Top Ten Vamps, Best Books of 2012, and Future Reading!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday, however you celebrated. Ours was quiet with the family, and Bella the Hound. As you can see she loved her squeaky reindeer, even falling asleep still clutching it; she's such a puppy :-D
I've also been around the internet (despite being quiet in some areas :-))

I'm over at the fab Nudge on Book Geek with my Top Ten Vampires. (And I was good and don't talk about Malik, though, of course, he is my Numero Uno Fang Guy *g*) Bet you can't guess who I chose as my substitute #1?

I'm here at the awesome Wicked Lil Pixie for her 31 Days of Xmas. Find out about my fav holiday food, the weirdest thing I collect (not that weird :-)), and my fav books of 2012. And there's a GIVEAWAY (Int: winner's choice of one of my books)! And there are loads of other fab authors in the event, with giveaways too!

The lovely Melliane at Between Dreams and Reality has both The Bitter Seed of Magic and The Shifting Price of Prey on her Best of 2012 list! *blushes* Huge thanks, Melliane! Plus she's having a GIVEAWAY (Int: winner's choice of any of the books on her list, and there are lots of AWESOME books on the list, so why not check it out?

And wonderful Ellie at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm has The Sweet Scent of Blood on her Best of 2012 list, in some fabulous company. *blushes again* Thanks so much, Ellie!

As for my own Best Books of 2012 - they're all here on my Goodreads. Most are next books in my fav series, or by Authors I Love, and a few are by new, or new-to-me authors that I'll mention here. (Note to self: read more new authors).

The Trouble with Fate by awesome Leigh Evans (out now in the US and releases Jan 3rd in the UK).

My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…

Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering, until a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet.

I was lucky enough to get an early read of this fab book! Hedi, the heroine is a likeable, light-fingered heroine with smarts; Bridge is a tough, sexy hero with troubles; and there's a glimpse into a fascinating fae world that will have you howling for the next book. I loved it and can't wait for the next one!

***
Elsewhere, Midnight Girl, and Nevernever by Will Shetterly. These are linked novels of the Borderland series, set in Bordertown - A hybrid community of misfits, oddballs and runaways. Where humans, elves and halflings co-exist. Where magic and the brutal realities of survival clash and mix

One of my all time fav books is War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Reading that lead me to Finder, her novel set in the Borderlands (which has some of the same characters as Will's novels) which is another love. As soon as I read it I wanted more of the Borderlands world, but this was in the olden times when the print books were hard to get hold of here in the UK, before the Rise of the eBook! But now Will's Borderland books (and others) are on Kindle (which is my current e-reader of choice, but not the only one available :-)). #VeryHappyReader

ETA: Books read this year 70+
Currently reading: The wonderful A Tangle of Magicks by Stephanie Burgis - LOVE
***
And here's two books that I'm hugely looking forward to reading in 2013.

Between by Kerry Schafer - out Jan 29 US, and UK (I think)

Vivian Maylor can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because she just broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a new town, or it could be the stress of her new job at the hospital. But perhaps it’s because her dreams have started to bleed through into her waking hours. All of her life Vivian has rejected her mother’s insane ramblings about Dreamworlds for concrete science and fact, until an emergency room patient ranting about dragons spontaneously combusts before her eyes—forcing Viv to consider the idea that her visions of mythical beasts might be real. And when a chance encounter leads her to a man she knows only from her dreams, Vivian finds herself falling into a world that seems strange and familiar all at once—a world where the line between dream and reality is hard to determine, and hard to control…

***
Seven Kinds of Hell (Fangborn series #1) by Dana Cameron - out March 12 US, and UK.

Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the “Fangborn,” a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil. To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.

***

Me, Mr Mc and Bella are celebrating Hogmanay with shortbread and a wee dram, as always. Hope everyone enjoys their own New Year celebrations and wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013!

Sláinte!
 See you next year!

Winter Solstice (and pickled eggs).

