“Evil Under The Circle (Being Part 2 of G1: The Guardians)”: New Release!

Yes, folks!  The 2nd Edition of Evil Under The Circle has been released, in ebook formats, with a great new cover by Chris Graham.  This Edition corrects some errors and introduces some minor changes, as well as the new cover.  The new cover brings the look into line with that of the other books, with the sole exception of The Sigil of Ahriman, which  won’t be altered as I honestly believe that the existing cover of that book simply can’t be improved on.  I’d like to give my public thanks to Chris for his excellent work with the cover.  The paperback will be updated as soon as possible, though there will be a delay as my wife and I are going away for a few days.

The revised edition of the ebook should be available through Smashwords and Amazon, and other online stores when they catch up.

You may also be interested to know that there is a new novel in the process of being written, taking Team G1 on another extraordinary adventure!  This new tale will hold some surprises and deepen a mystery that began at the end of A Darkness in Amazonia.  But, as you all know by now, I’m not in the habit of revealing things, so I’m going to tell you nothing more…

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Moving Onwards Monday

Relaunch of Skylord Approaching

The relaunch of Skylord is getting closer!  Naturally, it is going to be necessary to withdraw the current free edition of the ebook.  It will be replaced with the new edition when it is available.  The new edition will be fully illustrated throughout with black and white images, to reflect the fact that the book is most suited to the junior market.  I will also be looking into a print edition, though that may be subject to the size of the revised book, especially in terms of the page count.

If any of you have experience in self-publishing print versions of children’s books, I’d be very grateful for any advice or guidance.

Shade of Evil Now Fully Available

The paperback edition of Shade of Evil is now available from both CreateSpace and Amazon stores (Amazon.com and Amazon Europe only).  The links are available on the book page.  It also remains available through skoobebooks.co.uk.  At the time of writing this, the existing Amazon reviews for the book aren’t currently included under the paperback edition, unfortunately.  If you wish to read them, they can be found under the Kindle version.

Have You Joined the Event?

If you haven’t already done so, please do consider joining the new book launch event on my Facebook!  It’s a great place to discuss what’s going to happen, and to let me know what you think about the new book.  If you need a Facebook invitation, please let me know!  While you’re over there, perhaps you’d be kind enough to answer the post about sharing the good news.  The more feedback I get, the better the planning in future – I hope!  Also, any suggestions you may have would be gratefully received.  A blog is wonderful, but, by its very nature, discussions can be difficult to keep going.  Facebook event pages are much better for that.

Obviously, if you’d like to ask me any questions or make any observations on the event page, please feel free to do so!

~ Steve

Wednesday Briefing

An Appeal to Authors on Behalf of Reviewers

Recently, in a LinkedIn Group, I was answering a thread.  It raised something that I felt needed addressing.  I did what I could in a few words, but I’d like to spell it out more fully here.

We all need feedback, and it’s a subject that I’ve already covered, to some degree.  However, there’s an aspect of it that I missed entirely!  We authors have certain duties to those we ask to provide us with feedback.  The obvious one is to offer a product worth their time, of course.  Or, at least, to genuinely believe that we are doing so!  But how many of us take the trouble to offer review copies in more than one format?  As far as this is concerned, authors using Kindle direct, and especially Kindle Select, are perhaps the guiltiest, I’m afraid.  We must not fall into the trap of believing that we need only concern ourselves with one ebook format!  I have experienced the problem myself – where I’ve been asked to review books but been offered ‘Kindle or nothing’.  That’s really not good!  Of course, it’s possible to convert ebooks to other formats, but if you have elected to employ DRM, then conversion is impossible!  So, I appeal to all authors: produce your books in as many formats as possible!  I’m not saying you have to offer them all for sale.  If you want to stick with, for example, Kindle – then by all means do so!  Just make it easier for potential reviewers!

News On Shade of Evil

I am currently working towards making the paperback version of my novelette, Shade of Evil (Being Part 1 of G1: The Guardians), available through CreateSpace and, therefore, Amazon.  I only submitted it yesterday, but I was amazed to find that it is now available from CreateSpace and will be available from Amazon.com and Amazon’s European stores within about a week!   The links will be added to the book’s page on the blog.  it should, I hope, be easier for some to buy a copy.  If things go well enough, then I’ll be inclined to make my other books available through the same channels.

This does not signal an abandonment of skoobebooks!  Far from it!  I couldn’t be happier with the help and service that I’ve had from them, and I suspect that it is far superior to what I could expect from CreateSpace!  It is simply a reluctant acceptance of an unavoidable fact – more people shop through Amazon, especially internationally!  It is also a reflection of the fact that, sadly, I can’t afford the extra fee for wider distribution (including through Amazon), imposed by skoobebooks.

One last word on skoobebooks!  If you live in the United Kingdom, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your use of skoobebooks.  Having used both them and UK-based FeedARead, I am very happy to say that skoobebooks  win hands down on service!  From the very first book that I submitted to them, I have been constantly impressed by the help provided, and the fact that they work so hard to get your precious creation printed in the way you want!  Working with Keith at skoobebooks has taught me a great deal, and I can only publicly express my gratitude to him, and his colleagues.  Without them, I doubt that there would have been a printed option for any of my books!

~ Steve

WIPs and Memories

WIPping up a Storm!

Yeah, I know!  Terrible!  But this little paragraph is about, shockingly, WIPs.  Though circumstances forced a stall, I am working on a new book.  It will be the fifth  in the G1: The Guardians series.  It has a slightly different atmosphere to the other stories.  I decided that there was a serious risk of things becoming just ‘more of the same’, so the new tale has some very different elements, including multiple threads and some nods to European folklore and even some Christian myths.  As to more immediate WIPs, the soon-to-be-released novel is progressing well in the preparations for printing, and Shade of Evil is already heading to the final proof stage with the printers.  There’s good reason to hope that the novel will be available in both paperback and hardback print editions on the launch date!

A Memory of a Wonderful Series

Back in the 1970s, The Hamlyn Publishing Group produced a lovely set of books – the Hamlyn all-colour paperbacks.  Now, before anybody who remembers them jumps all over me, I know that the binding quality was absolutely awful, and you were liable to end up with a set of loose-leaf books!  No, for me, what made these books so special was the range of subjects and the first class colour illustrations.  I had numerous books in the series, ranging from animals to geology, from Budgerigars to guns!  As one of hose kids more inclined to learn by self-education at home, or out and about, the books were an invaluable resource.  And, most important of all, they were affordable.  The books were all written by experts but in an interesting way, without being overtly educational or, vitally, condescending.

~ Steve

What a Shame!

Blog Browser Day

It strikes me as being a shame that nobody nominated any blogs for Blog Browser Day this week.  To me, this opportunities to bring the spotlight of free advertising to bear are priceless.  Okay, so this one is really intended to direct folk to blogs that we, ourselves, like, but I would have thought that there’s no shortage of those!  Please, my friends!  Don’t be shy about these chances!

What the…?

Those of you who follow me on Facebook too will know about this.  My feelings are, however, still strong on the whole thing!

Yesterday, while doing a quick check on my Smashwords Dashboard, I discovered a whole bunch of my books had been taken off “Premium”!  Now, that setting means that the books can and are sent to numerous other online bookstores.  A very desirable state of affairs, of course.  So removing books from it is devastating!  But why?  Well, all but one had, according to the Smashwords ‘autovetter’, a very, very tiny fault.  Now hang on!  I was under the impression that this system was part of the initial submission process for books.  All of these books have been available for several months!  So why did this happen?  I’d love to know but, to be honest, the folk handling such questions at Smashwords get very defensive and I’m really in no mood for such nonsense.  Suffice it to say that it took me bout 11 hours to make the amendments!

On a Very Much Happier Note…

I was delighted to discover that my short story, Skylord, had received another 5 star review!  It’s on Smashwords (yes, that same place) but I repeat it here:

Skylord is a short story depicting the plight of a young dragon nearing adulthood who is testing his mettle. When he flies too close to Ydren and makes an enemy of her, he tells his parents a lie about their encounter. There is an overabundance of dragons and not enough open territory. His lie leads his parents to go to war over territory. When Skylord learns that he cannot fly in the Phalanx and do battle because he is not yet an adult, he despairs that others will die and he cannot right his wrong. He flies off to the Lost Caverns and meets Belarth, a wise old dragon long presumed to be dead. Belarth gives him some valuable advice which gives Skylord the answer to the problem for which he as been searching. Great adventure fantasy for children ages ten and up.

