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Thursday, 30 September 2010



blurb of Solace and Grief

Solace Morgan was born a vampire. Raised in foster care, she has always tried to keep her abilities secret, until an eerie encounter with a faceless man prompts her to run away. Finding others with similar gifts, Solace soon becomes caught up in a strange, more vibrant world than she ever knew existed. But when the mysterious Professor Lukin takes an interest in her friends, Solace is forced to start asking questions of her own. What happened to her parents? Who is Sharpsoft? And since when has there been a medieval dungeon under Hyde Park?

What is Solace and Grief all about? Can you tell us a little more about its genre?
Solace and Grief is the first book of Rare, a YA urban fantasy trilogy. The main character, Solace Morgan, is a seventeen-year-old girl raised in foster care; she’s also a vampire, something she’s so far managed to keep secret. When an eerie encounter with a faceless man prompts her to run away, Solace finds herself living with a new group of friends, all of whom are something slightly more than human. But her new life has its own dangers, too – and some of them have to do with Solace’s parents.

What gave you the incentive to write this book?
I grew up reading epic fantasy, and so didn’t really discover urban fantasy until university. The idea for Solace’s story came when I was working as a legal secretary. I’d been watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and thought it would be interesting to try and create my own vampire mythology: one where being a vampire wasn’t enough to make you evil, but where serious villainy could still occur as a result of being a vampire. In Solace’s world, what makes vampires mad and bad is human blood, which is powerfully addictive. Drink it for too long, and not only does it become steadily impossible to feed on anything else, but you start to go crazy, too.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
Vampires, shenanigans and sarcasm in an alternate Sydney filled with magic doors, mind-altering nepenthe, secrecy and danger.

What makes this difference from other Vampire stories?
Here are the two most obvious points: it’s not a romance, and it’s not set at school. Also, there’s more magic in the mix than just vampires.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Date: 09/06/2011 Times: N/A Prices: £10 per entry Location: TBC Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, is delighted to announce that its first ever fiction prize will be awarded on Thursday 9 June 2011.

They are now inviting people to submit work to be considered for the prize, subject to the following terms and conditions:


1) The prize is for a novel by a woman over the age of 21 that marries literary merit with unputdownability.
2) The novel may be on any subject at all. We welcome submissions of literary fiction and genre fiction equally.
3) The novel must be unpublished, and must not have been accepted for future publication or self-published.
4) Each novel must have a title, even if this is only a working title, for ease of administrative processing.
5) Anyone who has previously published a full-length novel is not eligible to enter the competition. If you have previously self-published a novel, you may enter as long as your submission is a different novel from the one you have previously self-published.
6) Each entry must consist of: the first 30 pages of the novel and a synopsis of the remainder of the novel that may be up to 10 pages long. The form the synopsis takes is left to the discretion of the entrant - it might be a detailed breakdown of the remainder of the plot, or a few paragraphs that give a flavour/overview. The novel does not need to be complete in order to be entered for the competition. It is acceptable to enter novels-in-progress and/or the first 30 pages of a novel you would like to write, or intend to write. All pages should be numbered, and the manuscript and the synopsis should be numbered separately.
7) No current Lucy Cavendish College fellows, students or staff members, and no relatives thereof, may enter the competition.
8) The entrance fee is £10 per entry. Entrants may submit a maximum of 3 entries, but no more than 1 submission per entrant will be shortlisted.
9) The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday 29 April 2011.
10) Entries must be submitted in an envelope clearly marked ‘Fiction Prize’ and must consist of:

* the first 30 pages of the novel, printed in black ink on white A4 paper, 1.5 line spacing. The entrant’s name must not appear on the manuscript.
* up to 10 pages of synopsis, printed in black ink on white A4 paper, 1.5 line spacing. The entrant’s name must not appear on the synopsis.
*a separate sheet of white A4 paper that contains the following details: entrant’s name, address, phone numbers, email address, date of birth, title(s) of novel(s) submitted.
* a cheque for the appropriate entry fee. For one submission, this would be £10. For 3, it would be £30. Cheques should be made payable to Lucy Cavendish College.


