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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Angels, Sinners and Madmen by Cate Masters

Angels, Sinners and Madmen
Cate Masters

Angels, Sinners and Madmen, available July 27 from Freya’s Bower:

What happens in Key West, stays in Key West. Especially in 1856, when  men  outnumber  women by ten to one. Wrecker Sam Langhorne came to Key West eight years earlier to forget his ruined engagement. When he rescues Livvie Collins from a watery grave, he’s swept away by her beauty and spirit. He’s sworn off love, but is soon captivated by Livvie’s wit–and her determination to remain single.

The death of Livvie’s father leaves her no other option than to sail to New Orleans to live with her brother Wendell. Though she hopes to support herself by writing novels, she’s sure Wendell will try to soon marry her off, and is determined to experience life to its fullest before reaching New Orleans.

Sam is handsome and attentive, constantly surprising her with his intelligence and his interest in current literature and happenings. She gives herself to him in a night of passion so she can know the true emotion at least once in her life. But can she save herself after she arrives in New Orleans?

Taking a page from Oprah’s O Magazine, instead of 5 Things I Know for Sure (always a dangerous statement, because someone’s sure to prove me wrong), here are 5 Things I’ve Learned in my half-century (plus) of life. Note: these are subject to change, as I am continually learning, and open to change.

1. Circumstances will not always sway in your favor. My husband’s grandfather had a saying: Sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes you’re the windshield. There’s no getting around it. On those days you’re the bug, roll with it as best you can. Even if you find yourself splat flat against the glass, scrape yourself up and move on. Until you do, you'll never find out what good things await you down the road.

2. There’s no substitute for hard work. As a writer, hope springs eternal for that lucky break. Do I sit around waiting for it? Hell no. I write every day. As bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver said: Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done! Another great quote, from David Armstrong, author of How Not to Write a Novel: The harder you work, the luckier you get. Makes a lot of sense.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CateMasters
Website: http://www.catemasters.com/

Other books by Cate Masters: Follow the Stars Home to be released on August 7th and Winning on July 7th

Monday, 28 June 2010

Gypsy Crystal by Lorrie Struiff

Gypsy Crystal
by Lorrie Struiff

Did you know, there are over one million Gypsies in the U.S today? Does that surprise you? And actually to be called a gypsy is a slur and many take offense. They are Roma.

The Roma in the United States have been called the "hidden Americans" because they remain by choice largely invisible. There are two reasons for this: first, the United States is made up of minority groups of all complexions, and so it is easy for Roma to present themselves as American Indians, Hispanics, or southern Europeans, and they usually do this rather than identify themselves as Gypsies. Second, most Americans know very little about the actual Roma but a great deal about the Hollywood "gypsy" (with a small "g".) Since people fitting the romantic gypsy image are not actually encountered in real life, the real population goes unnoticed.

The Romani ethnicity is often used for characters in contemporary fantasy literature. In such literature, the Roma are often portrayed as possessing archaic occult knowledge passed down through the ages. This frequent use of the ethnicity has given rise to Gypsy stereotypes in popular contemporary literature. It is difficult to think of a Gypsy and not see the image of a crystal ball or tarot cards.

Gypsies, or Roma, are portrayed with remarkable psychic abilities and the gift to attract good fortune or destroy a life with a curse. All are said to be born with such gifts, and what makes their powers so innate is their relationship with nature. Their bond with the spirits of the outdoors allows their gifts to evolve naturally.

Many myths have been passed down from their origins. Myths that have chillingly included creatures such as werewolves, vampires, and even shapeshifters.

I particularly like the one that tells of, one day while celebrating a holiday around a campfire, a stranger wandered into their camp, and as the usual way of a generous and happy people, they invited him to stay. This was the start of a curse, for this man was a necromancer and insisted the people serve him. The people refused, they loved life and refused to cheat death and serve chaos.

The necromancer raged and cursed them, saying they would forever wander the earth, never to settle and forever be outcasts. He disappeared into the night. The next night the land and their homes were stormed and destroyed by an army of the undead. Many died—or worse.

The survivors fled, regrouped, drew a circle in the dirt, drew their knives and shed drops of their blood into the earth. They vowed to serve balance and protect the land. When the last droplet fell, a strange feeling overcame them, like the land had embraced them. They heard a voice telling them they were to forever wander the land to preserve life at all cost and they now had the ability to curse their sworn enemies. And their greatest enemy of all was-- the undead.

In my Gypsy Crystal novella, I freely use the mysticism, the myths and gifts surrounding their culture. And despite the Gypsy in my title, the characters are referred to as Roma.

Gypsy Crystal

Rita Muldova is a homicide detective. She wears a secret mystical crystal amulet handed down through her maternal Roma bloodline that gives her the power to see in a dead person’s eyes, the last image they had seen before being murdered. Now, a serial killer tagged “The Ripper” is terrorizing her town and the crystal stopped working. Her mother, the great seer Anna, and her Uncle Dragus can’t explain the reason for the crystal’s sudden loss of power. But Anna holds a secret she doesn’t share with Rita until she has no choice.

