Archive for the ‘Soul Screams’ Category

Commercial Break

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

As we settle into 2014 I’ve been rather busy with promotional stuff, so I thought it was appropriate for a general update on what I’ve been up to of late.

Firstly, a round-up of guest appearances on the Internet for 2014. At the end of January, I featured on Chris Weigand’s Palace of Twelve Pillars blog, talking about how I was inspired to create my amateur sleuth Shara Summers. Earlier this month I visited Janie Franz’s blog Anasazi Dreams, talking about ambition and discipline being the tools of a writer. And most recently I’ve visited Helena Fairfax’s blog, where we’ve been reminiscing about childhood holidays in Blackpool.

All of this is an endeavour to drum up interest in the Shara Summers series, as the first two books are being released by MuseItUp this year. The first, DEATH SCENE, is a re-release. The previous version is no longer available, but the re-release will be out in the summer. If you haven’t been introduced to Shara yet, this is the one to start with. And if you’ve already read DEATH SCENE, a new publisher means new round of edits, so this version will be slightly different than the first.

If you enjoy meeting Shara in the first book, the second book in the series, DEAD COOL, will be released in Autumn so you won’t have to wait too long to catch up with her again.

Thus far, I don’t have definitive release dates or covers for either book. But you’ll be the first to know when I do, so watch this space.  In the meantime, if you want a sneak peek, there’s a blurb about each on the ‘Coming Soon’ page on my website.

And finally, if your tastes run to darker fiction, I’ve got some back listed horror titles that might be to your liking. SUFFER THE CHILDREN – available on the Kindle (US and UK) – is a supernatural horror novel with its roots based in mythology. And SOUL SCREAMS – available in print and ebook – is a collection of short horror stories about “that inner scream no one can hear but you”. It’s recently received some rather positive reviews on Goodreads, and if creepy stories are your thing, it might be right up your alley.

All this is why I’ve not had much time for the blog recently.  But of course that’s a poor excuse, and I hope that from now on I can improve on this year’s track record.

If you’ve recently discovered this blog, I bid you welcome and I hope you’ll stick around for a while.  If you’ve been following from the beginning, I’d like to say thank you for bearing with me – your support means a lot.  It’s going to be a busy year for me, writing-wise, and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Launch – A Report

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

There are many writing-related things on my “things to do before I die” list, and most of them have been on there a very long time.  Some I have been fortunate enough to achieve.  The first time I got a story published I was able to cross that one off.    Getting the first novel contract was another.  The final file of my first published e-book arriving in my ‘in’ box was a momentous event.  The proof of the first print copy of SOUL SCREAMS was a thrill that surpassed even that.

And being able to have a ‘proper’ launch, with books I could sell and sign, was another big moment.  This I achieved this past weekend, when SOUL SCREAMS launched at the BFS social event.

All this preamble is to give you an inkling of how big a deal this event was to me.  I’d been anticipating it for weeks.  I had the books.  I’d been stockpiling change.  I’d got promotional post cards and posters printed.  I’d been pimping the event all over the Internet.  I’d thought about what to wear.

And so the day arrived.  I’d decided on my new antique rose hankerchief hem dress from Joe Brown’s.  I put it on and went to ask Hubby’s opinion on what footwear would go with it.  I will qualify here that for a straight man, Hubby has an unusually keen sense of women’s fashion.  His mother is a talented dressmaker, and I think some of this flair has been inherited.  When the stylist came to give me a wardrobe detox a few years ago, everything he’d picked out for me I got to keep.  All the clothes I’d picked out myself went in the discard pile.  So when he gives style advice I do tend to take heed.  He scrutinised the outfit and said, “I like the dress but I think you should wear something more formal.”

So I went running back to my wardrobe.  Within minutes every dress I owned was laid out on the bed.  Eventually, with his help, we decided on the versatile purple wraparound number that I’ve always been very fond of.  With outfit decided, I went to finish packing my bag.  It already had all the books in it.  And it was very heavy. As I’d elected to take a backpack, I picked it up and realised that if I hefted this through London I was likely to get backache at best – at worst, it would keep pulling me over backwards.  So I thought about the small wheeled suitcase that we take as hand baggage on trips.  That could be pulled along and was probably a better bet.  Unfortunately retrieving it meant a trip into the attic.  In hindsight, it would have been better to think about this before putting on the dress and tights.

