naomi_jay: (Default)
Note - this should have gone up on Saturday 26th, but due to the Great Snake Adventure, I didn't get to my computer all weekend. Anyway, I'm very pleased to have Su here talking about her new release, INTRICATE ENTANGLEMENT and a little of the inspiration behind it. Take it away, Su!


 I See Her Face

Damnation books released my horror/thriller novella, Intricate Entanglement, on March 1st. Every time I’m asked about the mentally ill folks in the book, a certain old lady’s face flashes in my memory.

Few years back, while attending training in Manhattan, I stayed in a hotel close to the training center. It was a short walking distance, less than ten minutes, for sure. Cold fall wind made me jam my hands into the pockets of my thick jacket, but I always walked that way; alone, minding my own business. One day, I noticed a woman standing in my path; I veered to the side to avoid her. She moved and blocked me again, so I lifted my gaze. She was one of the homeless people, frail, old, her oily hair in desperate need of a meeting with a shampoo, her long dirty nails begged to be clipped. On top of all that, she reeked. Use your imagination here, all kinds of BOs hovered about her. Her eyes were trained on me.

“You think you’re better than me?” she crooned.

I looked around me in bewilderment, was she talking to me?

“Yeah, you.” Now she shouted more than talked. “I’m talkin’ to you, high and mighty corporate bitch.” She literally spat the last two words at me. People moved away from us. I also noticed the thin stick of wood in her hand, too thin and filthy to be called swagger stick, yet it matched it in thinness. I was scared. Imagine to be beaten by her in front of my colleagues.

“I don’t think that,” I said, and I meant it. I never noticed her before, though she had noticed me plenty, obviously.

A man passing by whispered to me. “Ignored her, she’s insane. The more you talk the more you aggravate her. She’s nuts.”

Despite my fear, I was taken aback by his words. People knew what she was, how she was, and yet she roamed the streets. God knows where she slept, how she ate, and what she ate. I looked at her again. She could be someone’s grandmother, somewhere where she could be cared for.

Okay, it might have been my mood, I was in one of those melancholic ones, but I felt bad for her. She must’ve sensed it, for she narrowed her eyes. “Now you’re feelin’ superior to me. Too bad, I’m gonna beat ya so hard…”

I didn’t move, didn’t even blink. It was mostly fear of embarrassment than pain. The jacket was thick enough to ward the latter, unless she went for my face. By now, we had reasonable crowd around us.

My mind buzzed with a word she used, one that stood out in the middle of her threat. Superior. This woman used to be someone educated, or at least I hoped so.

“Listen to me,” I said slowly, “I don’t know you, you don’t know me. Let’s leave it that.”

She cackled. “Ya scared?”

I nodded. I was, no use denying it

“Then that’s good enough for today. You may go to hell now.” She gestured, allowing me to walk on.

It took every muscle in my body, every will I ever possessed, to walk and not run the hell out of there. She had said “today,” she was planning on more encounters. Unless I wanted to be late for the training sessions by taking the longer route (half of the other roads were blocked), I was going to meet her again during my remaining ten days of training.

She became a fixture on my path, early mornings and late evenings when I come out of the office, yet she never approached me again. Instead, she walked parallel to me, watching me, that stick in her hand.

One day, while on my way back to the hotel, I felt a pull on my handbag. I was warned about pickpockets and my first reaction was “Heeey!”

Till today, I’m not sure whether the man was a thief or not, but the loud WHOOSH that descended on him, and his subsequent yelp of pain were real alright.

My knight with grimy wooden stick had come charging to my rescue. “You okay? Huh?” She asked, the whole while jerking the stick in the direction of the fleeing man, exposing whatever remained of her yellow teeth at him.

I convinced her that I was okay.

We never spoke after that, even though she still guarded my daily trips to the office. The time came when my training was over and I was leaving for the airport, it was midday, and I didn’t see her. I wanted to say something nice to her, maybe even give her money. She didn’t seem high and there was no alcohol smell in the miasma of her odors. I had a feeling, however, that I would have offended her if I offered her anything.

I think she developed the tough act to protect herself, but that didn’t rule out that she had some mental problems as well.

She didn’t belong on the streets, she should have been somewhere warm with a full tummy and washed hair.

This is a true story, one that has nothing to do with the stories in Intricate Entanglement except for the fact that they remind me of her. I hope she’s in a better place now.

Intricate Entanglement takes place in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. These are stories of the patients, each told by them. Seven or eight stories in total—depending how you look at it—that touch on such topics like growing old, sexual preferences, and obsessions. The central character, Doug Pinkham, is an opportunistic reporter who got more than what he bargained for.

Find out more about Intricate Entanglement here: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615723393

Or watch the trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7j9YWnLhMA

Naomi, thanks for the opportunity to guest blog on your journal and to share this experience with your readers.

Author Bio:

Su Halfwerk writes in the horror and paranormal romance genres. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on her, later on terrifying, blood-chilling books became the object of her interest. Su’s style in horror combines shuddery terror with elements of surprise; some would even call it an enigmatic twist. In the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.

When not writing, Su is designing book trailers for herself and other authors.

