The Annunaki

The Annunaki
Aliens, Gods or Demons?

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 recap

--Two and one-third of a book written
- one book published with the second half coming out early 2106
-an article coming out in a publication alongside some of the best-known non-fiction authors on the subject of secret societies and occult history
- an author talk that went amazingly well. 
--Lots of new friends and some very cool fans.
I'd say 2015 has been pretty darn good.
Now that my health is pretty much normal, I think it's time to start attending literary events and conventions (along with a couple more books and novellas being released). Hope that we all have a fantastic year ahead of us. Love you all. Bring on 2016!!!!!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Review of The Covenant of Muirwood trilogy

Beautiful covers, compelling story, and a well-developed magic system. Maia is a sympathetic character--though perhaps a little 'too good'. After a while her meekness and love for those who have wreaked havoc and taken lives gets to be a little irritating. She is, of course, rewarded in the end, but sometimes as a reader, I'd just think 'really?'

I did enjoy the trilogy and read it quite quickly. It's a fairly easy, classic story, with good and evil, lots of journeys, lovable rogues and haughty enemies that meet their just desserts. I can imagine it appealing to many, particularly teenagers and those who enjoy YA literature.

For myself, the enjoyment of the trilogy was tempered somewhat by the realisation at the end of who the inspiration for the Princess Maia was. Looking back, I see a resemblence in their early lives, but the real woman was not one I'd ever thought to be presented in a favourable light.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Review of The Sun King Rises.

Nicholas Fouquet---a man associated with extraordinary rise and fall, secret societies and (rightly or wrongly) the Man in the Iron Mask. To be able to read a book that explores his downfall set against the religious and political turbulence of the time was a real treat and I enjoyed every moment spent with the book.

The other characters are just as intriguing: the dying Cardinal Mazarin and his spoiled nieces, the conniving Colbert, Anne of Austria at the end of a tumultuous reign  and her son Louis XIV, a young king both arrogant and unsure of himself, easily manipulated even as he tries to enforce his will.

The worldbuilding is excellent, I did feel as I was transported to those times and the language beautiful though I'm sure if I read it in its original French, I would be even more enthralled.

My own quibble is regarding the secret society having been plotting for centuries and yet unable to counteract the threat to their emissary to the King. At certain points, it was frustrating to read about men who were so brilliant and careful misjudging the situation so badly. Though it perhaps is more genuine and 'real' for the fallibility of its characters, yet still there is the urge to wish that they could have outsmarted their enemy.

This book was provided by the Publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Post by Iva Kenaz

Friday, 27 November 2015

Review of High Couch of Silistra--by Janet Morris

No one can argue with Janet Morris's skill in creating beautifully written text. Her prose is of a standard not often seen and the imagery it provokes is almost without equal, even when it's a book written (and please don't kill me) before I was born. The content remains fresh, which is the hallmark of a classic. 
The cover from 1977 is dated, yet one can imagine it was fresh and compelling when first released. 50 Shades of Grey it is not--hiding its content beneath a cover that gives little clue to what lies between its pages. I don't mind the older cover though perhaps it hints at more salacious aspects of the book.
And salacious it is. At its heart, it's more than just sci-fi/fantasy. It is an honest exploration of the female psyche and sexual relations. A world where reproduction is held to be in utmost importance, yet the females are not bound to one male and considered the property of father or spouse, but rather are .

There are restrictions and regulations, though, the women are not totally free, and those that are chosen to be well-keepresses are raised with the expectation of fulfilling male desire. It is an unflinching look at what amounts to be ritual prostitution and as a writer currently undertaking to write about Inanna, I find it to be a fantastic example of how to approach the subject with dignity.

What I found most disconcerting was Estri's naivety when compared to her age, abilities and education. Though this is the first book in a quartet and she's on a journey to discover who she really is, there was more than once when I found myself ever so slightly annoyed with the situations she'd find herself in and the men gaining control over her. I can understand how for some readers parts of the book would be too much. But I do think that one has to look at her experiences from her point of view rather than with modern sensibilities if one is to be able to enjoy the book.

Would I recommend this to everyone? I don't think so, but I do know there are many that would enjoy it and would look to read the remaining three books

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review of The Silver Tide

*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

I received this from Netgalley and started reading it before realising it was the third part of a trilogy. I soon found out that it was possible to catch up quite quickly and figure out who was who, and so I did not feel it necessary to read the previous two--though I might do so in the near future.

