5* to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I simply couldn’t believe the sheer amount of ‘wow’ moments in this book! I read it in the space of 20 hours (which is quite impressive for a slow reader like myself!). From page one I was obsessed and thoroughly engrossed in the plot and the characters. It has the familiar old feeling of Harry Potter but with new characters in the forefront. It was amazing to see old characters back and to learn where they have gone and what they have done with their lives. Some of their stories brought a huge smile to my lips, while others made me gasp with disbelief or even wallow in pity and sadness.

This book made me feel a lot of things and at times I was fearful of turning the page in case something horrible happened to the new characters I have fallen in love with, or the old ones I’ve now fallen in love with all over again. The book is very cleverly written and allows readers to witness some old moments from the original books again, while turning others on their heads and giving alternative possibilities for if events had turned out differently. Brilliantly put together and an absolute pleasure to read. I am whole-heartedly back into obsessive Harry Potter fandom, and I have two new favourite characters. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy have stolen my heart.

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5* to Rise of the Elohim: The Spirit of Iris by Rocky Rochford

Rise of the Elohim - The Spirit of IrisRise of the Elohim – The Spirit of Iris by Rocky Rochford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fun, action-packed middle grade fantasy was a wonderful adventure. Crammed full of goblins, magic and sword fights, I was gripped from start to finish. The characters are wonderfully imagined (I particularly loved Izal and Zach) and the plot is simple enough to be followed by children, but involved enough to entertain adults as well. Another great piece of work by Rocky Rochford!

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I Love The Corps

Today I am delighted to be hosting Christopher Dean, creator of the tabletop RPG ‘I Love The Corps’. (You can find out all about this awesome game here: http://www.ilovethecorps.com/)

He currently has a kickstarter campaign running to make the money needed to produce the awesome art needed for the project. Any help you could give would be enormously appreciated:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/222832406/i-love-the-corps-an-action-horror-and-military-sci

Without further ado, I hand over to Christopher to talk about his journey from games creator to writer:

From Writer, to Everything Else

chrisfaceMy name is Christopher (Chris, unless I am being formal) Dean, and I am currently ‘living the dream’ I have had for a long time, and facing the reality of actually knowing I will see books with my name on published.

The books in question are the three core books for ‘I Love the Corps’, a military sci-fi and horror role-playing game I designed. (For the uninitiated, think Dungeons and Dragons, but replace wizards fighting goblins with diehard marines vs alien monstrosities, and you have the right idea.)

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I have been able to write down my ideas into coherent stories, but there were two major things that put me off really trying to get into it as a young one. Reason the first: though I am a fantastic ideas man, I could never, ever finish off a big story idea before more popped into my head. Reason the second: the concept of how you ‘get into it’ generally involved having a portfolio to present to people, and due to reason 1, I never really tried hard enough to make this happen.

When I hit my late 20s, realisation dawned on me: I had been successfully telling and giving others the chance to contribute to and complete my stories for the entire 16 years I had been largely Games Mastering role-playing game campaigns. 12 years ago was when I first created the game that became known as I Love the Corps as a very basic, largely free-form game. Why did I create this game? Because I wanted a system that did brutal, gung-ho, action, sci-fi horror, just like the movies, and I could not find one that did what I wanted, the way I wanted.

573e82b0fbe567228e4fb5325cdd0a8b_originalIt still never occurred to me I should do that as a living. What caused that realisation?

Other people. I have been running the game at conventions for the last three years, and the first time I did it, people wanted to buy it, and were confused and surprised when they couldn’t.

This gave me the drive to finally believe I could be a writer (I find that rarely ever comes on its own, as we artistic types are highly self-critical, it seems. I need a kick. Or several.)

But RPGs are big tasks to undertake, especially when you’re a largely one-man team writing, producing and coordinating freelancers and volunteers to do all of the things you can’t do, to turn it into a set of books which make a pen and paper game.

weighted-gauntlets-v2I quit my full time day job in June 2015; I had changed jobs, to a job that should have been less hours, and turned out not to be, and consumed too much of my time to allow me to write in my spare time, so I decided to get this darn game finished, living off savings.