FBI Agent Matt Boulet leads the taskforce and gives the crew strange orders that come from the top brass. He is keeping a secret, too, and feels a strong connection to Rita, in more ways than one.

When all the secrets are revealed, Rita finds herself and her family in far more danger than she ever realized possible. Who is this killer?

Short Extract from Gypsy Crystal:
Chief Lipinski set a blue marker on the desk and shuffled papers. “Okay, listen up. Meet Agent Matt Boulet, FBI, PCU or Priority Crimes Unit. He’ll be heading our task force. Our perp is not new at this, but I’ll let Agent Boulet explain.”

Hank mumbled under his breath and tossed a sharp glance at Boulet. Chairs squeaked as the group shifted in their seats. Sully let out a long-suffering sigh.

Boulet nodded and, with an easy gait, walked to the front, then hooked his thumbs in his jeans pockets. “Thank y’all for having me. I’ve been sent here ‘cause we’re familiar with this man. Six murders, same M.O., in New Orleans. Then, we followed the trail of his kills north. Almost bagged him in Charlottesville.” He cleared his throat. “Embarrassed to say, he got away.

“The powers that be out of your Pittsburgh FBI office asked me to work in tandem with this city’s force. If y’all are wondering why we don’t have a whole team combing your turf, it’s because we’re a little overwhelmed with Homeland Security now. Plus, we’re not really after the credit on this one, folks. No toe-stepping. I need your help.”

Hank leaned forward and propped his elbows on the table, showing off his gym-hardened muscles. “PCU? Never heard of ’em.”

“Not many have. We’re a special unit formed in the last few years and headquartered in the mid-states.” Boulet smiled. “They sometimes call us the Peculiar Unit, or worse, Pukes.”

“Name must be a good fit,” Hank piped up. The others snickered.

“You’ve been on this actor’s ass so you know more than we do. Ritualistic?” Sully asked.

If you enjoyed that more can be found from Lorrie Struiff's website

Will gypsy lore and mysticism help Rita catch the serial killer terrorizing her town?

Gypsy Crystal available on Eternal Press, Amazon UK and Fictionwise. To buy from Amazon.com click on the book cover above.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Perils of Book Signing Part Two

The Perils of Book Signing Part Two
Alan J Hill

Tremain, Book One: The Seven Faiths
Tremain, Book Two: Underworld and Overland

Up at 6.45 am waiting for the clock radio to scream its good morning into my ear. Didn't sleep a great deal, wondering, expecting and trying to manage my expectations into the realms of reality. Couldn't wait anymore, out of bed and into the shower. I worked out what I was going to wear the night before - what does a first time author and virgin book signer wear for his first foray into the morning light of the 'public at large'?

I settled for a blue sports jacket, 'trendy' T-shirt and chinos. Oh, and a pair of new shoes that I hadn't worn before (we’ll come back to them later). My wife said I looked like an extra from the 80s version of Miami Vice. Perfect, that was the look I had in mind!

Into the car with my box of books and flyers on the back seat, which had been checked twenty-seven times before leaving. With my supporting wife by my side, I set off for the west of England. It was a two-hour drive to Bristol from Hampton, near London where I live. A torturous journey.

My signing was scheduled to start at 11 am and I rolled up in Bristol an hour early, and sat in a local coffee shop watching the hands of the clock move cautiously round. Finally, the hour hand moved and several days later, or so it seemed, I thought, Bugger this, I'm going in!

Initially my contact was not available and so I met the 'Event Manager' who had kindly set up a small table for me in the children's section.

By this time my new shoes have reduced my feet to dead appendages on the end of my legs and I'm sure I actually heard them screaming at one point. But I couldn't let my feet let me down, and I started to engage with the public.

From 10.45 until 11.45am I gave out two flyers, got asked where the classic section was and helped a lady find her missing child. Even though I hadn’t sold a thing, I comforted myself that neither had the teenage section. And so I was reassured that I was joint 'Number One' with the top twenty children's authors in the country with no sales at all.

My contact, Mark Scott turned up. A nicer, more helpful young man I could not hope to meet. He moved me to a much bigger table at the front of shop, printed off more flyers, gave me a stand with marketing information and positioned some of my books by the till. Now it was up to me.

When I visit a bookstore I either know which book I want or I am going for a browse around. I do NOT want a Miami Vice extra, with feet like two pieces of raw liver accosting me with his new fantasy book. The Waterstones’ guys were pushing me to go for it but I was trying to be a little more circumspect.

I found approaching my chosen market: teenagers, a disaster. They didn't see me as a throwback to an 80s cops and robbers show, more like a creepy middle aged man, muttering something about a new fantasy novel. So approaching teenagers was out unless accompanied by a parent.

