Author of YA Fairy Tales, Horror & Paranormal Romance

Author of YA Fairy Tales, Horror & Paranormal Romance

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Help! Everybody Is Doing Better Than Me! #Authorchat

You know those days - you're trying desperately to focus down on your WIP, the deadline is looming, it's the next book in the series and you've been trying to crack on with it, but you find yourself constantly heading over to Facebook and Twitter, where you're assaulted with all the brilliance of your author friends.

You're pleased for them, genuinely you are, but it makes you question yourself even more. You look longingly at their Facebook posts; citing new glittering 5 star reviews, becoming finalists in The Best Indie Book on The Planet; there are pictures of them at signings and conventions, and in the local press, and you....

...well you feel like you're treading through mud. You've worked just as hard, just as smart. You've done everything that every writing and publishing blog has told you to do - but the sales are quiet, the reviewers all see completely buried under TBR piles and, worse of all, you're plagued by thoughts of quitting.

Well don't - don't ever give up, because 90%* of success is down to sheer bloody mindedness.

TOP 7 TIPS FOR BREAKING THE CYCLE OF GLOOM - (because 5 wasn't enough and it's not as complicated as 10!)

1. STALK (clearly in a non threatening or creepy way) your author buddies by visiting ALL of their social media platforms; maybe they are doing something that you aren't - it's easy to be standing so close to the trees that you fail to see the forest. Maybe you're missing something really obvious - like not properly engaging with your readers. (Make notes! I'm serious, this is like homework.)

2. REVAMP your blog, your website - create a logo, update your bio: remember you are a professional and maybe your 'tiredness' is being reflected in the state of your social media platforms. Who wants to visit and engage in a blog that hasn't been updated in a month, or a website where everything seems so static?

3. PLAN; make it pretty and use coloured pens. It doesn't matter if you never look at it again, but it will help you focus on your end goals and remind you of all that marketing stuff you already know but aren't putting into practice.

4. RECONNECT with your fan-base, your author community, your FB page followers. It can be really difficult when your esteem is low to keep a public face. Many of my author buddies are introverts - myself included, and one of the recurring patterns I see is a negative self-fulfilling cycle of disconnection. Because we feel that we aren't as shiny and glittery as our fellow authors, we retreat.

5. ADMIT it, you know there are flaws in some aspect of your publications; it maybe the blurb, cover, ending, you've never quite been happy with. Change it. Simples!

6. GIVE to others and the karmic nature of the universe will come full circle. If you don't feel that you have much to shout about your own work, then showcase and spotlight your buddies. Cheerlead and support them. Become a totally engaged member of the author community and watch as the love is returned.

7. WRITE your WIP. A lot of the most successful indie writers out there are doing so well because they have momentum. By writing a lot, and getting more publications out there, they've got more to talk about, there's more energy, more excitement for potential readers to engage with. It keeps their marketing profile fresh and energised. It also keeps readers invested.

Now these tips are not coming from some kind of sanctimonious self-appointed expertise, (heck, I've even made some of the stats* up) but they come from my own broken ego. It's hard, and the longer you've been doing it, the harder it becomes in some way. It can be hard to maintain the youthful optimism of when you started out, and things are getting tougher.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love it if you shared your own tips for pulling yourself out of the inadequacy doldrums. Let's connect and engage :) x

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Spotlight on Alison Clarke: Author of 'The Sisterhood'

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Alison Clarke and her Midgrade / YA novel, 'Sisterhood'. I had the privilege of working as part of Alison's editorial team at Little Bird Publishing House and I wanted to tell you why I think this book is so special.

'The Sisterhood' is an epic style fantasy, designed for younger teens. It's not this in itself that makes it special, but it's the beautifully unique take that Alison has taken on such an established and institutional genre.

I love fantasy, I always have - anything with dragons and fae is my thing. What I love about Alison's novel is how she challenges so many of the long established norms. Oppie is not only a great role model in that she is a girl with a big heart and a lot of courage, but she is also from a cultural and ethnic background that is sadly under-represented in the fantasy genre. The whole story, as the title suggests, is about the importance and power of female friendships regardless of age, colour or ethnicity, a message conveyed by the fabulous range of different mythical creatures who come together to overthrow a fearsome oppressive force.

