On the Throne? Flash Sale

If your world is short on giggles 
If your poor brain moans and wriggles
If you’re feeling bored
If your head is not amused
Abused by idiots on the news
If you feel ignored
This little book I’ll recommend
In solitude it is your friend
If you take it home
It’s on the Zon – a tiny price
Get your copy, don’t think twice
Order ‘On the Throne?’

Jane Jago offers you the perfect book for your ‘throne room’. Still unconvinced? Here’s a tiny sample of the comfortable madness this little book shares…

You are old so you shouldn’t bedazzle
You should be both faded and frazzled
It shouldn’t be you
With a Harley (brand new)
And a Swarovski Crystal vajazzle

***

It ain’t all beer and skittles 
The sun don’t always shine
Some days winter dribbles
And you run fresh out of wine

It ain’t champagne and chocolate 
Coz them things make you fat
You’re gonna have the odd regret
You can be sure of that

It ain’t all beer and skittles
And I ain’t the perfect wife
And if the sweet brings bitter
Well, that’s just the way of life

And just to sweeten the pill further the book is on ‘special offer’ for one week only.

April 8-15: eBook 99p; tree book £3.25

 

Jane Jago’s Daily Drabble – Two Hundred and Twenty-One

The champion stood completely at his ease in the arena. It was just another job for him, but for the baying women…

The fighter they sent against him was barrel-chested and long of arm, this could be tough, but he smiled at his opponent anyway. A smile is a good way to unsettle a fighter.

It worked better than he anticipated, as the fool lost it completely coming in hard and low instead of making use of his superior reach. One rabbit punch to the back of the neck and it was done.

The women threw flowers and underwear.

©️jj 2018

Coffee Break Read – The Bird Doctor

An extract from The Fated Sky - the first book in Fortune's Fools.

The day was beautiful, a jewel of Temsevaran summertime and the thin red sunlight was strong enough to make a shimmer of mist rise from the flat-topped roofs of the brightly painted houses, as Durban made his way towards the plaza. He chose a back street knowing that the main roads would already be jammed solid with people jostling at the barriers to have the first pick of the bargains on offer. Even so, the way he chose had already drawn quite a crowd. Those that knew him smiled and let him pass but others resisted blocking his way with knees and elbows.
“Let me through,” he appealed. “My wife is having a baby – our first child.”
No one stopped to consider why that should be any reason to let him into the plaza, the crowd just drew apart as if by magic and helpful hands guided him to the front whilst congratulations and good wishes were offered. They were very simple folk, the good people of Alfor. As he ducked under the barrier he was challenged by a fierce looking young Zoukai who did not know him. Durban smiled winningly.
“I am the bird doctor,” he explained. The young man stared at him, then spat in the dust.
“So? What’s that to me?”
“Your end of run bonus, I suspect. You see one of the singing birds has feather cramps and if it is not treated immediately that will spread like wildfire. Before you know it – wumph.” He threw up his arms expressively.
The Zoukai struggled with that for a moment.
“Wumph?” he repeated in a doubtful tone.
“Yes, wumph,” Durban’s voice took on a ring of confidential urgency. “All two thousand of CaravansiNedriq’s precious singing birds would go ‘wumph’. And that would be the last you’d hear about your end-of-run bonus, I can tell you.”
He fixed the younger man with a penetrating amber glare. The Zoukai’s confusion seemed to clear at the mention of Nedriq’s name.
“Of course – the bird doctor. Well, you better go in then.”
Durban treated him to his sunniest smile and headed quickly to the nearest caravan, which as he already knew, belonged to Caravansi Nedriq.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Portrait of Durban Chola by Ian Bristow of Bristow Designs

Jane Jago’s Daily Drabble – Two Hundred and Twenty

Hamiko was exquisite, expensive and virginal. When the patron of her house called her to his office she attended with modestly downcast eyes.

He stood to greet her and both bowed from the waist.

“Tokugawa san.”

“Hamiko sama. There has been an offer for your person.”

She inclined her head.

“As my patron wishes.”

“I do not wish. But the Shogun commands. He requires a companion for his son.”

