Judith Rook  (with Alison Dere)

Writer, Reader and general Book Fan

The Five most influential Indie Author Advocates on Twitter

I tend to suffer from FOMO (the fear of missing out), so when I come across a site or blog that seems to throw useful light on the business of book promoting, I save it in my bookmarks.  This results in huge lists of sources which I never find time to consult, so periodically I clear them all out – and start again, of course.

You get the idea.

This is a labyrinth in England.  You get the idea.

What I need, I have decided, is a broader perspective on the available sources about the huge area of independent book publishing, so when I learned about the following list, I asked permission to feature it as a guest post because it provides some excellent shortcuts through the information maze.  Here it is.


If you’re an indie author – or planning to self-publish a book – follow these people to get insider tips and useful advice.

  1. Mark Coker @markcoker

Founder of Smashwords the giant ebook distributing company, Mark Coker has access to data and publishing trends. Although he doesn’t tweet much and rarely interacts with followers, his insider information is gold for indie authors.


  1. Rayne Hall @raynehall

Author of the bestselling Writer’s Craft guide and pubishing strategist, Rayne Hall tweets frequently about writing and publishing. Watch for her #writetip and #indiepubtip memes. Rayne interacts with followers and answers publishing-related questions.


  1. Joanna Penn @thecreativepenn

A marketing expert for indie publishers, Joanna Penn tweets many links to useful articles and blog posts. She engages in brief exchanges with followers.


  1. Jane Friedman @JaneFriedman

Author and publishing adviser,  Jane Friedman regularly posts links to publishing-related web posts. She often replies to tweets from her followers.


  1. Joel Friedlander @JFbookman

Provider of ready-formatted templates for books, Joel Friedlander tweets mostly links to posts about indie publishing. He doesn’t interact much.


Which other important indie publishing advocates do you follow? Post your recommendations in the Comments section.



My stories open portals into other universes.  They are not windows to look out of, but doors to walk through. They are star-gates and meta-light travel; they activate the imagination and sense of wonder that such things can be. My stories exist because the human mind will always look beyond what can be known.








Young Adult Novella

Young Adult novella   First Steps for a Hero     http://geni.us/Hero1 


I have discovered that one does not slide easily into writing for the late adolescent to early twenties reader.  I constantly find myself thinking about that type of sanguine, inexperienced mind, wondering how far, in this day and age, can I presume that a character is still comparatively innocent and still accepting of family influence?

First Steps for a Hero is my first book written for young adults.  It is short, but in its pages I have tried to present a simple, straight-down-the-line tale of a young man emerging into heroic life, because I believe that heroism is one of the highest of all human achievements, and hero growth begins at an early age.

The Earth-based part of the narrative is set in 1969, twenty-four years before the world wide web became available to the general public.  In this story, people still communicate directly with each other, confrontations are face-to-face, and the characters are not affected by what might appear on social media.  These people live in a world where basic human values are unquestioned, and young men and women are still a bit naïve and hopeful about the adult lives stretching ahead of them.

The story which follows the novella is building into a full Young Adult realist fantasy novel, and will probably be epublished in December 2016.  Further ideas about this book, which will become the first in the Warders of Arrath series, are posted on the Audio Visual page.


Synopsis of First Steps for a Hero.

David Eldwick is a farmer’s son, living in the north country of England in 1969.  He has finished high school and will enter agricultural college in the Autumn.

Martin Horner, who lives on the farm next door, is jealous of David and has made his life at school as unpleasant as possible.  Although David resists Martin’s bullying, he avoids fighting with his tormentor.

Martin and his father intend to seize ownership of the Eldwick land by forcing David’s sister into a future marriage with Martin.  David warns Martin off, but Martin wants Jenevieve and goes ahead with his plans.

David has no idea how to handle his adversary, but a stranger comes to work on the Eldwick farm, and things begin to change.

The stranger, known as the Captain, comes from Arrath, an Earth-like world, existing in a parallel universe.  He teaches David how to defend himself against Martin, and David begins to develop in skill and character.

