Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Simon Kewin - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing science fiction and fantasy writer, Simon Kewin. He's also a fellow Brit.

Q:  Hello, Simon. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, and what do you do when you're not writing short stories or novels? 

I was born and raised on the Isle of Man, which is the one that sits in the middle of the Irish Sea, mid-way between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. However, I’ve lived in England for many years and my family are all English, so I feel I belong in both places. When the England cricket team is doing well, I’m definitely more English. When it isn’t, I tend to remember my Manx origins…

I’m a software designer and developer by profession. That and the writing and the family take up most of my time, but when I can I love to go walking, or to the theatre. Or to try and play my guitar. 

Q:  On your blog you describe yourself as a ‘writer of fantasy, science fiction, mainstream, as well as some stories that can’t make their minds up’. Do you have a favourite genre, and how far out of genre boundaries do those stories that can’t make their minds up go? 

I suppose fantasy would be my favourite genre if I had to pick one, but I see no reason to limit myself either as a writer or a reader. I write (and read) quite a lot of mainstream fiction, for example. Much as I enjoy a good magical adventure yarn, I do like fiction that blurs the boundaries: fantasy based in the gritty real world, for example, or stories that could be interpreted as either magical or as delusional depending on your perspective. 

Q: You are a prolific writer, with a publishometer standing at 235 last time I checked. How do you ensure you find time to write on a regular basis? 

It’s difficult at times. My family are very good at giving me the space to pursue my writing, but obviously there are many competing demands. Partly, I’ve become used to just sitting down when I get chance and writing there and then, without wasting half an hour circling and looking out of the window. Which is all too easy to do… 

Q:  You have two novels coming out in 2013. Tell us about them. 

One is called Hedge Witch, which will be published by Morrigan Books. This is a fantasy novel, with its action divided between our world and another. It follows the story of Fer, from Andar, and Cait, from Manchester, and their struggles with the sorcerous horrors who are pursuing them. Here’s the cover Morrigan have produced for the book:

Hedge Witch is the first volume of a trilogy. 

Engn, meanwhile is to be published by December House in July. No cover art yet, but here’s the blurb:

Engn follows Finn as he, like many before him, is plucked from his idyllic childhood in the Valley and taken to Engn; the vast steam powered city / machine that lies across the great grass plain. But whilst set to work maintaining the great workings of Engn, Finn has other plans, a vow of trust he once made with his two closest friends, a promise that if they were ever taken they would join the mythical wreckers and destroy Engn once and for all.

In Engn Simon has created a truly immersive world. From the Valley where Finn grows up to Engn itself, you can't fail but imagine yourself there as you read the gripping pages of Finn's journey of struggle, discovery and determination.

Engn was originally conceived as a single volume, although we are now discussing a couple of possible sequels… 

Q: How difficult is it balancing two impending novel publications? 

I have absolutely no idea! Having two novels appearing isn’t by design; it’s just the way things have worked out. But I haven’t had any novels published before, so I don’t really know what to expect. What could possibly go wrong? 

Q: You have self-published several short stories, short story collections, and a serialized novel through Amazon’s KDP programme. How have you found the experience? 

It’s been fun, although the formatting and the marketing can be very time-consuming. Partly I’ve done it out of technical interest, with my software developer’s hat on, and partly because I had all these previously-published stories gathering dust on my computer, so collecting them together and putting them out via KDP seemed the logical thing to do. I quite like the thought they will most likely remain there long after I’m dead and gone…

The serialized novel is a different kettle of fish. These are the Genehunter stories – five linked novelettes that I’ll collect into a single-volume novel at some point. These were written with one eye on a possible computer-game tie-in (something that may still happen). They’re cyberpunk detective stories, set in the near-future. Here’s the blurb for the first of the five, The Wrong Tom Jacks 

Simms is a genehunter, paid by megarich collectors to track down the DNA of the famous for their private zoos. He's employed to locate the genetic code of Tom Jacks. But not the rock star Tom Jacks, just an unknown namesake.

The job bugs Simms. Something about it is wrong. Someone is playing him. Problem is he doesn't know who or why. None of the illegal plug-in technology filling his brain is much damn use. The one person who can help him is an ex-lover, but she's also the one person on the planet who never wants to speak to him again.

The last thing he needs is Agent Ballard of the Genetic Monitoring Agency pulling him out of the jump network to interrogate him about someone he's never even heard of.

Someone called Boneyard...

It’s on Amazon if anyone fancies a read! 

Q:  Would you like to share an excerpt from one of your collections with us?

This is from The Standing Stones of Erelong, which is the opening story in Spell Circles, my fantasy short story collection:

Elian picked her way among the stones, stroking the glassy rocks towering around her. They felt cold despite the heat of the suns on them, remembering the winter. She wondered whether her mother or her father had once touched them. Whether brothers and sisters she would never know had climbed upon them in their games. She closed her eyes, working her own magic, feeling into the stones for buried memories, ghostly presences. Nothing. 

They troubled her, though, the standing stones, and not just because of her history. She didn’t understand what they meant, what they were for. They weren’t even a perfect circle. Great effort had been expended to move them, site them, but some had been placed within the circle, for no reason she could see. One even lay on its side. Her family would have been able to explain their purpose to her. Now, no-one could. 

She wandered among them, trying to understand. Mayve sat on a collapsed wall edging the field and ate red apples. When the light started to fade, the twin suns dipping behind the western peaks, she called over. 

‘We should leave here, Elian. This valley feels unquiet. We’ll be safe back up in the hills.’ 

‘A few more minutes.’ 

She felt reluctant to leave. She’d begun to daydream about building a house here one day, coming back to Erelong to live. Could she do that? Among the ghosts of her family? She sat on the single, fallen stone and tried to imagine herself living there. 

The murmur of memory from the stone shocked her so much she leapt up as if burned.

Q:  What would be the key piece of advice you would offer someone considering self-publication? 

Have a go. There are obviously a lot of people doing it, so it’s hard to stand out, but it isn’t like you have to choose one publication model or another and stick to it. My novels are being put out by publishers, but that doesn’t stop me self-publishing other things, so long as I have the relevant rights. You never know where it might lead… 

Q:  Now for the compulsory random question: if you could live in any Ray Bradbury novel, which would it be and why? 

Great question. It’s dystopian, obviously, but I’d probably pick Fahrenheit 451. I’d try and join the exiles so I could help memorize the books before they all get burned… 

Thank you, Simon. I love how you have immersed yourself in all aspects of eBook publishing, including the formatting. As someone who is just starting on the epublishing path, it is heartening to see how hard work and dedication can pay off. Congratulations on your two novels - I'm looking forward to their releases.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Laura Eno Cover Reveal & Passing Time Launch Day Request

Today I have the honour of revealing the cover for paranormal romance and fantasy writer, Laura Eno's Jewel of Shaylar.

The Blurb:  

Archaeologist David Alexander investigates the cave where his father disappeared and hurtles into another world, one filled with magic and bizarre creatures. The mad ravings in his father's journals of icemen and dragons may not be fantasies after all.

Convinced his father may still be alive, David begins a treacherous journey to find him and discover a way home. Along the way, he encounters a few unlikely friends. A Dreean warrior, a beautiful thief and a satyr join him as he searches.

David's arrival into this new world sets off an explosive chain reaction of events. Faced with powerful adversaries and few clues, he may not get the chance to rescue his father before disaster strikes, condemning both of them to death. Or worse.

Find  Laura at: Website - Blog - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads

Thank you, Laura. I don't know about anyone else but this cover has certainly grabbed my attention. Simply stunning.

Passing Time Launch Day

Passing Time will be published two weeks today. Can you believe it? It hasn't quite sunk in yet.

