Friday, 21 March 2014

Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight by Che Gilson - Cover Reveal.

My lovely writer pal Che Gilson* has an AWESOME new novella coming out soon with Black Opal Books, and here's the reveal of the fabulous cover!

I'm lucky enough to have read Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight and I absolutely love Carmine. She's a mega kick-ass wolf-lady, and her story is a fun, pacy, super-action packed, explosive tale full of amazing characters. Definitely one to read if you like urban fantasy!

Here's the back cover blurb!

Illegal pit fighter and werewolf Carmine Rojas gets an off-hours assignment from her boss. Baby sitting a skinwalker who’s gotten herself in trouble with the yakuza. Carmine may kick ass in the ring but tangling with the yakuza is well above her pay grade. Carmine turns to her gang-banger cousin Rodrigo for help and fire-arms. Together they spend a terror filled night battling yakuza thugs, bickering over family, and blowing shit up.

Find Che:
Deviant Art

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Sekrit Project, sekrit no longer - Dead But Not Forgotten.

Woot! Sekrit Project, sekrit no longer! *Pops Bubbly* I'm thrilled and honoured and excited to be part of this wonderful anthology. It's filled with fab stories by lots of my fav authors - just look at that stellar line-up below - and, even more exciting, the stories are all about Charlaine Harris' (one of my writerly heroes!) amazing characters from her FANG-TASTIC Sookie Stackhouse books.

My story is about Luna Garza, werebat, and I was over the moon (sorry, couldn't resist *g*) when I was asked to contribute. I adore the Sookie Stackhouse world and it was super fun* playing in one of my all time favourite author's literary sandbox. It's also been a true honour and I'm grateful to Charlaine for asking me to do so. I hope I've done both her and Luna proud. :-)

Now, if you thought it couldn't get any better, just look at that AWESOME cover by Lisa Desmini!

And here (from the press release) is that stellar line-up of fab authors and the stories they've written about Charlaine's amazing characters! This is one anthology I can't wait to hear/read! (even if I wasn't in it *g*)

Charlaine Harris' smash-hit Sookie Stackhouse series may have reached its conclusion, but the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, lives on in this all-new collection of 15 stories. Written by a killer lineup of authors, including New York Timesbest-sellers Rachel Caine, MaryJanice Davidson, Jonathan Maberry and Seanan McGuire, and with introductions read by Charlaine herself, Dead but Not Forgotten puts your favorite characters center stage.

The stories included in Dead but Not Forgotten are:

"Nobody's Business" by Rachel Caine (featuring Kevin Pryor & Kenya Jones)
"Tyger, Tyger" by Christopher Golden (featuring Quinn)
"The Real Santa Claus" by Leigh Perry (featuring Diantha)
"Taproot" by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (featuring Andy Bellefleur)
"Knit a Sweater Out of Sky" by Seanan McGuire (featuring Amelia)
"Love Story" by Jeanne C. Stein (featuring Adele Hale Stackhouse)
"The Million-Dollar Hunt" by Jonathan Maberry (featuring Mustapha Khan)
"Borderline Dead" by Nicole Peeler (featuring Desiree Dumas)
"Extreme Makeover Vamp Edition" by Leigh Evans (featuring Bev & Todd)
"Don't Be Cruel" by Bill Crider (featuring Bubba)
"What a Dream I Had" by Nancy Holder (featuring Alcide Herveaux)
"Another Dead Fairy" by Miranda James (featuring Claude & Claudia Crane)
"The Bat-Signal" by Suzanne McLeod (featuring Luna)
"The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars" by Dana Cameron (featuring Pam Ravenscroft)
"Widower's Walk" by MaryJanice Davidson (featuring Eric Northman)

Dead But Not Forgotten is narrated by Johanna Parker, the longtime voice of the Sookie Stackhouse audiobooks, with introductions read by Charlaine Harris, and was edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.

Dead But Not Forgotten releases on May 13, 2014 through Audible - pre-order link is here. 

There's going to be a hardcover version released on Nov. 25, 2014, too. Cover right ---> :-)

Full press release in the Wall Street Journal here. (!!! *g*)

*Also, super-scary, nerve-wracking, but ultimately a fantastic challenge! I learned a lot about my craft writing Luna's story, and among other things, I now know a lot more about bats and Louisiana than I ever did before :-D

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Problem with Promises!