The young man grows to like and admire the captain.  He discovers that people from Arrath have been visiting Earth for a long time and he becomes curious about the other world.

Martin decides to force David into a confrontation, and at the end-of-summer ball, he kidnaps Jenevieve.  Knowing that finally he will have to fight, David confronts Martin.  He saves Jenevieve, and the captain invites him to visit Arrath.

The captain warns David that malevolent creatures from yet another parallel universe may have found their way onto Earth, intending to infect it with evil. But David learns that on Arrath, he can train to become a warder, a skilled guardian against the darkness.

Before David can make the crossing into the parallel universe, he detects the entry into Earth of other beings.  His Arrathan companions discover that the intruders are the evil creatures who threaten both Arrath and Earth.

Because the presence of Arrathan humans on Earth must be kept secret, David volunteers to draw the enemies away, so that his companions can return to their world undetected.

Alone and pursued, he meets the greatest danger of his life, but he must overcome his fear and protect both Arrath and Earth.

What will be David’s path into his future?  Does he truly believe that the other universe exists and that it can affect the lives of people on Earth?  Will he become a farmer or a warder of Arrath?






My very first MS ready for Publication

Towards the end of 2015 I set myself a major task and gave myself a specific goal.  I decided to re-work the first two sci-fi stories that I wrote and prepare them for print publication.

Both are inspired by contemporary cosmology and deal with the idea of the multiverse and the possibility of parallel worlds.

The revision of the first MS is completed, and I feel more than happy with the result. It has taken me three full months of very hard work but now I’m ready to roll.
I have not quite decided whether to publish it online or, as I first intended, send it into the print market and hope that it is accepted by a publisher or agent.  I will let a couple of weeks go by before I decide finally.

City (2)

Here is the first chapter.


by   Judith Rook  ©  2014


Peter Williams swore.  It helped.  There were no children or women around, and if any men heard him, it was their bad luck.  It was either swearing or kicking something, and a man in his sixties should not be seen laying into a baggage carousel.  What was the point of business class if you had to wait for your luggage?  It had upset the airline people.  It had upset him!  How could travelling cases just disappear?  Two of the airline staff had gone off to enquire.  That was twenty minutes ago, and nothing had happened since.  At this hour of the morning, the international arrivals lounge was just about empty.

But what else could he expect?  A trouble-free journey from Western Australia to Leeds/Bradford in the UK?  Not bloody likely!   Grayne, the alien leader, wanted Peter back, to become his helper again.  Once more the other dimension was pushing its way into his life, stirring things up.  He thought he had forgotten – no, he had forgotten – Grayne’s headquarters, the Place of Connection; he did not believe in it now, thank you very much! Whatever had happened there, if it had happened, had been a fantasy, a twist of the mind, although thirty years ago it had got him out of England and across to the other side of the world for the rest of his life.

Here came his luggage, on a trolley pushed by an apologetic airport official, and a Customs window was still open.  But he could put the bags into overnight storage and go back to Australia tomorrow.  Why was he here?  Just because he remembered making a promise?  But at the time he had been desperate and when Grayne, his master, had asked, Peter had given his word willingly.

He would spend the night in a city hotel.  It didn’t commit him to anything.

The intense golden radiance dimmed. Paramax, First of the Governing Council, took shape briefly and addressed the most mature and complex of his offspring.

“Your helper has moved. He is making for the controller’s portal. He will be available to you again.”

The custom was that subordinates remained silent, but the scion’s energy surged.

“You have called him back. You may speak.”

“I have.”

“You know the danger. He will be hunted.”

“I am prepared for the adversary; I wait only for the controller.  She will return soon.”

“Your helper is not prepared. He must be protected until the maker joins you.”

“I will protect him. I will not meet him.”

 At his time of life, Peter could adjust to change, but the new face of the city centre was startling. Sixty years ago, when the Clean Air Act had come in, the buildings, blackened with the soot of a hundred years, had been blasted to their original golden sandstone. That had been good enough but now those buildings were reflected in a wide sheet of water. A mirror pool? In Bradford? Good grief! Peter turned from the hotel window.  No distractions.  He needed to think, he needed to decide.