Intricate Entanglement is Su’s latest release from Damnation Books, a mix of a thriller with an overlay of maddening darkness.

You can find Su online in any of these places:

www.su-halfwerk.com
http://www.suhalfwerk.blogspot.com/
www.facebook.com/Su.Halfwerk
http://twitter.com/SuHalfwerk

 
 
 


naomi_jay: (butterfly)
This is a little different from my usual guest blogs. Greg and I were discussing ways of doing the old "author interview/guest post" bit with a twist, and this is what we came up with. His intrepid reporter, Roy Elliott, conducts a rather awkward interview with Ethan Banning over at Greg's blog. And my slightly less intrepid reporter, Janey Carter, interviews Jessica, the protagonist of Greg's new novel TORMENT right here. Let's go!


This is Janey Carter reporting for the Herald, March 21st 2011. I'm with Jessica Newman. Jessica, thanks for agreeing to meet with me today. Maybe we can start with your coming to Scotland. What brought you here?

 Um…I’m here to sort out my father’s estate. He … passed away …very sudden. I haven’t seen him for a long time. I’m actually surprised I came here, but I suppose I didn’t have a choice.

 Can you tell me a bit about your childhood memories of growing up with a deacon for a father? How did that shape you?

 I don’t know if I want to talk about that… My childhood was … tragic. My mother died when I was a little girl and it tore my family apart. 

 A lot of people think they understand Catholicism and exorcism, but have your experiences correlated with what we see on TV? Or is there more to it than we're lead to believe?

 How did you know about that – have you been checking up on me? What my father did to my mother was horrible! (crying heard) I don’t think I want to answer your questions anymore! Where’s my husband – where’s David?

 Let's talk about the house - what's it been like to be there at a time like this? Has it been a distraction?

 It’s just a house! It’s falling to pieces… my father just wasted away in it! Please can we stop now?

 Okay, I'm sorry. I didn't realise this was such a difficult issue for you. Do you want to take a break?

 (Sniff)….No, no, I’m sorry; just a bit of a mess at the moment. Sorry. It’s just so hard trying to deal with all this after so many years.

 Okay then, let's start over. Why don't you tell me how your husband's been dealing with all these … stresses? You're obviously a very close couple...

 Oh, David’s fantastic; very understanding. He’s been by my side ever since we met in college. He’s a real tower of strength you know? When I told him about my childhood and my mother’s death he was never judgmental – he just wanted to help me recover. So when I said we had to come here he didn’t hesitate to come with me. I’m very lucky to have him. Our son, though – we had to literally drag him here. David’s actually been fixing the manor since we first arrived, but I think it’s beyond repair.

 So you don't see the two of you relocating here permanently?

 No, oh God no! I couldn’t live in that house. Just feels like there’s something wrong with it – apart from the fact my father lived there. I’d say we’ll probably sell it, but still, maybe I’ll find something there that will help me get some closure, you know?

 Can we talk about your mother again? I know it's hard, but do you feel you had to grow up faster as a result of her loss?

 I guess I didn’t have a choice. I was a victim too. My father murdered my mother and I was just left to deal with it. It wasn’t her fault…she was sick and he… he just (crying heard). He was supposed to be a man of God!...

 Alright, this is … this is clearly too upsetting for you. Is there anything you'd like to say to finish things off?

 (Sniff) I’m sorry. I bet you wish you didn’t decide to pick me at random for an interview hey? I just want to get out of Scotland…I’m sorry, it looks lovely, but I think I would have preferred to visit under happier circumstances. Memories hurt. They hurt so much…

 I think that's enough now, Jessica. Thanks for your time.

Find out more about TORMENT over at Damnation Books.
naomi_jay: (mask)
Obviously I'm trying to keep the focus on my charitable endeavours this week, but there is other stuff happening in the blogosphere! Like, for example, me interviewing Fiona Dodwell, my fellow Damnation Books author. Fiona's debut novel, THE BANISHING, was released this month, and Fiona took the time to talk to me about the book and her writing. Go!


What were your favourite books as a child and what is your favourite genre to read now?

As a child, I genuinely loved what I love now: anything dark, mysterious, foreboding. I read a lot of Stephen King – with concerned parents peering over my shoulder – and enjoyed some of the lighter teenage horror fiction that was out at the time, such as R.L Stine's horror novels.

What's your creative process like? What do you have to do before you can actually sit down and write?

Once a seed of an idea has formed in my mind, I plan a very general outline of what my story will consist of and where I want to take it. If I need to research something, I normally do that before putting pen to paper. I don't plan my stories rigidly because I love the feeling of being surprised and taken aback by where my story goes and where my character takes me. There is nothing better than breathing life into your book and letting it grow. There is a magic moment when a story comes to life – I live for those moments.

Do you remember the first piece you ever wrote?

Yes, it was a short novel called 'Caged Demon' and I must have been around the age of ten or eleven. I loved that story at the time – I wish I had kept it. It was about a teenager who fell in love with a local man, only to find out he had recently escaped a maximum security prison – and was highly unbalanced! I'm sure if I read it back now I would laugh, but I was proud of it at the time.