This book is a beautiful read because if offers such optimism. Through the use of established and newly invented myth structures, Alison manages to tell a tale that is both inspiring and thought provoking.

"It is exactly the kind of book that deserves to be read snuggled up in bed with our daughters at bedtime."


Oppie and Aurie (Oppie's best friend who happens to be a dragon) are a beautiful example of true friendship. Their quest to over throw evil is a powerful metaphor for the darkness that our daughters face in the modern world.

It is available on all eBook platforms and also in paperback.

Kindle and Paperback links
U.K Amazon link http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00SCJPSSU
U.S. Amazon link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SCJPSSU

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cover Reveal & Giveaway


COVER REVEAL




ABOUT THE MEADOWSWEET CHRONICLES

The Meadowsweet Chronicles is planned to be seven book series (insert nervous giggle here) although it might end up being more. I wanted to write about the things that I love; folklore, ghosts, witches and all kinds of paranormal activity. By planning a seven book series, it allowed for the scope needed to mash up all those important influences; from 1970’s classic occult films and novels like ‘The Wicca Man’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and Herbet’s ‘The Cottage’, to a childhood full of Scooby Doo and later a teenage obsession with the whole American Gothic – one I am pleased to say I have not outgrown.

In this way, The Meadowsweet Chronicles is a complete homage to all I love about the horror genre. Primarily set in a small sleepy English village and centring around two warring covens, (The Meadowsweets and The Ravenhearts), the arrival of the quintessential American heartthrob and naughty New York party boy brings a delicious opportunity to mix up English country folklore and fairytales with the good old American horror vibe.

It’s an ambitious task, which is why each book is probably topping the 100,000 word mark, making them ‘truly’ epic in scale – but despite originally planning for each one to be around half that size and written in half the time, the weaving of such respected folklore and genre tropes has taken a lot more wordage than originally anticipated.

The series sits somewhere between Young Adult and New Adult. The youngest character in the book is sixteen, but most of the characters are at that really complex age of eighteen and nineteen, when they have fully emerged from childhood but not quite into adulthood. There is a strong undertone of romance running through the books, because primarily that is what adult human relationships are about – trying to find a connection with somebody. In each of their own ways, the characters of the series are searching for this connection.


BETA readers are currently requested for 'Vengeance' - Special BETA reader present / swag packs will be gifted for book lovers who are prepared to read and comment (as well as pick out type-errors and other horrors missed by the editor) I am looking for 10 BETA readers who will each receive an eBook edition of Book One 'Witchcraft' beforehand. International.
 
 
GIVEAWAY

For a chance to win 1 of 5 beautiful handmade, Tibetan silver and semi-precious stone bookmarks and signed postcards, all you have to do is copy and paste the following Tweet on to your twitter timeline.

Giveaway & Cover Reveal  'Vengeance' (#2 of The Meadowsweet Chronicles) Katie M John @Knight Trilogy www.katiemjohn.blogspot.com #YA #giveaway

(International - snail mail - winners picked at random next week and notified via Twitter and in comment box here)

(Added 23/03/2015) BTW - if you don't have a Twitter account, and would still like a chance to get your hands on one, then drop a comment in the comment box below.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Testing the waters. Is there space for homegrown indie YA authors at the one and only UK YA book con?

So this morning I have been brave. I've been optimistic, I've ignored my own perceived fears of being found out a fraud, a charlatan, a quack, and to be honest I'm a little nervous.

Being an indie author in England is a complex thing. After all, we are the home of Shakespeare and Austen and other megaliths of literature. Even our children's books are 'serious' reflections of the wider social and institutional attitude to education, moral fibre and aspiring intellectualism.

Until last year we, England didn't even have a YA book convention - yes, you read that right; in fact I'm not sure there were any book conventions of any kind except for a few brave souls in the crime writing community (who had spent years, neigh, centuries, seeking acknowledgement that their genre was actually of value - BTW it's one of my favourite genres and the one I probably read the most) and the Romance community who made a strike in this direction with the Second City Signing event that started last year in Birmingham.

Don't get me wrong, there are 'Literary Festivals', these are events where a lot of Pimms is consumed, the book reviewers of the broadsheets get to have a nice champagne and smoked-salmon canapĂ©-eating jolly (whilst hob-knobbing with some of the literary stars of the moment) and readers get to listen to hour long amusing 'lecture' style talks about various authors' approaches and influences, after which, a polite queue forms to have their first edition hardback signed. It's all terribly lovely, and just to socially mix it up a bit, they now provide yurts for families to camp over in a nearby field - they come with a wood-burner and mini-fridge for the G&T. There's a lot of linen and wicker at these events.

Trust me, there are no swag bags, sharpie doodles, t-shirts, and handmade offerings of love at these events. The very thought of a 'market style' convention in which authors and readers chat, hang out, have fun, exchange gifts is thought really rather "vulgar".

This is why the first reader, author convention I am attending is in the USA. That's right, I've had to book a stop off 12 hour flight and pay several thousand pounds to hang out with authors and readers that I have built up relationships with over the years - and I don't begrudge a penny of it. I am thrilled to be attending UtopYA

Just as I was thrilled to discover that at last, finally, the idea of a BOOK convention (not a literary festival - although being English, it has still failed to shake it's need to validate worth by being called the YALC (Young Adult LITERATURE convention) *rolls eyes* ) has taken root in England - and it looks awesome. It looks almost like the kind of reader, author cons that I yearn for from the States. The convention runs parallel to the London Comic-Con and ran for the first time last year; it was hailed such a success that it is running again this year.

It was implemented by the Children's Laureate, 'Malorie Blackman' in conjunction with Book Trust and sponsored by Waterstones book shop. (All heavy weights in the 'literary scene' ) The line up, being one of a kind on English soil, is phenomenal - I mean there are some YA author megastars coming, including a line up of hugely successful American authors, Cassandra Clare being amongst them. The line up also includes "TV personalities turned authors".

So the question is, how are they going to respond to the rise of the indie author? Is YALC going to make space for the home-grown indie who has shared Amazon bestseller space with some of the traditionally published YA authors? Well watch this space - I'll keep you posted.

All I can say, is that I'm going to put the champagne in the fridge in hopeful optimism. Either way, that part of the plan is going to work for me.

Find out more about he YALC here http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com/index.php/yalc

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Count Down To UtopYA 2015 - One English Author's trip of dreams.

This is the first post on a series as I count down to my trip to UtopYA in Nashville, Tennessee, 2015.

So I've never been to The States, and I've never been to a Convention - hell, I've never even done a personal author event, so after several years of getting the a bad case of the jellies every June, when I saw my Twitter and Facebook feed fill up with pictures of my lovely author homies all meeting up, I knew that had to change.

Thanks to the friendship of the amazing Carlyle Labuschagne (a fellow author whose energy and kindness I admire beyond measure, and the friendship with the lovely
Carol Kohnert Kunz over the years through Facebook and Twitter) I made the plunge to book the tickets -- purposefully ignoring my total phobia of dying, I mean, flying!

Not only that, my general in for a penny, in for a dollar attitude, also saw me make a bid to do one of the Xchange of ideas talks. (Don't tell them that I had to bang off my proposal twenty minutes before the GMT deadline) Now this should be okay, despite my general aversion to public displays of confidence, as I have spent the last fifteen years of my life 'presenting' the cannon of English and American literature to many disinterested, and fortunately far greater number of interested teenagers in my previous life as a secondary school level teacher. (High School to you U.S folks)

So my Xchange of ideas is going to be a truly 'Cutural X-Change,' as I talk about some of the essential differences an English Teen (YA) writer of Arthurian romances and English teen experiences faces when trying to break into the American market. I have a feeling (a hope) that it's going to involve a lot of laughter, humour and awkward questions.

All I've got to do now is somehow organise my thoughts on Wellies, Jumpers, Under-age drinking and promiscuity into some kind of functioning ten minute talk. No problem, it's a very long flight to Tennessee so I've been told.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Meadowsweet Series.

