Thursday, 29 August 2013

Write On: THE TO-DO LIST

WRITE ON
This post is just a quickie update on what I'll be doing, writer-wise, in the coming weeks and months...call it a to-do list blog, if you will.

1. Finishing the first draft of my current WIP
I've taken a week off work to get this done, because the truth is I'm not good at switching back and forth between projects, and I have a couple of biggies coming up...see #2. I can edit it properly at a later date, but drafting - for me - needs to be done in one hit.

2. Editing BLACKFIN SKY...twice
By which I mean two different versions - the UK version and the US version. I am excited and a little terrified.

3. Preparing some interesting book-journey posts for WE ARE ONE  FOUR
In case you missed the announcement, WAOF is a brand new site run by 6 kidlit authors who are debuting in 2014. You should check it out, because we'll all be posting about our experiences on the road to publication, and it should be FUN. I'm working on my intro post right now, and might just reveal what horrible thing happened to me on my way to my first ever publishing meeting.



4. Getting my zombie on for THE ZOMBIE PROJECT
This is going great guns over at Chynna-Blue Scott's blog, with a short story published there every Sunday. Each story takes an element from the previous one and runs with it - the whole thing is rippling outwards like...well, like some kind of zombie outbreak. I'm really enjoying the stories so far, and can't wait to add my own to the pot. That's happening 6th October, by the way. BE READY.


If you want in on The Zombie Project, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Chynna-Blue so she can schedule you in.

5. Betaing for my CPs
I know of a couple of projects heading my way in the next month or so, and I can't wait to read them. But I also have to get my MS in a fit state to swap, so what it all boils down to is I'MA BE GETTING SHIZ DONE LIKE A BOSS.



So, that's what is keeping me busy over the next few months. What's on your to-do list?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Playlist: BREAK UP, GET SAD

THE PLAYLIST
Music to inspire you when writing
different kinds of scenes
This playlist is different from June's BREAK UP, GET MAD post because this is the scene where your MC just broke up with their great love, and their heart broke into a thousand shards. They know life will never be the same, their chest is just a gaping hole of pain, and there aren't enough tears to fix this trauma.

Got different tunes you write this kind of scene to? Let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the playlist.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Flash Friday: THE ONLY WORDS LEFT

FLASH FRIDAY
Comments welcome, as always.

***

He shouldn’t smell warm, of happiness and kisses, but he does. I know the exact moment he sees me, because he steps back, taking those warm, happy kisses away from me. 

“Oh. Hi.”

What is he feeling behind those words? I used to be able to tell, but I've started hoping too hard, made myself hear things that aren't really there. 

I have my lunch tray in my hands, but I force myself not to look down to see if it’s shaking, my drink rattling its way toward the edge and giving me away. 

There are people all around us, moving like those little electric fish you see in fancy fish tanks, all seamlessly flowing around each other. Peripheral. I try to focus on them instead of him, but I can’t. I never could look away.

“I’ve missed seeing you.”

I’ve missed seeing you. Not I miss you.  Because the first one can be breezy, like something you say to someone you don’t really know, not someone whose skin you know the taste of. 

“I’ve been here.”

My voice sounds like someone else’s. Someone who doesn’t care either, who doesn’t want to bite her own tongue to stop stupid words sliding off it.

He takes a step back, moving further away from me, and there's a painful moment where I realize this is probably the last time he’ll ever speak to me. But then there’s a tiny flicker at the corner of his mouth, those lips that used to smile at me so easily.

“Look, I…”

He stops, shoves his hands deeper into his pockets. Looks at his feet. I put my tray down on the table in front of me, like I’m not watching him. Like time is still moving forward, like my heart is still beating and my eyes don’t feel hot and watery.

I want him to say something. Anything, if it would only stop hurting like this. 

I didn’t do what you think I did.

They’re the only words I could say to stop him being angry with me, but I can’t say them because they aren’t true. So I say the only words that are left.

“I’m sorry.”

He takes a sharp breath, and the shapes moving around us blur as my eyes get hotter. I wish I hadn’t put the tray down now, because I have nothing to keep my hands busy. To keep them from reaching out, from wanting him.

I place my fingertips on the edge of the table, and it’s torture.

“So you’ve said.”

He looks tired. That shouldn’t give me hope, but it does.

“Can’t we just…”

Just three words, but I know I’ve said too much. He could always guess what I wanted.

Can’t we just go up to your room? Can’t we just stay like this for five more minutes? Can’t we just…?

Now it's too much.

No.

The door slams. I grip the edge of the table until my nails crack.


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Winner of the August "I, Reader" Giveaway

And the winner of a copy of THE POISON BOY by Fletcher Moss is...


J. C. Gregorio (A.K.A. Much Ado About Nothing)!


Congratulations, J. C.! Your book will be in the mail to you soon.