Fortunately, the bag was retrieved without damage to the outfit, and once my books had been transferred to the new case, I was ready to set off for the train station, happily trundling my case of books behind me.  Luck was on my side that day – no delays, engineering works or cancellations to hinder my journey, and I arrived at the Mug House ahead of schedule, about 3pm.

Also launching that day were ALT-ZOMBIE, the latest book from Hersham Press, and a new collection of MR James stories, published by Jo Fletcher books and edited by Steve Jones. With these luminaries of the British genre publishing industry present, I couldn’t help but feel a bit intimidated.  I put up my posters, scattered the promotional postcards over all the tables, unpacked my books and set up shop next to Peter Mark May, publisher of Hersham Press.  And for a while, the two of us watched everyone flock to buy the M.R. James (which was lovely, I have to say).  But Steve and Jo, who were the headline act, so to speak, did make a point of telling the enraptured audience that the BFS had always supported emerging writers and new publishers, and so they should go buy our books, too.

By and by people did come to see me, and they came to buy copies of SOUL SCREAMS.  Some of them were friends, not members of the BFS, who were there specifically to show moral support.  That was nice.  Others were BFS members who’d heard about my launch, and might have come to the event anyway, but wanted to buy my book as well.  But there were also a couple of people I didn’t know – BFS members who’d come to the event, picked up the postcard, and come over to investigate.  I also sold a copy to Michael Marshall Smith.  That was, I admit, a bit of a fan girl moment.

Then there were the lovely members of the T Party Writers’ Group.  There was a meeting going on that day – one I’d given apologies to, since I was at the launch instead.  After the meeting finished, they came to the pub en mass and most of them bought a copy of the book.

In the end, I sold all the copies I’d brought with me, and I left a very happy bunny indeed.  It’s nice to know SOUL SCREAMS has begun its publishing life with such a flourish.  And with the launch over with, that’s one more thing to cross off the ‘bucket list’.

And The Winner Is….

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my online party yesterday. It was a lot of fun – an excuse to spend all day on the Internet, for starters. Though the virtual champagne could do with a bit more kick…

Winners of both contests have now been picked by random selection and I can now reveal who they are…drum roll please…

Pamela Turner is the winner of the free SOUL SCREAMS e-book.

The winner of the poster, which was the contest running on Facebook, is Yvette Stevenson-Munitz.

Congratulations to you both, ladies!

And there’s more excitement today, as the story about me and SOUL SCREAMS appears in today’s issue of the SUTTON GUARDIAN. If you can’t read the story in the image attached, then you can read it on the SUTTON GUARDIAN’s web page here.

And there’s still the BFS launch on Saturday to look forward to. And that is tremendously exciting. So exciting I’ve been practising signing the books. And I have discovered an unanticipated complication. The books are soft back. I am left-handed. It’s actually quite difficult to sign the title page without leaning my arm on the cover and creasing it. I am worried about damaging someone’s pristine copy, so I shall have to perfect some kind of arm-raise technique for my signature. Perhaps by the end of Saturday’s signing I will have mastered this!

If you can’t make the launch, and you didn’t win a prize, don’t forget you can order the book online. Find the links for ordering both the e-book and the print version on Stumar Press’s website.

With all this excitement, I don’t think I’ll get time to put up another post until next week. But don’t worry, I’ll be back soon with the full low-down on the launch.

SOUL SCREAMS Online Launch Party!

It’s Launch Day, and I’m cracking open the virtual champagne!

It’s been quite an exciting week in my world. SOUL SCREAMS is starting to attract attention. The first review is in, on Matthew Fryer’s “Welcome to Hellforge” website. And he has some very good things to say about it.

I was also featured in the press this week – there’s an article about me and SOUL SCREAMS on the Kingston Guardian website.

If you didn’t catch my reading of “Just Don’t Scream” on Edin Road radio last night, you can listen to the recording here. And, as one last plug, I’m in the spotlight on author Sonya Clark‘s website too.

On top of all that, there’s the ‘physical’ launch of SOUL SCREAMS on Saturday at the BFS, too. So it’s a rather busy week!

And today, here on Imaginary Friends, we’ve got a virtual party, and I’m giving away one free e-book version of SOUL SCREAMS. To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is to post a comment here. I will be accepting all comments that are posted by midnight (London time) tonight, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced tomorrow. Just make sure that when you post your comment your email address is included, so that I know how to contact you should you win! I will be hanging out here all day, so if you get a message saying your comment needs approval first, don’t worry – it will appear soon.