I spent the first four months as a writer largely doing 50 hours weeks of writing, writing, writing. And because this is a game we’re talking about, this involved weekly playtesting, leading to finding lots of flaws, leading to more rewriting. Then the books went out to editors, and there was something of a lull. But then I was still testing and changing things, and when the proofs came back, it wasn’t just a case of correcting mistakes, but moving around so much of the text content, to make it readable as a book and usable as a game. But come January 2016, the big writing stuff was mostly done. Then, it was onto the hard, stuff, the Other Stuff.

interplanetary-insertion-craftI launched my Kickstarter in August. Everything leading up to that time was getting ready for it. So much of that time was research, research, research. I went to some conventions to showcase the game, which consumed a lot of time to prepare. A long period was spent coordinating finances and budgeting, working out what money I needed to raise to make the books a reality and the amount of art needed. Some RPGs get away with cheap and sparse art, but I had a backlog of people who wanted books comparable to books made by massive teams, the games they largely played, and though I could not compare to them, I spent many months finding and gathering artists, commissioning pieces and being lucky enough to get art of a quality far beyond my expectations.

And then, there’s the promotion; constantly, posting, blogging and trying to get notice on the vast of the internet. Making contacts, accruing favours, getting music, help from people to make videos… the list goes on. Now the Kickstarter is going, several hours a day are just spent reading and sending e-mails. It is exhausting. I don’t feel like I have got to be a writer for a long time, or at least, not a writer of games or fiction.

razor-ant-finalDo I regret it? Certainly not. I spent a large part of my life thinking my only skills, my creative skills, were not the skills I could get a rewarding career, and now, through committing myself to a passion project, I have not only improved my writing talents, but also learned a whole host of other skills that could allow me to continue on in the RPG industry (if Kickstarter is well received, books are enjoyed by backers and there is a future for selling the game after that) or could otherwise allow me to try another host of jobs. I have also earned a massive amount of respect from what I have been able to do with my dedication and perseverance through some hard times.

But, at the end of the day, I love my writing. There are so many ideas in my head, books to be written, and games to be made. So it is a burning hope of mine that I Love the Corps can succeed beyond the short term success of its successful Kickstarter launch.

When all this is said and done, it will be nice to sit down and just be a writer again, if just for a bit. Which is a wonderful thing to say. Despite everything else, I am a writer now.

Here’s those links again:






Exciting times for D.M. Cain!

Well, summer 2016 has been a busy one. As a primary school teacher I have six weeks summer vacation in which to catch up with all the writing and editing I can’t do in the school term.

So, what have I been up to in these six weeks?

Aside from looking after my hyperactive, cheeky little 5 year old son, I’ve been away on two holidays – Snowdonia in Wales, and a cruise to the Norwegian fjords. Both had beautiful, mountain scenery – just what I need to get my writer’s inspiration flowing.

These two breaks, as well as a significant amount of time at home have allowed me to achieve the following:

Camp NaNoWriMo

My editor (and awesome friend) Pam Elise Harris asked me this July to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)  I was terrified of the concept of only having one month to complete a writing project, but I decided to go for it. As it was my first challenge, I set myself a manageable target of 20,000 words and started a brand new novella entitled ‘Origin of Shadow’.

I am delighted to announce that I managed to completed my target! I now have a shiny Camp NaNo winner’s certificate to be proud of!

Camp NaNo certificate.jpg

This story was written to complement Genesis of Light – a similar sized novella. Each of these novellas tells the story of the origin of one of the armies in my Light and Shadow Chronicles series. Origin of Shadow lets readers in on the secrets of how the Brotherhood of Shadow were formed.The two novellas will need to go through editing but I hoping to release them sometime next year (My cover designer, Irina French, is due to start work on the covers shortly!)

Author talk at Newbold Verdon library

On Wednesday 10th August I gave my first ever author talk at my local library. I did this 2.5 hour presentation/interactive Q&A with a fellow author named Stewart Bint (we live 500 yards from each other!). It was so much fun and the engagement from our audience was wonderful! I am pleased to say I even managed to sell a few copies! I can’t wait to do more events like this in the future.

#Writestorm marathon day


July 31st was our first #writestorm marathon. Facebook group ‘The #Awethors’ (of which I am co-creator) joined in with a 24 hour writing marathon. People were not required to write all day (that would have been crazy!) but they were asked to select certain hour long periods entirely dedicated to adding words to their current Work-In-Progress. The #writestorm methodology is a concept developed by talented author Andy Mengel, which involves short, intense periods of writing which are timed and structured. This method allows authors the chance to blast out a high word count without distractions, and helps to feed motivation in the next writing session.