Who are your biggest influences as a writer?

A mixture of Stephen King, Susan Hill and William Peter Blatty. I love any writer that can scare me!

What sort of goals do you set yourself when writing a book? Do you have a daily schedule to stick to?

If I feel like writing for four hours a day, I will. Some days I barely squeeze out three pages. I follow my gut instinct and go where the inspiration leads me. I normally have a vague outline in my head and work from that. I don't enjoy planning anything to rigidly because I like to leave room for my characters to grow and my story to bloom.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on my third novel, The Governess, a supernatural horror. I am also in the process of submitting my second novel, The Obsession, for publication.

What advice do you have for any writers just starting out and not sure what to do with their work?

Work hard at your story. Do your best with what you've got, don't be afraid of the delete button -sometimes we have to be our own harshest critic! Don't over-analyse, just write what you want to write, then you can return to the beginning and make your work as strong as it can be. Then, if you're happy with it, you can begin submitting it to publishers or agents. Don't be afraid of rejection – the best have faced that. We all do. Believe in your work and don't under-sell yourself.

Now, tell us about THE BANISHING – it's a gorgeous cover! But what about the story?

Thanks – I love the cover too. Dawne Dominique is an amazing artist. As for The Banishing, it is a story about the struggle of one woman to survive.  That's one strong element throughout my story: survival – and how far you would go to survive.

When Melissa first notices a change in her husband, she puts it down to stress. Long hours at work and on the road. However, when these changes start to become altogether more sinister and frightening, Melissa has to ask some serious questions. Is Mark mentally unwell? Or could be be under the influence of forces darker than she ever imagined? The Banishing explores themes of demonic possession, marital break-down and mental illness.

Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

Please visit my website, www.fionasfiction.wordpress.com. There you will find a link to buy The Banishing as well as interviews, articles and short stories. The Banishing is available in e-book and paperback formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Damnation Books.
naomi_jay: (zombie girl)
Today I'm happy to be hosting Karina Fabian, a fellow Damnation Books author, and writer of NEETA LYFFE, ZOMBIE EXTERMINATOR, a story where zombie killing meets reality TV! (It's good, I'm reading it right now). So, here's Karina:


 

Cut for awesome )
naomi_jay: (ethan)
I haven't really been blogging much lately because I've been feeling rather crap. I suspect a virus is on its way. But now I have News And Opinions! So damn the earache, here comes the blog:

1. I've been offered a contract for DEMONISED! (or Demonized, as it will be Americanised in editing). Yay! Damnation Books are looking at a March 2011 release, but more details will follow. I'm very excited (or would be if my head didn't feel like it's full of cottonwool), and hope this will be the first of many wacky adventures for Ethan.

2. This whole "I write like..." meme thing is everywhere now, and I'm bored of it. Everyone I know apparently writes like Stephen King, which is probably patently untrue (no offence, anyone, but come on), and I think we should all aspire to write like ourselves anyway.

3. We went to see the trailer for The Expendables Predators last night. OMG. I don't even know. It was vastly superior to both AVP films, but not quite as good as Predator. I have this thing about Predator films where I don't really want the puny humans to have personalities, I just want them to be walking targets. So I get annoyed when people start showing each other pictures of their kids (not least because as soon as you do that YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, QUITE FRANKLY) and having deep philosophical conversations about why they became hitmen or whatever. Look, just run around blindly, realise you're all doomed and then die, okay? Predator does not care for your backstory. And please, please don't EVER get a human and a Predator to team up together! That's not what I watch Predator films for! I hated it in AVP, and I didn't appreciate it last night either.

But it was good! Laurence Fishburne put in a great performance as a crazy-ass wild man, and I loved the sword fight between the Yakuza guy and the Predator. I was disappointed not to notice any xenomorph skulls in the Predator death camp, but they may just have been there and I didn't notice because I was all distracted by Adrian Brody's Wolverine impression. (Oh seriously, Adrian Brody as an action hero? He looks like a Toby jug!). And I totally pegged the doctor at the start. You don't drop a weedy-looking doctor on a planet designed as a game preserve with a group of black ops-serial killer-mercenary-cartel enforcer types unless he's also a Very Bad Man.

Of course, none of that matters because I saw a trailer for The Expendables, and it's like Hollywood looked into my brain, saw everything I love and made it into a film. I cannot wait for August! I need this film in my life. Also saw a trailer for Splice, which I'm convinced will be hilarious good times, and also features Adrian Brody in a more appropriate role.

Anyway. My head hurts so I'm going to hunt down some painkillers.
naomi_jay: (twilight girl)
As promised, my guest today is Kathryn Meyer Griffith, author of numerous books including her latest release from Damnation Books, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons. Kathryn was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, so here we are!


Tell us a bit about your new book, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons. What was the inspiration for it?


I’ve always wanted to write an end-of-days novel. I loved Stephen King’s THE STAND so much back in the day. And when (it’s been six years ago now) I had this idea about a woman, one half of a singing brother and sister lounge singing duet, who also take care of an elderly aunt and uncle, who suddenly sees demons behind her human audiences’ faces, I knew I had to write it. She sees them because it signals the coming apocalypse and she’s one of the humans who are to fight on the side of the angels before and after the Rapture comes. This is a brother and sister who love each other and love the safe life they have now; she doesn’t want things to change. When children, there was a terrible fire and the rest of their family died in it. They’re all they have.

I decided not to make it too religious…more like a layman’s view of the end days. I loved the Left Behind series, too, but it was way more preachy and I didn’t want to do it that way. Mine is more a horror story. Though the woman eventually discovers and accepts, she is one of many who will have powers to see and fight demons as the end days draw near. She must seek out others like herself and convince them to join the fight. I tried to make this a story of family and human love as well as a survival story in the face of overwhelming odds as the world spins to its end. I love these characters! There’s supposed to be a second book…soon as I find time to write it.

2. What’s your writing process? Do you like to plan everything in advance, or do you just go with the flow and see what happens?

A little of both. I get an idea, a premise, and the characters (my books and stories are heavily character driven) come to me, and the story, the plot, flows from them. Sometimes I have an ending already in my head but, often as not, it changes by the time I get to it. I start a book and as I write, the characters kind of reveal what’s going to happen to them…like a series of mysteries I have to solve along the way. I’m never out of ideas, there are always stories in my head. Been that way all my life, since I was a kid.

3. Is there a part of the writing process you really dislike - editing, world-building, etc – or does it all come easily?

It pretty much comes easily but I do find if I’ve been working too long on a book and then it sells quickly and I have to start the edit process…yikes, by the second edit and final proofreading…I HATE the darn book! Think it’s terrible. I usually do the first draft as a straight through writing (no frills and I don’t worry about much of anything except getting the basic story down). Then my second run through, I catch the repeat words and fix the grammar (as well as I can as I’m one of those storytellers who really needs an editor). Third run through I try to pretty up the thoughts, words and polish. If I find any clichés (which I hate unless a character would be the sort to say them – not often) I try to rewrite them in a fresh way. I hate clichés. Of course, once the book sells it starts all over again.

4. Do you have a character or story you’re especially proud of? What makes them/it so special to you?

This one, my new one, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons…what writer doesn’t want to write a saga? And it is “a long story of heroic achievement”…an eternal story of good versus evil. That’s one of the reasons Twilight is so popular. It’s also an eternal good versus evil epic as well as a love story.

5. Did you always want to be a writer?

No, not exactly. Though I always loved to read and loved books…at nine I started drawing everything in sight. I could exactly copy anything, all I had to do was see it. I wanted to be an artist. I was (a graphic artist in the corporate world for 23 years) and still am.

Then at 14 (the Beatles and all that) I wanted to sing. And I did, with my brother, when we were very young. Folk music, at first, and then I was in a pop rock band with him until I was 19. Those were the days. The writing started at 21 when I was stuck home with a new baby (kicked out of the band because my brother fell in love with a girl singer and she took my place) and bored out of my skin. I read a horrible historical romance one day and thought: “I can do better than that!” And so it began. That was 39 years ago. Took me 12 years to get my first and second book published as I got sidetracked with a divorce, raising a son, and having to get a real job. I consider my writing as my butterfly stage, though I still draw once and awhile and jam (for fun only) with my brother, Jim. That’s me singing with him on the book trailer I made for BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons. I’m not a great singer but I wanted it to mimic the two main characters and my brother obliged me. He wrote the song, as well. He grew up to be a singer/song writer and hold down a full-time computer job.

6. Which writers and books have influenced you and your work the most?

Ah, duh. Stephen King. Anne Rice. Dean Koontz. The usual suspects. And way too many good writers to list here.

7. You’ve been writing for 39 nine years, and been published for 26 of them. Are there any goals or ambitions in your writing career you’ve yet to achieve?

Vindication that I haven’t wasted 39 years of my life chasing rainbows. I love it when a reader e-mails me or tells me they loved my book or short story! And…don’t laugh…make more money? The income has been dismal, at times, over the years but now with seven of my old novels being reprinted and released as new paperbacks and e-books (for the first time ever!) in the next 14 months and two new novels, I hope to change that. The best money I ever made was on the four paperbacks from Zebra (between 1991-1994). The previous three from Leisure weren’t bad, either. E-books haven’t been great so far but I believe that’s really changing. Or I hope so.

8. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Keep writing, always keep writing. While you wait on the last book or two to sell, forget it, them, and start another one. Just keep writing. Oh, and don’t let the rejections kill your spirit. As a writer we all get tons of them but remember…liking or disliking a book is so subjective. I’ve had people positively love a book or short story I’ve written and then another person can just hate it to death – and tells me so! So there. People are so different.

9. And what advice would you give to newbies starting out on the path to publication?

Same as #7…and that I believe to be a writer you have to do it out of love of the pure act of writing. Not for the money or fame or whatever. A lot of writers never get any of that. Write the book for you. Write only what you love and not what other people want you to write. For me being a writer is who I am. It makes me happy to spin my tales and even happier when someone appreciates them. Great therapy, too. I’d really be a messed up person if I couldn’t get all my fears and anxieties out through writing them all down. I think that’s why I love to write horror more than anything…I’m afraid of everything in the world and in my books I can be brave. Shed or defeat my demons, so to speak.

