Monday, 27 February 2012

Day 477

And breathe! Last week was rather hectic - but I think I’m beginning to get back to normal now (whatever that is).
I’ve spent a lot of time bombarding book reviewers with requests for them to read and review Slippery Souls - though it appears some of them have lists longer than their arms of books to read already and are not accepting new material for the moment, some of them break into a sweat at the mere mention of vampires/werewolves (different strokes for different folks, and all that) - and some of them just point blank refuse to read self-published work (which is something that stirs different kinds of emotions in me. On the one hand, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from given the bad reputation of sub-standard self-published books out there. Yet on the other hand, I can’t help but feel a teeny bit disgruntled about it, in that surely all self-published writers can’t be tarred with the same brush. Anyway, by the by, I’m not losing any sleep over it, and it’s fair play to them I guess).  And on a positive note, I have managed to get a few reviewers interested - so at least not all is lost.

I’ve finally started work on my piece for the Brass Book Project. I’ve decided to be more visual than anything else, and I’m creating a comic storyboard in the style of a graphic novel. It’s going to be quite dark, and it’s inspired by a line from Stevie Ronnie’s poem (the line being: A memorable dream I once had). I’ll post bits of it up here soon, hopefully J

Yesterday I went to Newcastle City Library to meet up with the Service Manager, Sharon Reeve - who was extremely helpful! She’s set up an event for me on Monday 25th June at 6pm to help promote Slippery Souls. Basically, on the day, I’ll be talking for about half an hour, explaining what inspired and motivated me to write the book, and I’ll be sharing my overall experiences - including design and self-publishing aspects. I’ll also be happy to answer any questions anybody has, and I’ll be selling paperback copies too. I can’t wait - really looking forward to this one!

This week’s interview on my website is with Christian Thriller writer Joana James, who tends to write about situations surrounding family backgrounds. Check out what she had to say here:

And while I’m on the subject of my writing website - I’m not best pleased with it lately! For the past two weeks I’ve been unable to put pictures up, so none of my new writer showcases have had book/author photos, and I was unable to attach photos of my book launch! I hope manages to fix this issue soon, because it’s highly inconvenient.

Anyway, I think that’s about all of my news this week - though I’ll just quickly mention that I had an interview posted on somebody else’s blog. I’ve attached the link in case anybody is interested in reading it:

Friday, 24 February 2012

Undertow Blog Tour

Hey everyone, I’m excited to say that Callie Kingston is stopping by today, as part of her Blog Tour. She’s promoting her new book Undertow - which I read last month and can wholeheartedly recommend.

Below she tells us a little bit about herself, and, of course, Undertow - but first, before you read on, I will give you a very exciting heads up! Callie will be giving away one Kindle copy of Undertow at each stop during her blog tour (so, yes, that means here!) All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to comment below - it’s as simple as that! And if you have any questions, Callie is only too happy to answer them. Everyone who comments throughout Callie’s tour will be entered into a grand prize giveaway which is to take place on her own blog at the end of the tour - and I must say, this is seriously worth checking out!

Anyway, I will now step aside and give you Callie Kingston…

Hey Callie, as an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in Oregon with my husband, children, three beagles, three rats, and a pair of cats. A former school psychologist, I’m intrigued by the challenges young people experience and the remarkable resilience they display. When not writing, I enjoy hiking, reading, and cooking vegetarian food. And drinking coffee.

So, what is Undertow all about?

Undertow is about a young woman who wants nothing more than to move beyond all the unhappiness in her childhood. When she becomes convinced that she was rescued from drowning in the ocean by a mythical creature, her mind begins to unravel, putting both sanity and her life at stake.

Book blurb:

Marissa is nearly eighteen and can't wait to leave behind her traumatic past. With long time boyfriend Drake, she thinks she has her future all figured out--until she discovers his betrayal. She flees to a desolate beach on the wild Oregon coast hoping to escape her pain, where, overcome with emotional and physical exhaustion, she dozes off beside a log. When the first icy waves strike her, it is too late: a rogue wave drags her out to sea.
     Somehow she survives, and now each night she dreams of a creature who rescues her. Determined to discover the truth, her obsession deepens, threatening both her sanity and her life until she once again risks her life in the frigid ocean. Will the creature Marissa seeks save her? Will she be lost forever in the eddies of her mind, or will Jim, her new boyfriend, keep her from drowning in the abyss?

Can you tell us a bit about when and why did you began writing?

