Friday, 10 December 2010

Zoolin Vale officially released (plus an alternative book blurb by Gordon Williams)

The day has finally arrived. My 2nd novel Zoolin Vale the Chalice of Ringtar has officially been released into the wild. It will only be available from my publisher's website at first, but will filter through to Amazon and book sites worldwide in a week or so.

To mark the occasion here's an alternative book blurb to the book by Gordon Williams of Babora Books

A thief in the night. A missing sacred artifact. An evil warlord from ancient history. A mysterious black hawk. These are only a few of the problems facing Tennen, the newly appointed Lord Protector of Melin. Thrown into a desperate race against time, Tennen must take up the pursuit wherever it takes him.

Meanwhile, searching for his lost family in a war torn land, Devlin finds a little more than he bargained for, something that will change his life forever.

Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar is an epic fantasy filled with strange beings, quests, magic, battles, danger and tests of loyalty. It will keep you guessing every step of the way!

You can directly purchase the book here
Or keep up to date with by following the Facebook page here

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Just 6 days to go!

Just 6 days to go until my 2nd novel Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar is released. Pretty excited about it. I feel this book will do better than my first. Have a few reviews coming up on a number of blogs and even on the Exclusive Books website. I will keep you guys updated as things progress, but if you would like to catch up you can go through my last few posts to see the back cover blurb, reviewer blurbs and an excerpt from the book.

Friday, 26 November 2010

A short excerpt from Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar

Just two weeks away from the release of my 2nd novel Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar.

Here's a little excerpt from the book. Let me know what you think.

Berrinn took the liberty of flying faster this time. When they were about halfway, Berrinn came to a sudden and abrupt halt. The dragon roared in surprise. Something in the water had shot up and grabbed his leg. Captain Norton was seated at the back not holding on very tight. He lost his grip and flew forwards. Berrinn’s back suddenly tilted precariously. Captain Norton flew over Rimotar’s head and over the side. At the last possible moment, Tennen grabbed his arm and a loud cracking noise echoed through the air. He slammed into the dragon’s side. Tennen leaned over and pulled Captain Norton back onto the dragon’s back. Berrinn was doing all he could to stay airborne.

“Hold on!” Tennen had been shaken to the core by the sudden stop.

More tentacles emerged from the water. The strong, slimy appendages snaked around, trying to get a hold of them and pull them to the murky depths below. Berrinn had a monstrous time keeping them up in the air. The tentacles were a dark putrid green with even darker green spots. The water below swirled and turned into a whirlpool. Sharp teeth surfaced out of the water, these teeth belonged to a big round gaping mouth, which opened and shut thunderously. The lake monster sucked in tremendous amounts of water and pumped it out of its massive gills, producing jets of water that flowed out from its sides.

Tennen unsheathed his sword and maneuvered himself to cut them away.

One of the tentacles reached for Rimotar. It was as if the tentacle had eyes of its own. Undaunted, Rimotar pushed it away with his wizard's staff. The tentacle wasn't deterred and returned for more. Using a quick spell Rimotar turned the tentacle into ice; taking a mighty swing, he smashed it to bits. There was a slight utter of annoyance from the mouth below.

Tennen maneuvered into a better position and managed to cut one tentacle in half. More rose up to try to pull them under. With every limb that was bashed or cut away the creature got more agitated and its attack more frenzied.
Captain Norton was clutching to Rimotar’s robe with his one good arm and gritted his teeth over the pain in his other.

“Berrinn, this isn't looking good,” called Tennen.

"Don't worry, nothing that we can’t handle," the dragon replied confidently. Tennen couldn't help but notice that Berrinn didn't fully believe his words. In that an emotion of fright had been transferred between them and the mind link. Tennen gritted his teeth, he was determined to not let his friend down.

A tentacle grabbed Berrinn’s other leg. The dragon flapped his wings harder, stretching the arms of the gaping mouthed monster. Berrinn wrung out every ounce of energy he had left. They heard and felt a horrendous tearing as if the monster had been torn from its hold to the bottom of the lake.

The dragon hoisted the lake creature into the air. Its body was egg shaped with green tendril like roots that must have clung to the lake bed. These roots were torn to shreds.

