New Book Launch – Cover Reveal – Video Trailer

Yes, this is IT!  Today, I am very proud to launch my first self-published novel, A Darkness in Amazonia.  This is Part 4 of G1: The Guardians.  I owe a massive debt of gratitude to Chris Graham for his excellent artworks, Janice Spina for helping with the editing phase and to my son, Damien Smy, for his narration on the video trailer for the book.  I would also like to express my public thanks to Keith Plunkett at skoobebooks.co.uk for his unstinting helping the bringing to print this novel, in both paperback and hardback.  I should have included a proper acknowledgements page in the novel, of course, but I hope that this goes some way towards rectifying that oversight.  Please note that I haven’t included contact information for either Chris or Damien, at their behest!

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Released on 10th September, 2013, through various online sources. Available as ebook, paperback and hardback.

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A Darkness in Amazonia

by

Steve K Smy

Being Part 4 of G1: The Guardians

In the depths of the Amazonian jungle, lost for millennia, its location hidden by the local peoples from every explorer, lies a city – a city that shouldn’t exist.

Discovered by an archaeologist, Professor Hiram Leibowitz, despite every attempt to conceal its existence, the first revelations prove that this is a perilous site that the archaeologist and his dig crew are not equipped to handle. Fortunately, Leibowitz knows who is the right person to investigate this great mystery. At a safe distance from the city, Leibowitz contacts his old friend – Siribahta Dhal, Director of the Guardians.

A sequence of events is set in motion as Siribahta sends in his elite team: G1. It takes very little time to discover that the city is one of the most dangerous relics of a lost Age ever found. Protected by the slaves of an unknown power, hiding truths that prove that not all Evil is alien in origin, the nameless city will test G1 to the utmost. This will not be a battle – it will be a war…

The first novel and fourth tale in the series.

Follow G1’s adventures in the three previous volumes: the novelettes Shade of Evil and Evil Under The Circle, and the novella The Sigil of Ahriman, all available as ebooks and paperbacks.

Purchase details:

ebook from:
Smashwords
Amazon stores worldwide
The ebook will become available from other online bookstores over time!

Paperback from:
skoobebooks.co.uk  (n.b. you may order the paperback edition but please be aware that the normal delivery time may be slightly extended during the first week or two from the launch date).

Hardback from:
skoobebooks.co.uk (n.b. you may order the hardback edition but please be aware that the normal delivery time may be slightly extended during the first week or two from the launch date).

More information:

Author’s website/blog

Video Trailer:

More Information about the background of the G1: The Guardians series can be found here.

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Are You A Lucky Buyer?

If anybody chooses to purchase a copy of the hardback edition of this book, and they are the first to do so, then I will provide them with the whole set of four ebooks, in whatever format (ePub or Kindle) they desire, free of charge!  Any such order must, however, be made before the end of September 2013!

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Comments:

If you have any comments, observations or questions about this book or the series, which you prefer to keep private, please contact me on the special, temporary email address!

Background to “G1: The Guardians” #2

The State of Britain: The End Of It All

Immediately following the total collapse of the fledgling Confederation of Europe (CE), many individual nations were thrown into dreadful turmoil.In Britain’s case, Scotland and Wales immediately declared themselves fully independent.  The Republic of Ireland, which had somehow come off very lightly, moved forces of army and  police into the old British Province of Northern Ireland, which had plunged into a bloody chaos.  The Irish Union (IU) was born.  On the British mainland, the sitting government was swept away, along with the system which had survived for centuries.  A new, more compact, and more accountable, Government was established.  Unfortunately, the snowball effect was in full flow and even this did nothing to stop the chaos which gripped the nation.

As violence spread unchecked, the vast Irish population of Liverpool came together and seceded from Britain, applying to join with the IU.  The request was granted, even as the ‘British’ Government met with a total lack of co-operation by its armed forces.  Decades of cuts and then the final betrayal (as the armed forces saw it) of the Nation and of themselves to the ‘European Experiment’, left, for example, just a single Army Division.  Not only were they inadequate to deal with the growing emergency, previous Governments had eroded the civil police to a pale shadow of itself.  The Government simply didn’t have enough armed resources to respond to the endemic rioting, let alone Liverpool’s secession.  When nothing happened to Liverpool, the Isle of Man also moved into a close association with the IU.

Restoration

Perhaps the unhappiest aspect of Liverpool’s secession was the forcing of those opposed to the act into what became known as the Everton Enclave.  This was, in effect, a ghetto filled with all those unwanted by the new Irish County Liverpool.  It was to be nearly seven full years before negotiations were finally concluded to permit the newly established Realm of England access via the Everton Corridor.  This corridor was achieved only by the surrender of three other towns with an Irish majority citizenry.  The political  fallout resulted in not only the sitting Government falling, but the Chief Minister (CM), Sir Arthur Pangbourne, was assassinated.  The new CM was no surprise.  Roberta Harcourt Churchill had been working on both the restoration of public order and the establishment of a strong Government.  She won a landslide victory, gaining some eighty-two per cent of the vote in an Emergency General Election.  Churchill immediately acted upon her declared manifesto.  The existing governmental services were swept away and replaced by a new structure that made oversight far easier and put an end to the endemic corruption which had plagued the services.  At the same time, recruits from around the world, all British expatriates, flooded into the Armed Forces.  Churchill’s agents had assembled these men and women during the preceding five years, promising them a far better future than the primary employment most had entered: mercenaries.  A Royal Charter was also issued, signed by Queen Margaret, which guaranteed the preservation of all the Armed Forces, with no right of Government to dictate to them on any issue.  The Armed Forces were also renamed, becoming: the Royal Guard (Land), the Royal Shield (Air) and the Royal Maritime (Navy).  Field Marshall Lord Aiden Eustace Linton was appointed as Royal Chief Martial, effectively the supreme commander with only the reigning monarch (theoretically) able to overrule or pass orders to him, and his successors.

The Churchill regime proved very effective, if often almost brutally so.  The numbers of civil police were swollen by a combination of new recruitment campaigns and the introduction of many ex-police and ex-military.  It would be a crime against Truth to say that the people were happy, but they were ready to accept the almost tyrannical Government if it meant the ending of chaos.  It also became a matter of pride when another Region (rural areas) or Municipality (urban areas) succeeded in earning the right to be placed on the Roll of Honour, held in the throne room of Windsor Palace.  Each such entry was given a symbol, which was then added to all official Royal Standards.   To achieve such honour, violence and rebel activity had to fall to below five per cent in the whole Region or Municipality.

There have been five other CMs since R H Churchill.  Her descendant, William Hartwell Churchill is the current CM.  He has begun to relax some of the draconian measures and methods employed prior to his taking office.

Throughout all of this upheaval, the Guardians have pursued their mission without hindrance, thanks to the protection afforded by an unnamed individual in government, who appears to have a talent for retaining a position of considerable influence and power whatever the political situation.

Copyright © Steve K Smy, 2013.  All rights reserved.

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