Monday, 9 October 2017

The Quantum Soul

I am thrilled to announce the release of the new Sci-Fi Roundtable Anthology - The Quantum Soul - currently available on Amazon pre-order and due for release on 19th October.

The Quantum Soul anthology


The reason I am so pleased about the release of this sci-fi anthology is not just because of the brilliant indie-writer talent it showcases, but because I am very fortunate to be one of the authors included in this book, with my short story 'Patient Data'.




The Blurb
What is Life? Is it awareness of the ability to interact and understand the world around us? As we dig deeper into reality, what will we discover about ourselves and what it means to be alive? When we stare into the mirror, are we really sure that we see staring back is the only definition of life in the Universe?

Sixteen talented authors of The SciFi Roundtable each come up with their own unique answers to this challenging question. The Quantum Soul is a collection of short stories destined to leave you wondering if there isn't more that humanity has to learn about the ultimate meaning of life.


I hope this anthology captures your imagination, don't forget to let me know which story you enjoyed the most and to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon - you'll have sixteen new best friends!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tales from the Underground

I am very excited to announce the release of the new Inklings Press anthology - Tales from the Underground - currently available on Amazon pre-order and due for release on 6th October.


Tales from the Underground


The reason I am so excited is not only that there are some fabulous indie authors included in this sci-fi & fantasy anthology but I am honoured to be one of them - my short story 'Underground Scratching' was selected to be part of the book.


Underground Scratching


The Blurb
Under our feet lie countless realms of possibility. Join twelve writers as they explore those realms - discovering lands of fantasy, lands from our far future, land of mystery.  There are places full of wonders, full of terrors, full of visions of what could be. Join us, down here, in the dark.


Watch the trailer here and let me know which tale gives you the biggest chill. Remember to leave a review once you've read the anthology, all twelve authors will love you forever.




Tuesday, 19 September 2017

New Horizons

It's not writing news, but then again it might be in a few months time... I've moved. I've gone from the outskirts of East London (ish) to the Essex coastline so my evenings should look a lot more like this:

Beach


So far I've had to put writing to one side whilst I open a mountain of boxes. This is a slow process as I am also heavily pregnant so moving, bending, stretching, lifting, carrying and decision-making of any kind is just not happening.

But then again, I get to go and have lunch whilst looking at this:

More beach

I'm banking on all that fresh air resulting in bags of inspiration. Either that or I'll build a cardboard box fort. Fun all round really.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Cover Reveal - The Rose Thief

I am thrilled and delighted to share with you all the cover for my new book, The Rose Thief.

The Rose Thief cover

Designed by the very talented Ian Bristow, you can view his portfolio on his Deviant Art page.

The Rose Thief is a humorous fantasy novel. Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor's roses. But that's not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It's up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn't exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?

You can read the first chapter here - make sure you sign up for my newsletter for future updates.

The Rose Thief will be released on the 10th November 2017 - save the date!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Yay it's Autumn

Autumn Leaves


Whilst we may not have the crispy leaves to kick about in wild abandon yet, I'm fairly certain the Christmas decorations are in the shops so it shouldn't be long before we get our gingerbread lattes (we don't really do pumpkin spice stuff in the UK) and everyone will be talking about who they're dressing up as for Halloween.




It's also a great time to reflect on what has happened in a year. This time last year I was an unpublished author. Today I have two books available to buy, The Gaia Effect and Tales from Suburbia; two short stories coming out in anthologies, A Quantum Soul and Tales from the Underground; and my new book, The Rose Thief, due out late Autumn. And there was me thinking I hadn't been very productive! Sometimes you just have to take a moment to step back and see how far you've come.

The Gaia EffectTales from Suburbia


I've read 79 books so far this year, well on my way to achieving my 100 book total for the year and I have read some fantastic books this year by traditionally published authors and indie authors. You can follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading right now and of course let me know if you agree with my reviews or not! 

For someone who reads so voraciously, I actually find reviewing books quite difficult. I know how important it is, especially for indie authors, to get reviews of their books but I want to make sure I'm being helpful as well. It's a learning curve so I am constantly trying to improve. Read my post from February, 'Whatever You Do, Write a Review' to see how you can help support your favourite authors. I also decided to add a new vlog segment to my YouTube channel with a monthly round up of the books I've read and reviewed.