And if you want an additional chance to win, head on over to my ‘Imaginary Friends’ Facebook group, where I’m offering a copy of the SOUL SCREAMS cover as a very cool signed poster. You have to be a member of the group to enter the contest, so if you are not currently a member, just send a request to join.

So let’s get the party started! Anyone for cyber-fizz?

It’s Away!

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Exciting things are happening on the SOUL SCREAMS front. First of all, the book is now published, and both print and e-book versions are available to order. See Stumar Press’s website for buy links.

Second, the print version will officially launch at the British Fantasy Society’s open day on Saturday 16 June. The British Fantasy Society exists to promote British fantasy, horror and science fiction writers and publishers. As both my publisher and I are members, we were able to arrange to launch the book at their next social event, which is to be held at the Mug House tavern, Tooley Street, London (see link for map and further information).

Everyone is welcome to BFS open events – you don’t have to be a member.

I will be there from 4pm and the event will go on until late in the evening. So if you’re in London on that day, why not stop in and get your signed copy of SOUL SCREAMS?

If you’re not able to make the physical launch, you can join in the fun virtually, at the online launch on 13 June. A competition will be running all day, on this blog and my Imaginary Friends Facebook group. If you’re not a member of the group yet and would like to join, please send me a request and I will add you.

So there’s lots going on over the next couple of weeks regarding the launch of SOUL SCREAMS. Lots of ways to get your hands on a copy, so get yours now!

SOUL SCREAMS Online Launch Announced

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I can now announce the plans for the SOUL SCREAMS online launch party!

This will take place on Wednesday 13 June.

I will be hanging out on Imaginary Friends and Facebook all day, and there will be prizes to win. The prizes will be one copy of the e-book version of SOUL SCREAMS, and one copy of the limited-edition SOUL SCREAMS cover image poster (which I can sign for the lucky winner). And if you’ve seen the SOUL SCREAMS cover, you know just how cool the poster looks!  One prize winner will be chosen at random from the people who leave comments on the blog. The other will be chosen at random from the people who respond to the question I will post on my Facebook group.

So be sure to stop by this blog on 13 June, to be in with a chance of winning.  To increase your chances, stop by the Facebook group too.  There’s nothing to stop people from entering both contests!  If you are not a member of said group and want to be, be sure to send me a request (because I won’t add you unless you ask me to.  I think adding people to groups without their permission is rather impolite).

So the count down is on.  It’s all getting rather exciting!


(Cross-posted on WriteClub)

SOUL SCREAMS has a book trailer!

I must confess I’m a bit flummoxed by the concept of the book trailer. They seem to have risen with the e-book phenomenom. They do make a lot of sense. For the computer generation, who are accustomed to downloading and reading books on electronic devices, the concept of a multimedia presentation to entice a reader into buying a book, the same way a movie trailer is designed to entice you into the seeing the movie, or the preview at the end of the last episode of your favourite show teases you with the exciting bits of next week’s show, to ensure you come back for more, makes a lot of sense.

But I wouldn’t know where to begin to make a book trailer. Fortunately, the nice chaps at Stumar Press do know, and this is their creation.

So I am proud to present the SOUL SCREAMS trailer. I think it looks fab. What do you think?

Soul Screams trailer


(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

When my first novel SUFFER THE CHILDREN was published, the whole process was one thrill after another. The first time I saw the cover. The first (and second, and third) occasion I had a reason to say “I have to email my editor”. Every round of edits was exciting.

And then the complete published novel arrived, in the form of a zip folder containing all the available e-book formats it was available in. That was an incredibly exciting moment – knowing that my novel was Published. I got so excited I tried to open all the files at once and crashed the machine. There was no hard copy, it was e-book only, but it was thrilling nonetheless.

SOUL SCREAMS is the first of my books that is being made available as a print version, and this means there’s been a new round of ‘first time thrills’. The first time I saw a JPG of the whole cover, front and back, was an exciting moment. It was also the first time I’ve had ‘celebrity endorsements’ on a cover, too – very exciting.

And then I was told the proofs had been ordered. Just the thought that there was a paper book out there, with my name on the cover – for some inexplicable reason that got me rather excited.

