Introducing Uclandia

Uclandia is a single continent that has been separated into four Provinces all centered around one city. The city of Emperors – Imperial City.

Provincial borders have moved from time to time as the rulers lost ground or took it to suit their purposes through the ages. Uclandia’s various Emperors may or may not have taken notice.

This is a land rich in history, Gods, Goddesses and Saints.

It’s also about to be thrown into upheaval to suit the power-hungry whims of one woman who will fight for absolute rule. Over everything.

Banern Province is the Northern-most province, whose capital city is Wintershire

High in the mountains, it’s cold, windy, and generally not an easy place to live. Not much grows there. What Banern is known for, other than the cold, is its Habgar farms. Habgars would be most closely related to your goats. Only larger.

Banern Province exports Habgar fur, meat, and horn as well as silver, nickel, and various gemstones.

Uisgern Province (pronounced whis-gern) is in the east of Uclandia. The capital city is Eras.

This province is sunny, breezy, and generally pleasant to live in, although they can have fierce storms in the winter. Uisgern is home to fisherfolk, net makers, boat builders, artists, and instrument makers.

Uisgern exports fish, dried seaweed, pearls, various vegetables such as Praitubers, and leafy plants such as Vanasoom, which is used to make a tea-like drink.

The College of Kinderven is in Eras.

Glasgern is the Southernmost province in Uclandia, and the capital city is Fasach.

This province is known for its humid, tropical environment and the forests that grow there.

Glasgern exports wood, both common and exotic, and alchemy ingredients such as Tomba bark and lichens, tree flowers, and seoda mead.

Glasgernians whose families have lived there for multiple generations tend to have a bit of a dusky skin-tone, (think of a deep tan on our world)

Luingern Province (pronounced Loo-in-gern) stands at the Western flank of Uclandia. The capital city there is Fort Fairadell.

This Province makes use of two distinct regions within its borders and exports herbs, vegetables, copper, and a unique type of metal only made in Luigern Province. It is said to have different patterns depending on whose forge it was made at and never dulls. Fort Fairadell is the birthplace of the current Emperor, Fergus Euradech. Luingern Province is bisected by a line of low mountains, The Chonaic Ridge, which separates the Province into a green and lush seaside region, and dry, hard land on the interior side of the mountains.

Which province would you want to live in?

Next time, I’ll introduce you to some of the folk that call Uclandia home.

Hunting Gold ~ A Book Review

I love all of the Cantor Gold novels, but I’ve been remiss in reviewing them properly.

Something I’ll be correcting in the days to come.

Hunting Gold” by Ann Aptaker is the latest installment in Cantor Gold’s adventures, and the most gripping one yet!

Cantor Gold stands out. For her wardrobe choices, her background and her scars. But while she is dapper and charming, she also hides a tortured heart. She’s made enemies too, lots of them. But she also has a loyal few friends. They become her lifeline while she’s being targeted and thrust into the police spotlight, forcing Cantor to make an alliance she would never have expected, just to stay on the right side of the law. Which for her, is a bit of an anomaly.

This installment in Cantor’s series is more fast-paced than the others. Someone is clearly targetting Cantor and they don’t give her a moment’s peace to stop and figure things out. They just keep killing and thrusting her into the middle of it.

Hunting Gold is darker than the other books in this series, and considering the last book, that’s really saying something. With every installment in this series, the pressures are greater, the stakes are higher and the potential for loss to Cantor goes far beyond the art she somehow smuggles. 

So don’t read this if you’re looking for fluff. Read this if you want terrific, gritty wordscapes. Read this if you want something different in your books. Read this if you want to be plunged headlong into a fast-paced fight to prove Cantor’s innocence. If you want to be sucked into a world of crime, demanding criminal kingpins and characters that won’t let go long after you’ve turned the light out.

If you’re already a fan of Cantor Gold, you’ll love this book.

If you aren’t, you can absolutely enjoy this book without needing to read the others, but you’ll want to when you’re done with Hunting Gold. Go to Bywater Books and get all of them.

If you’ll pardon me, I have to go lift a glass of Chivas Regal in Cantor’s honor.

Hang On, We’re Pivoting!

Sometimes, a book is a little like an omelet.

It’s made of different layers of goodness. Characters, setting, motivations, clues…it all makes a hefty thing you can’t wait to sink your teeth into…you think.

But as you wait for this gargantuan thing to cook, and be done, you can’t help but think ‘It’s taking too long. What’s wrong with it?’ And then, you come to a stunning realization.

You don’t love it as much as you should. You lose your appetite for it. And you feel bad. So you turn the stove off and your creation just…sits there. You go away for a little bit, hoping to come back to it once you think you love it again. But you just don’t.

And that’s where I found myself with Body In The Bush. Which is why it has been months since you’ve heard from me. For which I apologize.

I went off and wrote some different things. Things that I’ll be sharing with you in the very near future. Things that are quite different from crime fiction, that’s for sure!

You know how a basketball player plants one foot on the court and pivots to throw off the guy guarding the net? That’s what I’ve done. I’ve pivoted. I have set crime fiction aside and have been playing in the fantasy realm again. And it has been FUN, my friend, with a capital FUN!

I’m a few chapters into a new story that involves swords, made-up worlds and…here, let me show you…

Naledi Meridian has killed a man, and for that, she has been banished.

His death was entirely unintentional. She was hacking away at the goblin, slipping in its blood, falling back under the weight of it, and her Guild-Brother stepped in too close.

There was no time to stop the arc of her sword as they locked gazes. Her blade was already on the way down. She was horrified to see it slice through his neck before it killed the goblin too.

It makes no difference that she was consumed with dismay at the ghastly thing she’d just done.

And so very sorry.

Her Brothers and Sisters in the Protectors Guild will no longer speak to her. They have banished her from the Guild House.

Naledi travelled to the house of his widow, in order that she might give her the share of the money she was paid for the job. She refused to speak to Naledi as well. So the tall fighter dropped the coins into the palm of the warrior’s young son and left.

Naledi travelled for a few days to speak to the head of the Protectors Guild. She was hard to track down, considering Naledi was no longer welcome in any of the Protectors Guild Houses. But they eventually crossed paths. She wouldn’t listen to Naledi’s side of the horrible fight, she was so filled with rage that Naledi had taken that poor man’s life. She told her that if there was any hope of redemption at all, it would come at a cost. Twenty bear pelts. 

And so Naledi was banished until her return with twenty bear pelts.

But I suppose I should backtrack somewhat in my tale and explain who Naledi was and why she was in the Protectors Guild…

And there you have it…the beginning of A Throne Built On Stars.

If you enjoy a good tale with swords and magic, you’ll like this one. If you like political intrigue, machinations, greedy rulers with a thirst for more power and cold ale, you’ll like this one.

I hope you’ll hang around and get to know Naledi. But in the meantime, shout out in the comments section and let me know if you like fantasy, or if you’re outta here.