Saturday, December 17, 2011

Breaking news and tips for independent authors

     This is going to be another short post. I just wanted to share the good news that The Sword Of Magna is one of 8 featured books this week on the Free-eBooks home page. In just under 24 hours, the free .pdf version of my ebook has already been downloaded 142 times.

     I would highly recommend them as a valuable resource to any independent authors looking to gain exposure for their works. Besides posting the free downloadable .pdf version of your book on their site, for a very minimal fee you can also create an author profile for yourself, upload your author photo, book cover image, bio, a brief synopsis of your book, and any links you care to add (to sites where your real Kindle or eBook versions are available for purchase). They also have additional optional services, like emailing the .pdf version of your book to a mailing list of over 900,000 avid readers (also for a comfortably affordable fee…). Here’s the link – check them out for yourself:

     I must also recommend another site which I think is a great resource for independent authors. The site is called BookDaily. The only difference between the BookDaily site and the Free–eBooks site is that with the BookDaily site you can’t submit a .pdf version of your entire book, but it's completely free to add your own author profile. They let you upload the first chapter, along with a brief synopsis, author photo, book cover image, bio and links to any sites where your book is available for purchase…all for free. And it does feel good to have your book listed right alongside books by J. R. R. Tolkien, Steven King, Ayn Rand, C. S. Lewis, Kurt Vonnegut and J. K. Rowling (to name but a few…). Here’s the link:

The inhabitants of Axphalia (Part 2)

 In this post I would like to introduce you to some of the other peoples and creatures who make their homes on Axphalia.

The dagons:
Although the dagons are from Timneria, they are listed here due to their invasion of Axphalia and the way this invasion impacts the unfolding history of Axphalia (and all of Magnatus). The dagons are a bloodthirsty and warlike race. They are bred for warfare and show no fear or mercy. The typical dagon is broad chested and muscular and stands head and shoulders above most of the other inhabitants of Axphalia. The dagon fighter is usually well armored with iron chain mail, an iron breastplate and an iron helmet. His weapon of choice is the giant axe. These grotesque-looking creatures are not unlike Tolkien’s orcs…..a single armed dagon is an intimidating enough sight, but the sight of a massive dagon army advancing would strike terror into the boldest heart.

The mirror people:
The mirror people are the messengers and servants of Magna. No one knows for certain how many of them there are, but they seem to be scattered throughout all Magnatus. The mirror people are imbued with some special gifts…not unlike the powers that earthlings would attribute to angels. One of these powers is the ability to materialize and dematerialize at will, allowing them the opportunity to travel vast distances instantaneously. The mirror people are invisible unless you happen to be looking exactly in their direction. If this is the case, all you would see is your own reflection (hence the name “mirror people”). They can speak in any language and dialect to be found on Magnatus, and in special circumstances they can physically intervene in the affairs of the other inhabitants with the blessing and direction of Magna himself.

The felonians:
The felonians of the Western Outlands are an ancient race of living trees who once engaged in an epic war with the ancient sylvanians. The great war ended when the sylvanians used some kind of magic power to put the felonians to sleep. Reports have it that the felonians have recently awoken from their centuries-long sleep, and have joined forces with the dagons. The felonian diet is strictly blood. They seize their victims in their thorny limbs and slowly suck the blood out of them. A felonian can outrun a treadling at full gallop.

The sylvanians:
Ironically enough, the ancient sylvanians, now long extinct, met their demise at the hands of the very foes they had just vanquished. Just days before the sylvanians won the war by putting the felonians into an enchanted sleep, the felonians had poisoned the sylvanian’s water supply, and the entire sylvanian race died within a week of their short-lived victory. The ancient sylvanians once lived in a vast network of underground caverns far beneath the Ancient Forest. They were renowned metal workers – a race of extremely gifted gold- and silversmiths whose intricate works in all types of metals are legendary throughout Axphalia. At the time our story begins, the few surviving sylvanian-wrought metal objects are very precious and highly treasured….

Friday, December 16, 2011

Third review

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked the story, descriptions, and the action., November 29, 2011
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This review is from: The Sword Of Magna (Kindle Edition)
The story started out with some good descriptions of the characters and their environment. Got really into it when the action picked up. Wow, didn't expect that ending. The story was very exciting. Get it. Read it. You'll like it.
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The inhabitants of Axphalia (Part 1)

   The planet of Magnatus has three large continents - Axphalia, Timneria and Numeria. In this post I would like to introduce you to some of the peoples and creatures who make their homes on Axphalia.

The dwelflings:

     The dwelflings are a placid, contented folk who typically marry young, settle down early, and seldom move away from the village they grow up in. It is not uncommon to find dwelfling families living in the same village that their great, great grandparents had once lived in, and even sometimes in the same treetop. They are fearful of the Eternal Lake due to the proliferation of folk tales and rumors about the fearsome sea serpents who are said to inhabit it. They are generally a cheerful people, mostly crop growers, woodworkers and builders, who have very little appetite for excitement or adventure. They live in elaborate treehouses in the treetops of the giant oak forests of the southern counties.

The orchnids:
     The orchnids are a refined race, with their silvery skin tone and bell-like voices. They are well known for their speed, grace and agility. These are largely facilitated by the winglets on their wrists and ankles. They are also renowned as poets, artists, metal workers and floral arrangers. The orchnids typically live in caves on the steep hillsides of Meade County, and take great pride in their landscaping and flower gardens. All of the cave mouths are usually framed in dazzling arrangements of wildflowers.

The edelites:
     Generations ago the edelites lived in the northern counties, while the dwelflings and orchnids inhabited the south. One day the edelites amassed a huge army and marched on the south, pillaging and burning the villages in their path. The dwelflings and orchnids joined forces, and defeated the edelites after a bloody three-year war. The edelite survivors were taken as slaves and the four counties were then divided amongst the dwelflings and orchnids. The orchnids chose Meade County because of its high mountains and abundance of precious metals, and in exchange they agreed to let the dwelflings keep the other three counties and all of the edelite slaves. Today most dwelfling families own edelite slaves, although they are treated nothing like slaves, and instead have formed very strong bonds with their "masters", becoming more like an extension of the family.

The swamp folk:
     The enigmatic swamp folk live among the mangroves in the mysterious Misty Swamp on the southern tip of Axphalia. At the time of the beginning of our tale, no swamp folk has ever been seen by dwelfling eyes, but on the stillest of nights their mournful song can be heard from the treetops of Oakfield. Every so often the residents of Oakfield might even hear the ominous clacking sound of the swamp folk shaking their bristles.

The forest nymphs:
     These nocturnal treetop dwellers live in the heart of the Ancient Forest, where they spin their hammocks between the highest tree limbs. The diminutive, large eyed, half-transparent forest nymphs are the keepers of the ancient lore books, due to the fact that they are the only creatures on Axphalia to have mastered the art of reading and writing. They usually have very little to do with the other inhabitants of Axphalia. They live on a diet consisting entirely of dewdrops. At night they emit a pale blue glow, and at night they are easy to spot - you just look for the blue glow. The entire community moves daily. They spin their hammocks in a different part of the forest every night, and every morning their hammocks dissolve with the rising sun. On still nights you can hear their beautiful voices singing while they spin.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

First interview

     This is going to be a very short post. I just wanted to announce my first published interview (as an author). The Norman Transcript - based out of Norman, Oklahoma – has a two page feature interview with me in their latest magazine issue (dated October 21st, 2011). Here’s the link to the online version of the magazine:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Second review

Review of The Sword Of Magna in Midwest Book Review

The Sword Of Magna
Chris Hattingh
9781609849658         $9.99
The Sword Of Magna is a tale which takes place on Magnatus, an Earth-like planet in a distant solar system. The story begins on Axphalia, which is believed to be the only inhabited continent, and whose inhabitants shun boats and water alike. Large parts of their world thus remain unexplored - and it is here on Axphalia, in the treetop village of Oakfield, that a young dwelfling named Chryslan stumbles upon the tip of an ancient sword while searching for his incorrigible pet whipple, Barkly. Little does he know that his discovery will change his life forever...

Within days of Chryslan's find, two orchnid women discover the hilt of the sword in Alpenberg. A short time later, both pieces are mysteriously stolen in two separate incidents. Chryslan and his friends set off on four of his father's treadlings to try and find the stolen sword tip. Their quest leads them to Alpenberg, where they learn of the discovery and theft of the sword hilt. They are then joined by four of the orchnids in their quest to recover the stolen pieces.

Chryslan has no intention of leading a life of travel or danger, but when the tip and hilt of the golden sword are stolen, events are set in motion which lead him on an incredible journey through new, hitherto-unknown worlds.

He learns from the forest nymphs that his destiny as a hero has been foretold; but now he must locate the missing pieces and re-forge the sword to regain the power that will allow him to defeat the ruthless dagons, who would conquer Axphalia.

The Sword Of Magna could easily have been only about this struggle, but it adds spice by including romance that takes an unusual twist when the hero Chryslan is finally reunited with his love, only to discover fate has again taken a hand in changing their blossoming romance.

Dialogue and descriptions are powerful and poignant throughout this epic fantasy: "He was haunted by visions of two lovely, shining eyes gazing up at him, and the memory of a subtle, rose-sandalwood scent, and the warmth of a shapely little hand clasped gently in his. Inside himself he felt a vast emptiness, an aching yearning. What was happening to him? He had been fine yesterday at this time."

Exciting, fast-paced action and strong characterization are the draws keeping fantasy enthusiasts reading avidly to the novel's unpredictable conclusion. Not everybody wins, and not everyone wins easily. Heart's desires change, wax and wane, and the eventual heralding of the Third Age of Magnatus brings with it some unexpected results.

The Sword Of Magna is a lively, satisfying fantasy perfect for any reader who enjoys detailed sagas, strong characterization, ethereal descriptions of alien worlds and protagonists, and romance.

Without spoiling the conclusion, suffice it to say that having a definitive ending over a questionable conclusion makes this a satisfying single-volume novel that leaves nothing hanging!
This review was written by Diane Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

Friday, October 7, 2011

First review

Review of The Sword Of Magna - an epic fantasy tale by Chris Hattingh

3rd Oct 2011

Reviewer: Loraine Lotter

I am so glad that I had the chance to review Chris’ book, The Sword Of Magna. Not only did it fascinate me from page one, but it kept me interested till the very end. Chris has a very effective writing style that creates the perfect balance between traditional and modern story writing. His wording is brilliant as well, and you don’t need to read this book with a dictionary beside you.

The story begins with the discovery of two mysterious artifacts – the hilt and tip of a golden sword. When both pieces of the sword suddenly get stolen (in two separate incidents), it’s up to Chryslan and his friends to find them again. Their quest draws them unsuspectingly into a sinister plot by the ruthless dagons to seize Axphalia for their own.

The forest nymphs tell Chryslan of an ancient prophecy about a young dwelfling man who is supposed to wield the magical Sword Of Magna and defeat the treacherous dagons, but first he must find the two missing pieces and reforge the sword. Along the way he nearly drowns in the mighty Disappearing River, gets attacked by a fearsome sea serpent, gets taken captive by the brutal dagons and finally must face the terrifying Ildecor with the white-hot, freshly reforged sword burning his hand.

I have to add though, while this book had me enthralled in its fantasy, there are some indications of romance as well. The love story within this book unfolds during Chryslan’s journey when he meets Heidi, a beautiful young orchnid girl. She steals his heart from the start, but will he be able to express his feelings to her in time? Or does fate have something different in mind when it comes to love?

If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, this book will definitely be worth your time. It’s an epic fantasy with lots of surprises and unexpected twists. Packed with adventure, fun, suspense and unusual creatures, this book will take you to another world where fantasy has no boundaries and every day’s dull reality doesn’t exist.
This review was written by up-and-coming South African author Loraine Lotter. Please visit her website at to read my review of her book "My Heart, His Soul".

Friday, September 23, 2011

Main characters & first news update

     In this post I want to talk about two things….some of the main characters, and the progress of my publicity campaign.

     First the characters:

     The main character is Chryslan, a young dwelfling living with his family in the treetop village of Oakfield. Only in hindsight did I realize the similarity between his name and my own. It was never my intention to write a fantasy version of my own life…in fact I never once felt any sense of identification with the main character of my book as I was writing it. The circumstances of Chryslan’s life are quite different from my own…. I never had a sister, and I never felt any pressure from my parents to marry, have children or carry on the family business. We even look different…. maybe on a subconscious level I was identifying with him, but I don’t believe that to be the case.

     Oddly enough, one of the other main characters (and one of Chryslan’s best friends) also has a name which closely resembles that of a lifelong friend of mine. This was again unintentional…only years after completing the book did I realize that the character Leistern has a name which resembles Lister (my real life friend). But here again the similarities end…. Lister is one of the greatest guitar players to have ever lived. Leistern the dwelfling never exhibited any musical or artistic tendencies. And they look quite different and speak quite differently.

   Besides the similarity of the names, the only thing that the two book characters have in common with the real life individuals are the fact that they are long time friends who have known each other from childhood.

     The lead female character (thankfully) has a name with absolutely no possible connection to my own personal history….Heidi, the orchnid girl. Here I did draw on my own fantasy version of the perfect female – she is stunningly beautiful, with an irresistible blend of innocence and mischief. She is decidedly feminine and yet has an adventurous spirit. She is also quite comfortable with her ability to turn heads.

     Chubba, another dwelfling, is also one of Chryslan’s lifelong friends. Chubba is a nickname which his friends gave him because he was overweight. But he has the heart of a champion, and ends up giving his life for his friends.

     The other characters will be discussed in later posts. There is much more to learn of the dagons, edelites, dwelflings, orchnids, forest nymphs, mirror people, felonians and swamp folk. In future posts I will also reveal more about life on Magnatus, and some of the other creatures who make it their home.

     Now for the marketing campaign updates:

     After 4 weeks my publicity campaign with Smith Publicity has now officially ended. The short term results weren’t as earth shattering as I had hoped….just a handful of new book sales. But the long term effects may be much more far reaching…I’m in the process of following up with a list of interested media contacts, and it looks as if I’ll be getting quite a few credible book reviews over the next two months. I’ll keep you posted.

     I also joined the Author’s Book Review Exchange on FaceBook this morning, and I’m excited to see where that leads. Here’s the link:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Introduction and background

     In March of this year The Sword Of Magna was published by BookBaby, and is now available for download from all the major online ebook retailers. This is the culmination of a quest spanning two decades, and it really feels great to finally be able to share my book with the world. Now for some history….

     I was initially inspired to write this book after reading The Lord Of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien back in 1980. This was life-changing for me – I had never before been so completely engrossed in any book. Originally from South Africa, I was surprised to learn (many years later) that Tolkien had gained much of his inspiration for The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings from a writer’s retreat he once took in a magical and idyllic area of the Eastern Cape in South Africa (an area that I had driven through a couple of times – and also felt inspired by). This served to make me feel much more connected with his work.

     I can easily picture Tolkien walking around the misty Hog’s Back mountain trails on the Garden Route, taking in all the natural splendor of an immense ancient coniferous forest, complete with rugged mountain vistas, majestic waterfalls, and breathtaking cliff top views overlooking the raging surf far below. The only sounds to distract him would have been the sound of the wind and surf, and the calls of a large variety of indigenous bird species. He would have enjoyed all the quaint little eclectic communities full of artists, musicians, poets, writers, craftsmen, backpackers from Europe, mountain bikers, and hang gliding enthusiasts. For his lodging he would have had a huge selection of picturesque hostels, bed and breakfast establishments and cabins to choose from. To this day, many internationally acclaimed authors take their writing retreats somewhere along the Garden Route.

     I first wrote the manuscript for my book in the early 1990’s on an old fashioned typewriter, and I secured the copyright sometime in the 1990’s. In the early 2000’s I scanned in all the pages and saved my book as a Word document. Then I began to slowly edit and refine it, adding some new chapters and characters. Realizing that my book had evolved a bit from the state it was originally in when I first got it copyrighted, I decided it might be a good idea to submit this new version of my book to the copyright office. I secured a second copyright in the mid 2000’s.

     Then I had a near death experience on Thanksgiving Day of 2005, and after I came back to this world I realized that if I was ever going to get my book published I needed to do it NOW! I made a few more minor edits and started sending out manuscripts to traditional publishers in the US and UK throughout 2006 and 2007. Of course the unanimous rejections came as no surprise…every best selling author or platinum recording artist has had their fair share of rejection letters from “experts” who just couldn’t see their potential.

     I hadn’t given up the fight though, and I kept making a few minor edits to my Word document until 2009, at which time I had manipulated the book into its present form. I immediately applied for and secured a new copyright. I then made one last attempt to find a traditional publisher, but of course my efforts were again met with unanimous rejection letters/emails (I’m quite certain that many of them never even read a word of the materials I had mailed/emailed them).

     Then I took a break while I pondered my next move. I was becoming aware of the increasing popularity of ebooks, and the proliferation of Kindle readers and the like, and I started contemplating releasing my book as an ebook. I ruminated on this for a year or so, watching the trends in ebook sales and popularity.

     Early this year I decided that the time was ripe to publish my first book as an ebook only. I found an ebook publisher ( and within a few short weeks my Word document was converted into ebook and Kindle formats and available for sale online at the Amazon (US and UK), Barnes & Noble, Apple I-bookstore, and Sony eBookstore websites. It feels really gratifying to finally have my book out there.

     I recently recruited the services of Smith Publicity, and we are scheduled to launch my publicity campaign on Monday, August 8th. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I’ll keep you all updated with breaking news and more info about the book.

     Here are some places where you can pick up a copy: