Cover Reveal – Midnight Masque!

Hey guys! 😀 Today we’ve got a cover reveal from an awesome author friend of mine, Elle J Rossi! Lookit this beautiful cover! And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Josie Hawk Chronicles – she really is one of the best female protagonists you’ve ever read about.

Midnight Masque

Coming October 2014

Nashville is the newest breeding ground for the darkest creatures of the occult. Huntress Josie Hawk will protect her streets—whatever it takes.

Bar owner and paranormal ass-kicker, Josie Hawk, is dealing with the stress of how to introduce her vampire-lover, Keller, to her vampire-hunting father. Meanwhile, the streets are buzzing with excitement over the announcement of a masquerade themed celebration with the up-and-coming stars of country music.

Josie and Keller are forced to abandon their trip into the secret world of hunters when a mysterious crew of cloaked beings emerge from the shadows and threaten to crash the biggest party of the year.

With the supernatural activity escalating to code red, Josie must find a way to stop the insidious evil hidden behind the array of masks. If she doesn’t, the masquerade party could turn into a mass funeral.

Youtube video: http://youtu.be/2OCmF05l2iw

Links to connect with Elle:

http://www.ellejrossi.com

https://www.facebook.com/ellej.rossi

https://www.facebook.com/ElleJRossiAuthor

https://twitter.com/ElleJRossi

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Creator of Shadows is HERE!

Scarlet Rain Series

The third book in the Scarlet Rain Series is finally out! Creator of Shadows is out today, and continues the journey of the immortals, as they battle against Feoran and the darker forces behind him. Read on to find out more!

Blurb

When Lorenna is kidnapped by Feoran, the head of the vampyric Clan, it’s a dent in the Resistance. While she was expecting his twisted advances to her, she didn’t expect to feel something for him in return.

But that’s the least of her problems.

The city is more in ruins than ever, the Cuans being cut off one by one to prevent the rebellious humans taking over any part of New London. And after the discovery made at the Factory, armies of clones now walk the streets, ready to kill and trained viciously by their vampire masters.

The rebels must band together in full force, both to rescue their beloved witch from Feoran’s clutches, and to give the final push against the Clan. But a traitor in the heart of their inner circle is plotting with a vampire who wants more than they have, threatening to bring everything they have worked for tumbling down around them.

Can Lorenna gain her freedom to help her friends, and can they finally cut the head off the serpent that is the Clan? Or will humanity forever remain in its iron grip?

The Cover!

Creator of Shadows

Where can I get a copy?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CAN

Amazon AUS

Kobo

Where can I find out more about the author?

I’m Miranda Stork, and I’m addicted. Addicted to writing and reading books, anyway. And chocolate, but that’s another issue – no interventions, please.

I live in the middle of a forest in North Yorkshire, spending my spare time as the wild woman of the woods, scaring small children and upsetting the sheep. On the days that I feel like being civilized, or I haven’t got any unicorns to ride, I sit down and pour the tumbling thoughts in my head out onto digital paper. Mainly the thoughts and characters come out in paranormal form, with a good smattering of romance, because everyone likes a good cuddle. But you can also find strong elements of thrillers, myths, and even dystopia amongst the pages of all my novels. I’ve wanted to write books ever since I first realised that fairytales were not the newspapers of the fairy kingdom, but the imaginings of actual people who wanted to tell fancy made-up stories to other people. From that moment, I was hooked.

Why do I write? Good question. It might be easier to just keep the stories in my head, or even just to write them for myself. But I want to share them. There is no greater delight for a writer than when a reader devours your book, and declares, “Something in that novel resonated with me. And I want MORE.” So grab your lucky clover and a baseball bat (there’s some nasty paranormal creatures where we’re going), eat the cookie with ‘eat me’ tagged on it, and enter through the tiny door into the world of Miranda Stork…

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A Bit Of Pot Luck!

Hey, everyone! 🙂 Bit of a post today for a new reviewing group – and we’re looking for reviewers!

Love reading? Love FREE books in the genres you enjoy? Then you need to come over and join the new Facebook group that aims to make reviewing fun for everyone! Pot Luck Reviews needs more reviewers, so just click on the link below and join up. They work almost like ‘blind reviews’, in that you never know what book you’re going to get! Simply state which genres you like reading, how many books you’re happy to review each month, and that’s all there is to it. Each month, you will receive a random book in a genre you love, and all you have to do is give it an honest review.
So that’s it! Why are you still reading this? Click here and start enjoying more books! 😉

https://www.facebook.com/groups/potluckreviews/

potluck

Thursday Teaser! Daughters of Brigantia

Hello, lovely folks! 😀 Today is Thursday, and it’s not as easy with the alliteration on this day! Thursdays will alternate between teasers from my current WIP, and ‘Take Over Thursday’, when another author will have a guest post up instead. 🙂

So for today, enjoy a teaser from Daughters of Brigantia, the historical novel I’m working on under my pen name, Kathryn Northwood. Enjoy! (Also, bear in mind this is a WIP…there may be a few typos I’ve missed at the moment. 😉 )

…………..

© Wikicommons

© Wikicommons

Venutius stared down into the valley surrounding the fort, watching the men steadily building up the wooden posts at the far end. It grew every day, and made him worry more about the advancing Romans. Cartimandua seemed to keep more and more secrets to herself every day, and as merely a prince regent, he had little say in the matter. Taking in a deep breath, he let it out again over the early morning mist floating over the landscape.

The sound of someone approaching made him twist around, his heart plummeting like a stone within his chest. Closing his eyes for a second, as though to shut himself against the world, he summoned his courage and turned to face the messenger he knew had brought the bad news. To his shock, Aiia stood with clenched fists before him, her red hair flying wildly in the wind that whipped the strands across her neck.

“Aiia…my boy. Is he…?” Venutius let the sentence sit, his tone tense as he held back his sorrow. He already knew her answer.

Her clear eyes seemed to flicker with something, and she gave a glance to the bodyguard by his side, stood silently with folded hands. “I have something delicate to tell you. We need to be alone,” she replied.

He motioned the guard away, who strode far enough away to miss the conversation, but still close enough to run over if needed. Watching the man as he walked away, Aiia bit her lip and slowly made her way across to her brother-in-law, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. She barely came up to his chest, but there was something very adult in her stance. “I’m afraid…the child has not made it into the world.”

Venutius’ face paled, and he took a staggering step backwards, huffing out a breath. His world collapsed around him and fell into the valley below. My boy…

“There’s something else, which I feel you should know. It…” Aiia licked her lips in a nervous gesture, and paced to his side, placing a soft hand on his arm. “I’m so sorry, Venutius. The child wasn’t yours.”

Thinking perhaps he had misheard her, Venutius laughed dryly, and shook his head. “I beg your pardon, Aiia. I’m afraid I do not understand your meaning.”

Peering up at him with soulful eyes, Aiia repeated, “The boy was not your son, Venutius. My sister has lain with another man, and deceived you.”

A hand flew to his mouth in shock, but a second later it fell to his sword hilt. Dark bark-coloured eyes burning with rage, he hissed, “Who is it? I’ll cut him from limb to limb for this. Tell me, by the gods, tell me!”

“Please, Venutius! It’s not important, he’s just a boy. It was my sister who led him on, not the other way around. She lied to me as well, told me nothing had happened. But the boy…he held his colouring, Venutius, not yours. She admitted it to me.”

Ignoring her pleas, he grew more irate, sliding the sword out with a measured pull. It glinted in the early sunlight, bouncing off the blade with a dangerous ferocity. Aiia drew herself in front of him once more, grabbing both of his arms with a pleading gesture. He glanced down at her worried face, and shook his head, trying to remove her arms.

She clung to them tightly, and only let go of one arm to cup his face with a gentle hand. She pulled his face down to hers, and whispered, “Please, leave the boy be. Do not cause strife because of my sister’s wrongdoing.”

“You’re…you’re right. I am mourning, Aiia, that is all. I apologise.”

“I do understand, Venutius. She lied to me too.” Aiia stared up into his emotion-filled eyes, his strong jaw, his giving lips. Before she knew what she was doing, she let her hidden feelings for him erupt in a passionate press of her own mouth against his. His musky scent surrounded her, and she let out a soft moan.

Venutius pulled back sharply, gasping and holding his sister-in-law back. “No, Aiia, you mustn’t,” he hoarsely managed.

Her lip wobbled, and she clutched his head in her palms once more. “But Venutius, she has betrayed you! I love you, I would never do what my sister has done.”

“No, Aiia.” His tone was firm as he gently removed her hands, placing them back by her sides. Taking a deep breath, he avoided her yearning gaze as he added, “I love your sister. Whatever wrong she has done me, I owe it to my people—and yours—to rule by her side. I cannot pretend I shall forget this transgression of hers, but I must live with it.”

Aiia snapped her wrists away from him, her passion melting into dismay. “Even after what she has done to you?”

Her brother-in-law hung his head. “Perhaps it is partly my fault. I have still not given her a child, and she has gone elsewhere to produce an heir for the Brigantes. You must understand her position, Aiia, it is not her own.”

She let out an anguished hiss, rounding on him, her cloak and nightdress billowing out in the cold wind that picked up. A rumble of thunder sounded in the distance as dark clouds slowly took their place across the sun, as if the gods were agreeing with her case. Venutius gave them a nervous glance, but Aiia never flinched. “I would give you everything I am, Venutius. And yet, you remain with my sister! You deserve to have her. May the gods give you everything you both have coming!” Her voice rose to a hysterical pitch as she finished her curse, turning and sprinting in the direction of Moonbourne. Venutius didn’t even try to run after her, simply letting her go without a backward stare.

She raced faster through the grass and mud, her cheeks flushed with the embarrassment of being rejected, her eyes shining with dark purpose. Meddu ran out from her sister’s roundhouse and tried to stop her, but she simply shook her head and carried on running. Making her way up the hill, she ran full tilt into Gaisio, stumbling drunkenly out after another night of songs and beer.

He frowned when he saw she was still not dressed, and in such disarray. “What on earth has happened, Aiia?”

Ignoring his direct question for the moment, Aiia breathlessly asked, “Where you serious about going to fight back the Roman invaders with our Catuvellauni cousins?”

“Yes. Why?”

She took a careless glance over her shoulder, towards the hut of her sister, and over to the other side where Venutius could still be seen staring out over the valley below. Determination was etched on her face as she replied, “Because you were right. And I’m coming with you.”

Like this snippet? Why not sign up to my newsletter here, where you can be kept up to date with all my releases, including Daughter Of Brigitania. 😀

(Taken from ‘Daughters Of Brigantia’, Copyright © 2013 Kathryn Northwood. Do not reproduce, use, copy, or include in any way in any format, digital or print, without prior permission of the author.)

Writer Tip Wednesday

Morning, lovely people! 🙂 We’re halfway to the weekend! *does fist-pump in the air* And today we continue the week of alliterating titles with Writer Tip Wednesday. Each Wednesday, I’m going to pop up a few tips that I’ve been lucky enough to learn so far in my publishing journey. So hopefully they can help you guys too! 🙂

To Plot Or To Pantster? That Is The Question

Now this post will come from someone who has literally been both a pantster, and is now a plotter. In case you’re wondering what on earth those terms are, they are the kind of writer you might be. A pantster literally writes ‘by the seat of their pants’, and can knock up a plotline on the fly, adding all the creative parts later in editing. A plotter will plan the storyline first, writing out the novel as it follows the pattern of events.

I’ve done both of these methods now, and can still see the benefits of both. For my paranormal novels, I’m a pantster all the way. The beauty of these novels is that it can be completely imaginative and free. Things that defy physics can happen (Take that, my old teacher, Mr. Stevens! Gravity does not ALWAYS work!), and you can twist events so sharply it creates hairpin turns. It can be fun to not even know where your characters are heading yourself, and to find out the same way as a reader would can tell you if it’s good enough or not. The downside to this kind of writing is that you must do a lot of editing. Inevitably, as you go back over the novel in the editing process, you may find you forgot to tie up a loose end, or something no longer makes sense to have. But as long as you have a keen eye before sending it off to the professional editor, you can do this method with no problem.

And what of the plotter? Recently having started on my first historical fiction, I’ve found it necessary to plot the story out, as part of it is based on a real person. (I’ll be doing another post at some point on plotting out a historical novel, as it’s very different from some other genres!) If you have a set timeline in your mind, then you can mark it out in order of events, filling the sections in between with action and dialogue, bridging each gap from A to B. This method is the one most used by new authors, and it allows for almost a ‘how-to’ of the storyline. The only downside of this method is that you may find your creativity more limited than the pantster when it comes to the editing process, as you are locked into an unchangeable (without a lot of extra work, anyway) series of events.

So, you’re new to the world of writing. You’ve got an idea of the storyline, it came to you in a dream…now what? You’re going to have to pick a method, but which one?

Pantster

This can be the easiest method to launch into, as you get straight into the process of your idea. But you will need at least the barest of notes first. Your main characters must be well-defined. No matter what your timeline does, they should be well-defined and clear before you start, because they are the backbone of your novel. You can always add to them later, and even drop in extra characters, but the main characters will drive what happens. Have a rough idea of three points; the beginning, middle, and end. Everything else can be filled inbetween. Your story essentially needs to have the protagonist(s) hitting a problem near the middle. The beginning will set events in motion to create that problem, and the second half of your book will go towards resolving the problem. (I won’t go into detail, but I explain more of how to create your plot ‘pantster style’ over at The Book Maven’s blog here.) This method is best for paranormal, romance, and humourous genres.

Not to be confused with a scenario like this, you can actually keep your pants on for the whole pantster process.

Not to be confused with a scenario like this, you can actually keep your pants on for the whole pantster process.

Plotter

This method is more difficult, but depending on your novel’s genre, you may find it a lot more helpful than winging it. Historical fiction and crime thrillers often benefit more from this process. The first thing to do, is your research. If it’s historical, find out as much as you can about the period you wish to write about – and indeed the characters, if you’re basing it on real people. Crime thrillers will require research on weapons used, crime investigation, and much more. Once you have compiled all the research to start yourself off with (you will do more during writing the novel itself!) you can move onto the novel planning. Where is your story going to end up? Will this be a series, or a one-off book? This can determine the end as much as all the other planning. As with the pantster process, work out your beginning, middle and end. However, you must work out and add on all the events in between. Don’t worry too much if you can’t figure out a section between two parts, this is where your writing itself will come in. Once you have a firm timeline, well-defined characters, and research, you’re ready to begin your novel. Although you have to craft your words as creatively as possible, be careful not to stray too far from one point to the next, as otherwise you may add unnecessary words.

You don't have to look quite as mad as this or wear a blazer when plotting, but it may help.

You don’t have to look quite as mad as this or wear a blazer when plotting, but it may help.

So although it’s only a brief introduction to writing methods, hopefully this might help you to decide which you want to use, if you’re just starting out. Which one do you think you would go for, or if you’re already writing, which one are you? 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – Some Of My Favourites!

Morning, everyone! 🙂 We all made it through Monday! Woohoo! Now at least we can get on with Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday, that is! Each Tuesday, I will feature ten of my favourite indie books for your perusal. They won’t all be the same genre, so hopefully there’s something for everyone. And today, I’ve even got a few freebies for you! Woot! 🙂

Lookit that gorgeous cover! And it's FREE!

Lookit that gorgeous cover! And it’s FREE!

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Price: PERMA-FREE!

Blurb: Kendra Larkin had everything going in the right direction. Her life was seemingly perfect, and she wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Unfortunately, the course of her life was about to be forever altered. A tragic rappelling accident lands her on Dr. Adam Chamberlain’s operating table.

She agrees to a deal proposed by a guardian angel to help save the soul of the man who is both her doctor and soulmate. If she is successful, she gets to keep her life. However, she later learns that it isn’t just her life that’s in jeopardy, but her soul as well.

Even with the help of her handsome guardian angel, Rhyan, it seems there is no happy ending in sight. Torn between her newly discovered love of Rhyan, and the undeniable attraction she has for Adam, Kendra finds herself at a crossroad. With Adam’s steadfast rejection of God, and his guardian demon conspiring against her, she fears her soul may already be lost.

Will she find a way to overcome the evil her life is suddenly burdened with? Or will Adam’s guardian demon win both their souls and make Kendra his own personal puppet in Hell?

This is a fantastic YA read, and really hits home with some big issues.

This is a fantastic YA read, and really hits home with some big issues.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Price: PERMA-FREE!

Blurb: Piper Willow dies the summer after her high school graduation but she doesn’t make it to Heaven or Hell…instead she finds herself in a spiritual terminal called the Station. She’s given only two choices: Return to Earth as the subconscious for a person in need of some outside assistance, or move on and spend an eternity lost in her own sorrow and pain.

Does Piper have what it takes to save a life – to be the nagging voice inside someone else’s head – or will she fail and end up lost and tormented in limbo…forever?

“Excuse me, Niles…I mean, Mr. Abbott. But, where are we?”
“I’ll explain everything to you dear, just as soon as we reach the Station.”
“What station? We aren’t in the hospital? Where’s my Dad?”
“No Piper, this isn’t the hospital, and your father is at home…he’s fine. Please, follow me.”
He turns away and continues on through the light. I hang my head, staring at my bare feet as we walk. Even though my cuts are gone, I keep rubbing my arm. It’s soothing. I almost bump into Niles when he stops abruptly.
“We’re here,” he says softly.

AND this was nominated for a 2012 RONE award! What more do you need?

AND this was nominated for a 2012 RONE award! What more do you need?

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Thriller/Vampires

Price: $2.95

Blurb: *Nominated for a 2012 RONE Award from InD’tale Magazine*

Murder is serious business among vampires. If you kill, so do they. They are the Penitent – a military order among vampire society charged with one task only. Execute the condemned.

Vesper Hyde is a model Penitent. Solitary. Skilled. Deadly. Only once has she ever lost a target, even though it almost cost her life. Now the one that got away is back with a vengeance, and this time he’s determined to finish the job. She needs to overcome the whispers of doubt and let her instinct and training take over to redeem her failure. But on this second time around, she doesn’t expect a sidekick. A very sexy, stubborn, human sidekick.

Homicide Detective Decker Price has seen it all, including the murder of his wife at the hands of a twisted serial killer. When another murder pitches him headfirst into a world of vampires, witches, and sorcery, he is given a chance to mend shattered parts of his soul. But Vesper’s world is as dark and alluring as the Penitent herself and he will come face to face with echoes of his past in order to help her keep a vicious enemy at bay.

If they are to succeed, they will need to push aside both their failings and work together to ensure the balance of their worlds remains unchanged. Redemption comes at a cost – is their love worth the price?

More vampire-y goodness...you know you can't resist!

More vampire-y goodness…you know you can’t resist!

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense/Vampires

Price: $3.94

Blurb: “Do you believe in things that go bump in the night?”

At only a few hours old, Angela is left on the steps of St Paul’s church. Alone in the world, the only link she has to her past is a pink blanket bearing an emblem with two crossed swords and a snake.

A troubled childhood spent in orphanages leads to Angela attempting to rebuild her shattered life as an adult. Meeting the priest who found her eighteen years previously, she gets a job and a boyfriend, and settles into her new life.

Until she meets Jack.

Drawn to her new boss, she throws herself into work, feeling an unusual bond with people she hasn’t known very long.

Angela becomes embroiled in this new life, feeling a change within herself. A change which isn’t altogether human. Within this change she finds a terrifying secret…a secret which involves her past, her present, and definitely her future…

This is one of the funniest books you will read this year - what writer hasn't wondered this?

This is one of the funniest books you will read this year – what writer hasn’t wondered this?

Genre: Contemporary/Humour

Price: $3.76

Blurb: Polly writes chick lit and her debut novel is a worldwide bestseller. However, something strange starts to happen when she gets back from an international book tour. Polly finds that instead of art imitating life, her life starts to imitate art – or rather, her novel.

She arrives home to find her husband in the arms of the maid. Wasn’t that in Chapter Three of her book, Happily Ever After?

Her best friend is having an affair with her husband, too, and is pregnant! Isn’t that in Chapter Four?

Then she meets a bronzed Greek and embarks on a passionate love affair. Wasn’t that in Chapter Seven?

Will anyone believe her life is mirroring her novel? Can she prevent the ultimate tragedy or must the book play out, precisely as she wrote it, to the bitter end?

Her agent recommends that Polly go and live Happily Ever After on the proceeds of her book, and keep away from drama!

The beginning to an awesome YA series - that cover alone should entice you! :)

The beginning to an awesome YA series – that cover alone should entice you! 🙂

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Drama

Price: $3.98

Blurb: The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

The first book in another awesome series - plus be sure to check out the rest of this fab author's books!

The first book in another awesome series – plus be sure to check out the rest of this fab author’s books!

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Werewolves & Shifters

Price: $4.08

Blurb: **Not for readers under the age of 18+. Contains language and adult situations.**

Gabriel Slade runs Hollywood with his gorgeous blue eyes and egregious temper. No one knows that underneath it all is a man with a frozen heart, cursed to become a beast at every full moon. For seven days he has no choice but to roam the earth as a vicious animal, until he meets a woman who can change it all.

Luna Grace has a hatred for everything Gabriel Slade stands for, but she doesn’t even know what he looks like. When a chance encounter reveals feelings Luna never knew she harboured, it stands to reason that she would run.

Can Luna overcome her hatred and break the curse? Or will Gabriel’s temper keep her from realizing her true feelings, dooming him to remain the beast forever?

Another brilliant book in a series - doesn't that title just make you wonder what's inside?

Another brilliant book in a series – doesn’t that title just make you wonder what’s inside?

Genre: Romance/Contemporary

Price: $4.11

Blurb: “You can’t leave me because I’ll only ever love you.”

What was supposed to be a final goodbye turned into one last piece of unfinished business for Brody Walsh.

As long as Aggie Walker’s heart still belongs to him, he’s destined to remain in limbo, watching over her.
But when her family decides to send her to Scotland for the summer and she meets Camden MacTavish, it seems despite their constant head-butting that there may be something more between them.

That is, if she is willing to let Camden in.

As Aggie finds herself torn between her lover lost and her lover anew, it becomes clear that she cannot hold on to both. If she decides to let Camden into her heart, she will have to let Brody go. And if she can’t let Brody go, she risks losing Camden-and a second chance at love.
Forever.

That cover is the first thing that drew me in - gorgeous and so Lovecraftian!

That cover is the first thing that drew me in – gorgeous and so Lovecraftian!

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Price: $2.05

Blurb: Bookstore owner and novice antiquarian, Sebastian Kaine is proud of his new profession and even prouder still of the collection of antique books on the occult that he keeps locked away in the basement of his bookstore. But his little utopia is shattered one night when he wakes up in that same basement, bound and bloodied, and his prized collection all but destroyed. Making matters worse are the two strange men responsible for the carnage. They want The Seals of Abgal and insist Sebastian is in possession of it. Though he denies having any knowledge of the book, Sebastian soon finds himself at the receiving end of a brutal interrogation–one, he fears, he may not survive.

As he fights to stay alive, Sebastian will learn that The Seals of Abgal is no ordinary grimoire for it holds powerful secrets. Secrets that are older than time itself. And those that hunt it are driven by a hate even older than the secrets themselves.

**The Seals of Abgal is a dark fantasy novella of 20,892 words, or about 128 paperback pages.**
Awesome crime drama stories written with true grit. Great to see old-school crime drama is still out there!

Awesome crime drama stories written with true grit. Great to see old-school crime drama is still out there!

Genre: Crime Thriller/Drama/Historical

Price: $2.96

Blurb: Edinburgh 1745.

Deep beneath the rain soaked and wind scoured streets of the city a foul crime committed in the dark of night leaves two men lying dead in a dank cellar. A bankrupt young nobleman with an addiction to the twin vices of gambling and loose women stands accused of the horrific double murder and all the evidence seems to point towards his guilt. In desperation his lawyer turns to the one man in Edinburgh who can save him from the hangman’s noose.

Robert Young of Newbiggin.

He is a young man who has earned a reputation amongst the city’s legal fraternity for being the one person who can root out the truth by venturing into the capital’s criminal underbelly. His investigation leads from the elegant drawing rooms of Edinburgh’s high society to the city’s most infamous brothel and into the grim hovels of the lowest alehouses on the Cowgate.

But as more bodies are discovered Robert Young is forced to confront the possibility that his client may actually be guilty!

So that’s your lot! Still, I think ten books is an awful lot to be getting on with, right? 🙂 I hope you do decide to pick some of these great books up, and hopefully enjoy them! Remember, an indie author puts a lot of work into a book that will cost less than that coffee and chocolate bar you were going to pick up – yes, I know! – and it’s going to leave you with that happy feeling for an awful lot longer. Plus you get to go back to it if you really loved it, and you’re never going to make that chocolate bar come back. So go on, grab one of them before your sugar craving kicks in. 😉

Manic Monday – Here Again!

*Yawns* Is the weekend over already? No, I needed more sleeping-in time! *has to be prised away from quilt* Oh well, guess we all have to plough on and get Monday over with. As it’s Manic Monday again, (and I’m now caught up with work after being off), I thought today’s post could be about choosing characters in books – at least from a writer’s point of view.

How do our characters come to us? Is it in a coffee-addled haze? Is it in a dream? Or is it from someone we know? Characters can come from all these sources, but at some point, each one is going to need some extra tweaking and planning. So what’s the process of character creation?

The Coffee-Addled Haze Character

Otherwise known as, I’m-actually-writing-something-else-right-now-but-I’m-procrastinating-and-this-came-to-me. The coffee-addled character most often turns up when we’re supposed to be doing something else. Usually writing. This character is the least offensive, but the most certain one to bug you until you write it down. Somewhat whiny and hyper from the addition of caffeine, this character will push your story process aside and demand to be carefully noted down on a bit of paper, sure to be forgotten again. They have a short shelf-life, as most of them are forgotten once a writer gets back to the careful task of doing the story again. But bits of them may pop up in background characters of many books, breeding like rabbits, useful because of their barely-worked-out details beyond how they look.

Only 52 cups? *scoffs* Beginner.

Only 52 cups? *scoffs* Beginner.

The Dream/Nightmare Character

These characters are easily the most slippery, and yet can be the ones to make the biggest impression. Dream characters (otherwise known as the good guys) can turn up in the sweetest of dreams, and sometimes the sexiest. Often used as fodder for the heros and heroines of stories, they make a big impact with their presence, appearing realistic enough for noting down, but fuzzy enough to have bits added on to fit their book. Often they seem to come semi-naked, perhaps from having to squeeze through the membrane of dreamland. No one needs gooey bits on their nice clothes.

Nightmare characters are much the same, but are most prominently used for the villains of a piece. Depending on the attractiveness of the character, they can emerge to become a villain that is both hated and lusted after, quickly earning the inst-hatred of all other characters. Fond of dark rooms due to their inability to find light switches, they often hang about in corners, waiting for a moment where the writer is worrying about that book they can’t find in the spare room. An uglier villain will have the same impact, but will most usually be used as part of a ‘team’ of villains in anything but horror novels.

No more characters in dark rooms. Hell, no. I have to get some sleep!

No more characters in dark rooms. Hell, no. I have to get some sleep!

The Hey-Don’t-I-Know-That-Person Character

This is both the easiest and hardest character to make up. Being based on someone the writer may know, the overall character has a good grounding in realism, how they look, and how they react to events. However, the character must be tweaked to avoid absolute recognition, especially if said character is less than complimentary. (Beware, writers can and will take notes if you annoy them. Don’t blame me if you end up in Mr Nightmare’s dark room. *gulp* ) Not everything can be reversed, but usually the character becomes an exaggerated version of the real person, perhaps even to the point of becoming an annoying feature to the reader. They are then usually irritated by the character until said character finally perishes in a remarkably comic death.

Exactly, Tom, exactly. You can't have people you don't like just popping up and being eaten by a shark. Can you?

Exactly, Tom, exactly. You can’t have people you don’t like just popping up and being eaten by a shark. Can you?

The Mary-Sue Character

Arguably the character with the least development, and usually female, this character is like Marmite – either loved in the extreme, or hated in the extreme. The character will usually have a basic description of looks, but they tend to adapt easily to allow readers to ‘imprint’ themselves.  For example, “Her blond-black hair.” Or similar. The character will display little emotion to events happening around them, unless it’s to point out that the event is ALL about them and no one else, and possibly to stamp their feet until an equally drippy hero/heroine comes in to save them. Unable to do much for themselves, the poor Mary Sues must flap their arms and gasp a lot until someone turns up to move the story along for them, allowing the reader to finally move onto the next piece of self-centred action.

A typical reaction from a Mary-Sue. Beware, ladies and gentlemen, we may need mops.

A typical reaction from a Mary-Sue. Beware, ladies and gentlemen, we may need mops.

The Historical Character (usually just added to Historical Fiction, but can turn up anywhere)

These are the character based on actual figures. Much like the Hey-Don’t-I-Know-That-Person Character, they are covered in great detail, but unlike them, the Historical Character must be studied carefully to understand their inner thoughts. Easily one of the most exciting characters to discover, the writer can use actual events and decisions of the person to work out what they would have thought of a situation. Part-Encyclopaedia, part-psychic abilities, this character should have the earthy charm of the realistic person, but the otherworldly dreaminess that can only come from being pushy enough to decide the inner thoughts of one of history’s greats.

Cat and bubbles may not be included.

Cat and bubbles may not be included.

The Perfect Character

This character is as rare as blue mushrooms growing on your head, and twice as yummy. Usually the secondary character who becomes a hero or heroine in the second book, they tend to have a hefty back-story artfully woven into the novel in bits and pieces. They will be good-looking, but not too good-looking, and everything you want in a hero, but not too much. In a word, flawed. These tend to become the characters the writer will think of with most fondness, They are most commonly found in the most angsty situations, offering much-needed back-up to the main character, or giving worthy advice in the middle of the plot twist. As they enjoy being in the centre of any tension-charged situation, these characters can often end up dead by book three, simply to pull out the emotions in the reader to urge on getting rid of the villains. *sniff*

The usual reaction to a character of this calibre.

The usual reaction to a character of this calibre.

So what do you think? What other characters could go up here, what have I missed? I’m sure there’s plenty more. 🙂

Snippet Sunday – Daughters Of Brigitania!

Morning, folks! 🙂 Hope your weekend is treating you well so far. Today I’ve got a wee snippet (the first chapter, actually) from Daughters Of Brigitania, the historical fiction I’m writing under my pen-name, Kathryn Northwood.  Enjoy! 😀

Chapter 1

Brigantian Rebirth

Two girls stood aside from the crowd, frozen expressions as they watched the druids chanting over the barrow. An old man lay within, curled in the position he entered the earth, his chariot beside him.

The older girl wrapped her arm around her younger sister, but her green eyes never lost their cold edge. The younger girl gave a sniff, but silenced herself as she remembered her place, and gave a short nod to her older sister. The arm fell away. A strong wind whipped through the valley, picking up their woollen cloaks and tugging them, creating the effect of flags flying out under their plaited auburn hair.

The druids and priestesses moved in a wide circle, chanting and murmuring to the gods, one of them holding a torch aloft. The flames from the torch flickered and danced in the wind, creating brilliant patterns in the air above as sparks jumped away. Some of the crowd behind the girls fell to their knees at the sight, sobbing as though their hearts would break. The older girl peered over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow, casting them a hard look.

The King was dead.

“Carti…does this mean you are now Queen?”

The whispered question from her sibling surprised Cartimandua. It was hardly the time for discussing such matters, but she understood that her sister Aiia was young, and didn’t always know when not to voice such concerns. She didn’t answer, but pressed a finger to her lips instead, indicating silence. A thrill ran through her at the idea though. Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes. I am now ruler of all northern Albion. The only thing that didn’t thrill her was the notion of her husband being King, even Prince Regent. An ugly frown darkened her face.

Their father, King Vecorigo, had wanted the marriage to go ahead to secure more lands for his daughter. The Brigantes were a tribe of hardened warriors, but years of trying to secure their lands against other tribes had decimated their coin and defences, and this was her only chance to have security. Her husband was at least ten years her senior, and he had already blessed her with child. Unbidden, her hand stroked across the bulge of her stomach, swollen with her son.

And who knows what will happen to Aiia now. I must make sure I protect her. Cartimandua’s eyes roved across to her thirteen-year old half-sister, taking in her drawn white face and tightly folded arms. Aiia had even less prospects than herself, as the illegitimate child of one of her father’s concubines. Cartimandua’s own mother had died in childbirth, so she had never known the loving touch of a matronly hand. Aiia’s mother had come by court many times, but only ever lavished attention on her own daughter. Cartimandua didn’t resent it, she felt just as close to Aiia herself, and the two had been true sisters as soon as they could utter words.

The chanting grew louder, and one of the druids stepped forward to usher the two sisters over to their father’s grave. Cartimandua gave the white-hooded man a curt gesture, and waved him away. He stepped back, and Aiia gripped her sister’s arm tightly as they made their way over. The trees around them twisted harder in the wind, sending leaves spinning down to cover the King in his final rest. The man the Brigantes had known looked so different in rest, so less forceful. He had been a well-respected King, despite the losses to other tribes, and his booming voice would be remembered by all as though it had spoken in their very ears. He lay in a foetal position, his body wrapped in a blue cloak, his head adorned with the gold band of his authority. It wasn’t until he had been laid in the barrow that the sisters had finally realised how old and frail he looked, with his grey moustache thinning across his lip.

Cartimandua thrust her arm out, dropping a richly-inlaid bridle bit into the barrow. She gave Aiia a nudge, and her sister tremblingly held out a bronze dagger, glinting in the weak evening sunlight as it fell in. Aiia leaned over to gaze at her father, whispering, “May the gods watch over your journey to the Otherworld.”

Cartimandua gave a sad smile at Aiia’s words, and tugged on her sleeve. The younger girl looked up at her, eyes swimming with unshed tears. “Do not worry, sister. He will be watched over and protected, even into his next life.”

The druids and priestesses stopped circling the barrow and swayed from side to side, lost in their utterances, the whites of their eyes turned to the heavens. Their hands rose as one, inviting the goddess Brigantia to bless the ceremony. One of the priestesses produced two silver spoons, both short and without stalks, and one with a small hole at the edge. Cartimandua gave an inward shiver at the sight. Even as a bloodthirsty Brigante, she wasn’t too comfortable with the druidic sacrifices. They were a necessity, nothing more. Without them, the tribe was vulnerable, with no graces from the gods. As she stared in horror, a druid produced a small animal, already slaughtered at the beginning of the funeral. The animal was tipped gracefully, so that its blood dripped into the first spoon. The priestess leaned the first spoon so that the blood trickled through the hole to the second, chanting to herself as the whole putrid mixture was poured into the barrow.

Cartimandua turned herself and Aiia away from the sight as they began the process of laying stones around the graveside, and faced the crowd behind. Her people. Denorix, Cartimandua’s husband, came forward and gave her a curt nod. She eyed him for a second, a curious expression crossing her features, before she turned her attention back to the waiting faces of the Brigantes.

The young girl cleared her throat, collecting her thoughts before she spoke. The crowd fell silent, the only sound the wind howling through the trees, shaking more leaves down in a golden carpet. Her hand tightened for a second on Aiia’s, before she let it fall away, clasping them before her in a regal gesture. “My people,” she called out, “face your Queen.”

Cries of, “Queen Cartimandua!” rose up among them, filling the air with a new sound. Aiia glanced down at the ground and repeated their confirmation, trying hard to bat away the tears that still escaped for their fallen father. Cartimandua attempted to remain stony, but a small smile etched itself onto her lips, and her emerald eyes sparkled with new purpose.

Copyright Kathryn Northwood 2013.

 

To find out more about Daughters Of Brigitania, and to follow Kathryn Northwood (AKA me LOL) in her run-up to publishing it, click here to keep up with her Facebook page! 🙂

A Day In The Life Of…Hedonist Six!

Happy Wednesday, folks! Today will be Writing Tip Wednesday, but first we have a fabulous ‘A Day In The Life Of…’ post from the fabulous Hedonist Six! Enjoy! 🙂

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…HEDONIST SIX!

 

WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP!

And so I do, almost. Clumsily feeling around the bed, underneath my pillow, accidentally elbowing the hubby while trying to locate my phone to turn off the infernal Crazy Frog Alarm still ringing in my ears. There are probably less annoying ringtones I could use to get me out of bed in the morning. None of the others are quite so effective in discouraging me from simply giving it five more minutes though.

 

It doesn’t take me long to get ready, because if it did, I’d miss out on even more glorious sleep. This might be weird for a writer, but I absolutely do not suffer from insomnia. Quite the opposite actually, I often find myself nodding off on the sofa in the evening. Getting the time for an afternoon nap at the weekends is my idea of heaven.

 

But it’s not weekend yet, and I’d better get moving. Phone, keys, obligatory return into the bedroom to kiss sleepy husband’s cheek and give him a little cuddle. He doesn’t let go of my arm and I’m stuck for a moment. I’m late, you idiot.

 

By the time I pull out of the drive and turn the radio on loud, I’m pretty much awake. I’m in the driving zone which lasts roughly an hour, after that I’ll be useless without my first dose of caffeine for the day. The new Arctic Monkeys song comes on, god I love it. I’m ready for today.

 

“Morning!” I say while dumping my stuff behind my desk and switching my PC on.

 

I’m two minutes early and yet the last one to reach. Tea is already in progress, needing rescue from overbrewing. Some people just don’t get tea, despite drinking it every damn day.

 

Back at my desk, steaming mug in hand, it’s time to catch up. While my emails load, I take a quick peek at Facebook, only to quickly minimise the browser window and shiftily look around towards the engineer who can see my screen from his desk. Did he see the naked guy in my newsfeed? Whew, he must’ve missed it or I’d most definitely get a remark about it by now.

 

My To-Do list is longer than I’m willing to acknowledge and still doesn’t quite cover it all. By 11, I’m alerted to a problem with an urgent shipment, courtesy of one of the huge international couriers, which takes up hours of the rest of my day. Meanwhile, the same engineer who has front row seats to my PC  gets up and stands beside me. Without giving it much of a second thought, I automatically extend my hand over the chocolate bar on my desk. He always goes for the food first.

 

This quick reaction seems to frustrate him, so he takes my phone away instead. I expect to retrieve that later with the screen unlock feature enabled, meaning I won’t be able to use it until he fixes it again. Still, I suppose it’s a step up from being restrained in my chair with packaging tape, because that has happened before.

 

“Can’t we send him away somewhere?” I ask.

 

The boss lady looks up momentarily from her laptop. “I’m working on it.”

 

Being an only child, I imagine this is the closest I’ll get to finding out what it’s like to have an irritating brother, even if he might like to think of our relationship in a slightly different light. (Guys, incessantly teasing a girl you like is not a viable flirting technique and will get you friend-zoned at best! Even if she’s not already married.)

 

Surprisingly he gives up on his phone snatching plan and instead starts to argue it’s my turn to make tea, leaves his cup on my desk and goes for a cigarette break. Oh well, I could use a moment away from being on hold with a call centre that can’t help me anyway.

 

Lunchtime provides a reasonable moment of peace to catch up with some friends online, and stare blankly at the WIP that has been bothering me for weeks now. I decide to procrastinate by reading a few blogs that will in no way help me finish my book.

 

At 2, the afternoon staff meeting requires our entire workforce to congregate in the meeting room; of a very crowded *cough* seven, two are away on business. Topics up for discussion are the fucking recession, various project updates and a few innuendos thrown in for good measure.

 

By 4 pm, the missing shipment has been located and I’m drained. My To-Do list is even longer than when I started this morning, but at least one matter has been resolved.

 

A few of us meet by the kettle to discuss upcoming weekend plans. The other (non-annoying) engineer is going camping. This amuses us greatly, considering his questionable choices for camping locations in the past; once in North London and another time next to Gatwick Airport. We never actually got to the bottom of how those crackpot plans came into being, but that might just diminish their entertainment value anyway.

 

The day has been long, but while the work is boring as usual, at least I can consider myself lucky to be surrounded by up to seven (usually fewer) people I don’t detest. I suppose it’s not surprising my longest story so far has been about an office romance. Don’t a lot of us spend an unnatural amount of time in environments such as these, if perhaps more stressful versions filled with politics and intrigue?

 

Out of nowhere an idea for my WIP starts to develop, allowing me sit down and bang out a few words until 5:45pm, while excitedly sharing this latest epiphany with a writer friend in chat. The boss probably wonders why I regularly stay a little late, sometimes smiling at my monitor, often peering into it with intense focus and forgetting the world around me. She doesn’t ask about it though, as if she knows it’s a necessity which cannot easily be explained.

 

When it’s finally time to go home, I put the stereo on, singing along loudly and out of tune as I leave the rows of terraced houses, shops and heavy traffic behind, getting ever closer to home.

 

“Hey, how was your day?” I ask, met by a shrug and unintelligible noise. Same old then, as was mine.

 

I decide to sit down for a bit, head resting against his shoulder, watching the rest of The Simpsons. I’ve no idea what to cook yet, but it’ll probably come to me when I head into the kitchen. Or not, in which case there’s always a plan b; take-out.

 

Tonight I have neither the will nor the opportunity write anymore though. Evenings are for us to spend as a couple and to unwind before following the exact same routine the next day.

 

Regular like clockwork, my eyelids start to feel weighted around 11, but I force myself to stay up for another half hour. It’s almost the weekend, and I can’t wait. There are a couple of muses in my head now, and their story deserves attention beyond what a fulltime job allows most of the week. Come Saturday though, I’m hopeful to get a few hours alone in the morning which will serve me just right.

 

 

H5

Call me “H.” or Hedonist if you prefer. I’m a Romance and Erotica author based in London and I’ve always been a dreamer. You’ll not find flowery language and poetry in my work. What you will find though is believable characters, none of whom perfect, going through life and trying to find happiness. Just like the rest of us.

Recurring themes you’ll find in my work:
Contrast; big / small (BHM/FFA), rich / poor, older / younger, experienced / not so much. Especially the first in the list; I like big men, as I know a lot of women do but may feel awkward admitting it. We’re not doing ourselves and the men we’re attracted to any favours by keeping quiet though!
Confident, self-assured women who aren’t afraid to follow their hearts.
Sorry, but I just don’t get BDSM, so I won’t be writing about it. I’m sure you’ll be able to find plenty of other authors happy to cater to your tastes.
Emotional conflict, insecurities and awkwardness; it excites me to throw my characters into uncomfortable situations and watch them come out stronger at the end of it!

Find more of Hedonist and her books here!

AND her amazing books themselves!

Keeper of Shadows is Heeeeeeeere!

Well, this is a turn up for the books! Another bad ‘book’ joke, I’m sorry. 😛 Amazon has published Keeper of Shadows a lot earlier than it was supposed to go up, so you can officially get your copy now! Just scroll down to find out a little more about the book. And if you do pick it up, thank you so much for your support, and I hope you really enjoy it. 🙂 ❤

Keeper of Shadows

The year is 2038.

Feoran has followed through on his promise to enslave humanity, and humanity is being crushed under his oppression. Anyone who rebels is sent to the Factory.

Until one woman, Psyche Tawton, decides to run.

And she will prove his undoing.

Psyche leads an everyday life—well, for someone alive in the era of the Clan’s long shadow. A single event involving her best friend and her friends’ vampire master puts her on a road to rebellion, causing a ripple that will change the course of history, and the lives of those she comes into contact with.

Then she meets Torolf.

A werewolf with a chequered past, Torolf is instantly intrigued when he lays eyes on the violet-eyed beauty, but the wolf within him cannot accept a human as his mate. But deciding whether they should give in to their desires is the least of their troubles, as Feoran sets them firmly in his sights and makes them the centrefold for his newest horrific campaign. Starting with her best friend sent over to the Factory.

With the help of Torolf, the other immortals, and the Human Rebellion, Psyche will be the catalyst for the most important change in human history  since the Clan took over. But she will also be the catalyst for her own fate, unlocking a secret about herself that is so destructive…

…it may kill her.

 

You can pick it up from these links here!

Amazon US http://goo.gl/Mj36b7
Amazon UK http://goo.gl/1muWSE
Amazon CAN http://goo.gl/scfXEW
Kobo http://goo.gl/F16OtD
Smashwords http://goo.gl/SUqYb2
Moon Rose Publishing http://goo.gl/3Qtyek