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New from Kristell Ink: Blood Bank by Zoe Markham

On 30th June, Kristell Ink are publishing new vampire novel Blood Bank by Zoe Markham: the book will be available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.

Blood Bank is a vampire novella set in Swindon!

Blurb:

Benjamin is a programmer moonlighting as a security guard at Dystopia, a seedy club that caters to the down-and-outs, the desperates, the addicts. He’s been building his reputation, saving for a way out – but when he rescues a young woman from the nearby estate, he may just have stepped too far out of line… Lucy is ordinary; a girl with a deadbeat boyfriend, a normal life and college studies. But when her world takes an odd twist, she starts to wonder about the people she’s meeting, the situations she’s in, the odd aversions and attacks happening around her. They’re just coincidences…aren’t they? And Zack is in deep trouble. He’s losing his girlfriend, drowning in debt, and has dwindling job prospects – and that’s not the worst of it. His debt is to people who won’t ever forget it, and who want the things closest to Zack’s heart: his blood – and his life. In the heart of Swindon, an ancient order hides in plain sight, spreading their influence through the streets like a disease. But despite their widespread power they are catching up with the modern world: the vampires are going online, and the Order is about to become more powerful than even they would have dreamed…

 

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Goodreads giveaway ends

I’d like to thank everyone who entered my Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of three free paperback copies of Children of the Shaman.

The giveaway ended on June 21. There were 1103 entrants (wow!) and Goodreads has chosen three winners at random.

I will be posting copies of the paperback edition to the three lucky winners in the next few days – congratulations! And commiserations to those that didn’t win this time. I know Goodreads is hosting many splendid giveaways all the time.

And my publisher, Kristell Ink, an imprint of Grimbold Books, publishes a wide range of fantasy novels by a host of other great writers – read more on their web-site here: http://kristell-ink.com/

Children of the Shaman is also for sale in all kinds of formats from Amazon, with other bookstores coming on board all the time…

Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Barnes & Noble | Nook |

Goodreads giveaway update…

I’m slightly in a state of shock as having launched my Goodreads giveaway less than 24 hours ago, I just visited the page to find that I’ve already got 183 subscribers (faints).

And the giveaway has 10 days left to run!

This is very exciting but also quite a responsibility.

I’m not going to update this every day, but every so often I’ll post an update.

In the mean time, here’s the Giveaway page…

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Children of the Shaman by Jessica Rydill

Children of the Shaman

by Jessica Rydill

Giveaway ends June 21, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Interview with Jan Edwards, author of Winter Downs

Winter Downs

Today it gives me great pleasure to interview author Jan Edwards, whose new crime novel, Winter Downs, launched on 3rd June.

How long have you been writing and how did you get started?

Always a hard one to answer without sounding cliched, but I honestly can’t recall when I first started to make up stories to entertain others. My Monday morning ‘news’ at primary school was always complete fabrication. At senior school my languages teacher could never understand why, after three years of Spanish lessons I still could not speak it – despite spending my lessons with head bent over my books scribbling for all I was worth. The reason was, of course, that I was busy writing westerns and noir crimes to entertain my friends and never once looked at my text books.

My first publication ‘credits’ were in a local magazine called W.I.T. produced in Horham, Sussex, with a circulation of about 50! My first ‘proper’ publication was in Visionary Tongue magazine issue 6 – all of which happened in the mid 1990s.

Tell us about your new book! When is the publication date and where can we buy it?

Winter Downs – well now!  First in a series of crime novels set in Sussex, UK during WW2.   Bunch Courtney finds the body of her close friend Jonathan Frampton in a snowy woodland. The official opinion is that he took his own life but Bunch is positive that he did not. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of his death so the body count begins to rise.  Winter Downs launched on 3rd June in paper and kindle formats on Amazon and other outlets.

How important is your setting?

I was born in Sussex and spent my first 13 years there so I suppose it has the most resonance of any place to me. The farm where I lived had several relics of the war, pillboxes and dugouts made in preparation for the invasion so it was always there on the periphery off my thinking.