 
I've spent most of the first three months hidden away in the writing cave, writing the sequel to 'Witchcraft' the first of a seven book series, called 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'
 
'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' is a YA / NA paranormal, occult, horror series that combines my love of American and English witchlore. To be honest it's a complete personal indulgence, and plays with ideas, tropes and stories that I have loved for as long as I could read.
 
Blending the American Gothic with English Wiccan folklore, it is a rich mash up of ideas and characters, with a genre medley of romance, ghost-stories, good old fashioned horror and detective fiction; a collage of all the things I love to read.

Originally the title of the second book was always going to be 'Witch Hunter', but after the way that Book One ended, no matter how I tried to make the cover work, it didn't. I realised that it was because the title wasn't right.

So, after many sleepless nights, the new title of Book Two of The Meadowsweet Series is called 'Vengeance', which is far more fitting considering the terrible tragedies that befall the characters in Book One.
 
So, if you've missed the whole 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles', here is a little spotlight to help you get up to speed.
 
The second book, 'Vengeance' is due to be released at the beginning of May, just in time for my trip over to the States to attend UtopYA.
 

Witchcraft
 
Ever since its earliest days, the small English village of Heargton has been steeped in the occult. Tales of witchcraft and paranormal activity have been part of the local folklore for generations. Some people blame the lay lines that intersect at the very centre of the village, others blame a terrible curse.

700 years on, Heargton Village still holds dark secrets, and when one of the village girls falls victim to a terrible ritual killing, the old superstitions resurface.

At the heart of these whispers are the Meadowsweet sisters. All beautiful, all charming, all eccentric, but it is the middle daughter, seventeen-year-old Fox, who captures the imagination of American newcomer Jeremiah Chase; a deviant New York playboy sent to live with his Aunt in the Chase ancestral home of Coldstone Hall. A place that has its own grisly history.

But, as Jeremiah discovers the history of the Meadowsweet Sisters, the Chase family history is also unearthed, leading Jeremiah to understand that good and evil are not always on opposing sides.

A tale of witchcraft, demons and ghosts, blending traditional English folklore with the American Gothic.
 
Jeremiah Chase?
The character of Jeremiah Chase is a playful deviation from the usual Paranormal Romance protagonist. An exiled New York playboy and deviant, he finds himself sent to his eccentric aunt in the village of Heargton. The juxtaposition between his old metropolitan Hampton's lifestyle, and the life he is cast into in the village of Heargton, couldn't be further apart. It is this contrast that makes Jeremiah so interesting to create.
 
Of course, it is no coincidence that his aunt is in Heargton and it isn't long before he comes to understand that his family's incredible wealth and power is as much to do with their blood legacy as it is to do with their capitalist appetites.
 
Romance?
The story is essential about the awakening of the three Meadowsweet sisters, and so naturally there are elements of sexual and relationship discovery. Swan Meadowsweet is nearly nineteen, Fox is seventeen and Bunny is just about to turn sixteen. As such, they are emerging into the adult world, so although 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' is not primarily a boy-girl kind of story, there are strong tensions, confusions and undercurrents of romance running through the storylines.
 
Available
 
eBOOK
Amazon worldwide http://amazon.com
 
PAPERBACK
 
or you can buy direct from http://thelittlebirdbookstore.com and that way you get a signed copy and some thank you swag
 
REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE FREE TO BLOGGERS. If you have a blog and have space in your TBR tower, then drop me a line via the contacts page and I'll send you over a free PDF copy.
 
 
WIN WITCHCRAFT WINE CHARMS.
Just drop me a comment in the comment box at the end of this post stating what appeals to you about 'Witchcraft' and I'll pick at random one person to receive a free Witchcraft Bookmark (I'll leave it a couple of weeks until I select)

 
 
 

Monday, 15 December 2014

New Year Writer Resolutions

In light of the whole Facebook / Amazon craziness that has been going on over the last six months, I am making some New Year writer resolutions. Primarily, they involve going back to old school. Here are my sketchy plans, 

1) to free myself from the dominance of Amazon by freeing myself of all KDP select ties. The promotions have not reaped the harvest they promised; not at theprice of exclusivity.

2) to revisit, grow and nurture my Smashwords account - this was an amazingly good platform for me in the early days; I used it to experiment with shorts of different genres, keep my writing fresh and feed readers kindles with freebies and newbies. Going to learn to format my books according to the guide - which is a bit of a shitter.

3) To ensure that I have exploited as many digital platforms as possible, using Draft2digital to make it easier in first instance.

4) I am going to be bold enough to ask for book signings in my local bookstores.

5) I am going to spend more time writing and a lot less time promoting.

6) I am going to totally cull my Twitter account because somewhere amongst the madness I have lost my true circle of friends and fans - my timeline is so cluttered with strangers (lovely though I'm sure they are)

7) I am going to keep my blog full of lovely spotlights and intros of some of the great people I meet on here; I am going to nurture a supportive, cross promotional relationship. I am going to buy your books, review them and cheerlead.

There will be more - but in essence, I'm going to look back to move forwards. 2015 is going to be amazing. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Review of The Hobbit #3: The Battle of The Five Armies

Last night I attended, as a red (or should I say green) carpet guest, the worldwide premier of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. Wow- what an amazing and phenomenal event. I cannot communicate in words the awesome (word used in its original form) atmosphere, the energy or the pure insanity of the occasion.



Fans had been queuing for days just to be allowed into the cordoned off viewing area, and boy, had some of them made an effort; from elves, to dwarves, to Gandalf himself. Flanked by 50ft screens showing dramatic highlights, and surrounded by the most incredible music, the stars of the show (and us mere mortals) spent a good hour just hanging on the green carpet and taking in the spectacle. As I got to meander between celebrity after celebrity, it felt like I was walking through Madam Taussauds only everyone was alive. However, I did manage, despite being totally overwhelmed and starstruck, not to make a complete idiot of myself by asking for selfies with the gorgeous Orlando Bloom (yes, he is still that beautiful close up) or by asking for a snog with the handsome Benedict Cumberbatch (As hubby was there, might have ended up in a 'bit' of a scene' LOL)

Taking our seats, we got ridiculously excited about the host box of goodies, all with a Hobbit theme, which was really cute. I especially enjoyed the Chilli rice crackers, amusingly called 'Smaugeon Firecrackers'

With the stars of the show seated, our 3D glasses on, the film literally exploded (almost uncomfortably) into life with scenes of the monstrous incarnation of greed and evil, Smaug, the dragon obliterating the town of Laketown and displacing its inhabitants in what is almost biblical in its sense of exodus. As buildings crashed around us, and numerous extras struck the 'I'm scared witless' poses direct to camera, the hero soon emerges, Bard the bowman, played by Luke Evans is both an incarnation of rugged hyper-masculinity and new-age fatherhood.

With a strong moral about the love of gold and its ability to corrupt even the most good of heart, The Battle of The Five Armies relies more on an intricate tapestry of morals, fables and allegories than good old fashioned narrative. Yes there is a plot - a small one, extended out miraculously into over two hours worth of film, but it is pretty basic, with an element of love interest, which felt as if it had been sort of thrown in there just for something to actually be happening other than battle scenes (which I suppose given the title, is a legitimate major concern for the film.)

There are some strange moments in this film, which can only be likened to having eaten some kind of Middle-Earth mushrooms and going on some crazy trip. On at least two occasions we are lurched forward into some weird, sliding, blurring film moments (made somewhat more sea-sickening by the 3D glasses) in which, quite honestly, I wasn't entirely sure what in Middle Earth was going on! As best I could work in my slightly over-stimulated mind, was that some ethereal equivalent of FBI squad turned up to busted the incarcerated Gandalf free from his bleak and dreary incarceration.

Now, I'm not going to go and give any more details about the actual events of the film - because I don't want to issue spoilers, but what I will say is the following;

This is epic cinema at its most epic. It is completely consuming, and with the 3d element it makes you feel (in a way I have yet to with any other 3d film), completely part of the action. The sheer scale of this film and its cinematography is almost utterly overwhelming and the boundaries between reality and fantasy are completely erased.