Happy Book Birthday* to the fab Leigh Evans for The Problem with Promises #3 in her awesome Mystwalker series.


*US today, and UK on Thurs 27th Feb 

US Cover


I LOVE the first two Mystwalker books, and this one is even hotter (in all ways! *g*). Hedi, Trowbridge, and their friends have to fight hard for themselves and what they want, and they do! And boy does it make for a heart-pounding, exciting tale. But hey, don't take my word for it. If you haven't started this series, get to it! And if you have then you're gonna want to read  The Problem with Promises!  :-)


Huge congrats, Leigh! *throws confetti*


If you've read The Trouble with Fate #1, and The Thing with Weres #2, and want a before-read-reminder of the characters and world, then Leigh's done a great one here.

*UK title - The Thing with Wolves


Robson Trowbridge, the Alpha of Creemore and my gorgeous mate, tries to protect me, Hedi Peacock, half-fae, half-were, from all the trouble I get into. The thing is, my past is pretty messy and bad guys keep knocking down my door. Witches, thug bikers, the North American Council of Weres, dark magic fae, and even an evil wizard are all after me. The Old Mage is the only one I really care about: He has my dear twin brother captive on the other side of the Gates of Merenwyn—not cool. So my alpha love is helping me to keep my promise to free my brother…

UK Cover


Unfortunately, everyone who helps me ends up in a heap of trouble too—including my Trowbridge. How much longer he’ll be mine? Who can say. Now, I admit I’ve had my moments as a shivering coward, hoping he will come to my brave rescue. The whole Prince Charming thing is hard to shake. But these bad guys after me mean business. You know that ‘last straw’ metaphor? That was two straws ago. It’s now or never. Again…

Leigh was born in Montreal, Quebec but now lives in Southern Ontario with her husband. She's raised two kids, mothered three dogs, and herded a few cats. Other than that, her life was fairly routine until she hit the age of 50. Some women get tattoos, Leigh decided to write a (brilliant) book. A little tardy, but then again, her Mum always said she was a late bloomer.

Check out The Problem with Promises blog tour here!

Find Leigh:

Follow Leigh Evans on FacebookFollow Leigh Evans on PinterestFollow Leigh Evans on TwitterFollow Leigh Evans' Blog

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Creating Better Fantasy Economies: Who Does All the Work?

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Kameron Hurley to the blog, with a great post on creating the economics of a fantasy world.

Thanks for visiting, Kameron, and take it away!

I’m a big fantasy reader, especially the epics. Sprawling canvas.Tons of characters.New worlds.New rules.Crazy, complex societies. Unfortunately, a lot of the epics I read often start to blur together. I find myself running into the same societies, with the same rules, time and time again. I find this tendency astonishing in a genre that has free reign to completely reimagine societies from the ground up.

But, hey, I’m just one reader. And a writer to boot. So instead of just saying “Here are the top fantasy economy/society issues that’ll throw me out of a story” I asked folks on Twitter, writers and readers alike, to tell me what they found most annoying or problematic in the fantasy economies and societies they read about.

Here are the top fantasy economy/society failures, crowdsourced on Twitter, with hat tips given to those kind enough to share:

1)      Women are accepted as frontline fighters, but nothing else in the world is different. No mention of birth control, or social mores that change the general patriarchal bent of the rest of the world (which of course always ends up still being there; like women get equality in war but nothing else? Eh?). No mention of how children are minded, or what happens when women become pregnant, or if there are social stigmas between fraternization, or if it’s encouraged, or any other of a myriad of ways that the acceptance of women in combat would also be a reflection of other societal changes in the world. Who does all the work off the battlefield? Is it also accepted that men work in at-home cottage industries?(this was my top annoyance)

