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Thursday, 21 February 2019

WWBB loves a 'how-to' guest post from authors, and here Catherine Fearns discusses sequel writing... and also her amazing new book! You've gotta see this one (and win a prize!!!!)! #crime #mystery #authorgiveaway @metalmamawrites @rararesources

How To… Write A Sequel


Catherine Fearns

When I was writing my first novel, Reprobation, I envisaged it as a self-contained entity. I didn’t think I’d even get a publishing deal, never mind the opportunity to write more books! But at some point, I began to imagine the characters’ journeys continuing past the end of the story. I realised that the adventure was just beginning, and I was not ready to let go of the world I had created. Consuming Fire came knocking on the door before I’d even finished writing Reprobation.

Writing a sequel is a wonderful opportunity, but it comes with a whole new set of constraints, dilemmas and technical challenges that the author doesn’t have to face with a stand-alone. This is what I have learned so far about that tricky second book:

Crime fiction is made for sequels

Crime fiction lends itself to sequels and series more than most other literary genres. In fact, I can’t even think of that many stand-alone detective thrillers or police procedurals. Detectives work case by case; an investigation follows a process, a formula, which can be repeated ad infinitum. And since the character of the detective tends to take second place to that of the plot, there’s not enough scope within one book to develop him or her fully.

…. but do it for the right reasons

Sequels are notoriously weaker than their predecessors. Think about all the disappointing Hollywood movie franchises. Don’t do it to cash in (ha, not much chance of that for an indie author!), or because you think it will be easy to churn something similar out (it won’t, it will be harder). Do it because you have a story that needs to be told.

Identify your USP, and work it

What was special about your last book? Reprobation was a crime thriller with a slight supernatural twist. the reader can take the police’s practical explanation for the crimes, or he/she can wonder whether there might have been other forces at work. I wanted to develop this idea of the unknowable, of the hidden world beyond our own, and I wanted to watch DI Darren Swift’s gradual journey towards an acceptance of the occult.

…. but change things up too

At the same time, nobody needs to read two books in a row about windswept Merseyside beaches, abandoned churches and grumpy nuns. I certainly didn’t want to write Reprobation again! Consuming Fire picks up Reprobation’s characters and themes but has a complete change of mood; from a cold gothic winter to a fiery Scouse summer. It also brings in a brand new villain and a new literary technique.

It's not just your book anymore

It’s heart-warming and hard to believe, but I actually have some loyal readers now, who are looking forward to my next book! And they will certainly have expectations. I’m terrified of disappointing them, and I do need to keep them in mind and understand what it is they liked about Reprobation.

…but you have to follow your own path

People love the characters of Helen and Mikko. I do too! But they had a lot of time to shine in Reprobation, and writing a Helen-and-Mikko follow-up love story is not what I’m about. They need a rest. It’s too easy otherwise. Darren Swift is my detective, and he is on a character arc. He needs times and pages to develop, for the reader to fall in love with him. Helen features prominently in Consuming Fire too, as she and Darren begin to form an unusual investigative team. But don’t worry, Mikko will make a big comeback in the third book!

You know what you’re doing. Or do you? Keep that beginner’s mind.

You’re a published author now, so that means you’re an expert, right? You don’t need any more help or advice, right? Wrong! You know nothing, Jon Snow. Especially about writing sequels. Keep learning, always. Keep asking questions, worship your beta readers, your editors, your experts. And check your facts. Re-read the first book over and over, because sequels risk being riddled with continuity errors, and readers SPOT these things.

... but don’t be afraid to experiment

People bought and liked your first book, so you must be doing something right. Debut authors can be understandably tentative with their style and plot, so now that you’ve established yourself, it’s time to spread your wings a little. Consuming Fire uses the technique of a ‘book within a book’ – a seventeenth century found text which I had enormous fun writing and interspersing with the main narrative. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do that first time round. And I hope people love it.

