Sneak peek at Chosen by Shayla Morgansen

The late autumn night was crisp and cool. A brisk wind sliced through the dying trees in the garden, relieving them of their burden of dead brown leaves. The darkness in the marbled courtyard was broken only by the soft, haunting candlelight glowing in the large ring of lanterns. Thirteen white-robed adult figures stood in a circle within this enchanted ring.

Tonight, in this Connecticut home’s courtyard, the government of the magical world, the White Elm Council, had been called to an emergency meeting by their leader, an old, white-haired man whom they, along with the rest of their world, called Lord Gawain. He stood as part of the circle, and wore a royal purple sash over his white robes, as did the middle-aged black woman to his right, and beyond her was a tall, attractive man wearing an emerald green sash.

‘Blessed be,’ Lord Gawain began in his commanding voice. The twelve sorcerers responded, and a murmur of Blessed be resonated around the courtyard and into the surrounding gardens. ‘Firstly, our thanks to Susannah, who has provided us tonight with her beautiful yard as a venue for this last-minute conference.’

‘Never a problem, Lord Gawain,’ a 40-something American sorceress replied with a smile. Her wavy brown hair was clipped back from her fresh, pleasant face and her manicured hands, although obviously freezing, were ungloved and open, relaxed at her sides.

‘As a sign of honesty and purity, all members of White Elm traditionally keep their faces and hands uncovered,’ Lord Gawain said, beginning the meeting. Two of the twelve pairs of candle-bright eyes dropped from Lord Gawain’s face and two pairs of hands quickly appeared from underneath robes, and he knew, but he continued as if he hadn’t noticed. ‘This is one of many traditions we as a government have upheld for hundreds of years to ensure peace within the White Elm body.’

The council was silent. Lord Gawain continued.

‘I apologise for the surprise meeting, but, as always in history, the White Elm has dutifully responded to their leader’s call, knowing that I would only break the cycle for a great emergency. I am grateful for your faith. Your loyalty to your leaders, your adherence to the council’s ancient code and your purity of spirit prove to the world your worthiness of ruling the magical people. Few other councils would gather so quickly at their leader’s bidding.’

A couple of sorcerers smiled at their leader’s sentiment.

‘So, when you felt my call, where were you, Lady Miranda?’ Lord Gawain asked his co-leader, the 55-year-old black sorceress to his right.

‘Finishing my shift at the hospital,’ she answered smoothly, her British accent sharp.


The attractive man on Lady Miranda’s right blinked through his long, loose black hair at his Lord’s word.

‘With a woman,’ he answered simply, in his New York accent. No one asked for details. 

‘Qasim?’ Lord Gawain asked of the next man in the circle, the imposing Saudi.

‘Reading to my children,’ Qasim answered.

The White Elm immediately continued answering in the order Lord Gawain had been questioning – highest ranked to lowest – and most answered with honesty. However, the massive African American Jackson cast his vision down for a tiny instant and blinked a few times too many.

‘Asleep,’ he said. Lord Gawain felt the flicker of nervousness in the air, which accompanies a lie, and knew otherwise, but kept quiet. He needed to be sure of the others.

The stick-thin Russian woman next in the circle glanced oddly at Jackson, having felt the same flicker, before speaking.

‘Meditating,’ she murmured honestly.

‘Asleep.’ Tian still looked tired.

‘Reading the paper,’ Peter said, too quickly.

He is the second puppet, Lord Gawain thought. Who is their master?

Emmanuelle, a beautiful French sorceress, admitted to being on a date. She blushed a little, but she wasn’t lying. The youngest, the handsome and mysterious Renatus, spoke last. 

‘I was scrying,’ he said. His violet eyes flickered to Lord Gawain.

A few other members of White Elm shared subtle ominous looks. They didn’t trust Renatus. But Lord Gawain understood the very young man’s meaning. After all, it was on Renatus’s advice that he had called this council.