The judges will be bestselling novelist and poet Sophie Hannah and Professor Janet Todd, President of Lucy Cavendish College. The judges’ decision will be final. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize if they think that none of the entries are of sufficient merit.

The Shortlist, the Prize-giving Dinner and the Prize

The judges will draw up a shortlist of five submissions. Those five entrants, plus one guest per shortlisted entrant, will be invited to the prize-giving dinner at Lucy Cavendish College on the evening of Thursday 9 June 2011. Fiction editors, literary agents and journalists will also be present at the dinner, as will fellows and students of the college. The judges will talk about all five shortlisted entries before announcing the winner and awarding the prize. The winner of the prize will receive a cheque for £1000, an editorial report and advice about publication from the judges. All five shortlistees will have the chance to meet editors and agents at the dinner.


Fiction Prize
c/o President’s Secretary
Lucy Cavendish College
Lady Margaret Road
B3 0BU

Monday, 27 September 2010

FREE books with Tom Lichtenberg.

Tom Lichtenberg has written a "bunch of books" which he's giving away for free as e-books via Smashwords and Feedbooks. He's been writing for twenty years, but only recently self-published and put his books out there.

Zombie Nights spent the summer as the #1 most downloaded book from Smashwords. It's currently #2, behind Smashwords own required reading – their style guide.

Lichtenberg likes to think his books are genre free. He has five books on Smashwords' 100 Most Downloaded list, including a YA thriller Snapdragon Alley, a sci-fi detective farce Death Ray Butterfly, a mystery adventure Freak City, and a sort of magical realism tall-tale Secret Sidewalk. Among other books are some atheist comic pulp fiction stories Orange Car with Stripes and Missy Tonight, non-traditional time travel Time Zone and Golden, and young children's read-alouds Tiddlywink the Mouse, to name but a few.

The books have garnered a wide range of reactions from the public, with over 100,000 copies downloaded in this period. Reviews have been varied from "probably the worst book ever" to "work of genius". All in all the books tend to be viewed as odd, and if you like your reading material "odd" than we've certainly found the author for you!

Author, Tom Lichtenberg
Hi Tom, tell me, all in all just how many books have you written?
I've written more than sixty books over the past thirty years or so. Following my all-time favorite advice for writers, from Henry Miller, I've thrown away the first half of those books. I remember reading where he once said something like 'you’ve got to write a million words, perhaps more before you get down your first true word'. I'm not a big Henry Miller fan, or anything, but it did seem to make sense to me. You have to find your voice and there's only one way to do that. Write, write write.

In my late teens and early twenties I wrote pretty much non-stop, always in long-hand, always in blank books and notebooks. I developed a heck of a blister on my right middle finger and I wrote some really weird stuff. Actually I still have those books but can't decipher the handwriting, but it's no great loss, I'm sure. I'd get to the point where I would have to decide if the book was "typewriter-worthy", and then in later years whether it was 'computer-keyboard-worthy'. A handful of earlier works did survive those filters. I stopped writing entirely for more than a decade, and when I started up again, in my late thirties, it was as if I was a completely different writer. Where formerly I wrote longish novels, I began to write shorter ones. Where previously I did a lot of planning, now I just make it all up as I go along. I'm having a lot more fun than I used to.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Kurt Frenier tells all about his new YA book


Neglected, Ethan boards The Study Train to escape his miserable existence. The Study Train is a magical train that teaches him how to harness his magical powers. But does the force make him believe he in invincible?
The Study Train: Volume 1 - Reunion of the Untouchables

Talk about a field trip! This fantasy adventure takes young readers along on a ride aboard a magical flying train, called The StudyTrain, built 500 years ago in the time of Master Magician Mikhail Pilkington III.

The magical vehicle was designed to show teenagers the world, and turn them into wizened and peaceful leaders. When a Swiss boy named Ethan is invited aboard, he discovers the wonders of The Study Train, and gets confronted with an ancient and evil alliance called The Untouchables. They see in him the qualities needed to emerge as their long-awaited leader. Ethan’s intrigue and hunger for knowledge and power makes him learn all their secrets, magic, and sorcery. Within this web of discovery, he also meets his dark side … which side will he choose?

This remarkable story about facing challenges will gather you onboard and take you for the ride of a lifetime!

Ethan has the adventure of a lifetime. After getting on the magical train he proves to be the ultimate “Untouchable” – will he go for good or bad?

What is The Study Train, Reunion of the Untouchables all about? Can you tell us a little more about its genre?
The Study Train, Reunion of the Untouchables is a YA fiction novel, for 13 to 15 year olds. It is an exciting story about a boy that goes through a lot of motions: from being brought on board of this magical train, to meeting new friends, travelling the world, and… being exposed to great powers. This is the first book in a series. Reunion of The Untouchables introduces the main character, Ethan, and his main counterpart (his enemy and hero), Krixit. It explains the magic of the Study Train, its history, and round-the-world journey. As the story unfolds, we discover that Ethan, a simple and unhappy boy at first, is actually a long awaited leader for a hidden society called The Untouchables. Ethan gets sucked into their circles, drawn in by the magic and sorcery that he gets to learn. Soon he understands that as their leader, he needs to commit mean and terrible acts. The question throughout the book is: will he go for power and recognition, or turn to the good side?

Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?Absolutely yes, and absolutely no. Whenever you write, you have to tap into your view on life, your experiences, the people that you know and their behaviours. So in that sense, there are a lot of real-life inspirations woven into the story. BUT – it is not an absolute … as you throw some fantasy into the mix, every character and every situation becomes rather unique.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
I can’t give too much away. My favourite scene is linked to the climax of the book – an ultimate fight between Ethan, the main character and Althulos (his headmaster, teacher, and the founder of the train). There is a surprising element in that scene that I like a lot, and that will be the foundation for the next volumes in the series (aha – now, here’s a piece of new information!). So, read the book to find out exactly what happens!

Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?
I have gone on my own. I have contacted many publishers in the UK and the US. With a lot of rejection as a result. I know that that comes with the territory (i.e. there are a lot of talented authors and a lot of manuscripts for a relatively limited amount of publishers). Eloquent Books saw something in my story, and so far I’m happy working together with them. My next book (due at the end of the year; and not related to The Study Train) will also be with them.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Meet Satanist Cody James, author of Dead Beat.

Cody James

It’s 1997, and the comet of the century is due some time about now, on its 3000 year roundtrip.

“Man, fucking Emeryville,” Lincoln said, pausing in his stride to hock phlegm onto the sidewalk.”

And so, for want of anything better to do, Adam and his meth addict friends end up in San Francisco, wondering where their place in the addict hierarchy might be, why no one has written a good book in over a decade, and what the fuck the comet might mean, when nothing on earth means anything.

And in a zip of light and a snort of meth the comet is gone, taking with it this last snapshot of earth for 3000 years, leaving Adam to wonder if it meant anything at all, or whether it was maybe just a bit cool that the sky looked different. Just for once. For the last time in his life.

The Dead Beat is published by eight cuts gallery press will be available as an ebook from October 1st and paperback from November 1st.