The book needs to work as a standalone too

Marketing is easier now; you’ve got a bigger social media following than you had before; you might even have an agent or publisher where you didn’t first time round. So your second book will reach a wider audience. But the problem is – some of them didn’t read your first book. They won’t know what the hell is going on! You need to view your sequel as a new story within the scope of a larger story. You need to re-introduce some facts and character traits, to situate the new reader and jog the existing reader’s memory.

...but don’t put in spoilers

The huge challenge is to make the sequel work as a standalone without being tedious or clumsy, and crucially, without putting in spoilers. Some people might read your new book and think, ‘wow, this is great, I’ll go back and read the first one!’ But not if you tell them whodunnit!

So that’s what I’ve learned about sequels. I’m currently writing book three, trying to catch up with my characters who have now taken on lives of their own. I can’t keep up with them…


Consuming Fire

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen…

Liverpool is in the grip of an intense heatwave, and strange things are happening.

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A woman dies in an apparent case of Spontaneous Human Combustion; a truck explodes on the dock road; the charred corpses of pets litter the city; forest fires ravage the pinewoods…and there are birds everywhere, silent flocks drawing in ominously.

Detective Inspector Darren Swift thinks there are connections, and his investigation delves into the worlds of football, nightclubs and organised crime. But is he imagining things?

Dr. Helen Hope doesn’t think so. And she believes the key lies in a mysterious seventeenth-century occult book which has gone missing from Liverpool Library.

In the blistering sequel to Reprobation, DI Swift is forced to confront some inconvenient ghosts from his past, as a terrifying shadow lies over his city’s reality…

Catherine Fearns is from Liverpool, UK. In previous incarnations, she was a financial analyst, a cocktail pianist and a breastfeeding counsellor, but nowadays she likes to write. Her first novel, Reprobation, was published by Crooked Cat Books in October 2018 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller in several categories. The follow-up, Consuming Fire, is currently on pre-order and will be available in early 2019.

Catherine writes for music website Pure Grain Audio, and her music journalism has also appeared in Broken Amp and Noisey. Her short fiction and non-fiction pieces have been published in Here Comes Everyone, Toasted Cheese, Offshoots & Metal Music Studies. She holds a degree in History from Oxford University, a Masters from the London School of Economics, and is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association.
When Catherine is not writing, she plays guitar in a heavy metal band, mainly to annoy her four children.

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Consuming Fire, Consuming Fire stationery, and a cuddly peacock! (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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Thursday, 14 February 2019

Sue Barnard discusses what makes authors want to write new stories on existing characters.#giveaway #author #guestpost #alternate #history #romeoandjuliet .@AuthorSusanB .@rararesources


a guest post by

Sue Barnard

Sebastian Faulks, Charlie Higson and Anthony Horowitz have all done it for James Bond. Alexandra Ripley did it for Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Jill Paton Walsh did it for Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. There have been numerous attempts to solve Charles Dickens’ unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood.  Even Thomas the Tank Engine has been given a new lease of life, by the son of his original creator. 

So what is it that makes authors want to write new stories centred on existing characters?

In one respect, I think, it’s because once the original author has died, there can be a great sense of regret that there will be no more from the same pen. So if the authors’ stories and characters are popular, why not give their fans more to enjoy, in the form of sequels, prequels, or simply more adventures?

You don’t need to be a famous, or even a published author to take advantage of this very useful literary device. Using a well-loved character (or set of characters) as the basis for a new story can be an excellent way of dealing with an attack of writer’s block. Think of a favourite character from a book, a play, or even a poem. Imagine what it might be like to meet that character face to face. What would you say to them? How do you think they would respond? Try writing a short dialogue between the two of you, and see where it leads. You may well find that it gives you a springboard to a whole new story. No writing is ever wasted, even if it doesn’t end up in the final version.

Or think about how the character behaves in the original work. If his or her behaviour is unusual, what might have happened in the past to affect their actions in the present? Let your imagination run riot – prequels make fascinating stories!  My current WIP is a companion story to my second novel, Nice Girls Don’t, and explores the background to one of the characters who barely steps out of the shadows in the original story.

