Month: August 2016



‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ is available to buy on Amazon from the 23rd May 2014.‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ is a workbook designed for the modern classroom. It places a heavy emphasis on critical thinking skills and the development of a creative mind.Written for 11-16-year-olds, it enables students to enjoy the learning process while accelerating their development as students of life. It encourages the individual to compose life maps, personal mission statements, nutrition targets and mindfulness goals. It also features a lot of descriptive lessons, monthly revision exercises, composition work and quotes on living well.The technical aspects of English are covered comprehensively with punctuation, grammar and tense work throughout. These are approached in a student-friendly way and use mnemonics to make it easier for both student and teacher.One of the greatest assets of this book is that it has 8 monthly modules based around a theme and each module has individual lessons. This helps the student and teacher to look ahead and discuss what will be required in the short, medium and long-term.The poetry module takes the ‘petry-fy’ out of poetry and has a unique formula for great poetry that the student will find invaluable. It encourages the student to look for patterns and turns him/her into a poetry detective for a day.‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ throws down a challenge for the student while making the teacher’s life so much easier. All the answers to these workbook exercises are in the ‘Teachers’ Guide’. This enables the teacher to be one step ahead at all times while the students are active participants in their own progress.

Source: Book

Friday Freebie – Griddlebone!


The werecat flexed his claws, as he waited in the shadows. Griddlebone wished he could rescue them all, but his orders were clear. He could only take one …


Hi everybody, I have a treat for you this Friday – a free copy of my werecat story, Griddlebone.

Griddlebone was originally part of the Sins of the Past horror anthology and this wily werecat will also make an appearance in the third volume of the P.A.W.S. saga, Umbrae, that will be out in early 2017.

Pick up your copy today!

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Cylon of Athens: The Real-life Teo Altman

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Read on Amazon, now only 99c

One of my favorite Pearseus characters is Teo Altman; the power-hungry despot who lies and kills his way to the top. As most of my characters, he is based on a real-life person from ancient Greek history. Cylon of Athens is associated with the first reliably dated event in Athenian history: the Cylonian Affair, an ill-fated, week-long seizure of power in the city.

Cylon, one of the Athenian nobles and a previous victor of the Olympic Games, attempted a coup in 632 BCE with support from Megara, where his father-in-law, Theagenes, was tyrant. However, the commoners revolted and opposed the coup. Cylon and his supporters took refuge in Athena’s temple on the Acropolis (the later Parthenon). Cylon and his brother escaped, but his followers were cornered by Athens’ nine archons, who persuaded them to leave and stand trial after assuring them…

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Book Reading and Signing – August


S. A. Gibson will present readings and signing of his newest book, Asante’s Gullah Journey 

This will be on Thursday, August 25st in Altadena, California.

Here is a map of the world:


Nefarious land grabbers threaten family farms in the Gullah Lowcounty. It falls to Beneda to bring her people through this chaos. She appeals to the Libraries, those with power in this technology free world. Joined by Librarian-swordsman Asante, Beneda pulls her community together as her grandmother did generations ago. Within this tale of swords and soul, doing what’s right leads to threats unimaginable. Asante’s Gullah Journey is a young adult adventure novel that will appeal to lovers of action, futuristic fiction, post-apocalyptic tales, sword & soul, and archery conflict. African Asante’s sword and Gullah Beneda’s bow are joined in this post-apocalyptic setting, for family, birthright, and oh so much more.

Read this first in a series. It continues the stories of After the Collapse:


A giveaway for a signed paperback is at Goodreads:

If you are in the Southern California area this week, join Steven at Hoopla on Thursday evening:

2591 Fair Oaks Ave,

Altadena, CA 91001


Thursday, August 25. 2016



A Fantasy Tip from the Past: Poisons and the Bezoar

Nicholas C. Rossis

A Hard Man to Kill

Mithridates VI (d. 63 BC) was not an easy man to kill. And God knows enough people wanted him dead. According to Roman historian Justin,

During his boyhood his life was attempted by plots on the part of his guardians… When these attempts failed, they tried to cut him off by poison. He, however, being on his guard against such treachery, frequently took antidotes, and so fortified himself against their malice

Mithridates | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Mithridates VI (Louvre). Image: Wikimedia Commons

Yes, being king of Pontus on the southern shore of the Black Sea was a dangerous job. And Mithridates concocted one of the most well-known antidotes in antiquity (possibly with the help of his court physician Crateuas). Experimenting with different formulations and trying them out on condemned prisoners, he compounded various antidotes to produce a single universal one, which he hoped would protect him against any poison. Pliny…

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A Fantasy Tip from History: Medieval Graffiti

Nicholas C. Rossis

Medieval graffiti | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Name etched on a Suffolk church.
(Credit: The Norfolk and Suffolk Medieval Graffiti Survey, via History Extra)

In Kingston, a small village in rural Cambridgeshire, a stolid tenant farmer is wiping moist eyes. His three children had survived the 1507 outbreak of the ‘sweats;’ a sickness that could see you hale and hearty at lunchtime, and dead before supper. But by 1515 they succumbed to a particularly virulent outbreak of the bubonic plague. Having hastily buried them in unmarked graves, he is seeking a way to memorialize them. Without thinking, he fishes a knife from his pocket and neatly etches the names of his three dead children into the walls: Cateryn Maddyngley, Jane Maddyngley, and Amee Maddyngley.

Tagging and graffiti

Medieval graffiti | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Medieval Graffiti by Matthew Champion

When I was a young thing studying in Edinburgh, I watched with amusement our (older) best friend, Mike, rant against…

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My Thunderclap went BOOM!

My Thunderclap went BOOM!

Dawnrigger Publishing

Victory! I used a free service called  Thunderclap.itto set up a far-reaching free ad post for my last sale. It was a huge hit (by my measurements.) It was also one of my toddler-like “What’s that? It’s shiny! Let’s poke at it and see what happens…” experiences, so I learned a lot by breaking things and doing them all wrong.

Here’s a summary of things I did wrong/ would do differently next time. These are my reminders to myself but are possibly useful to others. Presented without judgment or any claims of Big Knowledge.

  1. Aim low. 100 is the lowest number of supporters Thunderclap will accommodate. HeadTalker is a site I’ll consider for future coordinated post attempts. It has a lower minimum to hit, as low as 25 backers, which takes eases the “Gotta push this!” competitive pressure I feel whenever I do one of these things.
  2. Campaign for supporters for at least a two…

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Forge Blower

I invented the Bow Blower, a combination of the bow drill and forge blower to make a device that can force air into a fire while being easy to construct from commonly occurring natural materials using only primitive technology. I began by fanning a fire with a piece of bark to increase its temperature. It is this basic principle I improved on throughout the project.

Next, I made a rotary fan from two pieces of bark that slot together at right angles to each other to form a simple 4 bladed paddle wheel about 20 cm in diameter and 5 cm tall. The blades of the fan were not angled and were designed only to throw air outwards away from the axle when spun. The rotor of the fan was made by splitting a stick two ways so it formed 4 prongs. The fan was then inserted into the prongs…

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