Tuesday, 15 December 2015

On Being Fat, Brown, Femme, Ugly and Unlovable

I think the following article is something many people will identify with. It's a real issue in this society where image is everything and the ideal of the thin, white, symmetrically beautiful man, or woman, is still being flaunted, leading to many young people, in particular, who can't match up, to feel bad about themselves and falling into a cycle of self hatred and insecurity.

This leads in to a lot of discussion I've seen lately among the LGBT writing community, about objectification of men in the stereotypes they are writing about. 

Although there is a growing trend of writing characters who are 'less than' the norm, being physically, mentally and socially 'inferior' there is still a tendency, as can be seen on the front covers of many books, to write about, macho men, with perfect abs and muscles.

I have to admit I am as guilty as many of writing my own physical ideals. Almost all my characters are beautiful, with long hair and slender frames. I think it's because I find it easier to write my fantasies, which are populated with this kind of man.


I would love to have feedback and opinions on the subject and to open a discussion which can hopefully lead to an understanding that people who are fat, brown (or any other colour) and femme (or any other identification) are totally not ugly and not unloveable

Saturday, 12 December 2015


I have been very excited about today, when I can finally reveal to everyone the amazing cover of my new YA novel, Shade's Champion, so, without further delay...

Author Name: Cheryl Headford

Book Length 214 Pages

Book Name: Shade’s Champion

Release Date: 18th December 2015

Cover Art by: Kellie Dennis: Book Covers by Design


Shade has been kept in the dark for eight long years. Now he’s facing a world that terrifies him. A world that seems to hold no place for him.

When the authorities are unable to find a home for Shade, Penny, reluctantly accepts him into the secure school she manages, despite thinking it’s the wrong place for him. Penny fears for his safety among the other troubled children. In an attempt to forestall the disaster she predicts will happen she appoints one of them as his champion.

Dory, an engaging seventeen year old with mental health issues, is proud to be chosen as Shade’s champion and throws his heart and soul into the job. In doing so he is forced to face the thing he fears most – his own emotions.

An unexpected friendship begins to grow into something more, until a spiteful act tears them apart and leaves them broken.

When Dory falls ill, Shade is forced to face his demons and struggles to find the strength and courage he needs to fight for the right to love, and to be there for his champion when he needs him most.

 Pre Order Links

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and menagerie of three cats, a dog and a dragon. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.

Immersed, as always, in the world of fantasy, she maintains a burning desire to share the stories and these days it’s in the form of books which all contain her spark and unique view on life, the universe and everything

Twitter: @SevenPointStar


I have two copies of the ebook to give away to randomly selected commenters on the Shade’s Champion cover reveal or blog post on my website http://cherylheadford.com/

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Rainbow Snippets

My Silver is curious about what this Rainbow snippets is all about. Well... Every Saturday all members of the group who are authors, will post a six sentence snippet here and then post the link in the group page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/966491153420947

On Sundays, reader members will check out the snippets and comment on the ones that interest them. So, once you've read my snippet and loved it, go read the others and get your comment head on.

This snippet is from my new book, Shade's Champion which is to be released on 18th December

“Yeah. Yeah there’s good out here.”

Before he knew what he was doing, Dorien had taken Shade’s face between his hands and was kissing him gently. Shade sighed and relaxed into his arms. It felt good. It felt really good. Surely this couldn’t be wrong. It just couldn’t be wrong to feel like this, to feel so... shivery and open and full of... something, and for the first time since he could remember, he just let himself feel, and it was the greatest thing ever.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

COVER REVEAL The Covenant by M LeAnne Phoenix

CoverThe Covenant E-Book Cover with logoAuthor Name: M. LeAnne Phoenix
Book Name: The Covenant
Series: Covenant Series Book: One
Release Date: January 15, 2016 
Publisher: CoolDudes Publishing

Cover Artist: Kellie Dennis

Blurb: When love is forbidden, who can you trust? Seventeen year old David has been best friends with Jonathan for as long as he can remember, but the day he sees the pastor's daughter press a soft kiss to Jonathan's cheek everything changes. Overcome by jealousy, his explosive reaction reveals a deeper connection that sends their relationship spiraling down into dangerous territory. 

