September Newsletter – Christopher Daring – No.1 on Amazon

September Newsletter – Christopher Daring – No.1 on Amazon

Finding my new book: The Forest of Riddles at a number one slot on Amazon last Saturday really made my day!

The book, set for release on the 21st of September, will be accompanying its sister book in the Christopher Daring series: Spirits of the Dead.

On Thursday of this week I also had some amazing news, with Spirits of the Dead hitting number ONE in its category. So as you can imagine it has been a pretty good week.

 

To find out what all the excitement is about, and find out more click on the links below:

Spirits of the Dead: UK & US

The Forest of Riddles: UK & US

It’s certainly a busy month! To add to the current buzz, the on-line giant BookBub will be featuring Spirits of the Dead on the 29th September.

BBC Radio Surrey, also requested an interview with me to discuss the new launch. So I had the chance to chat with presenters James Cannon and Lesley McCabe on Tuesday around 9:15am on 11th September. It was a great interview, wherein we talked about the two new books and the series overall. If you missed it and want to have a listen to the chat, just let me know.

 

And speaking of radio interviews, I have another on Wednesday 26th of September, where I will be talking to my local presenter Samantha Day at Meridian107 FM. I will be in the studio at 10:15am chatting about the books.

If you miss it and fancy a catch up over a cup of tea, you can find it here: http://www.meridianfm.com/listen-again/

 

The Magical Video Trailer

To put you in the mood for the feel of the new books, you can watch my updated video here:

Don’t forget the book signing of both books will be on the 6th October 2018 at The BookShop, at the top of town in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England.

~ 

Earlier Incarnations

Now, I’ve spoken in the past about the illustrators that have worked on my most recent Christopher Daring books— whether for the covers or for the inside illustrations — but I don’t believe that I have mentioned the first graphic designer that jumped on board in the early days.

Jesse Reuben Wilson, of BeyondMedia, was the first person that I discussed the idea of branding with. Now Jesse, apart from being an excellent music producer and the editor of the on-line Bandit music magazine, is also an incredible designer. He is one of the few people I know who is just amazing at whatever he does.

I approached Jesse a few years back with my original Christopher Daring short stories, and he was keen to get the book covers just right. He has a natural eye when it comes to creative design. And not just that, he also tends to underpin his talent with some pretty clever intelligence.

 

So if you are looking for an amazing graphic designer, then contact his company here: www.beyondmedia.co

 

Below are the original Christopher Daring book covers that he created. They are no-longer available, as these two short stories together are what is now the new full-length book:The Spirits of the Dead. It is a shame to let them go…

 

August Newsletter – SECOND GIVEAWAY!

August Newsletter – SECOND GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone,

Thank you all so much for the amazing response to last months Spirits of the Dead giveaway. It was so large I increased the giveaway from 5 copies to 10!

As promised I am now doing a giveaway for the second Christopher Daring Adventure: The Forest of Riddles! This is only available to you fantastic subscribers; the first 10 to request a copy will receive it! The only difference is those who won a copy of Spirits of the Deadlast month, will not be included in this month’s giveaway.

Here is a quick reminder of what it is all about:

Within a tall whispering forest, night-time eyes blink in mesmerized wonder at a magical blue spectacle that dances all about them in the silence. So enchanting is this mysterious woodland, that it bewitches all that dare to cross its path.

But as darkness falls and the creatures stir, something else awakens deep within. For under the watchful eye of an unknown foe, a creeping menace ponders the fate of these dancing lights.

Invited to stay with his grandfather, Charlie, over the spring holidays, Christopher, along with his best mate Jason and new friend Poppy, venture up by train to the beautiful landscapes of Scotland. Here, they must unravel the many secrets weaved amongst sacred symbols and enchanting nocturnal lights that are hidden within this magical forest. For they alone hold the key to solving an ancient entrapment of a lost civilization.

Email me at stephenjwillisauthor@gmail.com to apply for an ARC copy of The Forest of Riddles!

Though this is a series, they work totally as standalone novels, and can be read in any sequence.

I do hope many of you are excited for the release, and don’t worry, for those of you who don’t win the giveaway this week, the book will have a publication date and be available for pre-order very soon.

Please consider following me on Facebook to keep up with the excitement: Follow Stephen

Don’t forget that as a subscriber you are entitled to an audiobook of my short story A Figure in The Mist, totally free! If you have not yet claimed your free gift, then click here to download the audiobook and here to download the ebook. And don’t forget to share the news with your friends and family, I would love to reach more people with my stories, and word of mouth is always the best place to start.​

Christopher Daring Insights

Christopher Daring Insights

Christopher Daring Sweets

Writing an adventure series had been on my mind since I was around 14 or 15 years old. By the time I was 17 the first real adventure story was finally forming in my head as I would take my dog Brandy around a particular park in Hertfordshire, England. The story I wanted to tell seemed so big and so involved that I did not feel remotely ready to write it — nor did I know where to start. But now with the aid of Christopher Daring I can finally tell it!

Unfortunately, my early teen writing aspirations were heavily crushed at school by a nosy school kid and a cruel teacher. Wherein they jointly whipped up a frenzied insinuation, in a class full of students, of my having psychological issues because I was writing a small horror at the time. Looking back is was a very nasty thing to do — especially as the teacher, of all people, is supposed to be an opinion leader, and one who inspires children. Needless to say, their unprovoked actions definitely introverted me on the subject and I promptly stopped writing for about 17 years after that. So please don’t follow in my footsteps there, and never-ever give in to negative or critical abuse!

Christopher Daring Series History:

I think the main reason I have continued writing is because people have kept asking me to. It is rather quite touching when you are asked to write another book or another in the series! And so it was with the Christopher Daring books. I’d written the first book, ‘The Ghostly Penny Farthing’ years ago as a one-off ghost story, based off a derelict building in my local town centre. Before it was finally given its long-awaited facelift, the shop and upper floors gave off some seriously dark vibes to passersby. 

The book, although fairly short, had a lasting twist at the end that upset a good few people. Although you never saw it coming, it did leave the reader wanting to know more. I had various people and kids alike, asking for me to resolve the mysterious twist. I even had one kid I know call me up — way past his bedtime — demanding to know what happened to the person in the story. His mother said that he would not rest until I could reassure him that the second book would provide him with the answers he wanted. Which it did — and it spurred him to start reading for himself!

Anyway, I then created the second book ‘The Golden Pocket Watch’ which, apart from resolving the twist in the first book, was a ghost story in its own right.  Now I had two books under the new branding of ‘The Christopher Daring Adventures’. But then of course I was asked for the next book in the series — and so it began… 

The ‘Ghostly Penny Farthing’ and ‘The Golden Pocket Watch’ are what together have been heavily beefed up into ‘The Spirits of the Dead’. The sequel, ‘The Forest of Riddles’ — a brand new novel — is coming out on the same date.

I actually had other books already in the pipeline — that were separate stand-alone novels, but I finally decided to overhaul the entire series and incorporate these other books as well. If I did this I could then also merge them with the main story I had always wanted to write as a kid — when I used to walk my dog. 

So there you have it, a brief history of Christopher Daring. Once this release is completed and I have my book signing done, I shall be excited to return to the series and continue Christopher’s adventures.

I have been having some fun creating a promotional gimmick to give out to kids for FREE during my book signing and physical launch. I did some hunting around and came across these sweets which you can add your own labels to. So I contacted Andrew Gaia — the amazing artist who works on my Christopher Daring book covers — and as usual he came up trumps with a great design.

Let me tell you, having someone as professional, artistic and competent as he is, is worth their weight in gold! So I put his original design below, and you can see the final effect at the top of the article.

 

So just to remind you, Books 1 and 2 — Spirits of the Dead and The Forest of Riddles will be launched on-line on the 21st September. So pre-order now to get your copies as soon as they are released on Amazon!

AND, there will be a book signing of both books on the 6th October 2018 in East Grinstead, West Sussex, England. 

I shall be at the BookShop all day signing and chatting away to anyone that would like to pop in for a chat. And thankfully, they also have their own tea lounge on the ground floor if you fancy a spot of refreshment and slice of cake.

You can find them  at www.eastgrinsteadbookshop.co.uk 

They are a delightful book shop so if you are ever passing, feel free to visit!

July Newsletter – BIG GIVEAWAY!

July Newsletter – BIG GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone,

I told you to keep your eyes peeled for exciting Christopher Daring news and I am pleased to tell you it is already happening. My first giveaway begins today!

In celebration of ‘The Spirits of The Dead’ eBook being completely ready I am giving away five advanced reader copies! This is only available for you, my amazing subscribers, and I thought I would keep it simple, the first five to reply asking for a copy will receive it.

