Here Lies Love by Dan Thompson – cover reveal

I’ve yet to read this book but the blurb promises a corker of a story! And the cover is absolutely beautiful.  Dan is running a competition to name one of the characters of Here Lies Love and you can take a look here.

Here Lies Love:

When she is sold by her father, Abbey discovers that nightmares can occur when you’re awake. Trapped inside a wooden cage, Abbey is forced to listen to the horrors and atrocities above; time ticking down until it is her turn. But Abbey isn’t prepared to become a victim; she will escape.Although, what Abbey isn’t prepared for, is how harsh and unfair the world can be. With the sun turning its back on humanity long ago, life gives no opportunity. The only thing Abbey can do is learn to survive. To exist. And that means stealing any opportunity that comes her way. Haunted by the unpleasant memories bestowed upon her only nurtures Abbey’s paranoia, until she realises that to truly live in the world, she must confront the person who was responsible for her misfortune – her father.

Here Lies Love is a tale of actuality, of facing up to the fact that love comes in many guises. Can Abbey find the one glimmer of hope or will she be overcome with the darkness of revenge? Here Lies Love is coming April 2014.

Here Lies Love Promo Cover
About Dan:
Dan lives in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire (England) with his young daughter and his shabby dog, Skye.
He is the Author of the charity poetry book Life is all but a vast array of Colours and phobia Novella The Caseworker’s Memoirs. His first full length novel, A YA Fantasy entitled The Black Petal will be available soon. Also in 2014, a dark new adult novel entitled Here Lies Love will be released.
A lover of YA and fantasy fiction, you can often find him writing on his blog, writing book reviews and connecting online with other writer-type people and interviewing authors. Dan grew up reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series, secretly coming up with his own inventive adventures, and R.L Stine’s The Goosebump series, before turning to the works of Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer and Marcus Sedgwick and slipping away into alternate realities. He also loves a good Historical Thriller too.
 You can find out more about Dan at the following sites:
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Broken Bargain pre-release tour – featured author Deb Howell

tour_bannerAs part of a pre-release book tour organised by the lovely Clare Davidson for her new book Broken Bargain (book two of the Reaper’s Rhythm series) today I’m delighted to welcome Deb Howell to the blog. Sounds confusing? Clare thought that a bunch of us all talking about each other was far more interesting than Clare herself just appearing on lots of blogs talking about herself. But, of course, there is a chance to find out about Clare’s books too if you head over to her website, and also a chance to enter the Broken Bargain Rafflecopter giveaway

..  Deb E Howell is the author of Healer’s Touch, a very cool fantasy Western steampunk novel which is available on Amazon. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of my diabolical author interrogations, so I’m looking forward to this… *cracks knuckles* over to Deb!

Eep. Now I’m a little bit worried… just a little bit… [keeps one eye looking over shoulder]

Which of your characters is most like you?

Unfortunately, more often than not, Llew, I think. Unfortunately? Yeah. I think she’s my pessimistic side, so that can get a little unfun. I much prefer my Anya-esque side… (bubbly, optimistic, shiny-shiny happy world).

If you could be friends in real life with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

Another hard one. Probably Jonas because if he would accept me as a friend then I know he’d be a friend for life.

Have you ever written a character that you’ve disliked so much you’ve scrapped them from a work?

Not so far. I’m reluctantly scrapping one/combining a favourite with another, but I haven’t disliked anyone that much. I mean, of course I dislike my antagonists, but I try to write them sympathetically, so I guess I hold a slight soft-spot for them… well, Braph, anyway. He’s despicable, and yet…

Which of your characters would frighten you if you met them in real life?

Braph, definitely. He’s so smart, and understands the human condition, so he knows how to manipulate to achieve what he wants. Knowing what I know, I’d be wary of anything he did. If I didn’t know what I know… I’d probably be screwed.

Describe your latest book in one word.

Headache.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Tired.

Mummy.

Writer (of course).

Zoophilic.

Dancer

Do you ever consult friends when you’re stuck with a plot?

