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Friday, December 28, 2012

Author Interview: Steve McHugh

      The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Give me a quick run down of what’s happening in your writing world these days.

Well, I’ve just finished my second book, Born of Hatred, which was launched on the 16th Dec. And now I’m writing my third book, With Silent Screams. Basically, if I’m not currently writing, I’m thinking about writing. I’ll take a few days over Christmas off, although if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about being a writer, it’s that you’re never truly ‘off work’.

What kind of writer are you? Do you plot your stories out? Do you have a particular routine? What does your writing “day” look like?

I tend to know what’s going to happen at the beginning and end of each chapter, and I have an idea about what I want to happen in the chapter. But the small details just happen. It’s nice to be surprised. If I plotted everything out in depth, I’d only get annoyed when I changed everything.

My routine is that I sit down at my desk and just start writing. Because I have a full-time job at the moment, my writing day is always changing. Evening and weekends are when I’m allowed to get some work done. But if I didn’t have to work too, I’d be at that desk for 8am every day. One can dream, I guess.

 How long have you been writing for?

I’ve always written, and always wanted to be a writer, but never actually finished anything. When my first daughter was born, 8 years ago, I started to take my writing seriously.

What’s your opinion on agents? Traditional Publishing? Self publishing? Etc. Where do you think we’re going in this crazy publishing world?

Ohhh, this may take a while. Agents are very good at their jobs, and their jobs is to make their agency money. It’s the same with the big publishers, they’re out to make money. You can hardly blame them for it. But over the years, it’s seemed that they’re less willing to take chances on new authors and those who are offered a contact don’t always get the support they should have.

These are probably isolated incidents, and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are very happy with their publisher/agent. But it seems like more and more people aren’t. Maybe it’s a sign that more people are using the net to vent their frustrations, or maybe it’s a sign that publishing isn’t taking care of their clients as much as they used to. I don’t know, but it’s certainly something I hear more of.

The other problem with the big publishers, is that they don’t seem to know how to deal with ebooks and the advent of authors publishing their own work. If they’re not careful, they’ll end up like the music or film industry and no one wants that.

It seems like there are also more people who indie/self publish and then get picked up by agents/publishers after proving that they’re a saleable commodity. That may well be where the industry is going. That you have to prove yourself before you get noticed. But by that point, those indie writers who are successful, why bother going with an agent/publisher?

As for that whole self publishing revolution, it’s fantastic that people can get their work read, and make money, without having to jump through the usual hoops. Sometimes it’s not easy to spot those who take the time and effort to make their book excellent and professional before publishing it, and that’s a problem that will always exist.

I doubt I’d ever have been published if not for the ability to sell my book alone. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten the recognition or sales I had without Amazon being available to put my work on. So, from my point of view, indie publishing is a wonderful thing. Something I can recommend to anyone who is just not getting anywhere with your book via traditional methods, or for those who just want to control their own work. It’s a lot of work, and it’s very much a life of highs and lows. But surely if it were easy to do, everyone would be doing it. And when you get success, it’s pretty damn good.

What is the best way to sell books?  To get your name out there?

Write something good is probably the best way. If it’s good, people will pick it up (maybe not millions of people, but still, it’ll find an audience). Using FB/Twitter and the like are incredibly helpful too. As are all of the amazing people out there who will lend you their blog.

There’s no single way to get your book sold. Get a very good cover, have a good story and make sure it’s well written. That’s all you can ever really do. All the blog tours/FB status in the world won’t matter an inch, if your work sucks.

And whatever you do, don’t be an asshole. It will come back and bite you on the ass.

What are your goals for the future? Where do you want your writing to take you?

To be rich and beloved by all.
Okay, on a more serious note. I’d love to write full-time. That’s my goal. To make enough money that I can work from home and write. One day, I hope that comes true.

At the moment, I have notes for about two dozen Nate books and then a steampunk mini series (which would make a great comic if I ever get the time), a YA series set in the same world as Nate’s and an historical series set in the same world too. Lots of ideas, lots of notes, only so many hours in the day.

There was a time when Nathan Garrett was feared. When the mention of his name was enough to stop his enemies in their tracks. That time has long since passed.
When Nathan’s friend asks for help investigating a pattern of horrific crimes, he reluctantly agrees. But his investigation leads to a serial killer who is something more, or less, than human, a creature of pure malevolence and hatred.
There are some things that even a 1600-year-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge. But when evil targets those Nathan cares about, his enemies will discover exactly who Nathan used to be. And why they will learn to fear him once more.
Born of Hatred is an action-packed, Urban Fantasy set in modern-day England with historical flashbacks to late nineteenth century Montana. It’s the second book of the Hellequin Chronicles, following the widely praised Crimes Against Magic, which introduced sorcerer Nathan Garrett.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guest Interview: Author Colin F. Barnes


      The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Give me a quick run down of what’s happening in your writing world these days.