The event was a huge success! Between us we managed to write 41,000 words! No small feat of accomplishment for 24 hours. We’ll be sure to run more events like this in the future.

For more about the #writestorm process – check out the official handbook:










I’ve finally finished the first rounds of edits for The Shield of Soren!

The next novel in my Light and Shadow Chronicles series is ‘The Shield of Soren’. The books in this epic fantasy series are not chronological so this new installment could be read before or after the first release ‘A Chronicle of Chaos’ (available to buy here – just saying…) There are some characters who will appear in The Shield of Soren whom you might know from A Chronicle of Chaos: Raven, Deacon, Callista, Vincent, the mysterious tattooed man in black…

Now I’ve finished first round of edits, the book will be heading back to my editor for round 2 and I am hoping to be finished editing by the end of 2016, with a view to release in 2017.


What writing advancements has this summer brought for you?

scars & souvenirs-001

Scars and Souvenirs by Rocky Rochford

Rocky Rochford is a close friend of mine and a very talented multi-genre author. His highly anticipated newest release ‘Scars and Souvenirs’ is a collection of 10 short stories.

Releasing August 26th

scars & souvenirs-001.jpg

Author: Rocky Rochford

Title: Scars & Souvenirs

Series: None

Genre: Emotional Thriller

Book Content Rating: Adult!!! Contains swearing, scenes of death, depression and suicide.

Tag-line: “Darkness has many forms and Mares is its playground.”


Every scar tells a story, a tale of loss, or a tale of regret. The scars on my arms an echo of when times were hard. The scars on my eyes of the dreaded horrors I can never unsee. The scars on my soul a lasting memory of the sins that tore my soul apart. The scars on my heart from a love forever lost. The scars on my wrists, the end result of a failed attempt to end a life of brokenness. Each scar is a story.  A story begging to be told.


The following is an extract from the Devil Came to Drag Me to Hell

“You will bleed. You will cry. You will love and you will say goodbye to all those you hold dear. Life is repulsed by shadow and you reek of it. I look forwards to watching the show.”

His words made perfect sense.

Of course they would—they were my own.

Words I would tell myself when I was all alone.

The Devil knows all.

Especially the one that sits on your shoulder.

In the depths of your soul.

“Your wound isn’t deep and the knife didn’t hit anything vital. You will go on to live, knowing this is what you do to people. The poison that flows through your veins always finds a way to push those you hold dear away, no matter how hard you try to cling to them. You are the villain, John, and the villain is destined to fail.”

He reached out and grabbed me. His hands on my throat squeezed and then he began to drag me. The world I had left returned.

As did the sound of my heart beating.

And the air in my lungs.

My eyes opened.

I gasped.

The Devil had come to drag me to Hell, but like he said for the likes of me. There is only one kind of Hell, the life of an endless nightmare I live on a daily basis.

He dragged me back to my old life.

A life of scars.

****Here concludes today’s extract, for more check out the full collection when it releases next month. ****

Rocky Rochford Biography

Author Shot - Rocky Rochford 2015 Rocky Rochford is your standard guy, if your standard guy scuba dives, partakes in underwater photographer and is a wake-boarding, adventure seeking, sword collecting, marine conservation supporter. After living life on the road and the places between, he finally settled down but not without benefiting from all the lessons life had to teach him.

Self-professed “Student of Everything, and Master of Nothing,” Rochford does not choose what he writes, but writes what chooses him, be it fantasy, crime, poetry, philosophy or even adventure. Life is a journey we all get to experience, just like a good book.