The creature wheezed like an old windbag. They rose higher and higher into the air. The creature, enraged and dying, pulled closer towards Tennen and the others.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar Release Information

Hello Everyone,

My second novel Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar is going to be released in one month's time! (10th December 2010)

Here's the back cover blurb:

A thief in the night. A missing sacred artifact. An evil warlord from ancient history, out to rule the world. These are only a few of the problems facing Tennen, the newly appointed Lord Protector of Melin. Thrown into a desperate race against time, Tennen, his dragon friend Berrinn, and his men chase the thief and his mysterious companion over land and sea to a cursed island where they try to wrench the Chalice of Ringtar from the enemy’s hands before it’s too late. All while under the watchful eye of a mysterious black hawk.

Meanwhile, searching for his family that had been taken from their home by the enemy during the war in Elfwood, Devlin and his friends face mounting danger as they travel through war torn Welkland to find them. Battling ogres, befriending a rambunctious imp, and even competing for the crown of Welkland in a grand contest, Devlin finds a little more than he bargained for, something that will change his life forever.
What others have to say about the book:

“A vivid fantasy world. A classic quest adventure. If you like Dungeons & Dragons, you will love what Craig Smith has to offer.”

Herbie Brennan, author of the New York Times best-selling Faerie Wars series.

"An enjoyable read - highly recommended for fans of Fantasy novels" - Lood du Plessis,

Lood's Blog

"Craig's prose is deceptive in its simplicity, giving his characters layers of emotion, which also makes Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar a quick and refreshingly honest Fantasy." - Davebrendon's Fantasy & Sci-Fi Weblog

Don't have the amazon link just yet but will post it with other bookseller links as soon as I get them.

Here's the fan page:

You can also pre-order the book directly from the Publisher's website!

Or you could purchase The Red Stone. My first novel and the prequel to Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar from:

Exclus1ves (South Africa) only R107
Amazon US
Amazon UK
The Red Stone FB page

If you have any questions or would like to interview me, feature the book, or review the book please contact me through FB or my email: zoolinvale (at) gmail (dot) com

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it,

Saturday, 16 October 2010

My Third #FridayFlash - Steamed

WARNING: Story has only been proofread a couple of times. Wrote it yesterday.

Brian woke to a crashing sound. It sounded like his cabin was being squeezed inside a giant vice. He rolled off his bunk to the floor, and fell off his feet as the ship swayed violently. It was a lucky coincidence because at that same moment the whole ship began to tilt even more wildly out of control.

Instincts kicking in, he grabbed a hold of the nearest object: a medium sized wooden chest full of his personal belongings. Holding on for his life the cabin suddenly rocked in the opposite direction and did a full somersault. The cabin fell apart under the pressure and to his amazement he splashed into the water; cutting and banging himself badly on the wooden chest and debris.

He collected himself and tried to recover from the shock. Brian was surprised to discover the sea was relatively calm around him. Still dark, he couldn't see what had happened to his ship. Debris and parts of the ship floated all around him. Clinging tightly to the chest he paddled around. Taking a three sixty degree view of area. The sun was just rising on the horizon. 

His jaw dropped as he took in what was looming up over him a few hundred yards away. It was a galleon style ship, but so different to any he had seen before. Stretching out from its sides were massive steel arms with deadly looking claw like pincers on the ends. Pincers large enough to grab his humble fishing boat and toss it to the heavens.

Hoping not to be spotted he dropped behind his chest and held onto the handle. Now that things had settled he could hear the steam powered engines of the ship whirring off in the distance. Minutes of nerve wracking tension eked on by, just as he thought he might be in the clear the chest began to rise up into the air. Within seconds he was above the ship's deck, he dropped down. Moments later the chest was unceremoniously dropped from the pincer. Crashing to the floor and splitting open.

Soaking wet, Brian breathed in deeply and out, trying to gauge what he should do next. He contemplated diving overboard, but facing the crew of the ship seemed like a better prospect than being deserted and left to be eaten by sharks. Out of nowhere something whizzed at his head. Not seeing it in time Brian got another scrape along the side of his head to add to his other injuries.

“Stowaway! Stowaway!” squawked what looked like a parrot, but it was like no parrot he had ever seen. It seemed to be half bird and half machine.

