Archive for the ‘Soul Screams’ Tag

Monthly Round-Up: January 2017

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I’m a bit late with this round-up since it’s now 1 February. So how have I been doing in the first month of this year? Let’s see…

OUT NOW

Nothing new out, but I’ll take this opportunity to pimp the existing works.

Horror

The Whispering Death
Suffer The Children

Crime (Contemporary Amateur Sleuth)

Death Scene
Dead Cool

Short Story Collection

Soul Screams

PUBLICITY

No guest blog posts to report. However, I am running a Goodreads Giveaway for THE WHISPERING DEATH for February, with two free paperback copies of the book to giveaway. You can enter here. Please note this is for UK entrants only, due to postage costs. Please promote the giveaway if you are able to – I am hoping to raise awareness of the book and perhaps get a few more reviews. There will be more giveaways over the next few months so watch this space.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Work has started on a new horror novel. Since this one is to be delivered to KGHH this year I am pressing on with it, and I have achieved nearly 10,000 words in the first month of the year. It is set in the Arctic, and it has the title OUTPOST H311.

Meanwhile the fourth Shara Summers novel is also a work in progress.

Plenty to keep me busy, then. See you at the end of February!

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What Am I Doing at Geekfest?

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

It’s nearly time for the Nineworlds Geekfest con! Last year was the first time this London-based convention – celebrating all things geeky – ran, and it was a fabulous event. This year sees it a bit more streamlined, but with just as packed a schedule, and I have no doubt it will be just as much fun.

Saturday I and other members of the T Party writers’ group will be running an ideas-generating workshop entitled ‘How to Beat Writers’ Block’. This will be a series of exercises designed to trigger story ideas. Don’t really want to say much about it at this stage (spoilers!) but we hope it will inspire people to go away and start writing something. In order for this to work we’ve limited it to 30 people so if you are attending the Con and fancy it, turn up early – it’s on at 3:15 pm in the County A room.

After that I hope I get a chance to catch some panels before I am appearing on one myself – the intriguingly-entitled ‘Noir – the Dirty Streets of Fiction’ panel at 6:15 pm in County C&D. The only description we’ve been given of this is a quote from Raymond Chandler: “it seemed like a nice neighbourhood to have bad habits in”. I’ve been thinking about this since I was asked to do the panel and I’m really looking forward to it. With noir finding its way into so many other genres, I think I can find a lot to say on this subject – assuming I don’t get tongue-tied from the impressive line-up of Serious Writers on this panel (which include John Connolly, Will Hill, Daniel Polansky and Francis Knight).

I am also quite impressed with the Con’s online schedule app, which not only allows each Con-goer to highlight individual sessions to create their own personal programme, but allows participants to see all of their activities all at once (here’s mine).

There’s also going to be a table for independent authors and small presses in the dealer room, so I shall take along a pile of SOUL SCREAMS to (hopefully) sell.

If you’re at Geekfest do come and say hello – it’s going to be a Con to remember.

 

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.

BristolCon 2013 – Roundup

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

I usually follow up a Con with a write-up, and so here is my take on BristolCon, which took place on Saturday 26 October.

Hubby and I travelled down from London by train on Friday afternoon, as soon as I was able to get away from the day job.  It was actually quite a pleasant journey, taking just about two hours on a train we could pre-book seats on.  The hotel, we were pleased to find, was a five-minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads Station, and was modern and comfortable.  It was also conveniently located for the Town Centre and close to bars and restaurants, for those who want to take a break from the Con.

The Con officially began at 10 am on Saturday morning, running two concurrent threads.  I was on one of the opening panels – the panel on Innovative Deaths, moderated by Anne Lyle.  We discussed ways of killing people for over 45 minutes.  Fortunately we didn’t seem to scare the audience too much – or at least that was how I interpreted it, as nobody ran out screaming.

After that I caught some of the ‘My World is Not Your Sandpit’ panel, about fan fiction, in which a rather energetic debate took place.  I have to say I missed the beginning of this panel, but what I saw clearly defined the two sides of the argument.  One side was that if the fan fiction writer is not making any profit from their writing, and the original creator of the world is done writing books about that world, should they not be flattered by enthusiastic fans wanting to play in their sandpit?  The opposing viewpoint was that anyone other than the creator is not going to get the world right because so much of a created world never makes it into the book, and a writer is never really done with their world.  It was an interesting discussion and I must confess I can see the point of the writers who say they don’t want anybody else playing in their sandpit, because it’s theirs.  Though the chance to be adored enough for someone to want to play in my sandpit would be a fine thing.  It was also pointed out in this panel that fan fiction is an evolutionary stage of the young writer, and this spoke to me as well.  Fortunately my Star Wars fan fiction was written in the days before the Internet and will never be aired in public.