I'll be sharing my journey into indie-publishing with you all in a series of blog posts, but I can tell you it's been quite a journey so far. I didn't fully comprehend just how much work was involved and the number of decisions I would have to make. On. My. Own. But I've had an incredible amount of help along the way. While it's been a steep learning curve, which I'm sure is no where near ending, I could not have done it without both voluntary and professional help. Thank you, everybody.

A lot of you have already generously helped promote my book through the cover reveal, and will be helping with my upcoming blog tour (March 11th - 22nd). But if you're not helping in any way, and would like to give my book a shout-out any time from the 11th - 22nd, please sign up via the linky below and I'll send you the information you'll need.

Before I settle down with my morning coffee to watch the Oscars (Yes. I am crazy enough to get up in the early hours to watch them), a quick reminder of what's happening on my blog this week:
On Wednesday I will be interviewing Speculative Fiction Writer, Simon Kewin. Then on Friday I'll be unveiling my time capsule in the Back From the Future Blogfest. I can't wait!

Happy writing.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Jadie Jones Moonlit & Alex J. Cavanaugh CassaStorm Cover Reveals

Today I'm thrilled to be revealing not one but two book covers - Jadie Jones's debut novel Moonlit and Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStorm.  They are both stunning.

The Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods.

When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t.

But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself?
Moonlit will be published by WiDo Publishing on April 16th.

Author Links

Congratulations, Jadie. I know you're going to have great success with this and many other novels to come.



The Blurb

storm gathers across the galaxy… 

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans. 

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind. 

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Release date: September 17, 2013
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844002
E-book ISBN 9781939844019

Author Links

Awesome cover, Alex. I wish we didn't have to wait until september!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Alexandra Lanc - Speculative Fiction Writer

This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is blogging buddy, Alexandra Lanc. I'm thrilled to have her guesting on my blog today. Over to you, Alexandra.

Writing From The World Up
By: Alexandra Lanc

First off, I’d like to thank Ellie for allowing me a post today. I hope that you all enjoy it, and I’m honored to be here on the blog!

I was asked to do a post on Speculative Fiction, the umbrella term that encompasses the Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Horror, Dystopian, and many other genres besides, but since the realm of Speculative Fiction is so large, I’m going to focus on my favorite genre: Fantasy.

There are of course many types of Fantasy, the Epic Fantasy (a la Tolkien) probably the most known and most often written type. When I was small, and first started thinking about writing, Fantasy was what drew me in the most, and when I begun writing my first story it had a very Fantasy flare to it (and since then, I’ve continued to write in this genre, and it’s become my favorite overall). There’s something beautiful and magical about stepping into a world that has been created, both by the author’s imagination, and by the tales the author heard or read themselves. All writing builds on the writing that came before it, but none (arguably) builds on it so much as Fantasy. From folk-tales, to fairy-tales, to mythology, there is so much Fantasy sitting around to inspire.

As an author who writes Fantasy, with one series underway, one adding a bit of Sci-Fi, and one meticulously being crafted, I was first inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, as many people are (with C.S. Lewis right behind), from the films to the books (I know that the films weren’t all they could have been, but they were an introduction to me). I’m currently re-reading The Hobbit, but it was that book, many years ago, that really got me thinking about writing Fantasy in the first place, and realizing how much I loved it, and how much work and detail and love could be put into one story – or one series of stories, or one world, as it happened.

The most exciting (and the most important thing, I think) to me about writing Fantasy is crafting an amazing world, not only for your readers to enjoy, but also for your writer’s mind to play in. It can be a hard thing for a writer to do, because you have to pour everything into the world that you’re creating in order to get it right, and there is so much detail to be had, but once you have a good basis, then anything is possible (this is something that I, as an author, am implementing more and more; not all Fantasy is Epic, but I think that a basis for all of it, even if it’s not quite as complex as an Epic, is important. Another thing to keep in mind is: the more we write, and the more we read, and the more we discover, the more we learn about ourselves as writers).

