Tuesday, 29 June 2010
As part of the whole 'getting to know you, getting to know me' thing I'm involved in a global blog tour which has started RIGHT NOW!
Yes, with the ease of a superhero I will be darting back and forth across the planet, appearing at two places SIMULTANEOUSLY a feat few have performed without requiring major surgery.
But why, you ask? Haven't we heard enough?
To you, there at the back and heckling and paying no attention I say 'Pah! I am AN AUTHOR! My opinions need to be heard whether you like them or not!'
So, I've press-ganged a team of unfortunate souls into aiding me in unleashing Dark Goddess on to an unsuspecting world.
Unleashing. I love that word. Unleashing.
So, over the next month the Dark Goddess blog tour will be appearing at a screen near you.
Rather than the 'who's your favourite author' we're going to be looking at stuff like why Russian werewolves rule, why girl heroes kick ass harder than boy heroes, why Baba Yaga likes to eat children and the connection between Conan and feminism.
What's not to love?
So, who's on and when? The list is ever-evolving and up on my Events page. So shoot over there right now and join in.
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Time is drawing Werewolf June to a close, so I present the last member of the pack, Shannon Delany.
The very first YA werewolf book I read (and definitely a favorite) is Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (great werewolf culture). I also highly recommend Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (much more of the love stuff, far less pack mentality). My debut, 13 to Life, incorporates pack mentality (more in the second book) and some romance (but I hadn't read any werewolf novels except Mary Stewart's until I was done with 13 to Life's rough draft). There are so many great werewolf titles I haven't read yet and are on my TBR list (including your series, Sarwat!). The very first werewolf novel I ever read was A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart--it was terrific and I recommend it for MG readers.
Favorite werewolf movie? Ginger Snaps. Because let's face it--the only thing scarier than fierce werewolves are fierce teenage werewolves. Talk about dangerous! ;-)
Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Werewolves
Everyone who has read 13 to Life knows my weres are a different breed, but these rules should apply to anytime you encounter a werewolf in its full wolfskin.
DO stay perfectly still and no matter what, DON'T run. The hunt instinct is linked very closely to the chase instinct in every canine from wild wolves to the most frightening of beasts--chihuahuas (seriously, they freak me out!).
DON'T trust the "puppy dog eyes" of a werewolf. A werewolf may have "very big eyes" but remember, Little Red, he's also got "very big teeth."
DON'T look straight into a werewolf's eyes--it signals a desire to demonstrate his dominance and believe me, when dealing with werewolves, we are NOT at the top of the food chain!
DON'T walk around with your pockets stuffed with raw meat (for so many reasons, especially socially related ones--but it's also definitely a bad decision in a world where werewolves roam)!
DON'T try to insert yourself into the midst of a werewolf fight (or dog fight). Unless you're Jess. And you're stuck in book two of my 13 to Life series, Secrets and Shadows. And even then you may not find that decision to be the soundest choice. But hey, everyone does strange things for the people--er--werewolves they love.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Firstly, DARK GODDESS is OUT! It was unofficially launched on Saturday at Foyles as part of their Summer Scream bonanza, which was an amazing event. This is me, forcing my book on people. I can only hope they paid for it.
Met up with Rachel Caine, Sarah Rees Brennan where we talked about all thing supernatural and how Rachel used to write between 5am and 8am every day. So you have no excuse, basically. If you're serious about breaking into the industry you now know what you're up against. Then I also chatted with the authors of the tremendous Tunnels series, Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.
Now, some of you may know that tunneling formed a significant period of my life as I worked on the Channel Tunnel for a few years back in the early 1990's (yes, I am that old). The highlight was me falling down a big drain in front of the French mining team. I'm hoping they (Rod and Brian, not the French mining team) might hire me as a consultant for their next book, fingers are crossed.
The Foyles team were beyond great, especially Neil who provided the questions (way more interesting than 'what's your favourite book' and 'Team Edward or Team Jacob?'). But thanks to all the gang who've been banging the drum for Devil's Kiss for the last year and that means Sam, Jeni and Jo-Anne. Hope you enjoy Dark Goddess!
So, if you'd like to get your hands on an early copy, it's available at Foyles and Foyles alone. The general release will be next Thurs and (hopefully) it'll be available at all good bookshops (in the UK!). The US edition is due out 25th Jan 2011 and it'll be hardback and even more gorgeous.