2)      Everybody speaks “Common”/every country has a monolithic language. There’s no universal language on this world, and it’s not likely there’s going to be one on a fantasy world, either, unless it’s run by some mega fascist empire. And even then, it’s highly likely there will be regional dialects and variations. Sure, many folks spoke Latin when Rome came a’conquering, but they also spoke their native languages and dialects. It may seem easier, as a writer, to hand wave and say there’s a trader’s language, but doing that actually cuts a lot of potential tension and flavor. I remember being in a restaurant near the Alhambra in in Granada, Spain, and encountering a host who spoke four languages fluently and could have simple conversations with patrons in three more.  I found this far more interesting than, “The host spoke Common.” And it’ll add more texture to the world, too. Lots of plot details can depend on people understanding, or misunderstanding one another. (hat tip @foxvertabrae, @annelyle and @teresafrohock)

3)      Assumed literacy. The sad fact is that outside the implementation of a massive public education system, many people will not know how to read. The UK’s literary rate is 95% (Finland’s is 100%, FYI) but in Afghanistan, it’s 21%. The reasons for that are many and varied, but I invite folks to consider what the literacy rate of a country would be in an area where larger powers were constantly fighting over the resources within it. Unless a fantasy country has free public education for all (and how are they paying for that?), people who read will be rich, or perhaps priests or magic users – a class of folks with the free time and means to pursue this pastime. In addition, lack of literacy also means an increase in the status of people whose business it is to write and transcribe information.  Administrative assistants FTW. (hat tip @doughulick)

4)      Everyone of X race/species is confined to a single country.Populations migrate. They interact. They trade. One of the biggest problems with basing fantasy worlds on an assumed medieval world is that the medieval world many of us are served up in school was not actually a monolithic white Christian one. Our past has been systematically cropped, erased, and rewritten so it looks more like the one the folks in power aspire to, not how it actually was.  Trade routes and hubs and big cities draw people from all across the world. Faces, social mores, awareness of the greater world, will be greater in large metro areas, but even smaller ones will get travelers from elsewhere. The world has never, ever been a monoculture. Fantasy worlds aren’t likely to be either, unless you’re trying to be super ironic. (hat tip @RJSWriter, @metteharrison)

5)      Treasure/resource finds that don’t significantly change theeconomy. What happens when a dragon’s horde of gold suddenly enters the economy? The diamond trade in ours is heavily controlled by just a few companies to keep diamonds from flooding the market and decreasing the value of what’s already in circulation. And we don’t simply print money willy-nilly, or we’ll end up paying for coffee with a wheelbarrow of notes. So if there’s a major horde of gold or wealth that’s uncovered over the course of the book one, in book two it’s probably best that’s it’s addressed how that horde of cash has changed the balance of the economy.In fact, it could lead to some very interesting plot complications. (hat tip @jonmhanse)

6)      Static languages, cultures, and technology.This is a big issue of mine. Change happens. Technology changes. No society is static. One of the things I liked to explore in my last series, which takes place over the course of twenty years, is how technology in the world – and the state of the ongoing war in the background – changes during that time period. It adds an incredible amount of richness, and believability, to an alternate or secondary world.Remember that a piece of technology like, say, a smart phone, isn’t going to change one aspect of society – it’s not just that people can make calls anywhere. It’s access to GPS systems, information on how to fix a car, a camera, a video recorder, and oh-so-much more. Think about how smart phones have transformed the world and how we interact in just a few years. Now what would happen if there was a new spell that could plant farmers’ crops for them? (hat tip @nethspace, @alecaustin and @scottlynch78)

7)      Money systems that make perfect modern-day sense.  I’m not a money nerd, so had no idea this was such an issue for some folks, but it was mentioned by @annelyle, @originalnot, @doughulick and @scottlynch78 as a pet peeve. The history of money is varied and complicated; base metals as currency isn’t as standard as you think. And if you’re using base metals and they aren’t being weighed to see how much has been skimmed off the sides of each coin, well… People do all sorts of things to both verify and counterfeit money. A few minutes figuring out how that happens could provide some useful flavor and interesting plot complications.