Barbara Mojica on Aug. 16, 2013 : starstarstarstarstar

Thank you so much, Barbara!

And Finally…

Apart from being able to get the brand new ebook version of Shade of Evil from Smashwords or any Amazon store, with the great new cover by Chris Graham, the 2nd Edition paperback is being prepared right now.  In addition, my new novel is with skoobebooks and will, hopefully, be available in paperback by the launch date of 10th September.  In fact, and this is very exciting, it may also be available in hardback!  The ebook will be processed on the launch date, simultaneously at Amazon and Smashwords.

More exciting news:  I have an artist friend looking into producing illustrations and a new cover for Skylord!  The illustrated version, a fully fledged children’s book, will, I’m afraid, not be available as a free ebook, and the text only version will be withdrawn at the end of this month.  This will reflect the additional work involved in producing an illustrated book.  I will do all I can to keep the price down but ebooks generally can’t be priced below $0.99 USD.

~ Steve

Relaunch and Cover Reveal: “Shade of Evil”

Shade of Evil - 400x600 G1: The Guardians

This series began with the novelette, Shade of Evil, though I didn’t know then that it was going to lead where it has!  One thing I can assure you of is that I am delighted that it has grown into the series, and excited as to where it will go.

Shade of Evil Front Cover 02-smallBack in the beginning, Shade of Evil had a cover design meant to be very plain.  With later developments, however, that concept is no longer appropriate.  As a consequence, the book has a brand new cover.  This new cover features artwork by Chris Graham, and I hope that you’ll think it’s as great as I do!  I think Chris has captured the essence of the story superbly.  You can see the new cover better by clicking on the image.

In addition to the great new cover, the text has been revised, to eliminate some errors and to make the story fit later developments of G1: The Guardians better.  Unfortunately, that does mean that if you own a copy of the 1st Edition, it won’t tally with this version.  I believe that you get automatic updates from Amazon and some other sites, however, but if you don’t, please contact me before the end of this month (August 2013)!

The 2nd Edition of Shade of Evil is available as an ebook, or will be very shortly, through Amazon (stores worldwide) and Smashwords.  It will also be available from most other major online bookstores (including Barnes & Noble, kobo and Apple iTunes) and numerous other sites but I’m afraid I have no control over when!  Remember that Smashwords offers all major ebook formats.  The paperback will be available very soon, via skoobebooks.

If you read Shade of Evil, or have already read it it, I would be very pleased if you provided feedback as to your opinions about it!  Star ratings are okay, though limited when in isolation.  A brief comment on one of the bookstore sites that allow customer reviews to be placed, or a review of any length, would be even better!  Apple iBooks readers, specifically:  I would be thrilled if you could offer feedback on iTunes, which is one of the few major outlets where I don’t currently have any feedback on my books.  If you do leave feedback, I would appreciate you dropping me a line to let me know – sadly, only Smashwords actually notifies authors of reviews received!  If you belong to groups in networks like Google+ or Pinterest, especially where short reviews are posted, I’d be very happy to hear if you’ve posted about this or any of my books there.  Of course, you could leave a comment here, on the appropriate page, or even post a review on your own blog.

~ Steve

More information on G1: The Guardians 
Shade of Evil page with purchase links 

Blog Tours, Teasing and More

SKSmyButtonHome Page: What It’s All About

Yesterday, I completely revamped the blog’s home page, which is listed as What It’s All About.  This reflects some changes in circumstances.  There’s nothing staggeringly revolutionary about its content, as it mainly indicates what the blog is all about (if you hadn’t guessed).   The significant change is that, sadly, there is no longer any intimation that there will be, or is, an entity known as either Imagineer ebooks or Imagineer Books, in publishing terms.

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Book Promo Day: 8th August, 2013

Louey the Lazy Elephant by Janice Spina

Louey was a lazy elephant who liked to sleep late.  One day Louey oversleeps and much to his surprise the herd is nowhere in sight.  Find out how Louey finds his way back to his family and friends.

This is a children’s book for preschool through grade three.

More information:

Author’s website


Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate by Marilynn Dawson

This “little”, 4×6, 322pg book is meant to be a Mother’s attempt at guiding her graduating teenager through some of the more common aspects of daily life. Each page has one tidbit of advice, or a verse, or a calendar, note sheet or budget sheet.  Among it’s pages are quotes from a much more comprehensive guide, otherwise known as the Bible!

