About Mark Timmony

Mark Timmony is avid reader of science fiction and fantasy who has managed to build that passion into a career as Science Fiction and Fantasy (Genre Specialist) Bookseller. He is currently working on the final draft of his first novel.

In the Tower of the Witching Tree

In the Tower of the Witching Tree
Varkas Chronicles – Short tales Book 1
By Deck Matthews

Shade is a master of the confidence game.

But when her latest play falls apart, forcing her to flee from the local guards, Shade finds herself climbing through a window at the top of a mysterious tower. What she finds waiting for her will draw into an entirely different sort of game—and force her to confront the pain and loss of her own past.

Published by the author
Published on September 2, 2018
Author’s webpage
Buy the book

I purchased this book.

I came across Deck Matthew’s via Instagram on his account @varkaschronicles. He has a great account there, with loads of artistic pics of books – most of which I’ve read and loved, and sketches of characters from his own work as well as maps!

I was intrigued, and promptly stalked followed.

Then he put up a sample of a forthcoming novella on his website. I read it. I was hooked. Pre-order done, I decided I would also give his two short stories ago and today I read the first.

I don’t normally read short stories, I just don’t get them. I want something I can sink my teeth into and stay with it for a week or so. That I actually bought two of them, from an author I had never read before, was saying something.

I loved ‘In the Tower of the Witching Tree’. It is a quick read, but full of life and vivid world building. Combination adventure story/cautionary tale, it follows the thief, Shade, as she enters what she thinks is an ordinary tower, looking for a place to hide from the constables who are chasing her.

I really can’t tell you more about it without giving things away, but Matthews is building a world I really want to find out more about. And hopefully see Shade in some future tales (or novels perhaps?).

If you enjoy works by Sanderson, Abercrombie, Brooks or Salvatore then Deck Matthews is definitely a writer to watch (and read!).

2019 – The State of Play

Welcome to another year! I was looking over old emails today and noted that I sent my WIP – The Blood of the Spear – out to its first beta-readers back in 2013… time goes by so quickly.

Last year, after extensive re-writes I sent the 7th draft out to another round of beta-readers. I understand this is not the most efficient way to do things, it also gets a bit silly calling people who are reading your book beta-readers when they are more like gamma-readers by now but whatever. I have to say though, that I learnt more about what I need to do to a manuscript before I say, ‘the end’ then I have in the last 5 years of ‘rewriting’ (which basically amounted to me pushing words around).

I have learnt that I need to read the whole manuscript out loud to myself before I show it to anyone.

I need to go through the whole thing and cut (most of) the filter words – I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS A THING! One of the consequences of being self-taught, I guess. But in 2018 I discovered these and now they are on my radar! Cutting these filter words reduced the size of the manuscript from about 206K words to 194K.

It’s only after then that I should hand it out. Although my alpha-reader gets to read it before all this happens. Eep!

I also learnt that my grasp of grammar was much poorer that I had realised. It was pointed out to me rather ungently, but once I’d picked up my fragile self-esteem I was able to see some of the things this person was talking about and was able to adjust my manuscript accordingly. Or at least make it better. I think/hope? Regardless, I learnt that this beta-reader is also not the right fit for me, so silver lining.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to criticism, but when it’s presented in a way that is not helpful it can be hard to take. But, possibly good practice for if I ever get published and someone writes a negative review?

So, what does 2019 hold for me. Well. I currently have folders for five WIPs, all of which are set on Sobia, the world I have been building for the last 27 odd years.

1. The Blood of the Spear, book one in The Eye of Eternity.

Marked once the saviour and twice the destroyer, the Phoenix Lord must know himself before he can be reborn. He must descend before he can begin to rise. He must kindle the flame before he is risen.

This is story of two half-brothers touched by prophecy and destined to save or destroy the world. I am currently finishing self-edits based on beta-reader feedback and will be sending it off to my editor in April.

After that will start to hunt down look for an agent.