When their clandestine love is discovered, they have nowhere to turn for help. The brutal circumstances of their parting test David and Jonathan's covenant to each other in unimaginable ways.

Forced to face their fears, it is in their darkest moments that the two young men discover that the courage, hope, and strength they need to to fight for their love, has been the foundation of their covenant all along.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Why YA is Different From Adult

There are two obvious differences between writing YA and Adult.

1. YA is about teenagers
2. YA is primarily for teenagers.

Obvious, right? Hmm... maybe not. It would be if it was ONLY teenagers who read them. Adults have different expectations and I think that gets in the way for the readers and the writers. 

I may, of course, be talking right out my ass, but from experiences I've recently with reviews and comments, I believe the following to be true.

1 YA is about teenagers.

This means that the characters in the books are teens and not adults. This is important, because it seems to me that many adult readers expect the characters to act like adults, especially if there is romance involved.

These are questions that have arisen recently in reviews/comments etc

  • A seventeen year old was a spoiled brat and behaving immaturely - well d'uh
  • A sixteen year old wouldn't fall in love instantly and forever. Tell that to all the high school kids who swear to be together forever which roughly translates to - until I go to college and fall instantly in love with someone else. This is not always the case but no one is surprised when it is.
  • Would a  seventeen year old constantly think about sex without actually having it?
  • Would a sixteen year old do impulsive, bizarre or completely unexpected things?
  • Would a sixteen year old behave like a child one minute and an adult the next?
  • Would a sensible and stable sixteen year old be selfish and childish sometimes?
  • Would a sixteen year old abandon his home and family pretty much on the spur of the moment to save the life of his best friend
These questions and many more have been been asked or commented on and have frankly surprised me. 

Let's go back to the dog in a wig. That's my dog. It would be quite reasonable to query why an adult character would do such a stupid and bizarre thing, but a teenager...? I suppose you'd better ask my son, who is a few days off 15.

One of the great things about writing YA is that teenagers are unpredictable and break all the rules. They do stupid things on the spur of the moment without a second thought. They climb things, fall off things, break things and make things, build fires, run away from home, and all kinds of crazy things.

For example

Getting excited because his arm fits the window of the new car.

I don't think it's legitimate for adults to expect teenagers to act like adults or think like adults. What do you think?

How far would this go? How far would the explanation...he's a teenager, explain behaviours that would be unacceptable/unbelievable with adults?

Okay, let's move on to

2 YA is primarily for teenagers.

I believe that adults and teenagers want different things from their books. At a very simplistic and basic level :-

Adults want a finely crafted story, with plenty of emotion, good grammar, believable characters, believable plots etc etc.

Teens want action, preferably with explosions. They'll put up with romance if it's done right, but don't want any of the slushy stuff.

Okay, YA should be as well crafted and written as any adult book, and of course teens want depth in the character and story, but do they really want to see inside the character's head? Do they care if the comma's in the wrong place, or if there's head hopping going on when one of the characters is getting possessed by a demon, or fighting for their life in a running battle, or falling out of the sky because they haven't learned how to use their wings yet.

Bottom line. Teen books are written for people who carry their hamster in their pockets

I totally appreciate these are sweeping generalizations but it's something that's coming up time and time again in my writing and I would welcome other perspectives.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Clean by Mia Kendrick

CLEAN FRONT COVER WITH SEALS-fin3 Author Name: Mia Kerick

Book Name: Clean

Release Date: December 1, 2015


Blurb: High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.

 Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school bad-boy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

 Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

 When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.

 Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability? Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

NaNoWriMo Day 14

Things are finally looking up and the words are flowing better. It might have something to do with the fact that interesting things are happening in the story.

Today, I got up to 36,773 and I'm estimated to finish on 20th

They passed a place where the branches and boles of the trees were dotted with tiny houses, each lit with a crystal droplet that hung over the front door on a pole. Tiny creatures with wispy white hair and really big noses scurried from branch to branch, following them and calling out to each other in singsong voices.