Well, first off, thanks for hosting my today. You rock. I’m currently being all zazzy about my debut novel Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist, a cyberpunk/technothriller that mixes Blade Runner, Mad Max, and The Exorcist. Beyond that I’ve just completed a gothic novella ‘Heart for the Ravens’ that will be published by Fox Spirit Books. I’ll soon be heading back into more of The Techxorcist with the follow up: Assembly Code.

What kind of writer are you? Do you plot your stories out? Do you have a particular routine? What does your writing “day” look like?

No single day looks the same. I do like the idea of routine, but it doesn’t always work out like that. I have a schedule I like to stick to, but with most best-laid plans, it never quite runs the way you’d want it to so I just try and write when and where I can.

I’m a plotter; I hate having to go into a project not knowing where I’m going. I write quite lengthy outlines, detailing each scene, the character’s motivations, transition points, reversals, and the whole fail/success cycle.

Once I have that structure in place I’m free to get creative and decide how to get from one scene to the other. By doing it like this I find it gives me direction and each time I sit down to write I can get straight to it; there’s no worrying about whether it’s working or not. Some find it restrictive, but placing restrictions (an outline) on one’s self can often be very creative.

How long have you been writing for?

Seriously for about 10 years, but I’ve been writing stories since I was about 8 or 9.

What’s your opinion on agents? Traditional Publishing? Self publishing? Etc. Where do you think we’re going in this crazy publishing world?

Honestly? I have no real idea. The whole thing is a mess at the moment and no one has any clue as to what they’re doing or where it’s going. I personally believe in a blended approach in that I’m happy to self-publish work, submit to small/indie press and also follow the traditional model, but the main thing is authors have more power now. We aren’t slaves to bad contracts or dodgy agents, we have various avenues to explore and that’s pretty great.

What is the best way to sell books?  To get your name out there?

Write badly written porn fan-fic of a previous best-seller. Beyond that, just keep writing and hope you’re one of the lucky ones to break through.

What are your goals for the future? Where do you want your writing to take you?

My goals for the future are to conclude The Techxorcist series, and a duology that I’m currently writing. I’m always looking to improve my craft, so I’d like my writing to take me from one book to another improving each time and hopefully building a fan base that will allow me to continue writing full-time.

If you could get inside the head of one writer (living or dead) for an hour, who would it be and why?

Ray Bradbury. The man was pure magic. A bonafide literary genius. And he was such a lovely guy. He was the most passionate of all writers about his work and found joy in almost everything he did. I’d love to see how he saw the world just for a while.

Thanks for hosting me, Ang. It’s gratefully appreciated.

Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist is available as a paperback and ebook from:

Anachron Press:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Evil-Book-The-Techxorcist/dp/0957261578

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Artificial-Evil-Book-The-Techxorcist/dp/0957261578

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4054964

Anachron Press:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Evil-Techxorcist-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00AABHSXG/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Artificial-Evil-Techxorcist-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00AABHSXG/


Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/colin-f-barnes/artificial-evil-book-1-of-the-techxorcist/ebook/product-20523758.html

Print book $10.99 (6.99)
Ebook $4.99 (£3.20)


Three hackers. A deadly plot. One chance to save humanity.

Short Description

In the tradition of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and Richard Morgan, British writer Colin F. Barnes delivers a cyberpunk tech thriller for the modern age.

2153. Post-cataclysm. The last city exists beneath a dome where the mysterious benefactors 'The Family' tightly control the population with a death lottery and a semi-autonomous network. 

All is well until the day family man Gerry Cardle, head of the death lottery, inexplicably finds himself the no.1 target of a malicious Artificial Intelligence. Gerry's numbers are up, and he has just 7 days to save himself,  find the source of the AI, and keep the last stronghold of humanity safe.

Gerry finds help in the shadows of the city from two rogue hackers: Petal - a teenage girl with a penchant for violence, hacking systems and general anarchy, and: Gabriel - a burnt-out programmer-turned-priest with highly augmented cybernetics.

With his new team, Gerry discovers there is more beyond the dome than The Family had let on, and his journey to find the source of the AI leads him through a world of violence, danger, and startling revelations. 

Everything is not as it seems. 
Gerry is not who he thinks he is. 
Evil can be coded…. can Gerry and his friends stop it before it destroys humanity?

Artificial Evil is book 1 of 3 of The Techxorcist series. The larger-than-life offspring of Blade Runner, Mad Max, and The Exorcist. 

"Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist sees the revival of everything we used to love about cyber punk, repackaged with new twists in this tech thriller. This is a brilliant tale that combines fantastic characters, great tech and a little bit of good old fashioned possession" - Adele Wearing, Un:Bound

"The Techxorcist project piqued my interest for a couple of reasons. First, it is the brainchild of Colin F. Barnes whose work has, to date, always lived up to expectation. The second reason is the title; not only is it fun to say, but it also sets the tone for a grim cross-genre design.
Having had the pleasure of reading Articificial Evil: The Techxorcist Book 1, I can honestly say I was not disappointed. The quality of the writing, the originality of the ideas – they blend together to show Barnes’ work at his best. The passion behind the project comes through every description and in every brilliant character – once you meet Petal, you’ll understand.
Artificial Evil reads as multiple stories at the same time. On the surface a fantastic plot-arc following a post-apocalyptic virtual battle against an evil AI, the brilliance is in the layers of interpretation going on behind the scenes. There are elements of a dozen classic tales intricately woven into the characters, the concept, and the dialogue, and the combination creates a story that is so rich in meaning and allusion it’s impossible not to connect with this seemingly distant and unrecognizable world.
A story that opens the mind to possibilities, crazy ideas that somehow seem plausible, Texchorcist is an exploration of how much we’re willing to give up to be free, and how far we’re willing to go to keep that freedom." - Krista Walsh, Raven's Quill.

Colin F. Barnes is a writer of dark and daring fiction. He takes his influence from everyday life, and the weird happenings that go on in the shadowy locales of Essex in the UK. 

Growing up, Colin was always obsessed with story and often wrote short stories based on various dubious 80s and 90s TV shows. Despite taking a detour in school into the arts and graphic design, he always maintained his love of fiction and general geekery. Now, as a slightly weathered adult, Colin draws on his experiences to blend genres and create edgy, but entertaining stories.

He is currently working on a Cyberpunk/Techno thriller serial 'The Techxorcist.' which combines elements of Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Horror.

Like many writers, he has an insatiable appetite for reading, with his favourite authors being: Stephen King, William Gibson, Ray Bradbury, James Herbert, Albert Camus,  H.P Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith,  and a vast array of unknown authors who he has had the privilege of beta reading for. 

Website: www.colinfbarnes.com
Twitter: @ColinFBarnes

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guest Post: Author Ella Grey

Cupid has been a very naughty boy. The Cupid’s Conquest series is a multi-author series started with Gunshy by Seleste Delaney and the latest offering is Irish Kisses by Ella Grey.

Irish Kisses

The thing with love is it’s all about finding that happy ending. Sometimes it isn’t that simple. People have a habit of making it complicated.

Eros can’t be everywhere at once so for this particular match-up he’s got some old fashion help. Serendipity is the muse of happy endings and her brand of help raises questions that fate might be planning in the hand of the blossoming relationship between Abigail Smith and Seth O’Connor.
Abigail Smith is having a particularly bad week.

Abby’s best friend and fellow lawyer Dawn Philips has been murdered and while Abby wants to bring down the man behind her death. Her bosses decide that she’s too personally connected. She’s told to take some time off and let someone else handle the case. The thing is, the case is falling apart and Abby just can’t let it go. A mysterious private eye pays her a visit and suddenly Abby finds herself on a plane to Ireland.

There she meets Seth O’Conner.

Seth is on holiday, travelling to Ireland to see the place where he grew up. He expected to drink too much Guinness and have some much needed fun. He didn’t expect Abigail Smith, the beautiful redhead and the blistering hot encounter they share in the aeroplane bathroom. She’s got secrets and it takes a brutal attack for Seth to learn them.
Now he has no intention of leaving her side.


Ella Grey is a full-time writer, with a little monster, a big monster and a cat who might actually be Satan.

The first instalment of the Molly O’Brien novella series was released in 2010. It was quickly followed by the Rachel Valentine eshort series, aimed at young adults. The Red Dress, her first attempt at adult fiction was released by Evernight Publishing as part of their Just Vamps anthology.

She thrives on new challenges and can’t wait to sink her teeth into a new story or a new genre. She can usually be found in front of her netbook with her earplugs in. Bother her at your own peril. You’ve been warned.

For more information about latest releases or a glimpse into the mind of a writer with a full plate, Ella can be found here.


“Are you okay?”

She looked up and into the green eyes of the guy who’d checked her out earlier. He actually looked concerned, and it left her wondering what she must look like. “No,” she said bluntly. “If God wanted us to fly he’d have given us a pair of nifty wings.”

He laughed as he sat down next to her. “Then why did you choose to fly?”

“Maybe it’s because I’m lacking anything close to common sense.” She closed her eyes and rested her head on the chair in front of her. She heard a stewardess asking if she was alright, and the guy mumbled something to her.

“It’s okay. I’ll keep an eye on her.” Abby heard something that sounded like a wallet opening. “I’m a cop, so she’ll be okay with me.” A slight pressure on her lower back caused her to look up. “Do you want a drink?”

