Thomas M. Kane - Author
The Witches of Crannock Dale—Book One of Mara of the League
When an enemy army threatens eleven-year old Mara’s home, she makes up her mind to save her family, one way or another. But when the knights protecting her village arrest her favorite aunt for witchcraft, she discovers that the difference between friend and foe may not be as obvious as she once thought.
This is a story of war and espionage, set in a low fantasy world. It is also about a child getting to know her mother and father in a new way.
Cover painting by Robin M. Birrell. Design by Tallulah van der Made.
After the excitement of October, here’s an update on my progress with Mara’s series and a look forward to articles coming soon on this site.
Book Two: The Rebels of Caer City is written. I plan to release it in winter of 2020. Rebels tells the story of Mara’s teenage years, in which she breaks the rules of her boarding school to search for a missing friend. This book will feature five new line drawings by Robin Birrell. Robin is also working on a new map depicting previously unexplored parts of Mara’s world.
Meanwhile, I have drafted approximately ¼ of Book Three. When this book begins, Mara is forty-seven and her country, the League of Caerlande, is in the twenty-fifth year of a war. The League’s principled and forward-thinking ruler, Pontifex Orlando, makes a bold attempt to achieve peace. Mara, however, comes to suspect he is walking into a trap. Book Three also introduces Princess-Consort Cordelia and her pet bearded dragon.
I plan to release Book Three in summer 2020.
Also – watch this space! October has been a busy month for me, but I am planning a new series of articles to welcome in the winter. Early offerings will include a step-by-step diary of how I self-published The Witches of Crannock Dale and a book review of Sarah Katz’s tale of Greek gods in the modern world The Messenger from the Mountain. Hope you will be joining me!
Mara of the League revisits the Cold War in a medieval fantasy setting. Writing about that period in this way seemed like an appropriate thing to do, because the Cold War seemed a little fantastical all along.
I’m writing about it through the eyes of a child who is just becoming aware that the knights who claim to be protecting her village may not have her best interests at heart. In that process – in addition to telling a good story – I’m inviting readers to reconsider what actually happened in a time which may not be so far behind us as many people think.
For more detail, see my guest post on David Bridger's blog.
I have written eight scholarly books in the fields of international relations and strategic studies, nineteen books on role-playing games (including supplements for AD&D, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk and Ars Magica) and numerous shorter works. More details coming soon!
Check out my book reviews on Goodreads, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter for news and commentary!
Want to get to know me better? Honored to have been interviewed by Shauna of TweepTattler. Read.
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Research Note: Dragons and Princesses
Currently working on book three of Mara of the League. Since this book includes princesses, I decided it should also include a dragon. Princess-consort Cordelia Aurellius-Maxwell has a pet lizard named Horace. I have been researching what it is like to raise lizards in real life.
It turns out that there is a debate about how domesticated lizards feel about their people. Scientists have traditionally discouraged the idea that animals – and especially reptiles – have emotions. Nevertheless, many lizards and snakes behave in ways which show they recognize human companions. Certain species (e.g. bearded dragons) are visibly affectionate. This suggests reptiles have feelings after all.
Apparently, since there are opposing points of view, some experts have decided to look for middle ground. I have read a number of articles saying that bearded dragons do feel love, but that since they are reptiles, they do not feel it deeply.
This leads me to ask, if we agree reptiles have feelings, who are we to say how deep their feelings are? Feelings, more or less by definition, are meaningful. Reptile feelings feel important to reptiles. Compromises sound reasonable, but they are not always right.
And bearded dragons are really cute!
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I am honored to introduce Peter J. Berman, author of Vengeance of Hope!
Let's start with Vengeance of Hope -- Berman summarizes his plot as follows:
What Silrith Alfwyn does know is that she is heir to the throne of Bennvika. What she doesn’t know is that her peaceful world is about to be turned upside down and torn apart. Battle lines will be drawn, scores will be settled, and history will be made. Once a Princess, always a warrior Queen.
Now for the author -- P.J.Berman grew up in Hertfordshire, England. Since then, after a brief but enjoyable period living in Plymouth, Devon, he has settled in the beautiful Welsh countryside of Carmarthenshire, along with his wife, their baby daughter and their crazy Labrador. Given where he has lived, he’s probably one of the few people to be a fan of both Stevenage Football Club and the Scarlets. When it comes to reading, he is a big fan of both fantasy and historical fiction, with Joe Abercrombie and Simon Scarrow being two particular favorite authors of his.
Facebook Author Page - P.J.Berman Books
Facebook Group - P.J.Berman’s Book Community
Instagram - @pjbermanbooks
Twitter - @pjbermanbooks
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I am honored to introduce Taylor White, whose book Witch's Sorrow appeared in April 2019. White offers a different flavor of fantasy from the one presented in Crannock Dale -- her work takes place in a contemporary European setting, with a modern-day paladin in search of a missing wolf. Learn more or purchase on Amazon.