Cracked it! I spotted a lady with her son browsing in the fantasy section. I sauntered over with my book and made conversation. Her son read the back of the book, grunted his assent and I signed my first ever book in a store!

"What's your name?’ I eagerly asked.

"Fin," came the reply.

A sign, I thought, as a character in my second book is called Fin. I scribbled something encouraging in the book and then went from strength to strength.

In the next two hours I doubled my sales, a 100% uplift. Two books sold! On a roll! The clock soon ticked around to 2.30 pm and with a drive back to London, and a pool of blood around where my feet once were, I called it a day.

My ever-supporting wife had been back and forth in the intervening time with encouraging words, drinks, and lots of shopping. I packed my books up and dragged my aching back and stumps-for-legs back to the car.

"How shall we spend the £2.50?" I asked Deborah.

"A pair of second hand shoes?" she replied.

Next time I shall be closer to home. Friends and relatives will come, a crowd will develop a crowd, and I will do better. I know I will.

A first step on a journey, I keep telling myself. Although at the moment, my feet cannot step anywhere.

Contact Alan by Email
Buy a copy of Tremain Book One and Two Amazon, Barns & Noble and Goodreads 

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Startling Adventures Magazine

Startling Adventures Magazine.

Space Travels! Rogue Robots! Weird Fiction! Sword & Sorcery! The Devil himself!

Authored by Daniel Leal Werneck, Anthony Abelaye, Colin Peters, Eric Orchard, Jonathan Wallace
Illustrated by Eric Orchard
Photographs by Richard Parry-Jones, Jo Qatana
Cover design or artwork by Daniel Werneck

A collection of short stories inspired by pulp fiction of the early XX century. Created by independent writers working together thanks to the modern advancements of telecommunications. We are open for submissions.

What is ‘Startling Adventures Magazine’?
It is a self-published magazine about pulp fiction culture with a contemporary edge. It features both fiction and other related materials.

What is your definition of “pulp”?
Imagine if punk rock was fiction instead of music. Simple structures, deep meanings. It could be something like Raymond Chandler or Arthur Conan Doyle, or Edgar Rice Burroughs, but the other Burroughs is fine too, and so are William Gibson, Harlan Ellisson, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Frank Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby… B-movies that range from Republic serials to “King Kong” to “Easy Rider” and “Vanishing Point”. Batman. Diabolik. Dracula. “Star Wars”. Harry Potter on crack. Ramones, The Clash, Iron Maiden. Samuel Fuller.

What kind of submissions do you accept?
Anything goes, as long as we can print it: short stories, novelettes, haiku, poetry, theatre plays, radio scripts, film scripts; illustrations, comics, vintage advertising. We also accept stories about themes related to the pulp world in general, like biographies of writers, the history of certain genres, etc.

I like to write/draw but I suck at it. Will you reject me? I’m very sensitive.
The main goal of our magazine is to showcase new talents, so we’re not looking for so-called “professional” shit. We also want to publish things that no one else would, so be brave and bold. Also, we are a community of artists, so instead of putting each other down, we help each other to improve, so if we don’t like your material at first, instead of just saying no, it’s more likely we will discuss it with you and help you improve it. Also, we send our magazine to several pulp fiction experts for reviews, so it’s up to them to criticize your work, not to us.

How much are you going to pay me?
We have no money and no advertising, but we do out best to pay you with actual money somehow. Startling Adventures Magazine gives their writers and artists a discount over the cover price, so you can resell the books yourself and make some profit out of them. The more books you sell, the more money you will make. Also, the magazine send complimentary copies to blogs and companies that deal with pulp fiction, so your name and your work will end up in blog posts and such.

How much do I have to pay to be on the magazine?
Nothing. All the expenses of putting the magazine out at such a low price are paid by The Editor. He also takes care of the design, covers, etc. All by himself. Alone. Between 1 and 4 am.

What are the submission deadlines?
We have no deadlines. We’re trying to put a new magazine out every 2 or 3 months, but you can send your material any time.

Who are the Pulp Rebels?
The Pulp Rebels are an international terror group that seeks to destroy all civilization as we know it and then rebuild the world with cheap fun books and oil painting covers.

Where do I send the submissions?
We accept stories, poetry, theater plays, illustrations, comics… whatever you want to send us, as long as it feels pulpy somehow. Horror, suspense, crime, airplanes, kinky sex, weird stuff, World War I, other planets… you decide!

Send them over to: pulp@rebels.com

Contacts: http://www.danielpoeira.org/?page_id=244
The idea is to put independent fiction work down on paper so people can read them like in the good old days: riding the bus to work, waiting for an airplane, or waiting on the welfare line.