She nodded. “Anything alcoholic would be great, thanks.” Alcohol would help numb her senses a little.
As the stewardess left, she realised the cop was still rubbing her back. It felt nice. If she focused on those small round movements, it took her focus away from the motion sickness. “I’m Abby.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, since you’re touching me I thought we should at least exchange names.” She smiled to show she was kidding.  He removed his hand and Abby felt a swell of panic as the sickness came back suddenly. “Please, don’t stop. It is actually helping.”

He put his hand back and Abby looked down at the ground again.

“I’m Seth.”

“So you’re really a cop?”

He chuckled and it was the most dangerous sound Abby had ever heard, it made her heart pick up its steady pace and the dark place between her legs wet. “That’s want the badge usually means.”

She smiled, even knowing he couldn’t see it. She heard the stewardess come back with their drinks, and she slowly got up. Seth handed her one of the bottle of beer. “I’m sorry I don’t think they have anything else, unless you want water?”

“No this is perfect, thanks.” She brought the bottle to her lips and took a slow drag from it. “I’m sorry for ruining your flight.”

“Not at all, I came over here to talk to you anyway.”

His bluntness took her breath away, “Really, why?”

He took a quick drink and Abby watched as his tongue flicked out to catch a bead of liquid at the top of the bottle. “Just curious, are you visiting family?” He asked, quickly changing the subject.

She shook her head. “I’m visiting for work.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m a lawyer, but I’m doing a little freelance work at the moment.” While it wasn’t a complete lie, she didn’t want to go into any gory details. She didn’t want him to get that look of sympathy that everyone at her office seemed permanently fixed on their faces. “I’m going to Dublin. I’m looking for someone.”

Abby took another pull from the bottle. It felt good to be able to talk to somebody. For one it took her mind off her travel sickness, and since she found it hard to drag her eyes away from him, it was an added bonus. Now if she could just stop thinking how it felt to have his hand on her, it would be perfect.

You can find Irish Kisses and the other awesome stories in this series at http://www.evernightpublishing.com/cupids-conquests/

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just like riding a bike...right? right?

This week (and a few weeks leading up to this week) is a busy and stressful time at my work. One of four high-stress times that happen each year at my work. Everyone I work with has a deadline to meet which requires a lot of preparation leading up to said deadline. Now, I know I’ve talked about my type-A behaviours in the past, but for those of you who don’t know, I’m a bit of a brown-noser (my husband likes to make kissing noises when I tell him something I’ve done at work that he believes is over the top...this happens frequently.) When I have a deadline or I agree to do something, I do it. Usually immediately...or as soon as humanly possible. I don’t like to sit on work and once I start, I do it until it’s done. I’m dependable...some might say anal...others curse and or mock me. 

Every year, four times a year, I get the same question from someone in the building who doesn’t know me well enough to know better... “Hey, Angie, you get your project done?” If I’m alone, I simply nod and say, “yep, I did.” If I’m with someone who knows me, they usually answer on my behalf, “Who, Angie? She got it done two days ago.” Snort. (I’m sure you can see why my husband makes ass-kissing noises.)

This is the way I am. I can’t change it. I don’t slack off. Ever.

I’ve heard some writers say that the only way to be a successful writer is to treat it like a job. To set goals and work every day whether you feel like it or not. I don’t believe in a muse and I don’t believe in writer’s block. I do believe that your ability to write (and I’m not talking skill but the act of sitting down and writing) is dependant, to some extent, on your state of mind. A person, an event, life in general can impact your ability to sit down and get the job done. I haven’t been very good at my writer job these days. I've been getting part of the job done...the editing part but the actual writing...yeah...not so much. The ideas are there...the plan is set, the outline written, but up until a week ago, my drive was M.I.A. It's an unusual and uncomfortable feeling for a type-A to not have a goal. 

It hasn’t been a great year for me. Which is probably the understatement of the century. 

I have some wonderful friends (both virtually and in real life) and supportive family who have been working hard to get my ass back in the game, to help boost my mood and my confidence. They stroke my ego, they give me love and slowly, slowly I am feeling more like my anal, brown-noser writer self. I’m not working to my potential...yet...but I’m getting there. 

So, those of you in the same boat, chin up, tits out (thanks Tammy ;-) and keep on writing...sooner or later you'll figure out how to ride that bike again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stay Put!!!

I had an interesting experience the other night....got myself all geared up about an old manuscript that I'd written five or so years ago, remembering how awesome the story was, how much praise I got (which was strangely a lot, and not just from friends and family), how much I missed the characters. So, I took a deep breath and forced open that big ol'trunk where the old manuscripts go to die, dusted it off and started reading...and editing.

I thought it was going to be a case of one quick read-through and then it would be fit for public consumption...hehehe...um, yeah, not so much.

It's funny what a handful of years, a couple of agents, a few published novellas and a lot of rewrites, edits and crits can do to your writing ability. The first few chapters flew by and my confidence was soaring, pumping that feeling of, "hell yes, this was the BEST idea ever!!!"

