Saturday, 29 December 2012

Doctor Who jewellery

Y'all probably think I'm a little obsessed with Stella My Star by now, and of course I am - especially after receiving this amazing Doctor Who necklace, The Angels have Taken the Phone Box, the other day. (Guilty confession: originally I planned this as a birthday gift for someone then decided to keep it).  I also love, though have restrained from buying, the Don't Blink charm bracelet...

(The site is having a sale until Jan 7 - 20% off all orders with the code BOXINGDAYSALE - check it out here). Photos below courtesy of the Stella My Star site.

Angels have Taken the Phonebox necklace by Stella My Star

Don't Blink charm bracelet by Stella My Star

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Santa and Batman!

I have, I'm afraid, been spectacularly disorganised this year so the likelihood of anyone getting a Christmas card before... oh, 2013... is looking slim indeed. However, if I were organised, and sending cards, I would totally buy these freaking amazing Batman/Santa cards from Stella My Star. Come on, they rock.

Cards via Stella My Star

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Merry Menage over at the Book Tart

I do love the Book Tart - she 's enormous fun and we like so many of the same things - so was delighted when she asked me to take part on her Merry Menage. No, saucy, I don't like her that much, it's a super fun blog hop. So why not pop over at read my post on why Doctor Who and the Queen make for the perfect Christmas, and try to win a prize while you're at it...

Auditions for the John Lewis ad got a bit nasty

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Vampire story FREE this weekend!

So, my Dark Dates short story A Vampire Walks into A Bar is free this weekend (from 1-3 Dec) so why not check it out? Links for US and UK sites below...


FREE! And worth every penny ; )

Monday, 26 November 2012

Meeting Nocturnal Book Reviews

One of the nicest things about this whole writing business is connecting with people, and in promoting Dark Dates I have interacted with loads of lovely bloggers. But the other week I got a chance to actually meet one, when Karina of Nocturnal Book Reviews was in London and suggested meeting for a coffee. Well, as you can see from the picture (which I have poached from her blog, and was taken by her hubbie), coffee soon turned to wine and we had a right old natter. It really was great to put a face to a name and Karina and her husband are both fascinating people - they've lived all over the world and have lots of stories to tell! - so we had a very pleasant afternoon...

Me and Karina of Nocturnal Book Reviews

Monday, 19 November 2012

Interview at Workaday Reads

I was delighted to be interviewed over at Workaday Reads. Do pop over and check it out!

And remember, my new short story is available for the bargainous price of 77p - A Vampire Walks into a Bar.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Amy Mah - Teenage Vampire

So, today I'm delighted to introduce you to author Amy Mah, whose books look a delight. Why not check them out?

About the Author

The author Amelia Mah is a 20 something snarky, sarcastic and cynical author who has a very popular blog of how she sees the world from the point of view of a modern teenage vampire Following the success of her first book "FANGS RULE A girls guide to being a vampire" she had now expanded the idea of life as a teenage vampire into a full novel.
Amelia has given her avatar her own name so you can see the world first hand from a very bored teenage vampire that has been forced to remain a teenager for far too long. She may have very good teeth and the ability to hang from ceilings but life is far from easy. Today's world is difficult for everyone, especially teenagers. They face the stresses of school, deciding whom to date, and the biggie of sex, just to name a few. Imagine all of those things ten times worse, and you might get an idea of what it's like being a living, breathing teenage vampire. At last, the world can read about the life of a girl with good teeth, her problems with strong sunlight that gave her spots, and the sunblock that made her hair go yucky and produced more spots. Yes, sunlight was dangerous, as she could be the first teenager in history to die from terminal acne! In her everyday life, older vampires expected her to walk about at night in the traditional female uniform, a see-through, 18th-century nightdress, without undies! Well, this female vampire knew why the cold winds blowing along the corridors were called, "male winds," so she wore her see-through nightdress over jeans and a very thick jumper. To be sure that people would still know she was a vampire, the jumper had a very large, pink bat on it. And as to guys, well, it was normal for a girl to dream about guys; she just wished the dreams could have involved chocolates and holding hands, not leaping out at someone, ripping off his shirt, and demanding to know what blood type he was (at least not on the first date). 

A self help guide by Amy Mah (Vampire) for teenage vampire girls, the guide is fully illustrated by manga Artist Heby and is written in an easy to follow A - Z format explaining everything a teenage vampire girl would need to know about living life as a modern Vampire. What is fashionable to wear when eating out? Fang maintenance & how to keep your claws sharp. Should you let a boy bite you on the first date? Easy to understand clear advice is given to every day problems.
Example: When you get an urge to bite: We all get those normal urges to bite things, and I must point out it is very normal, Claws are all well and good in a fight but a bite gives the extra advantage of getting a refreshing drink at the same time. Lots of girls worry about showing their Fangs in public believing that to show your fangs is rude, but don't be shy they can be a girls greatest asset (ok second greatest asset) if a boy is being rude to you, don't just snarl at him, just bite him! You are a vampire why do you think you have sharp teeth if not for sinking them into a boy that is being rude to you.

 You can see a trailer for Fangs Rule here. 

Today's world is difficult for everyone, especially teenagers. They face the stresses of school, deciding whom to date, and the biggie of sex, just to name a few. Imagine all of those things ten times worse, and you might get an idea of what it's like being a living, breathing teenage vampire. At last, the world can read about the life of a girl with good teeth, her problems with strong sunlight that gave her spots, and the sunblock that made her hair go yucky and produced more spots. Yes, sunlight was dangerous, as she could be the first teenager in history to die from terminal acne! In her everyday life, older vampires expected her to walk about at night in the traditional female uniform, a see-through, 18th-century nightdress, without undies! Well, this female vampire knew why the cold winds blowing along the corridors were called, "male winds," so she wore her see-through nightdress over jeans and a very thick jumper. To be sure that people would still know she was a vampire, the jumper had a very large, pink bat on it. And as to guys, well, it was normal for a girl to dream about guys; she just wished the dreams could have involved chocolates and holding hands, not leaping out at someone, ripping off his shirt, and demanding to know what blood type he was (at least not on the first date).

Check out the video:
You can buy Amy's books from Amazon here:
Vampire Night Life

Or check out here Goodreads pages:

Or get in touch:


Friday, 9 November 2012

New Dark Dates short story

So, been a busy old week on the Dark Dates front - not only did my my friend Linda post this nice (and very unexpected) plug over at Postcard of a Painting - this also features the ace Google Dracula doodle, if you haven't seen it. I also got a lovely 5* review from Lena over at 101ILoveBooksclub (she's also offering a giveaway).

But most exciting for me was the publication of my new short (ish) story, A Vampire Walks Into A Bar. A riotous tale of Cain and Laclos having a night out (of sorts) it was enormous fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it. (Also, big props to Caroline Goldsmith of Red Button for the cover design and help with formatting).  It's available from most Amazon regions including the UK and US, so please do check it out (it's only 77p!) and let me know what you think...

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last Wednesday the lovely Caroline Green, author of Dark Ride and Cracks, tagged me in her The Next Big Thing post. The idea is that an author answers ten questions about their next book, and then tags up to five other authors, who will post on their websites the following week.

So here we go…

What is the working title of your book?

At the minute it has no working title, beyond Dark Dates 2, though I am planning to publish a short story in the next few weeks, called A Vampire Walks into a Bar, featuring two characters from the first novel.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I finished my urban fantasy novel Dark Dates, I realized that it not only set itself up perfectly for a sequel, but that I had fallen in love with the characters a little and wanted to see where they went next, so that’s what I’m doing.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Always a tough one! It changes from moment to moment, and is heavily influenced by the idea that I might get to drop in on set and meet them – so Charlie Hunnan from Sons of Anarchy, Timothy Olyphant from Justified – basically a string of hot men! But I do like Kat Dennings from Two Broke Girls, she might make a good Cass.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A sexy, snarky and original look at the vampire myth set in a human/vampire dating agency in London.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

At the moment, not sure, but Dark Dates was self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not really sure in terms of comparisons, but I’m hoping people who like Buffy, Supernatural and Harry Dresden will like it.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always liked urban fantasy but I was getting a bit sick of the way these books seemed to be about swooning teenagers. I wanted to write a female character who was fun and likeable and you could imagine going to the pub with, while having a little fun with the genre.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s snarky, funny and full of pop culture references. Give it a go!