I have a love of Golden Era fiction; crime, noir and pulp. I have had several Sherlock Holmes stories in print and also several diesel punk (fantasy set in the 1930s)  short stories, and writing in historic settings is something I like to do.

Is there any genre or style of writing you haven’t tried yet but would like to?

I don’t think there is to be honest. I have not gone into romance and/or erotica as yet but neither really attract me that much as a writer.

Research: chore or obsession?

I love research! I can lose myself for days looking for one tiny snippet of information that may quite literally appear in a story as no more than a half dozen words.

I do realise how hard it to get every fact right, especially those tiny throw away things (I came across mistletoe growing on the ground in one book – a parasitic plant that grows in the branches of trees…) And I don’t doubt I get it wrong now and then but I only ever use a tiny fraction of the information that I do gather. Hitting that line between accurate background information and gargantuan info-dumps is a delicate operation.

Would you rather see your stories on the big screen or the little screen?

Small screen initially; maybe as a four part serial. But big screen is good too!

Do you have your own office, study or writing space, or can you write in a cafe or the library?

Currently I have a study, but my best writing times are the wee small hours – either in bed or in front of the TV with my laptop. I have considered the Cafe option. Not having social media to tempt/distract would be good!

Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?

Right now I have three cats: Oberon, Betty Poop and Dilly Dumpling. Do they influence my writing? Maybe not directly. I have written short fiction  that involves cats. There are no felines in Winter Downs, though there is a big dopey Labrador and several horses. I have owned dogs in the past and worked with horses. It is the old ‘write what you know’ adage. Everything you experience has the potential to turn up in a story somewhere.

Who do you consider are your major influences in writing?

This is a question I always find tough because the answer will change depending on what I am writing. Like many people of a certain age my childhood reading revolved around the Famous Five, Swallows and Amazons et al. As a teen there were books by Michael Moorcock as well as Tolkien that made impacts on me. But then I could say the same of  Daphne Du Maurier and Jane Austen and Lewis Carroll (Alice, like LOTR, was required reading circa 1968). My writing is probably less influenced by my reading choices in recent times purely because having read so much it would be hard to pick a few from the many.

If you were marooned on a desert island and could take just seven books, what would you choose?

If the boat was sinking and I had to grab just seven I’d drown! I simply could not choose a mere seven.

What writer, living or dead, would you most like to meet?

Du Maurier or Austen?  As with the book choices there are far to many candidates to single one out over the rest.

If you could have any director to shoot the film of your book(s), who would you choose?

Pass. I don’t notice names of directors if I am honest. Not Cameron (long-winded) or Tarantino (too silly). Had they still been alive Powell and Pressburger would probably have done a great job on Winter Downs!

About Winter Downs:

In January of 1940 a small rural community on the Sussex Downs, already preparing for invasion from across the Channel, finds itself deep in the grip of a snowy landscape, with an ice-cold killer on the loose.

Bunch Courtney stumbles upon the body of Jonathan Frampton in a woodland clearing. Is this a case of suicide, or is it murder? Bunch is determined to discover the truth but can she persuade the dour Chief Inspector Wright to take her seriously?

Winter Downs is first in the Bunch Courtney Investigates series and is for sale in paper and e-formats here

Jan Edwards

Jan Edwards

Jan Edwards is a Sussex-born writer now living in the West Midlands with her husband and obligatory cats. She was a Master Locksmith for 20 years but also tried her hand at bookselling, microfiche photography, livery stable work, motorcycle sales and market gardening. She is a practising Reiki Master. She won a Winchester Slim Volume prize and her short fiction can be found in crime, horror and fantasy anthologies in UK, US and Europe; including The Mammoth Book of Dracula and The Mammoth Book of Moriarty. Jan edits anthologies for The Alchemy Press and Fox Spirit Press, and has written for Dr Who spinoffs with Reel Time Pictures.