Something that I often chat with writing friends about is the fact that there’s an important difference between “what if”, and “what if I disregard critical thinking”. It’s not enough to just imagine something – if you want to imagine something great, instead of something so-so, then you have to think things through. This is especially true for crafting a Fantasy world.

There will always be rules in a world, things that cannot be broken. And of course, there will always be physical limits for your characters, and limits to your plot. Are your characters trekking across a new land, one they’ve never been to before? Well, then they’re going to get lost – wouldn’t you? Even if they have a map or some good directions, say the terrain is dangerous, and one way looks better than the other? More than likely, they’re going to stray from their path (this recently happened in The Hobbit, in fact, a few chapters back from what I’m now reading). Your characters may even be attacked by giant spiders because they strayed from their course.

What I’m trying to say is that while creating something new, and thinking “what if” is fun, there’s also nothing more exciting than plotting out the details of your world. The more time you spend on something, the more beautiful it will be, and the more that you think about how the details fit together, the closer it will be to flawless. When writing Fantasy (or anything else, for that matter), build the plot from the world up, and see what details will appear to surprise you.

And when you get frustrated, because it happens to us all, and wonder when on Earth you’ll find your way again, just remember this:

About Alexandra Lanc:

Alexandra Lanc is an American author who writes Young Adult and New Adult, and who focuses on the Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and Horror genres (though she is known to dabble in Contemporary and Poetry, as well). She is currently working on a Paranormal/Horror novella series where the readers have a say in what happens next, and a Tolkien-inspired Epic Fantasy with a light Science-Fiction twist. 

Twitter: @AuthorLanc
Goodreads: Alexandra Lanc

Thank you, Alexandra. I loved your description of world-building. Creating your own fantasy world is one of the most appealing aspects of the genre. I think I shall print a copy of the Tolkien quote and stick it on the door to my writing den for all to see.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Ask Me A Question & Other News

Today, I'm returning to something I did in early 2011. I'm giving you all the opportunity to ask me a question. Any question you like. Gulp.

So, if there's something you've been itching to know, now is your opportunity. I will post the answers to your questions during my March 4th and 8th blog posts.

Other News

Today and Tuesday is this month's Writers4Writers event, where we'll be spotlighting authors Gwen Gardner and Melissa Bradley. The purpose of W4WS is to:

  • Help writers bring awareness of their book(s) to tens of thousands of new people
  • Help writers reach Amazon Top 100 in at least one category (i.e., suspense, free, whatever)
  • Increase sales of their book(s) after the promo is over
  • Drive new traffic to their blog and increase following
  • Create verbal and viral buss.

Check out Gwen and Melissa's blogs or the W4WS Facebook page for more details.

Don't forget to call back on Wednesday, when this week's Speculative Fiction Writer will be Alexandra Lanc. Then on Friday we have two thrilling cover reveals - Jadie Jones's Moonlit and Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStorm. I can't wait to see Alex's cover.

Happy writing.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Lisez la Fleur Blog Tour

I am delighted to welcome an amazing writer and friend on my blog today, the wonderful Alexandra Lanc. She's in the middle of her Lisez la Fleur Blog Tour. Over to you, Alexandra.

