Friday, 31 August 2012

Once in a Blue Moon…

Well folks, I thought you’d be interested to know that tonight there will be a full moon - and it won’t just be any ordinary full moon. It’ll be a blue moon!

Now I’ve been familiar with, and have used, this expression since I was small. You know, stuff like:

“How often does the bus pass by?”

“Once in a blue moon - this place is out in the sticks.”

Yet, funnily enough, I didn’t know what a blue moon actually was - until recently.

So, in case there are any others out there who are as clueless as I was in regards to what a blue moon is, I shall enlighten you.

A blue moon isn’t as rare as you’d probably think. It’s when a full moon occurs twice in one calendar month. So because there was already a full moon on the 2nd August, this makes tonight’s full moon on 31st August a blue moon. (I must point out, the moon doesn’t actually turn a funky shade of blue or anything - it’ll look as it always does).

The last blue moon to happen was on 31st December 2009, which I suppose does make a blue moon fairly few and far between - perhaps not as uncommon as I’d initially imagined - but pretty damn cool all the same.

Now to celebrate my new understanding of blue moons and full moons, I’m going to do another promotional day for my short horror story Indefinite Fear. Well, an extra-special full moon is just the thing for all horror enthusiasts to get excited about, isn’t it? And hopefully my short story too!

So be quick - grab it while it’s free if you don’t already have it!

I’m now off to ponder what might happen to a werewolf during the phase of a blue moon. Whether they’re super-fuelled with an even stronger bloodlust, whether their claws and snouts grow that extra bit longer - or whether they’re all so knackered from the first full moon of the month that they take it easy on a blue moon? I definitely think some fun could be had with this train of thought…

Anyway enjoy the blue moon tonight, whatever you’re doing!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dark Steps

Once again I have a Monday morning treat - an interview with writer Martin Pond, who tells us about his book Dark Steps, as well as his other writing projects, and his inspirations...

Book blurb:

A collection of short stories, a series of twist endings, and one author's dark steps back into writing...

A teenage boy waits to take a sinister test he may or may not pass; a new father hears a strange voice on his daughter's baby monitor; a poisoner's best-laid plans go terribly astray; an enigmatic man gets as close to death as he can; a young boy wonders why Christmas just doesn't feel right this year; after the year from hell, a man is driven to extreme measures; a dying man reveals a black secret to his son; and, after four years in limbo, a man's life starts to unravel...

These dark tales of the unexpected are for fans of the short fiction of Stephen King, David Morrell and Dean Koontz. Step outside of the every day and take dark steps into a shadowy place...

As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Born in East Kent in the early Seventies, I was educated at the University of East Anglia. A career in IT followed, and continues to pay the bills. I try to fit writing in between busy work and family lives.

What is your book about?

Dark Steps is a collection of twist-in-the-tail short stories, bringing together a lot of my output from 2008-2011. Some have been published in magazines and the like before; for others, it’s their first time in print. When asked to describe these stories, I usually say that if you like the short fiction of Stephen King and David Morrell then maybe you’ll like these too.

When and why did you begin writing?

It’s always been something I’ve loved. I wrote a lot in my teens and early twenties, but that somehow fell by the wayside as the world of work got in the way. I started again in 2007, at the suggestion of my partner. I gained further impetus from taking a diploma in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, and haven’t stopped since then.

What genre do you prefer to write in?

I don’t set out to write within a certain genre. It’s just that a lot of my stories tend to gravitate a certain way, towards psychological horror and speculative fiction. Having said that, I’ve had a fairly successful stab, if you’ll pardon the pun, at what I call old-school, schlock-horror, and suspense. And then again my current novel length work-in-progress is straight literary fiction, plain and simple.

What is your biggest writing achievement to date?

Having a shot story appear in Unthology No.1, published by Unthank Books. It’s one thing to self-publish, quite another for an independent publisher to look at your work and say “Yes please.” This was especially gratifying, as there were launch events and readings to do too. I was even asked to sign books. All in all, a novel experience that I hope to repeat. Often.

What inspired you to write this book?