Oh my gosh, yes… if I can. The problem I have is that most of my friends aren’t writers and they don’t want to hear about my story until it is complete. The writer friends I know are all busy writing their own tales, so it’s challenging finding someone willing and with the time to help… Usually I have to muddle through until I have something ready for beta-readers. I understand. It’s difficult reading something that’s still in the moulding phase. But, sometimes these tales can get crazy complicated and it helps immensely to be able to chat it out with someone.

What’s your personal kryptonite?

Sleep, or lack thereof.

If you could converse, a la Dr Dolittle, with one type of animal, which would it be and why?

Duh! Horses, of course! I’m a horsey-type from way back…

Tea or coffee?

Coffee.

Describe a typical writing day – where does it fit for you? Are you an owl or a lark? Do you write in short bursts or intense sessions?  Do you write quickly and edit to death afterwards or write with more care in the first place?

As a mum of a three year old, my writing fits around my family. Because I go to bed too late, I can’t do those early mornings like I probably should… And so, I enforce afternoon sleeps for my son. It’s not perfect, writing with the after-lunch brain, but it’s time, and it’s a good 1.5-2hrs, usually. Then I write again most evenings, after the child is in bed. While the husband plays with his band or his hockey team, I’m writin’…

Which genre are you most comfortable writing? Is there any genre you haven’t yet written that you’d like to try?  What’s your favourite age group to write for?

For long fiction, I enjoy fantasy. I love the scope of the genre. Also, because you’re not setting the story in any particular place, and you can use all sort of new races and species, you’re that much more open to explore…. people. Strip away all the reality and you’re left with the core.

For short fiction, I struggle to establish a fantasy world, so I have tended to dabble in romance, contemporary (black humour), and mild erotica. Just for fun.

Can you tell us a little about your next project?

I’m working on the follow-up to my debut, HEALER’S TOUCH, which I’m planning on calling WARRIOR’S TOUCH. Sounds like I’m writing erotica right there, doesn’t it? I’m not, although I think there may be a Healer’s Touch out there that does lean more towards romance/erotica, if that’s your cup of tea (or coffee, or hot choc).

For me, HT was an ironic title, because my Healer (Llew) also kills with her touch. In fact, to heal one thing (or person), she must hurt something (one) else.

A warrior’s touch is also pretty deadly, but this time around it probably is more of a romantic touch… when I let them get there.

While HT introduced us to Llew and her power and her new friends and romantic interest (Jonas), WT switches focus to Jonas as he learns that the world isn’t as he has been led to believe. And all the while the world is in peril…

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You can catch up with Deb at the following places: DebE_Pub

Website

Facebook

Twitter

G+

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords Final ebook CoverSmIndieBook

2013 – a bit of this, a bit of that, a lot of fun…

photo2013 was such a mindblowing year that I hardly know where to start.  It was mixed, of course, and the good things that happened for me were, sadly, matched by the bad things that happened to friends. But good things happened to friends too, and I suppose that what I’m trying to say in my characteristically crap way (writer, apparently?????) is that it was, in most respects, a fairly typical year.  Except that I published a book.  Then I published another one… until I couldn’t stop writing them. Even more excitingly, people started to read said book.  And then they read the other ones… some even said they liked them…

My favourite thing this year has been finally getting the validation I’ve always craved for my writing. When I started out, years ago, I always said that all I wanted was for people to come into my worlds and share them. People have done that and truly taken my characters to their hearts and it has meant more to me than I can say.  It’s been hard work, every single spare moment has been spent doing something – if not writing then promoting or researching opportunities to reach more readers – but it’s been the most enjoyable nervous breakdown I’ve ever had.  I’ve had pen names this year – more than a few – and I love the books that each and every me writes, even though they’re all very different. As their creator, I think I’m allowed to say that, right?