What is The Dead Beat about? Can we have a snippet?
Of course you can have a snippet. It's about friendship, addiction, and that time in your life when your innocence dies because life is beating the shit out of you:

People on drugs look with disgust and disdain at people on other drugs. There were the alcoholics—if it is a guy, people think it is cool. If it is a woman, she’s thought of as pathetic. As a whole, though, they are society’s accepted addicts, and feel themselves completely removed from drug addicts. There were the potheads. Man, potheads smoke all day and all night, mostly can’t string a sentence together, but vehemently hate all other drugs, from alcohol and cigarettes to crack. They regard all of these as evil, but not weed—weed to them is like a religious, medicinal, God-given thing. They don’t see themselves as filthy junkies like the rest of us; they are just chilled out. Everyone hates potheads in a reciprocal fashion. They’re looked upon as fucking hippies, Jerry Garcias, unwashed, patchouli-smelling, incense-burning motherfuckers. Then, there are cokeheads. They are hated for being neurotic and unstable, plus they always have the cocaine sniffles and their noses are always bleeding. It’s a bummer to look at.

Mitch had once given me a diatribe on how he used to deal coke, but couldn’t stand the cokeheads paging him all the time, freaking out. He felt that tweakers were much easier to deal with. He probably thought this because he was a tweaker himself. So, we come to the tweakers, the meth addicts. Generally reviled for being skinny, sore-ridden and overly talkative, they are looked down on by cokeheads for being cheap. In turn, tweakers think cokeheads are dumb for paying way more for a drug that lasts about 15 minutes with less kick than speed. Lastly, there are the smackheads and the crackheads. These guys are the most hated. They are the untouchables. Anyone shooting smack or smoking crack immediately becomes part of a contemptible alien species. They’re subhuman, the dregs of society. They‘re filthy, vile, disgusting, pitiable, and to be avoided at all costs. As for the smackheads and crackheads themselves, well, if you aren’t doing their drugs, then you’re just wasting your time. You’re an amateur, a wannabe. They don’t even want you in their treehouse.

Can you define the genre?
I would call it a tragi-comedy. The reason I hate writers such as Selby Jr. is because they suck all the humor and soul out of dark subject matter, rendering it false. Life isn't like that. You can be standing on the side of the road watching an ambulance driving off with your jacked-up friend in the back, feeling sad, only to see him come busting out of the back doors of the vehicle while it's driving off, and go screaming in the other direction because he doesn't want to go to the psych ward again. And you will piss your pants laughing. True story, right there.

As well as the author of The Dead Beat, you have a zine called Babylon. Can you tell us a little about that?
Babylon is about a suicidal schizophrenic writer who leaves San Francisco and heads back to his hometown in the West Texas desert. I'd call it an existential religious horror comedy. It explores mental illness and interpersonal relationships, but on a deeper level, it looks at the ancient alchemical idea of apotheosis, and Jesus as Lucifer. When you look at the New testament through the eyes of an alchemist, what is it really telling you? It's telling you that Jesus is Lucifer and he's teaching a way of inner transformation that will enable you to be absorbed into Him. Apotheosis in its truest sense - becoming one with the god who accepts you.

You're also a film-maker and a photographer and on your website there are many examples of your work. You also say you are an ex punk, ex meth addict, a satanist and a schizophrenic. Most people wouldn't want to reveal their addiction or illness. So why have you?
I don't really understand not revealing these things. Maybe I just got to the point where I don't give a fuck what is generally acceptable and what isn't. I am what I am. If someone doesn't like that, it costs them nothing to go look elsewhere.

What's a satanist?

Competition Time

Hi there fellow writers, get your creative thinking caps on. This is for all competition lovers out there!

Clair Apps (Creative Writing For All) is currently holding a short story and poetry competition in the theme of domestic violence. All profits will go to Women's Aid
You are invited to write a short story up to 2,000 words and/or a poem of up to 40 lines on the above theme. True stories are more than welcome. Confidentiality would be maintained.

Short Story Prizes: £70, £35, £20

Poetry Prizes: £70, £35, £20

Closing Date: 30th November 2010

Entry fee: £5, additional entries £3.

All profits made will go to Women's Aid


Competition Rules:

1. The closing date is 30th November 2010.

Short Stories:

2. Entries or short stories must not exceed 2,000 words and must be on the theme –    Domestic Violence.
3. Entries must be typed and double spaced.