The Joy of Rediscovery
By: Alexandra Lanc

Every author has many tales to tell, and in everyone’s career, there are some books that come back after an amount of time to be rediscovered.
I wrote my first book when I was twelve years old, and I still have it sitting on my bookshelf. It’s in a special binder (black and white and pink, with vinery), and half of its pages are printed on blue paper (the only thing I had at the time). The typeset is off, the font is mildly hard to read, the writing is adequate at best, and the letters are large, but that copy is still very special to me, for all of its flaws; it cannot be replaced.
I highly doubt that I’ll ever publish that original book, though time may tell, but all the same, I enjoy seeing it sit there, and sometimes I like to flip through it and remember – remember what I felt when writing it, the sense of accomplishment when I finished it, the hope that one day, I could share my writing with the world. Just like that first book, my newest release, Lisez la Fleur, sat on the shelf for many years before I decided to revisit it – four years, in fact.
Four years of gathering dust (though I would leaf through it at times, too; I try to keep my bookshelf less than dusty, but sometimes that’s easier said than done). Four years of hopes I would gather the courage to edit it someday (as well as several attempts and subsequent at doing just that). Four years of a story waiting to be rediscovered.
When I was sixteen years old, my older brother was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident that nearly cost his life, and that led to a year of recovery (he’s doing very well now, thank God). From that time, a story was spawned, entitled Shadows of Past Memories. Similarly, shortly after my brother recovered fully, my great-grandmother broke her hip and had to move in with my mother and I; she had a form of schizophrenia, which made caring for her less than easy on either of us. From that time, Lisez la Fleur was spawned. In hardship, I was able to find inspiration.
I remember distinctly getting the idea for the story. Many stories are inspired by dreams, and this one was no different. I had recently read the classic novel Dracula, and I had begun taking a French course in college (sadly…I don’t remember much of it; I didn’t have the best teacher). A lot of feelings – frustration, love, acceptance, and a good deal of tolerance – went into that story, and it reflected my life at the time.
And then it sat on the shelf—
For four years.
Life has an amazing, crazy way of surprising you, because at the least expected moment, something that you thought was lost can appear again. Only a few months ago, inspiration struck, and I decided to open that story back up, and revisit it – and all of those feelings, some good and some bad, came rushing back. And now that the story has been started again, it can continue, and shape into something wholly the same, but also wholly different.
If there’s anything that Lisez la Fleur has taught me so far, it’s that sometimes, revisiting old loves can rekindle our spirits, and even lead us to find new ones. 

Book Synopsis:

Twenty-year-old Lorine Stringfield’s life is about to change forever, and she doesn’t even know it. 
Weighted down by the death of her father, her overbearing mother, and the sadness of her little brother, Lorine has less than high hopes for her family’s trip to France. But all of that changes when she is invited to visit the illustrious Ch√Ęteau du Jumeaux – a premiere nightclub that only the most privileged attend. Lorine jumps at the chance to do something for herself, but gets more than she bargained for when she discovers the terrible truth: the chateau isn’t a nightclub at all, but a feeding ground for perhaps the most ruthless of beings, the creatures known as vampires.
Part one in the Fleur Passages, a collection of novellas to later be sewn into one novel The Beautiful Beginning starts the epic tale of Lorine. This novella marks the first in a series of ebooks in which readers can take part with "Reader Participation" -- inside of the ebook there is a question directly linked to the next volume in the Fleur Passages, and readers can vote for their favorite answer, to have a say in what happens next! 

Book Links:


The book can also be borrowed for free by Amazon Prime members as well.

About The Authoress:

Alexandra is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves writing Fantasy, Science-Fiction, and traditional Horror stories (though she’s known to dabble in Contemporary and Poetry, too). She started writing at a young age, and is inspired by fellow writers (hats off to Eoin Colfer, Ridley Pearson, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and Jeanne DuPrau), her writing friends, and her dreams.
She is currently working on many series and stand-alones, most notably the Snowflake Triplet, her YA Fantasy/Christmas series, the Phantasmagoria Duet, her NA Fantasy series, and of course the new NA novella series the Fleur Passages, later to be sewn into one book, where readers have a say in what happens next through voting!
Alexandra is also an artist (her art is featured on her book covers), and a screenwriter, a Whovian, superhero fan, and all-around geek who loves old videogames. Alexandra lives in Florida, USA, with her family and calico cat, Sanura.