As a first-time writer I am somewhat apprehensive that a manuscript weighing in at 197K words will just be a bridge to far for a publisher to take a risk on. Yes, self-publishing is certainly a viable option, but this is a (planned) seven book series (at least) and I want to give it the best chance of being read as I can, so I might put it aside and work on something that I will deliberately make shorter, which leads me to:

2. The Path of Stone, book one in The Hand of the Earth series.

At its roots this is the tale of a princess who had chosen to renounce her royal heritage and swear service to the Elder God of the Earth to become a Guardian of the Emerald Fire. But on the night she is to take her final vows, she is betrayed and exiled into slavery.

This is set about twenty years before events in the Eye of Eternity and is loosely connected.

I am thinking this is a four-book series, and the challenge is to bring them in under 150K words each. Well, at least the first one 😛

3. The Tower of the Stars, book two of The Eye of Eternity.

This is in the very early stages of the first draft. I haven’t even finished the prologue and want to sit down and properly plot this one out (I didn’t do that with TBotS).

4. The Heart of the Grove.

A girl’s quest for the truth, a sorcerer’s lust for power.

This is a standalone and happens in the same time-frame as the events in The Blood of the Spear – again this is linked to the Eye of Eternity series but is not required reading.

5. The Five Dragons.

Set in the Crescent Cities, if follows the bitter struggle between two women intent on taking control of one the world’s greatest mercantile dynasties.

Again, this too is planned as a standalone novel. It is set in the same world as The Eye of Eternity series but isn’t (at this stage) connected to the Eye of Eternity series in any substantial way.

Will I get all of this done in 2019? Roflmao.


But I plan to make a good start on both The Tower of the Stars and The Path of Stone.

I am also commissioning an artist to transform my map of Ath’may, the Broken Continent (where my stories are set), into a map worthy of going into a book. I am excited about this and know who I am approaching, but that will wait until later in the year when my cash flow is more robust.

Oh! And I have plans to get a ‘proper’ website happening, but that is well and truly on the back burner until such a time as I get closer to publication.

Happy 2019 everybody!

Revenant Winds by Mitchell Hogan

Revenant Winds
The Tainted Cabal Book One
By Mitchell Hogan

As a secret cabal schemes to awaken an evil thought defeated millennia ago, the lives of three unlikely heroes are fated to converge:

Aldric, a veteran priest and sorcerer, who seeks acceptance from the church that shuns him. On the brink of their approval, he receives a mission that brings him face to face with a long-buried evil.

Niklaus, master swordsman, and slave to his goddess, who plots to split the veil between life and death and ascend to become her equal.

Kurio, the runaway daughter of a noble family, now turned to thievery, who stumbles across a disturbing secret that binds her future to infernal designs.

Drawn toward a horrifying endgame by an unknown force, Aldric, Niklaus, and Kurio find themselves in a battle not only for their lives, but for the beliefs that have come to define them.

A wrong decision, an overreaching ambition, or the failure of an already tormented faith, is all it will take to plunge mankind into an eternal dark.

531 pages
Published by the author
Published on September 5th, 2017
Author’s webpage
Buy the book

I purchased this book.

This review should have gone up aaaaaaaaaages ago. I have no idea how I got so side-tracked, other than to say I need to get into a better habit of posting on this blog!

I loved this book. It is a great start to a new epic fantasy series by Aussie Mitchell Hogan.

Told from three points of view I loved each character equally, and just when I thought Hogan was about to take a particular plot point too far, or fall into overkill, he changed gears and smashed through the sound barrier, ramping up the tension and throwing some hair-raising twists and turns into the plot.

The world building was fascinating – I want to know much more about the lore of this setting – but it was Hogan’s execution of the story and the vibrancy of characters that had me turning the pages and kept me wanting more.

I have a book hangover. I need the next one now.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister
Book of the Ancestor 1
By Mark Lawrence

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

512 pages
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
Published on March 27, 2017
Author’s webpage
Buy the book

I purchased this book.


I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this one. But omg – it was so good!

I have been a fan (of most) of Lawrence’s work since ‘Prince of Thorns‘ came out. And while this is very different, his ability to grip your attention, ring your heart with feels AND make it pound with excitement has not changed at all.

I also love the way he build magic systems. From my limited understanding it seems he plays with quantum theory and and eastern philosophy and it rocks.