The road narrowed, and on occasion they had to duck under branches. At other times, branches drew back to allow them easier passage. It seemed that trees, like people, varied in how polite and helpful they were. Tay no longer asked where they were going, because the living silence of the wood brought him peace and he was content just to walk.

Rounding a corner they came to a pool where a golden fox with shimmering aqua scales along its head and back stood proud on and overhanging branch. Its feathery tail brushed the surface and fluttered in the breeze. The fox turned its head to regard them with calm golden eyes, then it leaped from the end of the branch and dove with barely a ripple into the water, its tail fanning like seaweed. Tay watched the floating tail disappear as the fox went deeper. Although he waited, the fox did not surface again.

“Is it alright?” Tay scanned the banks of the small pool, but there was no sign of the fox.

“Why would it not be?”

“It’s a fox. I didn’t know foxes could swim at all, let alone stay under this long.”

“Scaled foxes are amphibious. It can stay under the water for hours, although they prefer to sun themselves on tree branches and flat stones.”

“They’re beautiful.”

“They are, indeed.”

Shortly afterwards, Tay began to hear the sound of running water, and within minutes the path reached its conclusion at a wide, deep pool, fed by a waterfall. But it was a waterfall like none Tay had ever seen or dreamed of.

A circle of rock appeared to be suspended in mid–air. It was filled with swirling mist, and brightly coloured birds flew in and out, along with ethen and larger fairies. The waterfall spilled over the edge of the circle, crystal clear and sparkling. In fact, there seemed to be real crystals tumbling along with the water. Every now and again, a fairy would swoop and snatch one.

Playing in the frothing water, were what Tay had originally thought were young people, until he saw 
their tails. “Mermaids,” he said.

“Where? Oh yes. Mers, nyphs, elementals. All kinds. They like forest pools.”

“Is this where we’re going?” Tay asked hopefully.

“No. This way.”

Tay was reluctant to walk away from the beautiful scene, especially as some of the mers had noticed them and were heading across the pool. “Can’t we just––”

“If we stay, the mers will keep us talking all day. They’re silly creatures and I can assure you they will drive you insane within the first ten minutes. However, they are so innocent it’s hard to be rude and tear yourself away when they beg so prettily.” There was something in Wisp’s voice that suggested he didn’t find it difficult at all.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

NaNoWrimo 2015 Day 12

Things are going slowly. Far more slowly than usual. I'm struggling to write, but we're getting to a good bit so I hope things will flow better from now on. I'm on track, but used to writing five or six thousand words in a sitting. Ah well. Up to 26,600 so no real complaints

They walked in silence back through the arbour and through the garden. Wisp carried the globe in his closed hand. Tay could feel its presence, pulsing in his consciousness, turning his thoughts purple and pink. As much as he’d told Wisp not to ask how or why, that’s all he could do, not that the how was anything like as important as the why. There had been something deeply personal in the power that coursed through him and created the globe. In that moment the only things that existed in his world were the flame and Wisp. Why was he that important?

 Something crawled in the back of his mind; a memory? A thought? A feeling? Why did it make him think of Cale? “Oh shit.”

“What’s wrong?”

Tay hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud, and he swallowed heavily. “Nothing. I’m fine. I…I was just thinking of Cale.”

“That’s your friend? The demon?”

“He’s not a demon. He’s just kind of…fused with one. He’s not dangerous.”

“Oh, he’s dangerous. There’s no doubt about that. He’s dangerous. The only question is, to whom?”

“Not to us.”

“You sound very sure.”

“I know Cale. He’s my best friend. He would never hurt me.”

“He’s not the same.”

“He is. He is the same.”

“I hope so.”

Silence fell again, but Tay’s thoughts had been torn from the path they had been following and were now fixed on Cale. More than ever, he longed to have his friend at his side. If Cale had been there, they would have been laughing about something – probably Wisp. It would have been Cale he made the globe for. Or would it? That ball hadn’t been meant for a friend. Not just a friend.