“I have no choice then.”

A single tear fell from Hamiko’s eye but neither mentioned this breach of decorum.

Twenty years later Ashikaga succeeded his father with Hamiko at his side.

©️jj 2018

Author Feature – Arthur Dux Bellorum by Tim Walker

Arthur Dux Bellorum by Tim Walker is a fresh look at the Arthurian legend, combining myth, history and gripping battle scenes. Although in a series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

From the ruins of post-Roman Britain, a warrior arises to unite a troubled land…

A COCKEREL CROWING its defiance to rivals always marked the start of his day. Shifting uncomfortably on a straw-stuffed sack, he turned away from the damp wall to see how far the first fingers of daylight had stretched across worn paving slabs. But the cockerel’s call was distant, muted and distorted – filtered through a narrow opening high up in his cell, making his first waking thought a cruel reminder that he was no longer in the sanctuary of his parents’ farm. Absent were the homely sounds of dogs barking, birds fighting, workers busying themselves, and the fountain splashing an invigorating melody.
Artorius sat, scratching at his woollen garment, then pushed aside the filthy blanket and ruffled his long, tangled hair, freeing some strands of straw. The rattle of keys interrupted his woeful reflection, signalling the entry of his jailor, Ahern, with a bowl of weak gruel and a pewter mug of water. He was a sullen, wordless giant who expressed himself with grunts and kicks.
“You are a happy man, Ahern, for you have found your true calling in life,” Artorius muttered, receiving a snarl in reply. Three months in his narrow cell had afforded him plenty of time to reflect on the words of Merlyn that had led to his arrest. Merlyn had exposed him to a cheering crowd as the true heir to his father, Uther Pendragon, and had showed him how to pull the sword of Ambrosius smoothly from the cleft in a rock, made possible by the removal of pressure due to Merlyn and Varden’s subtle easing back. A trick to fool an expectant crowd. No sooner had he entered the royal hall than the doors were barred behind him, and Caradoc, the army commander, had him arrested. Merlyn too, and Gawain the knight who had supported his claim. But not Varden, the ex-soldier and Merlyn’s bodyguard. He was at large and represented his only hope of rescue.  
“But my destiny as the son and heir to Uther, if indeed I am, has proven to be a false calling,” he moaned to the closing cell door. He had received no visitors or news from the outside, but the fear of execution had receded as the weeks had passed. They had locked him away and would no doubt parade him or dispose of him once the reign of the new king was bedded in – the boy-king Mordred, whose mother had tried and failed to free the sword on his behalf. He gloated over the memory of Morgana’s desperate and unsuccessful struggle.
Left alone with his thoughts, he shouted his anger and frustration at the impassive stone walls. “It was a conjuror’s trick that landed me here! It was YOUR ambition, Merlyn, not mine!” He had practised it over and over. This is what he would say to the mysterious healer should they ever meet again.

A Bite of... Tim Walker
Q1) How much of you is in your hero?

They say ‘Thursday’s child has far to go’ – I was born on a Thursday and I guess Arthur must have been too. He is long-suffering but gets there in the end. I have tried to create a likable character so that it would be a believable progression for him to become a charismatic leader. Arthur is reliant on the wisdom, strength and guidance of those around him to make it from adolescence to adulthood in the dangerous world of Dark Ages Britain. He is patient, steady and a good learner. He gets there in the end, through trial and error. Arthur has a sense of humour, is easy to get on with, but has a temper when crossed. He soon learns to fight his own battles and gradually takes on the responsibility of leadership. He adheres to a moral code, is not cruel and treats people well – except his enemies. I suppose where we differ is that I don’t carry weapons and don’t use violence to resolve disputes! Oh, and my father wasn’t a king of Britain.

Q2) Would you rather live in this world or the one you create in your books?