Every read into another of his typed works is another trip into the imagination of his mixed up, crazed and deranged mind and this year along those works include the likes of full novels and novellas such as:

London CallingLondon Calling – a Deep Water Novel (Spy Thriller)

Don’t Even Blink – Part of the Don’t Turn Around Trilogy (Horror)

Wait and Bleed – The Don’t Turn Around Collection (Horror collection of the entire Don’t Trilogy)

And now The Eye of Mares – Book 2 of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles (Illustrated YA fantasy adventure)

Wait and Bleed

Other works released by him, are a number of short stories pertaining to horror, paranormal and romance, as well as other works released as part of an anthology:

The Devil You Know (Paranormal short)

Salt in the Wound – Part of the Entwined Saga (Paranormal short)

The Food of Love (featuring Him & Her) – An Anthology by Solstice Publishing (Romance filled Anthology)

Him & Her (Romance Standalone release)

Don’t Say A Word (Horror)


Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Volume II (featuring The Devil Before) – An Anthology by the Solstice Shadows (Paranormal themed Anthology)

Awethology Dark (featuring Ghosts) – An Anthology by the #Awethors (Adult stories pertaining to a darker theme)

The December Awethology Dark Volume (featuring Seven Years Bad Luck) – An Anthology by the #Awethors (Adult stories pertaining to a darker theme, set around December)


****Welcome to the World of Rochford****

Social Media Links:

Rocky Rochford’s website: rockyrochford.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IamRockyRochford/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RockyRochford

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7310280.Rocky_Rochford

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Rocky-Rochford/e/B00O3AA3KU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1449272442&sr=8-1


Rochford writes a little something for everyone, so if Scars & Souvenirs isn’t your cup of tea, you can guarantee one of his many other works will be!


Wizarding Protection Program: J.B. Taylor

This week the incredible J.B. Taylor (author of a whole range of exceptional stories and novels) has released two fantasy stories entitled ‘Wizarding Protection Program’.

Take a look and grab a copy!

Wizarding Protection Program 1


Wizarding Protection Program 1 – Christine is an actress, a breakout star in truth. She never believed in wizards. She never knew of the darkest wizard ever to have existed … Mortem. But Mortem knows of her. Christine is the sole survivor of his assassination of two wizarding journalists that resulted in a destroyed café and many dead civilians. Fearful her rising celebrity will bring his great plan to take over the wizarding world into the consciousness of the public he seeks her out, and Christine is forced on the run.







Wizarding Protection Program 2


Wizarding Protection Program 2 – A disciple of Mortem is on the hunt, killing those who’ve offended him deeply. Christine has survived one dark wizard and is forced to flee yet another. Help proves to come from the strangest of places. And maybe, just maybe, Christine will prove magical after all.





A Chronicle of Chaos for 0.99!

A Chronicle of Chaos is available to buy for just $0.99 / £0.99 from July 21st – July 27th. After that, the price returns to $4.99 – so why not grab a copy of this epic fantasy now!


Chronicle of Chaos 34 final file resized title and shield changed DPI flat.jpg


“The new book in DM Cain’s epic Light and Shadow fantasy series certainly plunges us in at the deep end. The heart of this book—its true essence—is prejudice and love, persistence, and stubbornness.” Stewart Bint, author of In Shadows Waiting and Timeshaft.

A brutal war has raged for centuries. The Brotherhood of Shadow and The Children of Light each yearn to rule the planet and will stop at nothing to defeat the other. Now, from the deepest bowels of Hell, the Brotherhood has summoned demons to fight for them. The demons could end the war once and for all, if only the Brotherhood can keep them under control.

Prophecy, destiny, honour, and glory: Chaos, a soldier in The Children of Light, fights in the name of all these things and could achieve them if he wasn’t so arrogant. He believes he is the best warrior in the land, until a fateful coincidence puts him at the mercy of the demon, Anathema.

The two warriors, demon and human, strike up an intense rivalry, but their obsession to destroy one another only leads them closer together. When the forces of Heaven and Hell collide, where will their loyalties lie?


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The Phoenix Project for just 0.99!

The Phoenix Project is available to buy for just $0.99 / £0.99 from July 11th – July 17th. After that, the price returns to $4.99 – so why not grab a copy of this psychological dystopian thriller now!


The Phoenix Project Cover


How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice.

Britain has descended into chaos, as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across the once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war rages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines.

Fighting for his life and a chance for redemption, can Raven survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him – and find the forgiveness he seeks?

“A superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue.” Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.


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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzt_E8st1pyfkoTiA4E5jNg

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/

The Phoenix Project Cover

In desperate need of Thunderclap help!

