A (very) short story

Nothing particularly to do with Reverie. Just a quick fun meander through fairy tales, if they took place in a world slightly closer to reality…

Imagine a world, very close to those you probably read about in fairy tales, or at least that was in stories you had read to you by optimistic parents when you were young, keen to pass on the moral in the story.

You know the kind of thing, good overcomes evil, true love conquers all, honesty is the best policy and most importantly of all… always be the third person (or animal or whatever), to try something. You could be the third (and always youngest) of three siblings to attempt a quest, the third pig to try building a house or the third and the biggest… and the beardiest of three goats crossing a bridge. Just make sure you are the third one and everything would be fine.

Of course, that means if you are the first or second to do something, then it is often the case that the story chews you up and spits you out without a thought, but parents have a habit of glossing over these details. The happy ending justifying the rather grizzly means.

But this world is a bit different. If we pause for a minute and take in a short scene, playing out as we speak, then I think you will see what I mean…

Tristan was the youngest of three brothers, and also a prince. This meant he had been brought up in luxurious surroundings and had never wanted for anything, which is often the way for youngest siblings and also, to a lesser extent, royal princes. Despite this he now found himself in an extremely un-luxurious position.

He was soaked to the bone, running short on food and currently facing a wide moat surrounding a dark and ominous looking castle. He wasn’t entirely sure how he had got himself in this position, one minute he was back at the palace, eating peeled grapes, tiny chickens and other princely food, the next he was here. It had just taken one message, saying that his older brother, Justin, had sadly failed in his quest to rescue some princess or other, (who had himself been following in the unsuccessful footsteps of the oldest of the three brothers, Keith), and Tristan had immediately felt the overwhelming need to go questing himself.

Now he was stood on the edge of an extremely sinister looking moat, which appeared to be filled with some sort of unpleasantly boiling lava rather than water. As he stared, steely eyed into the middle distance the drawbridge came crashing down, which he presumed was probably a good sign. This revealed the shadowy form of a large dragon, which was perhaps less good. The dragon then laboriously stalked across the thick planks of the drawbridge until it was within a few meters of him, staring down with a slightly cross-eyed expression as it tried to focus on the tiny (and surprisingly unafraid looking) human.

The fact that he had no experience of fighting dragons, or indeed anything, didn’t bother Tristan in the least, (although a voice at the back of his head kept nagging at him that it probably should be something to worry about… at least a little bit). Instead he was confident in the fact that he was a third brother, following in the footsteps of two older, more experienced siblings, one of whom had also been a master swordsman, the other a famous dragon slayer. He also had a good heart, (or so he was often told by various lackeys and servants), was of at least average intelligence and was wearing a particularly shiny breastplate with a picture of a rose emblazoned across it.

He was pretty sure that any moment now an ingenious scheme would occur to him and he would defeat the dragon, (possibly by solving some sort of riddle), save the princess and then live happily ever after.

It is true that he did live happily ever after. Or at least that the rest of his life, which was about the time it took for the dragon to breath in and then out, was happy. He spent it thinking about what a hero’s welcome he would get when he returned to the kingdom and was already mentally making a list of possible names for his third child (the names of child one and two seeming unimportant) when the white hot heat of the dragons breath turned him immediately, and fortunately for Tristan, completely painlessly into a pile of ash. Moments later and even that was gone, picked up in the breeze and scattered to the four corners of the earth.

And the moral of this first story? If you are attempting a quest which has previously been tried by two more experienced adventurers, who have both failed, the most likely outcome is that you also will fail.

In fact you are more likely to fail, as the attempts of the first two will have encouraged the evil king, necromancer or dragon to seriously reconsider their defences and generally up their game.

What a difference a day (or year) makes

Newly arrived, paper copies of Book 3!!

Just over a year ago I published the first book in the Daydreamer Chronicles series. It had a self-made cover and zero budget but this was balanced out by the optimism, encouragement and generous support received from friends and family.

Since then the second and now third book in the series have been published, and the first book has been revised and updated a couple of times, (including the new cover, and with the benefit of hindsight, some further editing & housekeeping), receiving some lovely reviews along the way.