Thanks for listening!

I am now tagging fellow author Chris Chalmers, author of Five to One – go to his website a week from now to see his answers…

Monday, 5 November 2012

It's Good to be Geek t-shirt shop

My lovely friend Kevin has just set up this ace looking t-shirt shop, It's Good to Be Geek. Featuring a whole range of cool designs covering Big Bang Theory, Aliens, Star Trek and gaming - to name but a few - it's well worth taking a look. Below are a couple of my faves...

 You can check them out here.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Guest post: Derek Thomson author of Covenant

I'm delighted to welcome Derek Thomson to the blog to do a guest post...

Tell us a little about the book…
First and foremost, Covenant is a mystical fantasy quest (if it wasn't a genre before, it is one now!), set on a colonised world. The dominant society live in walled City States, and in the Outlands there are isolated settlements. The city folk have relative wealth, science and conformity; the settlers have the natural world and a more impoverished existence.
A third, nomadic religious group, the Thaylin Sarra, wander between them and spread their teachings - a mish-mash of Old Earth beliefs and spiritual traditions. One of those beliefs is that there is a hidden city known as Sarrell, their spiritual homeland, which a Righteous One will one day reveal to them. There is also a tradition that a great spiritual teacher was martyred, and her four disciples will one day return to complete her work.
Five hundred years after her martyrdom, three individuals discover they have connections from this life and beyond, things to atone for and work to be done. One is a priestess, one an outsider and one a heretic. As to the fourth person, you'll have to read the book!

Did you have to do a lot of research before you wrote it?
I would like to say that I approached it the same way I do any other piece of fiction or non-fiction, but that's not entirely true. Covenant developed over a long period of time and the ideas behind it came and went with the seasons. However, I did research some of the more esoteric concepts to give the book a certain structure. For example, there are 22 cards in the major arcana of a standard tarot deck and there are 22 chapters in the book.

The supernatural has always held a fascination for me, since I was a teenager. I 'm also interested in the way that mythic truth and archetypes seem to lurk beneath the surface of our rational minds. We seek to understand our place in the universe and the purpose of existence, and we either discern or create patterns and systems to explain the unanswerable questions. There's an element of that in Covenant as well!
I read some of Joseph Campbell's work on mythology (about the only thing George Lucas and I have in common!), and I also looked at Jungian archetypes. That was as much for me as for the book, but I suppose you could call that research.

The Tarot is a key theme in Covenant. Can you read Tarot cards – or have you ever had a reading?
Short answer: yes and yes. I was given a reading when I was 16, at my first job (clearly, not a busy day). And I remember being dazzled by the symbols and the way that the reader used the symbols as a springboard to - take your pick: intuition, inspiration, guesswork or imagination.
I subsequently learned to use The Rider Waite deck, which is now about 100 years old. Most of the cards depict a story, and it is said that the tarot has its origins as a conventional set of playing cards, in a 14th Century Italian game called tarocchi. 
The tarot has all kinds of correspondences around colours, numbers and certain symbols. If a reader is so disposed, they will find certain correspondences in the book, along with references (some veiled) to other traditions and practices.
Many years ago I used to read the cards for people, but I find the cards more useful now as very occasional tools for reflection. They can also be used for fiction writing, in the same way that a stack of old magazines can provide a rich treasure house of images.

What made you want to write about these kinds of themes?
I've always enjoyed books that do three things:
1. They entertain me.
2. They challenge me, in a certain way, to look at how I view the world - sci-fi and fantasy especially.
3. The ideas live on in my head for a time after I've finished reading. The 'What if?' ripples can spark other insights and creative ideas.

More than that, I wanted to weave together ideas about faith, perception, reality and mysticism into an archetypal quest. The intention was to take all those transpersonal ideas and make them personal to the characters.
Some of the authors whose fiction did that for me were Aldous Huxley, J. R. R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, William Morris, Dion Fortune, and George Orwell's 1984.

How long did it take you to write Covenant?
Another tough one to answer directly! I had some of the ideas when I was 18, and worked on the embryonic novel when I was in the US in 1986/87. It even has a walk-on part in Scars & Stripes, a comedy drama based on that eventful year! In a sense the novel was waiting for me to catch up, until I understood what the story and characters were saying (which wasn't quite what I'd intended for them!).