Being a collection of short stories, I can be honest and say I didn’t set out to create this book. I just found myself with a whole heap of stories and wondered what to do with them all. I guess if I’m being really honest I thought I might try to capitalise on the aforementioned publication too.

Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?

That’s a tough one. I like different authors for different situations and moods. I love Stephen King – one of my most treasured reviews described my writing as “like a British Stephen King”. I also very much enjoy Nick Hornby, with High Fidelity being one of my favourite books of any genre. And Margaret Atwood is simply incredible, as are Cormac McCarthy and Chuck Palahniuk. I could go on and on…

What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?

Fiction-wise, I’ve just started reading The Promise Of Happiness, by Justin Cartwright. I’m only a chapter in but on the basis of that I’d say yes. His writing reminds me a bit of Patrick Gale, and that can only be a good thing. Non-fiction, I’m also reading Dave Gorman vs The Rest Of The World by, well, Dave Gorman, obviously. He’s a very funny man, both on stage and in print. His blog is always worth a look too.

What are your current projects?

I’m 60,000 words into a novel-length work of fiction, entitled Drawn To The Deep End. It charts a thirty-something’s decline in the wake of his fiancĂ©e’s death. No, it’s not a comedy!

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

Wherever and whenever I can. In between a busy work life and hectic family life, writing time is precious. Basically it’s whenever I get the opportunity to crack open the laptop.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?

Without question, editing myself. It’s notoriously hard to let go of a line that you think is brilliant but which, in reality, is not so great. Objectivity is important for any editor, but when the work you’re reviewing is your own, that line can get blurred.

Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?

I did my own cover too. The current cover is my second attempt – the first was a bit too “belt and braces”, as I discovered when a paperback copy dropped through my letterbox. I changed it soon after, making it much stronger (I hope) because yes, the cover is vital – often it draws the reader more than any blurb or review, particularly if they’re unfamiliar with your name or work.

Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?

Having already had some short stories published traditionally, I felt that self-publishing gave me the perfect means of capitalising on that momentum. I also liked the idea of retaining full creative control, and have been impressed with the technical simplicity of the process. Having said all that, when the novel is completed I’ll be pitching that in the hope of getting it published traditionally. I think the amount of effort I’ve put into it demands that I at least try.

On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?

From the point of view of actually producing books, it has been relatively easy and a lot of fun. What you cannot overestimate though is that amount of time, effort and energy that must be devoted to self-promotion. It can get pretty tiring when you’re your own editor, publisher, agent and PR… not to mention all that impacting on writing time!

Where can we buy the book?

All over the place! Amazon (UK/US), Barnes and Noble, Diesel, iTunes, Kobo, Lulu, Smashwords, Sony and WH Smith.

Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?

Sure. My writing website is

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Funnily enough, I recently blogged about time management for writers – that article’s here. Beyond that, I would say try to write what you like to read – if you don’t like the story you’re writing, how can you expect anyone else to? And my number one tip – don’t let not knowing how a story will end stop you from starting. Just take a character, put them in an interesting situation and get writing. You’ll find out what happens as you go. That’s exactly how I started my novel-in-progress – I’m now 60,000 words in and know exactly how it’s all going to end.

And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone?

Buy my books please! That, and you can follow me on Twitter if you’re that way inclined – I’m @MartinWrites. Enjoy your reading…

Thursday, 9 August 2012

National Book Lovers Day

To celebrate National Book Lovers Day, and since it proved very popular last time I ran a freebie campaign,  I’ve decided to make my short story Indefinite Fear go free for another 24 hours.

Aren’t I just lovely?!

So, go on, fill your boots - grab it while it’s free!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Vampires & Football!

Just to brighten up your Monday morning, I have a special treat in store! An interview with fellow indie writer Martin Tracey, who tells us all about his novel Beneath the Floodlights - which mixes vampires with football!