God says to raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. God also urges parents to ensure that their children, like arrows from a quiver and placed in the bow-string, fly straight and true.

May these tidbits of advice help your child to fly straight and true as they go out to become all that God created and designed them to be.

More information:

Author’s website


FortheSakeofMercy-AuthorDen For the Sake of Mercy by Steve K Smy

The famed merchant skipper, Captain Henri Duschelle, must lead his loyal crew on a seemingly impossible mission: to deliver a vital organ to one of the crew’s son, across the longest part of the colonised worlds – to an insane deadline. He is convinced that only his ship, the stunningly beautiful Persephone can make such a journey. While the voyage alone will test the crew to breaking point, other, bigger, problems lie in wait…

A science fiction novelette.  Number 1 in The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories.

More information:

About the Captain Henri Duschelle Stories
Author’s Pinterest
Author’s Facebook “Fan Page”
Author’s Smashwords Page
Author’s Goodreads Page
Author’s Amazon.com Page


Do you have a book you’d like to Promo?  Send your submission without delay to get listed next week!  Submissions should be in by 18:00 GMT on the Thursday prior to any given Book Promo Day.

Remember! This is a free service!

I’m Back and a Roundup of News

My Gratitude for Many Kindnesses

During the last couple of months, I have been well and truly blessed with numerous demonstrations of that old-fashioned thing: Human Kindness!    It is astonishing and not a little overwhelming to have received so many kind  wishes from so many people.  I am humbled.  Deeply so.  There is certainly no way that I can ever repay such warmth.  My recent incapacity was met with even more such kindness, for which I can only offer my most sincere thanks!

I hope that things are now returning to normal.  The most significant aspect of my absence was an unpleasant tendency to fall asleep without warning with great frequency, which made focussing on anything impossible.  It may sound not particularly trying, but it was unfortunately associated with other even less tolerable factors,  So it’s fingers crossed time, that the problem has passed.

My thanks to my son, Damien, for posting about my absence and fielding comments as best he could!  Considering how busy he is himself, it was no small thing for him to do on my behalf.

I Must Refuse!

Recently, I have had several emails from, apparently, other authors.  These offer to ‘send business my way’ if I join the person’s network by clicking on a link in the email, which always involves the website http://www.referralkey.com.  I would like it to be known that I will not ever,under any circumstances, take up such invitations.  I have a very strong suspicion of all such things, I’m afraid.  So, if you have my email address in your contacts and you choose to subscribe to whatever this service might be, I would be grateful if you ensured that you do not submit it to the service.  I should point out that I have attempted to bar such emails, and ‘unsubscribe’ from them, to no effect, which suggests that things are worthy of suspicion.

Last Week’s ‘Book Promo Day’

If anybody’s wondering to last week’s Book Promo Day, it’s a shame but there were no submissions for the day. It is a source of some amazement to me that it can often be such hard work to persuade my fellow authors to take advantage of free advertising!  If you’ve availed yourself of the offer yourself, and maybe even derived some benefit from having done so, perhaps you would be so kind as to suggest to your own contacts that they might like to do the same.  So far, I have received just one submission for the next Book Promo Day.

The Ossilan Affair Reviewed!

I am delighted to say that my novelette, The Ossilan Affair, has been reviewed.  The review can be found on Amazon and is also to be found on LizzieRossWriter.com.  I’d be very grateful if you took a look at one location, or both, and maybe leave some feedback, if you feel so inclined.  Personally, I have to thank Lizzie Ross for her kind review, the award of four stars and her very useful observations.  It is an excellent demonstration of how a review can be helpful to both potential readers and the author.

~ Steve

I Would Never Have Believed It

Steve K SmyIf somebody had told me, just a few short months ago, that most of my writing efforts would be pointed anywhere near the horror genre, I would likely have dropped dead from a fatal episode of hysterical laughter!  Fair enough, as a kid, and even as a youth, I dabbled with reading the genre, but they were true horror classics.  Well, maybe not classics, except my one reading of Dracula, but classic in the sense of content.  There was lots of carefully constructed tension and very little, if any, actual gore.  They were, I suppose, what could be termed ‘psycho-emotional horror’, working on the shadowy corners and dark places of our primitive mind.  Those authors didn’t, then, feel the need to compete with the gory, in-your-face, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination bloodbaths churned out by Hollywood (and others).  Many were writing when there were still directors, producers and screenplay writers who saw the value in creeping you out – not trying to gross you out!  Subtle horror movies are now very rare, and the same is also true with books.