Who do you think it will appeal to?
Covenant will appeal to anyone who enjoys a fantasy novel that welcomes you to a new world. It's a world of consequences and surprises, where there are no easy answers and everyone has secrets to hide. If you enjoy the idea of a quest, of facng challenges and inner demons (literally, in one case) then you won't be disappointed.
Covenant will also appeal to those with an interest in certain esoteic subjects such as meditation, the tarot, pathworkings and the Tree of Life (another key aspect of the book's structure), but that's simply another layer woven in. 

What made you decide to go the route of self-publishing?
I came via the scenic route. I have been offered four different contracts for Covenant, over the years. Briefly: one died, one went out of business, one wanted just over £1000 and one wanted over £5000. That last one was the clincher for me!

What would your advice be to anyone considering self-publishing?
Not every book is commerically viable for the traditional publishing route. But that doesn't mean there isn't an eager readership for it. Take the time to do your research, plan each step and be bold!

For the ebook version of Covenant (paperback version out soon), I used a self-publishing guide, which told me everything I needed to know.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Covenant is currently available as an ebook, but keep an eye on my blog for an announcement about when the paperback version is out.

You can buy Covenant at:

And if you do buy Covenant, I'd love to hear what you think!
Meantime, here's the back cover 'blurb:

Isca has followed the faith since childhood, taking her from the Settlements and into the City States. Now, as a priestess, a prophecy bears fruit; she receives a stone tablet to liberate her people and reveal their spiritual homeland.

In order to preserve the faith, she must be willing to teach the path of True Will to a heathen, whatever the consequences. When a stranger appears in the city of Tarsis, he uncovers the truth about the tablet and the boy chosen to protect it. But what if the long-awaited Righteous One isn't so righteous after all?

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Horror! The Horror! is horribly good fun

I have been looking forward to Theatre of The Damned's new production The Horror! The Horror! for a couple of reasons. One, I know one of the writers, a fellow Exeunt scribe whose work I've been impressed with before, but secondly because it was set in one of my favourite spaces, Wilton's Music Hall. The world's oldest surviving Grand Music Hall, Wilton's is a wonderful venue, wearing its history on its slightly shabby sleeve, and as its main hall is currently being renovated, I was keen to see how the rest of the building would be used. 

Overall, I wasn't disappointed, as the show was enormous fun, and perfect for a pre-Halloween outing. Following a bunch of music hall performers trying to impress 'investors' as their theatre comes under new management, we are led from one act to another through a maze of rooms in the ageing building, but things soon start to go dreadfully wrong...

 A series of clever and entertaining scenes played out by an engaging and talented cast  (special props to Alicia Bennett and Kate Quinn, whose opening scene is a standout, and features an infuriatingly catchy song that I'm still humming), the show uses Wilton's space beautifully, tapping into both its history and the always slightly illicit feel of being behind the scenes. While there are some genuinely creepy moments, and a few things that'll make you jump, it's more schlocky, gory fun than 'I won't be able to sleep tonight' terror (which is how I like my horror, so no complaints from me), and though it's easy to dismiss horror shows as cheap and easy entertainment, it's actually very clever - one of my favourite bits was an almost throwaway visual scene, so pitch black and perfectly executed (if you'll, ahem, pardon the pun) I'm still chuckling days later. It's also nice and short - as anyone who read my Sleep No More review will remember, my tolerance for being schlepped around in the dark is very, very limited, and at just over an hour this doesn't outstay its welcome. 

Of course it's not without flaws. Although individually each scene works in context, cumulatively the show presents a picture of women I was fairly uncomfortable with (in fairness, I spoke to one of the writers afterwards, and he admitted the real difficulty in referencing historical horror tropes without reinforcing them, and said they may look at tweaking this to fix it). A scene with a splendidly unlikeable comedian (Jonathan Kemp) goes on a hair's breadth too long, and the logistics of fitting a lot of people into small spaces meant occasionally it was hard for everyone to see what was going on (not actually a problem for me, since I am a sharp-elbowed Geordie whose skills at getting to the front of a crowded room were honed in the heavingly busy pubs of Newcastle - my ability to get served and get a table in seconds remains legendary to this day - but I did hear others grumble).