My other favourite thing has been the wonderful friendships I’ve found through the writing community, both online and in the real world. Some of you I’ve managed to meet, some meetings we’re working on, some of you, sadly, live too far away and it’s likely I’ll never get to meet you.  But you’ve all been fantastic. You’re all ages and all walks of life and everyone has a different agenda, but we get along and support each other. And we’ve all shared each other’s journeys in many ways. I’ve seen some friends release their fabulous debuts and enjoy the same experiences as I’ve had as people have discovered their books. Some friends have finally found the professional success that they’ve worked for years to achieve – book deals, new agents, competition wins…  and so much more good stuff. Some of my friends have started new book blogs and gone on to find enormous and faithful followings as people have discovered their reviews and come to love and trust them.

Most of all, 2013 has been a year of change. I’ve learned so much about writing and marketing, but I’ve learned about life too.  I think this year has changed me as a person – I know now that I can do so much more than I ever believed I was capable of.  And as if the family dramas, friendship dramas, two children’s books, six young adult books, and an adult book on the cusp of release weren’t enough, there was one more lovely surprise, tucked right at the bottom of 2013’s stocking.

I finally got my fabulous agent…

2014 is a new chapter. And even I don’t know where this plot is going…

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The Sky Song trilogy is a year old! To celebrate, all three books in the series will be reduced to 77p or 99c each for the next week. Thank you to everyone for your brilliant, valuable support and Happy New Year!

 

This Mojo’s Working

After much excitement me and KPH finally got to see Mojo.  We actually went on Thursday, but this week has been so crazy busy that I’ve only just had time to write anything down about it.

untitledFirst things first. If profanities bother you, then perhaps Mojo isn’t the play for you to go and see. I could say that there is some swearing, but more accurate would be that there are some normal words, connected into sentences by quite a lot of very bad words. Secondly, you get to see Colin Morgan in his pants (that’s underpants, just to be clear). For quite a long time.  Now, there has been many a daydreamed hour about witnessing that moment, but when faced with it from 3 rows off the stage and when it features some grubby fifties style Y-fronts, it’s rather off-putting.

The subject matter is the blackest of comedy, and the ending of the play will leave you speechless, particularly the penultimate scene. All the performances were typically amazing, though some were worthy of a mention: Rupert Grint in his first stage run was impressive and did a fantastic comic turn as Sweets, partnered with Daniel Mays who was manic, Ben Whishaw was suitably unhinged as Baby and Colin was a very twitchy, whiny club doorman called Skinny Luke.  None of the characters were what you could call likeable, but the actors got this across perfectly. KPH and I both agreed that Baby was so horrid that you were actually glad when he wasn’t on stage, but that’s got to be a testament to the skill of the man playing him.

There is so much I want to say about this play but can’t for fear of spoilers.  The Harold Pinter theatre is small and intimate and has a sort of grunge feel all of its own that lends a great atmosphere to what’s happening on stage.  This is not my favourite play that I have seen Colin in, probably because the era and subject matter don’t appeal to me personally, but I can appreciate that this is excellent stuff.

4178-1384515481-mojo7We went to a matinee, and there was a sign up at the stage door saying that no photos with the actors were allowed after matinee performances. There wasn’t many of us waiting, and not many of the cast came out, so perhaps people already knew that they wouldn’t. Daniel Mays emerged, and I’ve never seen anyone run so fast from a stage door! We would have stopped him for an autograph but it didn’t seem like he wanted to be stopped (I will never ask someone who seems like they’re reluctant), although some people further up the road collared him.  We came away from the stage door after while, as neither Colin nor Rupert came out, but as we were checking out the posters at the front door of the theatre, the guy who played Silver Johnny, Tom Rhys Harries, came up the street looking very relaxed and happy so stopped to talk to a few of us.  He posed for a few illegal photos (naturally, I had to get one) and was really very adorable (cue fangirling as I go to investigate his other work), so all in all, I was glad we waited around. Someone asked him if Colin was coming out, and Tom said that he was sleeping, but as Colin has never emerged at any other matinee I’ve been to, and after seeing some of the photos of him being mobbed on the web, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he really just didn’t want to.

colin-morgan-skinny-in-mojo-at-the-harold-pinter-theatre-photo-credit-simon-annandA great day, only marred by the fact that all the trains home were delayed and it took forever to reach the comfort of my bed…

 

The best three little words…

I’m going to say three little words, the best three little words in the whole world, and even though I’m as romantic as the next girl, it’s not the three words you’re thinking of.