After that I stuck around for the panel on the Evolution of Genre, where among other things the influence of ‘real-world’ problem on genre was discussed.  Apparently zombies do well during periods of high unemployment and financial restraints.  Vampires apparently do well during periods of affluence.  What this says about us I don’t know.

After taking a break from watching panels I joined the other authors for the ‘mass signing’, for which we’d all been encouraged to bring books to sell at the committee table.  A member of the writing group who’d bought a copy of SOUL SCREAMS a while ago came to get it signed, but unfortunately I sold none of the copies I’d brought with me.  Which was a bit crushing, frankly.  Obviously I need to step up my promotional efforts.

My final programme item was to moderate the small press panel at 4pm.   I had done some homework on this, and I already knew I had a fantastic panel.  Cheryl Morgan, who runs Wizards Tower press.  Chrissey Harrison, independent film maker and small press publisher.  Jonathan Wright, journalist and editor.  David R Rodger, self published science fiction writer.  I think we gave the topic a good airing, all my panel members engaged in the conversation and we had a reasonable number of people in the audience.  And to be honest, I quite enjoyed moderating.  I think I’d like to do it again some time.

With my commitments over with I sat back to enjoy a couple more panels, venturing into the larger programme room for the ‘Beyond Arthur’ panel, moderated by Gaie Sebold, and then the panel saying farewell to Iain Banks, moderated by Cheryl Morgan.

And then it was back to the bar, to see out the day with more chat, more food and more wine, and to relax before our train home Sunday morning.

BristolCon is a small local Con, running for a day to be deliberately attractive to people in South West England who can attend without having to book hotel accommodation.  Although small I found it a very well run and friendly Con, especially welcoming to small press and self published writers.

Next year’s Con has been set for 18 October 2014 in the same great location.  I am intending to come back next year.

If you can get to Bristol I thoroughly recommend this Con.  It’s a fantastic experience.

Con Conundrums

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

It has come about that my last two Cons of 2013 fall on consecutive weekends.  This weekend I’m at BristolCon, and next weekend is World Fantasy Con in Brighton.  At BristolCon I am a participant – two panels and a book signing – and at World Fantasy Con I am merely a delegate.

The usual Con conundrums apply.  The first is – what to pack?  For Bristol this is more crucial, since I will be performing the role of ‘author’, instead of just watching other people do it.  So what outfit says ‘serious writer’ without saying ‘I’m mad as a box of frogs and you don’t want to come anywhere near me.’  Sometimes the Con involves a formal dinner that obviously involves having to pack an outfit for it.  Sometimes I worry I try too hard with this issue of Con clothing.  Jeans and a t-shirt is probably an acceptable Con outfit for a writer.  It might be appropriate for my ‘horror writer’ t-shirt to get another airing this weekend.

Mode of transportation is also relevant to the first question.  If I’m driving to a Con, I can take more stuff.  But this generally only happens if I can take the day I am travelling off work.  On neither forthcoming Con I have been able to do that – which means it’s easier to take the train from London than travel home, pick up the car, load it up and set off again.  But taking the train directly after work means I have to take all my luggage into London, which is another factor to consider.  Whatever I take has to be transported on a packed commuter train, and sit in the office until I leave.

On Friday I have to be at work for a meeting, so I will be leaving as soon as possible after that’s finished.  It does mean that the smart ‘work clothes’ that will be required for that will have to be my travelling clothes to Bristol.  Unless I take a change of clothing.

When travelling to a Con, the issue of having space for books also must be considered.  It is impossible to leave a Con without having acquired books. Many of them give out freebies in the delegate bags, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll buy some, too.  For BristolCon, I am also taking some copies of SOUL SCREAMS for the author signing session.  But I am really hoping that I will sell at least a couple of them, otherwise I have to cart them all back home with me.

I am looking forward to both Cons, and they will both be very different experiences.  Hopefully they will both give me something to blog about for the next two weeks, too.

And once I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, it will be time to plan 2014’s Con schedule…

End of an Era

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Most books aren’t published forever. Print publishers make room for new titles by having limited print runs, and backlisted titles that don’t sell are often not reprinted. Since e-books are technically forever, e-book publishers often deal with this by offering time-limited contracts.