But overall, it's an innovative use of a fabulous space, and I would heartily recommend it (alas, it's sold out now, but keep an eye out in case they return - I know they have some more shows in the pipeline, so maybe worth checking their website to see what's coming up) and I hope Wilton's puts on more of it's ilk.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Happy Halloween!

I never do anything for Halloween, I must admit: while in theory I like the idea of going to a fancy dress party, in practice I'm pretty lazy (and, perhaps most importantly, never get invited to any)... Still, I don't want to be a Grinch about the whole thing (or whatever the Halloween equivalent of the Grinch is...) so... Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Dark Dates and Fangirl

So, am planning to slow down the promo for Dark Dates after this week, as I need to concentrate on the sequel (though I might have some exciting news, so stay tuned...)

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf did a fun 'witches' promotion, which gave me a nice chance to talk about Medea.

Anastacia Knits gave me a very nice review...

I Love Books Club 101 hosted an guest post...

Heather at Reflections of a Bookworm was super generous, hosting an interview, review and guest post (about angels which was fun...)

And finally this week my Fangirl column was about my favourite time travel movies.

Twice as nice Castiel

Monday, 15 October 2012

Dracula: Sex, Sucking and Stardom special offer

I've posted before about both the London Horror Festival and the wildly entertaining Dracula: Sex, Sucking and Stardom, Last Chance Saloon's hilariously over the top interpretation of the most famous vampire story. Well, this week they have an offer on - if you are brave enough to quote the code 'Suck You' at the box office, you can get a ticket for a fiver (plus £1.50 annual membership of Ectera Theatre - I have no idea what that gets you, but hey, £1.50 to support local theatre not a bad use of your money...) It really is great fun - and only an hour long, which you KNOW I approve of - so why not give it a go?

On a related note, for those who don't know: The Vampire Diaries is back tonight! Bring on the Damon...


Listings information
Venue Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7BU / Tube: Camden Town
Dates 16th, 17th, 18th October | 9.30pm
Price £8.00 + £1.50 Membership charge/ £7.00 +£1.50 Membership charge
Box Office / 020 7482 4857

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Guest post at Jade Kerrion

Just a quickie today to tell you that I popped over to Jade Kerrion's blog to do an author spotlight... check it out!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Dark Dates at Book Brats and Fangirl goes to the theatre

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am a huge theatre fan - so it's a surprise that it took me so long to write about this for my Fangirl Unleashed column, really... anyway, here it is...

And, as ever, I have been active on the Dark Dates front - have you bought YOUR copy yet? I really could do with the money. Still, if you fancy winning a copy for nothing, pop over to Book Brats who are hosting an interview, excerpt and giveaway!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Halloween masques by Masque Boutique

I've blogged about Masque Boutique before, I think - the company is run by a friend of a friend - but I thought I'd revisit them as they have an absolutely lovely range in for Halloween, perfect if you want to get into the spirit of things but prefer your costumes with a little more elegance... these his 'n' hers (or, let's not judge, his 'n' his or hers 'n' hers) couples' zombie masques are nicely understated and this skull filigree masque is just a thing of absolute beauty...

Zombies masks by Masque Boutique. Image copyright of Masque Boutique

Skull by Masque Boutique. Image copyright of Masque Boutique

Friday, 28 September 2012

Dark Dates round up and sexing up the classics at Strictly

Some of my best friends are redheads - and I've been a redhead myself - so I loved the name of the Red Headed Bookworm blog before I even approached it. Obviously I like it way more now the lovely blogger gave me a nice review and hosted a guest post for me!

I was also chuffed to be invited to take part in Lorraine Beaumont's Crave event - so why not pop over to her blog and check out my post and the others taking part in the month-long event?

Sexed up Jane Eyre. I approve!
I also detail my first venture into reading fanfic (sort of) at Strictly Writing when I talk about sexing up the classics...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Birthday stationery

It's my birthday this weekend, and I have already received some lovely presents. Of course, this includes some notebooks: another Star Wars Moleskine to add to my collection, and this lovely Christian Lacroix number from Liberty. And I must admit to being very taken with this super geeky card...