With just 2 days left until my Thunderclap campaign ends, I am still in need of 22 supporters! From July 11th – 17th The Phoenix Project will be on sale for just $0.99 / £0.99 and in order to get this news to as many people as possible, I need Thunderclap’s help.

This means I need as much support as possible. I will gladly return support for anybody else’s campaigns, or if you need shares or tweets etc.

Here is my campaign:




Thorn quote boots

#IndiePrideDay book FREE!


July 1st 2016 marked #IndiePrideDay, a day when the Indie Authors of the world united to offer a real alternative for readers and lovers of books by offering special discounts on their books. There is a huge Indie Author community out there and they’re determined to take indie books mainstream. What does this mean for you? Well author, Sharon Lipman is offering her paranormal romance novel, Bound to Blackwood for free this weekend! Yes, that’s right, a great book, totally free. A proud indie author herself, she’ll be supporting the movement on July 1st, and you can too. Download your copy of Bound to Blackwood now and follow the #IndiePrideDay trend on twitter for some more amazing indie books and discover some new-to-you authors. You won’t regret it!


Bound to Blackwood

Would you surrender your soul for the love of the King?

Lena, a vampire and a Guardian of the Order, has been honour-bound to protect human souls all her life. Acting first and thinking second is what’s saved her skin time and again in the war against the Fallen, but her disregard for orders soon catches up with her when her boss is seriously injured. Forced to take responsibility for her actions, Lena is thrust into the path of her very own kryptonite; Thorn. The raw power of his soul calls to her and his mere presence lights a fire within her that she cannot contain.

With Vampire magic waning and the race in crisis, can either of them afford to ignore Nature’s call? If they do, the future of the race is in jeopardy. If they don’t, they will both lose the most precious part of themselves. Their souls.



The author

A huge fan of the paranormal romance genre, Sharon Lipman started writing in her teens. It wasn’t until she was in her thirties that she found a story she was desperate to share. House Blackwood was born and Bound to Blackwood is her debut novel.
She was born in west London and grew up in leafy Surrey in south-east England. A lover of all things British, except the weather, she now lives in Almeria, southern Spain with her husband and an ever growing collection of dogs.


Facebook: Http://www.facebook.com/sharonlipmanauthor

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Website: http://www.sharonlipman.com

Join the mailing list: http://zc.vg/AcrYMxVgx7


Thorn stepped out from the shadow of the Huguenot Protestant Church in Soho Square. The stench of Fallen hung heavy in the air, making the bile rise in his throat. But what made him nauseous was the delicate scent of Lena’s blood that rode the air with that of the Fallen.

Flashing across the small park, he found her.

His first thought was to go to her, but as he rushed towards her, he realised she wasn’t alone. Lena cradled the human to her as the air around them hummed and crackled. Thorn’s jaw went slack as the realisation of what he was seeing hit him.

The faint green glow of the human’s soul shifted and shimmered as Lena’s power forced it back, moulding it, shaping it. Binding it. The pale green shone more brightly as Lena worked, the air becoming more dense as the spring greens turned into a deep emerald.

Lena’s raven hair whipped across her face and her eyes glowed a vibrant sea-green as she forced the woman’s soul back to her body. A great roar echoed around the park, and for a moment, the air stood still before a blinding light made Thorn shield his eyes. And then it was gone.

Thorn heard the woman’s heartbeat kick-start as her soul found home again.

Lena released her vice-like grip on the woman and fell backwards. Thorn caught her before her head could hit the ground. She was ghostly pale as Thorn cradled her against his chest, her breathing shallow. The exertion of holding the human soul showed in the sheen of sweat across her brow, and Thorn winced at the bruising on her cheek bone.

“For the love of all that is holy, Lena! What the hell were you thinking?”

Lena’s black eyes fluttered open and stared up at him in disgust. Even injured, with her powers severely depleted, Lena’s contempt for him was tangible. “No one should hold dominion over another’s soul,” she spat back at him.

Thorn closed his eyes. So she knew. In that moment, he realised he’d convinced himself that she hadn’t really seen through him that night in her bedroom. That she’d just rejected him because she didn’t want him, even told himself that it would all be fine. The look on Lena’s face told him otherwise.

As if on cue, the delicious scent of her blood became overwhelming. Thorn gritted his teeth as exotic spices assaulted him. It was almost overpowering.

“You need to get away from me.”

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