Saturday, September 16, 2017

Unity Book Tour, Author Interview Exchange

As part of the UNITY BOOK TOUR, bringing three publishers and their authors together from around the world, we have this fun author interview exchange! I get to interview an author from another publisher and that author interviews me! So, I'd like to introduce you to Jacob Devlin! A fellow myth and fairytale fan, it seems! He's with Blaze Publishing, which is based in the U.S.
He's going to tell us a bit about himself and if you want a chance to win a copy of his book, just leave a comment here.

And be sure to head over to Jacob’s blog where I'm being interviewed! authorjakedevlin.com/blog

Author Jacob Devlin

So hi. What’s your name and what do you write?
Hi! My name is Jacob Devlin. I write YA/upper MG fantasy books, usually with some sort of fairy tale or mythical twist involved.

When did you start writing and why?
I've enjoyed writing ever since I was little, but I got serious about it in grad school and wrote as a creative outlet for some of the emotions I was feeling when I lost a friend to brain cancer. What I found was that I was so "in my element" writing novels that I didn't want to stop, ever. The body and soul just required it.

What were the biggest challenges about becoming a published author?
To quote Captain America . . . patience! Querying, and the wait time that followed, was so ridonculously demoralizing. I was prepared for rejection. The real torture was waiting for the rejection letters that didn't even come. Sometimes I'd be holding out hope for a particular agent, a few months would go by, and I'd be like, "just tell me it's hot juicy garbage so I can move on already!" But the reality is that they don't have time to write rejections for everybody. So you have to learn to identify that moment where it's time to boot up and move on.

Shout out your publisher and tell us how they helped you on your creative journey.
Blaze Publishing has been great working with me through my first trilogy. They've forced my characters to grow, and strangely, I've felt myself growing with them.

Where can we find out more about them? 
I'd check out their website (blazepub.com)!

What are you working on right now?
I'm between drafts of THE HUMMINGBIRD, the final book of my fairy tale fantasy trilogy. While I wait for revisions, I'm working on a totally separate project involving a dragon, a reality TV adventurist, and a train wreck!

Who is your most favourite character you’ve written and why do they speak to you so much?
While it's always incredibly hard to answer this question, I'm always going to have a huge soft spot for Pietro, the Peter Pan of my story. The trilogy takes some dark turns, but Pietro brings the charm and comic relief. He's also fiercely loyal to his loved ones and is exactly the kind of friend you'd want beside you for a road trip or war against an evil queen!

Do world events and politics influence your writing?
Up to this point, I've opted to leave a lot of today's politics out, because don't we need an escape sometimes? That's not to say I'll never draw from the political environment or current events, but I choose to leave that separate right now.

How important are places you have visited and where you live to your writing?
I have the travel bug, and my characters do too! I loved writing about an actual Renaissance Faire I went to in Maryland, where I discovered fried mac-and-cheese on a stick, and Renaissance jail! I love working different places into my writing.

Share with us your favourite line from your most recent release.
There's a simple piece of dialogue directed at Prince Liam: "The white knight has a shadow after all." His series arc is pretty turbulent and this is where his demons start kicking in.

Tell us five things that you love in life.
1. Breakfast for dinner! Especially Apple Jacks.
2. Comfortable shoes.
3. Movie theaters.
4. Traveling! Sightseeing, eating local food, exploring.
5. Music.

Tell us five things that you hate in life.
1. Those fake-out voicemail greetings. (Hello? What? Yeah? PSYCH LEAVE A MESSAGE LOL HA) STOP. IT!
2. Scorpions. Hell's rejects.
3. Losing at Scattergories.
4. Cancer.
5. Jerkish, entitled behavior.

What book started your love of reading?
I can't remember NOT having a love of reading. I was really into the Bailey School Kids in my elementary school days! A Wrinkle In Time and Harry Potter followed closely after that.

Tell us about your most recent release.
It's part of a series in which your favorite fairy tale characters and their families come together to fight off an evil queen and face their demons along the way! In the most recent installment, the main characters have to fight their way out of Wonderland. Along the way they're meeting the Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Hearts, all with their own new twists!