Monday, 17 September 2012

Dark Dates takes some Literary R&R

There's been a lot of talk of authors behaving badly recently, especially in relation to bad reviews, so I was happy to be offered the chance to talk at Literary R & R about why a bad review can sometimes be a good thing. Obviously I want you all to go away and write GREAT reviews for me now, though...

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dark Dates charm bracelet

Regular readers will know I love the jewellery made by my friend Stella My Star, and will also know that I made a resolution this year to support more indie crafters and artists. So I was happy to be able to combine these two facts and get Ms Star to create a bespoke charm bracelet for me, to celebrate the fact that I'm finished the first draft of the sequel to Dark Dates (OK, it's a flimsy excuse, but I really wanted a bracelet). I couldn't be more thrilled with the results: look at it! It has a wealth of references to the first book - lots of London touches, including a bus, Underground sign and taxi, but also supernatural references: there's a wolf on there (werewolves make an appearance in book 2), a Viking helmet, angel wings and even vampire teeth, plus plenty of assorted weaponry. Stella does commissions, so I'd heartily recommend you get in touch... meanwhile, I shall be jingling my wrist at all in sight...

Bespoke Dark Dates charm bracelet by Stella My Star

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Dark Dates round up - Look, Ma, I'm a radio star!

Just a quick one today to say that, should you wish to, you can listen to me being interviewed by the lovely Zoe Cunningham on Zone One Radio here... (This may be a time sensitive link).

And thanks to Night Owl Reviews for this lovely review.

So what are you waiting for? Go buy it...

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Stormwatch guests in I Vampire with fangtastic results

One of the joys and frustrations of reading comics is that no character belongs to one writer. Depending on their popularity and the internal politics of whatever company owns them, any character is likely to appear across a whole number of titles, either headlining their own spin-offs or appearing as guests in others. This can make for a continuity nightmare – good luck trying to keep up with heroes as popular as Wolverine or the X-Men – but it also means you get to see established characters through the filters of other writers and artists. Sometimes this works, bringing a fresh and interesting take on an established figure, sometimes it doesn’t, leaving you frustrated and annoyed at how ‘Batman would never do that’ (or Superman or the Hulk or whoever…)

As someone who now only dips in and out of comics, I’m pretty much resigned to only ever having a vague grasp on continuity: long years of being an X-Men fan have left me perfectly able to enjoy several different universes where Jean Grey is alive/dead/married to Scott/not married to Scott/any other variant thereof all at the same time; now when I read a book I’m happy if it works with its own internal rules, and don’t worry about where or how it fits into the larger picture. I’m also fairly flexible on characters – of course I prefer certain writers’ takes on a personality, but it takes a pretty big shift for me to actually think, whoa, hang on. (DC’s decision to turn Starfire into a lobotomised sex toy is a prime example).

I’ve blogged before about my love for The Authority (particularly the pairing of Midnighter and Apollo) and my disappointment about its new incarnation as Stormwatch. Sure, the old series could be patchy – my favourite runs were all early in the series, when Warren Ellis and then Mark Millar were helming, as I think both of these writers are great at team dynamics (it’s probably not a coincidence that both did sterling work on the X-Men) – but the characters were always interesting, and the relationship between Apollo and Midnighter I just loved. I loved the fact that it was a long-term relationship – the pair married and adopted a child – and that it always felt real, no matter the insanity of the story around it. So I was always going to be slightly disappointed in DC’s decision to dissolve the marriage in the reboot; their argument was it would be fun to see the pair meet and get together, which isn’t a terrible idea, though I think it makes them less interesting, and less groundbreaking (especially at a time when gay marriage remains a political hot button).

