Wednesday, 27 March 2013

PK Hrezo - Speculative Fiction Writer


This week's Speculative Fiction Writer is teen and tween writer PK Hrezo, who by coincidence was the first Blog Blitz recipient yesterday. Congratulations and over to you, PK.



 
TIME TRAVEL WEIGH IN 

Thanks so much to Ellie for having me here! Today I’m talking about time travel, and this is your chance to weigh in. That’s right, I want to know YOUR thoughts. And not just because my current WIP is about time travel … well, yeah, actually that is the reason why. So here’s your chance to tell me what you like, dislike, find impossible to believe, are building in your garages, etc. 

A couple weeks ago on Twitter for #SciFiChat (which is every Friday at 3pm EST) we talked a lot about time travel, and everyone has their own fave stories: The Time Machine, Back to the Future, Star Trek, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Looper, etc. The question came up as to what it is about time travel stories that pull you in. For most, it was the forbidden fruit appeal of changing something from the past. 

I know I have plenty I’d change if I could go back and knock some sense in Past-PK, but what that question did, was reminded me to look at the big picture in my own time travel story—to think theme and character, and not get so bogged down with the logistics of how time travel works, though that has to plausible too. Do you find that easy to forget when writing sci-fi or other speculative fiction? Do you get more concerned with whether or not your time machine (or insert own component here) will work, then whether or not your character has the right goal, or that she’ll transform by the end of the story? (For more on those per PlotWhiperer, see this link.

Which brings me to my next point: time travel has been done so many ways, from brainwashing oneself in Somewhere in Time, to traveling around the sun in Star Trek IV, to simply jumping in and out of time in the blink of an eye like The Time Traveler’s Wife. A souped-up delorean is a fun way to go, complete with plot device flux capacitor, or for Whovians around the world, a disguised TARDIS takes the cake. Which means for us writers hoping to conjure up something new, our job is extra hard. Seems everything’s been done. 

I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve, but now I’m asking YOU: 

What thrills you most about time travel? Does the science (fiction) behind how it could work make a difference to you? Or are you more interested in how the main characters interact in alternate time periods? Little of both? More or less of one? Does the actual device that allows time travel matter to you? Anything you’d like to see more of? 

I’d love to hear your feedback! 

You can find me on Twitter @pkhrezo, as well as my blog and website where I do more than just write. I make stuff too. 

Thanks again, Ellie! (Who BTW has the bestest avatar EVER!) #WishIWouldaThoughtOfThat 


PK Hrezo is a fearless fiction writer, and creator of Pixie Patrol. Part time airline agent, and full time wife and mom. Her BFF is a 70lb labradoodle named Ripley. She's repped by Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Agency. And can quite easily while the hours away discussing books, movies, and writing like nothing else in the world existed.






Thank you, PK. I've spent the last few minutes recalling all the great time travel films I've seen. I'm glad you included Somewhere in Time - it holds a special place in my heart for personal reasons. It's also a terrific movie.

As a writer I'm more interested in the consequences of time travel to both characters and the world itself than the mechanics of how it works. I guess if I were to write a time travel story I would need to give the science some consideration, though. As you say, it has to be plausible. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Tour Wrap Up, Prize Winners, & The Debt Collector

It was hectic, tiring, fun, rewarding, and brought moments of both sheer panic and elation, but my book launch and blog tour has finally come to end. One thing is certain - I could not have done it without the support of all my friends. Thank you to everyone who tweeted, blogged, posted on Facebook, Goodreads, or Google+. You are all stars, and I cannot overstate how much it meant to have you by my side and supporting me during this process.


Prize Winners

As part of my Passing Time book launch and tour, readers had the chance to win one of two $25.00 Amazon vouchers or their name as a character in my upcoming science fiction short story collection, Taking Time. The winners are:

$25.00 Amazon voucher -Alexandra Lanc and Sheena-Kay Graham

Character name - Lisa Vooght

Congratulations. I will be in contact shortly.


Now on to something that has me super excited not just because it's from the author of the Mindjack Trilogy, but because it's being released in a format I'm also considering. Here to tell us more is Susan Kaye Quinn.


The Debt Collector by Susan Kaye Quinn

From the author of the bestselling Mindjack series comes a new future-noir serial, The Debt Collector. The first episode, Delirium, launched on March 20th.

What’s your life worth on the open market?

A debt collector can tell you precisely. 

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He’s just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja’s sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane… until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn’t what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone—a dark pit he’s not sure he’ll be able to climb out of again. 

Contains mature content and themes. For YA-appropriate thrills, see Susan’s Mindjack series. 

Delirium is approximately 12,000 words or 48 pages and is one of nine episodes in the first season of The Debt Collector serial. This dark and gritty future-noir is about a world where your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating. You can find out more about the series at the Debt Collector website and facebook page. The Debt Collector newsletter is a special list just for episode releases. 

Early Praise
 “The street-smart science of LOOPER meets the cold, just-the-facts voice of DOUBLE INDEMNITY in this edgy, future-noir thriller that will have you holding your breath, looking over your shoulder, and begging for more.” —Leigh Talbert Moore, author of The Truth About Faking, The Truth About Letting Go, and Rouge
“Do you owe more than your life is worth? No worries. A more deserving person than you can benefit from that excess life—and someone else will get paid with it. Enter the Debt Collector.” —Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and The Eighth Day (HarperCollins 2014)
The first three episodes of Debt Collector will be released a week apart, starting Wednesday 3/20. The remaining episodes will release every two weeks. Delirium can be found on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iTunes, Kobo. Or add it to your TBR on Goodreads.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA SF Mindjack series. Debt Collector is her more grown-up SF. Her steampunk fantasy romance is temporarily on hold while she madly writes episodes to keep Lirium happy. Plus she needs to leave time to play on Facebook. Susan has a lot of degrees in engineering, which come in handy when dreaming up dangerous mind powers, future dystopias, and slightly plausible steampunk inventions. Mostly she sits around in her pajamas in awe that she gets make stuff up full-time. 


Thank you, Susan. I can't wait to start reading this exciting series.

Don't forget to call back on Wednesday when Young Adult and Middle Grade author PK Hrezo is this week's Speculative Fiction Writer.

Happy writing.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors - Passing Time


Today I'm taking part in my first Weekend Writing Warriors. I'm posting an eight-sentence snippet from the title story to my dark fiction eBook collection, Passing Time. Read the details and how to take part here.


The Set Up

Mr. Ashby has arrived for work one week before his retirement. Outside the entrance to his place of work, an elderly man is waiting for him. He has a strange but brief conversation with the man, which ends with this excerpt. It's a conversation he will later regret.

The Snippet


He reached out a skeletal hand and I took it, though I did not know why. His skin felt cool and ash-like–as if prolonged contact might simply rub it away–and I pulled my fingers free one by one, like peeling a band-aid I feared would rip away the top layer of his skin.
“Thank you,” he said, the timbre of his voice sounding more jubilant. He turned his back to me and, with tremendous ease for a man of his age, began walking down the steps I had just assailed.
“For what?” I called after him.
            He stopped for a moment and looked back. “For passing time, Mr. Ashby. Passing time.
            I stood watching as he disappeared into the crowd and tried to fathom what had just taken place.


The Blurb

Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.
A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Passing Time Blog Tour - Taking Time & Teaser

Today is the last day of my blog tour. Sob. I'm talking about my next project Taking Time over at one of my favourite authors E.J. Wesley's blog. I'm also sharing a teaser from Taking Time. Don't miss it.



Teaser

Today's teaser come from the eighth story from Passing Time, Land of the Free.

As the infernal noise continued, I tried to distract myself by searching out the extensive sound system Mr. McManus must have hidden somewhere in the room. I reasoned no dead thing could make that much noise. At that moment I spotted the books, hundreds of them arranged on floor to ceiling bookshelves, with the spines turned inward, so a casual glance would not reveal their content. What kind of person hid the spines of books?
The voices stopped, and the silence that followed seemed just as deafening.
“Should I sing now?” asked a handless Mr. McManus.
“No.”
“No? I thought you said—”
“I’m leaving now, Mr. McManus.”
“Leaving?”
“I don’t know what set-up you have here, but one should never lie about a spiritual haunting. I am serious about my work, and my profession is not one to be mocked.” I could feel my cheeks reddening and my blood pressure elevating. I was either about to be exposed as a con artist or sent to spiritual hell via a handless book man, and I was not waiting for the autopsy.
Mr. McManus threw himself into the doorway and blocked my exit path. “Now, wait just a moment, Mr. Swift. Just who is mocking whom? Did you not proclaim yourself as the exohealer? Did you not promise to rid this house of the unwanted entity as you have done for hundreds of satisfied clients?” The stump of his left arm pushed against my chest.
“Thousands,” I replied, before realising the stupidity of my statement.
           “Then what is the problem? More money? Is that it?”
           “The fee I quote is always the fee I charge, Mr. McManus. I pride myself on my word.” It was a ridiculous statement when I stopped to consider it. I prided myself on a string of lies.