It's not much of a plot to sustain a 2 hour film on, so if you're looking for an intricate plotl ine with twists and turns, it's going to disappoint on a level - but what is lacking in narrative structure, is more than made up for in the incredible sense of action and excitement. It is captivating, purely for its sense of scale, and is a fitting finale for what has been an incredible artistic endeavour. Jackson is likely to collect a whole armful of Oscar nominations for his efforts, of which he rightly deserves.

There is no doubt having listened first hand to Steven and his actors, that the LOTR team have been a dedicated and passionate bunch. The translation of Tolkein's epic fantasy was certainly a challenge, especially when being made for such a fan base.

Would I watch it again? I'm glad that I have. It was definitely worth the viewing - and I can't recommend strongly enough to go and see this is the cinema (it needs the scale and the surround sound) but for me personally, there just wasn't enough actual 'story'. I tire easily of fight scenes, impressive as these are. However, for many viewers, I imagine that this is the very thing that will make it a great and much loved film.

Overall, I would rate The Hobbit: Battle of The Five Armies 4 stars out of 5, but I would offer a standing ovation and a whole universe for Jackson and his tenacious pursuit in completing an 'impossible' challenge. Bravo, Jackson. Bravo!



Thursday, 6 November 2014

'Dust' by Sarah Daltry


I am so excited to announce that my author friend, Sarah Daltry has her new YA Fantasy book coming out today. I've had a sneak preview and I love it. As you know by now, I never send out negativity, but if I don't like something, I just keep quiet - so you know that if I'm posting this, I really love it. 
'Dust' was a refreshing read for me because I don't 'normally' read pure epic style fantasy (aside from my recent dalliance with the 'Game of Thrones' series, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect - what I got was a really captivating escape into a world I could completely believe in. I'm no expert in fantasy genre, but I get the sense that this is going to appeal to a much wider audience; there are elements of dark fairytale, quest and also paranormal romance but without the paranormal - LOL. 
It's a great opening to a whole new genre, and after reading 'Dust' I am going to be far more adventurous in my choices.

Sarah's storytelling is also delightful. The narrative flows easily, and her world and character building are really skilled. I highly recommend this novel, and I am really looking forward to reading more of Sarah's YA focused books. 

It's out TODAY on launch promo price for just $2.99  (a positive bargain for a rainy weekend read)

AMAZON UK LINK
AMAZON USA LINK


     BLURB for ‘Dust’


"I was once the type of person who was impressed by starlight; the type of person who would dance beneath glass ceilings and let the world swim in its loveliness. The sky reminds me of the parties we used to throw – parties like the one last night. The memories bring back the trill of harps and endless ripples of satisfied laughter. Now, though, when I try to recall what I felt, all I hear is screaming.” 

In a world ravaged by war and oppressive forces of evil, a princess must fight to claim her bloodright and save her people.
 When the princess, Alondra falls for the beautiful, blue eyes of a hooded stranger, it awakens in her a taste for freedom and an escape from her duty.
 But her parents have other plans; they have a Kingdom to protect and Alondra must marry to ensure the peace between nations. Only what happens when your parents choose a cold-hearted assassin as your betrothed?
As lies, illusions and long hidden vendettas surface, the princess has to confront a very secret history. One that makes her realize that she not only risks losing her liberty, but of everything she has known and loved. 

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY.

Sarah Daltry is a varied author, known best for the contemporary New Adult series, ‘Flowering’, a six-title series that explores the complexities of relationships, including how we survive the damage from our pasts with the support of those who love us.  

As a former English teacher and YA librarian, Sarah has always loved Young Adult literature and 'Dust', an epic fantasy novel where romance blends with the blood and grit of war, is her second official foray into YA, following the gamer geek romantic comedy, 'Backward Compatible'. Most of Sarah's work is about teens and college students, as it's what she knows well. 

Sarah’s passion in life is writing; weaving tales of magic and beauty. The modern and vast social networking world is an alternative universe that she makes infrequent trips too, but when she does, readers will find her attentive, friendly and happy to discuss the magic of stories and reading. Stop by and say hi @SarahDaltry.

Sarah has moved back and forth between independent and traditional publishing. Her first novel, 'Bitter Fruits', is with Escape, an imprint of Harlequin Australia, and she signed with Little Bird Publishing in the spring of 2014.