8)      Lack of bureaucracy. When I research empires throughout history, from Rome to the Aztecs, what I find interesting is the high level of bureaucracy required to manage such sprawling empires – something which is often lacking in much fantasy fiction. What kind of official stamps or paperwork or additional hoops do folks need to go through to travel, or benefit from government services (are there government services. And if not, what happens to the poor?) How are taxes collected and measured? Folks who sail across borders without question, or sprawling empires that lack solid communication systems, may be a red flag for a lot of readers, and knock them right out. (hat tip @jdiddyesquire and @johnhorner)
9)      “World-shattering magic, strange elder gods, twenty different sapient species, but patriarchy is a given.” (quote via @wallrike) I often suspect that we as fantasy writers and readers have particular blindspots when it comes to worldbuilding, and not paying enough attention to changing social mores/roles is a big one. We’ll spend agonizing amounts of time figuring out religions and different species, but most of humanity still ends up white, and organizes itself into a general patriarchal, hetero-hierarchy. This is a massive blindness, because to be honest, this is not actually how we’ve spent most of our existence organizing ourselves. Humans have been around for over 100,000 years; the hazy history we quote from is only about 10,000 years, and as we uncover and sift through the past, we tend to make it look a lot more like the present than it actually was. Even just a quick look at the Minoans, the Hopi and Iroquois, and the Musuo, will go a long way toward expanding one’s conception of what’s possible. Especially when you’re writing… fantasy. Fantasy! Live a little.

10)  Monarchy as unquestioned (and celebrated) default.  Monarchy is actually pretty boring. And let’s be real, once again: this is fantasy fiction, and we can do anything we want. So it’s astonishing that when we have this huge fantastic canvas to work with, we default to monarchy. In truth, people throughout history have organized themselves into all sorts of ways, from oligarchies to full and representative democracies, collectives, and anarchies. Think outside the norm. Readers will sit up and take notice. (hat tip @mygoditsraining)

11)  Ignoring the consequences of war. War has massive consequences. It disrupts lives. Relationships. Often, it can eliminate or transform entire social systems. At the very least, war leads to famine and disease. Raising a mighty army composed mostly of people who worked the land the year before means that the year after the war, food production is going to suffer. Whole towns and villages will be displaced. Trade routes obliterated. War has consequences – it’s not just a vehicle to get the protagonist to the throne. Also consider birth and infant mortality rates on successive generations, as families are split up and access to proper medical care is greatly reduced. We should see the repercussions of violence, not only throughout an area or country, but throughout the world as disruptions in that space ripple across those it touches through trade and diplomacy. (hat tip @tammacneil)

There’s a whole host of stumbling blocks on the way to crafting fantastic worlds. The amazing thing about fantasy is that we have an opportunity to push the boundaries of our imagination. If a fantasy world is less compelling or complex than the real world, take a step back and rethink it. I want my fantasy as least as interesting as my history.

We have the opportunity to imagine something really different. Why not go for it?

ABOUT Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is an award-winning writer and freelance copywriter who grew up in Washington State. She is the author of the book God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture, and her short fiction has appeared in magazines such Lightspeed, EscapePod, and Strange Horizons, and anthologies such as The Lowest Heaven and Year’s Best SF. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Dirty Magic - #1 in The Prospero's War Series

Yay! Huge Congrats to Jaye Wells! Dirty Magic, the fab first book in her awesome new urban fantasy series - Prospero's War - is out today!

From Jaye's website:

The Prospero’s War series combines the action of police procedurals with the speculative elements of urban fantasy. It’s a world where cops and wizards are fighting a war over addictive, dangerous, and illegal dirty magic. Kate Prospero knows a lot about dirty magic. Before she became a cop, she was raised in a coven that ran the Arcane criminal underworld of Babylon, Ohio. Her history helped her land a spot on a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, but as she works to bring down old friends and family members, she’ll have to face her own dysfunctional relationship with magic.

And if that doesn't tempt you, then let me tell you Dirty Magic is a brilliant book full of complex and intriguing characters (Kate Prospero is smart, ambitious, and chock full of conflict about her family, job, and magic); unique and fascinating world-building (the cauldron leaps off the page, and the alchemy potions and their kick-backs are inspired); and plenty of Jaye's trademark hard-hitting action (Kate is one kick-ass lady, and the rest of the players aren't shy of getting down and dirty either!). Dirty Magic is dark and gritty and twisty, and definitely a treat to read*!