And then I got to chapter four.

That's when I realized that sometimes there's a reason why novels end up in the trunk, never to see the light of day. Somethings are just unfixable. Somethings are truly cringe-worthy. And I mean, CRINGE!

I actually felt embarrassed that I'd sent it out to publishers...like, BIG publishers. I couldn't understand how I'd even had a few near misses with it...or, gasp, how I got my first agent with it!

Maybe I'm looking at it too critically, and perhaps the story itself might be salvageable, but I gotta say, pulling out that trunked ms was one of the most profound experiences I've had in a while. I realized that although there are times that I feel like my writing career couldn't move any slower, in the time that I've spent honing my skills, I've actually accomplished something...growth.

So, by all means, pull that old ms out, dust it off, give it a read but don't let it get you down if it's so embarrassingly bad that you want to cry, cause really, the fact that you can recognize the flaws means that you've developed as a writer and that is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kill the Slayer?

How do you kill a vampire?

In the past it was easy...you called Buffy or Blade or Van Helsing...they used their swords, their fists, their stakes, their rosaries and holy water.

Now-a-days though...well...it's not so easy. If you called a slayer, would they come?

It seems to me that we've kind of eliminated the need for slayers. We've created these vampires as of late that we seemingly require no protection from. Vampires who only exist to fall in love with us. Vampires who will defend us to the death. And a good thing too because our new vampires have very few weaknesses. They don't believe in religion any more so crosses and holy water are out. They can walk in the sun (sometimes they do so with a ring, sometimes they simply sparkle --barf) so we can't blast them with some ultraviolet. And stakes? Those silly little toothpicks? Yeah, even if you could get close enough, you'd never be able to do it. Why? Because we've got this crazy idea that monsters are simply misunderstood. We've adopted this complacent attitude that everyone (including sparkling vampires) deserve a chance to live...even if they do require blood to sustain life. I mean, they only suck animal blood right? They can control their impulses. Right?

I, for one, think that the slayer has been given a raw deal. Shoved aside in the name of romance and kindness and all things barf worthy. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love a good vampire romance (LOVE me some hot, sexy vampires). For goodness sakes...I write vampire romance! But come on, folks! Don't you think it's about time we brought back the slayer?

If we keep romanticizing our villains, one day, when they do turn around and bite us, we'll realize that we've got no one to come to our rescue and no way to defend ourselves. And we'll only have ourselves to blame.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Guest Post: Author Anthony J. Rapino: Plot This

My feelings on Plotting are best described thusly: screw that asshole.  Sorry to be so blunt, but we just don’t get along, Plotting and I.  It could be due to a long held grudge after Plotting stretched plastic wrap over my toilet seat, causing me to splash my feet.  Or perhaps the time he left me stranded out on Highway 19 with no map, money, or phone.  It could even stem from the time I walked in on Plotting and my girlfriend making the beast with two backs.  Whatever the reason—and there are plenty—I simply refuse to speak to him anymore.  We’ve parted ways.

Here’s the thing about outlining that some people don’t get: it is not mandatory.  It’s all about what type of writer you are (which is largely determined by what type of person you are, but that’s another post).  It’s like I tell my students.  If you find yourself staring at a blank screen with no idea how to start your essay, you should probably employ some combination of prewriting techniques (cluster mapping, free writing, brainstorming, outlining, etc).  If, however, you find those methods tedious, skip it.  If you can sit down at the computer and just write, more power to you.    

I never did try to plot in earnest.  I remember very early on sitting on my bed with a blank sheet of paper, attempting the old “Roman numeral” outline.  That mistake very nearly landed me in the psyche ward.  I won’t go into details except to say it involved three unsharpened pencils, a bottle of glue, glitter, and the aforementioned outline.  It wasn’t pretty.

Put simply, my brain doesn’t work that way.  I can’t think out an entire story before ever putting pen to paper.  I can’t sketch out character traits before meeting the characters themselves.  I have to shake their hands and pat them on their shoulders.  They have to talk to me and tell me what sort of people they are.  Or, in other words, I just have to write.

I start with a scenario.  Often the scenario comes to me at unexpected times, on the toilet perhaps.  It could be anything.  A man falls into a hole.  A woman discovers strange, blue goo on her car.  Two children are attacked by man-eating crabgrass.  I start with whatever scenario comes to mind, and then I keep writing.  The story unfolds in front of me.  I never know how it’s going to end until I get there.  Sometimes it’s the main character that whispers to me, “Hey, Dillhole, give me a knife, make the antagonist a sea-dwelling octoman, and let’s see where it takes us.”  Other times, the story just happens. 