Lovely UK blogger (Yay! :-D) Jenny of Eternally Books has interviewed me here for her Winter Solstice event, asking about my writing inspirations, and which character of mine I'd love to have dinner with among others. Oh, and I let everyone in on my feelings about pickled eggs! (Bet that's got you all desperate to go and read now *g*). The event has lots of fab posts and giveaways, including winner's choice of one of my books! So why not head on over there and enter, and if you've already got my books (Thank you, and You ROCK!) it could make a great xtra pressie for someone if you win!  :-D



And don't forget you can find out all about Genny's Christmas Holidays and how she celebrates (and who she meets in secret every Christmas Dawn) over at the fantastic Nocturnal Book Reviews.

There's a giveaway of winner's choice of one of my books (int), plus there are lots of other fab authors on Nocturnal Book Reviews Christmas guest list! So why not head on over and check it out. Go on, you know you want to *g*

Christmas with Genny!

Find out all about Genny's Christmas Holidays and how she celebrates (and who she meets in secret every Christmas Dawn) over at the fantastic Nocturnal Book Reviews.

There's a giveaway of winner's choice of one of my books (int), plus there are lots of other fab authors on Nocturnal Book Reviews Christmas guest list! So why not head on over and check it out. Go on, you know you want to *g*

The New Furry Addition to Our Family.

Me and Mr Mc decided a couple of weeks ago that it was time to look for another Hound. Our last two Hounds were both rescues and were very much loved during the time we were lucky enough to have them with us. So we knew we wanted to find another dog who needed a new home. We looked around online and saw a gorgeous dog called Bella at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London. After applying and being approved, we high-tailed it up to Battersea last Friday to meet her. She was, and is, as fab as she looked, and she seemed to like us too. So after a couple of hours getting to know her a little, we brought her home with us! Yay!

So this is Bella! She's 2 years old (and is still very puppy'ish :-)) and is a Labrador/German shepherd cross. She's a fantastic girl, loves a cuddle and is very bright (other than when it comes to patio doors not being open; good job she's got a tough head!!) and she knows nearly all her basic commands. We just need to work on her lead handling and her recall, which are always the hard ones. :-) She's settling in well (as you can see below!) and now she's been home a few days she's starting to relax and is treating the house and garden as her territory, rather than just as a new and exciting place to explore :-)

She's looking a tad worried here, but having your picture taken gets you like that sometimes *g*

There are some, or rather, a lot (proud new Hound mum *g*) more pictures of her here on flickr, and a short video below :-).


 

The Next Big Thing Meme

I've been tagged in The Next Big Thing Meme by the lovely Helen Hollick who writes wonderful historical fiction and (Hawt) pirate-based adventures. And since I'm so lucky (eek, sorry for the Kylie earworm . . .), I've also been tagged by the amazing Sarah Pinborough who writes fabulous supernatural stories, fantastic films, and awesome TV stuff (very precise, I know, so check out her website for details :-D)

So, what's the meme about, I hear you ask!
(I have very good hearing ;p)

Well, you're so lucky (cue Kylie again!), because it's all questions about ME!


What is the title of your next book? 
The Hidden Rune of Iron. It’s the fifth book in my Spellcrackers.com series and this one sees Genny Taylor, the main character of the books, looking for an Iron Rune (unsurprisingly, given the title :-D) for more than one reason (no spoilers here!), but the main one is she needs to find the Rune to help her friends.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It comes from where Genny's story needs to go next after The Shifting Price of Prey. Each of the Spellcrackers books have a complete story that sees Genny dealing with a problem and a ‘baddie’, and with Genny coming up with a way to kill, err, sorry, deal with both the problem and the ‘baddie’. But the series as a whole has an overarching plot that moves on towards a point where Genny will be [redacted for spoiler *g*].  And The Hidden Rune of Iron is the next story towards that point :-D
(Yep, I know, I haven't really told you anything . . . what did you expect? Oh, and baddies aren’t necessarily bad, well, not in their own eyes, anyway. Plus, yesterday's baddie could always be tomorrow’s hero, who can tell . . . other than the author, obviously. Yep, I’m messing with you. *winks*)

What genre does your book fall under?
Urban fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm, I don't usually picture actors when I write characters and, even when I look for ones that might fit, my internal image of them changes day to day, but here are today's possibles:
Genny – Cassidy Freeman (Sage who made Damon (Woot!) in The Vampire Diaries).
Malik – Jon Foo an English actor and martial artist who starred in Tekken.
Finn – Jensen Ackles (with longer hair, and horns - oops, where did they come from, as here).
Tavish – Ryan Gentles (if he was slightly greener *g*)





Pictures all sourced from the actors' pages on IMDb with thanks.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Genny has to travel to find The Hidden Rune of Iron in order to save her fae friends. (I could say more but, you know, spoilers!)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Gollancz.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still writing it but hoping to finish it soon . . .

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Can I say my own? Well, I have now, so . . . if you like the other Spellcrackers books, then I think you’ll love this one (*hints* lots of page time for a certain vamp . . . *g*)

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My love of all things vamp and fae, and I wanted to find out what happens next with Genny and Co. :-D

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Genny’s going to be coming up against some characters who appeared briefly in previous books, some of whom she gets to know better, and some she doesn't want to *insert evil author cackle*, along with some brand new characters and, of course, she’s going to have to deal with the fallout from The Shifting Price of Prey. Dum dum dum DUM!

And that's enough about me, so here are the other authors tagged by Sarah (first 3) and Helen in their own words (copy and paste is a wonderful thing :-D).

Bill Hussey is an awesome YA author whose grisly Witchfinder series is well worth reading! Kids everywhere love it – adults too. Strange that someone so chirpy can write the death of children so well. That’s probably why I like him.
Jonathan Green is a prolific fiction and non-fiction writer who has covered a range of styles and genres in his time. He’s a steampunk king and a disco diva. I heart him.
Alexandra Sokoloff is a kick ass writer who grabbed my attention with her first novel The Harrowing, and we have been firm friends ever since. She’s blonde and mental in all the best ways. What’s not to like?;-)
Debbie Young : Her new book is Sell Your Book - hints and tips for new writers on how to get your book noticed
David Ebsworth : His novel Jacobites' Apprentice was nominated UK Indie Editor's Choice for the Historical Novel Society Indie Review
Richard Denning : Historical Adventure and Fantasy writer for young adults
Beachy Books : Excellent interactive books for young children - ideal Christmas Gifts!


And here are the lovely authors I've tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing on the 21st Nov!


Tom Lloyd
Tom's a great pal who writes the epic and glorious Twilight Reign fantasy series, about Isak, a white-eye, who's born bigger, more charismatic and more powerful than normal men… but with that power comes an unpredictable temper and an inner rage.(You can bet there are fireworks, and battles, and all sorts of bloody, gory stuff in these books *g*)

Leigh Evans
My lovely Canadian friend Leigh writes the awesome Mystwalker urban fantasy series about Hedi Peacock. Her first book - The Trouble with Fate - is out at Christmas (US) and New Year (UK). I've read it! It's brilliant! You'll want to read it too!:-D

Elspeth Cooper
The wonderful Elspeth writes the superb fantasy, The Wild Hunt Quartet, with witches, church knights, the Hidden Kingdom, and the Songs of the Earth in which novice Knight Gair can hear music no one else can, beautiful, terrible music: music with power. (And you can bet that doesn't go well for him *g*)

And I tagged Samit Basu, writer of superheroes (such a great writer, damn him!), but someone else nabbed him first! *curses*. His Next Big Thing meme is here!

My thanks to Helen and Sarah for Tagging me.

The Next Big Thing . . . (and a tree!)

I've been tagged (twice!) as part of The Next Big Thing so watch this space next week, but until then why not check out these fab posts by my fellow writers and taggers - aka the amazing Sarah Pinborough, talking about Mayhem and the wonderful Helen Hollick, talking about Ripples in the Sand.


And, for a bit of fun, here's a picture of a tree! And a poll!  

Picture copyright Suzanne McLeod

Which Spellcrackers book does this tree appear in?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Go on, click a button, you know you want to . . . *g*

Wimborne Literary Festival (Halloween Time Warp edition)

Tomorrow - 1st November at 7.30 pm - I'll be appearing at the Wimborne Literary Festival with my fab pal Jaine Fenn. (Details here!) If you're about we'd love you to come and see us! And since it's Hallowe'en here's a small preview . . . 

video



NB: The 'management' would like to gratefully thank Jason Momoa for his unofficial participation in this production!

If you're viewing on Google reader think you might need to click through to see the video.

Malik interviewed by Dangerous Romance.

The lovely ladies, Laurie and Sabina, at Dangerous Romance tell the tale of how they came to Spellcrackers London to interview Malik*, asking him questions like, how does he really feel about Genny? Why is he so protective of her? And what does he think about Finn? 

*Malik’s answers were given by ‘him’ (under my close authorial supervision - can't have him giving any spoilers out! *g*), and my own interjections were, of course, my own. Spellcrackers London used by Dangerous Romance with my permission.

Free story, Questions, Spooky London and Tigers!

A quick round up . . .

~New free Spellcrackers short story - PIECE OF CAKE - in Andromeda's Offspring Fanzine, issue #5. It's a standalone set before The Sweet Scent of Blood - Spellcrackers #1 - and is about one of Genny's first spellcracking jobs. Enjoy! :-D)

~The lovely Grete at Book Thing asked me lots of Irreverent Questions (like whether I get dressed to write and if I like movies to have HEAs. *looks shifty* :-D).

~I'm over at the fab Book Chick City blogging about  'Spooky London' for their All Hallows Eve event, and there's a giveaway, too! (winner's choice of one of my books; Int ends 31st Oct) Plus there are lots of other All Hallows Eve posts and giveaways from lots of fantastic authors. Why not head over and check it out?
Oh, and BCC is doing a new mini feature on their sidebar - My Favourite Book - where I (surprisingly ;p) talk about one of my all time favourite books!

~Here I talk about Switch - a new ITV2 comedy drama about The Witches of Camden.


~And here's an interesting* story I found online:

Two Sumatran tigers flown to new home at ZSL London Zoo


The tigers were accompanied by a dedicated zookeeper, around 10 pounds of meat and 2 gallons of water.

Melati, a female from Perth Zoo in Australia arrived last month and Jae-Jae, a male tiger from Akron Zoo in Ohio, arrived last weekend.

The two tigers have been clocking up some serious air miles after being flown 14,000 miles to London to take part in an international breeding program. It is hoped the two Sumatran tigers, one from the USA and one from Australia, will breed now they've touched down at Heathrow airport to start their new lives at London Zoo. 

*Genny spends some time at London Zoo in The Shifting Price of Prey *g*

The Witches of Camden - Switch.

Switch is a new series on ITV2 about four witches living in London which looked like it was right up my alley :-D. The twenty-something witches have been friends, and a coven of four, since they met at fourteen, at Solstice camp. Now they share a flat together in Camden.



Stella is linked with the element Earth and, as that suggests, is the practical and motherly one of the four. She works at an advertising company and has a demanding bitch for a boss.

Jude is linked with fire, and works in fashion. Like her element she’s feisty and impulsive.

Hannah is linked with air, and is more interested in travelling the world than putting down roots.

Grace is linked with water, works as a physiotherapist, and is the quiet one who worries about the others and has an over-protective mother to deal with.

Things I liked:
~The four of them can’t cast spells separately, only when they get together.
~The spells they cast don’t always turn out how they want (which is pretty normal when it comes to casting spells, so not such a surprise, but the unexpected results feed well into the humour).
~The girls are supportive of each other and their bickering lacks any bitchiness.
~The humour.
~The summer Solstice camp, which is a lovely bit of worldbuilding.
~The mix of magic and mundane.
~Grace’s mother (played by the wonderful Caroline Quentin).
~The ending, which does a fab job of setting up the next episode.

Things that didn’t quite work for me:
~The episode’s conflicts - both from the relationships and the spells - were resolved a little too easily and neatly.
~The world lacks a certain edginess/darkness.

 *Spoilers* below (should be blacked out so can be highlighted to read, so the warning is just in case.






~The plot holes – (highlight for minor spoilers) like how Grace’s boss seemed to take things in her stride once the spell cast on her was lifted; like how the girls could afford their large, expensive London flat; like how one of the girls can travel halfway round the world in less than half a day; and like how the hell can someone put a cup of coffee in a microwave and not notice a (rather large) black cat.

Though with it being the first episode, hopefully some or all of this might change/be ‘explained’ in future ones.

I LOVE the show’s premise and I think it does exactly what it sets out to do – deliver a fun, light-hearted supernatural show that aims to explore the relationships between and around the four girls, with a little added magic. Though, I have to admit I’m not sold on Switch yet, but I want to be, so I’ll be watching next week to see what happens next! :-D

How about any of you? Did you watch? If so, what did you think (make sure you mark any comments if they include spoilers)? And are you going to watch again?

More about the show here.
Watch the show here (if you can access ITV’s iPlayer)
Picture taken with thanks from here - copyright ITV2

Free Spellcrackers short story - Piece of Cake.

New free Spellcrackers short story - PIECE OF CAKE - in Andromeda's Offspring Fanzine, issue #5.
It's a standalone set before The Sweet Scent of Blood - Spellcrackers #1. Enjoy:-D)

And talking of cake - have some spam pics of Birthday Cupcakes made for my horse-mad niece!  
Dark double choc with salted caramel buttercream icing
Milk choc with white choc bits and salted caramel buttercream icing

Books by Mike Carey, Samit Basu & Nicole Peeler up for grabs!

Thought I'd try a Rafflecopter giveaway, so here goes :-)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 1 - Eye of the Tempest - Jane True #4 - Nicole Peeler
Giveaway 2 - The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey
Giveaway 3 - Turbulence by Samit Basu

1st name drawn gets their first choice of book, 2nd name drawn gets their 1st/2nd choice book, and 3rd name drawn gets the book not chosen by the previous two winners.
Winners drawn by Random.org.

Giveaways are international where Book Depository deliver and end Midnight (EST) Oct 17th, 2012.

Comments on the previous giveaway post here still count, but entrants can get more entries using the Raffelcopter above :-)






The Steel Seraglio, Turbulence and Other Books (+ giveaways)

So a (really) short update of Fantasycon* - I had a blast and, more importantly, our cupcakes and biscuits raised £215 for National Literacy Trust. Woot!!

Huge thanks to my fab, fellow bakers Adele, Louise, Rhian, Michaela, and Andrew, with extra thanks to Michaela and Andrew who ended up doing most of the selling/organising.

Some pics of cakes (if you want to drool) are here! (Mostly mine as I had con camera-fail as usual) And even HUGER thanks and virtual hugs go to everyone who bought and devoured the cakes, and to those who managed to resist temptation but were cake-tastic and still donated. Thank you!

Now onto books (and giveaways - details at the end of the post)! These are some that have come to live with me recently. Death's Rival is #5 in Faith Hunter's fantastic Jane Yellowrock/Beast UF series, which I adore. Anton Strout's Alchemystic is the first in his new Spellmason Chronicles series, which looks like it's going to Rock*! And I was lucky to nab two copies of Nicole Peeler's awesome Eye of the Tempest at Fantasycon! Yay! Jane True FTW! (And one's in the giveaway!)


Another book that came home with me from Fantasycon is The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey. Mike is one of my all time writerly heros (LOVE his Felix Castor books!), so I was thrilled when he gave me a signed copy of The Steel Seraglio co-written with his wife and daughter. I'm two thirds of the way through reading it and, WOW!


The third book that I have thanks to Fantasycon, and my lovely pal Ben who introduced us, is Samit Basu's Turbulence. We three had a wonderful writerly chat about writing (;p) and characters and how as authors we love to be evil! *g* At the end of which I forced my first book on Samit and insisted he read it and demanded he give me his asked Samit if he might want to swap books! He said yes! Yay! I haven't started Turbulence yet but I did sneak a quick read of the first page! Awesome beginning!


TURBULENCE is a hyper-real novel set in an over-the-top world. It features the 21st-century Indian subcontinent in all its insane glory – F-16s, Bollywood, radical religious parties, nuclear plants, cricket, terrorists, luxury resorts, crazy TV shows – but is essentially about two very human questions.

How would you feel if you actually got what you wanted?

What would you do if you were given the power to change the world?

‘For wicked wit, for post-modern superheroics, for sheer verbal energy and dazzle, Samit Basu doesn’t so much push the envelope as fold it into an n-dimensional hyper-envelope, address it to your hind-brain and mail it with a rail gun.’- Mike Carey (X-men, Lucifer, the Felix Castor series)

‘You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gasp and you will demand a sequel.’- Ben Aaronovitch (Doctor Who, Rivers of London)

Onto the GIVEAWAYS

Giveaway 1 - Eye of the Tempest - Jane True #4 - Nicole Peeler
Giveaway 2 - The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey
Giveaway 3 - Turbulence by Samit Basu

How to enter:

Leave a comment with your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice books.
1st name drawn gets their first choice of book, 2nd name drawn gets their 1st/2nd choice book, and 3rd name drawn gets the book not chosen by the previous two winners.
Winners drawn by Random.org.

Giveaways are international where Book Depository deliver and end Midnight (GMT) Oct 17th, 2012.


* Many thanks to Marie and Paul, everyone else who did a grand job organising the con, and all the brilliant redshirts!
*Gargoyles and rocks . . . sorry, couldn't resist . . . *g*
*My only sadness is I missed their reading and didn't get to ask how they worked out their collaboration. (I stupidly got my timings wrong and arrived at the end) :-(

Coincidences Examined.


Today I'd like to welcome the lovely Geoff Nelder, author of ARIA: Left Luggage to the blog. Geoff is here talking about coincidences as part of his blog tour for the release of his new book! Yay! Many congrats, Geoff!

Coincidences Examined

The old adage that truth is stranger than fiction can be difficult for authors who seek to enthral readers by teetering them on the edge with a barely credible plot. Consider these true accounts.

In the 1920s three Englishmen travelled independently by train through Peru. When they entered the carriage, the three strangers greeted each other. They were the only occupants of the railroad car. One man's last name was Bingham, and the second man's last name was Powell. The third man’s eyebrows elevated in shock then he announced that his last name was Bingham-Powell. They were unrelated. It is complicated to estimate the odds of those three meeting although it isn’t as astronomical as you might think.

Powell is the 85th most common name with 77,000 people sharing it in Great Britain. Bingham is the 1588th most common name with only 6,400 folk sharing it. So, the chances of the next person you see at random being a Powell given there are 60 million Brits is just less than one in 800. The chances of meeting a Bingham is over one in 9000. The chances of meeting a Bingham-Powell in Great Britain using today’s directory data is – gulp – over one in a million and yet I’ve met one. Interestingly, this book is in the British Library: Sanitary Progress in Peru and Bolivia, by H. J. BINGHAM-POWELL. Published in 1916, which brings me to that train. Given three Englishmen being in Peru in the 1920s, they are likely to be men of means who are probably professional engineers, businessmen or academics. Roads being what they were then their most likely transport mode would be rail. Trains didn’t run every day so the probability increases that they’d be on the same train, with maybe one or two first class carriages. The chances are better than you might have originally thought but somewhat more than a million to one.

It's Raining Babies
In 1930s Detroit, a young mother earnestly thanked a man named Joseph Figlock. As he was walking down the street, the mother's baby fell from a high window onto him. Both man and baby were bruised but unharmed. Fortunate indeed, but a year later, the same baby fell from the same window onto the hapless Joseph Figlock as he was again passing beneath. Again, they both survived the event. If you wrote that into a story it would sound incredulous and contrived because the odds must be millions to one against.