Don't forget to enter my competition - three days left to enter.

 Win one of two $25.00 (£15) Amazon gift cards and a character named after you in my upcoming science fiction collection, Taking Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are a couple of tweet suggestions:

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre #PassingTime Available on Kindle #Kindle http://elliegarratt.blogspot.co.uk/

Like horror stories? Try Passing Time   http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17304153-passing-time


I'll be back tomorrow with my first Weekend Writing Warriors entry. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Passing Time Blog Tour Day Nine & Teaser


Today is the penultimate day of my blog tour, and I'm thrilled to be passing time with Polar Night author Julie Flanders. Do you want to see where I write? Visit Julie to take a peek at my writing space.



Teaser

Today's teaser comes from the seventh story in Passing Time, Eating Mr. Bone.

When I entered the room, a female colleague let out a gasp and hurried away.
Something was wrong, and that something made itself clear the moment I gazed upon my reflection in the mirror. Gone was my silver-white hair. Instead a dull, lifeless mat of grey had replaced it. My eyes were cloudy and lacked their usual vibrancy, and like Hilary, small mottled patches had appeared on my neck and face. I turned my attention to my hands, and they too had taken on this new hideous complexion. It seemed I had aged twenty years in just one morning.
And there was the same smell of rotting food.
            I turned away from the mirror and thought of one person–Mr. Bone. Was this his final gift to me–a perverse present for my retirement? I decided he would not be allowed to get away with it. He’d taken enough from me over the last fifty years. I’d done as he’d instructed, working under his rules and those of his father before him since leaving school. No longer.
It was early afternoon and Mr. Bone was a creature of habit. He would be cleaning the show coffins for the afternoon’s appointments.
I entered the show room with its dozen display models. Mr. Bone was hunched over his favourite, the deluxe mahogany coffin, thumping his fist to his abdomen in repeated movements. I walked up to him, prepared to spew a torrent of pent-up emotion in his direction, but as he turned towards me he pointed to his throat. His face was scarlet and his lips blue, and I realised from the rasping sounds he emitted, he was choking. He reached out his arms towards me, begging me to save him.
I admit I was tempted to leave him to suffocate, but the desire was beaten by an overwhelming urge to use the Heimlich Manoeuvre–I did not need a first-aid course to teach me such a simple first-aid technique.
Stepping behind him, I placed both arms around his torso and clasped them together before pulling inward and upward with as much force as I could maintain. His breath crackled as the object obstructing his airway moved and then flew out of his mouth. He began gasping mouthfuls of air, but I continued the Heimlich Manoeuvre. I could not stop.   



Available to buy from:


Book links:






Competition

Win one of two $25.00 (£15) Amazon gift cards and a character named after you in my upcoming science fiction collection, Taking Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here are a couple of tweet suggestions:

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre #PassingTime Available on Kindle #Kindle http://elliegarratt.blogspot.co.uk/

Like horror stories? Try Passing Time   http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17304153-passing-time

I will be back tomorrow, when I'll be sharing a teaser from Land of the Free and answering the question 'Where's the science fiction?' over at E.J. Wesley's super-cool blog. Happy Writing.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ciara Knight - Speculative Fiction Writer

Before I introduce this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, I'm especially happy to say the Passing Time Blog Tour is visiting the wonderful Mary Pax today, over at Spacedock 19. I'd love it if you could join us there.



I'm thrilled to bring you this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, fantasy and paranormal author Ciara Knight. Over to you, Ciara.







Beyond the Words

When a reader opens the front cover of a book they expect an adventure beyond the mere reading of words on a page. An author must capture the world, culture, fashion, time period, and so much more. I’ve heard from many readers that they feel like they are watching a movie when they read my stories. I take that as a compliment. It means they are SEEING what I’m writing. Not every story has to be written with description that makes a reader feel this way, but when writing The Neumarian Chronicles I wanted the reader to see, taste, feel, and hear the world. 