Cale’s last words echoed in his mind, and he shook them off. No. He was not going to think of that, of anything like that, especially not with Wisp. Maybe he was gay and maybe he wasn’t. Maybe something could have happened with Cale if he hadn’t been straight, or maybe it couldn’t. There was the remotest of chances something could have sparked with Willow…well maybe not. But Wisp? No chance. Not going down that road. No way.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Day 10

Not going as well as I'd hoped, but still on track. For some reason writing isn't flowing as fluidly as it usually does, which is strange as I like the story very much. Ah well, almost half way at 24008 words.

Here's today's snippet

Wisp smiled at him. “Not as different as you might think. There’s a pattern to it all. It’s hard when you’re not brought up with it, but you’ll see it eventually. Things will make sense.”

“What if I don’t? What if I never fit in here?” Tay’s heart skipped. He hadn’t voiced the fear before, but it had been there, hanging in the air since he first accepted he really was a prince. “What if I’m not good enough?”

“You can’t not be good enough,” Wisp said. “You are what you are. The land and people will accept you – good or bad. If you don’t fit in with them, they will eventually fit in with you, so don’t push yourself too hard.”

“But I don’t want to be bad. I want to be a good prince; a good king. I always knew I was going to do something big; something great. At least I always thought I would. I worked hard at school, to get good grades, to go to university, to make an important life. Well, all that was pointless, but I got what I wanted. I got an important life, and it scares the hell out of.”

“Don’t think you’re done with school.”

“What do you mean?”

“It will be a different kind of school, for sure, but once you’ve settled in you’ll be working with tutors to bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about The Kingdom – geography, history, politics – not to mention your training in the use of your powers.”

“Oh right, yeah, those. I almost forgot.” Tay laughed. “No I didn’t. I didn’t forget, not for a minute. I almost killed someone and I think I almost killed myself. I’m terrified of them coming out again. I 
don’t want to learn to use them. I want them to go away.”

“Well, that’s not going to happen. Get used to it.”

Tay glared at Wisp, but Wisp was grinning, and Tay had to follow him.

“The way your powers came through was too fast and too early. It was like water bursting through a dam. It will never be that wild and uncontrolled again. Trust me. Once you start learning what you can do, you’ll never want to stop.”

Wisp held out his hand, palm up, toward Tay. At first, it seemed a swirling mist was rising, then it drifted together to form a sphere. Tay watched fascinated as it coalesced and hardened until Wisp was holding a delicate bubble filled with swirling smoke. Wisp held it out and Tay touched it with one finger. It was hard and cold, like glass.

“Take it.”

Tay gingerly lifted the globe and turned to examine it in the light spilling from the inside of the castle. The more he gazed into the globe, the more it seemed there was something inside, obscured by the swirling mist.

“What’s in it?”

“One day, your powers will allow you to see. It will give you something to work toward.”

“You’re giving it to me? No. It’s too beautiful. I’ll break it.”

Monday, 9 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Tay's Trials

So, I'm doing NaNo this year, with a YA Fantasy Adventure, which is the middle book in a trio that tells the story of an ordinary sixteen year old schoolboy, who discovers he's actually a fairy prince, sent to the human world to protect him from demons. The first book follows him into the fairy world, which they call The Kingdom, and this one follows him as he explores his new world and family, helped by some new friends, and hunted by demons.

So far I've written 22027 words, and I thought I'd share a few of them. I'll continue to do so as I work my way toward the magic 50000 and beyond.


Silence fell, if silence it could be called, as it was thick with the whispering of the trees. It was as if Willow’s challenge had been taken up and passed from tree to tree. Nothing stirred.

Willow did not call again, but waited, his feet apart and his hand on the hilt of his sword. His entire stance screamed of challenge, but no one stepped up to meet it.

Tay was about to call Willow back into the car, when the undergrowth parted and a shining white creature stepped onto the road, about ten feet from Willow, who stumbled back a step or two. At first, Tay thought it was a unicorn, but it had no horn, and resembled a deer more than a horse. It tossed its head and opened its mouth. A clear, melodic harmony floated into the air, like the notes of a flute, dropping one by one into the silence and owning it. Tay was entranced as, apparently was Willow as he seemed frozen, gazing at the creature with a strange, enraptured expression.

