/> Witchblood: April 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

And the WINNER is...

Well today is the day. It seemed so long off when I set the end date for my 'Win Your Name' competition on my blog, yet it seems to have come around so quickly! Although when I set it up I only had written the first couple of chapters of Witchcraft, and now I'm writing the penultimate chapter!

With over 150 entries (divided over 30+ people) it was interesting for me to see the amount of vampire fans still out there... in a market that the commerical publishers are saying is dead!

However, with so many to choose from I decided to make it fair and use random.org to pick my winner and I can now say my winner is a WITCH called BRITTANY.

Congratualtions Brittany, I have the perfect character for you, and have just changed her name to Brittany in my manuscript!

Witchcraft will be published in June...date to be announced but keep a look out this FRIDAY for my COVER REVEAL!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Witchcraft: Sneak Peak No 2

Well here it is, as promised, my second sneak peak from Witchcraft (book 2 of the Witchblood series). Due to a ridiculously busy last few days, I haven't done anymore writing, so I still have the penultimate & final chapters to write... but I'm still hoping to publish mid-June.

This is an excerpt from Chapter Four:

I shifted my shoulders, got comfortable once more and had another go at raising the energy. I squeezed my eyes shut, blocking out the room, concentrated on breathing and imagined the tap root running down my spine, down through the floors in the house, through the foundations and breaking through into the dark clay earth. I visualised the root like a straw, sucking up all the earth’s energy, silver traces zapping from the ground, from the plants, from the trees, all drawn into my body. Zooming around my veins and making my fingers tingle.

I could feel it, it was working. I could imagine the ball of energy, like a mini sun, bouncing between my hands, faster and faster. My breathing increased and my pulse with it. The energy hummed within me, raw power crackling all over my body, like the static electricity on a party balloon. I opened my eyes.

Oh Hell! The mini fire-ball I’d visualised so well was still there, flying between my hands, faster and faster. Was that supposed to happen? What if I dropped it? I desperately tried to remember how to get rid of it, but I’d only read the chapter through once, so instead I concentrated on not dropping it, and let the fiery glow hypnotise me.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Final Chapters, Playing God and Killing Off Characters


Well, I'm onto the final three chapters of Witchcraft, almost the 60,000 words mark! I'm halfway through chapter eighteen and I find myself in a quandry. Whether to finish the book with a happy ending (but enough to keep the reader interested for the final (third) book or whether to leave everything hanging in the balance.

Jess has just been through a pretty traumatic event, so I guess my instinct is to want her to be okay, but then the evil creator in me is thinking it might be more effective to take another route and make the reader suffer a little more. I have this whole story in the palm of my hand, and I can mould it, and shape it to become whatever I like... apart from when the characters take over and don't do what I want them too ;-)

I have to say I absolutely love playing God! I find it really theraputic and freeing to create these characters and then mess with their fates, and work through their emotions.

What does that say about me? Maybe I'm just a wannabe dictator, or maybe it's just a great way of having control over something in life, when the reality is always throwing you new challenges.

So should I make things easier on Jess or harder?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Free Promo Over : 5 Chapters To Go

Well after battling with Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Witchblood is finally back on sale! While I intended to have a 3 day giveaway at the end of March, I ended up having a full weeks giveaway in mid-April. So if you are an author planning on doing a free prom the old way (not via Select) believe me it can't be done in 3 days, and Amazon also won't reduce it on the UK website.

Having said that, I have had a very successful week. I have been in the Top 10 Children's/Supernatural AND Children's/Love & Romance for 5 of the 7 days and reached No 214 in the overall Kindle charts (of which there are several hundred thousands!)

Over 7 days I have given away over 4000 books, and in the last 6 hours I have sold 25 copies at full price. Lets hope the sales keep coming in at that rate for a few more days :-)

So I would like to say a big Thank You to anyone that downloaded my book, and can I ask that if you like it you leave me a review please. Also thanks to anyone who helped me tweet about it, or promote it.

If you missed the promotion and fancy reading Witchblood it won't break your bank because currently it is priced at 77p / 99c.
Whilst Witchblood has been fre,e I have been working hard, writing Witchcraft, the sequel, which I know you guys are waiting for. I can say I am up to 50,000 words... so only another 4 or 5 chapters to go.

I am still hoping to publish in June. When I have a date I'll be sure to let you know.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Book Review: Family Magic

Title:  Family Magic
Series: The Hayle Coven Novels)
Author:  Patti Larson| blog | Twitter
Genre(s): Paranormal YA
Format(s): ebook, paperback
Published:  Oct 2011
Add it: Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Sydlynn Hayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord of the seventh plane. The trouble is, she just wants to be ordinary. Syd struggles to survive the minefield of her new high school while being torn between her attraction to football hero Brad Peters and the darkly mysterious Quaid Moromond. When her coven comes under attack, Syd is forced to face the fact only her power can save her family’s magic.

Being half witch and half demon is not conductive to fitting into High School and being 'normal'. Being the daughter of the coven's leader where magical mistakes often occur means Syd gets moved around, often before she can make any friends... Syd is not happy with any of this!

For the first half of the book I often found Syd annoying, and a bit whiny but then again as she admits to this later on, I forgave her. The last half of the book is unputdownable, and I stayed up till 1am to finish reading the climactic action scene.

Overall I think all the characters are well-developed, I found the mother a little unrealistic, only because I think as such a powerful leader she would have made Syd learn more as a child, and I found it hard to believe she couldn't work out who the culprit was from the beginning! Iadored the little sister, and both boys ;-) I also loved the vampire couple...as you know I love vampires, and I would have liked to see a bit more of them.

A good witchy 4 **** from me.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Witchblood rising the ranks of Amazon

Well I am officially fed up with both Amazon and Smashwords now! For anyone planning on promoting their books using the old method of reducing their books to free for short periods...don't! It's a nightmare!

Firstly I reduced WB to free on Smashwords a week before my planned promo and got everyone to notify Amazon of the price drop. This used to work and they would price match. However now they want everyone to sign up with KDP Select and sell your book exclusively with them so they don't co-operate so easily!

After a week with no joy, I found out that if you reduce your price on B&N you have more chance of Amazon price matching, so I did this and waited another week...still nothing so I gave up! HOWEVER the problem with distributing with Smashwords is they only update price changes/edits every couple of weeks so when I altered my Smashwords price to the original 99c they didn't notify B&N (& even now it is still free!)

Then to top it all off, yesterday a UK author tweeted me asking why Witchblood was free on Amazon.com and not on UK!! I didn't know as they hadn't notified me! So I have had to re-publish WB on Amazon and it still took 24hrs before they changed the price back to 99c and the only way I can seem to remove the B&N freebie is to opt out of distribution for B&N. So tomorrow Smashwords will take it off sale and then next week I will have to opt in again...phew! It's lucky I have lots of hair because I have been tearing it out at quite a pace!

The silver lining in all of this is that during the day (or days as I don't know when WB went free on Amazon.com) it has been creeping up the kindle charts, and yesterday I actually got to No 8 in Children's Bestsellers Supernatural & Romance charts and No 258 in overall Kindle charts!! This is really good for Witchblood, as the highest I got was in the 200,000s previously...out of circa 800,000 books!

Today I have dropped back to No 13, but it's still kinda great to see my first book in the Top 20:
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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Film Censorship, The Hunger Games & Sex

Okay this is a blog dedicated to Witchblood, my writing and YA books in general but after recently watching Hunger Games at the cinema and then a couple of RomComs on dvd I feel the need to share.

Last night I watched 'Love and Other Drugs' with the lovely Jake Gyllenhall & Anne Hathaway in the starring roles. I enjoyed it. It was funny and romantic and had a nice message as the womanising Jamie falls for Maggie, a girl with stage one Parkinsons Disease.

A couple of weeks ago I watched 'No Strings Attached' another RomCom with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Another good funny, easy to watch film with great acting.


What disturbs me is the censorship certification going on here. Both the films above are Cert 15 films, both films have a fair amount of sex in them. In Love & Other Drugs you get to see Maggie's breasts, & both of them in various naked tangled heaps...but you don't see any actual sex. It's not pornographic, and Jake Gyllenhall's arse is rather cute! There is no particularly bad language going on, no violence what so ever and the adults in both films are single twenty somethings, with their heads screwed on. Personally I would be fine with my 14 year old seeing these films, but it isn't the 15Cert that bothers me...