Let’s consider the circumstances. Figlock was on his way to work so it was likely he passed under that window at the same time each working day. In other words the coincidence isn’t related to Figlock but to the infant. The mother probably followed a daily routine – e.g. rising, ablutions, getting breakfast ready, changing, and feeding the infant. A year on, the baby would not be self sufficient. At some point in that routine the infant was placed on a table near the window. Most days the window was shut but on a hot summer’s day maybe pa opened it before going out to work. So we’ve narrowed it down to the hotter days in Detroit. Conjecture, yes, but you see how the odds are reduced making this amazing coincidence more a predictable event. Even so, feel sorry for Figlock: infants put on a lot of mass in 12 months. I bet he changed his route the following year!

When discussing coincidences the Presidential coincidences relating to dates often crop up. These of Lincoln and Kennedy are worth repeating:
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
While living in the White House, both wives lost their children.
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.
Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy’s Secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who (we presume) assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.
Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.
Lincoln was shot at the theatre named ‘Ford.’
Kennedy was shot in a car called ‘Lincoln’ made by ‘Ford.’
Lincoln was shot in a theatre and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theatre.

More coincidences but related to ARIA: Left Luggage
ARIA is based on something found on the International Space Station (ISS).
When I emailed a NASA employee about the nature of the struts, Leroy Chaio answered while in orbit on the ISS.
The novel was originally called Left Luggage and in the critique group was known just as LL. The publisher who grabbed it is called LL-Publications.
It worried me that another writer would hear of or invent the same unique premise of infectious amnesia. If they had, they’ve forgotten about it.

In ARIA an alien virus is removing the memories of humans so that eventually they cannot function. Why?

ARIA: Left Luggage
A moment of lunacy hit me cycling up a steep Welsh hill five years ago. An original idea: infectious amnesia. Not mass amnesia, but one you catch from being near someone else who also has it. Infectious amnesia doesn’t exist. Thank goodness, but imagine the ramifications if it did. You are on a bus when a man gets on with a new virus, one that loses memory backwards at the rate of a year per week. By the time the bus stops, all the passengers, including you, have ARIA (Alien Retrograde Infectious Amnesia). The driver has it too, and all her passengers until the end of her shift. You go shopping on the way home. Your spouse works in the power plant, your kids go to school. How long before industry stops, society breaks down, and your kids forget how to read, write and talk?

That’s why Mike Resnick, Robert J Sawyer, Jon C Grimwood, Brad Lineweaver and Charles Stross says ARIA is a fascinating idea, and makes us think of what is the most important things we need to remember in our lives. 


ARIA: Left luggage is available from the usual online stores or direct from the publisher at http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html

Fantasycon Schedule

Yay! I'm off to Brighton in the morning, to Fantasycon 2012, the annual conference of the British Fantasy Society. It's always a blast, and I'm really looking forward to the con, and catching up with lots of folk!
So, my schedule
Fri 28th 2 - 3 - Bar Rouge - Fantasy Bites
Fantasy Bites: Cupcakes for Literacy. Dark-edged indulgence with the feel-good factor! All proceeds go to the National Literacy Trust which helps people across all ages improve their reading and writing skills.
I have BAKED like a manic Domestic Goddess today (and am utterly knackered, not to mention buzzing - there's nothing like a sugar high! Well, I had to do a taste test . . . or three. *looks innocent*!) If you're there tomorrow, bring your pennies (and your pounds - this is for a fab charity, after all :-D), forget the diet and indulge in a Ghoulish Delight, a Magical Margarita, and a Zombie Chow! (Pics will follow :-))

Plus, it's not just me who's BAKED, so there will be lots to tempt everyone :-D

Fri 28th - 3 pm -  Does Gender Matter.
My fellow panelists are: Ramsay Campbell, Joseph D’Lacey, Alison Littlewood, and Maura McHugh.

Fri 28th - 8 - 9 pm
Mass signing in Jenny's restaurant.

Sat 29th - 1 - 1.30 pm 
I'll be reading from The Shifting Price of Prey, and if there's any left, still punting the charity cupcakes! Come and listen, and eat baked goods!

See you there, if you're going! 

Pirate Day!!

My pirate name is:
Dread Pirate Bonney

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Worldbuilding - Magical Systems.