First off, I love the cover--the imagery and the clever little phrase. I also like how the writer examines the relationship between Gods--humans who worship them--and humans who seek to supplant them. In this case the Mages. There are a lot of philosophical questions raised on the topic of power and whether on omnipotent being has the right to wipe out his or her creation, should the creation disappoint him or her.

The subject of slavish worship and hubris that comes from one who proclaims herself the mouthpiece of the Gods was well examined, as was the cursory look into the nature of cults.

All in all, it is a book that I enjoyed and would recommend, except for one issue, and that's I don't know who to recommend it to. The action is extremely fast paced, and so I think my teenage daughter and her friends would never get bored (it did feel like it was targeted to a younger audience), yet the language is such that I would not give it to her.

Which brings me to the last quibble: the language. It's not the profanity itself, but rather that it felt a little out of place for its time and was a little jarring.

As the culmination of a trilogy, I think it would be satisfactory on most aspects though perhaps some readers would want to know more about the secondary characters.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Sacred Dancers of Angkor talk

Had a wonderful evening at the Shard, attending Shangrila's Cultural Salon, in honour of Lady Ravynn Coxen, who founded the Sacred Dancers of Angkor.

Learning about her life, her reasons for opening the dance school and her vision for its future was inspiring and one we will definitely support.

Monday, 2 November 2015

The Butcher Bird.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly in the medieval era, and you enjoy a good mystery, then you will love this book. Set in Kent, England, in 1351, we get a glimpse into the world after the plague had wreaked havoc on the land and its people, threatening to upend the social classes and the system of governance.
Into this maelstrom of peasant rebellion and hapless or tyrannical lords, we are confronted with the murder of a newborn child, the finger of blame pointed at a local misfit. Oswald de Lacy, a young man newly come into power, having been intended for the church as the youngest son, struggles to maintain control over his land and tenants while investigating the murder, protecting the man he felt was not responsible and getting hassled by his overlord and own mother and sister.
For me, the book was easy to read and compelling. I enjoyed it, even though the subject matter was dark. It also felt 'real', with the sensibilities and beliefs of the people who lived in those times, rather than modern sensibilities transposed onto hose-wearing, horse-riding people who happened to live in medieval times. Though it is the second book of the series and I've not read the first, I found it easy to understand who was who and the events from the first book are explained in the second.
As far as rating the book, I give it 4 and a half stars, and the half star is due to the fact that I thought the ending was a bit rushed. A little more time could have been spent on the aftermath of the events and the revelations.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The Grace of Kings

Once upon a time, I lived in China, embarking on a quest to master the language, though it turned out I was better at reading and writing it than at speaking and listening (for some reason, I'm better at communicating in English through the written word rather than the spoken one as well--something to do with people being distracting as they talk).

Anyhow, while I was there, I developed a love for the country, its culture, its art and literature--a love that has lasted to this day. And even though my Mandarin is rusty, I still try to practice it whenever I can, mainly through watching Chinese movies and pulling out my textbooks every now and again.

With that being said, I was thrilled to hear about Ken Liu's "The Grace of Kings", as here was a chance for two of my great loves: fantasy and Chinese culture, to be combined in one story. I love fantasy as a genre, though, like many others, find myself bored by medieval-Arthurial-knights--sort of setting. Don't get me wrong, I have a few versions of L'Morte d'Arthur and the Mabinogion sitting on my bookshelf and I pull them down for a reread regularly. But sometimes I want something a little more 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' and with The Dandelion Dynasty, I've finally found it.

The combination of silkpunk with more modern sensibilities combines to create a sweeping saga that is as seductive as it is visceral. The struggle of the characters, the moral ambiguity of their decisions, and the not so helpful nudge of the Gods all bring home the fact that there is no right and wrong that can encompass everyone. Each person has his or her own history which is brought to bear upon their decision-making and those who have legitimate reasons for seeking revenge will unleash untold havoc and destruction on those caught in the crossfire.

Do I recommend this book? Definitely. It may even end up in friends' Christmas stockings

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Inanna the Conqueror

I've been researching Inanna and both the mythology and historical accounts of Sargon in order to come to an understanding of who she and her priestesses were and so far I'm loving what I've found. 
I've written an article that will be released sometime in the near future and am writing the fourth book in the Dragon Court series in which she is the major player in a new global conflict (not saying whether she's the protagonist or antagonist, only that her desires and goals are truly her own).

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

It is much harder to write an article of average length on a mythological figure than a fictional book of the same mythological figure.