The melody was disappointingly short, and when it was done, the creature turned and disappeared back into the forest. Tay’s heart ached at the loss. He wanted to call it back, to beg for more, to run into the forest after the creature, but he did none of it. Instead, he sat back in his seat and wondered what the hell had just happened.

After a few moments, Willow got back into the car and took up his position opposite Tay. He seemed dazed, his usual cool exterior ruffled.

“What was that?”

“It was a light fawn.” Willow’s voice seemed a little shaky.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

“It depends. If your heart is pure, their song is a blessing.”

“And if it isn’t?”

“It’s a harbinger of death.”

“Oh. Right. Shit. Um…I don’t know if I’m going to regret asking, but is death instant, you know? Or do we hang around waiting, just in case one of us drops dead?”

Willow smiled, the expression of shock and fear disappearing from his face. “It’s instant,” he said. “I’m just surprised. I wouldn’t have considered my heart to be anywhere near pure. I should be dead right now.”

“I think your heart is pure,” Tay said, smiling. “If it hadn’t been you would have killed Cale and I would already be….” His tongue tripped over the word ‘home’. He just couldn’t say I about somewhere that was so not his home. “back. I would probably be broken in a hundred pieces, at least.”

“The light fawn is one of the symbols of the royal family. It’s on your coat of arms. I probably got away with it because I’m with you.”

Tay snorted. “Yeah, right. Can we get moving again?”

Friday, 6 November 2015

My top 8 animes

Hello people, 'tis Efan. Lately I've been watching a TON! of anime. And in my last blog I did a top 8 list of my favourite games, so I thought I'd do the same for anime. I promise this time there will only be 8 on this list. (I couldn't think of 10 so I was stuck with 8 :( )

My top 8 animes.

8) Yu-Gi-Oh. Yes, I went there, but you can't deny that when you were younger you LOVED this show, much as I did. There have been many variants of this anime. Some good, some not so. But the original was the thing that got me introduced into the larger medium of anime.

7) Pokemon. Yes, Pokemon...now, let me explain myself. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh may as well have had the same spot, it was and still is one of the most beloved animes and children cartoons to this day.

6) Naruto. Naruto was the first anime that I really got into. I used to stay up ridiculously late just to watch it, I loved the plot, the characters, just all of it! And it will always have a special place in my heart!

5) Galactic Football. I never really got into this, because they never showed the episodes in a coherent succession. But what I did see, and what I could piece together, I LOVED IT! I was young at the time, but this show wasn't entirely childish, and that's why I loved it so much. It  had a serious plot line and was just interesting!
4) Monster. Monster is a psychological thriller. It's terrifying. It's amazing, and just seriously worth a watch. It's hard to explain it...it's just...well...wow. 

3) Death Note. Death Note is a thriller. It's an amazing game of cat and mouse. The characters are memorable, the plot is SO interesting and larger than life. I love it!

2) Black Butler. This was VERY almost at the number 1 spot, and it was also the latest anime that I watched. This anime sways from serious to goofy very well. The plot line is interesting, the characters are memorable and interesting, and is definitely worth a watch!

1) Sword Art Online. I just LOVED this anime! It was great! Well...at least the first season was. But that first season was my favourite anime of all time! It's about people trapped in a virtual reality video game, and the twist is, if you die in the game, YOU DIE IN REAL LIFE! It's definitely worth a watch!

Friday, 23 October 2015

My top 10 favourite games.

Hello people, sorry for missing the blog last week, but I'm here now and hopefully will be back to doing the weekly blogs.

So, today I present you:

My top 10 favourite games.

Yes, yes, I know a "Top 10 list"  but, I'm here to write about things that young people can relate to, and what does a young person love most? Video games! So, here is my list of my favourite games. I would highly recommend any of the games on this list, if you haven't played them already, so here we go!