I'm guest blogging over at the lovely Between Dreams and Reality blog spot with a post on the magical systems in the Spellcrackers books! Plus there's a giveaway for some Spellcrackers goodies! Yay! (Int. Ends Oct 1)

But it's not all about me. ;p Between Dreams and Reality are doing a huge event with lots more fantastic posts and giveaways! So why not head over there and check it out? 

Yay! Doctor Who Fans are Everywhere!

I'm over at Amberkatze's Book Blog talking about a few of the amazing things that have happened since I became an author (and when you read the post there, the title of this post here, will make sense *g*)

And there's a contest for The Shifting Price of Prey (or winner's choice of one of my books!) Int where Book Depository deliver. Ends Aug 9). So, why not go read and enter? Go on, you know you want to! :-D


'Who Wants to Live Forever'.

I've a new guest blog over at Falcata Times about 'Who Wants to Live Forever'. Find out what certain London statues have to do with the events of The Shifting Price of Prey (no spoilers, just authorial teasers :-))

And if you've missed any of the previous guest blogs they are here:
 
Supernatural Snacks! at the League of Reluctant Adults.
'What's in a name?'  at the Book Lovers Inc.
Paperback Proust at the Paperback Dolls! 
Would I choose Malik or Finn? - Interview and giveaway at Between Dreams and Reality

And there's only 4 - Four - days before The Shifting Price of Prey is officially out (UK)! But The Book Depository (.co.uk and .com with free worldwide delivery) are both showing it as dispatched within 24hours so there might be some already winging their way to readers!!! Woot!!! Hope you all enjoy!!

Plus there's still a Goodreads giveaways for The Sweet Scent of Blood.

For those outside the UK, The Shifting Price of Prey (UK print edition) is available from the Book Depository with free worldwide delivery, and Amazon.com.


Falcata Times reviews The Shifting Price of Prey! Yay! I think they liked it :-)

‘[F]ast paced action, great prose and of course characters that you love to spend time around . . . full of (mis)adventure and for me, its something that I really can’t get enough of as there’s always someone looking to make a buck or double deal to get what they want. Throw into the mix a whole new host of villains backed up with foes of old and all in its been a triumph to sit back and devour. Great stuff.’

Supernatural Snacks!

I'm over at the League of Reluctant Adults talking about Supernatural Snacks! Why not head over and see? There are cupcakes!!! *g*

What's in a name?

Hello! I'm blogging over at the fabulous Book Lovers Inc about 'What's in a name?' Why not head over there and find out why I call new characters XXX, and how Genny, Finn and Malik got their names! 

There's also a giveaway! Yay! (Winner's choice of one of my books - Int - ends Sept 1)



And don't forget there's only 8 - EIGHT - days before The Shifting Price of Prey is out (UK)! Woot!! And there's still a chance to win yourself a copy if you enter these giveaways (links below)!

Giveaway and interview at Between Dreams and Reality (Int - ends Aug 30)



For those outside the UK, The Shifting Price of Prey (UK print edition) is available from The Book Depository with free worldwide delivery, and Amazon.com.



Sometimes a bit of magical help might cost more than you bargained for . . .

London is hosting the Carnival Fantastique, and Genny's job has never been busier or more fulfilling. Only not everyone is so happy. Genny believed she’d cracked the fae’s infertility curse . . . but the fae are still barren. It’s a devastating plight to which the mysterious Emperor may have the solution – if Genny can find him.

She needs help.

She turns to the vampire Malik al-Khan, only to find he’s wrestling with his own demons and, when the police request Genny’s assistance with a magical kidnap, her own problems multiply too. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae’s infertility? Soon Genny is hard on his trail, so it seems she’ll have a chance to ask . . . but will the answer cost more than she’s willing to pay? 
 

Spellcrackers.com fans will not be disappointed with this latest instalment.  In my opinion this is the best book yet by far. I love Suzanne McLeod’s writing and the fantastic world she has built. This is a great Urban Fantasy series with a big emphasis on the Fantasy part.  Where else could you get magical Viagra made from the corkscrew penis of a garden fairy? I found this to be a thrilling read from start to finish and the ending has me pining for the next book immediately.  

Thank you!!
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