The thing is, I have to trust in my method.  This, right here, is why some people can’t write without an outline: they freeze up.  They need to know what comes next, otherwise it’s next stop writer’s block.  The other thing is I have to be okay with tossing my words into the virtual garbage heap.  When you write like this, without plotting, you’re going to have some false starts.  You’re going to have unnecessary scenes.  You’re even going to have aborted characters.  When you edit, you have to be okay with “killing your darlings.”

If all of this sounds like so much horse crap, you’re probably a plotter.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Not at all.  Remember, I said it’s all about what type of writer you are. 

The last thing is, you have to figure that out for yourself.  Because if you don’t know what type of writer you are, no amount of advice is going to help you.

Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Collect all twelve game pieces (available from each blog stop during my tour), put the pieces together, and decipher the code.  It will lead you to a secret website.  If you’re the first person to comment on the site, you win!

Join us in the Insanity Rocket to discuss the contest.

Stop by the blog tour page for all upcoming dates and more contest info.

I am very proud to announce the launch of my debut novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World, currently available in signed limited hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook editions.

Who knew the end could sound so good.
A suicidal nudist strolls into traffic.  An eccentric Buddhist claims he can occupy other people’s bodies.  All the while, whispers of a new form of entertainment blow through town.  Prompted by these strange occurrences, Marty Raft, a not-so-gentle giant, investigates and discovers underground clubs peddling music that induces an out-of-body experience.   Marty and a wannabe comedian, Corey, set out to prove these special frequencies are nothing more than a hoax, or at worst, a mass-drugging.  Instead, they uncover a secret with world-ending possibilities.
If you can hear the music, it’s already too late.

Author bio

Anthony J. Rapino resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, somewhere between the concrete of the city and the trees of the forest.  On occasion, you’ll find him moderating the feverish battles between the creatures of these two arenas.  Whose side he’s on is anyone’s guess.

His newest fiction can be found in Black Ink Horror, On Spec, Arcane Anthology, Electric Spec, A cappella Zoo, Space Squid, TQR Stories, and carved inside a variety of autumn gourds.  His short story collection, Welcome to Moon Hill, is currently available, as is his first novel Soundtrack to the End of the World.  Proof of his psychosis can be found on his website: http://www.anthonyjrapino.com

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not a Lottery Winner

Just as the title suggests, I'm not the lottery winner type of girl. In life, I rarely win things. And no, I don't usually play the lottery. I know someone is gonna say, if you don't play then how could you win? Which is true, can't win if you don't play, but I'm also not delusional...the odds are against me (or so my husband say...and he's a smart man).  So I watch with envy when some out of work baker, who spent his last five dollars on a lottery ticket, wins fifty million, knowing that that will never be me...not even if I played my numbers every week. That's just not the way things roll in my life.

So what does this all mean? It means that I'm not gonna win the lottery in any other areas of my life either, including writing. It's awfully frustrating when I hear about the person who writes a novel in six months, queries briefly and then gets some holy crap amazing agent and then lands a six figure book deal, all in less than a year. Those are the lottery winners. We've all heard the stories. They go on to have best sellers and make gads of money. Color me green.

I'm not one of those people. I've accepted that. I'm the type of person who is gonna have to bust my ass to get my dream. Not to say that I haven't had my share of good luck...but it was good luck, being at the right place at the right time and working my tail off that got me there. It means I'm gonna be the author who does years of rewrites to get the ms just right. It means when my dream finally comes, I'm gonna weep with a mixture of joy and exhaustion.

Since I started down this publishing path, it's been a long haul, and at times I whine and bitch and think about quitting, but in the end this is the way things are...in order to achieve my dream I'm gonna have to work for it. But I'm not the kind of girl who shies away from hard work. I might have a fleeting moment or two where I think about how nice it would be to have something handed to me, but in the end I'd rather have faced a battle and come out victorious then wonder if I really deserved what I got.

So there it is. I'm not passing judgement on anyone who may have won their dream, I'm just saying that's not going to be the way things go for me.

I'll leave the lottery playing to my bff...she's promised to take care of me if she wins ;-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Guest Post: Interview with Darke Conteur

      When I discovered that my author friend, Darke Conteur was a practicing Wiccan, I couldn't help but be intrigued. I'm not a religious person (at all), I'm not spiritual either, but I always have been fascinated by Wicca and thought this would be a great opportunity to explore it from a more personal perspective. 

1)   When did you first discover Wicca?

It was about a year after my son was born. My neighbour had some crystals and a small book on
what they were and what they did. I found it all fascinating and was thrilled to learn that she bought
them from a store in town. It was an occult store and when I checked it out I discovered a whole 
book section on Wicca. So I bought one! 

2)   What compelled you to follow that religion?

While I was reading the book I bought, I felt as though many of the things they talked about; many of the things Wiccans (and to a greater extent, Pagans) revered, were the same with me. I can't really put it into words, only that it felt like I was 'home'. I've never been a follower of Christianity, not even when I was a child (and my grandfather was an Anglican minister). Wicca, and the Pagan path felt 'right', comfortable. I don't know of any other way to explain it. It was if everything I believed in about life, the world around me, was echoed in this belief. 