I made the mistake of not having the second book ready to go when I finished this one so be you don’t do the same. You will want book 2 as soon as you finish this one.

And yes, I have ordered book 2!

The Weaver’s Boy by Chris Rosser

The Weaver’s Boy
The Lords of Skeinhold Book 1
By Chris Rosser

A young bard and his master travel to a remote castle in a wild, untamed valley. They uncover a dark secret and set off a chain of events that will alter the fate of two powerful realms.

Owain had waited a year to sing for the Duke of Kas Mendoc. But his master, the renowned Trystan of Langorn, has a change of heart denying him the fame and honour he craves. They journey to Skeinhold Castle in the wild Cae Valley. Bitter and riddled with doubt, Owain wonders if he’ll ever emerge from his master’s long shadow.

Yet Skeinhold hides a dark secret known only to a dying lord and his runaway kin. The veil between worlds grows thin and Owain’s Dreamsight stirs. Who is the Lady of Skeinhold and why does she possess an artefact thought lost? Can Owain and Trystan discover the truth in time or will Owain succumb to temptation?

72 pages
Published by Chris Rosser Publishing
Published on July 1, 2018
Author’s webpage
Buy the book

I purchased this book.

I’m not big on novella’s or short stories, this is not because I don’t think they are any good but because I prefer epic novels. The type that are the size of door-stops, that I can lose myself in for weeks. I am very glad I didn’t let that predilection stop me from picking up The Weaver’s Boy by Aussie author Chris Rosser

I really enjoyed it.

The story starts off slowly at first, but the ‘simplicity’ that Rosser employs soon fades into the background as he unveils a story that introduces a world rich in history, politics, religion and power. My favorite things!

In some ways The Weaver’s Boy is akin to the Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – although there is not a broom or bucket in sight. Rather it tells the tale of Owain, a young apprentice (I thought bard at first, but this is soon revealed to be a bit of a misnomer) on the cusp of manhood.

As is the want of many an apprentice, Owain is eager to race ahead in his training, faster than his master will permit, and feels a restlessness and some small resentment at being ‘held back’. So, when the opportunity to learn of the secrets his master keeps him from is presented by a beautiful woman, The Weaver’s Boy becomes a story of temptation and a rite of passage.

And as we learn of the world around him, Owain learns the true depth of his gift, and his own worth, crossing the threshold to adulthood and beginnings of wisdom.

The Weaver’s Boy is a wonderful introduction to an exciting new Aussie voice in speculative fiction. I am very eager to read the next book and to discover more of this world that Rosser has created – and to follow Owain on his next adventure.

I’m hooked and I highly recommend it! 

Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

The Salvation Sequence 1
By Peter F. Hamilton

Know your enemy – or be defeated

AD 2204
An alien shipwreck is discovered on a planet at the very limits of human expansion – so Security Director Feriton Kayne selects a team to investigate. The ship’s sinister cargo not only raises bewildering questions, but could also foreshadow humanity’s extinction. It will be up to the team to bring back answers, and the consequences of this voyage will change everything.

Back on Earth, we can now make deserts bloom and extend lifespans indefinitely, so humanity seems invulnerable. We therefore welcomed the Olyix to Earth when they contacted us. They needed fuel for their pilgrimage across the galaxy – and in exchange they helped us advance our technology. But were the Olyix a blessing or a curse?

Many lightyears from Earth, Dellian and his clan of genetically-engineered soldiers are raised with one goal. They must confront and destroy their ancient adversary. The enemy caused mankind to flee across the galaxy and they hunt us still. If they aren’t stopped, we will be wiped out – and we’re running out of time.

544 pages
Published by Pan Macmillan
Published on September 11, 2018
Author’s webpage
Buy the book

This book was sent by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Loved it!

When I first read that Hamilton was not returning to the Commonwealth universe in this, his new novel, I was really disappointed. I adore the Commonwealth and the stories he has written within it.

But this new novel is just brilliant.

