Background to”G1: The Guardians” #6

Sub-Continental Nations Defence Union (SCNDU)

The negotiations which ultimately led to the establishment of SCNDU were extremely protracted, with the plenipotentiaries* involved being changed several times, especially by India and Pakistan, whose long history of enmity almost proved too great a stumbling block.  However, the invasion of Tajikistan two years into the process focussed minds on reaching a Treaty with minimal further delay.  In fact, the announcement that the Treaty of Lalitpur had been signed and ratified by all concerned nations shocked the world, who had been convinced that no agreement could ever be reached.

SCNDU comprises India and Pakistan (the ‘superpowers’), together with Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and several other small countries.  Each contributes a single Delegate to the Great Council, a  top ranking military officer to the Defence Committee, and a top ranking police officer to the Internal Security Committee.  In the event of an external threat, the Great Council consults with the Defence Committee until such time as military operations become unavoidable.  If such military action becomes necessary, the Internal Security Committee becomes an active adjunct to the Defence Committee.  Since creation, no such emergencies have occurred, which is seen as validation of SCNDU.

* Plenipotentiaries were used due to lack of genuinely secure communications.  The Delegates to the Great Council also hold plenipotentiary status.

Global Council of Nations (GCN)

The successor to the United Nations, which proved ever more ineffective in a rapidly changing world, particularly with the bias towards countries no longer of great significance politically or militarily.  The power of veto enjoyed by such powers led to a mass resignation of members, who established the GCN instead.  With no other option open to them, the veto holders terminated the United Nations and eventually applied for membership of the GCN.

The structure of the GCN is less convoluted and relies far less on administration than on action.  While the GCN will act as arbitrators in international disputes, they refuse to maintain military or paramilitary policing rights or duties.  They do, however, have extensive powers in dealing with criminal activities, including the power to either work with or supersede national police forces when dealing with international crimes and criminals.  The concept of extradition treaties between nations has been largely eliminated as the GCN has immediate global jurisdiction when a crime or criminal crosses national borders.  This role was a fortunate inclusion when Interpol was wrecked in the collapse of Europe some six years later.  The GCN Criminal Division consists of the Investigations Bureau and the Global Courts.  The Investigations Bureau maintains a network of offices worldwide, overt agents and covert operatives.  The Guardians maintain a close relationship with the Criminal Division, in a policy designed to minimise the risk of international difficulties, thanks to aides attached to the Ministry and the reputation of the Director.  Terrorism, drugs, and other major criminal endeavours have been severely damaged thanks to the Criminal Division.

Several international disputes which could have led to war have been successfully arbitrated by the GCN.  This success is thanks to the fact that the Arbitration Bureau is trusted by all nations.  The fact that no nation has more than a single voice in the General Council, and the GCN enjoys full financial and political autonomy has made it far more honest, with the historic excessive influence exercised by the superpowers eliminated.  Its headquartering in Switzerland has also eliminated distrust of American influence.  Committees are formed by a strictly secret ballot for membership, held within just two hours of the ballot announcement, which diminishes the risk of secret deals being made prior to voting.  Members found to be in contravention of any anti-corruption regulations are subject to exclusion from all but the obligations to the Criminal Division and to emergency relief operations.  They may reapply for membership after five years.

Global Sports Protection Federation (GSPF)

Replacing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and numerous other international sports governing bodies, in the face of ever increasing allegations of corruption, and an increase in politically (and even partisan) motivated terror attacks on sports teams and individuals, the GSPF has proven a far more effective body.  Coordinating with the GCN’s Criminal Division has seen most terror attacks eliminated and corruption, especially involving global gambling consortia, has been almost completely crushed.  Athletes in all sports are now free to participate in their sports without fear.  That said, athletes found to be in violation of regulations governing drug use and other forms of cheating can expect to be treated extremely harshly.  The growth of enhancement technology (mostly implants created to help persons suffering disabilities) saw a brief flurry of ‘tech cheats’ but these were quickly identified and banned for life from all sports.  In addition to governing sports (including rules oversight), promotion of sports individually and collectively (such as the continuation of the Olympic Games),  and protecting athletes and sports, the GSPF also guarantees a fair income for all athletes, by subsidy where necessary.

“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…

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!

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

New Book Launch: Announcement!

Well, I promised an announcement today, and so here it is!

I have decided that the first person to purchase the Hardback edition of the new book will receive all the books in ebook format – free!  skoobebooks have agreed to provide me with the name and email address of this person, on this one occasion only.  The offer ends at midnight GMT on 30th September, 2013.  The hardback is marginally larger than the paperback and is professionally printed and bound, with a plain cover but wrapped in a dustjacket bearing the illustrated cover design like the paperback.

If you don’t wish to take up this offer, please let skoobebooks know when you place your order!

Please note that this is not a draw or any other kind of competition!  It is purely based on a “first come, first served” basis.  Equally, no obligation is placed on the recipient of the ebooks.  Obviously, if you are the lucky person, and you feel moved to read and review any or all of the books, I would be delighted!  If you do review any of my books, I would be very grateful if you could post such reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as any other site permitting it, as you see fit.