Where can we buy it?
You can order it through your local Barnes and Noble, Blaze Publishing's website, or Amazon!
Where can we find you on social media?
Twitter/IG: @jacob_devlin

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I Was A Horrifying Zombie (Sandemonium 2017)

   So, a week later, I finally get around to writing about Sandemonium. It was August 26, so, sorry if you missed it, because it was a blast.
   What is Sandemonium? It is a small, local, friendly, and fantastic fandom convention in Sandpoint, Idaho, a convenient 45 minutes from where I live. The atmosphere is warm and the vendors are always great. From local authors to artists, game-makers to librarians, they've got something to fascinate. This year, the table behind me was Board2Death a game development company with their own role-playing card game (they had their artist there, who had done all the art for the cards). And there was Sack Lunch Comics and Little Vampires
   I experienced pretty good sales, I thought, for such a small event. I got my picture taken with Darth Vader!

   And there was an author reading, in which I participated (read from Ambulatory Cadavers). I also got to meet Kevin Penelerick, with whom I've been acquainted online, ever since he helped me find  networking opportunities after Ambulatory Cadavers was released (he also writes zombie fiction under another name). He read his children's book, Guppy Butter, which is a horrifyingly delightful tale of tragedy and fish. Seriously twisted (I loved it).
   And there was the cosplay contest. Since I won the amateur department last year, and I sewed my entire costume (sans tights and shoes), I had to enter the professional department, against two fabulous D&D characters.
   All of the costumes were really fun and fantastic! From the pirates to the Skyrim character to the soldiers and Pacman.
   The moral of the story? Cons are fun. Although I did miss out on the panels. They had panels on cosplay and writing and self publishing and gaming. Not much boffering this year, but hey. Also, violin covers of rock songs seemed to be the main soundtrack. In my formal Regency get-up, I wanted to dance, but sadly refrained.
    The best part, really, is talking to readers, potential and returning. When you're sitting at a table labeled 'author,' people will walk up to you and start talking about their own writing, and that is the best thing. There's a little pressure, of course, because I want my success to inspire others. And, I guess it must, without my even having to say anything. Otherwise no-one would stop and tell me that they write, read me their excerpts, and discuss the creative process. It's encouraging and I do my best to be encouraging. I want them to get what I get out of our conversations: inspiration to keep going, to keep writing, and keep connecting.
   Writing brings people together, and that, I think, is the true moral of the story.



   p.s. I wore that make-up all day. Couldn't itch my nose for fear of ruining it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Small Update and PANIC!!!

   First the update:
   Weather Casters Book Three: nothing official on a release date, but it is likely postponed until early 2018. SORRY. But this means more time to perfect it and design the best cover and release party ;)
   My Etsy: I now have an etsy shop where I am selling prints of some of my paintings! Check it out
   Things I'm doing in the next couple months: I will be at two conventions: the small Comic con in Sandpoint, Idaho that I went to last year. I had a lot of fun there and look forward to returning. Sandemonium 2017 And then, in October, I will be at the first Zombiecon hosted by Spokane Zombie Crawl at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, WA! Zombiecon
   I also have myriad online appearances. Starting tomorrow at A Novel Connection on Facebook. Then I have an interview on September 4 at Audrina's Place (also Facebook).
   Oh!! And the blog hop! My publisher (Little Bird Publishing House) is collaborating with two other indie presses, Firequill (of South Africa) and Blaze (of the U.S.) on a wild blog hop that promises to be fun and fantastic! I will keep you posted.
   AND now the PANIC!!!
   I am a very disorganized person. I hope I can keep it together through all this. I have so little time, between work and sleep to organize these things. But I will do my best. And it will be fun! The cons, of course, will be the most fun, but so will the online events. I'm just not good at hosting these things. Seat of the pants. That's how I approach them. Most things, actually.
   And really, that's part of the fun.
   So, tomorrow, here I come, virtually unprepared and in a state of panic. Live life on the edge.
   Summer's already more than half over, but enjoy that which remains, and remember, panic is ok.
   Until next time, Au revoir.

p.s. at some point, I will get back to posting stories on here.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ChapterCon Awards

My fabulous friends Hazel Robinson, Helen Whapshott, Alison Clarke, Martin Ferguson, and Jill Turner have been nominated for various awards at Chapter Con 2017 in London! Help them out with some votes!
 Vote here!

