Saturday, 8 April 2017

Cover Reveal for Angelicus

'Angelicus' is book 4 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' and is due for release Mid-Summer 2017. The Meadowsweet Chronicles is an epic YA series, which is planned to be a 7 book series.

With the covens at war, and darkness looming over the horizon, the village of Heargton is vibrating with paranormal phenomenon. Ghouls, ghosts, Demons and Angels have been unleashed, and the Witch Hunter, Daniel Chase, is under strict instruction from The Church to begin 'The Purge'; an act that will exterminate every paranormal, ungodly, being in the area; which includes the Meadowsweet Witches.

The Ravenheart Witches are in no rush to return to Heargton, having finally discovered The Boko in Haiti who will reveal the secrets to Limbo, and the way for them to return their sister, Nigella from The Palace, restoring their trinity, and allowing them to finally make a strike for the Meadowsweet's throne to the Guardianship of The Ancient Ones.

And Heargton isn't the only battleground between the Light and Dark covens,  for in the mountains of Massachusetts, Melody Drake is preparing for her own war against The Southern Territories - but first, she has to reconcile herself with her own Demon, which, with the help of Yuma and Ethan (both animal shape-shifters) she comes to understand can be a power of light and good.

AND HERE IS THE COVER...


ABOUT THE THREE 'MEADOWSWEET CHRONICLES' FAMILIES.  

The Meadowsweet Chronicles is a collection of Upper YA novels that tells the story of three ancient family lines who live in the village of Heargton. The Meadowsweet Sisters have lived in Heargton since the Bronze Age and have always been known as healers and 'Witches'.  They have had a complex relationship with the village, both being accepted and kept at a distance - but it is through the Meadowsweets and their shop, which has traded since the earliest days of the settlement, that the inhabitants of Heargton have held onto many of their pagan ways and practices.

The Ravenhearts arrived in Heargton in the Middle Ages, a bloodline from Italian descendants, they came over to England as part of the Royal court and have been absorbed into English Aristocracy over the eons - only their past, unlike the Meadowsweets, is full of dark secrets, murderers, libertines, and dark arts magic. Incredibly wealthy, the Ravenhearts founded The Rookeries Hospital, which mysteriously burned down and re-opened as a lunatic asylum; which many believe was a front for a much darker purpose.

The Chase Family have been present in Heargton since the Jacobean period. The bloodline is cursed with the 'gift', some might say, 'curse' of the first born son being a Witch Hunter - something which led to an earlier generation of the Chase bloodline heading out to the New World with the hope of escaping their legacy - only, they ended up in Salem.
Now Jeremiah Chase has been exiled from his New York playboy lifestyle, and begins to unveil his family's nefarious history, exposing the truth that the Chase bloodline isn't as pure and godly as they like to pretend.

GRAB YOUR FREE COPY OF BOOK ONE AT:





Monday, 3 April 2017

What if the Legend Never Died?

A little bit about my series, The Knight Trilogy. Published in 2011, this is the first series I wrote and it was a labour of love and years of dedicated research into the Arthurian legends of both England and France, of the Golden Thread theory, of all the Holy Grail and bloodline theories and studies, of The Knights Templar and of European folklore - I grew up with an obsession for all things Arthurian, and all the different versions there have been throughout the centuries, and interpretations there have been in various art forms.

My YA series explores the idea that the Arthurian Realm still exists, just beyond the forest; and that King Arthur's knights still play a part in 21st century English political life. It's written in the form of YA Paranormal Romance, but behind that, it's a dedicated reworking and exploration of the Arthurian legends.

I have spent many summer camping vacations in the Forest of Broceliande in France as part of researching the mythology - and dragging my kids and hubby around all the various 'sites'; the tomb of Merlin, the Knight Templar chapel, Vivien's lake, the fountain of eternal Youth - it never fails to fill me with magic and inspiration.

The book is essentially a love story - but it also deals with issues about friendship, loyalty, being individual, daring to do right, and making sacrifices. Mina Singer is seventeen years old and attending college in Cornwall. When the mysterious Blake Beldevier arrives, he catapults her into a world she only thought existed in fairy tales.

However, like all good fairytales, there is a wicked witch - and Morgan Le Fay is the wickedest witch of all.

 It is essentially a coming of age story, a story of true love and emerging responsibilities. Book 1 of the series if FREE on all ebook sites. You can learn more about this series and my other works over at my official website www.katiemjohn.com

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The absence of Mothers in YA literature...

How many YA books have you read? Well, I'm guessing if you're over here at my blog, then it's quite a few - and what you may have consciously, or not consciously, noted is the absence of positive mother figures in YA literature - especially in paranormal and fantasy genre. 
The YA Author Mother. Me and my girls last mother's
Day. 

This is most likely because that genre is so closely related to the traditional fairytale genre, where if fairytales are to be believed, reflected a world where all parents were either murdering psychopath, prone to premature and inconsiderate death, or happy to sell their children to the devil for the price of a rose. 

Yes, parents are lacking in YA literature and it wasn't until I went to defend the role of parent (what with being a pretty fabulous, engaged, connected and present mother to my own two daughters) that I realised that mothers fared pretty poorly in my own books, too. 

In the Knight Trilogy, she is a perfectly adequate mother, wrapped up a little in her own world as a children's illustrator, but she is divorced and as her daughter, Mina, has become an adolescent, she is increasingly distant, finding her own relationship, and marriage, with a man, becoming pregnant and effectively starting over - leaving Mina in a strange kind of limbo land in which her mother has moved on and started over, not quite leaving Mina behind, but certainly giving her the space and freedom to move on. 

In Beautiful Freaks, Kaspian is an orphan, raised by Professor Lockhart, so the absence of a mother is stark and painful - and perhaps, Kaspian's self-destructive relationship with the slightly older, exotic Evangeline Valentine is proof of his desire to reclaim the relationship he lost. 

Then there is When Sorrows Come, in which Opehlia's mother suffers Bi-Polar and is admitted to psychiatric units on a regular basis. 

And then I Defy You, Stars, in which Juliet's parent are divorced and Juliet finds herself floating between two parental spaces, both loving in their own way, but inadequate in stability and understanding, causing her to fall between the gaps. 

And so... as a YA author I have perpetuated the orphan, remote parent, step-parent myth structure found in so many YA and children's literature. 

WHY? 

There are multiple reasons why there is an absence of the mother in children's literature, and primarily it is a purely logistic reason - it's difficult to have children and teens marauding around on exciting fantastical adventures with a helicopter parent in tow - I mean, seriously, I would be somewhat worried if my sixteen year old daughter continually spent days and nights missing in the woodland, or if my eighteen year old son was visiting dubious gentleman's clubs until 3-4am in the morning. There would be curfews and arguments and possibly, even police involvement. 

And then there is the psychology....

Well adjusted, perfectly balanced, well nurtured, well provided for, privileged children don't often make for the greatest of rebels or adventurers - and that's what leads many YA and children's story protagonists to go seeking adventure  - and often escape. And often, the surest way to create an adventurer / escapist is for their true and real world to be so awful that they seek out a new world. 

Just think about Harry Potter with its orphan / changeling tropes as a perfect example of parental angst and dysfunction, or Twilight with its divorce and remarriage complications, or The Hunger Games where war and politics has torn the family structure apart, or Fallen series, where so broken is the relationship with her parents, that she is sent to a boarding school, or Forbidden where parental neglect leads to brother and sister incest, or the fairytales of Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and The Beast, all of which demonstrate the woeful lack of positive parenting values and functional family life. 

Increasingly aware of this, I have attempted to redress some of that balance in my latest series; as a mother, I was saddened that there was an erosion of motherhood in YA and children's literature, that the genre almost perpetuates an expectation that parents and mothers in particular will inevitably let you down. I have tried to write in a stronger, more caring, more present mother in The Meadowsweet Chronicles, but it isn't easy. It seems that along with that nurture and care, comes and involvement in characters' lives that is somewhat limiting to the character's ability to go out and explore. And I realise as I am typing this that in the great sweep of Meadowsweet Chronicles (Currently Book 4 and running at over 400k words and multiple family lines - there is still ONLY one almost 'functional' mother figure, with a whole host of characters who are distanced, divorced or separated from their mothers and fathers.) 

So, this Mother's Day as I celebrate the blessing of my own amazing mother, and being a mother who is respected, blessed, loved and valued - perhaps I need to make a more conscious effort of reflecting the incredibly powerful relationship between mothers and their children in our literature - hopefully, we can demonstrate that with positive mothering, our offspring can still lead adventurous, joyful, exciting, magical lives but in the knowledge that waiting at home is someone who will always have their backs. 




Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Lost on the bookshelf no more...

I am a bit of a genre butterfly, and I have been writing and publishing for near on a decade now. Not only do I have 9 books out, but they are of different styles and genres, although all uniquely the pouring of my heart.

This has not been a good business strategy, although it has been a lot of fun and has resulted in stories that are full of passion and authenticity. I know by now, I should have well and truly stuck my genre to the sticking post and developed a readership base that loved the security and safety of authors who write in one direction -- but that's not me.

As a result, I have a situation whereby some of my beloved books are pretty much invisible, because they did not cross over readerships, or their genre / styling were not exactly fitting into brand. This makes me sad, because I know that they are lovely stories and that the characters deserve to reveal their own unique voices - and when folks do stumble upon them, they gather beautiful, thoughtful and meaningful reviews.

So, I'm going to introduce you to some of my works that for whatever reason, may have slipped your notice. To be fair, the days of me working up a several month release and launch party are over, I quickly discovered that the burn out caused by these 'monster' releases was having a serious impact on my actual writing, and over the last couple of years, I have snuck out several stand alone without much pomp and ceremony.

Today, I am going to share with you 'I Defy You, Stars," which is an Upper YA / NA contemporary romance influenced and inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

I have made the decision after quite a lot of thought, to make this stand alone contemporary romance an Amazon Exclusive (at least for a little while) so that I can enrol it in their KU (Kindle Unlimited) scheme.

