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December 15, 2019

"The main characters are well developed and interesting in the wonderful world of Merceria." - D. R.

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On the Homefront

Here I am, hard at work on my 27” monitor with a computer that we custom-built some years ago. It packs an Intel Quad-Core processor, though it is now several generations out of date. 

The last time we upgraded, we added a new video card when Fallout 4 came on the scene. Fortunately, it still runs everything I play just fine, and to be honest, it is way more than I use for my writing, so no need for another update, at least for now!

I’m also still running Windows 7, but I’ll likely have to update that sometime in the new year. (For the record, I run Windows 10 on my gaming laptop, but that’s a whole different story.)


A while ago, I decided to write a short story for an anthology, but once I started, it soon morphed into the origin story for Brother Cyric, who is a character in Ashes, Book One of The Frozen Flame series.

I enjoyed writing it so much that I have decided to offer it free to all my newsletter subscribers! All you need to do is click on the button below, and download the story in the format that is best for you: ePub, Mobi or .PDF.

Download my FREE Short Story

Into the Maelstrom - A Chronicle Of Cyric Prequel

How can one man succeed when an entire army has failed?

Amarantis is a powerful Fire Mage running rampant on the battlefield, but has he met his match when he crosses the path of Brother Cyric?

Read the origin story of Brother Cyric, Temple Knight of Saint Mathew, and champion of the poor and helpless.

The Petty Kingdoms - The Duchy of Holstead

Holstead lies on the easternmost border of the Petty Kingdoms, a small, some would even say insignificant realm that sits just south of the Grey Spire Mountains. It is ruled by hereditary dukes, the most recent being Duke Preslav Bukharin, who inherited the seat of power in 1101 SR upon the death of his father. He immediately set about reforming the finances of the dukedom, which had been driven into heavy debt by the actions of his predecessors.

Like most duchy’s, Holstead has no other nobles of any consequence. They do, however, bestow the title of Lord and Lady to members of the duke's extended family, including even distant cousins.

The lands to the east of Holstead are an untamed wilderness, heavily forested regions wherein all manner of strange creatures dwell. It is said that those who cross the river do so at their own risk, for though many have made the journey, few have returned.

Its western border faces the Duchy of Krieghoff, a kingdom with which they have continually had disputes. In order to secure Holstead's borders, Duke Bukharin established two protectorates to keep his traditional rivals at bay.  The first of these is the Orc lands of Ord-Kurgad, named after the home village of the Orcs of the Red Hand. The other, less well-known area, is the protectorate of Athelwald, home to descendants of the Therengians who inhabited the area hundreds of years ago. These people pay a yearly tithe in exchange for a state of semi-independence.

Holstead features prominently in the novel Ashes, the first book in The Frozen Flame series, and will also be mentioned in Embers, Book Two.

Win a FREE eBook! To enter, all you need to do is answer Daisy & Tilly's question below.

Congrats to Michelle F. who won last week's Giveaway!

Mercerian Tales: The Making of a Man
... And so it begins

Lord Douglas rushed forward to kneel beside his wife's bed, clasping her hand only to feel the coldness of it. Looking at her, he watched as her eyes fluttered open, framed by her face, the colour drained out of it.
   “Clara, my love,” he muttered, tears forming in his eyes.
   “You have another son,” she responded, her voice weak.
   “Don’t leave me, I beg of you.”
   “Promise me you’ll look after him, Douglas,” she whispered.