Monday, 28 September 2015

I review The Goddess Within

I loved this book--the language, the philosophy, the scenery painted by Iva Kenaz's choice of language and descriptions--all of it comes together in a beautiful story.

With each book Iva gets better and better, exploring themes that are dark and yet giving her protagonists the majesty of choice at each step of the way. It is a recurring theme throughout The Goddess Within and it is beautifully portrayed in such a way that is easy to understand and relate to one's own life.

There is romance, pain, loss, mystery and magic in this book and, as such , it is not a book to be missed.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Arthur E. Waite

I've ordered this book and can't wait to be able to start reading it. It looks fascinating. Arthur Waite himself is a fascinating figure, it's a pity he's not more well-known. I will be adding his books to my library for sure.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Folkestone Book Festival

I will be at the Folkestone Book Festival, giving a talk on my particular inspiration for my books, which do blend mythology and alternate history. The tickets have gone on sale now for £5 (for the authors' talks) and are selling fast. It will be wonderful to have some familiar faces there as well:)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Review of The Ninth Wind

This book can best be described as a labour of love. You feel it, reading it. A lot of time, thought and emotion has gone into it. The characters and cultures are diverse, complex and well-presented, the language lyrical.

There is a lot of philosophical discourse in this book, musings on fate, the will of the gods, human choice and responsibilities, all of which makes the book a pleasure to read, but not one that a reader can whizz through. It is best savoured slowly, with thought given to the dilemmas facing the key characters, all of whom have suffered great loss and wish to do the best for their people.

It is the sort of book I love and can appreciate the skill and dedication of the author. I look forward to reading what happens next.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

I review Dragon Eaters (Heroika 1)

The English word 'Dragon' is descended from the Greek 'Drakon', or serpent, and 'Draconta', or 'to see'.  It is fitting in homage to the great mythological beasts, that many of them meet their end by being blinded.
Heroika takes us on a journey through time and through the minds of 17 authors, all of whom have created a story in which the dragon, sometimes an ally, other times a foe, is seen as formidable and mighty.

I did enjoy the anthology and found it showcased the skills of the authors who work with Janet Morris perfectly, offering up bite sized chunks and definitely leaving a desire for more of their works.

Though all were fantastic, with something to appeal to everyone, my  personal favourites (though no surprise to anyone who knows me) would have to be SE Lindberg's Legacy of the Great Dragon, which is about Thoth and Poimandres, and Travis Ludvigson’s Night Stalkers, which features Charlemagne and Roland. Both of these stories offer unique twists on well known mythological figures.

Aquila of Oyos by Walter Rhein was refreshing in that it offered the point of view of the Dragon, rather than the humans (which are often just as monstrous, if not more).

I will also add that I enjoyed Red Rain, by Will Hiles, even though  tales set in more modern history (last 300 years or so) and futuristic stories are not my usual read

Monday, 18 May 2015

Almost done with The Fall of Undal

Wow, it's been quite a ride--one involving lots of second-guessing, reading, throwing my hands up in frustration and waving my arms around enacting imaginary sword fights.

I suppose the greatest struggle when writing about a global conflict is ensuring that one never becomes desensitized to the deaths--that each one is felt. When there's too much of anything in a book--a character weeping over love lost, a person yelling in frustration at their partner, a youth surviving one life-threatening situation after another, sex (yes, even that), and deaths described in detail, the reader can zone out or start flipping through the book. So when there is a war between family members, there will be deaths and injuries and victims of all ages, along with the soldiers, camp attendants and anyone unlucky enough to be caught up in the conflict. For someone who hates war and cries easily at news of children suffering as a result, it has been a challenge to write descriptions of conflict without becoming too melodramatic or gory, yet not treating it with flippancy either. The aftermaths are not ignored, either. The 'righteous side' may win, but at an extremely high cost. In that, I have drawn inspiration from the tale of Cronous, the account of the destruction of Atlantis, but hopefully with the added perspective of what it truly would have been like to have been part of the war--all the death and destruction, not just the glory of those who were raining thunderbolts down out of the sky.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

A beautiful review--very much appreciated

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Something Splendid this way has come!!

The books have arrived. Bringing with them a certain sense of closure. After weeks of nervousness and bouncing off walls at 3A.M. I can finally take it easy. Though not for long. I have to finish The Fall of Undal soon. I'm so close, yet there's a sense of anxiety when I am writing.

 See, I know the story and how it's going to end, who lives, who dies. I also 'know' how the technology is to be used during war. But, just like my oldest daughter doing her math homework, knowing how something is done is not the same as trying to explain it in a logical, coherent fashion. She always gets the answers right, but gets scored lower because she doesn't 'show how she did it'. So all the people are in place, the events are planned, I just need to be able to explain what/how/why so that others both understand and remain interested.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Items in Dragon Court:

Here is a list to help you with some of the items that are used by the Annunaki and their descendants:

1) Shuhadakhu: fiery sword, once used in tournaments, now a ceremonial emblem of office of Innana, the M'hor

2) An Athame--ceremonial blade/wand crafted by Eris. Used in her rituals

3) Orme, or monatomic gold. A white powdered gold that they ingest to expand their consciousness

4) Amiel cloaks--made to look like scales (not quite so fishlike in the books)

  5) Paten: a ceremonial plate used to serve the orme

6) Atana: the cone shaped crown that all Annunaki and their Kings and Queens wore (used by Egyptians and others in later times). It is from the Atanas that the pointy cone came to symbolise knowledge, as wizards and witches are depicted wearing.

7) How the aircraft they flew is depicted

 8) a Reptilian Being: identified at birth and trained by Eris as Mulla Xul (assassins), both Cronous and Rhea have the 'nature'.

It's out!!!

The Doom of Undal has been released, with all major online retailers carrying it (except for Amazon, that is coming soon). Please follow the link:

Monday, 16 March 2015

Writing progress

50,000 words reached of the present manuscript--the second half of The Doom of Undal.
These reptilians play a major role in the story and so this image is my personal lodestone--what I use to focus my attention on the story at hand  and what draws me back when I'm stuck. Just looking at the picture of the statue, thinking about what it represents, why it was created and by whom gets me in the mood and I find the writing just flows.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The awakening of an initiate

While reading The Serpent Power by Woodroffe (which is about the chakras and kundalini yoga), I came upon this interesting paragraph: "Thus, an author who, I am informed, had considerable knowledge of things occult, speaks of the Suṣumnā as a " force" which "cannot be energised until Īdā and Piṅgalā have preceded it," which "passes to the accompaniment of violent shock through each section of the spinal marrow," and which, on the awakening of the sacral plexus, passes along the spinal cord and impinges on the brain, with the result that the neophyte finds" himself to be an unembodied soul alone in the black abyss of empty space, struggling against dread and terror unutterable".

It is the idea that in order to use Suṣumnā, the initiate has to be shocked (or traumatized) first. What it immediately reminded me of was Nicholas DeVere's writings on the Derkesthei experience, which stated that in order to be fully awakened, one must go through a deep psychological shock. Only then can the subconscious be aroused and the dormant areas of the brain come to the fore.  What is interesting is that he was of course speaking about the Dragon legacy, which was associated with vampirism, which he explains:
"Vampire stems from the word "vber" or "uber", and means "witch." It originates in Anatolia; the location of the seven yearly Druidic gatherings: the Nemetons. "Witch" in Gaelic is "Druidhe", or "druid." In practical terms and suggested by the term "uber" itself, a Scythian druid was an overlord, and so originally a vampire was an overlord, and hence a Dragon.
The purpose of vampirism depends on the type of vampirism practiced. Starfire was the purpose of "royal" or druidic vampirism in the ancient Scythian families, and in Scythian "warrior" vampirism, drinking the blood of fallen brothers in battle was intended to take their essence and bravery into the recipient. The blood of vanquished foes was also drunk. In both cases, this also had the advantage of topping up one's adrenaline and testosterone levels in the heat of conflict. The folklore image of the vampire in Europe stems from this historical root. Vampirism was an integral part of Scythian/Dragon life."

Somehow the myth of the vampire and the awakening ritual became popularised through fiction, so that what was an initiation ceremony- a symbol of death and rebirth into a new, more intelligent and self-aware body (that participates in star-fire, or blood drinking, ceremonies)- is now part and parcel of becoming a vampire

Monday, 5 January 2015

Strength of Character

I’ve been reading blogposts and articles by authors I’ve longed admired about feminism in fantasy. There is a call for stronger female characters in fantasy, but some disagreement as to what strength constitutes. Tolkien’s women have also been named (and shamed in some cases).