This is great way of readers getting free reads and authors getting paid per every page that is read. It seemed a great solution for the readers of my paranormal romance and fantasy series who might not want to invest in something that isn't 'usually' their go-to genre.

I Defy You, Stars is one of my favourite stories from my catalogue and for those who have taken the time to read and leave beautiful reviews, I thank you - they really are very kind.

WATCH THE TRAILER :)



HERE ARE THE U.S REVIEWS SO FAR...

(5 stars) "A gritty retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. Katie John has her finger on the pulse of London's youth and weaves a beautiful tale of art, love, family and betrayal, showing us how Shakespeare's classic tragedy is timeless. I couldn't put it down."
(5 stars) "Katie M. John’s “I Defy You, Stars” is a brilliant, well-written modernized version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”. She kept the premise of two families at odds with teens in love and worked her own magic."
(5 stars) "A beautifully crafted view of two young lovers caught in seemingly impossible circumstances. What feels like a timeless tale in some aspects is modernized and entwined with today's dark realities. A story filled with characters that makes you want to keep reading just to find out what happens next."
(5 stars) "Well written, beautifully crafted. From the dichotomy of a teen girl's ordinary life turned to something dark and hideously real to the boy she loves whose inability to release the past's clutches lead him as much to her as away... I enjoyed every word."
HERE ARE THE KU LINKS

If you do have the chance to write an honest review, that is really really appreciated and it helps to gain exposure for the book. I have an ethical issue about turning review requests into contests or to gain rewards, and I know that Amazon and many readers do, too, which means I guess I'm having to entice folks to spend their time writing reviews simply for the love of books and to support authoring, but know that it is VERY VERY much appreciated and that every single review, whether you love it or hate it, is important and it matters. 
I hope you enjoy, I Defy You, Stars, and I really look forward to chatting about it
Many thanks, 
Kate x 

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The End of UTOPiA....

the beginning of something new and beautiful.

2017 is going to be the last UTOPiA con.

For those who know me, UTOPiA con in Nashville TN has played an incredibly important part in my life. It would take me a whole novel's worth of words to truly explain the impact it has had.

For many years, I was friends online with an incredible bunch of people who I often chatted to in the late hours of the night and into the early morning. They lived across the pond, and at that time, I was teaching full time so tied in more ways than one.

In 2014, I finally quit the day job to pursue this creative life. One of the very first things I did was finally get my ticket to UTOPYA 2015 (as it was then) in Nashville. It was a crazy decision; I had just given up a secure salary and I was terrified of flying --- but I KNEW I had to go. I had to finally hug the people who had become such dear friends.



I had no idea what to expect; the indie author community was still emerging in the UK and I had never been to an author event. The first thing that happened when I walked into the Millennium Maxwell, is I was swept up in a literal tidal wave of hugs from Carol and Adam Kunz; that first two minutes set the tone of the conference. I have never been hugged so much in my whole lifetime.

Those three days went by in an incredible whirl of knowledge, love, acceptance, inspiration... and home. It isn't hyperbole to say that for the first time in my life, I truly and wholly felt like I had arrived home - a strange thing to say for an English girl who had never visited the US in her life.



I booked my ticket for the following year before I boarded the plane home, and 2016 was even more special because this time, I was going BACK home.

Janet Wallace is the founder of UTOPiA.Con, and I have the incredible privilege of being able to say, she is now a dear friend. Janet has influenced my journey in so many ways and I know we have many roads to travel together in the future. Exciting times are coming and I am so joyful and full of positivity for them... but in the meantime, I'm going to let myself grieve for the loss of something truly special; a space where my most favourite, most special, most loved friends gather and share and hug.



I want to say a heart felt thank you to Janet, her team and all those incredible authors who have become friends and sisters. I know that there have been friendships made for life, and I know that we shall see each other many more times, but at the moment, I am reflecting on the times we have shared together - and those memories will always be in my heart.

This news is even more deeply felt this year because as it stands, I am not able to attend the 2017 conference. I know this is going to mean I can't fully close on this episode of my life, and I know that it is going to cause a great deal of sadness in the coming months, but I am doing everything I can to ensure that UTOPiA  and my tribe are fixed in a secure place in my heart.

So, Janet and my beautiful author friends, I raise a toast to the memories, to the laughter, the fun, the friendship, the love, the encouragement, the peace I found in your presence - and most of all, I raise a glass to future shared adventures. Know that I love you with a whole heart, and that there are going to be many tears shed over this for a little while to come.

Kate xxx










Monday, 20 February 2017

Monday Musings. The Dark Mirror of Social Media.

This post explores the impact of  current social media issues on me as a creative, and on our community; it's all getting a little Lord of The Flies. 

Some of you who are members of my 'Fierce Wings' group on Facebook were privy to a post a little while ago that started with 'To be honest, I'm not feeling quite so fierce at the moment.'

I'm not one to sharing the darker, gloomier, depressing sides of being a Creative on a creative journey, and this declaration to my wonderful, kind group was not just unprecedented, but it was really hard to admit things were not all rainbows and signings and flowing words. 

Most of you know by now that I am usually a little ray of sunshine; a busy little bee flitting around book world, always something exciting happening, always new places being travelled to, new experiences grasped. I pride myself on being a force of good in a community that is increasingly tearing itself apart; I believe in positive affirmation, balancing the universe and the manifestation of true desires, even if they come in a different guise to what we initially thought .... 

but....

As many of you are all to painfully aware, the social media world and the reality world are often very different. It's not that the social media world is a lie - it isn't, it's a truth, or it certainly is in my instance as I don't like deceit, but it is an alternative truth (My bad for sounding like a speech writer for Trump.) 

The social media brand of Katie M. John is honest and a genuine expression of my creativity but it is of course selective; and the things I choose to omit are for a variety of reasons, all of them for reasons other than vanity or delusion or ego. 

For example, if you hit my Instagram account, you'd have to be very observant to note I am a mother to two daughters - they  feature very rarely (and always in abstract) on Instagram because it is a platform I can't fully control; any old weirdo could be looking at them. But it doesn't mean I am creating a false delusion of my life, it's not that I'm trying to 'pretend I'm foot loose and fancy free' - I'm  just choosing to portray a facet of my life rather than revealing all of it in one space - just as when I go out with my clothes on, I am not attempting to hide my body through shame or fear, it's just private, it belongs to me... and the world probably thanks me for that. 

It's a bit like that and my mental health. It's taken me many decades to fully accept and openly acknowledge that I have high functioning depressive tendencies; the kind of depression that switches me me onto auto-pilot, where I still go through the motions of and responsibilities of my life, (God forbid I ever let anybody down and cause disappointment) but it is done with a very different energy to the periods I am 'well'. It's not that I stop doing things - I don't, but the growth stops, the risks seem more overwhelming, projects are completed with stomach churning self-doubt and fear. Avoidances creep in, and less savoury tasks are left until they absolutely have to be dealt with - and where social media used to feel like a place of understanding, shared experience and support, it increasingly feels like a gladiatorial ring. 

Late last year, for the first time in the decade I have been actively engaged on Social media, I was trolled. Someone ripped my whole creativity and work to pieces; they threw vitriolic, hurtful words into a series of 'reviews' with no care that a human being was involved in the writing process. Don't get me wrong, in the ten years I've been writing and publishing, I have had plenty of 1 star and less than positive reviews - but they've always been respectful, always been polite and a genuine expression of their dislike of the story / book / characters - I have a thick skin, or so I thought, but these particular trolling reviews were just plain nasty about me as an author, as a person. They told me in no uncertain terms that I had no place putting my s*@% out there for poor unsuspecting readers to stumble across and waste their time and pennies on. 

These comments shouldn't have got to me in the way they did, but this combined with other world factors and some of the negativity that our own book world has 'embraced' sent me down that familiar old tunnel of high-functioning depression.  

Then, just last week, a fellow book worlder who doesn't actually know me, decided to actively and aggressively call me out over something they chose to interpret negatively - no one else did. This second incidence of social media aggression in the space of two months is indicative of a shift in the social-media book-world - and it's a shift I don't much like. 

There have been a couple of high profile book dramas this week - but that seems to be the case every week these days. Hurtful, cruel, truly damaging things are being said more and more in our community and it's having a ripple effect - people are adjusting to this increasingly hostile and volatile environment by becoming defensive, protectivist, and creating an almost self-fulfilling culture of conflict - and for people like me, that becomes a serious issue of well-being. 

And I understand why it's happening. The book world is over-populated. It's seen an abundant growth of authors and their books, but rather than some people seeing this as a great and exciting thing, rather than celebrating the renaissance of genres, of reading growth, of a sign that the indie and hybrid market is doing things so right that it's flourishing, they have decided to turn it into some Darwinist fight for survival. It is literally turning into Lord of The Flies and I feel like Ralph shouting that we need to build shelters, and nurture community, and care for one another, when there are Jacks popping up everywhere that just want to, 'Kill The Pig! Kill The Pig!"

We all know how that novel ends, in the bloody murder of Simon, in the brutal emotional torture of Piggy, of the physical hunting down of Ralph - any hope for a harmonious, peaceful, productive community burning down around them. 

Simon removes himself away from the tribe when the tensions and conflicts become too much, and I am so sad (and increasingly lonely) to discover that more than several of my dear international author friends are doing the same. They are becoming painfully absent; they are retreating and with that, there stories and creativity are retreating, too - because the devil of it is,  without social media being a financially secure indie author is neigh on impossible, and some amazingly talented, lovely authors are choosing to sacrifice their authoring in order to protect their wider mental health. 

And this has been my desire for the last few months, to run away and hide from the nasty monsters stalking our land, but I know that isn't an option. I love this book world and an army of good needs to fight back. The fires need to be kept lit. The light must continue to shine. I am not willing to surrender  my craft, my stories, my authoring because some people want to cannibalise others. 

I am looking forward to helping be a part of calling to arms when we meet together at Chapter.Con London 2017, a conference model I have imported from the USA, inspired by my incredible mentor and dear friend, Janet Wallace of UTOPiA.Con and Social Deviants,  in which authors gather to share, get to know each other, exchange, support, and create a fiercely positive community that is committed to keeping our book world a safe space - a space where people can grow rather than just survive. 




The White Rose Author Event. York. UK May 2017

I am super pleased to officially announce that I will be attending the White Rose Author Event as a Signing Author along with 45+ other authors.

It is so nice to be returning back to the Motherland; I have such fond memories of growing up in Humberside and spending days in York. I was also born in God's own Country, too ;)

Tickets to the event are £15 per morning or afternoon session, or you can attend the whole day for £25.

It promises to be a really lovely day full of lots of meet & greet in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

If you haven't been to a signing event before and are a little unsure of how they work, it's a bit like a book fair, but the emphasis on engaging with authors, stopping by their stands to have a chat, a nose at their work, pick up gorgeous swag and get your hands on precious signed copies.

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/white-rose-author-event-tickets-24353867072?aff=es2 

Here is the current line up for the event.



And you can pre-order your Katie M. John Books on the following PRE-ORDER form.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdYbKGwN25pDmN4oQywUhXMP9xxIpYasRAiIUKnV-0AALHd0Q/viewform?c=0&w=1 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Rise to the 10 Acts of kindness challenge...

This week is Random Acts of Kindness week. This is a principle I not only believe in, but follow through. I have made regular 'Random Acts of Kindness'  to people in my author / book community and it is now an embedded part of who I am - it really does become a natural way of living after a very short time.

Often it's the smallest acts of kindness that hold the greatest
power. 
 I try to do one significant monthly act, which is often a monetary gift to someone in need or a care package for someone who is feeling the presence of the black-dog, and a smaller daily act, which is often an investment of time or skill. My Fangirl Friday posts are a small part of this belief.

Sometimes, those folks know it is me behind the gift of money, time, sharing, cheerleading, kindness packages, etc, and sometimes they don't. People often find it difficult to ask for help and even more difficult to accept it when it's offered. It's not about rough riding people's dignity or displacing the delicate power balance between two individuals. There's an art to giving, but it's one easily learned.

Now, I know there are some cynics who say there is no such thing as a pure act of random kindness because it makes the giver feel good about themselves - which is a good point, but let's reframe that, in our book community there are plenty of incidences of folks getting all the feels for themselves over being total barstools! Trolling, nasty-reviewing, knocking down other authors, books, bloggers, has become sadly commonplace, and it sometimes feels like we can't get through a day with out some kind of negative drama unfolding.

Kindness is powerful; it's transformative - it has the capacity to literally change lives - and sometimes it's the smallest acts that have the greatest power.

THE  10 ACTS OF KINDNESS CHALLENGE

1) Leave an honest, encouraging review for an author who has under 50 reviews on Amazon.

2) Post on your Facebook timeline, a copy of the book you are reading, tell your friends why you're enjoying it, why they should read it, and tag the author.

3) Head to an author's website and drop an encouraging message into their contact box.

4) Buy a book from an indie who you don't know anything about.

5) Create a fan picture / bookselfie of an author's book and post it on instagram, Facebook etc and tag them.

6) Like an author's Facebook page and write them an introductory message - just say hi.

7) Take $5 and download 5 random ebooks in a genre you love from the bottom of the rankings. (Rankings aren't all about quality, they're a lot to do with exposure - there are some hidden gems lurking in the bottom of the Amazon ranking pool)

8) Create a piece of fan art, photography, colouring, crafting, painting, sketching and post it to their timeline -- I can't tell you how joyful this makes an author.

9) Buy a ticket for a book signing - someone who is starting out and doesn't already have a thousand fans queuing to see them. It's soul destroying to put yourself out there and no one show up. (#BeenThere)

10) For goodness sake, if your friend or family member has written and published a book, buy it - it doesn't matter if it's your kind of book or not - you don't have to read it!
You'd shout them a coffee, a beer or a birthday card - so shout them a book sale. Rankings matter and especially on launch days. Every sale makes a huge difference to Amazon rankings and how much exposure that book will go on to get --- and who knows, you might even enjoy it.

So - this is quite a lot to do in the remaining days of RAK week - but hey, I've always encouraged the healthy breaking of rules -- feel free to do any of these at any point throughout the year. The universe will thank you, and so will the book community xxx




Friday, 27 January 2017

Just leaving this little beauty here....

Fan Girl Friday. Christina Benjamin

Christina and I eating Sushi in a
rare period of downtime at UTOPiA
Nashville USA. #Booksisters
Today I am taking part in Fan Girl Friday, and it is my great pleasure to introduce you to my dear friend and talented author, Christina Benjamin who is celebrating a NEW RELEASE THIS WEEK! YAY! Congratulations, Christina!

I love reading Christina's works and her ability to world build is very special. She is the kind of author which literally picks you up out of our seat and plonks you into the pages of the story. I've had the great pleasure of hanging out with Christina at several events and we connected on so many levels; we share a passion for the magic of stories and the desire to make reading a truly wondrous experience for our readers.



ABOUT CHRISTINA:

Award-Winning author, Christina Benjamin, lives in Florida with her husband, and character inspiring pets, where she spends her free time working on her books and speaking to inspire fellow writers.  

Christina is best known for her wildly popular Young Adult series, The Geneva Project.
Her best-selling novel, The Geneva Project - Truth, has won multiple awards and stolen the hearts of YA readers. Packed with magic and imagination, her epic tale of adventure hooks fans of mega-hit YA fiction like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson. 

Christina loves to read and write across genres. YA is her favorite but she's a sucker for a good love story. Don't miss her romance, paranormal and historical fiction, as well as the multiple anthologies she's been a part of. 

Follow her at:

Facebook @ChristinaBenjaminAuthor


Both Christina and I write primarily Young Adult Fantasy. (Upper YA) but similar, we have diversified, telling heart stories rather than chasing markets. This week saw the release of Christina's latest release, and I can not wait to read it.

THE PRACTICE BOYFRIEND. 



Practice makes perfect...or so she thought.

Nobody likes Cody Matthews, including Cody Matthews. And why should they? He got his high school girlfriend pregnant and then almost killed them both while driving drunk. That’s why he’s perfect for Hannah. She’d never fall for someone like him.

Hannah Stark is a high school senior with a resume of straight A’s. She’s never stepped a toe out of line. But that’s also why she’s never had a boyfriend. While all her classmates are counting down the days until graduation, Hannah is dragging her feet. She can’t believe she’ll be leaving her adolescence behind without ever taking a chance to be wild and free. That’s why she’s set her sights on Harrison. 

Harrison Cohl is everything Hannah wants to be. Gorgeous, wealthy, popular and wild. He’s also notorious for the legendary masquerade ball he throws every year. And this year Hannah is determined to be invited. And have Harrison as her date. 

Her plan is crazy. But she’s convinced she just needs a little practice to make her high school résumé perfect.

A Fun, Fast, YA Romance Read. 
Perfect for fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.
(Note: Suggested reading age 16+ for mature language and content.)

USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1V3FPF
UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N1V3FPF


CHRISTINA will be attending CHAPTER.CON LONDON This August. Find out more at www.chaptercon.weebly.com 


Words: A Poem


Monday, 23 January 2017

The Creative Heart.


#MondayMusings. 

It's difficult to explain to a less creative soul what it is like to be 'A Creative'; how utterly life enhancing and emotionally draining it can be. How being a roller coaster that refuses to be bound by tracks. Someone once used the metaphor of it being like a hundred or more browsers being open on your laptop all at once and your mind constantly flicks and takes interest between each one. 

Sometimes it is very hard to settle on the one point of focus and that is often when the self-disappointment, frustration and psychological self-harm creeps in; that state of suspended, unfulfilled climax of an action to create something meaningful, beautiful, tangible. 

Many Creatives feel this same kind of nostalgia in the present - a painful longing for something in the immediate past. Always internally chastising ourselves for that last half hour we wasted not creating what our heart wants us to create until...

the dam bursts and out pours our creative heart; and we find ourselves caught in an almost magical force of energy in which anything is possible and everything is ours. These moments, some refer to as the workings of the muse, cause a literal neurological high.


It’s then we realise that all those moments we sat drinking tea, watching Netflix, walking aimlessly around, were actually a germination period. 


It’s important to be kind to ourselves, creativity is exhausting.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Folklore Thursday: The Pendle Witches.

The Pendle Witches is a folklore that has risen up around an actual historical event, which ran with many parallels to the more infamous Salem Witch Trials.

The Pendle witch trials took place in 1612 in Pendle, Lancashire, England, and became famous mainly due to the unprecedented detail of records that were kept about the trials. Twelve people were accused of murdering ten local people by means of witchcraft. Of the eleven who went to trial, nine women and two men were executed by hanging and only one was cleared of the crime.

Despite witch trials being common practice between the 15th and 18th century, less than five hundred people are recorded as being officially executed in England for their witchcraft crimes - although less official figures exist of those who died during the often cruel and brutal inquisitions.

Like the Salem trials, small community politics and commercial rivalry played a big part in the communities accusations of the 'witches'.  However, in this case, many of the accused had actually added fuel to the fire by using the commerciality of witchcraft for their own financial gain, claiming to have healing powers and charging for other forms of quackery.

The Pendle Witch Trial was originally more a tale of politics, money and fraud than supernatural powers, but over the years, a rich tapestry of folklore has grown up around the case and many believe that the homes they inhabited, and the site of the nefarious, Malkin Tower,  a meeting point for the 'coven', which was located on the wild heathlands near Pendle, became haunted - with some even claiming they became the portals to Hell.

Now, the village of Pendle boasts a thriving tourist industry around the folklore of the Pendle Witches, one which was boosted considerably by the 2004 special live weekend edition of Most Haunted in which several paranormal events were captured on film during a live broadcast from some of the locations identified in the original records. With several of the film crew, and members of other paranormal investigative teams having reportedly been harmed when attempting to investigate the legends, Pendle has well and truly become a far richer tale of the supernatural.

You can catch up with the episode of Most Haunted at Pendle here but be warned, it is pretty full on, and do heed their own warning that it isn't suitable for younger viewers.




The legend of the Pendle Witches was a major influence on my series, 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'   and the location of Pendle played a big part in the formation of my village for the series, Heargton.

Book one of the Meadowsweet Chronicle is currently on FREE download and you can get your copy over at iBooks, Amazon and all other major eBook platforms.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

10 Albums that were the backdrop to my teenage years.

I am currently working on a novella for WaWa Productions and their LOVE IN THE...  book project
. It will be out at the end of 2017 and will be a box set of novellas, with each one being a year from a specific decade. The decade I am writing is the 1990's, and the year that I have is 1997 (the year I was just 17 years old)

The other exciting element to these novella box sets is that each novella is titled with a song title that was topping that year's charts.

Selecting a song title was tough in some ways, and then again, in others, it was a no brainer. That spring, summer and autumn was completely monopolised by the song 'Love Fool' by the fabulous band, The Cardigans. If you've not heard it -- then here it is.




As a result of immersing myself back into my 1990's youth, it got me to thinking about the music that really influenced me at that time. I thought I'd share with you the 10 albums that were most influential to me during my teenage years. It's a mixed bag with quite a few retrospective choices - but that was part of the 90's thing; there was a synergy between the present and the past in the arts, which really enriched my own teen experience.

So, without further ado, here is my list of teen albums that were most played and treasured in my single glazed, non centrally heated, incense filled, poster filled bedroom. I'd love for you to share yours.

1. Alanis Morrisette: Jagged Little Pill
2. Radiohead: The Bends 

3. The Doors: The Best of The Doors 
4. Annie Di Franco: Not So Soft
5. Kirsten Hirsh : Hips & Makers
6. Pink Floyd: Division Bell
7. Mazy Star: So Tonight That I May...
8. Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells
9. Led Zeppelin: IV
10. Nirvana: Nevermind


And if the WaWa productions project has got you a little intrigued, The Love In The 80's series is out and available on Amazon.

iTunes link https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/love-in-80s-new-adult-anthology/id1174506501?mt=11

Amazon Link https://www.amazon.com/Love-80s-Adult-Novella-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01N0D99WG


Monday, 16 January 2017

Monday Musings: Why TEND is my word of the year.

After much navel staring, I have finally pinned down my word of the year. What is this crazy you speak of. Well, so many of my author and creative friends were embracing the idea of a Word of The Year that like the human I am, it felt I should have one, too.

But what? Why?

What word - how could I pin down all of my aspirations, hopes, dreams, plans and focus into just one word when it presently looks more like the abstract to a twenty thousand word thesis? That was the point. Condense, refine and analyse -- what do I really want 2017 to look like.

Why choose a word in the first place? My head is like a computer with twenty different browsers open all the time - and most of the time, that's fine, it's exciting and it's energy. It allows me to skip from one task to another with ease and efficiency--- but sometimes, that's not fine, sometimes it can lead to a massive crash and feelings of being overwhelmed and having a word - just a single word that reminds me of my true focus of my true goal is like having a reboot and recovery button all in one. It stops all the words and gives me the answer that I need.

So what is my word for 2017 - It may seem random on the surface but it's a word that has been so carefully selected; a word designed to create a magic sense of soothing calm amongst all the creative turbulence - and my word of the year is....


Tend: To care or look after; to give one's attention to. 


Why the word Tend? Okay, so it's not the most exciting of words - but it really does sum up what my main focus for 2017. Last year was a year of innovation, of change and of creation. Some amazing opportunities came up which will come to fruition this year. I underwent a complete rebrand, released several books and sowed the seeds for a lot of projects.

It's tempting when goal setting to fall into the mistake that goals have to always be out there pushing the boundaries, being all shiny and new, that in order to make progress, you have to accumulate more opportunities, more contacts, more projects -- more, more, more ---- but the revelation that I have come to (after hours and hours and hours of insomnia) is that this year isn't about moving forward, it's about moving within. It's not about accumulating new networks, projects, friends, colleagues, readers - it's about nurturing, tending to the ones that I already have.

I am blessed. I have everything I need in the present to grow something beautiful. I have 9 books out, each of which I love, but perhaps need a little care and nurture in light of the Katie M. John author-thing evolving. I have an amazing network of author friends, who I really want to give my attention to. I want to champion their new releases and spread the word about their work, rather than looking to expand my circle ever bigger and losing touch with those who mean so much to me. I have an incredible conference planned for August, and it's not about scale and glory, it's about gathering and tribe and sharing.

I am involved in several writing projects, which are fun and clever and a great way to give to my readers and to organically reach new ones. I am building a newsletter for my fan base who have supported me over the years. It's a way for me to pay back into that relationship - to nurture that precious relationship between storyteller and listener.

Tend is also a word that reaches beyond my book world into my family world. I am blessed to have two daughters who are growing at twice the speed of light - and it's easy to become absorbed in stories and risk missing the greatest story of them all; that of my daughter's childhood. They are now approaching nine and five.

But TEND is also a word that applies to self. To tend oneself or in easier terms #SelfCare. Self care isn't about being selfish, but for someone who feels so deeply when others' suffer, and who feels the urge to fix things - all of the time - the idea of paying attention to oneself is really important, and one of the hardest things to actually work. I'm a great believer in meditation and mindfulness and need to ensure that this is going to become a natural part of each of my days --- that and the dreaded exercise.

So yes, the word of the year is TEND and I'd love to hear yours and why you have chosen it.


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Wow - A flying start to 2017

Well, already, I have broken the resolution to keep this blog more up to date! But the reason being is that the start to the year has been crazy busy with lots of exciting things.

Firstly, I am prepping like a mad woman for the West Midland's Valentines signing, which was all a bit last minute. As a result I am swagging and crafting and designing for the printers at a rapid speed having thought that my signing season wasn't going to actually start until May. It would be lovely to see some of you in Telford, West Midlands. There are still tickets available but they are going quick so be sure to grab yours a.s.a.p - there are going to be some really cool author folk signing and it promises to be a really good weekend.

Secondly, I have been working on my novella for the Love in The Decades series. The series I am taking part in is Love in the 90's and my year is 1997. The title for my story is 'LOVE FOOL' after that song seemed to be played continually all through out the year. It is so exciting doing historical research for a time period I actually lived through --- ha! History of my teenage years lol. I can't wait to share this story with you, and the main character - she's insane LOL!

Also, after a couple of worrying review comments about some of the *editing* of The Meadowsweet Chronicles, I have been doing an emergency review of the books in the series. As with all my books, I have paid someone to edit and proof read the editions before going to print. It's impossible to do it yourself as an author because you actually go word blind - reading things and automatically correcting things that are wrong. HOWEVER, it soon became apparent that the proof checking phase had not been done adequately; which is really very disappointing and certainly not good enough. As a result, I have enlisted a new proof reader who I know personally and who I trust completely.

It is planned that by the end of January all the editions will be in a much cleaner (almost perfect) state - although I don't promise you 100% perfect; it's an incredibly rare thing, even with traditionally published books to have a flawless book - and of course there are always going to be pedants about old traditional grammar versus vernacular, and of course, those pesky comma usages.

However, 2017 is all about polishing and nurturing and that goes for the books, too. I love the Meadowsweet Chronicles and I believe in it, which is why sometimes you have to tread old ground before exciting new lands.

SO that's what I've been doing in the last couple of weeks and why the blog has not yet become the beautifully consistent thing I know it will come by the end of the year.

Thanks for all your support and care, and I look forward to sharing some exciting new reads in 2017.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Introducing you to Tracie Podger... Adult Romance author

I had the great delight of meeting Tracie in person at The Glasgow Winter Wonderland signing at the end of last year. We had known each other from the TBC secret Facebook book club, and it was super lovely to actually catch up with her and discover more about her work and books.
Tracie is an incredible force of energy with a serious love of all things authoring and publishing. Not only is she a super storyteller, but she is also a wonderful member of the UK book community.

Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to her work and to tell you a little more about Tracie. Her works are 18+ adult fiction.

THE OFFICIAL BIO:
Tracie Podger currently lives in Kent, UK, with her husband and a rather obnoxious cat called George. She’s a Padi Scuba Diving Instructor with a passion for writing. Tracie has been fortunate to have dived some of the wonderful oceans of the world where she can indulge in another hobby, underwater photography. She likes getting up close and personal with sharks.


Tracie is a multi-genre author. She likes to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, and thrillers. She recommends that you check out the classification on her books, or feel free to shoot her a message and ask.

Although Tracie has written many books, and is most known for her Fallen Angel series (A Mafia Romance) the book I really want to share with you is her new stand alone novel, A Virtual Affair.



A Virtual Affair - a new standalone by Tracie Podger

Do you know what hope smells like?It’s a combination of the sea, of exposed seaweed and salty air.Of wet sand on a winter’s day.Jayne was mid-forties when she experienced the worst and the best times of her life. She fell in love, so desperately in love. She lost everything overnight.



This is Jayne’s story of love and loss, of a battle with depression and learning to love herself again.







Books by Tracie Podger
Fallen Angel, Part 1 – A mafia romance
Fallen Angel, Part 2 – A mafia romance
Fallen Angel, Part 3 – A mafia romance
Fallen Angel, Part 4 – A Mafia romance
Evelyn - A Novella – To accompany the Fallen Angel Series
Rocco – A Novella – To accompany the Fallen Angel Series
Robert – To accompany the Fallen Angel Series
Travis – To accompany the Fallen Angel Series
A Virtual Affair – Contemporary romance & standalone
Gabriel – A thriller/suspense & standalone
The Facilitator – An erotic romance & standalone


All available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook & Kobo
Coming soon
A Deadly Sin – releasing November 18th
Hitchhiker – early 2017
The Passion Series – Jackson – mid 2017
Letters to Lincoln – mid 2017
Harlot
Rocco: The Missing Years

Stalker Links…
Amazon Author Pagehttp://author.to/TraciePodger