Publisher: Little Bird Publishing http://www.thelittlebirdbookstore.com
Author’s website: http://sarahdaltry.com
Author’s Twitter handle: @SarahDaltry

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

COFFIN HOP 2014


WELCOME COFFIN HOPPERS...

COFFIN HOP GIVEAWAY: WIN a Katie M John Randoms pack
This year for Coffin Hop, I have decided to do a little scroll of micro-blog posts on this one blog page. It's a chance to share with you my love of Coffin Hop and writing horror. It's also a chance for some of you to catch up with what's been happening over the last 12 months - like a sort of Halloween round robin ... only he's wearing a comical arrow through his chest and a lot of fake blood.

PSST... There's a funky giveaway at the end of the scroll for a chance to win a Katie M John randoms pack, which includes a signed paperback copy of 'Beautiful Freaks', a Tibetan silver & Semi-precious stone book charm, and a set of groovy plastic skull string lights
 :D

WHY I LOVE COFFIN HOP

1) It's the one time of year that I actually check in with some amazing writer / author peeps who I admire and respect - and like every true friendship, it doesn't seem to matter that a whole year (where the hell did that go?) has passed since we last talked properly, we just go on and hook right back up where we left of.

2) I get to check out a brilliant array of fringe horror - by that I mean, Horror stories that are not afraid to play around with expectations, tropes and boundaries. Many of the Coffin Hoppers are independent authors and with their work comes an amazing authenticity of voice that personally, I feel is a little lost in the mainstream horror market.

3) It's great fun and I get to have a go at bagging lots of funky swag - some serious and some that is just darned right ludicrous. (In this vein, check out my cheesy Coffin Hop prize this year - tasteful, I'm sure you'll agree.)


2014 saw the launch of WITCHCRAFT (Book One Of The Meadowsweet Chronicles) 

I've just launched book one of The Meadowsweet Chronicles, called 'Witchcraft'. It is the first book of a seven book series that explores and blends together The American Gothic and traditional English folklore and Pagan mythology.

I cut my teeth on works like James Herbert's 'The Magic Cottage' and films like 'The Wicker Man'. When I was a teenager, I fell in love with retro 70's road trip movies that inevitably ended up with some poor blonde virgin being stuck on an altar - and of course, their was Poe and Lovecraft. In a way, The Meadowsweet Chronicles are a very selfish indulgence - it is a project for my own entertainment; blending every trope and feature of such cultural cache. Be sure to have your trope bingo board ready.
You can find out more about 'Witchcraft' at US Link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NG5CLTE and UK Link http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NG5CLTE

As part of the launch celebration for 'Witchcraft' I am running an epic giveaway, which includes a Samhain Blessings Chest - whilst you're here take the opportunity to enter at http://www.katiemjohn.com 

NaNoWriMo - A chance to indulge the dark-side

This year I shall be using NaNoWriMo to attempt the completion of my adult classic style horror novel called 'The Crow Man'. I have been wanting to dedicate the time to finally writing my first full length adult horror novel for years - only I've come to realise that I don't have the luxury of time. I did my first NaNoWriMo back in 2012, and with spirited newbie enthusiasm I completed it - almost to the word. In 2013, life became a little more demanding for all kinds of reasons and I Failed miserably, only completing just 4,000 words of 'The Crow Man' manuscript. Not this year! This year I am going to do it. Especially as I have kind of challenged my fabulously talented friend Belinda Frisch to the finish line.


BECOMING A FULL TIME WRITER: Why Teaching and ; Writing Aren't Always an Easy Marriage. 

In Spring of this year I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life, I quit my day-job. Only my day job was a job I loved; it was teaching English in a London secondary comprehensive school (High School for my U.S friends) After 13 years of passionate teaching service, I came to the heartfelt decision that I needed to take a sabbatical from the profession. The main reasons for this were, firstly, my children - who may as well have been in boarding school for five days of the week, and secondly, my other baby, my writing. I was becoming intolerable to live with - a frustrated writer with too many stories and characters in their head with too little time to let them free.