Or you can even give the original story an alternative ending – as I did with my debut novel The Ghostly Father. It is a sort of part-prequel, part-sequel to the original Romeo & Juliet tale, and explores what might have happened to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers if events had taken a different course. In the play, a sequence of misfortunes leads to a maddeningly preventable double-suicide. But what if just one of those unfortunate events had not occurred? What difference could this have made to the eventual outcome?

Read the book and find out…
The Ghostly Father


Sue Barnard

Was this what really happened to Romeo and Juliet?

Think you know the world’s most famous love story?  Think again. 

What if the story of Romeo and Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told?
This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers.

If you love the Romeo and Juliet story but are disappointed with the way it ended, this is the book for you.

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet.  She was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium, but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester.  After graduating from Durham University she had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent.  If she had her way, the phrase “Non-Working Mother” would be banned from the English language.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4's fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as "professionally weird." The label has stuck.

Sue speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  She is also very interested in family history.  Her own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; she would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings. 

Blog   Facebook   G+   Twitter   Instagram   Amazon  Goodreads  RNA

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Ghostly Father (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, except the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Monday, 11 February 2019

For those who like a bit of murder! @alisonoleary81is offering an extract to whet your appetite and I must admit this sounds FAB! #murder #mystery #suspense #catlovers @rararesources

Street Cat Blues


Alison O'Leary

After spending several months banged up in Sunny Banks rescue centre, Aubrey, a large tabby cat, has finally found his forever home with Molly and Jeremy Goodman and life is looking good.

However, all that changes when a serial killer begins to target elderly victims in the neighbourhood. Aubrey wasn’t particularly upset by the death of some of the previous victims, including Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalls as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats, but Mr Telling was different. Mr Telling was a mate…

And to whet your appetite, an excerpt...

This extract is taken from Chapter 24. The twins, Rupert and Roger, are in the throes of a turf war with another group of cats and have arranged a night-time scrap to settle matters. All the neighbourhood cats are required to join in, whether they want to or not.

   Aubrey dropped noiselessly to the ground and ran quickly towards the car park. Where was everybody? He could have sworn that he’d heard them a couple of seconds ago but the car park appeared to be completely empty. Suddenly he caught sight of a small white flash at the top of the fire escape and looked upwards. They were already up there, he could see them now. They were streaming up the fire escape and marching along the ledge round the side of the building and then disappearing into the darkness.
   He watched for a moment and then sped silently across the tarmac and began to climb the fire escape. He reached the top and paused on the small ironwork platform, staring out into the darkness before slipping quickly along the ledge towards the flat roof. Reaching the corner of the ledge he leaned slightly backwards and gathered himself up. In one graceful bound he leapt to the flat roof opposite and landed among a carpet of cats, each one poised ready to spring as soon as the word was given.
   “Got here all right then, Aubs?”
   Vincent’s green eyes gleamed out from the darkness. Next to him Aubrey could see Moses, his little face looking worried but resolute.
   “To tell the truth, Vin, I’m not sure that this is such a great idea ...”
Before he could continue, the sibilant hiss of Lupin reverberated across the roof top. The battle was on.
In her own words, about the author Alison O'Leary
'I was born in London and spent my teenaged years in Hertfordshire where I spent large amounts of time reading Agatha Christie novels and avoiding school. Failing to gain any qualifications in Science whatsoever, the dream of being a forensic scientist crashed and burned when a careers teacher suggested that I might like to work in a shop. Later studying Law, I decided to teach rather than go into practice and have spent many years working as a college lecturer teaching mainly Criminal Law to adults and young people.
I live on the south coast with my husband John and cat Archie. When not writing I enjoy crosswords, walking by the sea and drinking wine. Not necessarily in that order.'

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Oh boy, have I got a treat for you! A #romcom is up for grabs PLUS a box of choccies AND one of WWBB's derogatory style interviews! #giveaway #romance #fiction #author #interview .@VictoriaCooke10 .@rararesources

 It takes a brave author to agree to WWBB’s derogatory interview style. 

So welcome (mawuhhhhhh) Victoria Cooke. Let the bitch fest interview begin!

