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Monday, 10 March 2014

Review: Cursed Bounty

Rebecca Besser brings me something new with Cursed Bounty. It's a different side of her writing, and a pleasant one at that.


A short story that's big on ideas:

Firstly, I have to say that I 've been reading Rebecca Besser's work now for a long time. I find a lot of work gruesome, chilling, frightening, and, well, generally nightmare inducing.

This is a little different.

It's the posse looking for the robbers in the wild west, starting from the crooks pov and moving over the posse. Of course, there is a twist though.

Yep. We've got zombies.

It's a different work from Rebecca (those that know her work aren't surprised by the buckets of blood and general limb dispatching) and whilst still treading the horror line, the line is fine. Here we have a story that wants to be more than a zombie story. It is leaning on period drama in some places. The characters are believable, the setting solid. My only waiver is that the dialogue is spelled phonetically, and with some of the more "hick" characters, it was a slightly bumpy ride.

But it doesn't detract from the final product.

I would recommend this as a read, especially if you're looking for something a little different.

You can find Cursed Bounty at Amazon now.

You can find Rebecca Besser at:

Friday, 28 February 2014

Review: Parasite

This is the first of Ian Woodhead's work I have read, so what do I think? Well, it's certainly British.


So, I went into this one blind. Had no idea what I was going to get.

Well, it's not for children, I'll give you that.

Parasite: Blood Oath (the title I have) is the simple old story of "thing awakens" and fundamentally "kills everybody". Of course, no spoilers here so as usual, I'll stay away from a lot of the story. Set in the fictional village of Colbeck (perhaps named after Maurice Colbeck?), somewhere one assumes in Yorkshire or a fictional likeness of it, this horror story is very character focused.

Before I go any further, I might just add that if you find profanity a problem in your horror fiction then stop reading now. This certainly isn't for you.

I don't know what it's really like in the north of England, I'm in the south, but everyone is a little swear-y. (And nothing is too much.) Occasionally I found myself frowning at how much profanity there is in it, perhaps a little distracting at times, and yes, I swear like a sailor myself.

But anyway. I digress.

The book is presented well, the cover art is nice, it's well written and edited. That's always a plus with self published work, and it's long enough too. I couldn't tell you the word count, but it certainly rolls out at +novella length, another plus considering the price.

When reading it, you have to pay attention. It's not a story that begs to be put down for a week and then picked back up. Why? Two reasons. Firstly, it's about character, and therefore mood. You'd lose it if you left it for a week. And secondly, there are a good number of characters. Perhaps too many. It is easy to get a little lost with who is doing what.

So the main question: Does it do what it says on the box? Is it scary?

In short, I don't think I was ever *scared* as such, but the way the story is shaped is unnerving. I never felt like there was something in the closet waiting for me when I turned the lights out, more, it might be there when I wake up. It's hard to explain. I don't want to make the comparison, but it's more like reading James Herbert, than Clive Barker.

Which is never bad.

So all in all, if you can get past the language, it's certainly worth the read, and the cash outlay.

You can find it, and Ian Woodhead's work here:  US or UK



Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Failing the Bechdel Test (The Accidental Misogynist)

The Bechdel Test:

What is now known as the Bechdel test was introduced in Alison Bechdel's comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In a 1985 strip titled "The Rule",[8][9] an unnamed female character says that she only watches a movie if it satisfies the following requirements:[4]
  1. It has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.
From Wikipedia.

I've been reading a fair amount about the test recently. It's all over social media. Every movie from last year has been tested. Most have failed.

So I'm not sexist. I'm not misogynistic. But I thought I'd look at some of my own work, just to see.

Nope.

RANT.

Okay. I get it. I really do. I see what they are saying. But no.

Taking aside my own work, which I'll come to in a minute, my question is WHAT? So I'm/we're/they're not allowed to write things that have no important female characters in?

Like Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption?

Damn. I've been going wrong all these years.

You see, my problem is not that there are not enough strong female characters, or protagonists, or anything else, but that, well, sort of suddenly, I'm being judged for it.

My novel Shutter Speed? No. No strong female characters. But hey, it's about a bunch of dysfunctional young men - most of whom have enormous social issues - so yeah. I should put females in it. It's about a group of young male friends and their issues. Yes, there are females in the supporting cast. Mostly they're there to support how broken the main cast are.