 Terror was always sweet, and so much fear could be extracted from the human mind. The makers who served him did not enjoy the taste. They found the vibrations of despair too disturbing, too rich for their capacity, but he forced the absorption on them, anyway. It was amusing to watch and bound the makers to him even more firmly.

It was unfortunate that lately one or two of the weaker ones had returned to chaos.

“Great lord, there is a message.”

He dropped the half-drained material body. “Take this for distribution. What is the message?”

“Master Grayne’s human helper has emerged again. Its pattern has been detected. It may be moving towards the Place of Connection.”

“Is its location exactly known?”

“No, great lord, only the pattern has been sensed.”

At last! The proto-master heaved his vast power out of its resting field, preparing to enter the flux which would take him into the human world.

“Instruct the Madon to join me.” 

In this matter, his lieutenant would be needed.  He would find this human helper and through it he would destroy his enemy.

 Across the square was the railway station where thirty years ago, early in the morning and with no-one to see him leave, Peter had taken the train south, cutting himself off completely from the incredible events which he had experienced. Events which, buried deeply in his memory, had lately been wrenched back to the surface of his mind. He did not want them there. He wanted them to retreat, to subside, and that could happen if he returned to Australia immediately. Would it matter if everyone thought he was in the first stages of some mental problem? He could bear that. What he might not be able to bear was to see Grayne again.

Five weeks ago he had received the press cutting from Alexander, and the carefully suppressed memories had welled up and flooded his mind, taken him over, dominated him. Peter’s comfortable semi-retired life in a leafy Perth suburb became shadowy and unsatisfactory, and three weeks later he booked a flight to England.

“Why are you suddenly going to England?” asked his sister, Madeleine.  “There’s nothing there for you now; you’ve always said that.”

“I think I need a break from here, that’s all.”

“Will you contact Alexander?”

Peter did not say that Alexander had already contacted him.

“Are you coming back?”

“I should think so, but there may be a couple of things I have to do first.”

And that was as close as he came to telling Madeleine that he was not going to England for a holiday but to act on the promise made years ago; the promise which meant that, when he saw his sister again, he could have lived thirty . . . fifty more years, although Madeleine would never know it.

It would happen, because now Peter grimly accepted that he could not run back to Australia.  He admitted finally that he needed to see Grayne again, wanted to speak to him, wanted to join him in following the strange plans that his alien mentor believed in, whatever they might lead to.

The controller had returned to her ingathering for renewal. Grayne could do nothing until she emerged, refreshed and powerful again. The years spent in the human world had wearied her, although she had learned so much more about the troublesome and recalcitrant race. She had made no human friends, as he had, but she had watched and thought.

“The controller will assist you in this matter?” His genitor’s query was bland but it hid knowledge. “If a confrontation with the enemy becomes inevitable, will you face him, joined with her once again?”

“She would never agree. She gave up too much in our first bonding.”

“Ah, then, the risk will be great. I do not wish to lose my scion. Is the human so important to you?”

“Nothing could be more important than Peter.”

“I remember the helper; he has courage. Do you also remember; he will be pursued.”

 Soon after breakfast, Alexander rang. Coming down the line were half-distant noises of animals and machinery.  Alexander owned High Leylands, a substantial farm holding given over mainly to the rearing of sheep and cattle, and Alexander was preparing to hand the farm on to his son, Michael, who had been to agricultural college and had modern ideas about diversification and the possibility of producing bio-fuel mass.

Now, by telephone between farm and hotel room, preliminary arrangements were made. Alexander would collect his cousin around six-thirty that evening; they would be back at High Leylands by eight, and Peter would settle in before a late supper.

On the subject of where Peter would sleep, Alexander was a little surprising.  “We thought you may like to stay in the old cottage at the top of the field behind the main buildings,” he said.  “You’ll probably remember it as a bit of a ruin but over the years we’ve renovated it.  It was where Michael lived before he got married but it’s too small for a young family and Michael and his wife have gone to live in Oldwick, still convenient for the farm, but nearer to his wife’s people.