*Yes, of course I've read it! And you can all be jealous, 'cos you'll want to read it, too - and today you can! Yay! *g*

Read the first chapter of Dirty Magic here

Order Dirty Magic now from Amazon UK | Amazon | B&N | Apple | Indie Bound

Saturday, 30 November 2013

21st December One Day Blog Hop - Casting Light upon the Darkness

designed by

Myths and Truths about the Moon

One of the things I love about writing is research. It always amazes me where an idea can take you, and what new and interesting (to me, anyway) facts, or not-so-true beliefs are out there. Of course, research, much like casting light upon the darkness*, is a chicken and egg thing – which one comes first?

The other thing about research is it’s an iceberg, or should be anyway. As much as any writer knows (or finds out) about something, only the bare minimum of that knowledge needs to find its way into the story. But enough of that, this isn't a story but myths and truths about the moon - some of which may, or may not, find their way into a story, at some point (probably in the next Spellcrackers book! *teases*) :-D

The Myths and Truths!

The Dark Side of the Moon (when we're not talking about Pink Floyd) - Myth

Like the Earth, the moon rotates on its own axis, so, like Earth it has days when it’s facing the sun, and nights when it isn’t. But, as each of the moon’s rotations take the same amount of time as it takes to orbit Earth, we on Earth only ever see the nearest to us side of the moon, making it seem as if the far side is dark. Of course, to actually see the far side, we’d have to take a trip into space (which doesn’t happen too often) so all manner of dark things could be going on up there, and we’d never know! :-D

Pic from here with thanks!
The Man in the Moon - Truth!

Eugene (Gene) Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), was buried on the moon on 31st July, 1999. Gene was a geologist and co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife. His ashes were taken to the moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe, in a brass capsule, inscribed with this quotation from Romeo and Juliet:

 "And, when he shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun." 

So, truth . . .

Okay, I’m probably stretching it a bit here, since 'the Man in the Moon' is actually dead, but hey, his ghostly spirit could be having a lot of fun up there, otherwise why go all that way to get buried! *g*

The Moon is Perfectly Round - Myth

Full moons look round to us but the moon is an oblate spheroid which is more like the shape of a slightly flattened ball/crossed with a bird’s egg. Only the smaller end of the ‘bird’s egg’ is on the far side of the moon, so looking from Earth, we can’t see it. Hopefully, no large alien with a super-huge spoon comes along and has a go at cracking it! The moon has eight phases – True!

Image from here with thanks: 

And I just love the word gibbous! Now I want to use it to describe a character! :-)

The dictionary definitions are:

1 a : marked by convexity or swelling
b of the moon or a planet : seen with more than half but not all of the apparent disk illuminated
2 : having a hump : humpbacked
Origin of GIBBOUS Middle English, from Late Latin gibbosus humpbacked, from Latin gibbus hump
First Known Use: 14th century

Full Moon Madness (aka Lycanthropy) - Myth!

Yes, ’tis a myth! What? Of course it is? Shapeshifters don't exist, right? Right! :-D

The full moon doesn’t cause any of the bizarre or crazy events! It’s a proven scientific fact that the moon doesn’t have any physical, gravitational pull on people, and so it’s not responsible for any upswing in violence and crime, or mild-mannered Americans turning in to werewolves. Though there are some statistics that seem to show that this does occur when there’s a full moon (Not the werewolf bit, but the excess of crazy and violent bits), but we all know about the truth of statistics*, don’t we? So, sadly, that werewolf I saw loping through my garden last full moon was just a figment of my imagination . . . *looks shifty* 

Blue Moon’s aren’t Blue – True!

A blue moon is when the werewolves get a second chance at running amok— umm, sorry *curbs imagination* *resumes* A blue moon is when we get a second full moon in a calendar month, which happens every two or three years. It’s called a blue moon because it’s a rare occurrence, hence the saying ‘once in a blue moon’. And while a blue moon isn’t named for its colour, the moon can, in fact, sometimes look blue, which is down to atmospheric conditions (volcanic eruptions/large fires). So, we now have the chicken and egg conundrum – did the saying come first, or the monika? Answers on a postcard of the moon, please! (aka in the comments) *g*

*given enough massaging of selected data, statistics can tell us exactly what we want them too. And, yes, since you ask, I can be that cynical ;p

*or is it the darkness swallowing the light ...  And hey, I got the theme in. Sort of. Right? Right! *g*

And talking about the theme, and the blog hop - check out all these fabulous blog hop posts below!