Today I thought I’d share a few bits of the world.

The Neumarian Chronicles takes place on Earth about a decade after the Great War of 2185. There are several social classes. Kantian, rulers and council members of the queen’s empire. Neumarians who are collared and enslaved to serve the queen, and humans that are in between. When the reader meets these different classes of people it isn’t spelled out, but revealed through different actions, gadgets, and environment. One of the main visual features for the reader is the different fashion styles of the social classes.



Kantian’s dress in extravagant clothing, rich with silk and embellished with ornaments and jewels.











Neumarians are dressed in peasant and slave clothing. Usually one stitch from bare.












Humans are in cleaner outfits, but not with the ostentatious flair of Kantians. 













There are many other visual and environmental features that can be used to show the world, availability of goods and gadgets, luxury items, and even underwear. No, I’m not kidding. A Kantian may wear elaborate undergarments of hoops skirts and bloomers, while a Neumarian is stuck in a tank top and boxers handed down from older siblings. 

For more about the Neumarian Chronicles, please visit my blog, Facebook page, or my Pinterest Escapement board. 

Be bold. 
Be brave. 
Be free.


Ten years after the great war of 2185 the queen's reign is threatened by uprisings and fear. In celebration of my sixteenth birthday it is my duty as princess to sacrifice a slave to be initiated into the ruling council, solidifying my mother's empire. When my own erratic powers surface I'm captured and tried for treason. Slaves hate me, my mother wants me executed, and my only chance of survival rests in the hands of a young man, Ryder Arteres, whose sister I sentenced to death.





What people are saying:

"A heady mix of action adventure and steampunk -- leavened with a dash of romance -- ESCAPEMENT offers up its fair share of thrills, horrors and heart-pounding moments. A strong start to a captivating new series."

-- Jana Oliver, author of The Demon Trapper's Daughter

--Lindi Peterson--Award winning author of Summer's Song.

"Betrayal, secrets, and a rebellion send readers on a grand adventure, caught in the plight to discover Semara's gifts and purpose."

--Alex J Cavanaugh, author of Amazon best sellers CassaStar and CassaFire

"The most unmissable series ever! I couldn't stop reading, the action and romance too breathtaking to break the spell!"
--ARC review by Sudah on Goodreads

"A courageous heart-stopping journey by young people to save their kind."
--Hildie McQueen, bestselling author of Where the Four Winds Collide

Find Ciara Knight here: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads


Thank you, Ciara. I was fascinated by this post. As a reader I'm always translating the words of a story into the visual feel of a movie. However, how well I picture that world depends on the level of thought and description the author brings. I have Escapement on my Kindle and can't wait to enter the vivid world you have already painted.

I'll be back tomorrow for the Passing Time Blog Tour's penultimate post, where you can have a peek at my writing space.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ten Things You May Not Know About Ellie Garratt


It's day seven of my Passing Time Blog Tour, and today I'm visiting Moonlit author Jadie Jones. I'll be revealing ten things you may not know about me.




If you want to know what the first story I wrote was about, who I have a crush on, or how many surnames I've had, don't miss it.



Before I share today's teaser from Passing Time, I need to highlight a fantastic offer - print copies of Jadie Jones's Moonlit are currently 25% off at Amazon. Grab your copy for a breath-taking read. I've ordered mine.










Teaser

Today's Passing Time teaser comes from The Vegas Screamer, a story I wrote for Static Movement's Serial Killer anthology. I never expected to write a story involving a serial killer but my love of CSI and Criminal Minds probably had something to do with it. Don't worry - I chose a non-squeamish part.

