the PNG format in one section of their help pages, bitmaps are too big and gifs too limited, which I agree with in my limited experience. Although in a different part of the website they recommend using jpegs. Usefully they also mention that the content is shown in 16 shades of grey on some Kindles.

So looking quickly through the nightmare of help pages, still trying to find the right size to create the images in the first place, my husband walks in suggesting I look at jailbroken Kindle pages. He was right. The optimum size is 600px by 800px. Genius.

Right off to make some images now…

 

Indie Publishing on Kindle – Part One

This post is for Ricardo from G+, who asked me to blog about this. :0).

I’ve published a few books on Kindle. While it won’t make you rich (unless you are very lucky) it will give you an enormous feeling of satisfaction for making someone happy or just helping a stranger who would find your books useful.

So what did I do?

First I came up with something I felt I could write about. I love my Android phone and was always trying out apps so I had my idea.

I then needed to format the book so it would look good in an ebook. Remember there are no page numbers in an ebook because everyone can change the size of the text and even spacings for comfort, so a page will have a different number of words for different people. I would recommend the Smashwords Style Guide (available from Smashwords.com funnily enough).

Another thing to note about is formatting, if you are using  Microsoft Word then try to use the styles function. Use this to space out paragraphs, headings etc. Your book will look so much better. Also this will have the added benefit of the ability to change all your headings in your entire book by changing one style.

Yet another aside. Think about how your images will look in greyscale. Kindles on tablets and phones are usually in colour but the ereaders are in grey. Even if they bring out a colour Kindle there are millions of the black and white versions which will be out there for a looooonnnng time.

So you have formatted the book, what next?

Upload the book to Kindle Direct Publishing of course. Remember to pay special attention to the tags as that is how people will find your book once it is published.

Pricing

Think hard about pricing. If you are writing a non-fiction book then have a look at similar books in the field you have chosen. How long are they? How much are they? Try to get the balance so that you are offering value for money.

For a fiction book, if the book took a lot of effort and a long time with a huge amount of editing then I believe selling for less than $2.99 is selling yourself short. I think more than this for a first time author is hubris.

Wait a couple of days and you are set.

Of course this is not the definitive guide to publishing with KDP as this would be a lot longer than a blog post should be, but it should give you an overview.

Ways to read ebooks on your computer (PC or Mac) – for when you don’t have a Kindle or iPad

Having recently done a Member Giveaway of  my ebook, Children of the Elementi, I sent emails with the book attached in the Kindle and epub formats. I was surprised that not everyone knew about Kindle for PC or Mac, so I thought I would do a brief post about the various ways to read an ebook on your computer.

Kindle Apps

The best software for reading Mobi files is always going to be using the Kindle software but there are several different versions.

Go to Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (whichever is appropriate) and click on Kindle on the left navigation bar. Choose Free Kindle Reading Apps. A page will load which will give you the option to download the app for your PC or Mac. Download and enjoy.

The advantage of using the Kindle Apps is that if you read books on your phone using Kindle but then read a little on your computer, if you bought the book from Amazon then it will synchronise how for you’ve got. This means you don’t have to mess with bookmarks, the software just opens at the point where you stopped reading previously. Brilliant.

You can read Mobis and PDFs using this.

Calibre

Calibre ebook software is not just a way to manage your ebooks, it also contain an ereader. You can pretty much read all file formats using this software. Its multipurpose.

Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Digital Editions

With Acrobat you can read PDFs and with Adobe Digital Editions  you can read Epubs and PDFs.

You CAN have the benefits of ebooks without ereader devices!

Please note: There are other ebook readers but these are the best in my opinion. This is not an exhaustive list. If you would like to find out more type ereaders into Google. 🙂

Children of the Element Kindle Competition winner announcement

The winner of the Kindle Competition is Laura Poyner.

Her entry was:

The dog in the story was called Friel

Five children are living in a world – unaware of their magical heritage and the part they will play in restoring the world, now consumed by an evil Magi force, to what it once was.  Now a teenager, the protagonist of the story is Jake who discovers he can read minds and is the heir to the Elementi throne!

When Jake discovers a magical crystal and touches it for the first time, the evil emperor in Eleria summons a demon to destroy the remaining Elementi threatening to overthrow the Magi reign.  With the help of Mirim, Jake seeks out the remaining Elementi and we learn of their individual powers.

As representatives of the elements fire, water, air, earth and spirit, the children must reunite to fully realise their fate and unearth their powers.

EVE ONLINE – Micro-transactions, how they could work

Jita Protests

Jita Protests
Jita protests yesterday at the new Incarna implementation
We all know the recent EVE Online controversy is not just about microtransactions. It’s not only the feeling that the players are already paying €15 a month, so paying more is a bit much, but the attitude revealed in leaked internal emails that the players will act up whatever CCP will do has enraged the lifeblood of the game – the people who cough up monthly. They’ve got people to buy into EVE Online on one principle and are changing the very philosophy of the way it works without consultation.

So after my last post I began to think about the problem. Yes, the micropayments are more macro than micro but they could take a leaf out of other ‘games’ endeavours.

Take Second Life for example and I know that one is free. There is a thriving market of people designing clothes and in some cases people are charging top dollar for these items. The difference is that it’s the ‘players’ who are making profits as well as the ‘game’. Second Life take a cut and everyone is happy. The value of having thousands of people designing means that the environment is enriched with far more creativitiy than the game makers could get with employees.

Of course this would only work with items which couldn’t affect gameplay. Allowing people to create guns and ships would of course not work. At the moment CCP just looks greedy. Opening up so that the players benefit along with CCP would benefit both sides.

I think that could work – what do you think?

EVE Online Controversy – the peasants are revolting

Jita Protests

Jita Protests
Jita protests at new Incarna
I have a confession to make. I have a character in EVE. a couple in fact. Yes, I am officially a geek. So it was with horror (and a pint of cider in me) that I found out about the controversy.

For those not familiar with the now infamous EVE, it is a massively multiplayer online game. There is a subscription which means I play sporadically. The fee is a not insubstantial €15 a month.

In the game I am Squeaka, a proud Amarr warrior, slash miner, slash engineer. Ok I’m a bit career schizophrenic I couldn’t work out what job I wanted to concentrate on, (sounds a bit like real life unfortunately). The career decision I mean not the miner/warrior obviously.

So to the controversy. EVE has decided to open a shop which currently sells clothing for the avatars. Now I know what you are thinking what is all the fuss about a monocle or a sexy pair of jeans or two? Well the micropayment for the monocle is around $70, which is not micro by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, if you are like me you don’t really care what your character looks like, I’d settle for a dustbin outfit as long as she is just a little bit pretty. Well it is the principle of the thing that has got people all hot under the collar. Well that and the rude internal email that was leaked.

Basically people are worried that more than just clothes will be offered for sale, that ships and weapons will be next on the list. Curently to earn enough to buy such items means hours of gameplay and dedication, I am ashamed to say, I have a couple of battleships, one Amarr and one Gallente, work out my overall sadness rating from that.

These take months to earn, doing mission after mission, mining, researching, murder mayhem, that sort of thing. If you can simply buy one of these ships from the store then it throws the ecosystem out of the window. It suddenly comes down to how much money you have not how much effort you put into the game and that just isn’t fair.

So what is happening? Well, people are unsubscribing in their droves but what is more interesting and quite funny is that there are subversive freedom fighters in the game who are sticking it out and protesting for their characters right to slave away in the mines. Yes, they are rioting. Login and pop into Jita and you will find hundreds of people attacking monuments. If they could do graffiti they would. On 12:08am on 26 June 2011. at the time of writing, there were 1480 rioters.
“tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!” …Braveheart

OK rant over.

Happy gaming everybody!

Don’t feed the Fairies by Eileen Gormley

My favourite book of 2011! The fairies of the title are really aliens who live off the life force of other living things. Turns out humans are the tastiest and the heroine intends to farm us. Luckily she learns the error of her ways and when she is captured along with several good looking males and one female human she decides to save them.

But what can one alien do against a whole civilisation who view us as food?

This was a really enjoyable read. I finished this in two days which is a testament to how good it is. The better the book, the faster I read it. This had an ‘unputdownable’ quality which left me wanting more.

It was a light, sci-fi, funny read and I would recommend it to all my friends.

Realm Hunter: Pursuit of the Silver Dirk by Bob Greenwade

Bob Greenwade has created a compelling universe where we move from world to world in search of a master criminal.

Bear Waters accepts a job to solve the crime of the Silver Dirk. People have been hurt but what seems strange to Bear is that they are never killed. Still, blood is drawn which leads our intrepid investigator to believe that the mysterious silver dirk attacker is part of a sinister cult hell bent on summoning the Old Gods which doesn’t just mean the end of one world but possibly the universe (or at least five worlds).

The story is imaginative and my only gripe was that there were quite a few discussions about what things were in ‘our’ world. This shouldn’t put you off however as it is a great read and cleverly written.

Fans of sci-fi might spot the red shirts and Dr Hoo references. I might be reading too much into it but they made me giggle appreciatively.

This book was a great read and I could have carried on reading when it reached the end. Fans of The Dresden Files will enjoy this but the similarities are only superficial. This is an original work which made me glad I set up the Fantasy Book Club for under $3 on Amazon Discussions.

I recommend this one!

Ceri Clark

My Experience at the Fat Attack Boot Camp in East Grinstead

This is my account of the Fat Attack weekend I took part in starting the 19th May 2011.

PROS

  • You feel great for completing the weekend, no matter how much you do.
  • The instructors are good.
  • If you can’t do the exercise, you can tone it down for example I walked 4k in the mornings instead of jogging 10k because of my asthma.
  • They will take your dietary needs into consideration BUT they will forget. I was given two things I was allergic to by accident. The lady organizer is very secretive about her ‘special blend’ tea, which meant I drank half a cup before someone mentioned it tasted lemony and she confirmed it had lemon in it, which I am allergic to.

CONS

  • The accommodation is VERY basic. When I was there, 2 showers between about 16 girls, if this bothers you, upgrade.
  • If you don’t do ALL the exercises that they give you no matter what the reason, the organizer may not want to weigh you rendering all the hard work you’ve done pointless and leaving you grumpy and with a sour taste in your mouth. If this happens to you, INSIST! After all you’ve worked hard for what you’ve done.

PRICE:

£400 for the basic boot camp. I paid £179 with LivingSocial deals

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? No, simply because of the weird attitude I was getting from the organizer, I might try somewhere else though! I really enjoyed it and would have gone again but for the strange attitude of the organizer on the last hour of the last day. It was a shame because it was brilliant up to that point. I had to insist on being weighed and after being pressed three times she gave me the other measurements such as fat percentage that I had lost – and I did lose! Read the next few pages to find out what happened.

CONCLUSION This is an amazing weekend if you are fit and healthy. However if you suffer from ailments, (I am slightly unusual in the sheer number of mine!) then this might not be the boot camp for you. It is 99% outdoors with only one class indoors (Body Combat). If you are prone to severe sunburn then this is not for you, unless you do it in February! On balance I enjoyed it (barring the last hour) and my friend who is sickeningly healthy loved it.

Click on the next page for the full review.

Fatattack Boot Camp weekend (East Grinstead)


My friend comes up with the strangest ideas and this is one of them. For the next three days we will be putting ourselves through torture for the sake of losing a few pounds.

After the event,t I will be blogging about my experience of the trip so you get an idea of what these weekends are about. At 12 it begins.  Wish me luck!

Add books to your Author Central Profile

I was asked by a friend how to add their books to their Amazon Author Profile. I thought possibly there may be others who may not know how to do this so I am giving back to the community with this blog post.

To add books to your Author Central profile (works on both .com and .co.uk sites):

  • Sign in to Author Central.
  • Click on Books
  • Go to the bottom of the page where it says Are we missing a book?
  • Click the yellow button which says add more books
  • A list of books will appear with your author name in it. There is a button under each book. If it yours and you haven’t clicked on it yet it will be yellow. Click on it.

If the book isn’t there check how your name is spelt on the book on your Amazon page. If it is different from the one in the search box on the Amazon Central Books page type in the variant spelling. You should be able to find all your books this way.

Review of Blackrayne by Nathyn Brendan Masters

I was asked to do this review on the Amazon discussions site. I didn’t want to because I don’t think I should do a review unless I can honestly give four or five stars. I have to give this book three stars and this is why:

The Good News

This is well written. Some may disagree with me from some of the other reviews on Amazon but I was never distracted during this book because of mistakes. I am extremely forgiving of spelling and grammar errors, so if you find any, sorry! I don’t agree with reviewers who concentrate on this area. To me the story is everything.