Brian quickly snatched up the lid of the chest in case it came in for another attack. He watched as it flew up and landed on what only could be described as a pirate. But like the parrot there was something very peculiar about the individual. Not only exceedingly tall he was also part machine. Cogs, gears and cams could be seen whizzing around in the man's artificial right arm and left leg. All the enhancements as you might call them were bronze in colour. It matched the plate that covered the top left hand side of his face. A big gleaming red eye stood out in centre of the plate. The pirate's gaze bored into the back of Brian's head.

He had only been the cook on the ship, and he was normally the one who took things lightly or shrugged things off, but this time he wasn't going to stand aside and let life do with him as it pleased. This time he was going to make his will and desires count. Besides he had baked a delicious rhubarb pie the night before and he was looking forward to serving it to the rest of the crew in the morning. That had all been changed by this hideous pirate and his flying bag of bolts.

“I thought we killed them all,” sighed the pirate as if Brian was little more than an insect that had to be stomped on. “See to it will you Nicodemus.”

“I will see to you, you rotten dirt bag!” shouted Brian charging forward with his lid in hand.

Brian swung savagely with all his strength at the pirate. Undeterred the heavily scarred man raised his mechanical arm. The already damaged lid smashed to pieces harmlessly off the man's mechanical arm.

Defending its master the parrot went for Brian's face. It dug its claws into Brian's skin as he backed away trying to swat it off. Wiping away the blood now pouring down his face with one hand Brian used his other hand to grab the parrot firmly by the neck. It squawked and protested loudly as he ripped it away from his face. Intense pain shot through his left eye as the parrot pecked wildly at his eye as Brian pulled it away. Enraged Brian grabbed the evil parrot with both hands and rung its neck. Its red eye slowly faded away to darkness.

“No!” boomed the pirate. “Not Niccy!”

He wasn't sure if it was the pain or the adrenaline that was driving him one, but Brian felt positively invigorated. The insidious pirate lunged forward shouting like a mad man. Seeing the dagger he kept in his chest shining in the morning sun Brian snatched it up, and shoved it into the pirate's chest. Choking on his own blood the pirate collapsed to the floor.

Free to roam Brian discovered that the pirate had run the ship on his own. Piles of junk and loot crowded most of the monstrosity of a ship. Under it all he found a usable kitchen.

Surveying the seas before him Brian took another mouthful of meat. It wasn't rhubarb pie, but he had to admit Nicodemus tasted rather good.

With the ship and all the equipment at hand he contemplated becoming a pirate himself. A less ruthless pirate, but a pirate none the less. He wondered if “One-eye Bri” would be a fitting name?

The End

Friday, 1 October 2010

My Second #Friday Flash - Celebrity Sniper

The motorcade blurred through my sniperscope. They had beefed up security, but it wouldn't do them any good. Ever since I sniped Britney a couple of weeks ago the world had descended into a frenzy. Flood a half country and kill a few hundred thousand people you capture the world's attention for a few days. Kill an often despised celebrity and you're the talk of the whole world for eternity. Look at Lee Harvey, sixty years after the fact and still everyone knows his name

That's why I'm in this. I'm no genius, I can't invent something and be remembered forever. I wasn't born with a silver spoon up my arse. I can't buy myself fame. But fame isn't what I want. I want to be infamous. I wanna leave my mark on this world that no one can clean off.

Britney was a nerve wracking experience. Sure I had killed deer and the like before, but this was different. This was a real live human being with a family and fans who think they know her so well that they would consider her family, but if the tabloids were to be believed she was a pisspoor mother and conniving as the next drugged up starlet. It was tempting to do it at night during one of her drinking binges, but it would have had less impact that way. Besides I like a challenge. I took her out during one of her press releases. It was a marketing event to promote her latest perfume BS, which I thought was rather fitting.

She had just announced to the crowd that the rumours about her becoming a nun was untrue when my bullet went through back of her head. It had the desired effect not only was she dead, slumped on the lap of a shocked photographer, but the crowd went absolutely mental.

It was the most exhilarating moment of my life, and the best part is they have no leads on who did it. I was very paranoid for the next few days, but nothing materialized. It was tempting to go for my next target as soon as possible, but I had to wait. Give people the false sense of security that it was a once off thing.