  1. Helen Hollick : A little light relief concerning those dark reviews! Plus a Giveaway Prize
  2. Prue Batten : Casting Light....
  3. Alison Morton  : Shedding light on the Roman dusk  - Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  4. Anna Belfrage  : Let there be light!
  5. Beth Elliott : Steering by the Stars. Stratford Canning in Constantinople, 1810/12
  6. Melanie Spiller : Lux Aeterna, the chant of eternal light
  7. Janet Reedman   The Winter Solstice Monuments
  8. Petrea Burchard  : Darkness - how did people of the past cope with the dark? Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  9. Richard Denning The Darkest Years of the Dark Ages: what do we really know? Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  10. Pauline Barclay  : Shedding Light on a Traditional Pie
  11. David Ebsworth : Propaganda in the Spanish Civil War
  12. David Pilling  :  Greek Fire -  Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  13. Debbie Young : Fear of the Dark
  14. Derek Birks  : Lies, Damned Lies and … Chronicles
  15. Mark Patton : Casting Light on Saturnalia
  16. Tim Hodkinson : Soltice@Newgrange
  17. Wendy Percival  : Ancestors in the Spotlight
  18. Judy Ridgley : Santa and his elves  Plus a Giveaway Prize
  19. Katherine Bone   : Admiral Nelson, A Light in Dark Times
  20. Christina Courtenay : The Darkest Night of the Year
  21. Edward James  : The secret life of Christopher Columbus; Which Way to Paradise?
  22. Janis Pegrum Smith  : Into The Light - A Short Story
  23. Julian Stockwin  : Ghost Ships - Plus a Giveaway Present
  24. Manda Scott : Dark into Light - Mithras, and the older gods
  25. Pat Bracewell Anglo-Saxon Art: Splendor in the Dark
  26. Lucienne Boyce : We will have a fire - 18th Century protests against enclosure
  27. Nicole Evelina What Lurks Beneath Glastonbury Abbey? 
  28. Sky Purington  :  How the Celts Cast Light on Current American Christmas Traditions
  29. Stuart MacAllister (Sir Read A Lot) : The Darkness of Depression
Thank you for visiting - wishing you light and laughter for the Winter Solstice!

    Sunday, 17 November 2013

    Authors for Philippines - Auction Lots!

    The fabulous authors Keris Stainton, Keren David, and Candy Gourlay have set up the Authors for Philippines Auction to raise money to help those in need after the devastation of Typoon Haiyan.

    I have two lots in the auction:

    Lot 1: All 5 Spellcrackers books (matching paperbacks. 1-4 will be sent now, and 5 - The Hidden Rune of Iron - when it's published in 2014. Winning bidder will also receive an eARC of #5 as soon as it's available), signed and personalised, for yourself, or as a book'ish Christmas pressie for someone! :-)

    Lot 2: Want to be a character in my next book, The Hidden Rune of Iron? Your character may or may not die horribly!! *g* 

    So why not go and bid, and treat yourself, or a friend! And if you don't fancy either of my lots, there are hundreds more, all in aid of a very deserving cause, so go check the auction out. :-)

    Thank you, and Happy Bidding!!

    From the Authors for Philippines website:

    "Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday (8 November), causing catastrophic damage. It is the strongest storm ever to make landfall, hitting an area where thousands of people are already homeless after an earthquake in mid-October. 

    The 300-mile wide typhoon – locally known as Yolanda – has left a trail of destruction with thousands feared dead. The full extent of the damage will become clearer in the next few days as rescue teams reach the more remote areas. 

    Philippine Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground since before the storm hit, helping with evacuation plans and warning communities. Now, they are getting aid to the people who are most in need and preparing to help thousands more." 

    The auction is now live and you can bid on the items via the comments on the individual posts. Once the auction has ended (Wednesday 20th November), the winning bidder will be contacted and ask them to donate the funds directly to the Red Cross and send the confirmation of payment to us.

    When we’ve received the confirmation, we’ll ask the relevant author to contact the winning bidder. (In other words, we are not dealing directly with any donations. All donations are to be made directly to the Red Cross appeal.)

    Friday, 13 September 2013

    TALES OF EVE anthology!