3)   Do you find that there’s a stigma attached to practicing Wicca?

The only stigma that I've come across, is from people don't think of it as a form of belief. They think it's some kind of 'fad' for young teen girls who've watched Charmed or Buffy or read too many fantasy books, so when they come across an adult who practices, they figure we're just being silly. My mother asked me when I first started learning, if I was doing it for shock value.

 4)   Does your faith influence your writing? 

Very much so, but I think that's something that happens with all writers. Some form of our belief is embedded within all our books, because our beliefs are a part of us; a deep part. Just like our writing. I think they come from the same place, actually.

 5)   Do you get angry or frustrated by how traditional “witches” are portrayed in media and even literature?

Yes and no. I love the imagination that comes with the literary and Hollywood portrayals, but it also adds to the stigma. I'd love to be able to ride a broomstick or use Floo powder or be able to use a power to fight evil, or recite an incantation and have something wonderful happen, but that's just fantasy. Real magic doesn't happen instantaneously, and it takes a while to learn how to do it right. I guess that's what makes it such a draw for readers.       

To learn more about Darke, check her out here:


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guest Post: Author Krista Walsh

I'd like to introduce a writer friend of mine, the talented Krista Walsh! I thought it might be fun to do a little bit of a first date kinda thing with Krista and have her tell us about some of her favourite things...the kind of things she can't live without.

Favourite food:  Yes, I realise I cannot live off of peanut butter and chocolate, but no that will not stop me from trying.  My love of Reese Peanut Butter Cups kind of a took a turn for the obsession when they came out with KitKat crunchy peanut butter bars (do they still make those? …) and Peanut Butter M&Ms. Now, I will happily consume anything that combines these two incredible amazing ingredients. And yes, on a bad day that includes jar of peanut butter, a handful of chocolate chips, and a spoon.  (I am totally a peanut butter, chocolate combo addict as well!!!)

Favourite Movie: “Too bad bread makes you fat.”
“Bread makes you fat?!”
This movie is a collection of one-liners and I’ve pretty much memorized them all. Best description of this film for those who haven’t seen it: it’s a musical, except instead of bursting out into song, they burst into video game-style boss fights. There are films I’ve known longer and seen more times, but probably no other that enters so often into daily conversation. Scott Pilgrim also stars my Hollywood Crush, which makes it an all around perfect film and a great indulgence at the end of a bad day. Sometimes with a jar of peanut butter. 

Generally in life, I wouldn’t say I’m high maintenance. It’s possible my friends will laugh at this statement, but since they’re not here right now, I’ll go ahead and say it anyway.  The exception to this rule? I’m never at a
comfortable temperature. In the sun I’m too hot, in the shade I’m too cool, at work I’m frozen. The only time I’m ever perfect? When I’m sitting in front of my space heater. It’s safe to say the thing is permanently on from October to May. A perfect winter’s day for me (and it’s Canada, so those days stretch out over half a year) is to be in a small corner with a heater and a book.

Favourite Book: Possibly even this book. If we were talking stranded on island with only one thing to read for the rest of my life, I’d go with this one. I tried to find the cover of the edition I have, but apparently it was a one-time deal. My grandmother got this book for my 14th birthday and I’ve read it once or twice a year since then. And that was awhile ago. Yes, it’s a sweet tale based in a simpler, early Canadian time, but it’s the honesty I love. Not the moving, thought-provoking kind of honesty either. More the: life sucks, so why waste what short time we have doing what everyone expects of us? Highly recommended for the humour and the wake-up call.

Favourite album: I wouldn’t say Snow Patrol is my favourite band because my music taste is pretty eclectic, but I would consider A Hundred Millions Suns my go-to album. It’s the most versatile – easy to put on in the background and forget when I need to focus, but engaging when I need to be distracted. It also has a lot of lyrics that stand out for their incredible imagery and poetry.

Pretty much my life in a nutshell, or…in a peanut butter jar next to a heater with a good book and background music. Interested in learning more? Click on the links below to step into my brain.

It says something about a person when her own parents believe she’s a bit round the bend. Prone to talking to herself, and with only one foot in reality, Krista Walsh has long accepted that normalcy is overrated. A lover of all things gothic, and fantastical, she tags along on the adventures of sorceresses and vampires, bringing their stories to the mundane place that is the real world. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bizarre Love Triangle

I've been reading a few books lately and toying with an idea or two that revolves around the plot of a love triangle. You know, that crazy, often sticky kind of relationship where one person is being pulled in two different directions...sometimes because of lust, sometimes love...either way, things tend to get messy when there's three instead of two.