So, I went into Stormwatch with doubts, but ready to be persuaded. Alas, so far I’ve seen nothing to dispel my doubts. 12 issues into the run, the book seems hamstrung by clunky writing and a lack of direction: the old Authority stood outside the DC universe and now, making it fit into a world where no one, not even other heroes, knows they exist, seems to have left the writers struggling for stories. But what breaks my heart most is what they’ve done to Apollo and Midnighter. Sure, they’ve finally got rid of Apollo’s Fabio hair – never a good look – but he’s now, frankly, kinda whiny. Midnighter is SO ENIGMATIC AND TORTURED, and, unforgivably, his nurturing love of children – always a nice contrast to his homicidal tendencies – has been thrown out, as one issue saw him quite willing to kill the young Jenny (as this is the character who was his adored daughter in  the earlier incarnation, this seems especially mean-spirited.) His relationship with Apollo seems to have developed at a rate of knots despite being the least convincing flirtation in history (his initial chat up routine seemed to consist of completing Apollo’s sentences – which I’m sure we’d all find charming). (Though, in fairness, at least they just addressed the controversial chin spike issue in quite an entertaining way... )All in all, I was ready to give up, seek solace in my back issues and leave the characters alone until the next reboot came along and hopefully got a writer who knew what to do with them.
The new Stormwatch: featuring Apollo's new haircut
Then a Twitter friend, Kirke, who shares my Stormwatch despair pointed me to this month’s issue of I, Vampire. A run by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino (neither of whom, I admit, I have heard of), this book this month features a cameo from Apollo, Midnighter and Jack – and it’s great. The interplay between the three characters as teammates and the chemistry between the two lovers is both subtle and fun (clumsily and frequently  spelled out in Stormwatch, lest you accuse the writers of shying away from the gay, here it gets a cheeky nod as Midnighter checks out his BF’s arse when he flies off – well, you would, wouldn’t you? – but the writers see no need to lay it on with a trowel.) Plus Apollo is actually smart and charming in this, not the angsty whiner of the main title.  (“Apparently I’m vampire proof. The things you learn.” Or “Sorry, they bought both the new guys. If it helps, we both punch really, really hard.”)

The heterosexual relationship I think that is closest to the spirit of Apollo/Midnighter is, perhaps not coincidentally (again, the Ellis/Millar connection), Emma Frost and Cyclops – the cool, detached snark of badgirl-turned-good Frost meets downhome, honest-to-goodness, slightly too serious heroicness of Scott, but underlaid with respect, love, and the fact that they both know they can kick ass when the chips are down. These characters are Batman/Superman analogues, remember: you think if those guys dated it wouldn’t be fun? I, Vampire clearly knows it would be: this issue reminded me of why I loved these characters – and it broke my heart a little that the currently don’t have a title that does them justice. So, c’mon, DC; remember why these guys work. Make them fun again. And if you can’t manage that, give them a lot of guest slots.


Friday, 24 August 2012

Dark Dates Round Up and Fangirl Unleashed

So, another couple of fun things on the Dark Dates front this week: new digital imprint Red Button Publishing gave me a mention on their website, as Caroline Goldsmith, one of the founders, has been helping me market my book (and, of course, designed the cover for this and the next one). I also did a fun piece over at Daydrmzzz: an interview in character as Cassandra Bick. You can check it out here.

Meanwhile, over at Unleash the Fanboy, I wrote about my favourite non-geeky shows - yup, Leverage, Burn Notice, Big Bang Theory among others...

Monday, 20 August 2012

Dark Dates round up

Another update on the promotional rounds I have been doing for Dark Dates – and again an illustration of the many different types of blogs out there, and the kind of information that they like to have when promoting a book, so the types of things you need to consider when contacting them.

Over at the Jeep Diva, I got a straightforward review on the back of sending them a copy on spec, while Laurie’s Thoughts was an interview and excerpt.  I’m starting to find excerpts a great selling point, as several people have told me they downloaded the book after reading some of it on a blog post. I actually struck gold in contacting Laurie – she’s very active in the blogging community and sent me a tremendously helpful initial email, which included lots of tips on how I could get in touch with other bloggers, writing groups etc, and my interview with her has been repeated retweeted by people in her network, so I would heartily recommend indie authors getting in touch.
I also did an interview with Diana at Offbeat Vagabond, and Barbara at Reviewer Extraordinaire – as part of the Risque Reviews network, Barbara’s blog had a slightly different focus, but it was fun to bring out the sexier side of the book – and the excerpt in this post was a little bit steamier than the others I have posted!