4. Entries must not exceed 40 lines, and must be on the theme – Domestic Violence
5. Entries can be single spaced.
6. Title at the top of each page. Pages must be numbered.
7. All entries must be on A4 white paper, single sided.
8. Entrants name and address must only be on the entry form, NOT the story/poem.
9. Only postal entries will be accepted.
10. Post to: Creative Writing for All, 35 Diglis Dock Road, Worcester, WR5 3FA.
11. Each entry must be accompanied by entry fee and entry form.
12. Entries will only be returned if accompanied by an SAE.
13. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
14. Winners will be notified at the end of December 2010.
15. Entries must be original work and previously unpublished.
16. Cheques/Postal Orders payable to: C E Apps

Check out the website: http://writing-experiment.webs.com/competition.htm

Good luck!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Rev.David Smith on spirituality and druidry

Rev. David Smith is the author of two non-fiction books Honoring the Sacred Earth, A Path to Spiritual Awakening and Under the Expanse of Oaks: one on druidry and the other on spirituality. Both are geared towards beginners on their path towards enlightenment.

As a spiritual person he is a practicing Druid Priest, and member of many Druidic Organisations. He is interested in all forms of religion and spirituality, and hopes to share his knowledge through his books.

Under An Expanse of Oaks: A Druids Journey
Honoring the Sacred Earth: A Path to Spiritual Awakening

I asked Rev. Smith a few questions about his faith, his books and life in general:

Your full title is Rev. David P. Smith - a clergyman for the Christian Church - how can you be a druid? Isn't that witchcraft?
Now that is a good question. Though used mainly by the Christian Faiths the title Reverend is often given to any ordained member of the clergy. I am ordained through the Ancient Order of Druid’s in America http://www.aoda.org/ and their affiliation with the Universal Gnostic Church, as well as the Universal Life Church http://www.ulc.org/ . Druidry can be a religion but to many it is a philosophy so there are most definitely Christian Druids. As for being Witchcraft, Druidry and Witchcraft do have similar roots but are not exactly the same. I am personally currently Pagan in my belief system.

Has druidry moved on since Merlin times?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Proper Charlie - chicklit novel.

A Proper Charlie

Charlie Wallis has everything a girl could wish for: a trendy flat, a loving boyfriend and a fantastic job as a newspaper journalist.

Trouble is Charlie’s boyfriend is a loser, her job title really reads `clerk` and her flat, at the top of a high-rise, isn’t that nice after all.

Her new boss, Ben, is a huge bear of a man. A gentle giant, with chocolate brown eyes that hold a secret.
While her paper investigates the disappearances of local prostitutes, Charlie wants in on the action, deciding that dressing as a hooker and walking the streets is good research.

Bumping into Ben was the last thing she expected.
A story of opposites who not only attract, but ignite!

Out Now!

To buy from Amazon.co.uk click HERE or from Amazon.com click THIS And thank you.

Chapter One

Charlie loves Andy. Andy loves Charlie. Charlie has an exciting job working for a daily newspaper. The newspaper is called London Core. Charlie’s life is exciting and fulfilled. Charlie tells lies.

Charlie Wallis sat at her desk writing on an old summary report. Around her, the hubbub of her colleagues, planning the office party, presented snatches of conversation.

‘... where can I get an Amy Winehouse wig?’

‘... I’ve an Elvis wig, would that do?’

‘… Fanny’s looking. Head down, pretend to work…’

‘... where can I get an Amy Winehouse wig?

She sighed, and doodled a stick figure with a sad face. Telephones rang; some were answered while others trilled relentlessly. Sarah ran past, shrieking, ‘I’ve Jordan Price on line two for you, Faye.’ Charlie stopped paperwork from her pending tray floating in the excited woman’s wake, and watched as Faye received this apparently thrilling news.

London Core, even though termed ‘rag’ by others in the trade, pulled in a decent amount of readers – no wonder the Middleton Group wanted to buy it. Had bought it, she corrected unhappily.