Back to the matter at hand. This person I had no qualms about killing. Not that I had anything against him, just that I once liked his movies and his recent behavior has left a lot to be desired. There he was now surrounded by bodyguards; black shades and black suits in one hundred degree weather. Getting them out of the sun would do them a favor.

The radio strapped to my belt announced that he was ready to speak. “Mel will now take your questions.”

My finger tightened on the trigger. Just a few more seconds.

“Do you think you can ever rebuild your reputation and career?”

“Of cou....” Mel was cut short. A bullet had just blasted open his windpipe. Gurgling sounds faded away as the crowd of reporters started to scream.

The radio suddenly went dead.

I smiled and casually began to dismantle my gun. My mind already forming a plan for my next target.

The End?

2010 (c) Copyright - Craig Smith

Friday, 3 September 2010

My First #FridayFlash - Just Desserts

Here's a little story I wrote a while back. This my first Friday Flash. I'm currently editing my 2nd novel Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar, but hope to finish soon and concentrate on writing again. Hopefully work on some original stories for #FridayFlash.

If you have a chance to read the story let me know what you think.

Just Desserts
By Craig Smith

Alarm bells rang out in the distance, and Lord Myron's bloodhounds howled against the savage wind. Normally, I wouldn't have taken much notice of them as I worked for Lord Myron, but things had changed. They had changed very drastically. I had been caught stealing. But I had no choice, no other hope.

I could see my brother far-off… if I could just reach him, maybe, just maybe she would live. I clutched the engagement ring more tightly: holding in my hand the very life of my beloved.

I looked up and over my shoulder. For possessing only a bird brain the crow seemed to be quite intelligent. It danced there up in the sky. As if mocking me, daring me to try escape.

It was Gladys' fault. If only she hadn't spotted me taking it, I would have gotten away with ease. I was a trusted member of the household. I would never have been suspected, but nosy old Gladys had to ruin everything. Money for the ring was the only way I could pay for my wife's life or death operation. Gladys was meddling with my wife’s life. She would get her just desserts. I was sure of it!

A few paces from the rendezvous, I tripped over a tree root, crashing to the ground. The ring flew into the air. A black streak shot down and snatched it. The crow shrieked as it flew off with its prize, my wife's life, clutched tightly in its claws.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hi all,

Into the 5th official round of editing my 2nd novel Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar. It has been vastly improved since the 1st draft and I think it's going to be a cracker of a book. If you would like to keep up to date here is the FB page

The target release date is Dec this year.

In real life been battling with a nasty bug, but have managed to beat the worst of it away. Other than that have an ongoing jaw problem, the soonest appointment I can have to check it out is the 21st of September, not happy about this, and hope it doesn't get worse by then.

Hope to catch up with you all soon,

Have a grand afernoon :)!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

All the reviews of The Red Stone so far

If you want to check it out go to:

Thanks for reading :)

Review Number 1:

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, December 23, 2008
By Richard Saunders (VA)

Riveting! I was unable to put this book down. The characters, plot, and everything involved were woven in such a way as to make this story an exciting, fast-paced, adventure. Craig Smith captured the essence of many of the great classic fantasy/sci-fi novels of this genre while maintaining a fresh and original story that allows the reader to feel like part of the story. I hope that a sequel is in the works.

Review Number 2:

5.0 out of 5 stars The Red Stone Review by Kerry Wainwright, 18 Jan 2009
By Kerry Wainwright (Staffordshire, UK)

The Red Stone is an engaging adventure that gets you drawn into the characters with ease. Within a chapter or two you are automatically enthrilled with The Red Stone and Tennen and you are captured by the magic of the authors imagination. I fully enjoyed the late nights and early morning bus rides to be able to sit down and read this title and I can't wait for any future adventures with Tennen and his many loveable friends especially the delightful Berrinn.

Review Number 3:

by BT

In my reading experience I have found that there's a huge difference between a good story and a good book. This is the reason I've become very fussy when it comes to authors - but I'm happy to say I have a new one to add my limited list. Even though there are many authors out there who have good stories, they don't always translate into good books. At some point in the book you find yourself getting bored and it almost feels like what you're reading was just padding added afterwards to bulk it up a little. Well this is not the case with The Red Stone.