My latest book, The Rose Thief, is with beta readers and I am really looking forward to hearing their thoughts and getting my teeth into the next editing round. I have had some difficulties with finding the right person to create the artwork for my new book but I hope to be able to share some fantastic artwork with you all soon. 

Share with me your favourites things about Autumn and I promise not to mention the 'C' word again until at least December!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Piled High Plate

At the moment I have several large non-writing events waiting to happen in my life. I'm trying to move house, get my son enrolled in a new school, move hospitals for my prenatal care and prepare for a brand new baby. It's quite a hefty plate. And it's driving me insane because I can't get stuck into anything. It's like having a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts that you can only look at and never touch. Not even sniff.

Things you want but can't have

The one thing that has managed to hang together quite nicely is my work life. I've managed to pick up all those balls I dropped (Dropping the Ball May 2017) and I'm even managing to achieve some new mini goals.

I've entered a few competitions, submitted a couple of pieces for online publication and began to write a new short story. I'm reading articles, sharing tips and even, finally, getting onto the podcast trail. Just listening at the moment but you never know what the future will bring.

The more items I tick off my writing to-do list the more in control and focused I feel. There is still a mountain of work to conquer, I have grand plans but in the last week I've had two new story ideas and begun to think about the bare bones of a possible series. Clearly having a full plate is good for my creative brain.

I hope that when things start moving on the regular life front I won't have to lose this motivation and focus in order to achieve those goals. I can do both - can't I? Share with me your coping mechanisms, any and all cake recipes gratefully received.

A million and one ideas



Monday, 21 August 2017

I love you Beta Reader!

Do you think that will work? Or will a more substantial bribe like some kind of cake do the trick?

Beta reader bribe

I have finally, finally finished editing The Rose Thief. Most of the time between now and when I finished writing it has been filled with a multitude of procrastination and the odd bout of illness. But now, now it has been edited. To the best or worst of my ability.

Self-editing is tough. Being critical of your own work tends to lead to downward spirals of thinking I can't write, what am I doing, this isn't a book it's toilet paper and so on. Writers are delicate flowers you know.

Writers doubt


Enter the beta reader. They are, more often than not, someone you know who enjoys reading and isn't afraid to speak their mind. If you're really lucky they might be indie authors themselves or have some other writing or publishing experience. The important thing is that they're not your mum. Mums are great, don't get me wrong but they might not be the best person to ask for a critique of your latest masterpiece. They're your mum, they're going to tell you it's amazing no matter what.

And so I have released my newest creation to my betas. I hope they enjoy it and even though I'm not sure I really want it, I hope they are brutal in their evaluation to help me release the best version of my latest book that I can. But not too brutal because you know, delicate flower.

Have you had good or bad experiences with beta readers? Share your experiences in the comments below and have a sneak peek of The Rose Thief here.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Flashing for the first time

Before you get all excited I did not run starkers across a sports field of some kind. No, what I'm talking about it flash fiction. Something I knew about in a sorta, kinda, yeah yeah yeah way but not something that I'd actively got involved with before.

Recently I was offered the opportunity to write a 500-word piece for a guest blog spot and I could no longer punt leisurely round the outside of this new exciting vortex of words. I had to take the plunge.

Flash Fiction

So what exactly is flash fiction then? Sadly it's not writing from the perspective of Flash Gordon or indeed The CW's lovable Barry Allen. According to Wikipedia (yes, I know):

Flash fiction is fictional work of extreme brevity, that still offers character and plot development, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories, also known as twitterature, the dribble (50 words), the drabble (100 words), and sudden fiction (750 words).

Sounds super easy and straight forward. I instantly remembered an idea I'd had that I thought might work and when I mused upon it to my beloved he piped up with - yes, but how are you going to write that? And so instantly writers doubt crept in, making itself at home, settling down and refusing to budge.

Suddenly 500-words felt like an insurmountable amount. Not wanting to give up, I did what I always do. I ignored the problem and had some cake. But I also let my subconscious do it's thing and wrestle with the concept until something coalesced. I look forward to sharing it with you soon.