Book blurb:

When Birmingham football club Kingsbarr United are relegated from the English Premier League they are seemingly rescued by a mysterious new manager from Transylvania, Professor Cezar Prodanescu and his stable of young superstars – who also happen to be a nest of vampires! Once darkness falls and the floodlights glow, their powers enable United to win games by incredible margins. Buried nearby is the world’s first vampire and Cezar’s plan is to resurrect a clone from the extracted DNA of his ancient bones. But Cezar did not legislate for falling in love with human girl, Lily, or for acquiring such admiration for team captain and local hero Johnny Knox and United’s other human footballers. But as Cezar struggles with his emotions and attempts to shield his identity as a master vampire, his finest example, star striker Andrei is eager to keep things on course. But will the cloning of the world’s first vampire materialise? Will Cezar lead United back to Premiership glory? Does Cezar hold any answers for the disappearance of Johnny’s long lost son? And when the evil Andrei takes a shine to Johnny’s teenage daughter, a dramatic showdown ensues in a desperate bid to rescue her – and the entire human race.

As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I first gained some recognition for writing at primary school and won a couple of national competitions at that early age, but as I got older music was my first love and my initial literary output was songs. I had some success playing in bands including supporting the Fine Young Cannibals and a song I wrote and co-performed titled Raging Bull can be heard on Old Gold Anthems-The songs of Wolves FC. This probably gives you a clue about my personal interests which are football (mainly in the shape of Wolverhampton Wanderers) and music (usually in the form of The Beatles).  I love being creative with words so once I got to a certain age I decided to extend my literary output to writing novels and my book Beneath The Floodlights obviously includes a strong element of football . I live in Birmingham, UK - a key player of the Industrial Revolution and I am proud to be a "Brummie".

What is your book about?

It marries the world of vampires with the world of football, two things that interest me a lot but two worlds I suspect that most people would not usually place together. It also explores the struggle of good vs evil which is acutely demonstrated in Professor Cezar Prodanescu's love for a human girl named Lily. Cezar is a Professor in both football and genetics. He is also a master vampire and his masterplan is to resurrect the corpse of the world's first vampire and clone his ancient bones which are lying in an unmarked grave  in Sutton Park (a fascinating, extensive piece of rural land rich in royal and roman history deceptively situated in Birmingham).  Cezar recruits vampires in the traditional way i.e. by drinking the blood of his victims, but if he is successful in cloning the world's first vampire then he can make vampires the most dominant species on Earth. The problem is he didn't account for falling in love with Lily or for becoming fond of the human footballers of Kingsbarr United. His choice of football club to manage and to introduce his stable of footballing superstars are conveniently in earshot of Sutton Park, in fact the team train there.

When and why did you begin writing?

As I have stated my first taste of literary success was when I was just seven years old as a pupil at Hawthorn Road Primary School. The school entered my story into a competition – the theme being road safety, and my story about a magic ice cream van that helped children across the road won first prize resulting in me as a young curly-haired scriber appearing in the local press. A couple of years later the school entered a second story of mine into a separate competition, this time the story needed to reflect the dangers of children playing on building sites. My story scooped top prize once again and I was rewarded with a T-Shirt depicting a monstrous caricature of a mechanical digger with the slogan “Building Sites Bite.” These early literary successes allowed me to believe that playing with words was something I could be quite good at and although in truth I didn't take school too seriously I did enjoy English. My first love was music though and for a long time I was convinced that my career would always lie in music, but these days I am really enjoying the journey when writing novels.

What genre do you prefer to write in?

I have declared that I like to specialise in the supernatural which to me should have the broad scope to include vampires, werewolves, monsters, ghosts, telekinesis or anything else that could fall under this very broad genre. However, I believe that all authors should have the freedom to write about any given subject if they get a passion and inspiration for it. I don't mind being labelled a "horror writer" for example but I am happy for the reader to define what genre my books could fit into. As I tend to include a lot of various themes and layers in my writing I am sure that my work must touch on a variety of genres and I prefer to write without the pressure of being rigidly genre specific. When you look at Beneath the Floodlights it appeals to lovers of vampires but would also appeal to lovers of soccer.

What is your biggest writing achievement to date?