Like most authors, I wrote all through childhood. But adulthood brought with it many responsibilities which crowded out the creative side of my life. It wasn’t until my mother passed away unexpectedly that I realized that life is unpredictable, and one should pursue any dreams they have while they have the chance.

Is there a specific genre that you prefer to write in?

I enjoy Contemporary YA the most, but dabble in Middle Grade and Contemporary General Fiction as well.

And what would you say is your biggest writing achievement to date?

Definitely publishing Undertow.

Ok, so coming back to Undertow, what inspired you to write this book?

One day, I was thinking about the Twilight Saga and how engrossing they were, while also questioning the choices made by its heroine. I mean, really: choosing to give up your life, your family, and your identity for a vampire? On the surface, it seemed a destructive and downright crazy choice, although one that certainly resonated with many young women. True love conquers all, right? But I wondered, what if she’d chosen differently? I wanted to portray a different story: one in which the heroine encounters a mythical creature, who may or may not be real, but her belief in him is viewed as delusional and suicidal. What would happen then?

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

In the Contemporary YA genre, definitely Laurie Halse Anderson is my hands-down favorite, for two reasons: She tackles deep subjects which affect so many young people, and she includes lyrical elements in her writing. While her break out novel Speak deserves its status as a classic in this genre, Wintergirls was downright amazing.

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

My TBR pile is huge! Currently, I’m devouring my friend Tara Kelly’s awesome new novel Amplified. Like me, she writes Contemporary YA, and her style is just so engrossing. Highly recommend both this novel and her earlier release, Harmonic Feedback.

Can you tell us a little bit about your current projects?

I just finished the third draft of Upstaged, another Contemporary YA novel, and have it out to beta readers. Anyone interested in being a beta reader? I’m also looking forward to starting my next novel, which I’m outlining now.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

I started by writing in stolen chunks of time, during lunch, late at night, etc., and wrote the first draft longhand. My second novel was drafted on computer, which changed the feel of the project but definitely sped it up quite a bit. Now, I find that if I can spend a couple hours weekend morning and late at night, that works well for me. I love to write in bed!

What would you say was the hardest part of writing Undertow?

Portraying Marissa’s mental processes was challenging, as was deciding where to truly begin her story. The first three chapters were rewritten dozens of times before I was satisfied. Also, I decided to change from present tense, which beta readers said was too jarring, to past tense, and that was a bit of an ordeal. Edits later, I still found occasional tense shifts.

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

I designed the book cover, and as soon as I found the picture, knew it perfectly captured the story.

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 actually queried Undertow widely, and received many requests. Ultimately, each one garnered the same response: having a protagonist in college was a tough sell for the YA market. I thought long and hard about making Marissa younger and putting her in high school, but the story simply wouldn’t work that way. And Undertow is very much Marissa’s story.

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


Can you share a little bit of Undertow with us, a sample chapter perhaps?

Yes! Undertow is at the Amazon Kindle Select store and has the “Look Inside!” feature, which allows readers to sample the first chapters.

And where can we buy it?

At Amazon. If readers don’t own a Kindle, they can download it to their computer, phone, or tablet. In the future, Undertow will also be available in print and possibly in other outlets such as Smashwords and BN. For now, it is in the Kindle Select program, where Amazon Prime members may also borrow it for free.

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

Absolutely! My blog is and I have a Goodreads author page. Also, I tweet: @calliekingston
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. Remember: you alone can tell your story. And your story needs to be out there, or you would not be inspired to write it. So never quit writing. Get the feedback you need to grow your craft, connect with the writing community, and keep focused on the writing as a journey rather than worrying about the prize of publication.

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

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing this magical journey with me. Much love to all of you.

          (Please see bottom of the page for the tour dates for the rest of Callie's Blog Tour)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Day 470

Wow, it’s done. Slippery Souls has finally been slipped to the public!

Saturday 18th February, the official launch day, was fabulous - I couldn’t have hoped for a better turnout and show of support! Despite dreading making a speech, I managed to get through it well enough without fainting or anything - which was perhaps thanks to the two glasses of wine I’d had beforehand, but I’d rather like to think it’s because I’m getting used to these things a bit more now.

My friend, and fellow writer, Chris Robinson introduced me with a fabulous little speech of her own - and then once the public speaking was over, I signed lots of books, eat lovely food - and, of course, drank more wine!