Don’t get me wrong!  Horror isn’t the only victim of ‘bloodbath fixation’.  Thrillers, crime stories, and other genres have suffered, too.  One thing I enjoyed about reading Chris Allen’s excellent novel Hunter was the fact that action sequences didn’t devolve into mass shootouts with bodies dropping every few microseconds and people being torn asunder, graphically, by a variety of explosive devices.  The action was real, sometimes brutal (violence can’t, after all, be anything else!), but never excessive and most certainly not the reason for the book!  The action was a fundamental necessity of an excellent story, but only because such violence is a natural part of the world portrayed.  The world wasn’t reinvented to allow violence to be the dominant characteristic.

Shade of Evil

Anyway, back to the fact that I seem to have become hooked on what is, essentially, the horror genre.  The appearance of a character interview with one of the ‘stars’ of the books is evidence of that fact.  It actually started as an experiment, and one that I deliberately wanted to keep as far away from the flood of Vampire tales as possible.  That first tale, Shade of Evil, reached an unexpected conclusion and introduced a group I didn’t even know existed when I started!  In fact, after that first tale, I initially had no plans to pursue it.  Then a tiny idea popped into my head.  This time, though it still wasn’t to be immediately obvious, the mysterious group would be a key element, and one or two of the characters in their number started to take on real personalities.  I didn’t know their histories, but I knew more EvilUnderTheCircle.jpgabout them, as people.  So, Evil Under The Circle came trotting out into the light of day and the mystery group took on a real identity that had the power to survive, and to go on.  Even so, I was fairly ruthless towards them and made their loves hard and grim.  Grief, it was now clear, was to be a familiar part of their lives.  Grief and change.  But, that needed a balance.  Nobody would last long in that kind of existence!  It was necessary, as well as desirable, to bring in a new character.  One who would provide an anchor, a sort of paternal figure, only more.  Yet the second book wasn’t the right time or place for this new person to TheSigilofAhrimancoversmall_thumb.jpgappear.  It was only to be in the new book, The Sigil of Ahriman, that the gentle, kindly figure of the Director would make his entrance.  There are hints that he is able to be ruthless himself, of course.  An entirely benevolent leader couldn’t function in the world of the Guardians!  He had to have the strength to send teams out against Evil, even if everything indicated that they would fail, and perish in the failing.  Yet, he has a pacific nature, on the surface, that can stabilise even the most volatile of the people under his command.  He loves his people, as a parent loves their children, and he feels their grief with them, but he has a personal balance far beyond anything his people possess, or can understand.  And with the introduction of the Director, so the personalities of the others began to become more apparent.

Like most people, I’ve subjected myself, during a lengthy period of semi-vegetative existence, to the Soap Opera!  I can’t say, now, that it was entirely wasted time.  Like the vast majority of authors, I’m a people-watcher.  I never just see a person.  I analyse them, digging into their minds, their emotions.  In fact, ‘digging’ is a good word.  It’s like people are mines, containing precious elements,and the author is a miner, delving deep down to extract those treasures.  What’s that got to do with writing horror?  Well, in truth, it relates to all writing!  Yet I have never before used the treasures I mined quite as wholeheartedly as I am now.  Some genres of fiction let you get away with superficial characters, to some degree.  Placing them in situations which elicit strong emotional and psychological reactions, however, as in horror, you have to have stronger, more real characters, with the correct human responses.  And you can’t have everything pleasant outside of the danger periods.  You have to admit the friction always found between those who exist in a tight knit group.  In essence, a horror-based Soap Opera.

I know that I’ve gone on, rather, in this post, but I’m nearly done now.  I want to close this post out by saying that I would never have discovered the deeper characterisations and the often mixed and confusing interplay of characters if I had continued to plod along writing those things I was most comfortable with!  By risking the experiment, I have discovered something not only about characters, but about myself, and some of my deficiencies as a writer in those more comfortable genres.  That’s why I’m hooked on the G1: The Guardians series.  It’s a Soap Opera I control (sort of), but it’s also much more.  I owe G1 a great debt.  I only hope that I can repay it in the tales to come.

~ Steve