My two cents are as follows: I am a female and am very happy to be one (barring certain aspects of female biology---don’t get me started on pregnancy, I LOATHED being pregnant as I had miserable experiences both times, I was so happy when our babies arrived as the torment was over). I love being a girly-girl, jewellery, make up, fashion and cry easily, especially when children or animals are hurt.

I think it gets complicated when people attempt to discuss male/female attributes and typical pursuits when discussing strength in fictional characters. To make it easy for myself I’d say it all depends on the person. Some have the necessary characteristics and body strength to make great fighters, others don’t. It has been typically the domain of men, but not all men can draw blood, and some women are very good at it. Some people make excellent nurturers and carers—it is not the prerogative of one gender.

So where does that leave me as a female, writer and avid reader of fantasy?  There is this impetus to not acknowledge women who are very happy being ‘typical’ women as also possessing strength

I beg to disagree: just because one isn’t a kickass super fighter doesn’t mean one is weak. Looking at three of the females in Lord of the Rings, they all possess strength: Eowyn wanted to engage in the war on the battlefield and was proven right when she killed the Witch King, was she strong? Certainly. What of Arwen? It takes strength to choose to stay with the man you love, knowing you will outlive him and that you will never see your parents or friends again. But my favourite---the one I wanted to be from the first time I read LoR was Galadriel. To exude power in the form of wisdom, indomitable will and use of magic is to me the ultimate strength. She did not need to raise her voice, hold a knife at someone’s throat or use seduction to achieve her goals. Yet she too knew loss—her brothers died, her daughter Celebrian was captured, and though she was rescued, she never fully recovered. Yet Galadriel never lost her courage or spirit—she was the bulwark of strength and the head of the resistance against Sauron.

So what is strength to me? Strength is fighting for what you believe to be right, in the manner you choose to fight: be it with a gun or through the power of the pen. Strength is both choosing to fight for your country and beliefs and being the one who stays behind to be both mother and father to your children, not knowing if your husband or wife will return, or if they do, if they will heal.

 Strength is honouring your love and commitment to one who is suffering from an illness they will not recover from, knowing you will have to live on after they have gone. Strength is being diagnosed with that illness and facing death with dignity.  

Strength is living on after the loss of a spouse, parent, sibling, child or friend, without succumbing to overwhelming despair. Strength is caring for a child that has been abused, doing your best to help them heal in spite of all the setbacks. Strength is overcoming one’s demons and allowing oneself to feel happiness again. None of these is gender-specific, anyone can be strong.

Do I see this strength in characters in fiction? Yes, sometimes in men, sometimes in women. It is there, hiding beneath their forced cheery persona's, their arrogance, the public face they put on to hide the pain. It is not blazed from the rooftops, announced to the masses. The reader is not bludgeoned with the total awesomeness that is the strength of the character—"gosh darn, isn’t he/she so amazingly strong?" Yet is there, revealed in quiet moments, in anger, on the rare occasion the mask slips. And it is present in both male and female characters.

If there is one thing as a mother of two girls I try to impart to them: it’s that anyone can make a show of strength—it’s in the quiet moments when there is no one around, the ability to continue in spite of loss, the capacity to make a tough decision and stand by it—and to do it all without fanfare and attention that one’s true strength is revealed. And that will carry them through whatever they choose to do in life. They have run the gamut of: pony riding fashion designer, pop star, ballerina, writer, vet, medical researcher and neither of them are anywhere near finishing school. Who knows what they will end up doing?  

Friday, 2 January 2015

Book Review--The Firelord's Crown

I found myself drawn into the world of Falath Airen and Rollo, even as I cursed them for falling into one trap after another. 
I'm a big fan a world building and love to know the backstory, so for me, I would have liked to know more about their world, Airen's mission and the ancient war. I am curious to know more about it, so I believe Dee Harrison has a great job of writing characters the reader becomes invested in.

Definitely a must-read

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Book Review: Ways of the Stygia: The Cult of Morgod

An all-encompassing saga of dark gods familiar to us in a time before time. It takes a while to become accustomed to both the amount of characters and to their personalities, coupled with the darkness and horror prevalent. But it is worth it as the reader does become invested in the efforts of the heroes and the outcome of the war. (p.s. I want a book based on Nonyl--I find him fascinating)

Happy New Year

To all those I've met over the past year, both in person and online: I wish you a year to come that is filled with love, laughter, peace and prosperity. Let us not forget those whose lives  have been torn apart by war, disaster and loss. Let us do what we can to ease their pain and make this world a better place for all the children. We are one, and if one suffers, we all do.