I’d like to say a very big thank you to Kate, who is both a writer that I admire and someone who’s become a good friend. I’m never ceased to be amazed at just how much support writers give to each other, and I have to say that this is one of most rewarding things about the industry.
People often ask me why I write, and where I get my ideas from. Well, I’ll give you the same answer that many others will. A story simply pops into my mind and it won’t go away until I write it down. Some may call this a blessing, others a curse. Imagine this tale going around and around in your mind, until finally you have to give in and start tapping away at your tired old laptop. Only when it’s finally all done and dusted, a publisher has accepted and published it, can you sit back with a smile and sigh of relief – only to then have yet another idea pop into your head…
Mark works for Southampton University, and also as a freelance writer in many fields including copywriting. His short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Auguries, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Right To Fight, Escape Velocity, Auguries and Monk Punk. With an 8th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo he’s also written non-fiction for Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net.
His first full length work was Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo, and he also has a short story collection available entitled Distant Shores. His debut novel A Pride of Lions was published by Solstice in September 2013, followed shortly afterwards by 4 novellas: A Connoisseur of the Bizarre, Sally Jane, Nightshade and Santa Claws is Coming. The Cull of Lions is Book II in The Darkening Stars series. He’s now focusing on the third book in this series, The Roar of Lions.
Selena Dillon and her team return to Loreen after their attack on Mantis, only to find the myriad worlds of Mankind once again plunged into war. As the Penal Regiments are betrayed by the Federation of Man, and fighting spills throughout the galaxy, the dreaded Manta raise their heads once again.
Selena soon finds herself trying to track down her friends’ daughter, Hope, from the rabbit holes of Loreen and then fights to free her home planet from alien invaders.
While a general amnesty means previous sins are forgiven, the Queen has not forgotten Selena’s attempt on her life. Selena soon finds herself torn between obeying orders to protect the monarch, and her ravening thirst for revenge. But strange forces are stirring amidst the
stars and Mankind finds itself with surprising new allies, while a terrifying enemy that’s manipulated events from behind the scenes finally reveals itself for the very first time.
“There are still things you don’t need to be aware of, Captain. To be frank, with you going into enemy territory and fighting alongside those backstabbing bastards then you really don’t need-to-know. Now, you’ll join the Second Regiment, Fifth Century.”
“I’ve got one hundred men?”
“Yes, but, as I said, Kes and the others are to go with you, including Lieutenant Jones. We’ll soon see what this new Arthur is made of, if you excuse the pun. Your Commanding Officer is one of ours, General Magki. Apparently he’s of Korean descent. His second in command is a regular by the name of Colonel Bob Matthews, a good man. Do you have any questions?”
“What are the battalion’s current orders?”
“To kill the enemy, something you appear to excel at. That’s all there is to it. Capulet City’s still standing, the charged defensive metal ring around it has kept them fairly secure, the Manta haven’t been able to get past it. We’ve taken this on board and have recommended all allied world re-instigate the design in their cities. We’ve also ensured our own citadels and bases re-adopt their original design, which included it. You’ll be billeted in Capulets Arena, which we’re using as a barracks for the time being. Oh, and there’s one other thing.”
“I know your feelings on the matter but Capulet’s Queen is currently still alive. Just make sure she is when you leave.”
Selena studied him for a moment, her face devoid of emotion, and the admiral stared straight back at her. “Yes, Sir,” she replied, tight lipped.
He leant forward suddenly and jabbed a manicured finger at Selena. “I mean it, Dillon. I know you have an axe to grind, but it will have to wait. As you pointed out, in the old days you’d never have gone back. We’re fighting alongside the Federation of Man on this one and we need to do things by the book. While there’s a temporary truce in place we’ll work together against the aliens. I don’t need the media making the most of any indiscretion. I have enough problems as it is. Do I make myself clear?”
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