Sadly, this means that my three-year contract with Lyrical Press for SUFFER THE CHILDREN has now come to an end. The e-book in its current format has disappeared from all online retailers. This has been a hard thing to deal with. It’s particularly depressing to discover that it’s gone from the Amazon Kindle list, along with the handful of generally positive reviews it had notched up. Somehow seeing it on Amazon made me feel validated as an author.

However, the good news is that with the end of the contract, the rights have reverted back to me, to do with them as I see fit. And SUFFER THE CHILDREN will return as an e-book, although with a different cover. In fact, I’ve commissioned an artist I know to work on the new cover image. Watch this space for more information.

In the meantime, SUFFER THE CHILDREN is still on Goodreads – at least it is at present. With the recent news about Amazon taking over Goodreads, who knows what’s going to happen. For now, at least, it’s there, along with a few reviews that people have posted there. So if you enjoyed SUFFER THE CHILDREN, why not go post a review there? It might help me boost sales when the rebooted version is released.

If you didn’t get around to buying it, all is not lost, as it will be back in the near future. In the meantime, you could try DEATH SCENE or SOUL SCREAMS while you wait. Both of them are still available from Amazon…

Another Rung of the Ladder

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

The illustrious Mike Carey, in a talk to the T Party writers’ group, once told us that success in his writing career did not come from one big break – instead it was a series of fortuitous small breaks. Success comes gradually, with each new milestone worth marking off. There are a lot of significant milestones over the years that I decided were worth celebrating as I forge the road of my writing career. The first professionally published story (1989). The first novel contract (2009, for SUFFER THE CHILDREN). Seeing the first novel cover. Seeing the finished book for the first time was exciting, even though it arrived as an email file and not a print copy. Holding the first print book (2012, SOUL SCREAMS) for the first time was equally exciting. My first ‘proper’ signing session, at the BFS open night, for the paperback version of SOUL SCREAMS was a thrill.

All of these things have been significant milestones, to me, in the journey from Writer to Author. They mark the way to writing as a career, instead of just a hobby.

Another First Milestone has recently come my way. This year’s EasterCon (officially titled EightSquaredCon) has published their list of ‘Attending Authors‘. And I am on it. That’s very exciting – I’m normally in the regular delegates list.

I’ve also been asked to participate in a panel at EasterCon. This is my first panel, and a big moment. Since the schedule’s not published yet I’m not going to say too much about this, but needless to say it marks another ‘First’.

From being very young, the only thing I ever wanted to be was a writer. As each milestone is achieved and I check it off my List of Dreams, I move the goalposts a bit and set it ever higher. The Ultimate Dream is being able to make enough money from the writing to quit the day job. That might never happen, but setting the smaller goals in the meantime means that with every little goal I check off, every step of the ladder I take, I’m just that little bit closer.

2012 Writing Goals in Review

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

It’s time to revisit the writing goals I set for myself this time last year, and see how I did with them.

2012 has been a very good year, writing-wise. Not only did it seen publication of my first short story collection SOUL SCREAMS (and a launch at the BFS Open Night in June), but I also contributed to the anthology SIBLINGS, which was launched at FantasyCon. So two publications and two launches – not too shabby.

How did I do on the goals I set for myself last December? I wanted to finish DEAD COOL – the second book in the Shara Summers series – and get it out on submission. I failed dismally on this one. I had a critique session for this manuscript at the end of December 2012, and I got somewhat discouraged by the feedback. So much so, in fact, I haven’t touched it since. But on reflection I’m not yet ready to abandon this manuscript. I enjoy writing about Shara, and I’d like to finish this book.

However, I have been more successful with the horror WIP, which I wanted to completed to beta reader stage. Ordinarily beta reader stage, for me, is draft 2. For this MS I’ve added an extra draft, but draft 3 is almost finished and I expect to have it out to beta readers early in the New Year.

My third goal was to step up promotion and increase sales of the published work. Well, I did my best to boost my internet presence, but it still feels like at this stage I’m a very small fish in a very large and crowded pond. Let’s just say I’m still a long way from being able to give up the day job.

As for my goals for 2013, it may be being a tad ambitious, but I’d like to get both WIPs done. So these are my writing goals for 2013.

1. Complete DEAD COOL and have it out on submission by the end of the year.
2. Complete the horror WIP and have it out on submission by the end of the year.

I wish you a happy and successful 2013, and may you all reach your own writing goals, whatever they may be.

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.