Thanks to everyone who entered. There will be another awesome book giveaway next month!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Interview with Jaimie M. Engle - author of CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT

How could Clifton Chase have known that the mysterious arrow he found in his closet in Melbourne, Florida was a magical portal to a different time and place? Thrust into an adventure, Clifton must evade the King’s army, rescue two princes from a heavily guarded tower, escape the fierce fires of a Crestback Dragon, outsmart the Mer King, and get the girl, all the while protecting the Arrow of Light. But, his journey isn’t over yet. Clifton needs to discover the arrow’s purpose for choosing him. And when he does, he must decide if he is willing to risk his life for the lives of others.


Doesn't this sound FABULOUS? I'm so thrilled to be able to showcase Jaimie M. Engle's debut novel - CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT, which is due for release on 1st September from Wayman Publishing. I asked Jaimie a few questions about Clifton and her writing...



Kat: Your novel, CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT, is set in the time of Kind Richard III. Tell me a little bit about why you chose to set it in that period - what inspired you? What kind of research did you have to do?

Jaimie: I got the idea when I was messing around on the internet. I came across a painting by Philip James de Loutherbourg depicting the Battle of Bosworth, which is the final battle of the War of the Roses. When I saw the painting, my breath stopped. It was the boy who I had created in my mind, Clifton Chase, except instead of holding a glowing arrow, he held a sword. I knew right then I had found my story. I began my research where I learned that two princes, the nephews of King Richard III, had disappeared in history after they were locked in the Tower of London. Their bodies were never recovered, presumably murdered by their uncle for the throne. What if, I wondered, a boy from our time went back into the past to rescue them? I added some dragons, a few mermaids, a dwarf and his wife, and CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT was born.

Kat: It sounds like Clifton goes on quite the adventure! What kind of boy is he? And is this going to be his only adventure, or do you have more up your sleeve?

Jaimie: Clifton is a typical middle grader, in the sense that he can be a little curious, a little crazy, and a little cocky all at the same time. He is an excellent marksman and practices often at Wickham Park in my hometown of Melbourne, Florida in the US. Actually, if you want to get to know him better, you can like him on FB at facebook/CliftonChaseAdventure, where he basically blogs about his thoughts and his life. As far as other adventures, I do have some characters from the book I’d like to get to know better. In case you don’t know, King Richard III’s bones were discovered beneath a parking garage in England this past February. Well, in July, they discovered another grave beside his, dating back hundreds of years before the king was even born. They’ll be revealing whose body lies inside some time this winter. I think I may wait and see who they find and incorporate that figure into book two. Either that or something set in the old west in my hometown, a whole cowboy and Indian thing. We’ll see…

Kat: I can't wait to see what you come up with! I know your novel is to be released by Wayman Publishing on 1st September. I love hearing about how books and authors find their publishing home - how did this happen for you?

Jaimie: I spent a good year submitting my manuscript to agencies. I received many partial reads and four full read requests, which is amazing in itself. The four agents who requested full reads gave me amazing critiques, which I incorporated into the story. About that time, I came across Wayman Publishing through www.duotrope.com (an amazing site for authors to connect with publishers) and submitted the first chapter. It was met with a ravishing review and request for 50 pages, followed by a full read, and amazingly a contract!! Since I was on my own, I studied the contract for about a week and submitted my counter offer. Eventually we settled on the terms and I couldn’t be happier! I have had almost full control over many aspects of this project, including the cover design and artist (Debbie Johnson, www.debbiejohnsonartist.wordpress.com), the chapter illustrations, and the trailer production.

Kat: Where can we find out more about CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT and your future projects?

Jaimie: Everything else is on my website including a behind the scenes look while filming the book trailer and free downloadable coloring pages, crossword puzzles, and word searches for the kiddos. The editor is offering 2 free books in a drawing through September 1st (click here to enter), so be sure and enter to win! Future projects are in the works, but can be glimpsed on pinterest

***

Jaimie Engle has run a body shop, managed a hip-hop band, modeled bikinis, and danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show. This wife and mother of two currently teaches creative and essay writing to both Homeschool and college students, and offers a manuscript critique service for aspiring authors. She has published many short stories online and in print, including anthologies with Nightfall Magazine, Skive, eFiction Noir, and a children's piece appearing in Clubhouse Jr. in 2014. She was awarded second place in the 2012 Space Coast Writer's Guild's short story competition and second place in the 2009 Writer’s Journal Magazine contest in the poetry division. Her debut middle grade novel, CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT published through Wayman Publishing, is available on September 1st through Amazon kindle and Barnes & Noble nook. Drop in on her at www.jaimiengle.com to read some more of her short tales, and follow her Amazon author page.




For more news about CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT, and to keep up to date with Jaimie and her writing projects...