    "Tales of Eve", edited by the lovely Anne-Mhairi Simpson, and published by Fox Spirit Books, features lots of fab and different stories by these awesome authors: Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ren Warom, Paul Weimer, Andrew Reid, Fran Terminiello, Juliet E McKenna, Alasdair Stuart, Colum Paget, Rob Haines, and ME*!! *g*

    Weird Science, Stepford Wives, that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer… 

    Genre fiction abounds with tales of men creating (or attempting to create) the perfect woman.

    Now it’s the woman’s turn. But being female, she’s flexible. She doesn’t just want to create the perfect man. She wants the perfect companion, be it man, beast or washing machine.

    My story is - Mother Knows Best - and Mhairi says of it in her introduction: Mother Knows Best had me laughing out loud. Suzanne McLeod's magical story of one woman trying to live her life while dealing with motherly machinations is brilliantly entertaining and I'm sure most readers, of either gender, will be able to relate. (Thanks, Mhairi!)

    I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope any readers have as much enjoyment with it as I did!

    (p.s. It's not a Spellcrackers story, but a stand alone set in a different world :-)) Available to buy in various e-formats here and at Amazon UK and Amazon US in print and Kindle

    Kindle US is available but I can't link to it because I'm in the UK :-)

    Friday, 12 July 2013

    I'm going to be here, here, and here . . .

    Tomorrow, Sat 13th, I'll be here at EDGE-LIT 2 - science-fiction, fantasy and horror day, at the QUAD, Derby.The Guests of Honour are these wonderful three - Mike Carey, Stan Nicholls and Tricia Sullivan.

    My panels:

    11am – Fear Today: What Scares Us in 2013? Tom Fletcher, Suzanne McLeod, Sarah Pinborough, Niki Valentine, Conrad Williams

    5pm – Urban Renewal: What Makes Urban Fantasy so Popular? Suzanne McLeod, Lou Morgan, Emma Newman,Gaie Sebold, Freda Warrington

    Full schedule of events is here.

    If you're going then don't forget to say hello and have a chat.

    Monday 15th I'm heading up to London with a bag full of my all time favourite books*, because the awesome Charlaine Harris is doing a signing at Waterstones, Gower Street! Woot!! *HUGE FAN GIRL SQUEE* :-D

    *Books are already packed - though not sure if the store has a limit on how many Charlaine will be able to sign, so if you're going too (don't forget to say hello :-D) best check first before taking a pile. *makes note to follow own advice*  *books are heavy* *g*

    And if you can't make London, then the rest of Charlaine's UK tour details are here.

    And on Tuesday 16th I'm delighted to be a guest of the Storyslingers writers' group in Shaftesbury, Dorset. I'll be appearing with good pal and fab SFF author Jaine Fenn at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre at 6.30pm. We're planning on doing short readings then a fairly informal Q and A. We'll do our best to live up to this impressive poster! More details here.

    Thursday, 6 June 2013

    Birthdays and Books - Meridian Six.

    It's my Birthday today! I'm *cough* 21 and a bit, again *cough*, and as usual I'm treating myself to some books (Best Presents EVAH! :-D)

    First up is this awesome novella - Meridian Six - published today by the awesome Jaye Wells, in honour of my birthday*!! (Read on for a giveaway!)

    Woot!! Happy Book Birthday, Jaye! 

    So here's the skinny . . .

    Meridian Six remembers the days before the Troika enslaved humans. She also remembers her mother, a freedom fighter who was murdered in the final battle between humans and vampires. But it is her mother's final words that have haunted her: 

    Never stop fighting, Carmina. Red means life.

    In the years since her mother's death, Meridian Six has been used as both a propaganda tool and a blood slave by the Troika. She's withstood their indignities because they were better than breaking her back in a labor camp or bleeding our in a blood camp. But when the abuses finally go too far, she decides to run towards freedom and her mother's red light. 

    On the other side of the light, she finds the Sisters of Crimson. They help her like her mother promised, but they also hand her to the human rebels, who have their own plans for the daughter of the race's famous freedom fighter. The vampires used her famous name to keep human slaves biddable, but now the humans want to use it inspire a revolution. 

    Meridian Six is about to learn that when the world is at war, freedom is a luxury paid for with blood.