I encountered Morgen Bailey through a writers’ group on LinkedIn, and she’s another author/blogger who is keen to support indie authors and has a strong network behind her, which saw my post repeatedly retweeted. In keeping with her site, instead of just talking about myself – again – I did a post on the 5 questions you should ask before you self-publish. She gets very booked up – this was scheduled in months ago – but she is a hugely prolific blogger, so definitely worth getting in touch.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dark Dates round up

So, apologies for radio silence but have been on a much needed holiday to the lovely island of Jersey this week - which really excelled all expectations, leaving me knackered, slightly sun kissed but very happy. But of course in my absence the promotional engine for Dark Dates churns on - this week is all about working on the sequel, so it's nice to feel that the first one is getting out there and getting some attention. (Huge thanks, of course, to everyone who has bought it, and especially those who have taken the time to review it/comment on it online - it's really much appreciated.)

So this week has seen a giveaway and guest post at the splendidly named site Close Encounters with the Night Kind, who also posted a review, while over at Nocturnal Book Reviews, I got a  very nice 8.5 out of 10!

I've hopefully got some really fun stuff coming up, too, so watch this space!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dark Dates goes multimedia and guest post round up

So, another week, another batch of blog posts, as I am trawling the internet trying to rack up sales for my book, Dark Dates. I must admit when I started doing this, I found it quite daunting - you're basically sending a whole load of emails going 'like me! like me!' - and there's a reason I never got into sales. But it's actually turned out to be a lot of fun: most of the bloggers and reviewers I have connected with have been lovely, which shouldn't, I suppose, be surprising, since we come from the same place - a love of books and, often, a love of paranormal/urban fantasy fiction. Even those reviewers who haven't liked the book - which, obviously, I respect, as no book will be for everyone - have tended to be 'this is not my thing, maybe you'll like it' rather than 'why does this woman think she can write?!', which means a lot to this thin-skinned writer's ego.

So below I'm including a round up of guest posts, interviews and reviews - but the really exciting news for me this week is that Dark Dates now has a trailer, c/o my lovely cover designer Caroline Goldsmith. Over to Caroline on why she thought it was worth doing...

Tracey and I talk about books a lot. And recently our discussions have all been about “Dark Dates” and how best to market it. Marketing self-published books is a maze that all authors need to navigate. Having worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade, I know that there is no magic key to success when it comes to book promotion. What I do know is that the more ways there are to find out about a book, the more chance there is of someone picking up on it.

As the first book has garnered a haul of good reviews, and part two in the series is due for publication later this year, I thought now was the ideal time to launch a book trailer. The London landscapes in the video are all made from photographs I took from the top of my old building on the river.
You can watch the trailer here, and read Caroline’s post about it here (which also includes details of how to contact her if you think she can help you!)

The rest of the week in round up:
Why do we love a bad boy? Over at My Tower of Books

Author Q&A over at Open Book Society

What you need to think about when writing urban fantasy (and review) over at LovLivLifeReviews

Review over at Natasja’s Book Blog

Why vampires aren’t stupid – and neither are their fans – over at When Pen Met Paper.

And of course you can buy the book that started this all… here!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Zombies are charming?

Readers will know I'm a long term fan of Stella My Star, who does amazing charm bracelets. I love this slightly creepy zombie charm bracelet (yup, that's a spine!) - check out her Facebook Page for more lovely things to buy...

Zombie charm bracelet from Stella My Star

Dark Dates Round Up and Teaser

So, my lovely friend Mrs Gold has been working hard on the cover for the new book (which I shall reveal nearer the time...) but she also created this lovely 'teaser' image. You can read her post on it here.

Meanwhile, author Nicole Hill kindly included me in her indie author spotlight, and Open Book Society posted this review.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Guest post at Open Book Society

Yup, I'm on the publicity trail again, this time with a guest post over at Open Book Society, talking about writing about vampires.

I also got a lovely review over at My Tower of Books.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Why London is the perfect place to set a novel

Yup, continuing my PR for Dark Dates, I did a very timely piece on the joys of London and why it's the perfect place to set an urban fantasy novel here over at Ex Libris.

I also got a lovely review over at Book A Day, if you'd like to check it out. (I'm not going to post too many links to reviews, as I'm starting to find them distracting now I'm working on the sequel...)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Guest post: Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy

Another day, another guest post: this time you can read a gues post and excerpt from Dark Dates over at Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy. I'm chuffed as I already had one tweet from someone who the excerpt won over - why not pop across to see if it's for you?