Below are a few choice photos from the event (courtesy of David T Knaggs -

I have two competitions running at the moment. The first one is to win the chance of having a character named after you in the sequel to Slippery Souls - full information on how to enter can be found here:

And the second competition, to be in with the chance of winning a free paperback copy of The Forgotten Ones (Book Two in the Sunray Bay Series), requires nothing more than sending me your name and email address (contact me via this blog or via the contact page at before 31st December 2012. One winner will be selected at random and notified on 1st January 2013.

Now, I’m feeling quite excited today because there's been some pieces in a few of the local newspapers about me. Apparently I featured in The Hartlepool Mail on Saturday (which I unfortunately missed). And then I featured in yesterday’s Sunday Sun:

And today’s Northern Echo:

So, what now? Well, apart from hoping that everybody else falls in love with Libby (and especially Grim) as much as I did, I certainly won’t be breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing - I’ve got tons of promoting to do. Oh and I’ve got the sequel to write somewhere in between! I have a feeling this next year could be even more busy than the last.

In other news, I was accepted as a World Book Night giver - hooray! And I got my first choice book - Someone Like You by Roald Dahl. So I need to get planning my little Book Night event.

My Writer Showcase interview this week is with Phil Grabowski, where he talks about his post-modern book Se’irim Satyr. Check it out here:

And my short story, Fallen, is now on the Bent Masses website:

Ok, I’m sure there’s plenty more stuff that I have to say - but my head is crammed so full of things that I ‘must do’. So I’ll sign off and leave it at that for now.


Paperback versions from FeedARead:

Monday, 13 February 2012

Day 463

Only 5 more days to go until Slippery Souls goes public - and my emotions are up and down like a yo-yo. One minute I’m super excited - the next I’ve got a feeling of cold dread. I suppose it’s all pretty normal though - I’ve waited most of my life for this moment, so it feels nicely surreal, yet I’m not cocky enough to not feel nervous.
The launch planning is almost complete - apart from table confetti (because my craft punch keeps buggering up). Oh and cake - I’ve yet to order the cake!
I was interviewed by The Sunday Sun last week (though not sure whether the feature will be in The Sunday Sun, The Chronicle or The Journal as of yet), and the photographer came out to get some pics on Saturday afternoon - he even took some of me with Marvin J The Hartlepool Mail rang me on Saturday afternoon too, and did a phone interview - their photographer will be coming out later today. I’ve also managed to get some good publicity via Teesside University, thanks to Claire at the Alumni Department. And I suppose all of this has come about because of my ex-Team Leader Kath, who’s been an absolute star!
In other news, I found out on Saturday (Saturday was a good day!) that a short story of mine, Fallen, has been accepted for the February edition of Bent Masses - I’ll post the link as soon as I have it.
I’m really not sure whether I’ve covered everything this week, but, as it stands, I have hundreds of things rattling around in my head (so much so, it feels like my brain might explode) - I have a feeling this is going to be a VERY hectic week.
Anyhow, next time I update this blog my ‘big day’ will be over - wish me luck!!!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day 456

Only 12 days to go! I’m buzzing with excitement - yet scared to death. It’s a strange feeling. Still got plenty of organising to do for the big day, so I need to get it all ironed out by the end of the week - (don’t want to be leaving stuff till the last minute). But at least the books have arrived - all six boxes of them - so that’s the main thing. Oh and I’m hoping the snow buggers off! People might not be able to make it if the roads are scary - and it’ll play havoc with my preferred launch day footwear!
Some positive news is that I’ve got a meeting with Newcastle Library later this month to discuss the possibility of organising some sort of event for Slippery Souls. And, hopefully, I may also be doing an event at Sunderland Library. It’s great to see that there’s support for local authors!
I’ve been sorting my manuscript out this week ready for Kindle and Smashwords. Kindle is pretty straight forward - but I must admit, Smashwords has had me pulling my hair out a little. It’s just all the different versions of Word and not being able to find the right functions etc that’s given me a headache. I’ll get there in the end though - even if it kills me!
Anyway, in other news…
A while ago I wrote a short story called Church Fate - which was inspired by a local church and vicar. It was accepted into Static Movement’s Summer Thrills anthology months ago and has finally been published. It can be bought at Amazon here:

This week’s Writer Showcase interview is with Jennifer Quail. Her book Strange Roads (Book One in of Omens in the Night) is about two Mages – one of whom is an ex-Navy test pilot and the other of whom is a Senate staffer. To find out more, read her interview here…
I don’t think I have much more to say this week really, so I’ll wrap it up now.
See ya’s all next week!