So with all this going on, it has been a very busy year one way or another, culminating with the arrival of the hard copies of book three yesterday.

I wanted to say a big thanks to everyone that has supported the series, (whether through reviews, facebook post likes / shares, or just generally being nice!) and will be running a giveaway or two in the coming weeks to show my appreciation, so keep your eyes peeled.

New faces in Reverie (#2)

Introducing another of the new characters, Isabella. Steam powered adventurer and all round troublemaker.

By now Bella had joined the others, standing alongside Adam and looking amazingly unconcerned. “Wind me up…” Bella hissed out the side of her mouth, as the menacing, although still very odd, strongman strode towards them.


“Wind… me… up, quickly!” This time Bella gestured with her thumb back to the spot where her brass arm was locked into place just below her right shoulder. To his surprise, (although he was increasingly wondering why anything surprised him anymore), Adam saw a handle. Other than the fact it was stuck out of someone’s back, it reminded him of the key used to wind the old clock that had taken pride of place on his mother’s bedside table for years.

New faces in Reverie

In the run up to Book 3 in the series I thought I’d take the chance to introduce a couple of the new characters that pop up. The first of these is the rather unpleasant underworld figure known only as ‘Granny’, with an extract from ‘Where Dreams End’ below giving a brief glimpse.

Rather hesitantly Adam walked across to stand in front of her, caught in the glare of the lamps hanging around the desk and the small oasis of clear space that surrounded it. Up close Granny was even more ancient than Adam had first thought and considerably grubbier. The fine clothes didn’t appear to have been washed for some time and there was an unpleasant smell that he tried not to react to.

“It’s a very rare thing you’re asking for,” she began. “There are only two captains that I would trust on the Dwam, and unfortunately for you one of them is quite mad.”

“So, who is the other one?” Adam asked. She smiled back at him, not particularly pleasantly, revealing what remained of her teeth. A series of alternating black and brown tombstones in remembrance of long lost and sadly missed oral hygiene.

“Oh my…” she giggled, “…you don’t understand at all do you? It’s the mad one that you need to find. The other one is much, much worse.”

“Where then, where do we find this captain?” Adam asked her, trying not to breathe in too heavily, her last exhalation having made him slightly woozy.

At his question she held out a wrinkled hand, the skin on her fingers hanging loose, like oversized jumpers on skinny children, waiting to grow into their clothes. Despite her lack of words, her intention was transparent enough.

Continuity (or slight lack of…)

Slight delay in the release of book three, having discovered that at least one of the weeks in the story seems like it could be eight days long. As a result the doomsday clock (or countdown timer) to book three has been reset by a couple of weeks.

My initial argument that time operates differently in the dreamworld, and therefore that the rather longer than normal week is fine, didn’t completely stand up to detailed scrutiny, so I am off to do a quick re-write of a couple of paragraphs (with a calendar by my side… and possibly a calculator).


Spreading the word

The Daydreamer Chronicles is now multi-format (if you take multi-format to mean basically the same but available in lots of different places…).

The first book in the series is now available for free through Apple i-books, Lulu.com and Barnes and Noble




Why it’s good to read (and sometimes write) #1

Reasons why it’s really, really good to read (and sometimes write) #1:
Remember when you were a child and you existed as the hero at the centre of your own story, the rest of the world slowly spinning around you. Anything was possible. You could be an astronaut, detective or ninja (or best of all a crime solving, space travelling, ninja).
Then, as you grow up, you slowly realise that you might not get to always be the hero character after all. Perhaps instead you become the comedy sidekick, the reliable friend, the caring parent or some other supporting character in the stories of the people around you – and eventually you realise just how important this is.
But it’s still nice, every now and then, to put yourself back in the centre of the story again and be the hero for a while. Reading (and sometimes writing) has got to be the absolute, unbeatable, number one way to do that.
It’s good to dream every now and then – there’s probably some sort of science that proves it’s good for your brain 😉
(Image By Eneas De Troya from Mexico City, México – Lectura para unas vidas, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24676730)