Just as a matter of interest, I’d love to know how many (if any) of you are interested in this offer!  It will help in planning future launch events.  To that end, there’s a poll below.

~ Steve

AWOL Sunday & Falling Behind

Lazy Sunday…

Well, kind of, I guess.  Started with dosing up as much as I dared to make a journey I really wasn’t fit for, but in a very good cause.  Why?  It was the baptism of our granddaughter Kimberly!  Sadly, the best I could manage in participation terms was arriving before everybody headed out, as the “facilities” at the church and the club afterwards were not suitable for me.  So I basically house-sat.  Still, I spent an extremely pleasant day in the back garden, enjoying the warmth and, eventually, the sun.  I dozed off for a while and then used my son’s tablet to start writing a new story (probably a short story).  It was wonderful, actually.  Being somewhere so very quiet, doing nothing of great importance.

If you’re interested in such things, I have a photo gallery of the baptism on my Facebook.  The majority of the photos were taken by my wife, Jenny, and using a Samsung Ace Smartphone (with only one exception), after the batteries died in my digital camera,  I have to say that the Samsung’s camera function provided phenomenal quality results, especially considering that no flash was used!

Not Keeping Up Well…

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been keeping up with things very well, lately.  That’s mainly because of the work involved in preparing for the book launch!  Part of it is the to-and-fro’ of getting the book into print, which will be both paperback and hardback.  I complicated matters by wanting the hardback to be the kind with a dustjacket with a plain book cover, rather than a full colour book cover.  This is probably a holdover from growing up with such things.  I used to love peeking under the dustjackets to see the smart, minimalistic titles on the covers and spine beneath.  Somehow, when I first encountered hardbacks without dustjackets but with glossy, full colour covers (often just on the front), well… to be absolutely honest, they looked cheap and tacky to me.  And yes, I know that’s silly and unfair, but it’s something I can’t get past.  Even those where the dustjacket illustration is still printed on the book cover beneath just doesn’t have the same feel to it.  A further complication because of this wish for a dustjacket is that the book sizes available are different!  Thus, I can’t have the 8 x 5 inch size.  I have to move up to 8.5 x 5.5 inches, which means that there will be a reduction in the number of pages!  The paper will also be crème instead of white.  Finally, the desire for a dustjacket means I need to come up with something for the inner flaps, without repeating anything from elsewhere, preferably.  Keith at skoobebooks.co.uk has been a huge help throughout!

On top of the print issues for the book, I have fallen foul of something I did for the release of The Sigil of Ahriman – producing a video book trailer!  There are many, many difficulties involved in the process, and I spent a considerable amount of time beating my head against very high, hard brick walls!  Without the enormous amount of help I had from Chris Graham (creator of the book’s cover illustration) with the images used in the video, and my son Damien in the narration, I would probably have conceded defeat long ago.  The task would have been, I  now know, far beyond me!  I will admit that this process was complicated when Damien pointed out that the video lost quality rather badly when watched full screen in HD!  I don’t have direct, personal access to HD.  Further, my computer seems to be suffering from serious memory problems (I know that feeling!) so many of the tricks used to persuade Windows Movie Maker to record in HD, or even pseudo-HD, simply won’t work for me.  I found a video conversion program which may have overcome the problem, but I won’t know until Damien confirms one way or another.  Finally, I haven’t yet decided on whether to superimpose the narrative on the video or to incorporate subtitles.  Both present significant technical challenges for a video creation newbie!

So I hope that you all understand why I have been struggling to keep up with other things!  If you’ve emailed me, for any reason, and I haven’t replied as yet, please accept my very sincere apologies.

~ Steve

Result! Plus, Promotional Days. Questions, please?

Smashingly Good Result

Yes indeed!  I’m delighted to report that the problem and mum with Smashwords has reached a very good conclusion!  I received an email from them which, while brief, was polite and helpful!  I’d still like to be told why they made retrospective reviews on the books, of course…

Book Promo Day Explanation

I should have made this quite clear from the very beginning, I guess!  The weekly Book Promo Day does not have to feature only your latest books!  Any of your books can be featured, which means that you have a great opportunity to bring them ‘back into the light’.  SO, dust off those older works and give them some love by submitting them for Book Promo Days.  Of course, do remember that the limit is one book in any week!

Blog Browser Day

The question has been asked, perfectly correctly!  How can you give a ‘star rating’ to your own blog when suggesting it for Blog Browser Day?  To be fair, you can’t.  The fault was, however, mine!  By making the star rating ‘required’, I forced folk to make use of it!  I have now added a star rating of “My own blog” so that modesty may be reserved in future.  I hope that the problem is now solved satisfactorily.  In future, any blog submission with the new non-star rating will have the lack of a star rating properly explained on the Blog Browser Day posts.

Any requests?

An odd one, this!  You will doubtless have seen the background posts about the G1: The Guardians series.  These are being produced from the copious notes I have for the series,  If, however, there is some aspect that you would like to know more about (within reason, of course), I’d be very happy to hear from you!

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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