The Middleton Group was renowned for swallowing up small newspapers like Core, changing the dynamics of the workforce, creating redundancies and relocating staff. Management had called a meeting earlier this morning and told them of the takeover and merge with the national The Globe, another of Middleton’s publications. They’d been assured their jobs were safe, but undoubtedly there would be shake-ups.

There was a shocked silence when all had trooped back into the open-plan office, which had lasted all of thirty seconds when everyone began talking at once.

Charlie stopped doodling for a moment to add Charlie loves her job to her nonsense writing. But her job doesn’t love Charlie, she continued in an illegible scrawl. She doodled another sad face, added tears and after a moment’s hesitation, jug ears.

Even though management had assured them their jobs were safe, rumours had been rife. And because of that, the workers were organising a party to either celebrate or commiserate with those who may be chucked by the wayside.

The party had been arranged, and venue booked inside an hour after the takeover was announced. It’d been organised to coincide with the official date of the takeover in two weeks’ time. From a Tarts and Victors party, it was now going to be a pop-star fancy dress, past and present, and Charlie planned to go as Ginger Spice. She sighed again, and fingered a strand of her red hair. How could she enjoy herself at the party knowing her job was on the line and that her boyfriend was about to dump her?

She’d been seeing Andy Chambers for seven months; seven months and two days to be exact, and she’d been certain he was going to ask her to marry him. He’d mentioned settling down on several occasions, admittedly they might have been made in a jest, but still, why plant the seed if you don’t want it sown, as a foster carer used to say.

Charlie had spent her childhood in a children’s home. She’d have loved a family of her own, but it was never to be. It was at the top of her list of future achievements. Second was keeping her job. Third, having her ears pinned back when she won the lottery. All to be crossed out simultaneously, she thought dolefully.

Andy wasn’t going to ask her to marry him. She’d brought it up last month and practically had to resuscitate him.

Monday, 6 September 2010

An interview wih chicklit author Stephanie Haefner

A Bitch Named Karma
Stephanie Haefner

Stephanie Haefner is a lady after my own heart - a chicklit lover! People, or perhaps I should say, women like us cannot take life too seriously. We admire the male bod, and other women's clothes and shoes. We are romantics (nothing wrong with that), and enjoy a good girly read.

Stephanie Haefner's debut novel is called A Bitch Named Karma. Check out the trailer on youtube. She has had shorter works published in various magazines, which you can find out about if you visit her at http://www.stephaniehaefnerthewriter.com./ or find her on her blog: http://thewriterscocoon.blogspot.com/ or website: http://www.freewebs.com/stephaniehaefner/

Here's what I asked Stephanie Haefner...

This is your debut novel, but is it your first novel you have actually written?
No, it is not the first I've written, but it is the second. The first was this crazy long story that has so much of myself poured into it. I love that story, but it is so green! Someday I may go back to it and try and salvage it...I know there is a lot in it that's worth saving! A Bitch Named Karma was my second attempt at novel-length fiction and it has come a long way since I first typed "The End". I also have a third MS titled Spellbound, that I am hoping will find a home someday!

How does it compare with other chick novels/what makes it different?
I'd say it compares with other chick lit in that it is a story about a woman with a fabulous life and friends and a sexy boyfriend, a shoe obsession, and it all falls apart. The difference lies in that Lexi, my main character, finds her new life to be completely different, but it's the perfect life for her...one she never even knew she wanted.

What audience is the book intended? (ie YA, adult)
Lexi is a very sassy lady and she uses quite a bit of "colorful" language. There is some sex in the book, but it's not graphic at all. If a parent read the book first, and was okay with their teen reading a story with 4-letter words, then the the story might be pretty inspiring for a teen. It's a story of finding love where you didn't expect and that judging covers is not the way to go through life. (I have two teen cousins who want to read it, 19 and 17)

How long did it take you to write it, and how many drafts?