Then my editor at Stumar Press informed me that my uncorrected proof was on its way to me. He took pictures of the book before he put it in the post and emailed them to me. Monday afternoon, he told me, it had gone in the post. So I awaited its arrival with baited breath. I got home from work yesterday – Tuesday – a little hopeful but not really expecting anything. The Post Office is not usually that reliable. I figured it was going to take a couple of days to arrive.

But then, as I stood on my doorstep fumbling for my keys, through the frosted glass of my front door I could see, sitting on the door mat inside, a white jiffy bag. Exactly book-sized. I knew then that it had arrived. I was so excited I had trouble putting my keys in my own front door.

I dragged out that moment for a while. Savouring the envelope, before ripping it open and holding in my hands, for the first time, a paperback book with my name on the cover. And then I felt the urge to take a photo, and post said photo all over the Internet broadcasting the fact that my book has been brought to life (attached herewith).

It’s these thrills that make all the heartache involved in being a writer worthwhile. But I’m wondering if I’m marking myself a rank amateur by getting excited at every step. Does one become accustomed to success? When you’ve got a dozen published novels under your belt, does laying eyes on the first one off the printing press no longer give you a thrill? I’d like to think that it’s always exciting, no matter how many books you get published, but maybe I’m being idealistic.

I still hold onto the dream that one day I’ll be in a position to know the answer to this. When I am, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Sex & Violence

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I’ve never been a fan of romance novels – even as a teenager I was reading crime and horror. I tend to say I don’t like my violence tainted with romance. In spite of this my amateur sleuth is telling me very clearly she wants a sex life, however, which is taking my stories about her down a route I never actually planned.

However, things are a bit more straightforward with my short story collection. The short stories in SOUL SCREAMS were written over a period of 20 years. I’ve been analysing the ratio of sex to violence in them. There are three stories in which sex occurs, but all the scenes are skated over, which admittedly I tend to do with sex scenes. Hence, there’s nothing very explicit, and if these stories were films none of them would be rated anything over a PG-13, at least as far as the sexual content goes.

It’s a different story when it comes to the violence, however. There are horrible deaths featured in 12 of the 13 stories. Even the one in which nobody dies doesn’t end happily, but I won’t say any more for fear of giving away spoilers.

I’ve done a tally of the manner of deaths in these stories, and this is what we have.

Four car crashes
Three stabbings
Two decapitations
One electrocution
One drowning
One death by fire

I am really not sure what this says about me. I am not, by nature, a violent person. But perhaps this is because I write about my violence, instead of engaging in real-life violence.

I write about the things I fear. The things I have trouble dealing with. Clearly violent death is something that terrifies me. It’s no coincidence that car crashes appear at the top of this list. I have a pathological fear of dying in a car crash – it’s something I have recurring nightmares about. I have to consciously not think about this every time I set off to drive somewhere, because if I let myself think about it I’d never get in the car. Fire is another fear, to the point that I’m suprised it doesn’t feature higher on the list.

Readers of SOUL SCREAMS might quite understandably come to the conclusion that I’m not a fan of the happy ending. But like most of us, I go through life looking for happiness. When I find it, I want to hold onto it. That’s why it never ends up in my stories. I write about pain and misery and death because I am trying to exorcise these things, as far as it is possible (death, unfortunately, we can never eradicate from human existence, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with). I make my characters very miserable. But ultimately, they are characters. I don’t want to share that happy ending with fictional people. When I find it, I’d rather keep it for real life.

And that, I think, is why I’d rather write about violence than sex.

SOUL SCREAMS Cover Revealed

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Stumar Press have an updated announcement about SOUL SCREAMS on their website…and the cover is revealed.  Which means I can broadcast it here.

I am quite excited about this cover.  The idea behind the title is that this is a collection of stories all about the angst and darkness within the soul.  And I think the screaming woman sums that up rather well.  I also like the blackened trees and bats in the background, against a dark brooding sky…

Release has been confirmed for June. And, as mentioned before, there will be a print version of this one. So, if you’re one of those people who insist that paper is better than e-book, there’s no excuse for you not to buy this one.

We’ve got some nice cover quotes, too. For more information, check out Stumar Press’s website.

And so the countdown to the next release is on! Keep an eye on this space. As soon as the book is available to order, you’ll be the first to know.