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Broken Token by Chris Nickson

When Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, discovers his former housemaid murdered, his professional and personal lives move perilously close to each other. Then circumstances conspire against him and more murders follow. Answers eventually start to emerge, but Nottingham get much more than he bargained for...

The Broken Token is set in Leeds in 1731, at a time the city is beginning to grow rich from wool. The merchants are wealthy, but most of the people are poor, and there’s a murderer on the loose.

Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, is shocked to find that one of the first victims is a woman who used to be a servant in his house. She’d left Leeds to marry, but had seemingly returned and was working as a prostitute.

As more people die, the pressure on Nottingham becomes more intense. Not just from the corporation, but also at home, where his younger daughter, Emily, is becoming more wayward. What he can’t foresee is how his professional and personal lives will collide, and the price he’ll have to pay…

Chris Nickson is the author of The Broken Token, an historical mystery set in his hometown of Leeds in the 18th century. It’s his first published novel, but Chris has been an established writer and broadcaster for many years. The Broken Token is published by Crème de la Crime.

He’s known as a music journalist, specialising in world and roots music, and the author of The NPR Listener’s Guide to World Music and Soundgarden: New Metal Crown, and with work appearing in many magazines an online.

Although born and raised in Leeds, Chris spent much of his adult life in the US, where he performed plenty of the research. As well as buying books on Leeds history whenever he was back in England, eBay was a prime resource for rare and out of print material – even if the postage was exorbitant.

Chris moved back to the UK in 2005 and began work on The Broken Token, the first in a projected series of Leeds mysteries.

Contact Chris by:
Twitter: #thebrokentoken

Buy Broken Token using Amazon UK. Broken Token has no release date available to Amazon.com (America).
Richard Nottingham, Constable of the City of Leeds, is the man who keeps order and tries to find justice. But murder comes to Leeds, slipping its shadow close to the Constable’s home...and his heart.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Elizabeth Isaacs

The Light of Asteria: Kailmeyra's Last Hope
Elizabeth Isaacs
If Nora Johnson hadn’t been on campus that day, she would have never known her true destiny. Helping her friends move into the dorm that she wanted to call home, Nora accidentally collides with mysterious stranger, Gavin Frey. His very first touch sends flames through her heart. The world seems different—something within her has changed.
Every morning, for more than a year now, I have gotten up at 4:30, hot tea in hand, and sat down at an old kitchen table that was given a second life as a desk. The whirr of an impossibly slow computer the only sound in the dark; the dog forever nestled at my feet. This was my time … my time to dream, my time to create, my time to hope. It is in the wee, small hours of the morning that Nora and Gavin came to life.

Her ability to always see the best in people, his insatiable desire to protect; these were the ties that bound them to me. The idea that they gave the other strength, that together they were invincible, that they always believed, always persevered ... always loved. This was the catalyst that compelled my heart to write. An epic battle of good versus evil played through my imagination, and I tried as best I could to capture it with the written word. The adventure so strong in my mind, I often scared myself silly before work. My days run at an impossibly fast pace, but at night I found myself restless, ready to get back to the table. I would forego the temptations of TV, not allow the sirens call of another beloved book to lure me away, and I wrote. I wrote to serve as example to my daughter and my son. I wrote to heal past wounds. I wrote as a hope for the future.

It's my deepest desire that as you read, you too will be inspired to not look on love with the restless eyes of the ungrateful, but gaze upon it as the greatest gift of God.

She tries to resume her mundane life, but now she’s consumed with the one whose very presence ignited her soul, the one with eyes of emerald. Nora soon learns that an energy buried deep within has been unleashed. She now wields unimaginable power and has become Gavin’s source, his strength.

Her newfound joy is shaken when she discovers that Gavin is not who he appears to be, and she has been thrust in the middle of a war of mythical proportions. Negativity has allowed all things evil to flourish, the earth is under siege. The fate of creation hinges on the power within her heart. Will she be strong enough to survive?
A gripping tale of unbounded love and ancient power, The Light of Asteria will take you on an epic adventure filled with war, treachery, and demons, as well as unimaginable delights.

Her newfound joy is shaken when she discovers that Gavin is not who he appears to be, and she has been thrust in the middle of a war of mythical proportions. Negativity has allowed all things evil to flourish, the earth is under siege. The fate of creation hinges on the power within her heart. Will she be strong enough to survive?
A gripping tale of unbounded love and ancient power, The Light of Asteria will take you on an epic adventure filled with war, treachery, and demons, as well as unimaginable delights.

Elizabeth's Blog
Elizabeth's website
Reviews for The Light of Asteria: Kailmeyra's Last Hope are outstanding. Read them here.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."— Maya Angelou

Thursday, 17 June 2010

I'm currently on a blog tour...

but is it working? What are blog tours?    

With self-publishing becoming easier and easier, a writer will need to promote his book. How will he do this without an agent, a promoter, indeed, a seller?  