I made up my mind to kill a woman I was hitching a ride with after we’d clocked a hundred kilometres on the odometer. I always decided that way. If I couldn’t stand a woman’s company for that long, it wasn’t worth the trouble of killing her. Fran was different. I could have gone from the west to east coast with her–she was worth the time.
“I remember how good it was to drive off road,” Fran said, checking her rear view mirror. “Nothing like these cruise-controlled sedans, driving on faultless asphalt highways. With gravel you felt every stone. You knew what gears were then, I can tell you.”
I’d heard it all before. Fran had driven on every road surface known to man.
“You never felt the urge to drive before the accident?” she asked, glancing sideways at my prosthetic arm.
“No need. Limos all the way in our family,” I answered.
“Jeez. Must have been good.”
“Not really.”
“Oh,” she said, open-mouthed. “Did you have a chauffeur?”
“Yep.”
With my good arm, I reached for the window control button and remembered it was broken. Instead, I used a gloved hand to lower the window a few inches. A cool wind whipped around my face. Temperatures on this stretch of the American highway could reach forty-four degrees Celsius, and I was grateful for the breeze.
“He was called Lionel,” I said, pausing to lower the window another couple of inches. “I swear he was twice my height and size. He’d drive me to and from school, sports club, the mall, and any other extra after-school activities. The thing that amazed me was how immaculate his uniform always looked. Not a crease or speck of dirt. Always wore his jacket, too–even on the warmest days.”
“I seem to attract anything loose in this car,” Fran said, fussing with her top.
            I could see dog or cat hairs speckled over her cardigan and pants. She was an attractive woman for her age–had that wholesome glow about her–but she talked too much for my liking. That was what made her special. She’d be a good screamer.



Available to buy from:







Don't forget to enter Passing Time's competition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are a couple of tweet suggestions:

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre #PassingTime Available on Kindle #Kindle http://elliegarratt.blogspot.co.uk/

Like Stephen King? Try Passing Time   http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17304153-passing-time

That's it for today. Tomorrow Ciara Knight will be this week's Speculative Fiction Writer and I'll be visiting M. Pax over at Spacedock 19. Have an awesome day.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Blog Tour Day Six & Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest

It's week two of my Passing Time Blog Tour, and today you can find one of my characters being interviewed over at the always lovely Medeia Sharif's blog. If you have time, please pop over and say hello.



Don't forget to enter my competition for a chance to win a $25 Amazon voucher or a character named after you in my upcoming science fiction short story collection, Taking Time.

Now for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest.


I don't take part in many blogfests because of the time involved. However, I always make an exception for Alex. Now for confession time.

I'm in the middle of a two-week book blog tour and I have a stinking cold. For both of those reasons I never got around to writing today's blogfest entry. So I'm re-posting my Top Ten Movie Quotes list from February 2011. I hope you'll forgive me, Alex.


10. “Not for me! Not for me!” Riddick Pitch Black (2000).

You’ll need to watch the film to understand the dialogues significance, as I don’t want to give away the ending.





9. “I was wondering when El Capitan was gonna get a chance to use his popgun.” The Thing (1982).

A true classic of the horror/science fiction genre.



8. “Redrum. Redrum. Redrum.” Danny Torrance The Shining (1980).

Who wasn’t freaked out by this line of dialogue?




7. “You sold a reverberating carbonizer with mutate capacity to an unlicensed cephalopoid, Jeebs, you piece of shit.” Agent K Men in Black (1997).

He sold what?





6. “He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up!” Khan Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (1982)

Wrath of Khan ranks in my top five films of all times and Ricardo Montalban was superb as Kirk’s nemesis.

5. “Khaaannnn!” Admiral James T. Kirk Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (1982)

Do I need to say any more?






4. “I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.” Roy Batty
Bladerunner (1982)

This piece of dialogue speaks for itself (excuse the pun).

3. “We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly.” Newt
Aliens (1986)

One line of dialogue I'll never forget.


2. “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” Colonel George Taylor Planet of Apes (1968)

I never bore of this film and the ending is probably the greatest in film history.


1. “What does God need with a starship?” Captain James T. Kirk
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Well. Did you expect me to end with anything other than Captain Kirk? A classic and hilarious line of dialogue.


So that is my list. Other than The Final Frontier, all the other films would be in my ten top movies. Are any of them in yours?

I will be back tomorrow with a teaser from the sixth story in Passing Time, The Vegas Screamer. The Passing Time Blog Tour will be visiting Jadie Jones, where I'll be revealing ten things you may not know about me. Don't miss it!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Ten Things You May Not Know About Passing Time


Week one of my blog tour is nearly over. Sob. I won't cry for too long, though. Today I'm passing time with the inspirational Alexandra Lanc, where I'm sharing ten things you may not know about Passing Time.


Teaser

Here's the teaser from Dining in Hell I promised.