Twitter: @AuthorLanc

Goodreads: Alexandra Lanc

Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us, Alexandra. I believe that just as every author has a story to tale, so does every book as well. I greatly regret not keeping the first book I ever wrote. Even though I know I would never have published it - it was about an intergalactic hooverman who cleared space debris - I would love to be able to take it off the shelf and read it from time to time.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Charity Bradford - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I'm thrilled to be hosting Speculative Fiction Writer, Charity Bradford. She's currently on her two-week The Magic Wakes Blog Tour. Over to you, Charity. 

10 Things You May Not Know About The Magic Wakes 

Banner 3

1. In the very first draft, Talia was named Elyzbeth Bynts and was only 18 years old. She had parents, a brother who called her ‘bug’, and a best friend named Trace. All those poor people had to die before I really understood Talia.

2. There were no Draguman in that first draft. 

3. This book started as therapy to help me get through a very rough time in my life. I never thought it would be published, but the story took root, and as it grew I learned to hope and dream again.

4. All of Talia’s dream sequences about the Draguman are part of a vivid dream I had as a freshman in college. Yeah, I have freaky dreams. I wrote it all down and even tried to draw the creatures. You’ll never see my art because it is pathetic. 

5. I wrote 40,000 words on this novel and got stuck. After letting the book sit untouched for almost four years, I pulled it out again. Elyzbeth became Talia, lost all of her family, gained ten years of education and experience. This meant that I would need to start the story from scratch.

6. I did just that for my first Nanowrimo challenge and win in 2008. The bare bones of the story topped out at 60K words and for the first time ever I had a complete novel. 

7. The first chapter of The Magic Wakes has been rewritten a 100 times. At least.

8. The title of the book has changed several times as well. Some of the previous ones were: Sendek, The Quest for Sendek, and Sendek: The Magic Wakes. Even now I’ll refer to the book as Sendek because I’m from the South and we tend to be lazy with our verbal communications. ;) 

9. I know you shouldn’t ever reveal who characters might be patterned after, but the best parts of Landry are the same best parts that made me fall in love with my husband. They are two totally different people, but the fundamental values and attention to detail are the same. Maybe this is why I have a crush on Landry?
10. It was really hard for me to paint the Draguman as evil because I know the events in their past that shaped their actions. Kansisi is as much a victim in my mind as anyone else, but there wasn’t a way to work that into Talia’s story. The Magic Wakes is her story, but perhaps one day I’ll tell Kansisi’s. Footnote: Shishali is pure evil. 

Book Blurb:
CoverTalia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.
Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.
Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.
Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.
1st Chapter

Author Bio:

Author photo
Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. She’s the mother of four kids that keep her on her toes, constantly reminding her that imagination still makes the world go round. She lives in Arkansas with her hubby and children, and firmly believes that a smile can solve most problems. The Magic Wakes is her first novel.

Thank you, Charity. I'm so pleased you did write down your college dream - without it, we may not have had the opportunity to read Talia's story. As a matter of interest, Talia was the original name for the female protagonist of my science fiction novel, Dreaming of Sleep. It's since been changed Blue. Good luck with the rest of your blog tour.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Postponement Blues

Today was the original publication date for Passing Time, so I'm feeling a little blue. Due to family problems and ill health, I decided to postpone it until March 11th. Everything I started, such as guest blog tour posts and Twitter/Facebook teasers stopped. But enough of wallowing in self-pity; I'm focusing again on Passing Time and other writing projects. I also have something big planned for the A to Z challenge this year. I'll let you know more nearer the time.

How have the first few weeks of 2013 gone for you? Did you achieve everything you planned or have you made major changes like me? What strategies do you have in place for those unexpected life events that sometimes get in the way?

Friday, 8 February 2013

How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now!

Today I have the pleasure of promoting L. Diane Wolfe's labour of love, How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now! This book was several years in the making and one I downloaded as soon as it was available.

By L. Diane Wolfe

Publishing and promoting made simple!