The main cast are not nice people.

So I'm not undermining female tropes, I'm not stereotyping. I'm writing about broken people.

A broken test.

Complaints about misogynistic work in film, and writing, screenplays, etc. get my vote.

Judging a work by it's cast doesn't.

Do I need to list work that failed the test? Do I need to point out that the finger is pointing in the wrong direction? Did you know that "The Spice Girls Movie" passed? "Reservoir Dogs" failed?

Shouldn't the finger be pointed at the fictional works that support hate? Racism? Sexism?

Damn, the internet needs to focus.

/RANT

So, here's a picture of a failure:




Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Being an Author: 2013 in review

With writerly goods, bads, and weirds: 2013.

The Good

I can't really say anything without mentioning that this year Nocturnal Press Publications picked up my debut novel. Yes, that novel I was talking about finishing in last years review will be on the shelves before Christmas. Yep. In the next few days.


With the help of Eden Royce, the completed manuscript was refined and made ready for those who will, to see, and then taken by NPP. Refined further by Eden, who was then working on behalf of the publishing house, it is here. Ready.


Saber Core Art Studio created the perfect cover.

What more can I say?

And then, in the closing few weeks of the year, Redemption, a tale with a long story was taken by Black Bed Sheet Books. Another publication? Wow.



When I started working with author Charles Day, three years ago, we were both wet behind the ears. We wanted, but didn't know how to achieve. We wrote two novellas based on Charles' idea of a young girl who wanted to help wildlife and was taken from the world early. Revenge. Redemption.

Three years. Three years. 

Development takes time. It's a novel now. And it'll be in the stores next year.

Did I mention The Devil's Hand?



Book 1: Crossing Guard and Book 2: Conviction, are both available to buy at Amazon. 2013, the year of self publishing. I'm proud of what I've done, and proud of the people that have worked with me.


The Bad

Okay, I can't not mention this, but I'll take the higher ground.

The Human Condition 2: Human Behavior has been put on hold. I shelved it. With the contractual problems I have experienced with The Human Condition I've sort of lost momentum for it. It's a shame I was half way through writing it.

Small Cuts is still coming though, but in a different form to that I planned.

The Weird

I said last year my writing had changed. That it has. And so it continues to do so. I write different things now, in different ways.

I'm still changing.

I've written dystopian sci-fi,  erotica, horror, bizarro. I've had success.

Me?

My bacon, I mentioned her last year, is more bacon than I can describe. The feelings run deep. All is good. I have a new house, a good job, and a future.

And the writing works. It's working for me, and with me.

I found the secret of loving my characters, rather than hurting them.

The Future

Who knows. Tomorrow never comes. But if next year is as good as this, well...

... it sounds good to me.

Next up is The Devil's Hand book 3: Celestials, and my next novel: Vampire Blue. I'm going to concentrate on the later, I think. (Until next week, when I change my mind)

And I was struggling with grammar - particularly commas - last year. I still am. But I think I'm getting better. Only the Boss will know. First line. Eh?

Friday, 13 December 2013

Interview: Shane S Almond

Today we welcome Shane S Almond, author of The Last Child of Asgard; Delta.


FW: Firstly, could you tell a little about yourself?

SA: Ok, my name is Shane S. Almond, my middle name is Stephen, only people who know me, know that. I am an author of YA Fantasy/Mythology and I am also the Founder and Owner of a publishing house called Nocturnal Press Publications. 

FW: Tell us about The Last Child of Asgard; Delta.

SA: It’s been quoted as being “Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson” and that has stuck really. It’s about a boy called Maximus Turner and he discovers that he is a two-tone god, but he also discovers that because of this, he has a lot of enemies and Delta really, is a way of Max honing his skill and finding his feet, because let’s face it, the hard work is yet come.  

FW: What’s it like running a press and being an author? 

SA: It’s hectic to say the least, but I love every second of it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

FW: What tips can you give new writers?

SA: Never give up! In life if you want something enough then you will make it happen, but you need to make it happen! Also no matter how long it takes, keep at it. Delta in total has taken me 11 years to get right. *laughs, so if it takes a couple of weeks or a couple of years it really doesn’t matter. 

FW: Where do you see yourself going, writing, or publishing?

SA: There are two more books in The Last Child of Asgard series, then I am looking into doing a few Olympus Origins books and as a publisher, I plan on continuing to make this fantastic company with all the amazing people in it, grow and evolve.  

FW: Who is your biggest influence, and why? 

SA: As a writer, I would have to start with the author that got me reading in the first place, J.R. Tolkien.
I also come from a music loving background so I draw a lot of inspiration to a lot of artists such as Michael Jackson, Eminem etc...  

FW: What new works do you have on the go? 

SA: I am halfway through book two in The Last Child of Asgard trilogy called Loki and I am looking to release that next August.  

FW: Anything else you’d like to add? 

SA: You can find me and Nocturnal Press at www.npuniverse.com
http://www.npuniverse.com/authors/shane-s-almond/
http://www.npuniverse.com/books/the-last-child-of-asgard-delta/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shane-S-Almond-OFFICIAL/256346651082304 https://www.facebook.com/NocturnalPressPublicationsLtd
and twitter @nocturnalpress

FW: Thanks for coming in.

About the Author

Shane S. Almond was born at Whipps Cross Hospital, London on Saturday 26th July 1986.

Shane is a young inspiring fantasy novelist who started writing at the tender age of thirteen. At fifteen he started to consider himself as an author and strived to develop his writing skills. Shane has always had a passion for Mythology, he spent his childhood years reading the legends of Hercules, Perseus and Jason and the Argonauts, and always wanted to create his own legends and that was when Maximus Turner was born.

Then he researched other mythologies and started to incorporate the Norse legends into his novel.

On May 8th 2012, his debut novel was completed, but it had to be called back for a re-edit.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Interview: Louisa Mullerworth

Today we have Louisa Mullerworth in the interview seat, author of the forth coming novel Dying to Help.



FW: Firstly, could you tell a little about yourself? 

LM: Well, where to start? I am a published author, and Marketing Advisor. I am very much a family oriented person and love my work because it gives me the freedom to work from home; giving me a perfect Work/Life balance. I always knew this was what I was going to do, don’t ask me why, it was just always on the cards. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write and I spent most of my childhood surrounded by the ‘Sales world’ for better or worse.

FW: Tell us about 'Mistol; A New Beginning'. 

LM: Ahh yes, Mistol was written in 2010 and published in 2011 for a family who tragically lost their daughter (Bannesa Rose Ayers) only days before she turned eighteen. Bannesa had written the original script and her mother had approached me asking if I would re-write and edit it getting a few copies done for the family. I self edited and got a package from a ‘publishing house’ which I don’t think did it justice looking back so in the near future ‘Mistol; A New Beginning’ will be re-released with Nocturnal Press along with the two follow on books which are yet to be written. It is a story about a young girl and her friend who find out about a world that exists within our own. It is filled with mystical and wonderful beings but it is in trouble. And it is down to the young girl and her friend to help bring the world back from destruction. It is Lion, the Witch, And the Wardrobe meets Harry Potter. I loved writing it but it was very difficult as I was working on someone else story.

FW: And what about the forth coming, ‘Dying To Help’? 

LM: Another interesting story behind the story, I started this when I was fifteen... A decade ago now (wow I managed to make myself feel old!) I started the first draft when I was in college hand written and was rarely found without it. The story got its name through a quote from the original draft. In an altercation with ‘The Host’ (the leading opposition) my lead is asked “Oh you are just dying to help aren’t you?” From that point on it stuck. What tips can you give new writers? Never stop honing your talent, and never stop believing you
can do it! There are so many people out there willing to tell you it is a ‘pipe dream’. Well you may not get famous, but that isn’t the true goal; if you work hard enough and long enough it is possible to get published by a legit publisher and get your book out there!

FW: When writing, music or silence? 

LM: Music all the way, when you watch a film it will rarely have the same depth and intrigue without music (one exception that springs to mind is ‘Clover Field’. For me I find I write with more detail and depth when there is music in the room. But it has to be the right music.

FW: At home, or in a coffee shop? 

LM: At home, far less distracting and in a coffee shop I feel like I am on display, what am I trying to prove? For me personally I feel as though writing in a coffee shop (unless I have nowhere else to write) feels like I am trying to prove I am working... An accountant doesn’t sit in a coffee shop and ‘crunch numbers’. It could just be me.

FW: Who is your biggest influence, and why? 

LM: Matthew Riley, Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. I grew up on Matthew Riley’s book ‘Contest’, I still own a very battered, very dog-eared copy of it. I adore it! Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper where two of the lead writers on StarGate Universe; a superb Sci-Fi program that some love, and others hate. (The best kind by any standard!)

FW: What is in the future for you?

LM: A wonderful life as a working wife; a thriving career as an Author and Marketing Advisor for Authors, as well as lots of good health and very happy and healthy marriage. This is all I want from life.

FW: Anything else you’d like to add?

LM: To get in touch you can find me at the following;

Facebook; www.facebook.com/AuthorLouisaMullerworth
Twitter; @babymull
Blog; http://babymull.wordpress.com/
Nocturnal Press (Marketing Advisor); http://www.npuniverse.com/publishing-services/our-marketing-advisor-louisa-mullerworth/
Nocturnal Press (Author); http://www.npuniverse.com/authors/louisa-mullerworth/
Website; http://lmullerworth.wix.com/louisamullerworth
Email; l.mullerworth@gmail.com

FW: Thanks for coming in.

About the Author



Louisa Mullerworth is an author of Science Fiction/Fantasy. Look out for her Nocturnal Press debut: Dying To Help, which Light Shifts into bookstores worldwide June 2014.
Louisa Mullerworth has been a writer for as long as she can remember; from writing poetry as a young girl to short stories as a teenager. Through college she was rarely found without a folder containing a story she was working on and in 2010 she published for the first time with Mistol; A New Beginning.
It was something Louisa knew from a young age she would be doing and with one book under her belt Louisa wants nothing more than to go onwards and upwards with a second one due to be complete in 2014, a new series of books in her favourite genre ‘Sci Fi’.
But right now she is enjoying this new step in her career; finding a publisher that fitted her, and enjoying life as it comes as well as working on the first in the new series.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Guest Post: Penny Estelle


I can’t tell you how excited I am that my very first ever Christmas story is being released today.  The Unwanted Christmas Guest is a story about Elizabeth McMurphy, an up and coming high powered attorney, who is after vengeance.  Her sights are set on one of the richest and most powerful families in Colorado. Steve York is an obnoxious reporter that thinks the ice queen has gone too far and does all he can to get under her skin.



When one of the worst blizzards in history, hits Colorado and leaves a hurt Steve York, stranded with Elizabeth in a mountain cabin, she must decide to either take care of him, or throw him out to fend for himself.

Excerpt

“What’s going on here? Where the hell are my pants?”

Elizabeth practically jumped out of her skin. Steve stood in the bedroom doorway, wearing only some tight fitting pink sweats.

“I found you after your car went nose to nose with a tree.” She crossed her arms. “The question is, what were you doing up here in a snowstorm? Were you coming up here to spy on me?”

“Jesus, my head hurts.” Steve groaned and sat at the kitchen table. “And don’t flatter yourself.” He brought up his hands to rub his eyes and push on his temples. He started to say something when a giggle and a round of undistinguishable sounds caught his attention. Steve stared at the little girl, a whisper of a smile on his pale face. “You have a daughter?”

She chose to ignore the question. “Again, Mr. York, you were headed…where?”

“I was going to see some friends in Granby, then on to Steamboat to spend the holidays with my family.”

“You figured on taking a short cut on Badger Springs Road?”

“Basically,” he muttered. “I had a phone in my pants pocket…” Steve looked down at the pink sweats. “Yours, I presume?” At her nod, he asked with a smirk, “And you’re the one that took my clothes off?”

“Junior, my neighbor.”

“If you’ll allow me to use your phone, I’ll call Triple A and get myself and my car out of your life.” He reached over to Katy and she latched onto his finger, the brightest smile ever illuminating her sweet face.

Elizabeth quickly picked her up, as if he would contaminate her by his touch.  “Phones are out.”

“Internet?”

“Nope.”

“How the hell do you live here?” he asked irritably.

* * *

Please find The Unwanted Christmas Guest and my other stories with MuseItUp publishing @


Feel free to stop by and check out my other stories and/or leave me a message.  I love visitors!



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