Is there more news? Oh yes indeed.
I've won the Spellbinding award run by Cumbrian Secondary Schools! There was some serious competition but hey, they went with the Templar book and why not? It's the first prize I've won since I was about 6 when I received 50p (I think) for designing the cover of our sports day pamphlet. I've still got it somewhere in the loft so might show you later. Still, what a result! Thanks to everyone in sunny Cumbria and there are plans for me to head up there soon (maybe before the summer hols but definately after).
Can the bonanza of good news continue? Of course it can!
The DARK GODDESS competition had a load of entries so it was great to hear how much people were looking forward to the further adventures of Billi SanGreal. The names went into a hat and the winners of a signed copy are:
WulfLuva (whose favourite heroine was Ashlyn), Pook26 (Buffy), Stacey (Katnis), Surfergirl9 (Aisling), Aik (Claire out of the Morganville series), Cherry (Karrin) and finally Michelle (Persephone).
Yes, I have awarded 7 winners rather than five. That's because I'm that kind of guy and I'm due a box of ARCs of Dark Goddess so will hand a few of those out too. But they're somewhere in the Atlantic so may take a while to arrive.
Congrats to the winners and sorry I couldn't send all the entrants a copy, but there'll be another comp when the US edition comes out. Could the names picked email me with your addresses? Use the Contact Me link on my main website.
Monday, 21 June 2010
Gwen Williams is like any other modern teenager with one exception: she's a shapeshifter. Never having known her Pooka-spirit father, Gwen must struggle with the wild, wonderful magic inside of her alone—and in secret. While society may tolerate vampires, centaurs, and "Others" like Gwen, there are plenty of folks in Klikamuks, Washington, who don't care for her kind.
Now there's a new werewolf pack in town, and Others are getting killed, including Gwen's dryad friend. The police are doing zilch. In the midst of terrible loss and danger, Gwen meets a cute Japanese fox spirit who's refreshingly comfortable with his Otherness. Can Gwen find the courage to embrace her true self and find the killer—before she becomes the next victim?
Gorgeous cover, don't you think? And the eyes, always be wary of anyone with glowing green eyes!
Karen's written OTHER and is part of the werewolf pack I now belong to. It's strange how they're all girls apart from me (though I think I now have honourary girl status, but that's another story entirely).
So, without further ado,here's my trio of questions for the glamourous Karen!
1. Most scary book you read with werewolves/shifters?
Probably Peter S. Beagle's Tamsin. Although it isn’t a straight horror novel by any means, it definitely creeped me out when I read it. Besides ghosts and the Wild Hunt, we meet faeries who can shift into different forms. Not to mention become invisible. One of these faeries is, in fact, a pooka—though he’s quite a bit more mysterious and malicious than the half-pooka protagonist of my novel Other.
2. Most scary werewolf movie?
I must admit, I’m one of those people who watches horror movies to laugh at them. The half-naked, half-hairy man-wolves in Hollywood don’t scare me much, since it doesn’t take a lot of fake fur and cheesy special effects to make me snicker. I’d love to see a decent werewolf movie where the wolves actually look somewhat like wolves, and manage to terrify the living daylights out of me.
3. Any dos and don'ts about werewolves you'd like to share? Top tips?
Do: make sure you know what kind of werewolf you’re dealing with. Depending on the story, the werewolf might (a) kill you, (b) fall in love with you, or (c) drool on you. Don’t: underestimate the cuteness of werepuppies. You get to meet some in Other. They like chew toys, and piddling on your shoes.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Synopsis of 'The Crescent':
Becoming a werewolf is not an option for seventeen-year-old Lacey Quinn, but death can be a strong motivator.
Lacey is so focused on her future that everyday life has passed her by. Counting down the days to her eighteenth birthday, Lacey is almost home free. But when she falls for the mysterious Alex Morris, she lands in the middle of an ancient war between two enemy wolf packs. Tempting dreams, tantalizing lies and a dangerous love triangle ensues leaving Lacey heartbroken and confused.
Lacey's fate rests in the hands of Alex and Brandon, but both are pulling her strings for their own agendas. Even as she slips further into the dark world of werewolves, Lacey struggles to find the truth and save the only family she's ever known.
Jordan filled me in with a few choice details regarding her love of all things hairy and howling.
1) Most scary book about werewolves/shifters? I hate to say- I haven't read any truly scary werewolf/shifter stories! Maybe I don't scare that easily? I've read many that I loved, but I'm looking for suggestions for some good scary ones!
2) Scariest werewolf movie? By FAR American Werewolf in Paris. This movie rocked. I loved the visuals, the fight scenes, everything about it. Then again, the most recent 'Wolfman' with Anthony Hopkins was an amazing story as well. If you haven't seen these, pick them up today!
3) Any do's and don't about werewolves? Top tips? Ooohhh I love this question.
Do: Do check for back hair.
Don't: Wax it off while he's sleeping, especially under a full moon.
Do: Carry shackles and chains just in case.
Don't: forget the locks
Do: Ask about his parents.
Don't: Meet them at night, at their creepy house in the middle of nowhere.
Do: Fall in love if you want.
Don't: Fall over a misplace tree root while you are running from his massive furriness.
Don't drink water after him.
Don't bite him and don't let him bite you!
Don't think a mere silver bullet can stop a hungry canine.
Don't get jealous if another she-were is into your he-were... it's a pack thing.
Monday, 14 June 2010
4. The Dark Goddess competition will close this Friday. So enter asap or forever hold your manhood cheap. But not in public, because you'll get arrested.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Part Two of all things shifter and werewolfy brings us to Kitty Keswick, author of Freaksville (cool title or what?).
It's the first book in a brand new YA Paranormal Romance series from Leap Books wwwleapbks.com.
The story is told through the sixteen-year-old heroine’s blog.
High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.
Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?
Ack! I’m in Freaksville! On my sixteenth birthday what did I get? A car? A pony? No. I got the gift of sight. Soooo not fair! It’s a gift I totally wish I had a receipt for…I’d return to sender. I didn’t ask to be freak girl. The kicker is if I touch something I get visions. Now why couldn’t I turn invisible? That’s a gift I could use. Sheesh. If it wasn’t for my BFF Gillie I’d go insane. That was until I touched a pencil belonging to Josh-Hottie-Foreign-Exchange-Student-from-England. He’s sooo cute, jet-black hair, bright blue eyes…whenever I’m around him my stomach does backflips.
Kasey’s Fab Five Favs
1. The British accent…and snogging. It sounds gross, but believe me it isn’t.
2. Cute guy in English class. (Josh)
3. Snogging…again, believe me, it rocks!
4. Shopping ’til I melt into the mall. (A given.)
5. Oh yes and snogging, smooching, kissing Josh!
XOXOX - Kasey
Great, don't you think? Well, in addition to fantasising about snogging English dudes I asked Kitty about werewolves; her faves, her fears, her furry delights.
1.What's your favourite werewolf book?
The first book I read that had Weres was Laurel K. Hamilton's, Guilty Pleasure, in the Anita Blake series. I wouldn't say they were scary, I've never read a scary werewolf book.
2. Favourite wereewolf movie?
I saw American Werewolf in London, when I was a kid and was terrified. I didn't sleep at all that night. I recently had the opportunity to see it again, and realized how funny it actually was. It's strange how things scare the bejesus out of you as a kid ...and now, well, are almost comical. I always liked horror flicks,even though I'd watched them through my fingers.
3. And tell us a bit about your weres.
I have Lycans in my book. They shift into wolves. Only the males shift, the females have visions. The young males shift at the full moon. As they get older they can control when and how long. But the packs are basically male shifters....Until, Kasey comes along and everything is tossed up and swirled around. She's a half-breed mixed with Valkyrie. (a type of Fae)
4. Cheers, my dear. Any last words to your fans in Blighty?
My books aren't really horror, there's humor, paranormal, suspense, romance...etc. My first book Freaksville is a lot lighter than the second book, Furry and Freaked. I was afforded more freedom in book two, it's darker and has more shifting. I mix the werewolf up with ghost and other creatures to give it a different edge.
Kitty shares her blog with alpha female Judith, so do check them both out on wolfychicks. You know it's the right thing to do.
Sunday, 6 June 2010
It's about time we took a stand against all those pale, suklking vampire types who've frankly been hogging the limelight for way, way too long.
So, over the rest of June I will be introducing you to other members of the pack, letting them tell you a bit about themselves, their books and why werewolves ROCK.
So, without any further ado, meet alpha female Judith Graves, the writer of Under My Skin.
All her parents wanted was for Eryn to live a normal life...
Redgrave had its share of monsters before Eryn moved to town. Mauled pets, missing children. The Delacroix family is taking the blame, but Eryn knows the truth. Something stalks the night. Wade, the police chief's son and Redgrave High's resident hottie, warns her the Delacroix are dangerous. But then so is Eryn--in fact, she's lethal. But she can't help falling for one of the Delacroix boys, dark, brooding--human Alec. And then her world falls apart.
A normal life? Now that's the real fairytale.
Now, the question is what led this Canadian writer to embrace the curse of lycanthropy? So, I put a few questions to her.
1. Most scary book you read with werewolves/shifters?
Dracula would have to be the scariest. Now, he’s not a werewolf, but he was able to shift. I find it fascinating that the modern version of the vampire has lost its shapeshifting abilities. In the original Dracula, the Count assumed multiple forms – human, bat and wolf.
Totally agree. What's so great about Dracula is his uncanny nature. He's weird and so's everything about him. One of the things that's arisen out of the supernatural protagonist genre is we see how they operate. The curtain's been pulled back and the things that used to be frightening disappear under the harsh spotlight. Their mystery has gone. Dracula is preternatural, beyond nature. He doens't play by any rules and that's the essense of him, his utter alien-ness.
2. Most scary werewolf movie?
American Werewolf in London (AWIL) for being a brilliant scare and yet having such wonderful dark humour. A close second - Ginger Snaps 1, 2 and the prequel. All three are great Canadian films that harken to AWIL with just the right combo of gore, horror, and laughs.
LOVED AWIL, still do. It's one of the few movies that stands the test of time and remains as scary now as it was when I first watched it (or half-watched it. I must admit, I did spend half of it with my eyes closed.
3. Any dos and don't about werewolves you'd like to share? Top tips?
In Under My Skin, my actual “werewolves” are forged of dark magic and are soulless beasts – so they aren’t supposed to be sympathetic except in the sense that they were innocent humans turned against their will. However, my wolven characters are more lycan-ish and loveable (wolves with the ability to assume human form).
When writing werewolves, wolven and shifter characters it’s easy to get trapped in the “snorted/sniffed/snarled/huffed” verbage. It’s challenging to find other descriptive / active verbs for these beasties. So watch for overuse of those verbs.
Last point's well made. I know I've slipped into that more than once, just ask my editor.
So, that's a taste of the other werewolf fiction lurking in the bookshops. If you want more on Judith and her delightful tale of slaughter in the woods of Canada, check out her website and her cool blog called (what else?) but wolfychicks.
Friday, 4 June 2010
I hope I'm not putting in a spoiler here by saying Billi's early attempts at relationships in Devil's Kiss didn't turn out well, and as a result, has become emotionally cold.
She's worried about being close to another person, because it's dangerous for them and she's not sure she's strong enough to take the pain of losing someone, again.
Ivan's very different from Kay and Mike, he had to be. Kay wasn't a warrior, and Mike, well, Mike was just wrong on so many levels.
Ivan's from old, old nobility. He's extremely wealthy, not a little arrogance (that happens when everyone you meets bows to you) and was born to command. But he doubts himself. He carries a lot of responsibilty and everyone looks to him for the answer. That's what being a leader is all about. Below is Billi's first sight of Ivan. They're up on Sparrow Hills, where the rich and beautiful of Moscow gather.
The passenger door opened and a young man jumped out. He had short-cropped dark hair, wide cheekbones and a broken nose that only enhanced the icy look of his aristocratic face. He swept his hand across a non-existent crease on his black coat, a coat that probably cost more than most of the cars on the street. He spotted one of the posing girls and smile flickered over his lips, easy, charming and arrogant. The boyfriend moved instinctively in front of the girl, glowering back. Billi half-expected them to start beating their chests at one another, the rivalry was animal. Instead he touched the diamond stud in his left ear and turned away, dismissing them both. He had the confidence of a person who’d found life way, way too easy. Gorgeous and didn’t he just know it. His driver leaned against the door, lighting up a smoke. Tough and nasty. Definitely a bodyguard. The young man gazed around the crowds like he owned them. Like he owned Moscow.
Their eyes met and he stopped. Billi was something new.
The guy’s attention was uncomfortably intense. But Billi wasn’t going to flinch either. She watched him spread his gloved hand out and he lowered his head to give the slightest of bows, but his eyes near left hers. There wasn’t even a hint of a smile, like that would be too much. Billi’s heartbeat went double time as she watched him straighten, hand still out.
The YA genre has enough bad boys. Rough, crude, sullen and with chips on their shoulders. That's great, but that's been done. Ivan's almost old-fashioned. Elegant, highly educated and extremely deadly. After all, he's been taught by the best. Like I said before in an earlier blog, he is old school royalty and knows that thrones, power, privilege are claimed through blood, sweat and tears.
There will be plenty of that in Dark Goddess.
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
But, for those of you who cannot wait, I have five signed copies to give away, like right now!
So, where were we?
In Devil's Kiss you met Billi SanGreal, 15 years old and mighty reluctant to follow in her father's footsteps and join the Knights Templar in their neverending war against the Unholy.
Throat-ripping vampires? Check.
Twisted, chilling life-sucking ghosts? Check.
The Devil himself? Double-check.
The Dark Angels? Oh yes indeed.
Devil's Kiss opened up Billi's world and it was one of violence, twisted ambition and the choice between doing the right thing, no matter the cost, even true love. We met Billi, her psycho father Arthur and the other knights. We met Mike, the very definition of bad, mad and dangerous to know and finally we met Kay, the love of Billi's life and the greastest hero of them all.
Dark Goddess brings us back to Billi, three months later. She's thrown herself wholeheartedly into the Templar life and has become her father's daughter. Utterly ruthless and dedicated to their holy war, the Bataille Tenebreuse.
We meet the knights again and new members of the Order, Mordred and Lance. We also meet Vasilisa, nine years old and potentially the Templars' newest Oracle. But she has powers even the knights cannot comprehend and they're not the only ones after her.
The ancient witch, Baba Yaga, has unleashed her Polenitsy, a tribe of female werewolves. She has plans for Vasilisa and they're drastic. She wants to cull humanity for the harm its done to the natural world and Vasilisa is the key to creating a global catastrophe that will reduce mankind to more 'manageable' levels.
The Polenitsy are old school lycanthropes. If you've read Devil's Kiss you've met my vampires. They're not dark anti-heroes. They are your nightmares. No hanging around nightclubs looking all angsty and brooding. They hate, they hunt, they feed, they kill. Like real vampires should.
My werewolves are cut from a similar cloth. You will not want to be lost in the woods when they come stalking.
Led by Old Grey, the werewolves have come to London for Vasilisa and will not let anyone stand in their way.
Dark Goddess is about being a human and how easy it is to become a beast. Billi faces the two sides of her soul, the side that pities, loves and carries compassion and the side that thrives on anger, revenge and passion. Billi, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa, they're all the Dark Goddess, in their own way.
To defeat Baba Yaga she goes to Russia and meets Ivan Alexeivish Romanov. Sixteen. Heir to the Russian throne. Suits from Saville Row, guns from Heckler and Koch. You'll like him, I guarantee it.
Right, has that whet your appetite? Want a copy early? All you have to do is enter. To make this more fun I'm doing the old 'points makes prizes'. The more you spread the word, the greater your likelihood of winning, and there may be a few extra special goodies too.
+1 vote if you follow my blog
+1 if you follow my Tweets (don't worry, I won't overload you with a million tweets a day about my lunch and what colour nail polish I'm wearing*)
+1 if you tweet my competition yourself (we want everyone joining in!)
+2 if you link my competition onto your blog/ website/ side of house
+5 if you paste my countdown widget onto your blog/website/side of house/granny's forehead
+3 if you comment here about your favourite literary heroine AND WHY. I'll kick off with Hester from Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines. Why? Because she kicks ass and her best friend is a terminator.
-10 if this heroine is in ANYWAY involved with a vampire! (Only joking but you can't all put Bella Swan, okay?)
-50 if you're name is, or ever was, Jon Mayhew.