In evoking the world of Fifth Century Britain, barely a generation after Roman governance and protection ended, there would have been a regression to brutal and perhaps random acts of violence with little or no protection for ordinary people. Tribal leaders came to the fore and most likely would have enforced some code of conduct, but for most there was the constant threat of attack from other tribes or invaders. The monk Gildas, writing in the Sixth Century, talks of a time of widespread fear, anguish and slaughter, with people taking to the old hill forts that were re-occupied after the lowland towns built by the Romans proved too easy for raiders to enter and pillage. It would be fascinating to time travel back there to see what was really going on, but on reflection, I’d rather sit in my armchair with the remote watching it on TV!

Q3) Why do you write?

My creative writing journey began in 2013 when I was struck down with cancer. My battle was tedious and drawn out, lasting years, and has left me managing a chronic illness. I started writing short stories to keep my mind occupied and, after visiting the site of an old Roman town nearby, I came up with the idea for my book series, A Light in the Dark Ages. I’ve been working on it ever since, and am now bringing out book four – Arthur Dux Bellorum. My concern was to find evidence of a real historical Arthur hidden beneath the legend. I’ve been inspired in my storytelling by the writings of Ninth century monk, Nennius, in his ‘History of the Britons’. He names Arthur and gives us a list of his twelve battles. He also gives us an enigmatic quote – “Then Arthur fought [against the Saxons]… with the Kings of the Britons, but he himself was Dux Bellorum.” ‘Dux Bellorum’ literally means ‘Duke of Battles’ or leader of battles. Nennius leaves us with a riddle – was Arthur a mercenary hired by the (tribal) kings of the Britons, or was he also a king and the first amongst equals? It fascinates me that historians and archaeologists might yet find evidence of the real Arthur – a Dark Ages warrior, possibly king, and leader of the combined army of the kings of Britain. Until then, he remains in the realm of fiction, and I’ve invented my own version. Yes, the power and will to create is another motivation to write.

Tim Walker is an independent author based in Windsor, UK. His background is in marketing, journalism, editing and publications management. He began writing an historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages (set in Fifth Century Britain), in 2015, starting with Abandoned, set at the time the Romans left Britain. This was extensively revised and re-launched as a second edition in 2018.
Book two, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, was published in 2017 and the third instalment, Uther’s Destiny, was published in March 2018 (winner of One Stop Fiction book of the month award, April 2018) and the furth book, Arthur Dux Bellorum has just been released.
His creative writing journey began in July 2015 with the publication of a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales. In September 2017 he published a second collection of short stories – Postcards from London. These stories combine his love of history with his experiences of living in London and various Thames Valley towns.
In 2016 he published his first novel, a dystopian political thriller, Devil Gate Dawn, following exposure through the Amazon Scout programme. In 2017 he published his first children’s book, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, co-written with his 12-year-old daughter, Cathy, followed In 2018 by a second adventure, Charly & The Superheroes.

You can catch up with him on Facebook, Twitter and his Author Website or sign up to his newsletter to be sure you never miss anything.

 

 

 

Jane Jago’s Daily Drabble – Two Hundred and Nineteen

The Marquis sat in silence, with a priceless hand-blown glass in his hand, while around him his guests waded through course after course of exquisite food and bottle after bottle of vintage wine. 

He wondered why he had allowed himself to be persuaded to host such an insipid occasion. Then he caught his mother’s eye and remembered.

Tonight he was to choose a bride. 

The prospect didn’t appeal. 

The insipidity of this season’s debutantes repelled him, as did the despair of those on the shelf.