It truly showcases what a creative genius, Hamilton is. From his ability to pull trends and social movements from our world today and to extrapolate them into what they could become, to his ability to twist plots and give his readers a story that is basically akin to a messed up Rubik’s cube – which we then have the sheer joy of watching a master put back together before our eyes, to his understanding of science and its principles and just what could be on our horizon (I think R&D departments of Virgin Space, Tesla, Google, Apple and Samsung etc, need to be going through his work with a fine tooth comb for ideas because his novels are bursting with them).

This book has action, murder, mystery, space, science, far-future tech, human interest and detective work all rolled into one. It is fast paced, insightful and thrilling. An absolute joy to read. And I cannot wait for book.  Or for the audiobook to be released because I will be reading/listening to it again then!

You can buy it here

On My Radar – June 2018

Working my way through the list of new releases for June, I thought I’d bring your attention to some of the titles on my radar for this month.

So let’s get into it! (In no particular order):
The Imager Portfolio #11
Six years have passed since the failed uprising of the High Holders, and Charyn, the rex’s heir, has come of age and sets out to educate himself, against his father’s wishes, on how to be an effective rex after his father.

When privateers attack the rex’s ships, and threats escalate against the rex and his family, Charyn realizes that no one is safe–for an assassin stalks them all.

The future of Solidar rests in Charyn’s hands. Will he rise to the challenge or will the kingdom descend into chaos?
The Imager Portfolio
#1 Imager / #2 Imager’s Challenge / #3 Imager’s Intrigue / #4 Scholar / #5 Princeps / #6 Imager’s Battalion / #7 Antiagon Fire / #8 Rex Regis / #9 Madness in Solidar / #10 Treachery’s Tools / #11 Assassin’s Price
One of my favourite author’s Modesitt has captivating style and is a master of world building. Never repeating himself – and he is hugely prolific – Modesitt weaves epic fantasy tales driven by character’s facing unique struggles as they learn about the world around them and themselves. Check him out.  
The Green Bone Saga
Jade is the lifeblood of the city of Janloon – a stone that enhances a warrior’s natural strength and speed. Jade is mined, traded, stolen and killed for, controlled by the ruthless No Peak and Mountain families.

When a modern drug emerges that allows anyone – even foreigners – to wield jade, simmering tension between the two families erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all in the families, from their grandest patriarch to even the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets.

Jade City is an epic tale of blood, family, honour, and of those who live and die by ancient laws in a changing world.
This is one of those books that caught my attention the very first time I a press release about it. Naturally given my own time restrictions I have not been able to find time to actually read it, however it has been garnering much acclaim and has a spot in my (ever growing) TBR pile… somewhere near the top. This is definitely a refreshing change, so check Fonda out. 
Raven’s Mark Book 2
By Ed McDonald
For Ryhalt Galharrow, working for Crowfoot as a Blackwing captain is about as bad as it gets – especially when his orders are garbled, or incoherent, or impossible to carry out.

The Deep Kings are hurling fire from the sky, a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady had begun to manifest in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power while the city burns around them.

Galharrow may not be able to do much about the cult – or about strange orders from the Nameless – but when Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached and an object of terrible power is stolen, he’s propelled into a race against time to recover it. Only to do that, he needs answers, and finding them means travelling into nightmare: to the very heart of the Misery.

Ravencry is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy Blackwing.
I loved the first book by McDonald, Blackwing – you can read my review of it here – aand I cannot WAIT to get my hands on this one! (Yes, it will likely go to the top of my TBR pile 😛 ).
Let your mind be like the eye of the hawk… 
Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him. 

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity. But in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction. 

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine. 
Jacqueline Carey is an amazing writer. I still remember reading Kushiel’s Dart for the first time and it is – to this day – one of my favourite novels. Carey crafts rich, magical tales of grand adventure. Her prose is nothing sort of masterful and her epic fantasy novels offer her readers poignant and evocative stories of vibrant colour and emotion. 
Carey has said of this novel that: The worldbuilding has an element of New Weird. I hope it will draw vivid pictures in readers’ minds that they’ve never seen before. There are gods in the form of a sandstorm, a towering column of flame, a willow tree, a statue. There’s a ship drawn by sea-wyrms. There’s a guy with dragonfly wings. There’s a giant clairvoyant octopus
Also, this is one of those very rare beasts in the fantasy genre – a standalone!