MY LOVELY AGENT

I can now officially begin sentences with those three words, should I wish to, which at the moment seems to be quite often!  I have just sent back my signed agreement to be represented by LAW in London. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am by this development in my career.

I’d often heard writers talk fondly of their agents, saying it was like a marriage, and you need to find the right person who ‘gets’ you and your writing, and honestly, although it sounded like a wonderful sentiment, I never thought it would happen to me.  Until now, that is, because I really feel that I have the best, most gorgeous, most perfect agent I could have ever found in Peta Nightingale (sorry all you other lovely agents, I’m sure you’ll forgive my enthusiasm). I have yet to meet the rest of the gang at LAW, but I can’t wait!

And we’ll have some exciting stuff coming up this year and next – new books to spring on the world and maybe old ones to spring on the world again in new and surprising ways.  But for now, I’m going to sit and gaze upon the most beautiful envelope I’ve ever seen, which bears the logo of LAW, and smile for a while…

Merry Chick Lit, a Christmas anthology in aid of breast cancer charity

51XOHBqtNOL__AA160_In the spirit of giving, six chick-lit authors present a charming collection of seasonal shorts sure to inspire holiday cheer, plus love and hope throughout the year, with all proceeds donated to Rocking the Road for a Cure!

On Friday 22nd November, Merry Chick Lit, a warm, funny Christmas anthology in aid of Breast Cancer Care, will be officially released.

Every penny of the royalties is going to Breast Cancer Charity, Rocking the Road to a Cure.

Rocking the Road to a Cure is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people undergoing the often energy-depleting and emotionally draining treatments for breast cancer.

The name comes from their founder and President, Dawn Frey, a musician, who learned through personal experience that “it takes a village” to get through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, and not every individual has the support network they need.

Rocking The Road For A Cure provides free, in-home housekeeping, health and wellness services to restore strength and confidence, and to rebuild spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

So, when you settle back and relax to enjoy reading Merry Chick Lit, please know that you have helped us help a breast cancer patient to also settle back and relax…and heal.

Featured authors & stories include:

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
In “Santa’s Gift,” journalist Jessica thinks Santa’s just a silly myth for children, so when he asks what she most wants for Christmas she tells him the one thing she knows he can’t deliver–true love. Or can he…?

Sarah Hitchcock
In “The Christmas Lights,” one competition pits two families against each other…who will win this war?

Francine LaSala
Pretty Izzy knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: hunky sales manager Jake Harrington wrapped up with a shiny silver bow–and nothing else. Except Santa may have other plans in “Carol of the Belles.”

Nikki Mahood In “Spinster Christmas,” Cara’s looking forward to spending Christmas alone until she learns her old–and she believes very gay–crush needs a place to stay. Though it soon becomes clear that while still hot, Ronan isn’t gay after all…

Holly Martin
Ella’s dreams of making a better life for her and her daughter seem further away than ever in “Iced Dreams.” But as Christmas approaches, and she wishes for a fairy godmother to wave a magic wand to fix her life, things begin to change in ways she never imagined!

K.C. Wilder
In “The Mermaid,” Allie’s content to spend Christmas by herself at a vacant beach house to make good on a promise made to her true love lost, Jeff. Until Jeff’s gorgeous college roommate Tim crashes in on her with his own promise to keep…

So snuggle up near the fire, drink a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa and enjoy these festive holiday shorts, knowing your purchase of this book is helping women with breast cancer.

You can get your copy from Amazon. You get a great read and you help a great cause!

Find out what Christmas means for Jaimie Admans and her newest heroine, Mistletoe Bell!

This week sees the release of Jaimie’s newest offering, North Pole Reform School, a YA romantic comedy.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – nobody writes quite like Jaimie Admans, she has a refreshing and original voice and I absolutely love her books. North Pole Reform School is no different and people who love Christmas films like Elf will absolutely love this book! So… here’s my Q&A with Jaimie.
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1. What’s your first Christmas memory?
I remember waking up to find my mum putting a stocking full of presents at  the end of the bed! I don’t know how old I was, probably 4 or 5, but it was the  first time I realised Santa wasn’t real! I don’t remember being overly  traumatised by it so maybe I suspected he wasn’t real anyway!
2. What’s your best Christmas memory?
I don’t know! I have loads of good memories of Christmas when I was little!  I loved having all the family in and all the presents stacked under the tree,  and I was the one responsible for handing them out when I was barely old enough  to be able to read the names on them! I remember jumping on my mum’s bed at 4am  when I knew she’d got me the Princess Jasmine doll I’d wanted for ages! The  Christmas our dog ate the whole tree and most of the presents under it was  pretty fun too in a disastrous kind of way! I think overall my favourite memory  is rushing downstairs at ridiculous-o’clock every morning in December to eat the  advent calendar chocolate and sing Christmas songs when everyone else was still  asleep! My family must’ve hated me in December!
3. Can you tell us anything about the parents that were strange/ mental  enough to call their baby Mistletoe Bell?
They’re completely mad about Christmas! Her dad works as a Santa in a  supermarket and her mum wants to be a Mrs-Claus-esque host of the perfect  Christmas! They had their first kiss under the mistletoe at a Christmas party,  and when Mistletoe was born on Christmas Eve, they thought it was some kind of  sign that she should be lumbered with an embarrassing Christmassy name for the  rest of her life! Of course, they think it’s the loveliest name ever and don’t  think it’s embarrassing at all! The book starts when Mis gets whisked away in  the middle of the night to North Pole Reform School so her parents aren’t in it  much, and I did cut a lot of their scenes and backstory as I wanted the book to  mostly focus on Mistletoe and Luke – the boy she meets at the reform  school!
4. This book seems very much to have the Jaimie Admans trademark surreal  vibe, despite the fact that it’s a Christmas tale – where do your influences  come from?
Ha ha! I think I just have a really weird, slightly disturbing imagination!  People do mention Tim Burton a lot in relation to my writing, and I have to  admit that I absolutely adore him, but I don’t think he directly influences me!  The whole idea for this story came from a newspaper headline – it was about a  window cleaner dressed as an elf who was cleaning windows while balancing  precariously on a ledge, with no harness or anything. The headline was ‘Elf and  Safety’, and it immediately put an image into my head of elves in a classroom,  learning the elf equivalent of our health and safety practices. Somehow that  turned into an image of elves in a classroom teaching humans the same thing, and  the whole idea of a North Pole school was born, and ‘elf and safety’ became a  class that the Christmas-haters have to take in the book!
5. A bit random… what’s your favourite Christmas song and why?
Up until a few years ago it was Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues, but  now it’s My Favourite Time Of Year by The Florin Street Band! It’s just such a  lovely, old-fashioned Christmas song! I fell in love with it as soon as I heard  it! And it’s got such a snowy, Christmassy video! (Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10f2w7T5CU)  I even managed to work a mention of it into North Pole Reform School!
6. Do you still believe in Santa? If so, what have you asked him for this  year?
Of course! You can’t write Christmas books and not believe in Santa! That’s  the kind of thing that gets you a lump of coal in your stocking on Christmas  morning! Seriously, I love all things Christmas, including Santa, and I actually  wish he was real! How awesome would that be? I honestly don’t know what to ask  him for this year, unless he could provide a winning lottery ticket? A winning  lottery ticket and a massive box of Ferrero Rocher, please Santa!
If you’d like to grab a copy of North Pole Reform School, you can buy from Amazon here. You can also check out Jaimie’s other titles and find out more about her by going to her website.