You must mean apart from being interviewed by Rachael H. Dixon.

I guess just the fact that I have had my first novel published but I also have had a short story published in Words magazine, a condensed version of my yet to be published novel Divine Inspiration. I am pleased that my songwriting secured me a place on a recognised album and a chance to play with a bonafide pop group in the form of The Fine Young Cannibals (my song Saturn Rising won a BBC Radio competition to secure the gig). The after gig drinking session was quite an achievement in iself as well actually!

What inspired you to write this book?

I love football and I love vampires and as I have this wacky imagination it made sense to me to bring the two worlds together. I was intrigued to follow my idea through its journey to see how the two worlds could interact with one another. To be honest, being a Wolves fan (Wolves is the nickname for Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for those not familiar with English football) I initially thought about introducing werewolves into a football club but I felt this could be restrictive as traditionally werewolves only come out at a full moon and I felt that vampires offered more scope to drive the story. From a vampire perspective I was inspired more by movies than books, I particularly like "From Dusk till Dawn", "The Lost Boys" and of course "Dracula". I have always been creative with words which initially manifested as song lyrics but as I got older I really fancied stretching myself by writing a novel.

Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?

Can I cheat and name more than one author please? Its just that I like different authors for different reasons.

Peter James is most definitely one of my favourite authors. I like the Roy Grace crime novels as well as Peter's supernatural work. The fact that Peter is open minded about the supernatural I feel allows his novels to explore such themes and he even manages to give these elements a sense of credibility for those cynics amongst us, in particular his exploration of mediums.

Peter is also very good at laying out his books in the style of a "page turner" and I don't ever want to put his books down once I start reading them. But I have to say that the master of the "page turner" is most definitely Dan Brown of "The Da Vinci Code" fame. The success of "The Da Vinci Code" was one major reason why I felt inspired to seriously begin to write novels.

For quirkiness and amazing imagination I rate the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The fact that he named a book Norwegian Wood, in sync with one of my favourite Beatles' songs helps too.

For horror books I don't believe there is anyone better than Richard Laymon and I urge everyone to read The Traveling Vampire Show.

I also like Martina Cole for her honest and realistic approach to her writing - "telling it like it is."

What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?

I am currently reading Hound Dog by Richard Blandford. It tells the story of a psychopathic Elvis impersonator who actually hates Elvis! The character discovered whilst he was in prison that it kept the heavies off his back if he could do a few Elvis numbers because unlike him they all loved the King! I would definitely recommend it because of its comedy appeal, I have found myself laughing out loud a few times, and it is one of those books that I haven't wanted to put down. I must point out however that it is very adult orientated and not for those who are easily shocked by language or sexual references. It isn't for those who would be offended by jibes at Elvis either!

What are your current projects?

I'm currently working on a novel called Mind Guerrilla. It is a crime thriller with spaghetti western overtones and a supernatural twist. The heroes of the book are a couple of detectives from West Midlands CID. The book explores many layers including serial killers, religious cults, football hooliganism and telekenesis/mind control and by weaving all of these ingredients together I hope I am going to produce a very appetising novel. Having lots of different things going on is typical of my imagination and approach to writing and I hope the finished product will keep the reader entertained, engaged and surprised. I am pleased with the way the plot is progressing but obviously don't want to give too much away at this stage.

I actually have a full novel written entitled Divine Inspiration which is set in the Peak District and is a spooky traditional haunted house story, I'm sure that it would appeal to readers of The Woman in Black . The plot centres largely around a rock star who is no longer enjoying the success as a solo artist that he once enjoyed in his band. Could the house and its spooky elements perhaps inspire him to resurrect his career once again? I will release this novel one day but I aim to give it a final polish beforehand so watch this space.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

In my home I am the only natural early riser and my imagination is always at its most fluid in the morning, I am blessed, or cursed, to automatically produce a fountain of ideas at this time of day. Therefore I mainly try and write Saturday and Sunday mornings before the rest of the household decide to greet the day.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?

I've never been to Romania or Transylvania so I couldn't inject my own personal experience into writing about the parts of the book that feature in the Fagaras Mountains or the Black Sea coast for example. I had to piece together internet research with my own experiences of holidays in other parts of Europe and perhaps allow a little bit if literary licence. I'm not too concerned as I understand that Bram Stoker the creator of Dracula never visited Transylvania either!

Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?

I think a book cover is important as it can draw readers to the book before they even know what it is about, whether it is displayed on instore book shelves or even as an ebook. I knew that I wanted to get over the point that my book was about football and vampires. My skills as an artist or graphic designer leave a lot to be desired so I knew I would be relying on help from elsewhere. In saying that I was able to offer complete direction for my cover. My publisher allowed me to look at a huge gallery of photographs and pictures and I personally chose two pictures that suited well, one of a football in a spotlight and one of a colony of flying bats so I asked the book designers to merge the two pictures and I must say I am delighted with the result.

Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?

I did try and go down the traditional route of publishing by sending my manuscript to both publishers and agents. I did have an agent for a while who contracted me on the strength of my Beneath the Floodlights manuscript. The agent couldn't place me traditionally and I was told by him that the feedback from the traditional publishers was that although the story was strong I lacked a substantial literary profile i.e. no-one had ever heard of me in the literary world! I therefore decided to self-publish as I simply wanted the book to be out there and available, albeit it I knew that I wouldn't have the luxury of a publisher pushing and marketing the novel. Unfortunately I had to make a very tough decision and split with my agent for reasons that shall remain private but I know it was the right decision.

On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?

I can't deny that I wouldn't still like to have the strength of a publisher marketing me and pushing all the right buttons in important areas. To market yourself as a self-publisher is very time consuming and at times can seem like a huge effort for very little gain. On a positive angle I really like the freedom of writing how I want to write without having to fit into a "flavour of the month" or certain category that a traditional publisher may demand. I feel I have the freedom to take my novels anywhere I choose without the fear of an editor censoring or changing aspects that I feel are key. Writers should not have to write wearing shackles!

Where can we buy the book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Waterstone's and other websites are stocking it too. I would also be happy to supply a signed copy from my personal stock if anyone was interested - I can be contacted via my website for this or on my email address

For any readers situated in the Heart of England, I will be signing and selling copies of Beneath the Floodlights in Waterstone's, Walsall on 1st September 2012 between 11.00am and 15.00pm.

Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?


Follow me on twitter @MartinTracey1

and I have facebook pages for Beneath The Floodlights and a Martin Tracey Author page.

I could do with some more "likes" please.!/pages/Beneath-The-Floodlights/229219893777037

Do you have any advice for other writers?

It might sound a bit cheesy but don't give up and follow your dream no matter how disheartening the journey can sometimes become. Remember what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and always try to find a positive from a negative experience.

And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone?

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and who has purchased or simply read Beneath the Floodlights. I hope that Mind Guerrilla and my future work brings you some pleasure and entertainment too. I would love to hear from anyone in connection with my work, the supernatural, football or anything at all really and I can be contacted via my website or other electronic avenues including directly on my email address of

Friday, 20 July 2012

Love Your Park!

Wow, can you believe it? The weather forecast for this coming week is looking really promising - just as we’d about given up hope of having any kind of summer as well! I noticed yesterday while I was in my local supermarket that they’d slapped sale stickers on all the camping and BBQ equipment, and I’m pretty certain they were itching to replace the sorry-looking summer stock with snow shovels and tinsel just to have done with it, that’s how dreary things were looking. I’ve no doubt they’ll be peeling the sale stickers off those melamine plates and garden lanterns again now though, because people in their hordes will be loading their trolleys with disposable BBQs and crates of beer like there’s no tomorrow.

This long-anticipated weather front will very nicely coincide with National Love Parks Week - which, incidentally, starts tomorrow.
There’s nothing more therapeutic than for writers and readers alike to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors (unless you suffer from hayfever, of course, in which case you’d better load up on antihistamines and hankies). There’s something extremely liberating about sprawling out on a freshly mown lawn whilst reading a good book, or scribbling in a notepad away from the eye-ache of a laptop screen.

Love Parks Week is about celebrating public parks all over the country. It’s about indulging ducks in a gluttonous diet of your unwanted sandwich crusts, weighing up whether your adult-sized arse might still fit on the kiddies' swings or slide without becoming wedged, it’s about swatting away the abundance of wasps that pester the crap out of you when you crack open a can of pop or unwrap a sandwich from its clingfilm. It’s good to shake your travel rug loose and park yourself in a nice spot (preferably away from the sound of kids kicking balls around) and just unwind for a bit. So go on, embrace Love Parks Week and get out there!
…we’re counting on you Mr Sunshine, don’t let us down - please.

Oh and for a little outdoorsy summer read, here’s the link for a short horror story of mine called Church Fate - which is absolutely free to download. I wrote it last year in the midst of summer, my inspiration being a local church and vicar. When I drove my nana round to the church to make a donation for the roof repairs, I knew there was a story in there somewhere. Anyway, I had great fun writing it and I hope you have fun reading it J

Church Fate
Ramshead is a quite a boring little countryside village in the middle of nowhere, therefore absolutely nothing in the world could have prepared Trevor, the local vicar, for the bloody scene of hair-tearing madness at the church fete.

...seriously, nothing at all.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday 13th Freebie!

Ok so here it is - Friday 13th! Because I love all things scary, and because I wanted to share that love with everyone else, my short story Indefinite Fear is completely free to download for today only on Amazon. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still download the story to read on your laptop/PC - it’s only 1700 words so won’t give you eye-ache.

Indefinite Fear
Some things in life deeply affect us – but just what is it that Janie’s so scared of?
A dark psychological/supernatural short story, Indefinite Fear is about a young woman who struggles with her own past and future when she finds out that her mother has terminal cancer.

I love to explore the darker side of the human mind, in that it can often be our own worst enemy, and I enjoy stories that don’t necessarily spell everything out for the reader. Monsters and ghosts are scary as hell, but the mind itself can be such a creepy place - so when you combine the two elements, which is scarier? You decide.
Links where you can download:

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Friday 13th is looming...

Do you suffer from triskaidekaphobia, a fear of the number thirteen? If so, are you superstitious that bad things might happen this coming Friday?

It’s an interesting fact that so many people genuinely get their knickers in a twist about Friday 13th - but just what is it about this specific day that triggers a sense of bad luck?

Well, the answer is a bit sketchy at best - it would seem that nobody knows the real reason where it all stemmed from in the first place - but I discovered a few possibilities…

Thirteen certainly steps outside of the box in our date and time systems - there are twelve calendar months and twelve numbers around the clock - which is perhaps enough reason to make the neat and orderly amongst us feel uneasy. But then, there were thirteen guests around the table at the Last Supper so it’s a reasonable assumption that the superstition could have religious connotations. And, of course, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday 13th - so, maybe that has some bearing on it. Who knows, perhaps any one of the above, none of the above or all of the above apply when we look to Friday 13ths with a  sense of dread - or maybe, these days, it's because we automatically think about Jason donning his hockey mask...

I must admit I’m not a fan of the number thirteen myself, but, that said, I certainly don’t have a phobia - I’m just not all that fond of odd numbers in general, for which I have no rational explanation. I just don’t, so there.

What will you be doing this coming Friday? Cowering beneath your pillow in bed all day hoping the house won’t fall down on your head, going on as normal but cringing each time you cross a road or walk near scaffolding, or will you simply be going about your daily business with not even a second thought to all this superstitious talk?

I personally like nothing more than to watch a horror film or to read a scary book on Friday 13th - but then I like watching and reading scary things all year round so no change there. But I must admit, horror books and films do have extra appeal on Friday 13th - so perhaps, to a degree, I do get swept up in the whole thing.

Anyway whatever it is you plan to do on Friday I hope you have a lovely (and safe!) day. To mark the occasion I’ve decided to make my short story Indefinite Fear free on Kindle for that one day only. So please do spread the word and tell everyone about it!

Indefinite Fear is a coffee-break-read of around 1700 words -

Some things in life deeply affect us – but just what is it that Janie’s so scared of?
A dark psychological/supernatural short story, Indefinite Fear is about a young woman who struggles with her own past and future when she finds out that her mother has terminal cancer.

Links -



I’ll send out a reminder on Friday when the giveaway goes live - and, of course, I’ll spare a thought for all you triskaidekaphobes out there!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Misery Loves Company

Easington Writers (a northeast writing group, of which I’m a member) were chosen to partake in a Brass Book Project. This exciting opportunity is being organised and funded by Durham City Arts, and the overall idea is to marry the Durham Brass Band Festival with the Durham Book Festival - blending traditional book binding with digital technology.
All eight members of Easington Writers have created a piece to go into the Brass Book (an eclectic mixture of short stories and poetry). My own piece ‘Misery Loves Company’ was inspired by a dream I once had - and it’s something that I wanted to be very visual, and in a similar style to a graphic novel.

The Brass Book will be displayed in varying libraries in the locality from July onwards (including Palace Green Library in Durham), and it will also be on display in a London art gallery. I’ll post more information about the Brass Book event times and places nearer the time and , for now, I’ll give a sneak preview of my contribution.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kiss of Death

Fellow writer, and runner of Blackhall Writing Group, Chris Robinson held an event at Blackhall Library last night in aid of World Book Night - Springtime Spooky. The event was horror themed (since her chosen giveaway book was Stephen King’s Misery) - and the foggy weather outside proved to be perfect.

We all had fun writing and reading our scary stories, prose and poetry - and, of course, indulging in lots of cakes and nibbles (Chris’s mam’s chocolate brownies and ginger cake were particularly bloody nice!)
Anyway, my piece was inspired by two of Freud’s examples of the uncanny - death and anthropomorphism (I attempted to amplify the first element of fear by turning death into Death).

And so, here it is:
Kiss of Death

The stitch in my side paled into insignificance when a new pain suddenly erupted in my chest. I stopped running and bent double to alleviate the fiery agony.
It was because I was so distracted I didn’t even notice him approach.
At first he whispered in my ear; nothing legible, just a sigh. Goosebumps pricked up all over my body and my chest tightened like a vice - squeezing my pain deep within.
I’d seen him around before. In fact I’d seen him most places. He’d be the one standing at the other side of the road as I walked past, he’d be the one in the car travelling towards me when I was out driving. He’d be the man in the crowd when I was out drinking, and sometimes he’d invade my dreams. He was everywhere.

I’d always wanted him to speak to me - but he’d remain at arm’s length. He didn’t want to communicate with me verbally - just wanted to let me know that he was there. Taunting me with his cruel stare and his brooding silence. Reminding me that I could never shake him off.
And at that moment, looking up, I saw his death-white gaze. We made eye contact for the very first time. Funnily enough, I no longer wanted to speak to him, and so I quickly looked around, helplessly searching for somebody who could intervene. Somebody who could save me. But he grinned and shook his head.

“Is this it?” I asked, sucking in air through gritted teeth. But it was no use, my heart had stopped working and I couldn’t fill my lungs. Panicking, my eyes bulged and I gasped and coughed.
He raised one eyebrow and just watched me.  He offered no words of comfort; in fact, no comfort at all. He simply towered over me.

I reached out my hand to grab him, desperately pleading, and he surprised me by taking my hand in his. His grip was freezing cold and it jolted me - though not enough to make my heart beat again. I fell to my knees, clutching his hand to my chest.

“Please help me,” I wheezed.
He laughed loudly, mocking me with his eyes. I used my own to plead with him above the roar of his guttural laugh, wanting the pain to stop. I couldn’t take any more.

He pushed me roughly to the ground and I banged my head on the gravelled path. Before I had time to cry out he was on top of me; his bulky mass weighing heavy on my chest. My heart was crushed.
Stooping down he covered my lips with his own and he breathed in my last breath. There was no warmth in his kiss of death. And the last thing I saw, as he stole my life, were his stark eyes burning into mine. Even frostier than his mouth, they’ll be etched into my mind for all eternity.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Crimson Fury

Happy Friday everyone!

