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C. S. Marks

Where Alterra comes to life

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"Who doesn't enjoy a good villain, after all" - C.S. Marks

Acclaimed fantasy fiction author C. S. Marks has sold more than 35,000 copies of her originally self-published trilogy. Loved by critics and readers alike, her books offer adventure, suspense and mystery. Learn more about the Alterra series published by Parthian Press

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The Positive in the Negative

If you’re a writer who has published work, sooner or later you’re going to get your first really negative review. You’ll know before you see it, because your average rating will have dropped overnight. Yes, friends, there it will be–the dreaded one-star. If you’re anything like me, your throat will tighten and your blood pressure will rise, causing a slight throbbing in your fingertips, the primary sign of dread. We can’t be blamed for reacting this way. Making a book availab

“New and Exclusive”….ummm, whatever works!

So, the other day I was shopping for a cooler to take with me to the conventions–I like to pack my own food and drinks, y’know? I stroll down the aisle in sporting goods, looking over the shelves packed with coolers of all sizes and colors, when something catches my eye. It’s a rather ordinary red plastic cooler, but it bears a BIG label that reads: “New!! Now with exclusive Enviro-cool system.” So, what the heck is that? I wonder. I read the smaller print. It mentions “the l

A few thoughts on World-building

I write in the world of “what if?” The proper name these days is “speculative fiction,” encompassing fantasy, science fiction, horror, paranormal, and…probably a few others I don’t even know about. It’s a blast, and I love it, but it’s a challenge sometimes. All fiction requires a certain amount of scene-setting and imagination, but placing the reader in my own version of “what if?” requires actual world-building. I’ve noticed that some authors do this better than others. I u

Yet Another Sign of the Impending Apocalypse…

Many of us have grown up with classic, poetic descriptions of the “end times”. Everything from the Bible to John MIlton–the apocalypse, hell, the end of days–and all seem to include the horrors of the time. Brimstone, disease, famine, eternal flames, war…yeah, the Horsemen are coming, and they’re coming for us. Many people believe that the end times are upon us, though I haven’t seen anyone walking around the city streets wearing a sandwich board saying “the End is NEAR!” lat

In Praise of Winter

In Praise of Winter As I was pulling the umptieth tick from one of my dogs this morning (the end of October, for cryin’ out loud!) it was easy to appreciate the value of a good, hard winter. Nature has a way of making me feel guilty for all the bad things I say (and think) about her–for example, after the worst drought in the history of our region, we were rewarded with spectacular fall color. In fact, walking in the woods this October was a real feast for the senses, as long

When Food Fantasies Invade…

Imagine for a moment that you’ve been riding a snorty horse for about twelve hours over tricky terrain. The weather has been less than cooperative–alternating between extreme heat/humidity and pelting rain. The rain has made all the tree-limbs heavy, so they droop down across the trail, slapping you in the face as you ride (they’re too low to duck under). You’ve gotten lost at least once already. There’s a tiny wrinkle in the fold of your left knee that you know is going to e

In Praise of Editors

In Praise of Editors First, a little bit of background. I self-published my first book in late 2005. Since then I have published three titles (the Elfhunter trilogy), written a fourth, and begun work on a fifth, all in epic fantasy. The trilogy, with the benefit of several proofreaders and one professional line editor, has enjoyed modest success, with nearly 40,000 sales and over 200 reviews. But it wasn’t until it was picked up by the small-but-mighty traditional press, Sea

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