10) So, to start off this list, we have World of Warcraft. WoW was the first game I played. I've played it all my life, and have 2000+ hours on my main character. The reason it's only at number 10, is because of the decline in the TLC and quality of the game in recent years. But nevertheless WoW remains very close to my heart and I am certainly looking forward to the release of the new expansion Legion, and will definitely be playing it!

9) Next up we have Minecraft. I am a huge fan of Minecraft, I love surviving, and building, and exploring, not to mention that it's a hugely popular game. It's a great time-killer and an amazing game to play with friends. Also, if you haven't already, you should absolutely play with mods. Modding Minecraft is a great way to extend the play time and fun factor of Minecraft. Not only do they add crazy stuff, they also add practical things and things that help make the whole experience better.  

8) At number 8, we have Shadow of Mordor. I love the LoTR's universe. The combat is definitely the best part, it flows, it really feels like you're hitting something. The story is...ok. The nemesis system is just so great! It has an unlimited amount of play time. And it's just a great game all around. The reason this game is only at number 8 is because I haven't finished it yet, so I can't truly say 100% how the game is, but what I have seen, I love! 

7) For number 7 there's, Dragon Age 2. I am a huge fan of the Dragon Age series, but we'll get to that later. Dragon Age 2, is not the best game in the series, but still, I found it very enjoyable. Maybe that's just because I loved Dragon Age Origins. One of the things that people find the least enjoyable about Dragon Age 2, is the way the game play works, and I can see where these people are coming from. It's somewhere between a tactical combat system, and an action RPG.

6) Number 6, Watch_Dogs. Now, Watch_Dogs had a very rocky launch, and many issues. Also it was a very divided game - some people loved it, some hated it. Personally, I'm a huge fan. I loved the concept of hacking the city and using it to your advantage, although I would have liked to have seen it executed slightly better. It's also not winning any awards for it's story, it's not awful but, it's not the best, by far. The game play is good, but not quite there, the controls are a little clunky, especially when it comes to driving, it can feel quite unresponsive. But, perhaps the reason I love this game so much is because I am a huge fan of computers, and technology in general, especially when it comes to the computer science of it and the programming side of it.

5) Next, Dragon age Inquisition. The combat style is a lot like Dragon Age 2, but it's done slightly better. The story is amazing and the choices are amazing, and really do matter. The classes are dynamic and well executed. I love the dynamic choices you can make, and how there are seriously serious repercussions. Not to mention the gorgeous graphics, and the amazing details. The quests are fun and entertaining, and don't forget Skyreach, your amazing castle! There are so many ways to customise it, and managing your troops and resources. All-in-all it's an amazing game! 

4) Number 4, Sleeping Dogs. Sleeping Dogs, is an absolutely amazing game! The story is great and extremely touching at some points. The combat is fantastic and fluid. Enough said. 

3) Mirrors Edge. Some people absolutely HATE Mirrors Edge, but I LOVE it. I love it's parkour elements, and the graphics are beautiful. The story is lacking, but people don't play it for the story.

2) Skyrim, I love Skyrim! I have 2000+ hours of game play. I absolutely love this game. The story is amazing, the quests are entertaining, the side quests are totally worth it, and there are so much customisation options. The are no set classes, and you can play it as you wish! 

1) Dragon Age Origin. This game is amazing. The story is so immersing, all the classes are fun to play, and there are so many ways you can impact the world around you. Your companions are interesting and have important stuff to say. This is just a great game. And definitely worth a play.

0) Yes, I know, I'm cheating, but I couldn't think of enough games for a top 15 list, and a top 11 list would sound silly, so here we are at number 0!
Spec Ops: The line. This game is my favourite game of all time. The story is so touching, the combat is fun, it has just the right level of difficulty, and did I mention the story? The story is sublime 10/10, and it really delivers. It hits you directly in the feels, and really makes you question everything you do. How far will you go? Are you really still the hero? And the ending is... just great. You should definitely play this game! I HIGHLY recommend it.

Thanks for reading guys, stay tuned for next week's blog!