Teaching and writing are not exactly easy bed fellows - they both demand your whole soul. But more than that, when writing I was always conscious of my social role and position in society. I write primarily fiction for Young Adults and so there are of course 'normal' boundaries in place when writing for such an audience, however, any deviation, challenge or subversion of such structures put me in a really vulnerable position. And yes, I could have written under a nom de plume - but somehow it didn't feel right - somehow that made it feel even more dishonest and unacceptable.

This was especially the case when it came to writing horror. No matter how carefully crafted and tailored the pieces were, I always lived with that fear that someone, somewhere would take offence and even more so because I was a teacher with the responsibility of young innocent *coughs* teens in her care. It's not that I want to go out there and write torture porn or extreme gore (casting no value judgement, just not my thing) but I do want to write books that explore the nature of 'evil' both in a traditional sense and a contemporary one - and sometimes the findings of those explorations don't fit neatly with the twin-set and pearl image of a high school English teacher.



Phantasmagoria

Heart sorrow full, followed by pale phantoms
He winds his way through darkened avenues.
Far in the distance, the echo-yap of
A hell hound’s bark splinters the silence. 
This citadel of restless, walking dead,
Holds not the warmth of a beating human heart; 
Save one. 
The fading heart of Lillibet. 

Suddenly, the fear of being alone,
Is outweighed by fears of duplicate shadows
There is blood on the moon, cries from the ground, 
For in this place only the dead are found. 


A STORY

Last year for Coffin Hop, I wrote a short flash story called 'Burial Rites'

Here is the opening ...


Ever since the sixteen year old Lillian Gladstone had been the unfortunate child to have been locked in the play chest as a playful prank, her worst fear was being buried alive; the thought of suffocating on her own screams plagued her dreams for years. 
 In an attempt to know her enemy better, Lillian had become obsessed with all things death – it was an obsession that both her parents and her peers thought too weird to be loveable, and so death ironically both her dearest companion and her most fearful foe.

To read more, head over to Wattpad on this link http://www.wattpad.com/story/9337711-burial-rites-a-coffin-hop-treat  I would love to hear your comments and feedback.


That's all folks - oh except for the giveaway. 

So to be in with a chance of winning these fabulous skull head lights, a handmade 'Witchcraft' book mark made from real semi-precious stones and Tibetan silver, a signed paperback copy of 'Beautiful Freaks' - call it a pack of Katie M John Randoms, all you've got to do is leave a comment in the box below.



HEAD BACK TO THE COFFIN HOP and HAVE LOTS MORE FUN HOPPING AROUND. CLICK http:/www.coffinhop.com TO GO.

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to leave your comment.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Summer Holiday Reviews I. Scary Mary by S.A Hunter



Scary Mary by S.A Hunter

Product Description
Mary has always been different. She’d like to be normal, but being able to hear ghosts means she’ll never be like everyone else. She starts her junior year of high school hoping to be left alone, but Cyrus Asher is new and doesn’t know or seem to care that she’s an outcast. They start hanging out and all is well until she goes over to his house. Cy’s house is haunted, and not by Caspar, the friendly ghost.

But it’s not the ghost that ruins the evening. That honor belongs to Vicky “The Hickey” Nelson with her borrowed Ouija board and stuck-up friends. They make her so angry that she uses the ghost to freak out everybody. Cy orders her out and Mary thinks she’s lost whatever chance she had with him. But there’s still the ghost to deal with. He’s mean, nasty, and possibly homicidal. She has to get rid of him or Cy and his family could be hurt. Or worse.


I downloaded this Indie on a Freebie whim. The slightly amateur cover  (which has since been updated to this lovely one above) hides a real gem. I can’t get over how much I really enjoyed this story. I consumed it quickly and was loathed to put it down – it’s a fast paced tale with characters that immediately click.  I can’t wait to read the sequels to this! It's an entertaining piece of story telling with good characterization, an absorbing story line and a sense of world building that is both believable and a good place to hang out.

There is a delightful sense of humour and lightness of touch that runs through the story. Can’t recommend this highly enough for readers of teen paranormal romance and ghost stories – and even better still, it’s still currently on free download.

5 STARS (Well deserved)