In the meantime, here is the link to the wonderful blog that is Working Title Blogspot where you can read other flashes of literary genius as they share their own snippets.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

How To ... join in with #sparklybadgersunite on Twitter

Myself and fellow indie author C.H. Clepitt host a #event on Twitter on Monday evenings at 9pm (UK time) called #sparklybadgersunite:

#sparklybadgersunite

You can of course just follow both of us on Twitter for all our insightful writing updates and daily life tweets. I'm @Grasshopper2407 and she's @BadgersTweetToo. But if you'd like to get involved with #sparklybadgersunite then read on!

We talk about our own current writing projects & encourage other indie authors to share, books we have read, promote indie author news and generally chat about all things sci-fi & fantasy related that occur to us. We'd love to have you join us but first you may be asking what exactly is a #event?

What is a #event?


The use of a hashtag makes tweets and the people who use them a teeny bit easier to find because you can search for particular ones. However, if you are at all familiar with Twitter you will know that the live feed moves faster than the speed of light and often it is purely by chance that you happen to see something you want to see.

One way around that is to search for a specific hashtag. You'll then get a page with the following options - Top, Latest, People, Photos, Videos, News and Broadcasts.  You now have everything related to #sparklybadgersunite at your fingertips.

Latest feed on Twitter

Ok, great. But how does that help you join in? If you choose the Latest tab you will be able to follow the feed in real time. So at 9pm on Monday we kick off with a welcome message and prompt everyone to join in and chat with us. If you leave this tab open, Twitter will automatically refresh it as the #event goes on so you can see all the comments as they happen.

To join in just do what you'd normally do on Twitter - like it, share it and reply to it. 

BUT if you want your response to be added to the event feed you MUST use the designated hashtag #sparklybadgersunite in your tweet.

You still have the big tweet button on the top right of the screen so you can write your own unique tweets as well.
Tweet button

BUT if you want your tweet to be added to the event feed you MUST use the designated hashtag #sparklybadgersunite in your tweet.

It can move fast but don't despair - although our #event only lasts an hour the tweets will always be there and if you decide you want to come back later and join in that's great. All you have to do is search for #sparklybadgersunite and get liking, sharing and commenting.

We'd love to see you on Monday but if you have any questions in the meantime you can always ask them in the comments below or contact myself or C.H. Clepitt directly on Twitter. Happy Tweeting!


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Raven Award Winner

I am so proud to announce that The Gaia Effect has won the 2017 Raven Award for favourite fantasy/sci-fi book.

Raven Award Fav Fantasy-Scifi The Gaia Effect


I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to vote for me. It means a great deal to receive recognition for my book.

The awards were run by Uncaged Book Reviews and the winners from each category were mentioned in their August newsletter. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to all the winners.

If you would like to buy a copy of the award winning book, The Gaia Effect, it is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. If you'd like a signed copy from the author then get in touch in the comments box below.

The Gaia Effect book cover

Monday, 10 July 2017

Finding a Mistake

I probably shouldn't admit this but..... gosh darn it all to heck, we found a mistake in the new book.

Now, I know nearly every book probably has one - at least that's what I'm telling myself. You can only go over your manuscript so many times. At some point you have to pack its lunchbox, pat it on the head and let it go. But that sinking feeling when someone else points out that you've made a mistake is absolutely soul crushing and you're convinced that it is the only thing that everyone will see and judge you on.

But then it got me thinking. Is it actually possible to do anything in life without making a mistake? Mistakes teach us the things to avoid, the advice that doesn't work, the people that can't be trusted and apparently the complete lack of proof reading skills I possess.

I just have to keep telling myself that I won't be judged .... won't be harshly judged.... won't be stoned in the town square.

This comes on top of a mixed review for my previous book. The Gaia Effect. The reviewer said - as most people do - that's it's not their usual genre pick and hasn't dystopia already been done to death but actually, this one is different in that it's hopeful. So that's good. But they went on to wish the book was longer and the grammar more grammarly. I'm paraphrasing obviously.

My first reponse to any review is always to look at what the reader has said and make sure I understand what they mean. And I have to say - yes it is a short book. It's my first. I think there was a lot of fear in actually writing a book and fear affects you in so many ways. As for the grammar... well, I make no claims to have any deep grasp of complicated terminology - I just did my best. My proof-readers did their best and together we made a book.