But the thing must be done. He turned to a random woman and smiled…

©️jj 2018

Sunday Serial LXXIV

There was something in Alexei’s eyes that worried Anna and she began to get a sick feeling in her gut. Something was very far off kilter here. It was just a matter of working out what.
Valentina Stephanovitz had obviously caught the same vibe, because she snapped out another order in her native tongue. This time the big Russian ignored her. Turning instead a wholly reptilian smile on Patsy and Anna.
“It’s such a pity you came here ladies,” he sneered. “Your murder of Gospazha Valentina will set the seal on the vendetta that will see every last member of your family die in the most painful way we can contrive. I look forward to hearing your sons’ screams as they are repeatedly raped.”
Valentina rapped out another order and he turned on her with his face full of hate.
“You should be glad my orders are to dispose of you quickly and quietly,” he spat.
Anna saw the whole plan and cursed herself for not foreseeing such an eventuality. Then it dawned on her that whoever was behind this Alexei would be going for a clean sweep. The fingers of her left hand flew. ‘Get out of the car. Suspect bomb.’ It was the biggest relief of her life to hear Rod’s grunted assent. Dragging her mind back to her own situation she could hear the gloating evil in Alexei’s voice as he carried on enumerating the various fates in store for the whole Cracksman clan.
Patsy seemed to be bearing up remarkably well, even when the Russian pushed his face right into hers and his spittle ran down her cheeks.
“You need us in there?” Rod’s voice in Anna’s ear jerked her back to a sense of her own peril just as Alexei turned his back on Patsy and put his hand inside his jacket.
He probably thought himself quick on the draw, but in defence of her cubs Pats had the speed of an enraged she-bear. A small, but serviceable, pistol appeared in her rock steady hand. She shot twice and Alexei fell to the ground making strange whinnying noises.
“If he was only going for his handkerchief, I’ll apologise nicely.” Patsy’s voice was as steady as her hand.

Anna found herself able to look down on the groaning man with unfeigned composure. “Both arms. Nice shooting Pats…”
She wasn’t sure what she was going to say or do next but it didn’t matter anyway, as all thought was blown away  by a sound beyond sound as the whole building rocked, and the window next to Valentina blew in showering them all with shards of glass. Patsy was first to the broken window.
“It’s our car,” she cried with something like despair in her voice.
Anna made voice contact with Rod. “You lot all right?”
“Yeah. Picking bits of car out of our teeth. But fine. You okay in there?”
“Yeah. Pats has it in hand.”
“Right. We gotta go help the injured.”
Anna ran to Patsy’s side. “It’s okay. I got the willies. They were all out of the car.”
Patsy looked down at Alexei.
“You should be so grateful to whatever god you believe in. Because if any of ours had been hurt I’m fairly sure I would have been inspired to shoot bits off you. Starting with your dick. And if you don’t start talking now, I still might.”
The sweating man clenched his teeth together, and Valentina laughed harshly. She said something in a low vicious voice that had tears springing into the injured man’s eyes.
“If you are going to shoot him, I would recommend starting with some toes. Painful, but not sufficiently debilitating to stop him from answering questions.”
Patsy levelled her pistol at the frantically wriggling man.
“You sure I can’t do his dick?”
“Too much blood loss. If we want answers.”
“Oh yes. We want answers.”
Anna found herself deeply wishful of being anywhere but in that room. She felt as if the air was getting too thick to breathe and although she knew that Alexei was deserving of anything that came his way she lacked the appetite to watch. Although she hoped in her heart that Patsy wouldn’t shoot any more, she had a worm of doubt in her chest. This man had threatened Patsy’s sons…

Jane Jago

Jane Jago’s Daily Drabble – Two Hundred and Eighteen

The children barely lifted their faces from brimming bowls of meat and juices and tubers. Talks to Trees was a little more circumspect, even though her own hunger was great.

Once fed, the warmth in the great skin lodge, and the fullness of her belly, induced somnolence, and it was only with an effort that she kept her eyes open.

The tall warrior who had found her crossing the ice with the children on her back smiled.

“You may sleep. You and the small ones are safe here. We only eat the white eyes.”

Trees forced her stomach to settle…

©️jj 2018

Not Daffodils

In order to escape the crowds
We hied ourselves high in the hills
And there beneath the glowering clouds
Did spy a sight to give us chills
Huddled neath some sheltering trees
A host of rudderless Japanese
So many that the stand of oak
Was filled with little faces
Who shivered as the raindrops soaked 
All of their tiny places
Too many were there to be counted
A problem that must be surmounted
The purple sky and dancing breeze
Which offered me such joy
Just made them shiver, cough and sneeze
Each woman girl and boy
Abandoned I my poet’s lark
And led them safe to the coach park
And now when I am old and grey
Too old to wander far
I muse upon that rain-wet day
As I sit in the bar
I laugh until my back they slap 
At soggy tourists. Minus map…

©️Jane Jago 2018

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