“Everyone’s happy but the cottage stands empty.  It would warm it up a bit to have someone living there again, even if only for three or four weeks.  The place isn’t what I’d call stylish, but it’s comfortable enough and you can be completely self-contained, if it would suit.”

It would suit very well indeed.   Could it be that Alexander realised that his cousin had things to do, and he was offering a base where Peter could be independent and come and go without much remark?

“It’s an excellent idea, Alexander, and thank you both for the offer.  I hope we’ll be able to come to some financial arrangement, but I deeply appreciate your hospitality.  After all, I’m practically a stranger.”

“Well, in the sense that I haven’t seen you for sixteen years and I’ve about forgotten what you look like, yes, you’re a stranger.  On the other hand, you’re family and I remember that we got on very well when you lived with us and we were young fellows in our early thirties, before you disappeared to Australia.”

Alexander paused as though he might be gathering his thoughts for something further but then continued: “Well, we can talk about all that once you’re settled in, but there’s something else.  I haven’t told Fiona that you’re here because of that piece from The Advertiser.  She seems to have the idea that you’re thinking of coming back permanently and this visit is in the way of a preliminary survey.”

“There could be some truth in that,” replied Peter.  “I’ll have a good look round the district while I’m here, and if I find a house that I really like I might decide to stay.”

“Right, then; expect me around half past six,” said Alexander, and rang off.

The proto-master stared out into the human world.

 “It is not to my liking.  There are many troubled energies, but not enough.  There is too much strength of self; too much hope for goodness.  I can change that. But what does Grayne of the Gold seek here?  He cares nothing for goodness.”

He turned to his lieutenant.  “What does the maker desire?”

“This one desires revenge on the human.  This one desires to find the Peter and torment him.”

The dark lord showed him a place, high-lying, earth-fast and strong, a group of human buildings with one standing apart.

“Watch here.  When you see the master’s helper, inform me with no delay.  If you wish, you may contact him, but do not reveal yourself.  You will enjoy his fear.”




End of 2015 Greeting

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Day and we’re looking for slightly cooler temperatures in my part of Western Australia, although they are destined to soar towards New Year.

Already I am looking ahead, into my 2016 writing future. I know that many people feel that having more than one work in progress is perhaps not a good thing, but I have begun three new projects and I am writing them simultaneously with no particular stress building up.

One of them is a short story on the theme of the emergence of a hero from unlikely material and his first victory over an enemy. This is already directed towards an anthology of hero stories; that is, if the editor gives it the thumbs up.

The other two projects are: first, the ongoing third novel in the “Circe” series where the evil force which has attached itself to the pirate planet Lantora begins to move towards Circe and First Home. In this book the arch-enemies Lewis Brock (my main male character) and Darland Courvenier (my charismatic villain) are forced into a reluctant alliance for the sake of survival, while Tethyn (my main female character) grows in power.

Then there is a novella which is building itself nicely around the idea of alien interest in the planet earth and its humans. This is what some people would call a ‘trope’ but what I call an almost archetypal theme and one which may offer some lines for humans to follow into a possible future. At least I hope the finished book will give people some grounds for thought. Sherri S.Tepper dealt with the same idea in her masterful and humorous 2000 novel “The Fresco”.

I began writing on this theme in 2012, in my first two sci-fi books. Because they were my first novels, and because they brought nothing but agents’ rejections, I decided not to epublish them but to rewrite them, and one day they will be published on line – perhaps in 2016. Meanwhile, the novella will carry the theme a little further.

One further project in 2016 is to arrange for print on demand versions of my three books. I would like to hold them in my hands; I would like to see them as real books, and I would like to take photographs of them to use in my marketing.

We’re entering the phase of the great story which involves the three visitors and here they are, from down-under. Then here are my favourite teasers for each of my on line books. I’ll include their links : http://geni.us/p1w2   http://geni.us/m1o2p    http:/geni.us/T1T2WoD.

The final thing is for me to wish everyone all the very best for the Festive Season and warmest wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Judith Rook Books's photo.Judith Rook Books's photo.Judith Rook Books's photo.Judith Rook Books's photo.