If he's any sense he'll already have a blog or website. Then he should be joining writing forums and leaving messages on other blogs which link back to his blog.

Twitter is a good way to link to your blog; also the information "tweeted" is priceless sometimes. There's Facebook too, of course.
Lightning StrikeBlog tours are where authors flit around blogs of other authors advertising their books, maybe offering words of wisdom on the mysterious world of writers or just sharing part of their world with readers.

  There is no need for travel, all you need is a computer, blog and an email address. Family Road TripI have been on a few now. From across the pond to several states of America and to parts of England. I've met many writers who will now be friends for life!

So, in that aspect the tour has worked. I'm getting loads of google alerts and many more followers on Twitter. It's all about "getting out there" and so, I can safely say that blog tours do work.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Chris Wood

Sherlock Holmes and the Underpants of Death
“Hand me my violin, Watson.”

“Certainly, Holmes,” I said, turning my back on the great sleuth as I reached for the instrument, discreetly stamping on it once or twice out of respect for his musical skills before handing it over. Nonchalantly accepting his cracked violin, Holmes played a delightfully splintered tune, so distracted was he by the events of the night that he did not even notice the violin was in four pieces.

As a great music lover, I am used to Holmes’ singular violin playing, and in the earlier days of our friendship I could often be seen offering encouragement by striking him on the head whenever he reached for the instrument. Holmes’ violin playing is a reflective accompaniment to his thoughts; melodramatic and prone to great gusts of narration.

It is with this particular skill in mind that I have spared no effort in obtaining the finest ear plugs money can buy. I sat behind a newspaper between a pair of these, and wondered how much more I could take of Holmes’ moody eccentricity. It was bad enough him keeping his tobacco in a Persian slipper, but of late the habit of keeping his feet in my cigar case had been getting me down.

Undeterred by the barrage of cushions and small arms fire, Holmes played his violin into the dawn, and I spent the time as best I could composing lengthy, heartfelt telegrams to the Samaritans.
Journalist, Chris Wood is the author of the comedy thriller Sherlock Holmes and the Underpants of Death above. He resides in Manchester, England and has written for a wide variety of publications and has a broad range of teaching experience. So much so, that he has penned a guide for thriller writers.
The Ingredients of a Good Thriller: A Simple Guide to Noir, Cops, Gangsters, Heists, Badasses in Book and Film, and How to Make That Genre Work for You.
This how-to book is simply written for writers of sleuth with easy digestible chapters from the different characters: villain, sleuth victim, to dialogue and keeping the suspense.

The Ingredients of a Good Thriller
Making the Baddie Really Bad – and Original
“It is far safer to be feared than loved” - Machiavelli

Evil is entertaining. It’s a riot. Famously, in Paradise Lost, Satan is the only one who has any fun. That isn’t saying much. Milton wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs and epic poetry isn’t really entertainment. Out of the whole Eden, heaven and hell kaboodle, Satan rocks. God is pompous. Adam is wet, Eve sulky, and the angels suck. Milton shot himself in the foot.

Part Of Us Wants To Be Like That

We can’t help admiring the cool of Verbal Kint as he walks out of the police station. Seeing the expression on Tony Montana’s face as he fills his pockets with bullets and grenades is an experience. Sharon Stone’s turn in Basic Instinct (and say what you like, she’s a creepy customer) titillates and challenges.
We like evil – it’s fun and when done well, we get a thrill of having safely visited the edge. Just as a rollercoaster gives safe thrills, the Terminator blasting through a police station has us tensely breathless.

Chris Wood started his own publishing company, Sole Trader, and sold solely through Amazon.
Chris Wood Blog
Chris Wood on ChicGalleria

The Holmes book is parody
and the Guy Ritchie Holmes film was a happy coincidence.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Proposals by Email.

Dear Agent,
Please find attached my idea for a novel called: Twinned. It's in PDF because I don't want you to steal my idea!!! :(
My mum says it's brilliant! It is a thriller about a woman who falls for a man who has a twin who is a wanted man. To spice things up the woman also discovers she is a twin (separated at birth), and the sister traces her and falls in love with the criminal twin!!!!
Let me know what you think,
Regards, Sarah

Dear Agent,
Just to let you know I've thought of a sequel to Twinned. It's about the twins marrying one another and going on a life of crime with their twin children. View the attached and let me know what you think ASAP.
Regards, Sarah

Dear Agent,
Forgot to add, the sequel is called Twinned Again.

Dear Agent,
I'm concerned you haven't contacted me about my ideas for Twinned and Twinned Again that I emailed the other day. I'm sure you can't be that busy that you can't press the reply button!!!
Regards, Sarah

Dear Agent,
Why haven't you replied? It's very rude. Mum thinks it's a conspiracy on new authorism or something. Is it?
Regards, Sarah

Dear Agey,
I am getting very worried now. Maybe you haven't received my novel and it went into spam? I know this can happen because it happens a lot to me :( .  Please check your spam box. BTW I've changed the genre to romance.

Dear Age,
Just in case you have lost Twinned and Twinned Again here is another attachment :D !!!!
The opening is a little slow because I have to introduce two sets of twins and their twin off-spring (the criminal twin and his wife have triplets!!!!), but on page ten it's really good!! Oh, I've made the characters older so the children have more to do in the story. Mum thinks it'll defo be a bestseller now!!!
Best, Sarah

The genre is now an YA. Think I'll focus on the kids of the story rather than the parents.

Just to let you know my friends on facebook said they will buy my book once you publish it. Can you tell me when that will be please?
S xx

Hi A,
I've wrote the second chapter now and have sent that as attached. It's copywrited so don't get any ideas!!!!! This chapter focuses on the triplets. They have taken on their dad's life of crime, so this one is more thriller than romance. Not sure how it will pan out tbh. ;)Will you get back to me this week? I really, really REALLY need to know what you think before I continue further.

Have you replied? If you have I haven't received it. Can you forward your reply again?

Disregard the previous email and chapter two. The triplets Jan, Fran and Ann are now boys called Jack, Zach and Mac!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love Sar xx.


Dear Mr Agent,
I am thinking about reporting you. This wait (four days and five hours) is outrageous. May I remind you that if it wasn't for writers like me you'd be out of a job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sarah Higgenbottom

You aren't going to reply are you? :( :(
People are SO rude!!!!!!!!!!!! I am taking my novel ideas to another agency. This is YOUR loss.
Ms Higgenbottom

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


by Renda Dodge

Lying in bed, I could still smell the rural town I grew up in. The manure stench of the country combined with fresh-cut grass layered over car exhaust and fresh rain, and I wanted to forget.

When I was a girl, I would listen to frogs, insects and a silence that made my ears ring, but it had turned to car horns, screeching tires and drunks walking home at closing time. I lived in Seattle’s gray for eleven years, but it had never quite become home. I tried not to think of the place I ran from, the life that existed so many years before, and focused my thoughts on the noise of the city filtering through the cracked window.

The thin red lines of the alarm clock illuminated the corners of my bedroom, waiting to usher in the start of another day. I searched for patterns in the shadows painted across my ceiling and tried to will my body into a few more minutes of sleep. I had not slept through the night for as long as I could remember, and my nocturnal routine helped feign a semblance of normality. Renda Belle Dodge grew up in the Pacific Northwest as part of a typical, fractured family, and she currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Writing has always been a part of her life, and she began telling and illustrating stories when she was a child. Renda’s style is bold and strives to capture the ongoing struggle for identity in contemporary America. Inked is her first novel.

Renda facilitates several groups for writer’s fellowship, support and feedback. She runs one-day workshops on novel plotting and speed drafting. For the past seven years she has been involved in National Novel Writing Month, and for the past four has been a Municipal Liaison working with and encouraging writers of all ages and skill sets. She is also a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association.

Tori Liddell has struggled through her twenties suffering from undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. She documents her radical lifestyle changes and shifting identity through the colorful tattoos covering her body. After years spent disconnecting from family and widening the rift created by her absence, Tori returns to small-town Oregon to help facilitate the care of her mother, recently diagnosed with AIDS. At her homecoming, she faces her own mortality, the inevitable loss of her mother and the interests of an  enigmatic  neighbor. Tori also confronts the realization that things and people are not always the way she remembers as she searches for the meaning of home in the rubble of her past.
Inked is a window into the life of a woman trying to overcome herself, her choices and a psychological affliction etched under her skin.

Continue reading the first chapter for FREE on Renda's website!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Article - Writing Style by Patti Hultstrand

Writing Style by Patti Hultstrand

The most asked questions I receive as an author by readers and other authors alike is what is my style of writing? Do I have a preferred method of writing that works for me? Do I write an outline before I start writing? Or do I write out scenes and pull together the story later?

There is a short story, but I will tell you the longer one here.

About 6 years ago I had a near death experience that changed my life in many ways, one being that I knew it was time for me to write that story I had inside me; the one I started over 12 years before. The one I left to become an aged, yellow around the edges remnant of my dream of being an author since I was bit by the writing bug when I was in Jr. High.

Now, every author should know that writing is therapeutic for us, so as a means of therapy and the need to get that story out, I sat down one day in a September and wrote 296,000 words. It took six months and many nights with my computer, but when I was done, the story had become an epic love story that took place where East India is right now. The story spans centuries because the people involved are from different times and places. This story had become so much more and is now a possible twelve books or more and a time-travel romance. Why a romance? This story wouldn’t be what it is without the romance story between Tamea and Parker.