10. Are there any upcoming works from you we can look forward to?

BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons just came out from Damnation Books and the e-book is still on a hot low price sale there for awhile longer) on May 31, 2010 and THE WOMAN IN CRIMSON, a vampire novel, is coming out from Eternal Press in September 2010…and as I mentioned SEVEN of my older Leisure and Zebra paperbacks (going back to 1984) are being re-released as new paperbacks and e-books in the next 14 months from those same two publishers. You can go to www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG or kathrynmeyergriffith.intuitwebsites.com to get the updates and see all my book trailers with music by my brother JS Meyer.

Naomi, thanks for having me here…hope I didn’t babble on too long and bore all your readers! Signing out, Kathryn Meyer Griffith rdgriff@htc.net

And you can see the book trailer for BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons right here!

naomi_jay: (afterlife)
I'm hosting another Damnation Books author today - Su Halfwerk, author of ZUPHREEN, a horror/urban fantasy exploring the lengths three students will go to to change their lives - and the lengths they're forced to go to when it all goes horribly wrong...

Researching ZUPHREEN

Over the past few books I wrote, I’ve discovered that my best friend in writing is research. For some people, research is a tedious task that numbs the brain into oblivion. For me, it’s a world of possibilities that gives me the break I need, it takes me on journeys through history and different locations, and it broadens my horizon. It’s exciting.

It’s even better when I research creatures, myths, curses, and the like for my horror writing. The type of horror that I write and attracts me is the one that involves psychotic individuals, evil witches, spirits, vampires, and mythical creatures.
Naturally, that includes demons.

Like other supernatural beings, demons are great. There is no limitation to their evil; science and logic don’t always dictate their actions and demeanor. They just are.

My latest release, Zuphreen, is named after one such creature, foul to the core, with no tolerance for any life.
And he grants wishes! Imagine someone like that granting your most precious dream!

Something is bound to go wrong. And it does, to the three friends who dare to summon him one moonless night and make a wish.
We shouldn’t judge Zuphreen, the same way we shouldn’t blame a snake for biting or a bee for stinging. It’s in his nature.

Zuphreen ~ Bestower of Damnation is the story of three unlikely friends who unwittingly unleash the horrors of hell in a vain attempt to boost their plummeting grades. Duped by their scheming professor, the friends summon Zuphreen and command the evil demon to enhance their lives with his gifts. But the gifts soon become curses and the friends watch in horror as they slowly turn into monsters. In a desperate race against time, the students must undo the curses and defeat the demon before the “gifts” destroy them forever. How far would they go to lift these curses? How deep would they sink to save themselves?

The book is available from Damnation Books here

Go ahead, Google Zuphreen. If researched, Zuphreen does exist now, and I’m proud of it.

Naomi, thank you for having me. I hope you and your readers enjoy reading the post as much as I did writing it.

About Su Halfwerk:
Su Halfwerk writes both horror and paranormal romance. From a tender age, the written word left a strong impression on her that later on made terrifying, blood chilling books the object of her interest. Su’s style in horror combines shuddery terror with an element of surprise; some would even call it an enigmatic twist. However, in the world of paranormal romance, she transforms the desire to scare into a quest to seduce and tantalize.

Besides writing, Su designs book trailers and paints.
She haunts these places:
Website: www.su-halfwerk.com
Blog: http://www.suhalfwerk.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Su.Halfwerk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SuHalfwerk
naomi_jay: (cubewich)



So, I just got back from attending the annual University of Cambridge purchasing exhibition, complete with seminars! Apparently this is one of the perks of doing purchasing for your department. Well, if free mints and a handful of brochures about ergonomic chairs are perks, I would prefer to be perk-free, frankly. And attending seminars on energy efficiency which mostly consist of people telling you to turn appliances off at the socket? Also not a perk.

But never mind. The point is, I'm blogging over at Words From Thin Air today, courtesy of my fellow Damnation Books author, Sue Bolich. As usual, leave a comment to be with a chance of winning Fabulous Prizes. And for daily prizes, join the Twitter party here. I've been Twitter-partying since Monday and am still going strong and you should be too!


naomi_jay: (alice)
I decided this year I'd make a serious attempt at organizing myself. I'm a pantser, both in writing and life, and tend to wander aimlessly along hoping for the best. No more! Those days are over, that Nome is gone. 2010 Nome is a sleeker machine.* I've got a lot of work on writing-wise this year, and if I'm lucky there'll be lots more. So some kind of order is required. In that spirit, I'm taking a leaf from [livejournal.com profile] blackaire 's book and keeping track of writing life/real life projects. I like lists, and I like crossing things off lists, so in theory it should work. So, we begin!

Writing Life (in no particular order)

1.Finish Earthbound for Queer Light anthology (I'm well past the deadline, but I'm going to finish it and query anyway).
2. Rewrite Wild for my Fearless Agent. First three chapters must be done by 23rd March. Shouldn't be a problem.
3. Finish Demonised, an Ethan Banning novella, for submission to Damnation Books.
4. Start on BAD DOGS, the sequel to SILVER KISS.
5. Continue with Afterburn, the sequel to AFTERLIFE.

Real Life

1. Keep job-hunting! Must be in new job before the summer if possible.
2. Start house-hunting. Must be in new house before the summer. I will not spend another winter in this glorified cowshed.

And because it's been a while since I posted one, and I like seeing those word counts rise, here's a word meter for Earthbound:

 
8511 / 15000 words. 57% done!


*Not literally. I haven't become bionic or anything.
naomi_jay: (different star 2)
 So, first of all! As mentioned before, Bitten by Books are hosting me on 22nd February for the SILVER KISS pre-launch party! Details here, and RVSP to get 25 entries into the contest and be in with a chance of winning all kinds of awesome prizes!



God, it really is just over a week until SILVER KISS is out! I'm so excited/nervous. It's weird; although AFTERLIFE was my debut novel, I do think of SILVER KISS as my first novel coz it's the first one I was actually contracted for. So I feel a bit more nervous about its release than I did AFTERLIFE.

Speaking of AFTERLIFE, my parents came to visit me today with a "you're published!" present. My mum read AFTERLIFE last week, and tells me she thoroughly enjoyed it and she's going to make Dad read it, and to commemorate the occasion, they bought me an absolutely gorgeous watch ^_^ I feel very spoiled!

And in other AFTERLIFE news, I'm having a go at an Ethan Banning novella to submit to Damnation Books. I love Ethan, and I feel the need to force him on the world and make the world love him too. It's pretty noir-ish and dark so far, and has dead hookers in tubs of ice. Just another day for Ethan...

ETA - Another awesome review for SILVER KISS from Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog!

"The author takes a new approach to werewolf packs and their alphas that I really like."

Next?

Feb. 16th, 2010 02:26 pm
naomi_jay: (looks like lizzie)
Since Wild is with my Fearless Agent and SILVER KISS is almost ready to step out into the big bad world, my mind has inevitably turned to the next project. (It's taken me like, a week to get over Wild. When I finished the rewrite I swore I'd never write anything again and everything could just go to hell because dammit, my arm really hurt. Still does, but anyway).

Anyway. There are a couple of certs - namely the two sequels to SILVER KISS. I'm undecided what order to do them in. Both will take Ayla and Shannon out of town. Probably Bad Dogs will be next since the events follow on quite closely from SILVER KISS. That's set Oop North. The third book is set in France and is currently called Moonstruck, but I'm edging towards changing that to something along the lines of Stone Touch. All will become clear eventually, I promise.

I've also got the sequel to AFTERLIFE, called Afterburn despite the indigestion connotations. That's not contracted, but Damnation Books did express an interest in seeing it, and I definitely want to write it.

I've been working on and off on a novella called Earthbound for a QueeredFiction anthology. The deadline is already gone (it passed whilst I was feverishly writing about junkie werewolves and homeless ghouls), but I'm going to finish it up and inquire anyway.

There's that zombie-military thing too. I'm currently reading Zombie CSU for research. There's also a YA idea floating around, although I've never written YA before so I'm not sure about that one.

And always, always, there's the rewrite of Scarlett's first novel. Sigh. Always. One day I will do it, I will make it awesome and it will take over the world. And then you'll all see *shakes fist skyward*

And all of this is why I need to escape this damnable dayjob.


naomi_jay: (riter)
I finished the edits on SILVER KISS last night and emailed them back to my awesome editor at QueeredFiction. Huzzahs! That's one werewolf novel dealt with - for now. I expect I'll be seeing it again soon, but in the mean time, it's back to Wild. I checked in with my agent a couple of days ago to assure her that I'm still alive and not ripping my hair out over it all. Which is mostly true. I am definitely alive.

And I am very much looking forward to finishing the edits on Wild. The end is almost in sight, and I've got to tell you - I'm ready to be done with it, for now. Again, I expect to be seeing Wild again in the near future (I certainly hope to, anyway, because that might mean it's sold), but for now, I just want it to be done!

Once it is done, I plan to drink a lot of vodka eat a lot of chocolate fake my own death to escape the damn novel once and for all work on a couple of short pieces; an angel story for QueeredFiction's upcoming Queer Light anthology, and a novella for Damnation Books. Neither of which will involve werewolves or drugs. Honestly.
naomi_jay: (Default)
I'm very pleased to welcome Yolanda Sfetsos to my blog today! She's a multi-talented, multi-genre author, and her current releases, CHRISTMAS DAY OF THE DEAD and BETTER OFF ALONE, are available now from Damnation Books. You should totally check them out. Take it away, Yolanda...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have you noticed how many zombie novels, anthologies, TV shows, and movies are coming out lately? Why do you suppose that is? Are zombies the new vampires, or are these walking, rotting, undead, and usually vicious corpses just a passing fad? Personally, I think they’ve been around for a long time and will stay that way.

When I was a kid and still living in Madrid (yes, I was born in Spain) I remember my father going to watch George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to watch it but I might as well have because he told me all about it afterwards. But I didn’t have nightmares. Instead, I was intrigued by the concept, and finally watched the movie many years later.