It's just the best feeling in the world when the weekend rolls around, isn't it? And as a special treat, I have an interview with Urban Fantasy writer Dawn Smith to take you into the weekend. Enjoy...

Crimson Fury (Book One in the Children OF Fury Series)

Book blurb:

Dawn says: I actually chose an excerpt, the book description is all over the place. You can’t find this anywhere else on the web…

“How does it feel to know that if I kill you, your precious coven elder wouldn’t give a damn? In fact, I think he was probably betting on it.  Makes you all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it.” The Newling whimpered, but didn’t struggle under my ever tightening hold. His fear saturated the air around us, making me wish I were as heartless as Ethan claimed me to be. Nathaniel took a step toward me, and in one swift motion, I picked up the Newling launching him at Nathaniel. His arms came up, to catch or just deflect the screaming Newling flying toward him, I couldn’t be sure. I used that split second to break out at a full run, pushing every ounce of preternatural energy I could into my legs. I sped down the street, thankful that I was only a few blocks from the flat I shared with Ethan.  Nathaniel’s furious bellowing reached my ears. My name and a promise of pain on the wind. Funny, I never told him what it was

So Dawn, as an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a mommy of three beautiful daughters that range from ages fifteen to two years old. I am a stay at home mom and writer with gasp, no day job. Writing is a full time venture for me.

What is your book about?

My book is a dark Urban Fantasy about the revelation that paranormal creatures live among us, otherwise referred to as Other Kind. It centers on a young police officer, Jade Jameson, which is assigned to Paranormal Investigation and Containment, (PIC). She is the subject of a government experiment trying to engineer the perfect soldier using multiple strands of Other Kind DNA.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been a writer. Since I was a young girl I wrote everything from poems to short stories. I even wrote for my school paper. It has only been the last couple of years though that I have been able to make writing a career.

What genre do you prefer to write in?

I prefer to write Urban Fantasy, but I do write a little paranormal romance.

What is your biggest writing achievement to date?

My biggest writing achievement would have to be the fact that my very first self-published book actually made it into the top fifty of my genre and stayed there for over two months.

What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration for Crimson Fury actually came about by a discussion of what the government would do if movie monsters were found out to be real. (I have a strange group of friends!)

Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?  

I have a few favorites, but I would have to say Sherrilyn Kenyon is by far the most inspirational to me. She is the pioneer for paranormal romance and Urban fantasy. When it would have been much more profitable to write main stream chic lit she stayed true to what she wanted to write.

What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?

I just finished JR Ward’s Lover Reborn. I would always recommend any of JR Ward’s books. She is also a favorite of mine!

What are your current projects?

Hmmm, currently I am finishing up on a novella in the Children of Fury series, For the Heart of a Shifter. I have several others in the beginning stages though including book two of my novella series Bear Canyon Shifters, Serina’s promise.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

All of my writing is done at my desk in the living room. SO naturally it is also all done long after the kids are in bed until the wee hours of the morning.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part is the occasional bout of writer’s block that comes with my free writing style. Sometimes it is days of staring at a blank screen!

Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?

My book cover was done by Dafeenah Jameel at Indie Designz. It was very important to me to have the right cover to represent the characters inside. I had tried many times to bring it out myself and just couldn’t do them justice.

Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?

I only tried with one submission to Harlequin. I pulled the submission though and decided that I would rather have the freedom to do whatever I wanted with my book. It felt too much like handing over a child to a stranger. I have been self-publishing ever since.

On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?

Oh my! Frustrating, exasperating, and the gratifying thing I have ever done.

Where can we buy the book?

I have recently expanded the market on Crimson Fury. It can be found at, Barns and Noble and Smashwords as well.

Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?

I sure do,

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I think the best advice I could give to other writers, is read. When I am absolutely at a loss I take a break and read. It not only inspires me but it lets me relax and enjoy someone else’s hard work for a while!