Aspect of Winter by Tom Early



Title: Aspect of Winter

Author: Tom Early

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Cover Artist: Sadie Thompson

Length: 260 pages

Release Date: October 15, 2015

Blurb: It’s hard enough being gay in high school, but Fay must also deal with hiding his magical ability—powers he barely understands and cannot possibly reveal. His best friend Sam is his only confidante, and even with her help, Fay’s life is barely tolerable.

Everything changes when Janus University, a college for individuals with magical capabilities, discovers the pair. When the university sends a student to test them, Fay and Sam, along with their classmate Tyler, are catapulted headfirst into a world of unimaginable danger and magic. Fay and Tyler begin to see each other as more than friends while they prepare for the Trials, the university’s deadly acceptance process. For the first time, the three friends experience firsthand how wonderful and terrible a world with magic can be, especially when the source of Fay’s power turns out to be far deadlier than anyone imagined.


AS IT turned out, being wedged into the small space below the math wing staircase was exactly as uncomfortable as I’d imagined. Now, I was in there of my own choice, sort of. I held still and listened, letting out a sigh of relief when I heard the boys’ voices fading. I decided it was safe and did my best to wriggle out.

Groaning, I brushed myself off and realized that I’d somehow managed to cover the majority of my backpack in a thick layer of dust. Rumor had it that years ago the staircase used to be green. Now it was gray. I looked at my backpack in disgust and let out a breath, concentrating. The dust glittered as a layer of frost covered it. When I hoisted my bag onto my back once more, the dust slid right off, the frost preventing it from clinging.

Clean backpack in hand, I trudged up the stairs, across the hall, and walked into the classroom. I took my customary seat in the back next to the poster detailing the derivative rules of calculus, feeling a flash of pity for Ms. King as I watched her try to get anyone to listen, and grabbed my book of the day as the front row began its usual antics. Today they asked Ms. King about her love life, which, while incredibly rude, was extremely successful in throwing her off-balance.

I would never understand high school, even after nearly four years of it. It seemed barely tolerable for everyone involved, including the people who fit in. I didn’t fit in, and so every day was a new chapter in the purgatory of hiding what I could do.

I sent a grateful prayer to the high school gods as class was interrupted by an announcement saying we needed to go to the nurse’s office for a new immunization or something. Ms. King pulled us out of the truly thrilling world of integrals and sent us down one at a time. I was one of the last to go.

Stepping back into the hallway, I prayed that I wasn’t going to run into any of Logan’s crowd again on my way down. The number of times I’d heard “fag” muttered under someone’s breath was already too high.

The school had two hallways running between the faculty area and the math wing, and most people took the lower one. I chose the glass hallway because it was usually empty (this surprised me as well, but apparently using stairs was just too much for many of my classmates), and it was pretty cool to be able to see the entire campus from what was effectively its highest point. I trailed a finger across the glass as I walked, leaving behind a fractal line of frost in the warm September air.

I smirked. For as long as I’d been at Owl’s Head High School, there had been, in the eloquent phrasing of high schoolers, “spooky shit” in the fall and spring where kids would come across ice or cold areas in warm weather. I knew I needed to keep my head down, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a little fun.



Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day. 

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now.