What concerns me is the 12Cert that is given to The Hunger Games & the Twilight Saga in contrast to these films. What message are we giving our kids? That teenagers set-up to kill each other with crossbows & knives is okay viewing for a 12 year old but sex between two consenting adults is immoral?

Now don't get me wrong I love all these films. I loved the books first & then enjoyed the films. They are entertaining and draw you in. Twilight Saga is definitely the tamer of the two series, but at the end of each film there are scenes which are extremely violent: Twilight - you get visuals of vampire heads being ripped off and burned, in the second you see families with small children taken in to the Volturi & hear their screams as they are feasted upon, and I think Breaking Dawn is enough to put any teen from getting pregnant, as we watch Bella consumed by the child within her.

The second half of The Hunger Games is one violent act after another, and we watch adults play with these children like pawns. First they revel in setting up fires to burn them, and later  create beasts to tear them apart. We watch as all but the two survivors are murdered in one horrific way after another...But hey there's no sex! So that makes it a 12certificate right? If you are over 15 and have enjoyed the books I would certainly recommend you go and see The Hunger Games. I think the books offer a lot more commentary than the film does, but I know for certain there is no way I would want my twelve year old to see this film. Essentially all that stands between this and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which is an 18) is a bit of camera shake to distill the violent acts on screen.

I'm confused...what do you think?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Witchblood on paper

Today I had a fun IMM delivery...the postman brought me a book... Not 10 books, not 5 books...just one book!

Yes, it's Witchblood, in paperback! I'm afraid for those of you who have requested it in paperback it is not yet available to purchase. This was a single copy I had done via Lulu and I'm not quite happy with it. I couldn't work out how to use my special Witchblood font on the Lulu cover design template, and also the colours in general are too dark. However for me it's fine as I needed a reference copy for when I'm writing Witchcraft.

I have heard that Createspace is coming to the UK, I hope this is true because currently I can't use Createspace due to US postage costs to the UK, but I have heard they are easier to use.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

London: Witchcraft Inspiration

Well, I'm back in Manchester after a lovely, but tiring, three days in our lovely capital. I have to say most of the time was spent in museums and parks with the family, but I did manage to come home visually inspired and ready to crack on with writing the second half of Witchcraft, which will be set in London.

I'm not giving anything away...if you want a teaser from the second half of the book you'll have to get your friends to look me up and get 'liking' my facebook page & when I get my 'likes' up to 200 I'll blog a teaser ;-)

But I will say that Cole, the southern clan leader, who you hear mentioned briefly in Witchblood is going to be causing some trouble for Jessie and her clan. Just like Sebastian, Cole is more than a couple of hundred years old, powerful and won't stop at breaking The Council's laws to get what he wants...and he wants Jessie!

In Witchcraft you'll learn that Cole has two very different bases. There is his official headquarters, which consists of an exclusive, members only club called Mayfair Moon and the million pound apartment complex above it. The area of Mayfair is beautiful, rich and exclusive, and whilst I didn't do much other than a quick wander around the streets here - I couldn't afford a drink in a bar here, even if they let me in...which I very much doubt they would with my jeans and bedraggled kids in tow! But here are some pictures that illustrate my ideas:

The interior photos are how I would imagine Cole's Bar 'Mayfair Moon' to look:

Meanwhile his secret unofficial lair is a nightclub, which he ironically calls 'Bite Club'. Bite Club is located in Brixton, South London, which like the rest of London has some stunning historic architecture, but can also have darker undercurrents, and is much more down to earth. If you google Brixton you get flooded with two types of images, riots & clubbing:

We drove through Brixton at 11pm on a Friday night and the place was alive, with young people hanging out, dressed up in rock/goth gear, heading out to rock clubs and live band gigs, it was buzzing and happy, but with graffiti on the walls, and dark backstreets there is a dangerous undercurrent that would perfectly fit my story.

I came across this image (below) on google images and instantly knew this is what Bite Club would look like...what do you think?