Peter and Jackson are traitors, Master, Renatus had said hours earlier, confirming Lord Gawain’s already strong suspicions. Lady Miranda agreed. Now they only had to find the third traitor, the leader. But whoever it was had covered his or her lies so well that even Lord Gawain, Lady Miranda and Renatus couldn’t work out who it was.

Lord Gawain had known for some time that a rival force was forming elsewhere. Rumours of black magic beyond that which the White Elm could imagine; whispers of a powerful leader no one could actually name. Similar little tales popped up every now and then, and usually died down, but these murmurings were persistent and becoming louder. Most disturbing was the realisation that this apparent rival group (if it existed) was said to be led by a member of White Elm.

‘Three of you are lying,’ Lord Gawain said after a minute of absolute silence. Two sparks of nervousness flickered briefly in the circle. Who is the third


Chosen by Shayla Morgansen will be available from 2nd May, 2014. Join us on facebook for more information.

Published in: on March 30, 2014 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Author Intro – Shayla Morgansen

Name: Shayla MorgansenImage

Age: Old enough

Books published: nothing yet!

Books coming soon: Chosen: Book One of ‘The Elm Stone Saga’

Top three authors: JK Rowling, Dan Brown, CS Lewis

Favourite Colour: Pink

Favourite animal: Cats

Favourite quote: “But no one may know the shape of the tale in which they move. And, perhaps, we do not truly know what sort of beast it is, either. Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.” -Catherynne M. Valente

Top three movies: The Matrix, Star Wars, The Lion King

Favourite reading genre: Fantasy and Sci-fi

Favourite Tv show: Dexter, Supernatural

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be: Obi-Wan Kenobi – the purest and noblest of Jedi

Describe yourself in 30 words or less: Eccentric, abstract and always lost inside my own head, I typically write urban fantasy and science fiction. I sigh when I see errors in printed works like signs and advertisements.

Do you have a burning question for Shayla? Reply here or visit us at facebook or twitter @ouroborusbooks

Published in: on February 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Author Intro – Ella Hazelwood

Name: Ella HazelwoodImage

Age: 30

Books published: Everdark Realms: The Darkening

Books coming soon: Everdark Realms: The Awakening

Top three authors: Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin, Derek Landy

Favourite Colour: blue

Favourite animal: Dragons and Phoenixes

Favourite quote: “People need stories more than bread itself, they tell us how to live, and why.” – The Arabian Nights

Top three movies: Labyrinth, The Craft, Tin Man

Favourite reading genre: Intelligent humour

Favourite Tv show: QI

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be: Surprisingly Regina from Once Upon A Time – I get the strong girls who don’t take crap

Describe yourself in 30 words or less: Writer, Actor, Director, Artist, Bibliophile, Dreamer,  Mythology-Nerd, History-Buff, Imagineer

Do you have a burning question for Ella? Reply here or visit us at facebook or twitter @ouroborusbooks

Author Intro – M A Clarke

Name: Melissa Lord aka M. A. ClarkeImage

Age: 30+

Books published: The Riders’ War – Battle For Today

Books coming soon: The Riders’ War Part 2 – Battle For Tomorrow

Top three authors: Patricia Briggs, Christopher Pike, Anne MacCaffrey

Favourite Colour: red

Favourite animal: dragon

Favourite quote: ‘But why’s the rum gone?’

Top three movies: Sound of Music, While You Were Sleeping, Classic Star Wars Trilogy

Favourite reading genre: fantasy

Favourite Tv show: Doctor Who

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be: there’s a lot to be said for Molly Weasley. She doesn’t live her life in mortal peril (unless you count Fred and George), but deep down she’s as strong and courageous as any hero.

Describe yourself in 30 words or less: an emotionally irregular geek girl, with a consuming crush on a Timelord who has somehow managed to produce a book and a family

Do you have a burning question for Mel? Reply here or visit us at facebook or twitter @ouroborusbooks

Author Intro – Mitchell Tierney

So we thought it was time you got to know us writers. This week we start with our most prolific blogger Mitchell.

ImageName: Mitchell Tierney

Age: 34

Books published: Everdark Realms Book I

Books coming soon: Everdark Realms Book II, Book III. Heather Cassidy and the Magnificent Mr Harlow, The Devil Lives Beyond the Wall.

Top three authors: Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (Joseph Delaney equal for third place)

Favourite colour: red

Favourite animal: Cats or Three Toed Sloths

Favourite quote: ‘We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.’ Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Top three movies (or movie series): Fight Club, Shawshank Redemption and Star Wars

Favourite reading genre: Weird fiction, non-fiction,fantasy

Favourite TV show: Sons of Anarchy, Amazing Race, Breaking Bad

If you could be any fictional character who would it be: Tyler Durden

Describe yourself in 30 words or less: Addicted to writing. Motivation to succeed in the publishing world. Driven to become a better writer. Always learning and setting myself goals. I have a red beard and glasses.

Do you have a burning question for Mitchell? Reply here or visit us at facebook or twitter @ouroborusbooks

Published in: on January 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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Turtles Fight With Honour

People complain about violence in show kids watch. I mean, I can see their point, filling impressionable young minds with the worst of human society. Yet there are shows of undeniable violence that show humanity’s best as well.

Image I’ve been thinking a lot lately about something a friend of mine said. She said that she reads fantasy, and while most people tune out after the word ‘fantasy’ she reads further and has taken from it a code of honour that she lives in her daily life. I grew up watching reruns of the old Batman TV series, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Astro Boy, Star Wars and many more. The ones I’ve listed are all, arguably, violent. Batman, with its biff, bop and zowie, Ninja Turtles kicked butt on a daily basis while Astro had machine guns in his butt, not to mention the guns and swords in Star Wars. Really, what could my mother have been thinking, letting me watch these things?

As a mother myself these days, I come up with a couple of answers of my own. The first is simple. You can’t shield your kids forever. Cotton wool does not protect your kids for long. Eventually, they or the world will rip the cotton wool away and they will be completely exposed to all the nasties the world has to offer. All we can do is teach our kids well, and hope that when they do come face to face with the world, that we have taught them enough. For me, a part of that is exposing kids to what the world is really like, in small doses. Just as you would teach a child to get used to all the household jobs they will need to care for as grownups by teaching them to clean their room. So, on TV, they see that not everyone is nice, and when I go to explain that they need to be careful talking to people they don’t know, they can understand why.

The second reason goes back to what my friend was saying, about shaping your life from ideals set forth in books or shows. She wasn’t referring to violence either. She is not a violent person. All of the shows I mention are violent, but they are primarily hero stories. Yes, the heroes fight, but it is rarely for themselves. They fight to protect those who need protecting – helping those who don’t have their abilities, or their gifts. THAT is the part of these stories that sticks with me, long after the days of play-fighting with my brother in the kitchen. And this is all the more important, because life ISN’T really like that. People don’t always live their lives with honour, look out for one another and try to make their little corner of the world better.

Image While the morning cartoons are playing this morning, I found something I personally thought more disturbing than Ninja Turtles, Ben 10, Young Justice or any of it. What I saw was an ad for a Barbie ‘Glamping’ Trailer… Quick definition for those not in the know ‘glamping’ is ‘glamour camping’ – basically camping with all of the luxuries of home and none of the actual camping bit. I’m not a camper. My idea of roughing it IS a serviced apartment, with a dishwasher and a dryer. All the same, if you’re going to go camping, luxury seems a bit… against the point. That said, why did I find that disturbing? Because I wondered what message that was sending to our kids? That you need stuff to be happy? Following that thought on, Barbie is a worse example to our kids, than a Turtle that was the anthropomorphised through an industrial accident. I’ve already drawn the line at Bratz dolls, because I don’t want my kids to be ‘brats’. Children/teenagers with attitude: It won’t do me or them any favours.