Jaimie Engle is on twitter: @jaimiengle and facebook: @ jaimiengle

Her main character, Clifton Chase is also on  twitter: @CliftonChase13 and facebook: @CliftonChaseAdventure



Wednesday, 7 August 2013

I, Reader: THE POISON BOY by Fletcher Moss

I, READER
I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of this book last month from Mr Fletcher Moss himself, and might have squealed a little girlishly upon receipt. You see, I'd had my eye on this one for a while - I loved the premise, the grisly set-up, and Fletcher is a stellar chap when you get chatting to him on twitter, so of course I wanted to read his novel.

Don't forget, you too can win a copy of THE POISON BOY - just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win! - NOW CLOSED

Here is the back cover blurb:



Orphan Dalton Fly, food taster to the rich, has a lucky escape after discovering poisoned wine. But his mate dies horribly, and Dalton wants justice.

Together with Scarlet Dropmore, the high-born girl whose life he saved, he sets out to find the murderers.






Why did this book stand out?

First of all, I'm going to talk about the world-building. It has a historical fantasy setting, with a whole glossary of unfamiliar terms and a geography that requires a map at the start of the book; normally, I'd struggle with this level of world-building (yes, this goes for films with subtitles too. I'm that person.) but the writing is so skillful that it felt very familiar and accessible at the same time. And I do love all the character names - Dalton Fly, Sal Sleepwell, Scarlet Dropmore - how they add another dimension to the characters and the setting, and are so instantly memorable.

The story itself is quite grisly and Dickensian, while at the same time being packed with mystery and suspense that keeps the pace moving along swiftly. Each of the central characters is deftly drawn and likeable, each for different reasons (I don't do spoilering, so I won't say any more about that here), and I enjoyed the friendship which developed and changed between the three of them as the story unfolded.

THE POISON BOY was also the winner of The Times Children's Fiction Competition 2012, so you don't even have to take my word for it - this book is officially top-notch!

**Leave a comment by 8pm GMT on 10th August for your chance to win a copy of THE POISON BOY. One commenter will be chosen at random. Open internationally.** - NOW CLOSED. Thanks to all who entered!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Timescales and Indie Authors - Guest post by Clare Davidson

There are lots of reasons why writers decide to take the indie route, instead of the traditional one. One reason I’ve heard several times is related to time scales: it’s much faster to release a book as an indie author; you can get consecutive books in a series out quickly, rather than making readers wait for a year or more.

This is absolutely true, but just because we can get books out faster than traditionally published authors can, should we?

When I set the release date for Trinity, it was pretty much a spur of the moment decision. The book was “ready to go”. It had been edited, proofread, formatted and had a gorgeous cover. There was no reason not to release it, so I threw it out into the world a couple of weeks later (the time needed to arrange a meal with friends and family to celebrate).

The problem was, I didn’t think about what would happen next. I suddenly had a book out there, which wasn’t going to find readers unless I promoted it. I did a bit of tweeting (I hate sales tweets, so hardly ever do them) and scrambled to get a blog tour sorted out (which didn’t happen until a few weeks later). I told my friends and family (over a lovely meal in a local Chinese restaurant) and they told their friends too. It was hardly an organised book launch and I’ll freely admit it showed in the sales figures.

Promoting was my short cut. Some indie authors take short cuts on other aspects – they don’t hire an editor or do the proofreading themselves, for example. I wouldn’t recommend taking ANY shortcuts.

Authors (of either variety) rely on readers to be successful. Obviously, you need to get those readers to notice you and your book(s) in the first place. Once you have readers, you don’t want to alienate them because of sloppy editing or an abundance of grammatical or spelling errors.

Yes, it’s good to get the next book in a series out as quickly as possible, but I’m pretty sure most readers would rather wait for a quality product, even if that does mean waiting a year (it’s still a lot less time than a George R.R. Martin fan has to wait!).

This is just my opinion. I want to hear yours. Do you think indie authors should get their books out as quickly as possible, even if it means taking short cuts? Or are you happy to wait?

** Comment for a chance to win a funky mini-book keyring! **

One lucky winner will be chosen at random from the comments to win a mini-book keyring! Winner will be chosen at 9pm GMT on 6th August, so get commenting!

Clare Davidson is an independent writer, based in Lancaster. Clare is a high school teacher, mother and character-driven fantasy writer. Check out the cover for Clare's latest novel, REAPER'S RHYTHM, right here. You can get your copy in these places:


USA - Kindle or paperback 


Ways to connect with Clare Davidson:

You can connect with Clare via her website, on twitter, on facebook or goodreads. You can also sign up to her new releases mailing list.  


Clare is also running an awesome giveaway over the the course of her blog tour. Enter via the rafflecopter to win some great prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway