Siân’s & Telly’s Friday Night Fiesta! The paperback’s here!!!

Yeah – so it’s been a while, but Jan’s been consumed with other online work and a ‘real world’ fantasy convention to attend on the bank holiday weekend, so we’ve been quietly busy in here getting the paperback edition all gussied up and ready to go out into the world! 😀 I’ll let Siân tell you all about that, as she’s the one who’s done the most work of course! 😉

Thanks Telly! 😀 It’s been a labour of love of course, but the physical paperback edition of A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac went ‘live’ on Amazon today and we’re pretty chuffed that it’s all done. With Jan’s publications background, the launch of the print edition is always one close to our hearts and this is no exception, not least because this has the definitive layout design and generally looks a lot better than the eBook version. And, of course, there’s nothing to beat holding something so lovely and tactile in your hot little hand and breathing in the woody goodness of the paper! 😉 eBooks are great for carrying about on the hoof, especially on holidays when you’re planning to fit in a lot of reading time, but print is the genuine article and will always be a more precious experience for us traditionalists! Biiiiig glasses of wine tonight folks! LOL

You’ll see that we’ve put on a link to the Amazon paperback page (which has the Kindle page piggybacking on it) over in the sidebar now, so that about wraps it up for this post because we have a partay to get to folks. We’ll just leave you with one more gem from AFFA – a ‘little’ piece about how our little Jano got her ears…! 😀


Ears (unspecified version)

There once was a babe named Janowyn,
Whose dear little ears kept on growin’
These sweet Elven tips,
That her Mommy’s sad lips
were cryin’, ’cos their growth wasn’t slowin’.

Aldred, her step-dad round the room paced
Such a dilemma he never had faced.
He was truly dismayed
At the fuss those tips made
And a Healer was called – with all haste!

Now this poor man, he was almost clueless
On the pointy disease and its newness.
His talents were all spent,
And his instruments – bent
By the strong little tips in their pureness!

Had they paused to ask Jano she might
Have said “Love my ears” but her plight
Meant she wouldn’t –
Far too young, she just couldn’t.

So they all trekked to the City of Light.
Now their plan was to ask of the great Queen
How such ears on a girl-child could be seen
And suddenly grow
’Cos they just didn’t know
And by this time their size was – obscene!

Well the Queen, ne’er flummoxed, asked her father
If he’d tell, how they’d got in such mather
He said “’Course I can
’Cos I am The Man,
The best healer in Arnmor or farther!”

Well the Elf lord, of course he was wise
But these ears wore a cunning disguise
That, try as he might
The mystery stayed tight
As a clam, to their beastly loud sighs.

But this Elf Lord had more to his skill
Than some charms or a bitter-sweet pill,
So the Queen he did task
For Mom’s ancestry to ask,
And at last truth could finally spill.

Jano’s kin, they came from Oisin Troth
A town close by sea and wild wave froth.
Once a place that could tell
Of Elves from Findrandel
And Sea Lords mingled, so ’tis quoth.

So – half an answer they had finally got
That perhaps had been so hard to spot.
But now – where to look?
Such a long time it took
Findin’ theories that ’plained quite a lot!

Well Jaenarra, the Mom, finally told
Of dire wraith wounds, whilst her tummy still swoll’d.
Now although she was cured,
Her babe reeled as tho’ skewer’d
Like a fish, by cruel poison so cold.

Now comes the time for conclusion,
‘Twas no cause to feel disillusion,
For Jano’s young blood
By herbals ’twas flood
When her Ma drank it strong by infusion!

’Tis said that herbals are so strong
From them purged was that poison so wrong.
E’en with elixir ’twas said,
A human child might be dead,
So Jano clung to her Elven blood’s song.

Though different, Jano’s healthy and blest
With love, Elven ears and heart ’neath her breast.
She’s still Momma’s child –
Aldred’s love’s still beguiled
With her life’s blood – Elven noblest.


