Best-selling occult thriller: The Devil’s Own Dice

An ex-spy wakes up in an inescapable 13th Century dungeon; no light, no food or water and no way out!

The Devil’s Own Dice is book 3 in the Ordo Lupus and the Blood Moon Prophecy series. Find out more.

What should I call the Ordo Lupus Series?

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

Today, something a bit different. I need to think of a new name for the Ordo Lupus Series. The third book, to be published next year, begins to focus more on a good (ie benevolent) vampire and we will see less of Ordo Lupus. However, the story does continue and I don’t see an end to it at the moment so I need a series title which includes ‘Ordo Lupus’ but also suggests the other elements; The Serpents and also the good vampire. The phrase or sentence needs to be of no more than 7 words and I would suggest it should include the word ‘blood.’ Include the word vampire if you like but bear in mind that the Ordo Lupus books are paranormal thrillers and not fantasies.

Ordo Lupus II: The Devil's Own Dice cover

Ordo Lupus II: The Devil’s Own Dice cover

Please, please give me your ideas by commenting below. The best suggestion wins a free eBook copy of any one of my books. Don’t go away without suggesting something!

Authors, what are you working on now?

Here is an update of what I am doing. If you are a writer or reader, tell me; what have you been up to?

New Book Covers

I have had new covers designed for The Ice Boat and The Man Who Recreated Himself. Tell me what you think. Thanks to those who have helped me; you know who you are. New covers for Infinite Blue Heaven and the Short Stories volumes are on the way.

The Ice Boat cover

The Ice Boat cover

The lovely new cover says it all about this book. A lonely man searches for love in some of the remotest, as well some of the most urbanised, places on Earth. There is a coldness in his heart that he doesn’t seem to be able to fill. The covers for Volume 2 and the Boxed Set are of the same design.

The Man Who Recreated Himself cover

The Man Who Recreated Himself cover

I love this new design! The tunnel looks like a key-hole to me and that represents the idea that, in some way, James Brennan has the key to the future of man. The butterfly symbolises metamorphosis.

The Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Extended Edition sale

The giveaway of this book was quite successful, with about 300 copies downloaded. What has been great is that I sold 3 copies since the sale ended!

Forthcoming releases

I have begun completely reworking the book with the working title Escher’s Staircase. I don’t like this title by the way but haven’t though of anything better yet. I guess the best way to describe this book is; reminiscent of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s work. It has that dark, gothic feel to it and an air of mystery. It is proving quite difficult to get to a state whereby it can be published but I have had some great input from those close to me and my beta readers so when you do see it, I think the wait will have been worth it. I would guess I am about one or two months from having a fair copy. It will require another read though and proof-reading after that so perhaps it will be published in January.

Worlds Like Dust, the final installment of the Iron Series, is close to the end of it’s final proof and beta read. I have no idea what changes will be required so its much harder to give an estimate of its release date. Certainly, this will be after Escher’s Staircase.

Another World War Two drama has had a few beta reads but it still in an early form. I don’t anticipate this being available for at least a year because I want to send it to a few agents; they prefer unpublished work and take a long time to respond.

I have also completed a first draft of the third book in the Ordo Lupus series and feedback from the beta readers has been good so far. Interest in it is high but I want to send this to agents too so I don’t anticipate this being available for another year.

Some of you may recall that I began a work on a book about busking. This has been shelved due to lack of interest from publishers.

Free: Ordo Lupus II: The Devil’s Own Dice in exchange for review!

Two weeks left for this unique chance to get a free copy in exchange for a review of epic occult thriller Фѓↁо Lцрцѕ ІІ: ГЂэ ↁэvіl’ѕ Фши ↁісэ. Just go here, sign up and review: http://ow.ly/yawB3 Offer ends 9 July. Grab yours now.

“Richly satisfying”
“An Amazing Tale”
“The description of knights preparing and then engaging in a battle is the most realistic I have ever come across.”

Ordo Lupus (The Order of the Wolf): who do you think they are?

This week: Grammar and Onomatopoeia and – Ordo Lupus (The Order of the Wolf): who do you think they are?

Grammar and Onomatopoeia

Grammar
I am just doing a light re-edit of the second book in the Ordo Lupus series: The Devil’s Own Dice. I have been pleasantly surprised how good it is! I occasionally go back to old books to just bring the grammar up to date. This is because, not only do my grammar skills improve as I publish more work but also there are fashions in grammar and these gradually change! Yes, it’s true!

Of course everybody knows that the meaning of a word can change over time. This field of study is called semantics. The obvious example is ‘gay’. When I was young this simply meant ‘happy’ or ‘bright and cheerful’. Now it most usually denotes someone physically attracted to the same sex.