Then Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released, and the film clip featured dancing zombies. Not to mention that a bunch of comedy-slash-gory movies hit the video stores in the 80s. And I loved it!

Fast forward to now. Zombies seem to be everywhere. Everyone wants a piece of the zombies. And I’m all for it because I’ve written my fair share of zombie tales. I've found them very inspirational throughout the years and constantly find myself returning to them. Actually, I’ve got two zombie stories available from Damnation Books this month. One is available as a FREE download, and it's called CHRISTMAS DAY OF THE DEAD. All you have to do to get your copy is pop into the Damnation Books website, add the book to your cart, and enter this promo code at the checkout: 61DODholiday.

The other one is a short story called BETTER OFF ALONE. To be honest, the main
characters aren’t the zombies in either story, though I’ve done that too. But that’s a completely different story. ;)

Still, everyone loves a little zombie apocalypse, don't they?

So, what’s the appeal of this subject matter? Well, as a writer, zombie tales open up a lot of possibilities. So many things can go wrong, so many scenarios, locations, situations–it’s enough to get my muse excited. Oh, hold on, she’s getting a little carried away as we speak. It’s just amazing how many different characters can arise in a post-apocalyptic scenario featuring these undead, rotting corpses. And I’m willing to tackle every angle that sparks an idea in my head.

What do you think? Are you a zombie fan or do they repulse you? Do you enjoy the variety available in the genre as much as I do? Don’t be shy. Let me know what you think. Don’t worry, there aren’t any zombies here to eat your brain. Well, except for this one:

Thanks for reading!

Yolanda Sfetsos
www.yolandasfetsos.com

Yolanda Sfetsos lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, daughter, and cat. She loves to spend most of her days writing stories. Her muse doesn't like genre restrictions and is always happy to toe the dark edge of storytelling. When she’s not writing she spends as much time as possible with her small family. She also enjoys watching movies, TV shows and reading.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Remember, to be in with a chance of winning an Afterlife Bag of Swag, including a signed copy of Yolanda's dark erotic novella, FAITHLESS, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Go!
naomi_jay: (stewie)
Right now! I know! So if you want a copy, just head on over toDamnation Books and snap it up! And if you're fast, you can take advantage of Damnation Books variable pricing, which means you can get loads of great books for awesomely low prices! You know you want to.


But wait! There's more! To celebrate AFTERLIFE's release, I'm having a big fat swag giveaway throughout December. Here's how it works:

I've got a whole host of surprise guest bloggers lined up (each more surprising than the last!), and they're going to be posting here throughout December. To enter the Afterlife Swag Giveaway all you have to do is comment on any of their posts and you're automatically entered. Oh yes, it's that simple.

And what can you win, you ask? A whole bunch of stuff! Authors like Yolanda Sfetsos, Kate Johnson and her alter-ego Cat Marsters, Michele Lee, and LA Burton, amongst others, have contributed everything from books to keyrings to bookmarks and back again. There will also be a whole bunch of stuff contributed by the lovely Teresa Ford of Ethereal Tales. I'm throwing in an e-book of AFTERLIFE, of course, as well as a signed copy of QUEER WOLF, featuring my short story WOLF STRAP. Seriously! And it all comes in a swanky AFTERLIFE bag, so you know you need it. You do. You need it.

Srs Riter!

Nov. 29th, 2009 11:30 am
naomi_jay: (ocean girl)
Check me out! I'm offically on the Damnation Books website! OMG. And with only two short days to go until AFTERLIFE is released, I'm now a bag of nerves. I'm planning a lot of stuff for December - I'll be having guest bloggers here throughout the month, and I'll be doing a couple of guest appearances myself. I'll be giving away a whole lot of swag, with contributions from Yolanda Sfetsos and Ethereal Tales, amongst others, not to mention a copy of AFTERLIFE.

I'll also be working on Afterburn and doing some serious reworking on Wild because, squee, good news ahoy! So stick with me in December for fun, frolics, writing, and more!
naomi_jay: (riter)
I'm deep into the edits on AFTERLIFE now (I know! Time is a-wasting, but they insist on keeping me trapped in this insidious day-job!) and I'm realising a few things.

Firstly, I'm very lucky in that the majority of the edits are format changes. Changing UK spellings to US, for example, or altering punctuation. Quick and simple.

Secondly, it pays to turn in a clean manuscript the first time round. The first draft of AFTERLIFE was about 7k shorter than the finished version, was missing a plot thread or two, and had lots of logical errors. How glad am I that I fixed all that before submitting to Damnation Books? Extremely. Leaving aside the fact that the original draft probably wouldn't have been picked up in the first place, having dealt with all these big issues early means I'm only dealing with little issues now - rephrasing, polishing up sentence structure, etc.

Thirdly, you never know it all. I'm amazed at how many passive sentences Kim Richards (my superstar editor) has picked up in the manuscript. I'm amazed that I didn't notice them myself, as I'm very quick to jump on other people for passive constructions (as [livejournal.com profile] laburton could tell you). It's brilliant how much difference tiny little adjustments to a sentence can make to a whole scene, how much stronger they can make your characters' voices.

Fourthly, writing is not all wild parties and cocktails. I mean, don't get me wrong. I feel incredibly lucky to have made such massive leaps forward with my writing career this year. I'm in a place now I didn't think I'd ever get to this time last year, and I can (hopefully) only go forwards from here. But there is a lot of minutiae and nit-picking work that goes into producing a finished book, which I hadn't fully appreciated before. I knew on an intellectual level, but now I know first-hand, and I'm absolutely in awe of the work that goes on that we as readers never see.

Fifthly (sp? Is there such a word? See, you never know it all), you're never finished. As soon as the edits for AFTERLIFE are done, I'll be working on SILVER KISS. Yes, there's lots going on there that I'm not yet at liberty to discuss. I've got to put together a blurb and an author bio before anything else, and there will soon be edits, marketing, and promotions galore to deal with. That's before I even think about any forthcoming edits for MOTHS, writing the sequel to AFTERLIFE, not to mention writing the sequels to SILVER KISS. Seriously.

But I love it.
naomi_jay: (looks like lizzie)
A pretty big opportunity has come my way. I don't want to say much because it's all very much a long shot, but it means I need to whip Wild into shape, fast. For those who don't follow my obsessions religiously (you should, I'm fascinating), Wild is my epic tale of heroin addiction and werewolves in Liverpool. Or rather, it is now. Back in 2007 when I started writing it, it was an epic tale of heroin addiction and werewolves in America. I finished the first draft sometime in late '07/early '08, I think. It was a particulary difficult book to write because A) it's one of these gritty labours of love that breaks you in half and B) I was with The Ninja at the time, who you might remember as the clingy boyfriend who refused to believe I'd broken up with him and started hanging around my house in the middle of the night talking about the Mafia. Being with him was not conduicive to writing. At all.

So, once I'd finished the first draft (finally! After all the blood, sweat, and tears it bloody took), I emailed it, full of hope, to my now Ex-Agent. She was... lukewarm about it. Liked the writing, thought the plot was lacking. So I immediately began ripping the plot apart, throwing in some werewolf gang warfare and LSD-abuse for good measure. Then I grew incredibly disenchanted with my agent, my writing, and myself, decided I hated Wild and everything to do with it and never wanted to look at it again. So I wrote the first half of AFTERLIFE instead and pushed my junkie werewolves to one side.

And then I got my writers' group to look at it. They suggested I move the story to Liverpool and keep trying with it. So I started rewriting it again, got half way through, decided I hated it, everything to do with it and never wanted to look at it again, again. Then I finished writing AFTERLIFE, left my agent, decided my writing career was over anyway and seriously contemplated never writing anything ever again.

Then in 2009 some other stuff happened, like WOLF STRAP selling to QueeredFiction, and them contracting me for SILVER KISS and its sequels, and AFTERLIFE selling to Damnation Books, and suddenly I was feeling like, man! I'm not going to let Wild beat me! It may be the literary equivalent of a puddle of vomit that makes my headache just to think of it, but seriously! I'm going to damn well finish that book.

And then I didn't because some other stuff happened.

And then something else happened. Something I can't go into details about, but something with potential. Nothing I want to put too much hope in, but something that's sent me back to Wild like a ... I don't know, demented writing junkie masochist of some kind. Because I need to finish rewriting this book and making it as good as it can possibly be. This is always a problem for me - I never believe anything I do is good enough, but with Wild I want to try and do the story and characters justice. And I want to do it before next Monday.

I've got roughly 100 pages to go. Half the book is still set in America rather than Liverpool, and the first half of the plot has nothing to do with the second. One character is called Grady for 200 pages and Lennon for the next 100 or so. One character is a witch for the first twenty chapters and a werewolf for the next ten. It's a great, nasty sprawling mess. But I will tame it. Oh yes, I will tame it.
naomi_jay: (ocean girl)
And I love it!

How awesome is that?! Thank you, Jinger Heaston.

And I've just found out that Damnation Books will be having a launch party for AFTERLIFE on December 1st at their reader's Yahoo group. Yay!
naomi_jay: (ocean girl)
So I get up stupidly early this morning because I have to be at work for 8.30 to open up. I'm tired because sleeping on a bed propped up only by a box of vinyl records is uncomfortable. I'm irate, because it's Monday morning and there are no clean cereal bowls in the kitchen (I suppose that's my own fault for not washing up the night before, but whatever). I'm lethargic because the very thought of going to work saps all the energy from me.

But I pull myself together and head for work anyway. And then I get a flat tire halfway down Huntingdon Road, so I have to walk the rest of the way to work. I'm late. I'm unimpressed. I hate the world. Everything sucks, especially me.

And then I check my emails. And Damnation Books have offered me a contract for AFTERLIFE! Squee! Cue me going into panic mode, as I always do when these things happen, running out of the building with much flapping of hands and generally not believing it. I am SO stoked about this - I adore AFTERLIFE - it's one of my favourite things I've written, with some of my favourite characters - and I'm really impressed by Damnation Books, so this is awesome. AWESOME.

Cross-posted to Different Star

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