Nephy’s World Interview

Let’s start by telling us, in twenty words, or less, what you’re book’s about.
Aspect of Winter is about a boy with magic named Fay who’s ready to stop pretending to be normal.
What was it that led you to write in the genre(s) you write?
I’ve always loved fantasy, especially contemporary fantasy. It’s a lot of fun to figure out how magic would work in a world that’s like our own instead of someplace else entirely.
Are your books character led or plot led, or both?
I tend to start with a vague idea of a plot, a beginning and an end. But beyond that I don’t know what’s going to happen with the story until the characters show me. I put them in the world, and they show me how they go about doing things.
What is your favourite part of the writing process?
Definitely the writing part, not the editing part. Creating is fun – finding the flaws in what you’ve created is less so, though probably more valuable. I’m especially fond of writing fight scenes and humorous dialogue.
What is your least favourite part of the writing process?
Editing, mostly. I have difficulty finding the errors in my own writing even when I know they’re there. That makes editing an agonizingly slow process with many drafts.
Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?
Depends on the story. For Aspect of Winter I got inspiration from my close friends from high school and my own imagination. Most of my characters are like more extreme versions of people I already knew. But beyond that it’s just a matter of writing and seeing what comes out.
Tell us a little about the characters in your book and their story. You can use more than twenty words this time.
The story is told from the perspective of Fay, who’s a gay teen who’s been hiding his powers for years. He wants nothing more than to finally feel like he belongs somewhere, and when a representative of Janus University comes to his school, he takes the opportunity.
Sam is Fay’s pansexual best friend, and she’s the one who’s ready and willing to take charge of any situation placed in front of her. She’s fierce and headstrong, and incredibly loyal. When it turns out that Fay isn’t the only one who can go to Janus University, she leaps at the chance.
Tyler, on the other hand, is a completely normal guy at Fay’s high school. He wouldn’t be involved in any of this if one of Fay and Sam’s attempts at magic hadn’t gone horribly awry. But Tyler has had a crush on Fay for months, and he’s willing to deal with the weird if it means spending time with Fay.
If you could have one wish what would it be?
Beyond wishing the world was a little bit nicer of a place to live in and all that, probably to be able to speak and read every language fluently. There’s a lot this world has to offer, and English really isn’t enough.
What's your deepest fear?
Being forgotten. I’m an introvert who spends more time with books than with people. It wouldn’t be a stretch, but I have my family and my friends.
If I came to dinner what would you feed me?
I’m not much of a cook, so either something simple like mac and cheese or we’re going to stare awkwardly at each other until one of us suggest going out for dinner.
Which of your characters would you like to be sharing the dinner table with us?
Tyler’s too polite to turn down an invitation. Sam would accept the invitation just to bother me, and Fay would probably prefer to stay as far away from me as possible. Probably Sam.
Tell us in the character’s own words, what he/she would have to say about you.
I love my characters, but I’m fond of the whole “kill your darlings” concept. Characters need to grow, and putting challenges in front of them is the best way to do that. So Sam would probably try to punch me.
What would they say (again in their own words) about themselves, and their story that will make us want to read about it?
“Look. If you wanna read about me, I can’t stop you. But Fay’s the one with the angsty stuff. I’m here because I know it’s what I want to do, and what I can do. Finding out about magic in the world was cool enough when Fay showed me what he could do. Finding out that I could do it too? Even cooler. Janus University might be a place full of psychos, but it’s the only place I can go to learn more about all of this.”
Which other fictional character(s) would you like to be present at the dinner party?
From my story? I’d probably also bring Fay just so I could hear him and Sam banter like they always do. Otherwise, I’d want to invite Kvothe, from Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind. I’m sure having more than one strong-willed, sarcastic magic-user at the table couldn’t possibly end badly.
What other authors would you say have either influenced your writing or you would like to emulate?
I’ve read a lot of stories over the course of my life, and when I write I tend to draw a little from all of them. Since I’m writing contemporary fantasy, I sometimes try to match the tone of authors like Kevine Hearne, who also write contemporary fantasy. For first person I often look to Patrick Rothfuss, since his books are amazing. But for the most part I’d just like to figure out what kind of writer I am, not how to be like someone else.
Which character from literature, would you most like to have invented?
There are a lot of cool characters out there, but I wouldn’t want to have created any character other than my own. It’d be really cool to claim credit for one of the characters that everyone knows, but I’d rather work up to being able to make a character like that myself.
What do you prefer writing. A one off novel, a series or short stories?
I haven’t been writing long enough to know for sure, but probably one off novels. Series are lots of fun, but I sometimes lose interest in an idea before the series is done.
What kind of books do you read (if you have time to read)?
Lots and lots of fantasy.
Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in 5 years time?
Probably still writing. Beyond that, I’m not sure.
Do you have any other projects in the offing we should look out for?
Nothing ready to talk about yet. But Aspect of Winter isn’t the only project I’ve spent a lot of time on, just the first to be finished. More books will be coming soon.
Where can we find you?

Probably hiding in a library somewhere.


Winner’s Prize: Free signed copy of Aspect of Winter


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