The Bad News

I didn’t like it. I adore fantasy, which is why I created the Kindle under $3 fantasy book club. I am not fussy about what sub genre a book is in either. All I care is that I like the characters and the book is a good old yarn.

This brings me to the characters. Jason Blackrayne is a thoroughly reprehensible figure with as far as I can see no redeeming features. Your first impressions of him are made when you find out he sleeps with a nymphomaniac who goes to him for treatment (he is a shrink) and when he comes into some ‘powers’ he uses it to get women into bed.

Now all I’m saying is that I didn’t like it. There are probably a lot of people who would like this story. Just be aware it is quite sexist with descriptions such as leggy blond giving you a taste of the style of book.

Another turnoff was the amount of Christian hyperbole in the story. I found it immensely distracting and found myself flicking through the sections with exaggerated sighs – much to the annoyance of my husband. If you are happy to read pages of scripture, again you might like this book.

I haven’t read anything like it before and the whole point of the book club was to find literature in my favourite genre that I would probably never normally try. In this the club was successful, I would normally have given up after three chapters.

I liked the concept but I would have liked to see the guy go through something in the middle to make him seem a little more, well likable

As with all books, download a sample and see if you like it. It costs you nothing to try!

The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca

I enjoyed this one!

As an independent author, I am eager to help and read other indie authors. I set up a Fantasy Kindle Book Group on Kindle on Amazon discussions and also belong to the ABNA Writers Group on Facebook.

Now I’ve read quite a few books over the months and I came across some books which, ahem, I was very disappointed with but Allison DeLuca’s book is most definitely NOT in that category.

The Night Watchman Express kept me interested throughout the book. This is the book that doubters of Indie publishing should read, it shows that there are Indie books which can be and are of a high quality. In fact better than some main stream books I’ve read!

What is it about? Well it’s a historical fantasy but not the sword and sorcery variety. It is what I would call more of a realistic fantasy.

The main character is an heiress whose life is turned upside down when her guardians come to stay. Relegated to the attic, while her new ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ enjoy the trimmings her inheritance pays for, a governess suddenly appears who tames the wild creature the girl has become in her grief. The guardians have an important project which depends on a hidden device. This project has repercussions for not only the girl and their family but also a mysterious island.

The book poses a few questions, which are all (satisfactorily) explained through the book. Who is the Governess? Where did she come from? What is the device the guardians are looking for? What is the project?

The book is extremely well written and I truly cared about the characters. The fact I glared at my husband when he stopped me reading to get my attention says it all. When you read this book you will be drawn into a story that will melt reality away.

Go on buy it, you know you want to!

————————————————–

News from Fantasy Island Publishing

Fantasy Island publishing is going from strength to strength with new authors and more sales.

Connie J. Jasperson’s book “The Last Great Knight” has been received well and grows readership daily. Compared to the great Wilbur Smith in her action and bawdy prose, she will be one of the great writers of fictional adventures to come.

The Last Good Knight
Connie J. Jasperson

Alison DeLuca’s new book “The Night Watchman Express” is soaring up the Amazon Kindle sales ranking and is a promising series to look forward to in the future.

The Night Watchman Express
Alison DeLuca

J. Darroll Hall and his Fantasy Island Book Publishing brand are topping Amazon sales rankings all over the Kindle book rankings. The brands bookshelves and catalog are on fire at the moment.

http://www.fantasyislandbookpublishing.com

Well I’m not going to write a blog post and not plug my book! :-):

Children of the Elementi special edition
Ceri Clark

THE KING OF EGYPT: Special edition.
www.amazon.com
Raised a warrior, Tigris, crowned Nitiqreti, is the first female pharaoh. With a beauty that can bring men to their knees and a power that reaps respect from an army, she is prepared to take on any enemy. Author J.J. Makins has written a fascinating look at one of the most beautiful and unknown rulers of Egypt.

Miranda Warning
www.amazon.com
Why is someone killing the band geeks of Richland, Texas? Miranda Beeling would like to know since she is one of them.

Author Marilyn Rucker Norrod certainly knows her subject. A musician and an attorney, she has taken that background and spun a wonderful book with great characters and lots of humor as well as intrigue.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_2?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=J. Darroll Hall