“Jess!” said a familiar voice, and I turned to see Callie behind the counter, examining a tub of ice cream.
“Put that down, Callie,” I said.
“But there’s food. Lots of it,” she continued, ignoring my order.
“Now!” I shouted and felt Hank flinch behind me. My patience was running out.
“Can I be of help?” a Russian-sounding voice asked.
Logan, Hank, and I turned in the voice’s direction. A young man, with premature silver-white hair and the blackest eyes I’d ever seen, stood in the doorway to what I assumed was the kitchen.
“No problem,” I said, still unsure as to what our course of action should be. “We’ve come to collect our young friend, and we’ll be on our way.”
“You are English?” the man said.
“Yes. But I live in Las…America now.” I was never going back to the place where I’d been so desperate to stay alive I’d killed my entire family.
The strange man turned to the diners and threw his arms up into the air. “She is English!” he declared. His creepy smile made the hairs on my arms stand erect.
No sooner had he finished proclaiming my nationality than everyone in the diner broke into mumbled conversations, smiling and patting each other on the back. It was odd. I didn’t like it.
“Now, English. You and your friends should eat–you appear to have travelled far.”
“Well that’s one way of putting it,” Hank said, sitting at a table of women next to the door. How typical of Hank to pick the quickest escape route. 
“What do you say, Jess? Can we stay and eat? Please,” Callie begged as she re-joined our group. I studied her pale complexion and the dark circles under her eyes and knew I couldn’t refuse her. None of us had eaten a proper meal in days. None of us would have wanted to eat after what we’d seen, but we had to–it was the first rule of survival. It was also, ironically, the reason we were running.



Available to buy from:


Book links:



Competition

Win one of two $25.00 (£15) Amazon gift cards and a character named after you in my upcoming science fiction collection, Taking Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are a couple of tweet suggestions:

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre #PassingTime Available on Kindle #Kindle http://elliegarratt.blogspot.co.uk/

Like horror stories? Try Passing Time   http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17304153-passing-time


I will be back on Monday, when one of the characters from Passing Time is interviewed by the fabulous Medeia Sharif. I'll also be taking part in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movies Blogfest.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The National Wormhole Day Blog Hop

The Passing Time Blog Tour has landed at Michael Offutt's blog, where I'm discussing why my first short story collection is dark fiction rather than science fiction. Please fly on over and say hello to Michael.



There is no teaser from Passing Time today, as I'm taking part in the National Wormhole Day Blog Hop hosted by Stephen Tremp, Laura Eno, and L.G. Smith.



The blog hop hosts asked: what would you do or where would you go if you could traverse a wormhole through space or time just once?

At first I spent a great deal of time deciding what time I'd like to go back or forward to, but in every scenario there was the problem of paradoxes or the butterfly effect to contend with - where even the slightest change brought about by my arrival could alter the course of history. So I decided my wormhole would only travel through space and not time

This is where I'd go. 


 
I'm not sure if we will see a mission to Mars in my lifetime. I'm 40 years of age, so that hopefully leaves another 40 years for it to happen. What I do know is that if I was offered a place on such a mission, I would go - even if it was a one-way trip. 

Why? Because I've been fascinated by Mars for most of my life. From those early school lessons, science fiction books, and David Bowie's Life on Mars, the red planet has enthralled me. The chance to go there and step foot on a planet that has inspired great works of literature and classic songs could not be passed up.

Now all I need is a real wormhole...

I'll be back tomorrow, when I will be sharing a teaser from Dining in Hell and sharing Ten Things You May Not Know About Passing Time over at the wonderful Alexandra Lanc's blog.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Passing Time Blog Tour Day Three, Another Review, & Teaser


If you are looking for my National Wormhole Day entry, please call back on Thursday.


It's day three of my Passing Time Blog Tour, and I'm visiting two blogs today. I am talking about the only vampire story I've written in Finding Luna Black at Jay Noel's blog and how I went about Collecting A Collection for Passing Time at Mark Knight's blog. Please pop over and say hello to two of the coolest bloggers I know.


Another Review

Yesterday something amazing happened. I received my first Amazon review, and it was far better than I could ever have hoped for. I'm still pinching myself. Click here to read it. If you're interested to know who did such an amazing job with my formatting, visit Novel Ninjutsu (Ali Cross). She has only just started offering formatting as a service but she knows what she's doing, and she won't stop until you're one hundred per cent happy.


Teaser

Yesterday I gave you a teaser from Expiration Date, a story about the lengths a father will go to keep his deceased son alive. Today I'm sharing an excerpt from Luna Black, the fourth story in Passing Time. 