I had cut those 296,000 to make four books. After I started telling people that I had no real action plan for the story; no outline before or during the process; and I did not write scenes as they came to me, they told me how I should have written them. I began to wonder if I had done the wrong thing, because this process isn’t as easy as it sounds. I had found my beginning three-quarters of the way through those 296,000 words, and moved that segment to the front and had to rework the whole book. So, in retrospect, I had wondered if that style or process wasn’t the right way to do this.

For Book 5, I had tried an outline and then wrote those scenes as they came to me. It’s been years now, and that book isn’t done. It was and still is a mess.

So, when someone asks me what my process is with my writing I usually give them the short answer by telling them I take the advice that Ray Bradbury gave me back in 1985 when he said to just write the story, then edit, edit and edit, until the story is what it needs to be.

You can buy Patti's first book Time Conquers All with FREE shipping through the publisher website  or Amazon website, which will charge P&P.
Patti's next tour stop is with Cate Masters on June 11th

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Grumpy Observations from a middle-aged tart.

  1. Why do little old ladies assume everyone under twenty are out to mug them? 
  2. Why is it I spend ages trying to get the polythene off cucumbers, something we wash, yet instore bakeries leave their bread uncovered, just so horrible, snotty-nosed kids can prod with their grubby hands and the elderly can squeeze muttering, "Oooh that's a bit stale, our Bob."
  3. I find a fantastic blog, only for the owner not to leave an email address for me to contact. I mean, what's the point in blogging if no one can get hold of you?
  4. Why do people enter a shop, and then stop. Dead. You are unable to go around them because of people exiting the store, and so are forced to stop too.
  5. Why are instructions always ignored? If I ask for a short bio and book blurb don't just send me a link to your website and expect to me do your finding for you.
  6. Why do kids need you the instant you enter the bathroom?
  7. As soon as the good weather hits why'd people take to their cars and clog the roads?
  8. You know you're getting old when you have a sudden urge to spit on a hanky and wipe "that muck" (makeup) off a young girl's face.
  9. You know your child watches too much TV because he tells all and sundry to "Calm down dear" or "my clothes needs more Calgon, mummy" or some other slogan from the adverts.
  10. Why do people assume I know who they are when emailing me. Use the subject line for information not, "Hi there!".
  11. You finally get the house to youself, and settle down to write but a well-meaning friend arrives with a bottle of wine saying "I knew you were alone and would appreciate company."
  12. You know you're a bad mother when child asks to be put to bed (you're engrossed in writing).


Many Paths, Many Feet an anthology of women's stories by Phyllis Wilson and friends.

An Anthology of Women's Stories

Many Paths, Many Feet is an anthology of women's stories, some fiction and some non-fiction, that candidly reveal women's triumph and perseverance. The stories, coupled with splashes of poetry, bring to light the essence of the human spirit. Read familiar refrains of faith, determination, and tenacity. Go on a powerful journey with incredible stories of challenges and the discovery of yourself!

Every so often an anthology is written to inspire and uplift; to fortify and nourish; to comfort and reassure but most of all to bring you closer to a place of triumphant living.

Many Paths, Many Feet is an anthology of stories for anyone who has experienced the difficulties of life.

The authors are fearless, indefatigable, and righteous in their march to victory, thus presenting the archetypal story of what all men and women experience in their quest for an exemplary life. At Many Paths, Many Feet, we believe the journey is as powerful and rewarding as the destination!

Phyllis Wilson wrote her first book, Top Ten Things to Consider, and after it was published thought about other stories that could be shared and that everyone has a story. So she approached some ladies she knew and asked them if they would like to be part of this collaboration.

"We all have different backgrounds, educational status, and experience in various areas of life; so what brought all of us together to write such a sound and inspirational book was that we felt the book has divinely aspired as 9 women met on 9 September at 9pm EST for our first conference call about the book!

 It just sends chills up my spine every time I think about that as God had his hand in the entire process. Our target audience or who we would like to reach when sharing our literary works is men and women…and I say that because even though it is a compilation of women’s stories, men can learn something from the women’s point of view and some stories/poems are directed to a male audience.

The message we are trying to send to our audience or reader are several fold because we had 25 stories and poems, but I think the main message is that you are not alone…others have experienced what you have experienced or are experiencing."

Phyllis Wilson
Author, Consultant, Radio Personality & Keynote Speaker

Friday, 4 June 2010

Dallas Woodburn

I hate well-deserving people, with their struggles and their thankfulness of the world that they think they should be “giving something back”. It makes me more grumpy than usual, and today... well... it you haven’t heard of Dallas Woodburn already then stick around because this young lady is the type of person that goes into making Sir Bob Geldolph and the late Princess Diana penny-pinching misers.