I'm no expert but if I had to classify it I'd say it's a combination fantasy / adventure story. It's a perfect tool to use to escape the dreariness of day to day life and the story seems to grab you right from the start and it doesn't let go...not even when you reach the end.

It's action packed and fast paced and I was quite impressed to find myself a little breathless having gotten wound up in what was happening. The lead character in the book, Tennen, finds himself in this whirlwind adventure and everything seems to happen before he's even had time to grasp what happened last and you find yourself in the same shell-shocked mindframe as you follow him along.

I would really recommend this book to anyone of any age and it caters to a very wide variety of genre tastes.

Review Number 4:
by Celia N

Absolutely brilliant story, well written. Enjoyed by teenagers and adults. Highly recommended.

Review Number 5:
By David Jooste

Review – The Red Stone, Craig Smith

Review done by David Jooste

Hey there guys and girls, I’m back yet again with a new review for your reading pleasure. :-)

This week I have a bit of an older book for you, The Red Stone by Craig Smit (2007). I met Craig on line a few months ago and after we chatted a bit he asked if I would do a review for his fantasy novel The Red Stone, and the book lover that I am said yes, naturally :-) .

Well here it is.

One night a young tavern boy is given a strange glowing red stone by a talking black crow, and before he could figure out what to do his life is thrown upside down. Plunged into a world of magic, monsters, knights and Kings, he must learn not only to use his own discovered magic but how to become the hero of two Kingdoms.

In the mean time the dark Count Ergol is amassing his horde of monsters and marching on the idyllic Kingdom of Elfwood, the first stop on his road to becoming Ruler of the all the Kingdoms.

Ok so this is basically an Epic/Heroic Fantasy, I have not read one in a long time, so this brought back a few fond memories from books that I use to read while still in school. I would say its most likely aiming for the same market as it is not a very intense story.

It’s simple, quirky and fun to read and I definitely enjoyed reading it. :-)

The storyline is very simple, nothing to complex or confusing. Two armies joining forces to fight of the evil invaders and along the way new friends and allies are made.

A lowly peasant boy finds out that he is meant for more and discovers that he has great power just waiting to be released.

The flow is also very constant, moving from one place or incident to the next with ease and without cluttering the story with too much additional information. This does however lead to a bit of a down side for me :-( , in a sense the characters know too much. As soon as a mystery pops up or something strange happens, a character explains it, although it is not annoying it does rob the story of a sense of mystery.

There is a wide assortment of characters in this book, from humans, giants, trolls, dragons, goblins, wizards and warlocks to some more creative alternatives.

My personal favorite was Berrinn, a bronze dragon that befriended Tennen, a wise and rather sly dragon to say the least :-) .

The evil Count Errgol was definitely a bit of a comic relief, deviating from the usual dark and deceiving warlord that we usually find in such books. The Count is more of a spoiled noble with grandiose plans and tantrums when he does not get what he wants. :-)

Our main character is the young Tennen. Starting out as a simple tavern cleaner, his journey takes him to all kinds of places, introducing him to many new people and friends, and bringing about his destiny as the keeper of the mystical red stone, not to mention the cool armor and sword he finds later on.

There is not a big change in him but you do see him become more enthusiastic about the new role he plays. You also find him becoming more daring, adventurous and heroic as the story progresses.

There is also his teacher Rimotar, a powerful wizard from the Kingdome of Melin. Rimotar both instructs the young Tennen about his new destiny as well as teaches him how to use his new powers as a young wizard.

There are many more interesting characters to talk about but I will leave them for you to discover. :-)

There was also a small downside in the way the book was written. For younger readers and people new to fantasy this might not be apparent, but to those who are more use to reading such novels they will find that often comments, actions or gestures are accompanied with an explanation, something that in my opinion could have been left out as it was self explanatory in the first place.

All in all this was still a fun diversion from the norm for me. And there is a new book on the way, which I will definitely also read. :-)

So if you’re up for a quick read or just simply want to escape into a fantasy realm for a quick bit this book will definitely work for you. It’s easy to read, has a quick storyline, and leaves you having a fun time.

I would give this book a 6.5/10 (7 if you ignore the downsides)

Way to go Craig can’t wait for the next one. :-)

If you would like to buy the book our SA readers can find it here,
UK readers can find it here, and US readers can find it here.

Have a great day everyone!