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   He tried to answer, but before he could get the words out, her eyes closed a final time, and she passed into the Afterlife. A low growl escaped from his lips, building into a cry of anguish that shook the very walls. Outside, as if in answer to his call, thunder echoed across the land. Lady Clara Fitzwilliam, Baroness of Bodden, was dead.
   Lord Douglas remained where he was, clutching his dead wife’s hand in an iron grip. He stared at her, remembering her tenderness and good nature. Here lay a woman that had softened his soul, and brought light to the darkness, but now she was gone.
   “My lord,” interrupted one of the women, “you have a son. What shall we do with him?”
   Lord Douglas tore his gaze away from the body of his wife to glare at the woman. Releasing Clara's hand, he moved towards the servant, staring down at the swaddled newborn. The tiny infant stared back, serving only to remind him of what he had just lost.
   “You,” he declared, “are Lord Richard Fitzwilliam, and are responsible for killing your own mother, the only person I ever loved. I shall never let you forget this!”
   “He’s but a wee babe,” the woman defended.
   “He has cursed this house!” yelled Lord Douglas. “Take him away!

Publishing a digital book

Have you ever wondered what is involved in publishing an eBook? It can take a lot of work, not only in the writing but in publishing, advertising and even formatting. Many self-published authors will offer their books through Amazon, myself included, but I’m surprised by how few actually look at the other retailers. Bearing that in mind, I thought I might mention some of the other companies you can use to publish your books.

Aggregators –You can publish to many of the retailers listed below through these services, but reporting will not be as complete for each platform. Still, aggregators give you a one-stop publishing option that is simpler to manage. Some companies include Smashwords, Ingram Spark, Draft2Digital, Streetlib and Publish Drive. They also publish your book to many overseas retailers, with each having its own selection. I use all of these to broaden my reach but go direct to the five major retailers.

Kobo – Is based in Canada, though owned by a Japanese online corporation, Rakuten. It is easy to use and is one of the larger eBook retailers. It uses the epub format for books, whereas Amazon primarily uses the mobi format.

Apple Books – Not to be overlooked, Apple has an ever-growing presence in eBook sales. Uses the epub format, or their own proprietary format.

Google Books – This is popular with Android users, though not many people know that Google does more than games and movies. Uses the epub format.

Barnes and Noble – Not so long ago, people were writing off this brick and mortar store, but their online division is doing well, and with its recent purchase by the owners of Waterstones ( a very successful UK book store), things are looking up. Uses the epub format.

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Work in Progress Update

Things are slowing down as Christmas approaches, but Defender of the Crown is still making progress. I am now sitting at just over the halfway point in the story, and it is progressing well. This week also saw me working on a few secret projects, but for security reasons, I’m not allowed to speak any more on the subject. (but if you are paying attention, and click on the FREE short story button in this newsletter, you will know at least one of them!!!)

On the home front, I have started running a new Role Playing Game campaign, something I’ve been giving thought to for some time. I have plotted out an entire storyline, though admittedly, it is somewhat complex, and if all goes well, I shall likely adapt part of it to a new series of books. This won’t be any time soon, however, as I still have so many books in the queue for the foreseeable future.

Editing on Embers has already begun, and will hopefully be completed just as we ring in the new year. I can't wait for the BETA readers to sart reading it and giving their feedback!

Until then, I still have plenty of work on Defender of the Crown.

Until next time, Happy reading!

Author Spotlight!

Check out these featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases. The authors are returning the favour by sharing my books with their readers.

Karnov: Returning from battle, the warrior Karnov discovers his family murdered and his homeland ravaged by vampyres. Learning that the undead Lord Ghormanteia is responsible for unleashing nosferatu hordes upon the land, he seeks aid from the sultry witch of a nearby woodland...

Once upon a Yuletide: Follow us on a journey this holiday season. A journey that will see your favorite holiday stories given a fresh look and your fairy-tales a yuletide twist...

Omens:I’ve seen a thousand futures, a million deaths. Avondale will fall.” They call her Witch Queen. They say she will destroy the Seven Kingdoms. They say she will destroy magic. Sylvalla would rather fight dragons than deal with politics. But as the unexpected queen... 

Book Deals & Giveaways

While you wait for the release of my next book, here are some great stories for your TBR pile!

Did you miss any past Giveaways & Deals?

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Paul J Bennett


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