“What are you scared of, Melissa?” Luna asked, as if reading my thoughts. Her smile was unnerving.
           “That you’ll drink my blood and leave me for dead.”
           She laughed. Not the hard laugh of someone mocking another, but sweet and soft, like my mother’s.
           “And what do you want from a vampire?”
           I told her my plan, and how I had asked for Dead’s help, minus the details of the insurance policy pay out. I doubted vampires had any real need for money, but the office did not look like a cheap rental.
          She stood a few feet away from me, watching. She listened to every word and did not deviate her stare for a second. When I finished, she walked a little closer and took one of my hands and placed it in hers. The coolness of her touch was soothing, and I felt my heartbeat begin to relax. I was right–vampires were hypnotic.
           “My sweet Melissa. I cannot do it.”
           “Oh…,” came my pathetic reply.
           “But I can help you.”
           “Me?”
           “Have you not thought yourself of crossing over?”
           Her other hand reached up and skimmed my cheek again before gliding down the side of my neck. I wanted to scream but I was mesmerised. Our eyes were locked together in an eternal stare.
          “No…I mean I’ve heard it’s painful. And I don’t like blood. Faint and all that. God. I suppose it is poor taste to talk about blood in front of a vampire?”
         Taste? Could I have said anything worse?


To read Passing Time's blurb click here.

Available to buy from:






Don't forget to enter Passing Time's competition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are a couple of tweet suggestions:

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre #PassingTime Available on Kindle #Kindle http://elliegarratt.blogspot.co.uk/

Like strange and macabre fiction? Try Passing Time   http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17304153-passing-time


Tomorrow I will be visiting with the awesome Michael Offutt, where I'll be talking about why my first short story collection is dark fiction rather than science fiction, and taking part in National Wormhole Day. Have a great day.

Mark Knight - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I'm thrilled to be introducing Young Adult fantasy, horror, and science fiction writer Mark Knight as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. I only met Mark recently, but he is fast becoming a good friend and great source of inspiration. Over to you, Mark.




A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey...

Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus.

As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold.

Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.
A new urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond. 


First of all, planet-sized thanks to Ellie for hosting me on her site! Congrats to you Ellie for the publication of your short story anthology, Passing Time! For fans of all things supernatural, this is a must read. The Twilight Zone in eBook form.

At the top of this post you will see the cover to my upcoming Young Adult novel, Blood Family - Quest for the Vampire Key. The novel has enjoyed quite a bit of interest already, and at the time of writing this, it is not yet available on Amazon.

A little more about the cover. The design is basically mine - I knew what seventeen-year-old Daniel looked like and so gave some instructions, with photo reference, to artist David M Rabbitte, who completed the artwork. David works for Lucasfilm is known for his Star Wars art (Star Wars fan club magazine, trading cards, posters) and also work he did for the X-Men franchise, providing cover art for novelizations. I am very proud to have him on my team!

Blood Family is not a freshly-penned work; its origins go back to 2004 when I hit upon the idea for a vampire novel with a twist. I would keep all the cool elements of vampire lore (fangs, blood lust, uber-strength) but alter the origin story. What if, I wondered, vampires were from another dimension?

That was it. Demonic entities who live on the astral plain but take over the bodies of human hosts and transform them into the vampires we all know and love - fangs and all. But Daniel couldn't be one of them, not exactly. What if he was a dhampir, a half-vampire? That presented a lot of possibilities.

In 2005 I wrote the novel, after doing a heck of a lot of research on vampires, moors, shamanism, and a mind-altering drug called ayahuasca (no, I didn't take any!) - all of which feature in the story.  More on my research trips can be found in my blog post, The Road to Blood Family.

I sent the book to several UK agents, and in 2007 one took me on - Creative Authors. I almost immediately got a meeting with Hodder & Stoughton, who were interested in publishing. You can imagine my excitement! But ... then came a problem. They wanted changes, some very Twilighty-type changes. Ohhh no, not for me. And they wanted the vampires to be more like 'normal vampires', none of this interdimensional stuff. But that was my hook, that was what made this vampire tale different. Reluctantly, I declined. Should I have hung on? I may never know what might have happened.