Here is a quick reminder of what it is all about:

“Through the darkness of a starless night a tall shadowy figure rode silently along the long wet road. His black cloak flapped about him like the wings of a great vampire bat. Christopher Daring looked on from his bedroom window, both intrigue and suspicion forming the seed of a new adventure.

 

Once accompanied by his best friend Jason, they embark upon a ghostly trail into the unknown. They soon find themselves fighting for their lives as they become unexpectedly entwined with both the living and the dead.

 

Upon Jason becoming spiritually trapped and in danger of being lost to the clutches of death itself, Christopher takes up a quest to find a missing golden pocket watch, that should restore balance to the dark forces that surround them all. But, the twisted greed of the local ghostly priest and his demonic hound, Satan, have other ideas.

 

With time running out Christopher must utilise every ounce of his cunning to outmanoeuvre and outsmart the various barriers and mysteries that present themselves.”

Email me at stephenjwillisauthor@gmail.com to apply for an ARC copy of Spirits of the Dead!

I do hope many of you are excited for the release, and don’t worry, for those of you who don’t win the giveaway this week, the book will have a publication date and be available for pre-order very soon.

Things are moving along well with the Forest of Riddles and a similar giveaway for this book will be heading your way next month!

Please consider following me on Amazon to get alerts of the new releases.

Don’t forget that as a subscriber you are entitled to an audiobook of my short story A Figure in The Mist, totally free! If you have not yet claimed your free gift, then click here to download the audiobook and here to download the ebook. And don’t forget to share the news with your friends and family, I would love to reach more people with my stories, and word of mouth is always the best place to start.​

Signs, Symbols & Mystic Codes

Signs, Symbols & Mystic Codes

The Coat of Arms for James Bond

Signs, symbols and mystic codes have always fascinated me. They also appear to be more popular now than they ever were.

The brilliant writer Dan Brown is a doyen of such, and effortlessly weaves them into his exciting thrillers. Even James Bond, the British secret agent has his own brand of associated insignia with his very own Coat of Arms1. The Latin words below the shield translate to: The World is not Enough — also the title of the film in which it was famed.

Various groups: be them underground sects, devil-worshiping cults, secret societies or just your run-of-the-mill social club, all like to be associated, one way or another, to some influential symbol or emblem. This practice appears to go back to the dawn of time.

Sometimes I find that by adding occasional symbols or cryptic images, it can add a certain degree of mystique or depth to a storyline. Not that I would want to use this all the time mind.

That said, here is a sneak-peek at a symbol designed for a book I am currently working on.

It is known as an ambigram, which basically means that this design of the word can be read from various angles, so look at the word upside down and see how it fairs. It is a wondrous style of artistic wording.

For me, the masters of applying quality symbolism, and embedding or associating hidden pictographic narratives within their art work, are to be found at The College of Arms2 in London.

For those of you who are not familiar with The College, it is the official heraldic3 authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand.

As well as being responsible for the granting of new coats of arms, The College maintains registers of arms, pedigrees, genealogies, Royal Licences, changes of name, and flags. Besides having ceremonial duties, they advise on all matters relating to the peerage and baronetage, precedence, honours and ceremonial as well as national and community  symbols including flags.

They can be found at: www.college-of-arms.gov.uk

This is their very own Coat of Arms

They are situated at the heart of the city of London, and if you are interested in heraldry, then do stop by for a visit.

Underpinning the College of Arms is the ‘The White Lion Society’ whose sole aim is to support the college in all its various activities. To find out what these are and for all other things heraldic visit them at: http://whitelionsociety.org.uk

It might also interest you to know that I was very fortunate a few years ago to be introduced to Robert Noel at The College, who has the grand title of Lancaster Herald. This title is for someone who is an English officer of arms at the college, appointed by a sovereign or state. He has a tremendous mastery of the English language and has been a stalwart member at the college for many years now. Those of you also familiar with my Wolfdog thriller, may even have noticed that Mr Noel very kindly wrote the foreword. His generous words can be found in the book, or indeed on my website.


Coat of Arms1: a visual design created on a shield, depicting various achievements, traditionally unique to individual persons, families, states and organisations. The coat of arms usually includes a shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

The Collage of Arms2: a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. Since its re-incorporation on the 18th July 1555 the College’s home has been on the same site in Queen Victoria Street in the City of London.

Heraldic3 (or Heraldry): a broad term encompassing design, display and study of various past achievements unique to these said individual persons, families, states and organisations.