I try, in my small ways, to make the world a better place. I try to teach my kids to be good people. I try to be kind and understanding to those who need it. I spare change to charities, when I can and I nearly always buy a badge for the ANZAC/Remembrance day appeals. I try to recycle. It’s not a lot, but I have my own problems too. I’m not perfect. I try not to expect perfection in others. But most of all, I write about worlds where there are people – some like us, some not so much – who in all different ways, try to make the world better. I continue the tradition of setting ideals in print for others to take on, to try and live by and to pass on. I write, with honour.

~M A Clarke

Book vs Movie (TV edition) Under the Dome by Stephen King

Book vs Movie (TV edition)

Under the Dome by Stephen King


Mostly spoiler free

Long time no see readers!  I thought I’d get us back in the swing of things by doing a book vs movie blog for you all of something that has been chewing away at my brain for the past five months. Now as some of you will know I am a big Stephen King fan. I’ve read almost every book and seen almost all the movies/tv series/mini series that have come from this mega writer and liked most of them. So when I heard they were going to be making his recent epic Under the Dome into a tv series I was rather excited by the news. It was one of the few books that I hadn’t got around to reading and therefore I set off reading as fast as I could. I demolished the 896 pages in a week the day before the tv show began.


I was excited this was definitely the type of King writing that I loved – plots upon plots with a massive intertwining of characters, a veritable cast of hundreds, mixed with real life drama in a totally unreal situation. This will be perfect for tv! I said to myself with glee. It was a big enough book to easily get four or five seasons out of it and enough cliff hangers to make for awesome season closers.

I was so wrong. Now I know the King endorsed the series and approved the changes that were made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with minor changes to translate to film media – it’s inevitable. Hey I loved The Lord of the Rings movies and they had MANY changes made for filming purposes (except for the exclusion of Tom Bombadil *shakes fist at Peter Jackson*) but the show that I turned on in June was not Under the Dome. Sure there was a dome (with very few characteristics shared) and the names of characters still popped up but even the main character, Barbie, who in the book is the ‘every man’ character that even though you don’t love him, you have to like him for trying his hardest, gets turned into a hit man who is a complete douche (no this is not a spoiler as its revealed in the first scene). There no one to love in the show and not even many characters left to like. The town select man Jim Rennie is a fluffy kitten in the show (albeit one with claws) than the total megalomaniac he is in the book.


I fought it out for 9 episodes before giving up in exasperation. There was no trace of the book left to see. Every element that made it great was ripped out from under it.

I thought I’d ask a friend who hadn’t read it what they thought and they were just bored. The characters were bland to them and most of it made little sense (and not in a Lost style what the hell is going on because this is a mystery way) with none of the characters being believable.

 So if you want my opinion read the book. If you must watch the tv show, watch it first.

Book 8/10

Tv show 2/10

~Sabrina RG Raven

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on December 30, 2012 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  


Where will I be hiding, this Saturday, for you?

I need to be found, so I’ll give you a clue

It’s on a type of bank down by the town river

And where the city cat has passengers to deliver

These parklands are popular and have a lot of appeal

There’s a cinema and markets and even a Ferris wheel

And quietly in this forest sits a pagoda of peace

Where I will be meditating, waiting for release

Where Am I?

Published in: on December 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  


Here’s your first clue!


Look for me! Find me! I’m on my way!

I’ll meet you at this place on a Saturday

It’s colourful and large and a holder of books

I’ll be somewhere outside, so you’ll really need to look

It’s a garden of benches, giant baubles and trees

It’s got places for your cravings for coffee and tea

It’s wide and well-loved and it’s not too bare

But most importantly, it’s a great big square!

Where Am I?


Know the answer? Be at the above place on Saturday Dec 1 2012 11am-2pm

and you might just find a free book waiting for you!


Good luck, book lovers and happy hunting!

Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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