Have you always dreamed of publishing a book but didn’t know where to begin? This book walks you through the steps of identifying markets, budgeting, building an online presence, and generating publicity. Get the whole story on:

·         Traditional publishing
·         Self-publishing
·         Print and e-book setup, formatting, and distribution
·         Finding your target audience
·         Generating reviews and media interest
·         Networking and developing an online presence
·         Promotional materials and appearances

Uncover your ideal publishing path and numerous marketing options before you begin. Writing is your dream. Give it the best chance for success!

Available February 5, 2012
Publishing/Marketing, 214 pages, Dancing Lemur Press LLC
$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0

“She gives an unbiased take on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing and self-publishing and publishing paths that combine the two… It's the perfect book for those who want an overview to begin the decision-making process.”
- Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning series of how-to books for writers

“A must-read for writers planning on self-publishing or any writer who wants the ultimate how-to on promoting. Tons of links, advice, and how-to, whether you're going for print or e-publication.”
- Helen Ginger, author of Angel Sometimes

Author Links:

Author Bio:

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association and a motivational speaker. She’s conducted seminars on book publishing and promoting for five years and assisted writers through several author services. Her other titles include “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK!” which ties her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together, and a YA series, “The Circle of Friends.” Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Donna Hosie - Speculative Fiction Writer

I'm especially happy to be introducing this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, Donna Hosie. She's been thrilling us with her The Return to Camelot Trilogy, and, like many others, I'm eagerly awaiting the third installment. Over to you, Donna.


“How do you get your ideas?”

That’s the number one question I am asked by readers.

And the answer is simple: ideas come to me. I don’t go looking for them.

Writers have a different outlook to people who don’t write. Non-writers will look into the sky and see a pretty pink sunset. Writers look into the sky and see the blood shed by angels and demons fighting for supremacy. Non-writers will see a tree and think it’s a strange shape. Writers see the spirit inside trying to escape as a knot in the wood becomes a screaming mouth.

The premise for my RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy came to me on a bus. I was reading a Sherlock Holmes novel. I had just finished writing a draft ms about time-travelling devils and I was exhausted. I wanted a break from writing. But as I sat there, reading about Doctor Watson, I thought of another book that I had finished reading a couple of months earlier. It was a collection of tales about King Arthur and it had ended with an epilogue in which a shepherd had stumbled across a tomb of knights, hundreds of years after the final Battle of Camlann. They were waiting for Arthur to return.

Out of nowhere I thought: what if a teenage girl was to stumble across that tomb?

I went back to reading my Sherlock novel, turned the page and there was a reference to King Arthur in the very next paragraph!

Well, if that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. I went home and wrote the first chapter of what became SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR.

One book became a trilogy. I had word vomit! An entire new world just came into my life filled with strong female characters and hot knights and dragons and magic. I found myself researching every King Arthur myth I could get my hands on. I turned down agency representation and decided to go it alone with publication, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Nearly three years later, my series has been listed as a Top 20 YA Read on Goodreads with a 100% like rating. Word of mouth and online recommendations mean more and more readers are coming to the Camelot party on a daily basis. I freaked out when SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR debuted in the top fifty Myths and Legends chart on Amazon. Then THE FIRE OF MERLIN went thirty places higher!

My squeeeeeeeee went viral!

The final ebook in the series, THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE, will be released in May 2013. To celebrate, SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR and book number two, THE FIRE OF MERLIN, are on a Fabulous February special offer on Amazon for only $1.99.

It’s hard work, but totally worth it. And all because a voice inside my head asked a question: what if...?

So don’t shut those ideas out. Even a snatch of a question could turn into something huge. Carry a notebook around with you and just scribble down words. You never know where the adventure will take you, but if you’re a writer, then look at the sky, look at that tree and just imagine. 


Thank you, Donna. If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me where I get my ideas from, I'd be rich. But despite it being one of those questions writers are always asked, I must admit I love hearing the answer. Thank you for sharing how The Return to Camelot Trilogy came into existence with us. Truly fascinating.

Find out more about Donna and her books here and here.