This week I was really pleased  to receive the cover for “Hell’s Grannies”, an anthology of stories about aging women, some of whom are ladies, some of whom are not, but all of whom are in their own way determined that getting old will not get them down.  The editor, April Grey writes:

“Aging is not for the faint-hearted, yet there is little choice in the matter. You can take good care of your health, your finances, your loved ones and still life will throw a curve ball.

“In this anthology you will find tales of courage, of women who rise to the challenges of time in many different ways.

“Some stories are of women aging gracefully but their tales are still kickass because they have a lot to overcome. Other stories are humorous, because if you can’t age gracefully, then by all means age disgracefully.

“And there are a couple of very dark tales as well. I think you will delight in them as much as I do.”

I have a story in the anthology.  Called “Watchers of Old” it was inspired by the idea of the three Fates of classical Roman and Greek mythology.  I wondered how such strange, archetypal figures would appear in a simple contemporary social setting and wrote the story in answer.   I had been working on this theme earlier in the year – in September – but nothing really came fully together until late in October.   The release date is December 23rd this year and it will be out as an ebook and also a paperback.



Very Helpful Science Bloggers

 It is very strange, but within the last two days I have come across the work of two bloggers, who I believe will help me bring as much authenticity as possible into my science fiction novels.

One of the writers presents an overview of recent science discoveries and trends, and the other discusses concepts such as dark matter. They both seem to possess a very well-developed sense of humour and both are extremely accomplished writers.

The name of the overview presenter has disappeared from my inbox, but I have subscribed to his blog and newsletter and I will post his name when contact is established. The other writer, T.E. Mark, https://temarkauthor.wordpress.com/discusses concepts in a highly amusing style, and both will help me keep reasonably close to the straight and narrow of physics, even if they may not be physics as they relate exactly to this particular universe.

What these two writers do is a generous and nice thing. Blogs of this quality are not put together in five minutes – not even in five hours – and I can only hope that they will continue with their very interesting and definitely helpful posts for some time to come


Prize Draw on Facebook

 This is a Prize Draw which is running on my Facebook Fan Page:   https://www.facebook.com/JudithRookBooks.  (Highlight the link, then right click, then left click on the “Go To” tab.)   I am sorry that the draw only extends to the US and Canada, but postage to other countries is very high.
Judith Rook Books's photo.
Judith Rook Books's photo.Judith Rook Books's photo.



Notebook & Pen
Trinket tin
Chocolate spoon and bookmark
Page Peeper
Mint tin
$5 AGC

Second Prize
$5 AGC
To be in for a chance to win all these goodies, read on.

(REQUIRED) Buy one of Judith’s books and then post the invoice on this thread. (see below) All books are $2.99

(Extra 1x entry) Tag two friends onto this post.

(Extra 2x entries) Write and post a review of one of Judith’s books on Amazon.

A head-strong female from the planet Circe and a powerful man from planet First Home are the only two that can save the intellectual planet.

A man from Circe travels to First Home to train as a solider. But he carries a dark side with him.

Fantasy, erotica mixed with danger and thrills.
To save Yolande from being sold, two powerful men agree to share her.

This contest has nothing to do with Facebook
All books are $2.99

Describe, in One Paragraph!

 Judith Rook Books   (Taken from my Facebook Fan Page)

I was scrolling down the timeline in the “Science Fiction and Fantasy” Group. I came across a post by Isaac Aubrey Law:

“Fairytales in Outer Space”, I’ll need to remember if I want to stay in a friendly mood, especially if Star Wars is considered that. Anyway, it is rather Fun to create entire worlds and populate them with imaginary species. I’ve been working so hard to define myself as a storyteller, but in a single paragraph, how would you describe your particular stories?

This is my response to the post:
My stories open portals into other universes. Not windows to look out of, but doors to walk through. They are stargates and meta-light travel; they activate the imagination and sense of wonder that such things can be. My stories exist because the human mind will always look beyond what can be known.

Judith Rook Books's photo.

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