It occurred to me that I don't really like that kind of plot device...it makes me anxious, and at times, angry. To be torn between two opportunities, to have to make a choice...it's hard on the heroine (or hero) and on the reader and on the writer. And yet I always get totally sucked in (have actually written a thing or two involving a triangle). So why the fascination? Why do we love the triangle scenario so much?

We are a society that tends to value monogamy right? We quest for the one true love. We want the happily ever after. I'm thinking about writing something that doesn't end that way. What if the heroine (or hero) makes the wrong choice? What if they don't realize what they had until it was gone? Then what? Can the damage be repaired? Broken hearts are hard to mend. They carry scars that are unforgiving.

I'm intrigued by the love triangle...you can thank Peeta and Katniss (and Gale) for this. They got me thinking. It's time to shake things up a bit. It's time to make my heroine bleed.

*Rubs hands together* Let's get to work. Insert evil laugh here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Have We Castrated our Vampires?

I've been thinking a lot about the current state of our vampire world. I mean...the main stream, universally accepted vampire world. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many, many novels and movies out there that depict vampires in various ways. In general though, when we talk vampires, nowadays, most people think the romantic hero kind of vampire. The suave, beautiful, desirable vampire. The hero with a dark side or the villain with a good side. And I don't dislike this type of vampire...unless it's the sparkly kind...but I feel like there's something missing...like we've castrated our monsters, defanged the fanged, turned our nightmare into our fantasy.

I've been craving the blood and gore kinda vampire. The ghoulish monster who will rip limbs off and suck them dry. The kind of vampire who stalks the streets in search of prey...not the kind who stalks the halls of the local high school in search of a girl friend. I want to be scared. I want to have nightmares. I want to read about vampires who need to be destroyed, who deserve to be destroyed. Like Dracula...Stoker's version...the kind of vampire who eats babies and corrupts young innocent women, not for love but for pure, animalistic pleasure.

I want to move away (at least for a while) from the whole idea that vampires, that monsters, are simply misunderstood. That deep down they have hearts that love and consciences that keep them from being truly evil. Really, what are we teaching our youth? That monsters are really good? That there's nothing to fear? That we need to just give them a chance? It's a terrible injustice to the next generation when you think about it. We've set them up to be little, naive lambs...we've gifted them a world where vampires can be boyfriends who have enough self control that they suck animal blood instead of human. And we've made them practically unkillable...but that's a topic for another post.

Now, I know you're all thinking, Angie, why don't you write that kind of novel? Well, folks, because I'm a hypocrite...and a romance writer and although I want to be scared by a brutal vampire killer, I can't bear the thought of veering too far away from my own vampire heroes. So, this is a call out to someone, anyone, who is brave enough...write me a monster...give our vampires back their balls.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post: Author Steve McHugh

I'd like to introduce my friend, Steve McHugh...a fellow writer who I've come to know through my writing group, the OWG (Rebels Rule! Woo!)

Steve has a new book out called Crimes Against Magic and he's here today to talk a little bit about writing those dreaded sex scenes. Enjoy :-)

Although a massive generalisation, it’s very quickly become apparent to me that women write better sex scenes then men. I can think of, at a push, three male writers who write excellent sex scenes in their books. I can think of at least a dozen women, right off the top of my head who do the same.

Now, of course there are women who can’t write sex scenes either, but even so, the odds are firmly in the female court.

So, it was with a little trepidation that it became apparent that my first book, Crimes Against Magic, was going to have sex in it. This was a problem for one reason. My sex scenes were dreadful. They read a little bit like an educational sex talk given by a teacher for whom the word ‘sex’ should never leave their mouth. They were dry, dull and quite frankly about as sexy as wet cardboard.

So, I tried spicing them up a bit and found a new problem. They now sounded like a porn film. All I needed to do was add a handlebar moustache and have the main character come to check on the woman’s boiler, fridge, cooker, pluming and I’d have had a career in writing truly terrible sex scenes. It’s something to think about if this whole ‘published author’ thing doesn’t work out.

So I needed to re-work it again. And this time I found some good advice. Apparently, I’m pretty good at writing action scenes. So, why not try writing a sex scene in the same way? Everyone writes action scenes in their own way, but I tend to map out where everyone is and what they’re doing, or going to be doing.

Applying it to a sex scene was actually straight forward. Instead of several people all in the same place I only had to deal with two (although, your mileage may vary). So, I wrote it as if it were an action scene, or a fight. Once I had the backbone for it, I found it much easier to go through it and make it ‘sexier’, but having that base was necessary for me.

Since that first time, I’ve found it much easier to switch into ‘sex scene mode’ for writing and can usually manage it without the need for the clinical part first. I’m never going to write the greatest sex scenes of all time, but I hope I’m no longer in the same bracket as some of the truly terrible ones.

Steve McHugh is the author of Crimes Against Magic. An urban fantasy set in modern day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth century France.

Avaliable from :

Blog - http://stevejmchugh.wordpress.com