It's a lot like being a parent. You can only do your best and if you spend all your time worrying about whether your best is enough (or even right) you'll end up frozen in indecision and nothing will get done or enjoyed.

I would like to clarify that I am beyond grateful for all my reviews and cherish each and every one, thankful that the reader has taken the time to comment on my offering.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Cover Reveal: Tales From Suburbia

I am delighted to be able to share with you the cover artwork for my new book Tales From Suburbia, a humourous look at life in the suburbs with short stories, plays and blog posts. Coming Soon!


Monday, 26 June 2017

Projects Update - Mid Year Review

It's so serious doesn't it? But I thought you'd like to know what I've been up to and if I write down what I hope to achieve by the end of the year then maybe I'll stop procrastinating my butt off and get it done!

The reviews for The Gaia Effect continue to arrive and I am chuffed to bits that my debut novel has been so well received. Thank you to everyone who has a) taken the time to read the book and b) been amazing and left a review. You can read them via my website.

Now I'm going to mention some dates but these are just ball-park guidelines, you can't hold me to them. Those who know me well will know I am a big fan of 'ish' so...

July (ish)
I shall be releasing a collection of works entitled 'Tales From Surburbia'. This will include short stories, humourous blog posts, a couple of plays and a monologue. It's designed to showcase my writing style and encourage new readers to come back and pick up new books. It will be ebook but I am tempted to also create a a paperback version for fans (Mum) to have a signed copy available to put on your 'I know an author' shelf.

July/August (ish)
I will have short stories in two different anthologies.

  • 'Patient Data' will be included in the Sci-Fi Knights of the Roundtable Quantum Souls Anthology 
  • 'Underground Scratchings' will be included in the Inklings Press Tales Of The Underground Anthology
Both of these will be available in paperback and ebook and look to be summertime so as soon as I know more, you will of course be updated.

September/October (ish)
The Rose Thief will rise victorious from it's languishing pit of editing and be officially released, hopefully in both ebook and paperback version. It's a humourous fantasy a la Terry Pratchett, bordering on the line of fan fic but it has been crafted with much love and if it's received well there are plenty more tales from that universe to come. I just need to come up with a name for the main city. Truly stumped.

November (ish)
The newest member of the Buss family will arrive - rejoyce, rejoyce. I shall be taking a small break from writing - at least I think I will. It may be that in my sleepless state I am driven to write more, you never know.

January 2018 
I will start working on The Gaia Effect sequel and despite the enormous pressure I already feel to bring my readers a sequel that satisfys their thirst for more, I am actually quite excited to begin work on this project. That's why it's a fixed date. There is no 'ish' for this!

Wish me luck! All donations of cake are gratefully received.


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Running the Half Term Gauntlet

Now, to clarify, my little man is still relatively little so at least I don't have the added pressure of entertaining cynical, disinterested in everything, know-it-all, self centred, selfish & just plain mean teenagers. But.... half-term is still the equivalent of swimming in shark infested waters with bloody cuts on your arms and legs. And here's why.

Guilt.

Apparently guilt is not a feeling that exists naturally within the human body's natural chemical makeup. It is an entity that we apes with extra capacity brain power decided to invent because someone, somewhere clearly thought it was a good idea.

As a parent you generally feel guilty about something 99.99% of the time and it doesn't matter how many times people tell you you're doing great, parenting is hard and at least you only half filled the recycling with wine bottles this week - you still feel like a total failure.

Half term is meant to be this magical break from school where children get to spend 100% quality time with a parent of their choice doing super awesome fun stuff all the time and eating yummy scrummy food all week. Those with rich parents will be swanning off somewhere fabulous. The rest of us will be desperately scrabbling around on Woucher & Groupon trying to find money off deals that actually work financially to at least give the kids some kind of treat.

I barely remember what happened last week, let alone what happened in the half terms of my childhood but I do know that much of my school holidays were spent on my grandparents farm in Wales and subsequently upon the Welsh coastline. Very fond blurred memories.

This week I have planned several excursions - going to see the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park (free), going to see the helicopters & aeroplanes at the RAF Museum (free), going to one or several of the City Farms (free), going to the seaside on the train (40 mins, train ticket) and possibly doing the old faithful and going to feed the ducks in the park. Luckily for me picnics are a big thing at the moment so if we pretty much sit on any outside piece of grass and I produce a peanut butter sandwich, crisps, pear & flapjack - I'm on a winner. And yes it has to be those four things.

Still it's only a week right? It's not like if I don't tire him out he won't go to sleep in the evening or that even if we're all bone weary at the end of the day he's still going to bounce out of bed at 5am ready to play. 'Mummy - come!' The dulcet sounds of trains being shushed up and down laminate flooring is so loud. It's the downstairs neighbours I feel sorry for. Except they have 5 kids so maybe not.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Saying Goodbye

Losing a loved one is always going to be hard but does it actually get easier or do we just get numbed to it? Or is this sense of c'est la vie just our mind's way of protecting us from exploding into a thousand little pieces?

My Nana passed away last week. We knew it was coming. I mean obviously we didn't know the exact date and time but we knew this admission to hospital would be the last despite the valiant rally that had us all hoping against all hope that maybe, just maybe she would come home again. It's a really difficult topic to think about, to talk about, to share your thoughts about.

When my Grandad passed, seven years ago this Christmas, I was more involved with the ending. I was physically there for much of the decline. It is terrifically painful to watch your beloved family member decline before your very eyes. It was my first real death. I didn't handle it very well. Grief it seems was too massive an emotion for me to process and locking it away in a box didn't really work. I would spend hours with tears rolling down my face and simple, everyday things like travelling on the train became these immense undertakings with so many possible outcomes, I couldn't possibly account for them all so I became panic stricken and immobile. I had some counselling. I'm not usually one for talking your feelings but on this occasion it seemed to really help.

Now I have lost my last remaining grandparent and the generation line has moved up one. I am no longer third gen - now I am second. It is an incredibly sobering thought and has really impacted upon me that life will continue to steamroller along at its own, predetermined pace and you can either make the most of each and every second or you can waste your precious time and allow it to fritter through your fingertips.

I have had so much going on in my life recently that I don't even know whether I've realised that she's gone. I mean, I know she died. But I don't think I've realised that she's gone. Since my Grandad passed it seemed to me that we lost a large part of my Nana at the same time and, to me, my relationship with her was never as strong or as vibrant as before. In the beginning it was incredibly difficult for me to see or talk to her on her own so I cannot imagine what it must have been like for her. We still had some great times though - discussing recipes and the latest craft project, the various TV programmes that we all watched, who we thought was going to win Bake Off and of course chatting about her Great-Grandson, my little man.

My Nana taught me how to bake, she instilled within me the importance of a cup of a tea and biscuit in bed first thing in the morning. Both her and my mum brought me up to appreciate the importance of good food and looking after everyone. I shall miss her dreadfully. I just hope that when the reality hits that she's gone, I'm ready.





Sunday, 7 May 2017

Dropping the Ball

You know that feeling you get when you're so on top of things you're like a lean, mean, efficient machine? I haven't felt that for a while but I have been there. Everything is in perfect harmony and your to do list is done. You're on top of the world.



Then something happens and you drop the ball. It might be that you relax and accidentally forget something or you decide to just not do x for one day. Then y, z, q, p and r all fall as well. And as quickly as you try to scoop the balls up, new ones fall down. Very quickly it's a case of losing the will to do anything as the whole damn lot feels like way too much hard work.

Being any kind of self employed means being highly motivated on a daily basis. Going that extra mile every single day to achieve maximum efficiency. I managed it from Dec 16 until the end of March 17 and then I hit the biggest wall I've ever seen in my life. It hurt. It knocked me out for a month. April was a total bust. I dropped balls I didn't even know I was juggling.



So now I look at the tasks in front of my and it seems like an insurmountable mountain. Everywhere I look indie author friends are kicking butts and taking names doing amazing things - great work guys. Am I intimidated? Yeah, a little bit. Am I finding it a little hard to get motivated? Yeah, a little bit. Do I hate blogging about it because I don't like coming across as a moaning murtle. Yeah, a little bit.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Editor's Block

I sit collapsed in my chair after a busy 3 days of running hither and thither culminating in watching my hubby run the London Marathon. Now it is the end of the Easter holidays, the little man goes back to nursery on Monday morning and I have no more excuses left. I have to get back to work on my WIP.

I finished writing The Rose Thief at the beginning of the year which was great but since then I've struggled to get to grips with the editing. Who knew there was editor's block??? I'll admit I've used writer events, a convention, life, illness and a back accident get in my way but no more, I need to knuckle down. I've realised what I lack is a plan and a deadline. With no competition looming over me this time I can finish when I finish. With no writing mentor I have no plan of action.

And then of course, writer's friend self doubt comes out to play. She loves to hang around, out stay her welcome and eat all the cake. Plain rude.

I can't edit it because it's no good. There's too much to do by myself, I need a team of editors working with me. I forgot how to spell!!!  Well, maybe not quite that bad but there's a large block of some sort in my way. Now is not the time to rest on my laurels.

Tomorrow I shall pack up my MS - that's manuscript for those who don't know - a barrelful of snacks, drop my son off at nursery then go find a corner in the library to smash that block to smithereens. That's the plan anyway. I'm going to bring gold stars and I'm not sharing.


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Who Am I - Brain to Books CyCon


Congratulations! 
You just stumbled across the next stop in the B2B CyCon SciFan & LitRPG Blog Hop Hunt!


Welcome, welcome, welcome. I am sci-fi & fantasy writer Claire Buss and this is my blog But I Don't Like Salad - an important stance to announce and stand-by in this dangerous climate of clean eating.

My earliest work included a direct rip-off of LOTR, I was eleven. There may be short snippets still in existence but we really don't have to talk about that. I used to write a lot when I was younger, then I turned into an awkward 13 year old and stopped sharing my work. Then I became a stroppy seventeen year old and stopped writing. It wasn't until 2014 that I really got back into the craft with great desire and determination. I wrote The Gaia Effect in five months as part of a writing competition and now that book is available to buy on Amazon in paperback & ebook - how amazing is that?

The Gaia Effect is a dystopian novel set two hundred years in the future after a mass extinction event has sterilised the human population and the ruling entity, Corporation, have created isolated, safe, cities for humanity to live in and be controlled. All babies are grown and allocated to couples as Corporation see fit and natural pregnancies are unheard of. The story follows a young couple, Kira & Jed Jenkins as they go to pick up their baby and try to figure out how to be parents. Then their friends start falling pregnant naturally and there have been several sightings of a mysterious blue lady. She is Gaia - the spirit of the Earth - who is trying to bridge the gap between man and nature.

I am also currently working on a fantasy novel called The Rose Thief. The Emperor, may he live for ever and ever, is very proud of his beautiful rose garden. So much so he has magically enhanced his red rose with the power of love. A wonderful idea. Until someone steals the rose and love starts to die. It's up to Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher and his motley band of catchers to stop the rose thief and return love.

Is my work science fantasy? Yes I believe it is. The Gaia Effect deals with what could happen to our current society and looks at the different ways technology may advance and invade our lives.  The Rose Thief has magic and Fae and an evil sorcerer - I am doing my best to ensure it does not have multiple cliches. I am a great believer in the fact that all fiction is fantasy, it is designed to take you away from the grind of the everyday mundane whether it is set in a recognisable city such as London or somewhere as fantastical as a spaceship in another galaxy.

You can of course sign up to my blog to keep up to date with my weekly musings. I can also be found on various social media sites - choose your favourite link below!

Twitter: @grasshopper2407


Thanks for stopping by my blog! To continue along the hunt, please click here.

Monday, 3 April 2017

My First Con

This weekend - the 31st March to 2nd April - I attended the SciFi Weekender or SFW8 in Pwllheli, North Wales. It wasn't my first convention ever, I have also rocked up to SFW2 and SFW3 but, it was my first convention as a writer and that was an amazing experience.

A big thank you to Telos Publishing, David J Howe and Sam Stone for making me feel so welcome and giving me a little bit of space on their book table.


It was a fantastic experience to talk to book fans and sell some copies of The Gaia Effect. I also took part in three author panels:


It wasn't all hard work though, my friends and I enjoyed watching the Pop-Up Puppet Cinema, dancing to DJ Leroy's sci-fi set and taking part in John Robertson's The Dark Room text adventure computer game.



Then of course there was the Cosplay Ball - a great time had by all!


Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cover Reveal: Hunted by Aoife Marie Sheridan

Aoife Sheridan, part of Ultimate Fantasy Books, put together my book blog tour so one way I can thank her is by sharing her cover reveal for her new novel Hunted - check it out!

Hunted Banner

Cover Reveal: Hunted #2
Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Genre: Paranormal
Date: 26th of March
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours

Hunted Part 2 ~ 2017 ~ For Smashwords.jpg

Blurb:
Hunted (Part two of the demon series)

"Evil has awoken..."

Abigail finds herself in Hades, and it isn't long until things start to go from bad to worse.
Cathy nearly dies, and Abigail is taken by Nicolas Frost. Zombies, man-eaters and dragons are just some of the things she has to face. But the worst thing of all is herself, and who she really is.

313a6-addtogoodreads


↓Buy Links↓


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XGXYR3L/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XGXYR3L
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XGXYR3L
https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06XGXYR3L
https://www.kobo.com/ie/en/ebook/hunted-146


Author Bio:

AoifeAoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon books given to by her grandmother. Her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife has a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen.


Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) took first place with Writers Got Talent 2013. Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and romance.


To find out more about Aoife Marie Sheridan you can visit her at:

Amazon Page: https://goo.gl/yd9Hxt
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Website: www.aoifemariesheridan.com
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Friday, 24 March 2017

Book Review: Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer


Today I am reviewing Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer, a fantasy novel about rapidly shifting allegiances, the end of magic and two mage brothers with turbulent pasts who try to save the world.

Darkstorm High Res Cover.jpgBlurb:
Faced with an imminent cataclysm that will destroy the magical heritage of their people, a conspiracy of darkmages resolves to open the gateway to Hell. The only mages who stand a chance of opposing them are Sephana Clemley and her acolyte, Merris Bryar, along with their protectors, Braden and Quin Reis: two brothers with a turbulent past and a caustic relationship.

Will Braden and Quin be able to protect Sephana and Merris long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they fall victim to manipulation and become darkmages themselves?


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Review:
Initially I was confused by the prologue, it almost spoiled the book because I already knew part of what was going to happen. I always think a prologue should be set either a very long time ago or a very long way into the future.  I also struggled initially to get into the stride of Spencer's writing style - for me, it felt a little overwritten but then I am of the one word will do school of writing. Once I got used to the liberal sprinkling of adjectives I was able to get into the story and it is a highly readable book.

I loved the world building in this book although I can't help but compare any horse-based clan to the Rohirrim. The brothers were believable characters with enough shared backstory for the readers to feel compassion for them. When we initially meet Quin he is a bit of a disappointment then he shows his true nature and it starts to get exciting. I also liked the fact that most of the main characters don't get a happy ever after - that felt very satisfying. I can't say too much more - *spoilers*.

I had the most difficulty with Merris - to me she wasn't a believable character. She went from timid child to wanton hussy to power hungry mage. I think if we'd had a bit more backstory we might have been able to follow the personality changes better - she was a scared acolyte when she arrived in Bryn Calazar and within pages she was a brazen sex  monster - it just didn't track. Perhaps it was an indication of mental instability but I felt it needed a little more development.

Luckily that niggle didn't detract from the story arc and I was pleased to see a fresh take on the end of the magical world. The polarity reversal made sense as did the group of mages prepared to do anything to protect their magical power. As always with fantasy novels you need to keep all the different names of places and people in your head but there were times when I was asking - who is that again?

All in all, an enjoyable read and Sephana's actions at the end of the book make you wonder what will happen next in this world. 
3/5 *

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Author Bio:
M.L. SPENCERM.L. Spencer grew up on the works of Steven R. Donaldson, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy. She was also awarded 1st Place Prose in in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration.

Ms. Spencer lives in Southern California. By day she works as a biology teacher; by night she sweats over a beaten-up keyboard. She is now in the process of expanding the Rhenwars Saga into a trilogy.

Visit her at:

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