Chapter Con is an author and blogger conference and public book signing, find out more about this amazing event here.

Image may contain: text

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Coming Soon! Martin Ferguson's Curse of the Sands!


Publication Date: 1st June 2017
Title: Curse of the Sands: Relic Hunters Book 2
Author: Martin Ferguson

Blurb: Thousands of miles away from London and The British Museum, in the mysterious Land of The Pharaohs, a pyramid has been discovered, or more accurately, one has suddenly appeared.
As treasure hunting teams from across the globe dash to the historic discovery, the race is on for the Hunter brothers, and their fellow members of the British Museum team, to unlock both the pyramid’s secrets and its relics.
Only, not all is as it seems, and as the treasure hunters begin to die one by one, it soon becomes apparent the pyramid has its own vengeful agenda.
In this second book of the Relic Hunters’ Series, seventeen-year-old Adam Hunter must learn to work as part of the team in order to save the day and win the heart of the girl he's falling for.


Curse of the Sands is published by Little Bird Publishing and available in Paperback and eBook format at Amazon and Kindle. 
Amazon pre-order for Curse of the Sands: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071RZWSRD

About the Author: Martin lives in Norwich, England and is currently working on the young adult fantasy and historical series 'Relic Hunters'. Inspired by the myths and legends his parents told him as a boy and with the help of his ever-suffering wife, a teacher and history graduate, 'Eagle of the Empire' was the first entry in the 'Relic Hunters' series, to be followed by ‘Curse of the Sands’ on 1st June 2017.



And get the first book in the series here

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Giveaway! With zombies!

   I am giving away three copies of my horrifying (and delightful) Ambulatory Cadavers, a Regency Zombie Novel. So get ready to sink your teeth into a brain! I mean a book. Figuratively, I hope. Since tooth marks would not be very attractive on a book cover and saliva has sanitation issues.
   This was such a fun book to write. All of the characters are my favorite characters, they just appeared to me on the page so real and often ridiculous. It's got it all: science (?!), Balls, art, zombies, gore, and even some romance. I could copy and paste the blurb here, but I'm too lazy, so I'll just state briefly that there are two cousins. One timid, one bold. One evil scientist, one reluctant fiancee. Oh, and a spy, and an artist and then a zombie with character, named Test.
   Reviewers say that it is a literary romp!
   So enter for a chance to win, I'll be signing the copies and probably slipping a little something extra into the packages (just some original art cards 😉). Did I mention I painted the image on the book cover?


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ambulatory Cadavers by McCallum J. Morgan

Ambulatory Cadavers

by McCallum J. Morgan

Giveaway ends May 12, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tailoring for Idiots (by Idiots)


   The more I sew, the more I wonder why do it and how I manage to make something even remotely resembling a garment of any kind.
   I have learned a few things, though. And so I will teach them to you, so you won't make the same mistakes that have. Well, I really probably knew better, but still committed the mistakes. So now you can blatantly commit these mistakes as well!
   
   Tailoring for Idiots! (by Idiots)

   Lesson number one: always pre-wash fabric. I have made several costumes without pre-washing the fabric. These costumes are made of cotton. So now if I ever wash them I will never be able to wear them again. Also, they will probably become deformed and wrinkled. Not all fabrics shrink when washed, of course, but a friend who is actually in the fashion industry (if you're reading this, hi, please don't break all of my facial bones) advised that all fabrics need a pre-wash. And I agree. One washes the clothing they purchase before wearing (at least, my family always does). Who knows where it's been between manufacture and you? Various dusty warehouses, trains, ships, and fabric stores. What Cheeto encrusted fingers might have chopped that fabric into your order back at the amazon seller's base? (Sorry, all fabric store workers. The ones I have dealt with are all very nice and clean with no Cheeto encrusting whatsoever, but that doesn't mean they don't exist somewhere.) And I suppose there are chemical concerns: those freshly printed fabrics probably need to be rinsed off before sliding over your skin.
   But what if my fabric wrinkles after the wash? Then you iron it. Great Scott! You don't mean more work? Sadly, yes. Which brings us to lesson two.

   Lesson number two: Do (not) be lazy. If you really want something to look nice, you're going to have to work at it. Don't take those tempting shortcuts that call to you like sirens. You'll wreck your boat on the rocks of 'Dang it, now I have to start over!' It will take time to create something worth touting. Make sure you measure everything properly. Make sure you cut it carefully. Make sure you sew slowly. And for Pete's sake, make sure you know what you're even doing! This lesson is very closely related to lesson seven, so we'll come back to this theme again. It needs reiteration.

   Lesson number three: Don't be a hypocrite! (Like me)

   Lesson number four: Keep Calm and Carry On. If you sew something together wrong (or hideously) and it needs redone, KEEP CALM. You will have to get out the seam ripper. Again, remain calm and try not to break things. It will be okay. Not today, but someday. If you need to, take a break. Seam-ripping can wait until after a calming cup of chamomile tea, or the next day. Seam-ripping is in all reality a monotonous task at worst, not Hell on earth as you (and I) may falsely believe. But it's close.
   Also remain calm if you break the sewing machine needle. This will happen at some point. Especially if, like me, you don't actually know what a hem is and suddenly you are sewing a very thick pile of fabric where your hems overlap on the sleeve you are sewing together (wait. Am I supposed to do the hem AFTER completing the sleeve? Please consult an actual seamstress and/or official sewing guide before proceeding (that goes for me, too)).

   Lesson number five: You should probably use a pattern. For years I didn't. Now I use a 'pattern,' Which is a word which here means: I cut up an old suit coat and use it as a guide while I cut fantastical shapes out of large pieces of expensive fabric. Patterns never hurt anyone and it is unlikely that they will do anything to ruin your life. If you are sewing, they will probably improve your quality of life and general sense of happiness. Don't be stubborn and/or lazy like me. Historic patterns exist and you can buy them online. For example: Reconstructing History and Historical Sewing 
   Although patterns introduce sizing issues. Better accuracy would help me, I suppose, since I currently go by guesswork. I should really learn how to use patterns and sizing because then I could sew for other people besides myself and possibly make money.

Lesson number six: You should also probably learn more about your sewing machine and its maintenance (especially if your local sewing machine repair shop closed some time ago).

   Lesson number seven: Slow Down! Be patient. Seriously. If you didn't sew like a madman and finish the garment in a day, it might look a whole lot better and not have those weird wrinkles and odd seams...This, I think is a major factor. Don't hurry. Yes, it's monotonous sometimes and takes forever and you just want to wear your latest creation and sweep around your castle in your new trailing dressing gown, but you need to slow down. Take it easy and be careful. You'll have better success and higher quality. But you should also refer to the previous lessons as this one is unlikely to be a cure all.

   My latest project was a long dressing gown. Fleece on the inside and stretch panne velvet on the outside. So if someone can tell me how to keep the blasted stuff from stretching and causing awful wrinkles and weird stretched panels, please help! Also, I could use some advice on hems trimmed with an accent fabric, because mine (A) didn't line up (because I didn't measure carefully enough) (B) had weird wrinkles (because I didn't iron the fabric) and (C) still looks pretty awesome! (If I do say so myself)
   I need to go back over my seven lessons, put them into practice and apply them to my next project.
   Oh, and as I told my brother, I can make you a dressing gown with matching beard bib (or nightcap!) for $200.
   Happy sewing and/or despairing, my friends! Remember, be patient and get it done now! You just take your two pieces of fabric and stick them under the needle and press the pedal! At some point you will sew the wrong pieces together or break the needle, just remain calm and remember: You are sewing because you love old fashioned clothes and can't afford to buy them. I still can't figure out how they end up looking remotely like historical clothing, though.
   

Look, a dressing gown. Bit wrinkly but it sure is comfy, which is more than I can say for some of my other projects.


With a matching nightcap!