After my close-call with mainstream publication, I wrote three new novels (all stand-alones, but intended as trilogies), including my next release, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls. This is also Young Adult, though aimed at a slightly younger audience. Blood Family, I might add, is for the 17+ age bracket. And by 17+ I mean 17 to 77. My books are for everyone. It has blood. It has sex. It has violence. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Friends urged me to self-publish. Eventually, I decided to go for it. And so here I am. I can present the story I wanted to present. At the time of writing this, it is not yet available, but those who have had sneak-peeks at it really seem to like it. Which is very encouraging.

I am editing the living daylights out of this novel, with help from wonderful beta readers, Sabrena and Jodie, in hopes of making this the best vamp romp I can make. The release is aimed squarely at the end of March. I would love you to join Daniel Dark on his brave and bloody journey.

Mark Knight
March, 2013

                                                             * * *

“Mom, Dad,” he began. “I really need to talk to you about some-”

Nathan hurled himself at Daniel, strong hands clamping on to the boy’s shoulders near to his neck. Annie screamed for Nathan to stop, certain that her husband was throttling their son.

“What have you done?” Nathan demanded, loud enough to shake the furniture. “Talk to me, Daniel! What have you done? Have you killed? Have you killed someone?

                ~ Excerpt from Chapter 6 of
                       Blood Family - Quest for the Vampire Key




About the author

Mark Knight grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Settling in the UK, Mark continued to write novels of differing genres, including horror and television scripts. Mark has worked on feature film scriptwriter, having scripted two horror scripts for Hollywood’s Little Slices of Death production company and one for Illusion Studios. He also won several short story competitions, and has had his work featured in published anthologies. Mark concentrates now on Young Adult fantasy/horror/science fiction novels.

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Join me on my website, with links to my blog, in depth information about my novels, and fun stuff too! 




Thank you, Mark. I was fascinated by the story behind Blood Family, from your cover artist to the brave decision to turn down Hodder and Stoughton. I wonder how many authors have made such significant changes and regretted it? I wish you nothing but the best for this and all your future novels.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Passing Time Blog Tour Day Two, Reviews, & Teaser

It's day two of my Passing Time Blog Tour. You can find me over at Nicole Zoltack's blog, where I'm discussing A Wicked Bag of Horror Tales and its role in inspiring Passing Time's middle story, Dining in Hell.


Reviews

I've had a couple of reviews for Passing Time that made me smile:

'I just finished the first three stories of your book. I usually don't read this genre, but this is just ... WOW. From now on I am definitely looking forward to all the other books or stories you plan on publishing!' Stephanie Beerden.

'Fans of Poe, Lovecraft, and King will love this dark smorgasbord of beautifully crafted tales, while readers who prefer lighter fare will delight in the wonderful prose and fine storytelling. Just remember, these are not tales to lull you to sleep… unless you enjoy checking under the bed before you turn in.' V.R. Barkowski


Teaser

As promised yesterday here is the second of nine teasers, this time from Expiration Date:

The doctor sat forward in his chair, dropped the tissue onto the desk, and used both of his hands to massage his temple.
            “What part of no do you not understand?” he asked finally.
“Dr. Winston, you possess the highest levels of success with cloning and the lowest level of clone-mutations in the state. Put simply, you are the best. And I want the best for my Clifford.”
            My father, long accustomed to my deathly appearance, patted me on the arm. This was a bad idea. It was a hot day–eighty-nine degrees and climbing–and the forty-five minute car journey to the doctor’s private practice had left me somewhat baked. When he touched my arm, a few million dried-up skin cells slewed off and fell onto the office’s pristine marble floor.
The doctor glanced at the floor before lifting his gaze again to me. Who could blame him? What must I have looked like? Even though, as my father put it, I came from good stock, I was a deceased third-generation clone. Nothing more than a rotting copy.



To read Passing Time's blurb click here. 

Available to buy from:


Book links: 

Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk / Goodreads / Facebook 




 Don't forget to enter Passing Time's competition. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
Here are a couple of tweet suggestions:

Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre #PassingTime Available on Kindle #Kindle http://elliegarratt.blogspot.co.uk/

Like strange and macabre fiction? Try Passing Time   


Tomorrow the Passing Time Blog Tour will be making two stops. I'll be talking about Finding Luna Black at Jay Noel's blog and how I went about Collecting A Collection at Mark Knight's blog. Mark Knight is also this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. Finally, I'll be sharing an excerpt from Luna Black.

In the mean time, a massive thank you to everyone who has blogged, tweeted, or mentioned Passing Time on Facebook for me so far. You rock!