How come you came up with the shitty title of The Secret to Falling in Love. Did you run out of ideas?

Actually, it was much worse to begin with but my publisher improved it by totally scrapping my title idea and coming up with another one. It does what it says on the tin and who doesn’t want to know the secret to falling in love? Even if you don’t want to be in love or you hate love, it’s best to know the secret so you don’t inadvertently fall into it. That’s my catchy motto anyway.

Could the title have been any worse? The Secret to Falling in Love… come on. OK, moving on because I haven’t all day discussing god-awful book titles, what’s so great about book? (Don't want the boring details, a couple of lines is enough!)

It’s set in my home city of Manchester, the coolest city on earth. We gave you Oasis and Coronation Street and funnily enough, the computer (a central theme in The Secret to Falling in Love – wink wink). Manchester is also home to the oldest library in England so I think book lovers everywhere owe it to Manchester to read all the books set there.

Manchester the coolest city? I don’t think so, lady! Oasis can’t stand one another, Coronation Street… OK, I’ll give you Corrie. And (grudgingly) the rest. So, am I likely to fall asleep during chapter one?

I hope not, there’s a grown woman stuck in a dog flap for goodness sake! It’s literary fiction at its finest.

Eat your heart out Jane Austen! And is your protagonist happy now their story has been told, or is there more to come (God help us!)?

She is definitely happy; she’s got Scott (hearty eyes) and she’s dealt with a few nasties whilst figuring out her friend’s secret and befriending a cool old lady.

Describe your writing style in ten words or less. I’ll begin with the first two: Crap, dull…

Colloquial, contemporary (a little bit sweary but not as much as one American reviewer on Amazon would have you believe). I also have a substantial cocktail-based vocabulary.

I have a sudden compulsion to read this book! Go on, just for a laugh, share with us that review.

Okaaaay. It’s from Amazon USA:

‘I didn't enjoy the book at all. Boring. The heroine, Melissa, kept trying to find her soul mate and always wanted to hook up (sex) on the first date. Melissa was an alcoholic (that's what I call someone that drinks like she did). I got sick of all the drinking. It was a complete turnoff. I didn't care for the sex and swear words. I also didn't agree with certain lifestyles in the book. I do not recommend. Will not read this author again.’

That reviewer is a Muppet! Who’d want to go through life without a piss-up, swearing and fuc... nooky. They must live in a convent.

What qualifications do you have for writing in your genre? (Apart from waking up in the morning, that is).

I have a 2:1 in marriage and am a fully qualified spewer of hearty-eyes and warm fuzz. I got a level 2 NVQ in evil bosses and an A-level in awesome friends. I have also watched all the romcom films. All of them!

All of them? Hugh Grant’s floppy hair and all?

Many authors use their qualifications to show off their so-called talents i.e. crime writers are often coppers (or police, for the non-Brits present) and the book becomes boringly technical. How have you managed to keep your knowledge low key? Or haven’t you bothered?

Quite the opposite actually. My knowledge of dating in the times of Tinder was virtually none existent so I had to up-skill. My actual qualifications were completely useless but don’t get me started on the uselessness of my business studies degree.
I did however, allow my in-depth knowledge and experience of lecherous men shine through in one particular scene.

If your book disappeared forever, do you think it’ll be missed?

No but it should be, who doesn’t love a bit of light-hearted fun with a happy-for-now ending, a few giggles and a big dollop of ‘aww’ along the way.

Sounds like a ‘lazy day’ book to me! Right, final question and then you can go. Describe your perfect death (in case I must kill you)?

Wrapped in Ryan Gosling’s arms on a Bali bed on some exotic beach where you feed me enough cocktails and chocolates to keep me happy but obviously not enough for me to survive on as that would negate the killing part. If you’re really serious about this, the Ryan Gosling part is fundamental.

I might kill you anyway. Ryan Gosling is mine, bitch!

The Secret to Falling in Love


Victoria Cooke

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta's and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!
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Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

About Author Victoria Cooke

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. 
Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, 'The Secret to Falling in Love,' in 2016.

 Giveaway – Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, except the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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