    Sounds THRILLING, right? And it is! Everyone's gonna want to read this one! :-D

    Check out the excerpt here on Jaye's website.

    Buy from:
    Barnes and Noble


    And to celebrate my birthday and share my love for Jaye's new release I'm giving away 6 copies of Meridian Six!
    2 copies on the blog - to enter leave a comment on this post. Ends 6pm (GMT) 13th June 2013

    2 copies on Facbook - to enter this one Like my page and leave a comment on the giveaway post. Ends 6pm (GMT) 13th June 2013.

    2 copies on Twitter - to enter Tweet this: Happy Book Birthday to @jayewells for e-novella MERIDIAN SIX! RT on 6/6 4 chance to win (details here
    ETA: Twitter winners have been notified :-)
    (Ends midnight 6th June (everywhere))


    ~Meridian Six is an e-novella and available for Kindle (US and UK) and Nook. So the giveaway copies will be one of those versions. If you don't have a Kindle, Kindle files can be read on any device by downloading the Kindle app from Amazon.
    ~You can comment/Tweet on all three places (blog/FB/Twitter) which = 3 separate entries. So three chances to win.

    ~Giveaway is open to any, so long as the winner can accept a gift e-novella from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.
    ~Winners drawn by

    *Kidding! Jaye might be my crit partner but Meridian Six is published today because it fits the story, and also 'cos it's such a brilliant date! Plus, it's easy to remember; I should know, it's been my 'date' all my life *g*

    Sunday, 19 May 2013


    Getting my scary on early!*g*
    GingerDead Men and Voodoo Curse Cookies!

    Recipe from here (First one that's worked for me; I doubled up on the spice :-))
    Cookie cutters from

    Sunday, 12 May 2013

    My Keeper Shelf: Charlaine Harris

    This is the brilliant book that started it all!
    My original signed copy (I have another, newer one for re-reading :-))
    And here's the fab one I've just read!

    Every one of Charlaine's books is on my Keeper Shelf (be it physical or digital :-)). She's one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE AUTHORS, and any story she writes is an autobuy for me. I discovered her Sookie books back in June 2003 through Laurel K Hamilton (who mentioned the Sookie books in an interview), and my love of vampires. As soon as I read the brilliant Dead until Dark I was hooked, and I've been a massive fan every since.

    I'm a little sad, for me, that there are no more Sookie adventures to come, but so happy for Sookie that she triumphs in this last one, and that she's got the 'Happy Ending' I think is absolutely perfect for her! And even though Dead Ever After is the last Sookie book*, I know Sookie and all her wonderful friends are at home on my Keeper Shelf any time I need to get me another Sookie fix.

    Of course, Sookie's not alone on my Keeper Shelf. Right next to her are Harper Connelly, Aurora Teagarden, and Lily Bard. Charlaine sure knows how to write AWESOME STORIES about AMAZING WOMEN, but then Charlaine is a truly AMAZING WOMAN* herself, so it's no surprise. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! Thanks so much, Charlaine, for being a true inspiration, and for many, many wonderful reads, re-reads, and future re-reads!

    *After Dead: What came next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse

    With characters arranged alphabetically—from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli—bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps and environs. You’ll learn how Michele and Jason’s marriage fared, what happened to Sookie’s cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB’s twins grew up to be solid citizens.

    This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions—including details of Sookie’s own happily-ever-after…

    *I've been super lucky enough to meet Charlaine twice: once in 2010 *HUGE FANGIRL MOMENT*, and again last year at Romantic Times in Chicago (where, along with BFF Paula, we all had a lovely ice-cream tea - with hot tea, of course - Brit here!! *g*), and Charlaine is a lovely, classy, down-to-earth, and very funny lady, who is always a pleasure to squeee at . . . err, to chat to. :-D

    Oh, and as to all the horrendous other stuff about the ending of this book . . . well, we authors LOVE our readers and fans, we think YOU ALL ROCK, BIG TIME, and it saddens me no end that there are some folk out there who call themselves 'fans', and think that gives them the right to behave extremely badly. But enough! As Charlaine says here: 'let's go with the love!' (okay, paraphrasing a bit, but you get the picture :-))

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