Against all odds, Dallas survived a premature birth and even before the fifth grade she published her first book: There's a Huge Pimple on My Nose. Before long she was an author of two collections of short stories, a forthcoming novel, and more than 80 articles in publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, the Los Angeles Times and eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
"If you simply want to enjoy some remarkable writing, it would be hard to find a book more satisfying than Dallas Woodburn's." - Los Angeles Times
3 a.m., has also received high praise. Laurie Stolarz, author of the Blue is for Nightmares series, said: "Woodburn is a very gifted writer whose work celebrates the beauty and humor of everyday life."

In 2001 Dallas created Write On! For Literacy, a nonprofit foundation to encourage kids and teens to discover confidence, joy, a means of self-expression and connection with others through reading and writing. She holds writing contests, teach writing camps, and created a website www.writeonbooks.org that features book reviews, author interviews, and more.

“In the past eight years, my Holiday Book Drive has collected and distributed 11,117 new books to underprivileged children for Christmas. My latest project is starting a publishing company, Write On! Books, that publishes anthologies of stories, poems and essays written by students in middle school and high school. The first anthology is due for release this summer. Titled Dancing With The Pen, it features work by more than sixty young writers from all across the U.S. and even abroad: Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand. For my volunteer work I have been honored with a Congressional Award Gold Medal, a Jackie Kennedy Onassis/Jefferson Award, and most recently a "Best of You" award from Glamour Magazine.”

Not just a pretty face (but we know that already) Dallas graduated last year with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California. And this August, she is entering the M.F.A. program in Fiction Writing at Purdue University.

“I have learned so much through writing -- things like following your passion, believing in yourself, dealing with rejection, and the importance of perseverance and hope. I have also learned the importance of breaking up big dreams into smaller steps you can take today.”

Dallas has experience in doing many interviews for newspapers, radio, and television, including The Early Show on CBS and the PBS book talk show Between the Lines. She also frequently talks to schools and community groups about her writing and Write On! For Literacy.

If you want to book her, better get in touch before she’s “discovered”.

Contact Dallas Woodburn:-- Dreams are too important to "put off" till tomorrow!
400 Roosevelt Ct.
Ventura, CA 93003 phone: 805-889-5570 (PST)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Perils of a Book Signing by Alan J Hill

The perils of a Book Signing

By Alan J Hill

"Please don't wipe that on my book."
"Yes, you are only the third person to speak to me in the last three hours and two of them were my wife and son."
"No, I don't decide the price of the book."
"I'm not buying this, it looks rubbish."
"Who are you anyway?"

Well I am an ordinary bloke from a largish town in the north west of England called St. Helens (famous for glass and Rugby League, not plots for children's novels) and after nearly ten years of trying, I have fianlly found a publisher for my first two books: Tremain, Book One: The Seven Faiths and Tremain, Book Two: Underworld and Overland

Athena Press are a small independent publisher based out of Twickenham, not far from the Rugby ground that bears the same moniker, and they agreed to publish my books. And being small there is little funds for helping first time novelists to get noticed, so what do I do?

Well I blog on Amazon for a start but you soon find that the Amazon community do not take kindly to anyone trying to sell their wares and I soon got put back in my box for trying to do so.

I have employed an agent. Although I'm sure Nigel Roberts, ex-employee of Athena, does not think of himself as my agent but I don't wish to insult him by calling him a sales person either. Basically, he uses the contacts he has made over his years to try and get my books into the bookshops of the UK. So, I'm luckier than most, in that retrospect I suppose.

But then... I get a report every week outlining the number of people and companies who have rejected me. A treat I look forward to with the relish of small child stood outside the headmaster's office. But after you have been stood there once a week all term, it loses it's fear and becomes a part of life, believe me.

But the end of the tunnel hasn't been bricked up, light has begun to appear between the crumbling pointing. A buyer at Waterstones in Bristol is a fan of the fantasy genre and is also responsible for the children's section. He wants to read my books! He likes the glossy covers and then offers me an event.  On the brink of leaping for joy, he adds, but there won't be much advertising as the budget is tight.

Of course it is, who the hell is Alan J. Hill, anyway?

Waterstones will buy some books for the shop but I have to take my own copies along too. And so the 'event' will be me, sat between the fantasy and children's book shelves in Bristol Waterstones, with a table full of my own copies of my books.

I paint a bleak picture but I shouldn't. The thought of sitting in Waterstones, with my own work scattered around me for sale, is very exciting. I am trying to manage my own expectations by telling myself that one sale will be a success, two will be good and three will fling me to the top 1,000 of Bristol's bestsellers. But it is a step, and no matter what happens it will be a step in the right direction.

The signing starts at noon, and should last between 2-3 hours very much depending on how it goes. The buyer is a guy called Mark Scott and he will help me set up. I have done my own advertsing using posters from Athena. I feel excited, but probably will be nervous on the day.

If you want a chat with an author who wrote a book for his own children that is now available to all children then pop along to Bristol Waterstones, 11A Union Galleries on 12th June.

Even if you don't buy I'll be grateful for the company.

Alan Hill