Another word which changes meaning with time is ‘insidious’. The meaning of this word seems to actually fluctuate during cycles of about ten years. It can sometimes mean ‘subtle’ and sometimes mean ‘subtly bad’.

In two of my books, written in the mid-noughties, the phrase ‘in-control’ comes up quite a lot. People actually used said that a lot during the 80s and 90s. Now, nobody seems to use it so I take it out wherever I see it.

While I edit, I also look at ways to subtly improve the text. Occasionally, particularly when the action gets going and where most writers tend to use less commas, I find too many of the blighters. This sentence had two but by removing them, I created a much simpler sentence with a more flowing ‘feel’. Actually, I am quite pleased with this sentence; its quite difficult to create one this long which has no commas and yet is grammatically correct (correct me if it’s wrong somebody):

I did my best to stand up straight and look dignified in the doorway at the top of the stairs while the water dripped from my cloth hat onto my nose and then to the dry stone floor.

Onomatopoeia
Finally, I had the rare chance to improve on my use of onomatopoeia when I came upon this sentence:

At the sound of eight tolls of the nearby Abbey bell, I made my way back to Herleva’s room.

I instantly saw that this sentence had some onomatopoeic potential. I wanted this sentence to communicate a gloomy mood. What if eight syllables reminded me of the sound of a bell being tolled? What I ended up with is this:

At the sound of eight bells, tolled from the nearby Abbey bell, I made my way back to Herleva’s room.

Here we have the eight syllables: eight (1) bells (2), tolled (3) near- (4) by(5) Abb- (6) ey (7) bell (8).

Of course, strictly speaking this is not onomatopoeia. Nevertheless, the sounds of the words reflect the feel I want to get across so I think it’s very effective.

One wag quipped that in this case it may even simply be euphony (any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sound) because the sound of a bell ringing is pleasant but I would argue that I am not trying to create a pleasant sound, but a gloomy one.

See if you can find a sentence in one of your books where you can try this sort of trick. Writing can often be about mood-setting and this trick can work well.

Ordo Lupus (The Order of the Wolf): who do you think they are?
I have often been asked where my idea for the Ordo Lupus occult thriller series; Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate and The Devil’s Own Dice, came from. Well, to be honest, the idea didn’t come completely out of the blue.

I had been interested in werewolves and vampires for a while. I was also intensely interested in cults and secret societies. Long before Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, I was interested in the Knights Templar and through this came to books by Henry Lincoln like Key To The Sacred Pattern: The Untold Story Of Rennes-le-Chateau (sadly out of print but still available on Amazon as a hardback). These books led me to an interest in the lost treasure of Rennes-le-Château and from there to an interest in the Cathars.

All this interest may well be because my family’s roots are in that region of France. In fact, one of my ancestors may well have been a Cathar!

So the seeds were there for a book about mysterious treasure and secret societies were planted in my mind. Then I stumbled upon this video on youtube while googling wolf cults:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpJwzIC4G_4

I didn’t think too much about the video but at the end there was a link to a website:
http://www.ordolupus.org

I typed the address into my browser and came upon the most bizarre website I have ever encountered! The appearance is nothing special, forbidding crossed swords on a plain, black background and with nothing in the way of information about the cult apart from the enigmatic phrase ‘Don’t forget who you are’. Perhaps the introverted aspect of the website tempted me to enter my details in the hope that I would gain membership, if only for journalistic reasons.

I was to be sadly disappointed. Not only did they not respond to my submission, but when I messaged them on youtube, they didn’t respond there either. Frustrated, I copied their video, colour-corrected it and posted on my own youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFYgIWQXS4Y). I was sure this provocative act would get them talking to me but no! They have never once contacted me. In fact, apart from a brief mention in a UK national newspaper (I can’t remember which one) and two mentions in Le Monde (29 September 2009), I have been able to find no other references to the cult.

And yet the website is still there!

Incidentally, from the Le Monde article I was able to find the park in Lyon where the beast was filmed and even the balcony from which it was most likely filmed. The trees are Plane Trees and from their size, I would estimate the beast was one of three things: a large alsatian/newfoundland cross, a smallish newfoundland, a wolf (they are not uncommon in Southern France although they are not known to enter the cities) or something else…

The website never changes. Clearly, my submission for membership did not arouse their interest, nor did I fit the credentials they are looking for. They ask the nascent member to say a bit about themselves and check that you are an adult but nothing I have tried, arouses their interest. Perhaps I need to be a werewolf? Ha! Ha!

In any case, I decided to write about Ordo Lupus. I made most of the detail up but speculation about this most secret, and exclusive of cult societies in inevitable.

So, tell me what you think. who do you think they are?