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?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Dark Dates round-up and taming the trolls at Fanboy

So, been a busy week on the writing front, and my PR campaign for Dark Dates continues apace. I was delighted when old chum Stella My Star did a lovely Dark Dates themed post, pulling together vampire / London themed items from around Etsy and Folksy - you can read it here.

On the review side, I got 5 out of 5 from Miranda Stork (I think I mentioned this already...) You can read it here.

Over at Fangirl, I was continuing my campaign against internet bullying with a piece on trolling and woman-hating online - Time to Tame the Trolls?

But on a happier note, I also posted on Strictly Writing about my well-documented love of notebooks...

This is only about half of what I own. Oops.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Theatre of the Damned takes As Ye Sow to Edinburgh

Regular readers will know that whenever my friend L of portrait of a painting is in town, we try to take in something horror related, as that is her thing. Last year we went to see Theatre of the Damned's Revenge of the Grand Guignol, a portmanteau of horror plays. My favourite of these was As Ye Sow, a genuine leap-out-of-your-seat story that was also clever and truly creepy, so I was pleased when I heard they were developing this into a longer, standalone piece. So if you're in Edinburgh and you fancy something scary, why not check it out? Details here. (If you can't get to London, it's being performed on Thursday as part of a double bill - check out the details here.)

Perfect for fans of horror theatre

Monday, 23 July 2012

Dark Dates round up: great review by Miranda Stork

Was delighted to see another 5 out of 5 review for Dark Dates over at author and blogger Miranda Stork's website this morning. It really means a lot to me that people are enjoying the book and finding it funny (though that does mean, as I work on the sequel, I occasionally find myself thinking, 'am I being funny enough? Am I?')

And the fact that several people have spotted some typos in the book - mercifully not an egregious amount, or enough to put you off reading, but a few - makes me realise that, even as a professional editor you can never check your own work properly. Next time I need to find the time and money to get it professionally proofed!

I'd love to hear your feedback if you've read it.. and if you haven't, get buying!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Guest post at Nocturnal Reviews

Another guest post - I'm doing the rounds of the interwebs! - and this one is slightly bonkers but actually turned out fun. Where would YOU take a vampire on a first date? Pop over to Nocturnal Reviews to read my suggestions - and win a copy of the book!

Wilton's - one of my date venues

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Author Interview at Reading Lark After Dark

The lovely - and sometimes steamy - site Reading Lark After Dark hosted an author Q&A for me this week. (They have a less steamy site, Reading Lark, too, should you wish to check it out.) Why not pop over and take a look?

Dark Dates, by me! Have you read it yet?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Author Interview: Tonya Cannariato

I'm delighted to host an author interview with author and blogger Tonya Cannariato today. She also very kindly sent me some pictures of her gorgeous huskies when I told her they were my favourite dogs - look how cute they are!

Tonya Cannariato, author of Dust to Blood

Tonya's novel Dust to Blood

You’ve moved around a lot in your lifetime – what influence has that had on your writing?
I suspect that question is deeper than just the fact that my first novel was set in the country where I spent 1st-3rd grade. Being somewhat rootless and somewhat apart from the people who populate the places I've been since then I think gives me the distance to be an objective observer, intent on details in a way that lets me quickly adapt to new circumstances. It also gives me perspective on how places can impact personality and choices. So while there are elements of travelogue in what I've written, how my characters take the jolting impact of new surroundings reflects on them in a way I don't see from other authors.

As well as being a novelist, you’re a reviewer and blogger –where do you find the time? How do you balance the demands of three quite differentkinds of writing?
I'm not sure I've sorted out the balance question. I work full-time in an office, days, so my writing time is carved out of evenings and weekends. It started out through my participation in NaNoWriMo in 2010, and I had honestly no life that year. I discovered, though, that when I focus, it's not that big of a challenge for me to produce 2K words in an evening. Or 5-10K over a weekend. So NaNoWriMo 2011, when a bunch of family obligations intervened, seriously jeopardizing my potential for meeting the challenge, I worked all out, and produced almost 20K words in the last four days. I was more than a little astonished at my capacity--and exhausted at the end of it.

During both those months, then, there was minimal blogging. This year, I chose to participate in the April A-Z challenge to help build awareness of my release of Dust to Blood, and found that with a theme and just a little bit of organization/preparation, blogging daily wasn't that much different from NaNoWriMo. Just a different framework, but still me producing daily words. But then I didn't do any novel writing. Mostly, I don't see reviewing as that much different from regular blogging, either: I'm just writing what I think of someone else's work as that "theme". The real challenge is to find the time to READ with all the writing. And editing. And revising. Over the past few months I've felt like I've spent more time creating words than consuming them, and I really miss that side of escapism. For my birthday, then, I granted myself a writing hiatus and got back to the old book-a-day reading habit.

The other bit of writing you forgot to mention: Marketing and social media (i.e. keeping up with friends). I've been spending quite a bit of time responding to author interviews and trying to do what I can to spread the word about my book. That's where I can see the real challenge to the balancing act is going to come into play down the road. There's definitely something to be said for connecting with book bloggers to make sure you're visible to as many different audiences as possible. But that's also time not spent noveling or blogging on your own site.

I'm not yet sure how the balance will work out, because I also notice that some days I miss my husband and friends--I get so wrapped up in all the different writing options, I have to make a conscious choice to put the keyboard away and get back to the relationships that also feed my soul.

Who are your favourite authors, and why?
This is an evolving answer, really. When I was a little girl, my first favorite was Madeleine L'Engle. Her Wrinkle In Time series spoke to me (in 2nd grade) about the kind of misfit I wanted to be. I never got as smart as Charles Wallace, Meg, or Calvin, but the intersection of science and fantasy set my lifelong preference. It took me a while to find a follow-on favorite. It wasn't until 8th grade that I discovered Anne McCaffrey's Pern. Where L'Engle went in and out of the fantasy genre, McCaffrey built a world and let me live in it. When she died during the 2011 NaNoWriMo I was seriously upset; it took me a month, but I even blogged a memorial to her. Now that I need to find replacements for those early classics, I find myself turning to Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series and its offshoots on a regular basis. Looking at these names, I see a theme: If I can live in your world across multiple books, and it's populated by real/realistic women, I'm likely to be a big fan.

Tell us a little about your book, Dust to Blood
It was based on a dream I had introducing me to Ivan: In my dream, we found a man who had been shackled to cables and bound to his ramshackle, Soviet-style apartment. The compelling thing about Ivan was when he showed us that when he pricked his finger, he bled dust. In the nature of dreams, I knew this meant he was a dragon. His story was compelling enough that I asked my publisher friend what she thought. Her response was an enthusiastic: "I want to read that story." Then I had to figure out how to write it. :D

Without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect from the rest of the series?
The series reflects a personal transformation in the context of political/cultural difficulties, starting in post-Soviet Russia. Ivan, even though he was the central focus of the dream that inspired the series, is only seen through the lens of American researcher Anne's perspective. She has her own issues with men, so the tension of learning to live with a man who has imprinted on her in a profound way will continue to carry through the story line. And, being completely cryptic, the things she learns at the end of book 1 launch her further adventures in books 2 and 3, forcing her to travel to the other two major Communist nations, China and North Korea.

Want to read more? Here's the blurb for Tonya's book and you can buy it here.
Chicago-based researcher Anne Crosby is travelling to Russia to investigate the hidden past of nine orphans who share an unusual bond--dust for blood. On her intriguing journey through post-Soviet Union Russia, she discovers a secret power buried in the country's history and sought by the newly reborn KGB, which is determined to regain ascendancy.

Secret dungeons, dragons, and her research associates' KGB connections have Anne looking over her shoulder at every turn. That doesn't prevent her from indulging in a bit of matchmaking in the midst of frantic adventures chasing down old secrets, rescuing a 15-year-old girl who is more than she seems, and running from rogue KGB agents.

As Anne and her entourage dig deeper into the ancient mysteries, she learns nothing is what it appears. Her life is forever transformed by her search for the true history of these Red Slaves.

Tonya Cannariato

Tonya's bio: A voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through AfricEurope, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.

You can check in at Tonya's blog here.

And finally... how cute are these dogs? Seriously?


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Dark Dates Updates: guest post at Book A Day and review at Fangs for Fantasy

So, a couple of bits of PR for Dark Dates this week: I did a Q&A with Tonya Cannariato over at A Book A Day - where I was very impressed by how well-researched her questions were! You can read it here, and I'm hoping to do a Q&A with Tonya here shortly.

On the review side, Fangs for Fantasy gave me 5 out of 5 Fangs, so that was nice...

I have a few more guest posts in the pipeline, as well as some reviews, so hopefully can build a little momentum as I gear up to finish the sequel - I'm currently finalising the second draft so there's a long way to go yet, and it's great to get feedback on the first one to keep me encouraged! So, if you've read it please do let me - or, even better, all of your friends, know...

My first draft - there's now twice as many notebooks!

Dark Dates - by me! Please buy it. Go on, go on...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Dark Dates update: guesting at Rebeka Harrington

Date Dates - guest blogging
The lovely author of Vampires Revealed, Rebeka Harrington, kindly agreed to host a guest post for me on her website, where I talk about why I wrote an urban fantasy novel and how I'm still in love with vampires. You can read it here.

Pop over to rebekaharrington.com to read about Rebeka's vampire novels

Monday, 9 July 2012

Guest Post: Rebeka Harrington on why she writes vampires

I'm delighted to host a guest post by the extremely glamorous author (and blogger) Rebeka Harrington, author of Vampires Revealed - here she explains the eternal fascination with vampires and why she writes about them...

Desires Revealed, the new novel by Rebeka Harrington

Why I Write Vampires
By Rebeka Harrington

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t understand the human fascination with creatures reportedly returned from the dead, preying on the blood of the living. Seems morbid to me. Surely mankind has far better things to focus on.” Bektamun, Vampires Revealed.

As a self-confessed vampire addict, even I can’t fully comprehend the obsession humanity has with vampires and all things supernatural. Take a look at the shelves in any bookstore, do a quick search on Amazon; vampires are everywhere and there is no sign of the appearances slowing.

For centuries vampires were relegated to starring roles in horror. They were monstrous creatures with one thing on their mind, blood. Despite the risk, our morbid curiosity got the better of us and we began exploring deep inside the vampire world.
Vampire fans everywhere should thank Anne Rice. It was her unique portrayal of vampires in The Vampire Chronicles which has lead to the abundance of vampire fiction available today. If not for her, many writers (myself included) would not be free to let their imaginations loose; bring to light more new and different ways of looking at vampires.

Regardless of the way vampires are portrayed and how we expect them to behave, the question still remains — Why do we find them so fascinating? Is it the adrenaline rush of a brush with danger? Perhaps it is purely escapism from the mundane.

I honestly can’t remember when I first fell in love with vampires, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t intrigued by them. What I do remember, is the epiphany leading to my realisation of why I love vampires; it was reading Blood & Gold (Anne Rice, The Vampire Chronicles.)

Blood & Gold tells the story of Marius a 2000 year old vampire. He was made vampire during the times of the Roman Empire. And here it comes, my light bulb moment; to me, vampires are like ‘living’ history.

Think about the changes we have witnessed in the past 100 years. Planes, telephones, television, mobile phones, the internet. The fall of the Berlin wall, the downfall of communism in Russia, two world wars and so much more. Now imagine what you would witness, or could experience, if you lived for 200 years, 400, 500, 1000. My brain just about explodes with the possibilities.

Not only can a vampire take me anywhere, they can take me anywhen. Sure you can do this with human characters, but you only have limited life experience to drawn on. Using vampires I can indulge my passion for history and use their experience and knowledge to draw insight and conclusions about humanity.

 “Humans time and again demonstrated they were capable of perpetrating crimes as vile and gruesome as any vampire.” Bektamun, Desires Revealed

As we know vampires are now far removed from the monsters of horror we once knew, but are still generally regarded as evil creatures, because they kill humans. The nature or definition of evil is another of the things I like to use vampires to explore.

Should a species be deemed evil simply because they hunt and kill for survival? If that’s the case there is no hope for humanity. We’ve been hunting and killing since the dawn of time. A vampire can make judgements about humanity that fellow humans can’t, without being perceived as vain-glorious, arrogant prigs. They have seen us make the same mistakes repeatedly. They know the outcome, because they’ve seen it all before.

There are so many aspects of humanity, life and history that vampires make easy to explore. But they also keep it fun and entertaining. They teach us lessons about ourselves without us even realising it. I can’t begin to imagine how boring my life would be without them.

Desires Revealed, the latest release from Rebeka Harrington
The follow up title to her debut release Vampires Revealed, reunites the reader with 3000 year old vampire Bektamun. Feel the joy as her relationship with Nicole grows, experience the rage as she fights the Eleiveb.

Escape from the religious war leads Nicole and her family to the most unlikely rescuer, a vampire.  Nicole discovers love and a new life, but finds herself inexplicably drawn in to a private war between her protector and an extremist faction of vampires.

The deeper she gets involved in the vampire world the higher the price she will have to pay to obtain her desires.

Available for Purchase

About Rebeka Harrington

Author Rebeka Harrington

Raised in country Victoria, Rebeka started her writing career working for the local newspaper as a teenager. While she decided not to pursue this as a career, she has always enjoyed writing and being creative.  

With so many varied interests and eccletic taste in most things, Rebeka enjoys incorporating all of them in her writing. She particularly enjoys writing about vampires.

Rebeka seeks to define and explain vampires in a way not done before. This was  achieved with her debut title “Vampires Revealed”. Following titles revolve around exploring the world and characters created in her first release.

She currently lives in Melbourne with her “demented” but lovable cat, dividing her time between writing and managing a small boutique entertainment agency.

Catch up with her characters:

Follow her blog:

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Skull jewellery from Stella My Star

I've blogged about Stella My Star on Folksy before, because she does a great line in skull/Day of The Dead related jewellery at very affordable prices. These skull earrings are super cute (and, at £6, v cheap) , though I must admit I am particularly taken with the Day of the Dead style bracelet as well...

Mexican inspired charm bracelet from Stella My Star
Red Skull earrings from Stella My Star
(Photos from Stella My Star)