A piece of fun written in what I promptly dubbed a ‘limerick saga’, I think there’s probably a more precise description of this form—but I can’t be doing with those. This is sending myself up for an earlyish attempt at explaining away Jano’s ‘duality’—being an Elf on the outside, but often thinking and feeling like a mortal on the inside. I needed a canon reason for this and worked out what I thought was a nifty way of accounting for that by basically making Jano a ‘changeling’—originally a fully human baby, but then magically changed into an elf at birth.
The lore-enforcers—‘officers of the lore’ would have had a fit I think, so I chose to have Jano keep this very much to herself, only telling her closest friends, and Silen of course, the true circumstances of her birth. With changelings anyway having close ties with foundlings, the concept stands in the more mundane and still truthful explanation that she was brought up from birth by humans and so that’s what Jano lets people assume until she knows them well enough. With writing ‘fanfic’, part of the fun for me is making a concept ‘work’ within the Middle Realms, but also in a modern sense as well. So I played with genetics a little here and, for purists I took a liberty too far perhaps—Silen didn’t mind though. More plausible is my take on how the Black Lord corrupted the life forces of the first Elves… But that’s another tall tale—and one that is prose of a much darker nature and even weirder science, and not poetry in any conceivable way…

9 thoughts on “Siân’s & Telly’s Friday Night Fiesta! The paperback’s here!!!

  1. I’ve recently taken on formatting my own books for paperback and e-versions (after splendid work from my typographer Colleen Sheehan provided me with a worthy template). I’m making good progress (I think), but any hints and tips from experts willing to advise an amateur are always welcome! if you’ve anything to impart on that front! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • A good layout template is worth it’s weight in gold, Robin! Mine comes from POD rolls royce company, Lightning Source, which is the ‘trade’ side of IngramSpark who cater for individual indie authors. The parent company of both is Ingrams who happen to be the biggest book distributors on the planet and one of Amazon’s main order fulfilment partners.
      Another of my ‘go to’ places is Dave Bricker’s blog The World’s Greatest Book which has all kinds of great source articles on the art of book design and publishing mechanics. Also his excellent self publishing guide – The One Hour Guide to Self Publishing (
      The best ‘advice’ I can give on typesetting/formatting is to keep things simple and consistent – and for the written word, traditional really is the best way to go, by which I mean seriffed type for body text. It really is much easier on the eye! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks a lot, Jan. I’ll follow those links. Do you write and format initially in docx? If so, what’s your preferred program for going from docx > epub and/or mobi?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I always write ‘on the hoof’ in Word but when it comes to typesetting for print or eBook I use Adobe InDesign which is the core application to export in for both PDF and ePub formats. ePub is the industry base file type for mobi and all the other types of eReader platforms.
        WIth ePub you also need to validate your file before sending it off to Kindle etc – I use but I think there are other validation sites – that one’s free for minor publishers 😉
        You can still use Word to export into PDF (don’t know about ePub) and then use Createspace & Kindle Direct Publishing, but InDesign is like QuarkXpress (they’re both the industry standard applications for publishing). It has way more features than Word, but is far more expensive, even if you’re using the student package.
        I would highly recommend using Ingrams/Lightning Source for your print on demand editions – the product is top notch and they turn around the set up really quickly. and charge are pretty competitive, as are their author compensation rates since they are purely and simply print on demand and nothing else. IngramSpark gives the same quality and offers more support for the small publisher/indie author.


      • Thank you for all that – I’ve got a lot of investigating to do. I followed some other advice I found on the net a couple of weeks ago that said I should copy and paste my wordfile into Crimson Editor to strip out all the formatting, then copy and paste it from Crimson Editor into LibreOffice Writer and put all the formatting back in. Having done that, I had an .odt file that looked good but I couldn’t save it as an epub, and it was a disaster when I saved it as a PDF! It saved pretty accurately as a docx, so I have just tidied it up in WORD! It looks just how I want it to look, but the trick now will be to export it accurately to epub and PDF.

        It’s all good fun, and I will definitely get there, especially now I have some terrific pointers from you. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I use Auto-crit as an editing tool and I’ve heard good things about Scrivener (Harmony Kent uses it). I think Word gives you a good intuitive layout solution that is very compatible with PDF conversion, so you really don’t need to strip away the formatting as that’ll be preserved when you export it! 😉


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