For further information please contact Penkhull Press at: https://thepenkhullpress.wordpress.com/

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Giveaway for Children of the Shaman June 11

Three paperback copies of the new edition of Children of the Shaman will soon be available free.

Starting on 11th June, the giveaway will run until 21st June.

“Newly released by Kristell Ink Publishing, Children of the Shaman is the first book in the shamanworld series, bringing you edgy dark fantasy with memorable and complex characters.”

If you can’t wait, Children of the Shaman is for sale from Amazon, Amazon UK, Createspace, and Kobo US and UK

10 of the Best Robert Browning Poems Everyone Should Read

Interesting Literature

Are these the best Browning poems?

Robert Browning (1812-89) was a prolific poet, so whittling down his poetic oeuvre to just ten defining poems is going to prove a challenge. With that in mind, it’s best to view the following list of Browning’s ten best poems as indicative – there are many other classic Robert Browning poems around. Still, these are our particular favourites, and, we hope, none is out of place in a Browning top ten.

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’. A grotesque quasi-medieval dramatic monologue detailing the quest of the titular Roland, this poem was produced in an attempt to overcome writer’s block: in 1852 Browning had set himself the New Year’s Resolution to write a new poem every day, and this vivid dreamscape is what arose from his fevered imagination. Browning borrowed the title from a line in Shakespeare’s King Lear; the…

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My book swag

A few days ago, I received this wonderful surprise in the post from my publisher, Kristell Ink: five paperback copies of my novel, Children of the Shaman, and one hardback!

I am so excited about these I can’t say. Nothing beats having a hard copy of your book to hold. I’ve been wanting to post these photos for ages. I’ve said it before, but huge thanks to everyone at Kristell Ink.

This one not only has cover art by Daniele Serra but wonderful internal illustrations by Evelinn Enoksen, who has captured both the atmosphere of the book and the appearance of the characters really well.

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Skoryk, Parajanov and the Carpathian connection

A lot of authors have a soundtrack for their work. Often it’s the music they were listening to when they were writing a particular passage. Recently, I contributed to a thread in a Facebook group where writers were sharing what they listened to when writing, and what might also be the soundtrack to their novels.

It started me thinking. Music has formed an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. My sister is a musician and used to compose as well, so her songs were a soundtrack for me when I was growing up. My Dad loved trad Jazz, folk songs and sea shanties, and later on Klezmer music. My Mum loved opera, and classical music generally.

So I can’t imagine life without music. And all of my books have their own soundtrack, one that has contributed to the writing and underlies some of the scenes.

I thought I’d start an occasional series, writing about the tracks that have inspired me. I’d love to hear from other writers who do the same or similar things. My tastes in music are eclectic, so this is going to be a wide-ranging thread. I love everything from Classical to Pop, in fact it would probably be easier to list the things I don’t like.

Okay, so who are Skoryk and Parajanov, and what’s the Carpathian Connection?

Sergei Parajanov was an Armenian film director from Georgia, who made a number of famous art-house films. One of his first movies, Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors, was a tale of love, death and magic set in the world of the Hutsul (ethnic Ukrainian) people of Carpathia. His other films include The Colour of Pomegranates and Legend of the Suram Fortress.

I became obsessed with the soundtrack, but for years I could not find out who composed it. After poking around on the internet, I finally discovered that the composer was Myroslav Skoryk (thank you, IMDb). And that there was a CD of his work available from Naxos, which included a work of 1965 called the “Hutsul Triptych”. It proved to be a suite featuring music from the film…

One piece, called “Dytynstvo”, which means “Childhood” was my favourite. I played it again and again. I first heard it in about 1990, at a time when I was unwell. I find it utterly compelling.

I rediscovered the tune and the composer two to three years ago, when I was writing Winterbloom, my fourth book. The most recent outing was in a playlist I made in September 2016.

I think the music for me is evocative of a place. There have been some amazing photos of the Carpathian Mountains, the landscape that appears in Paradjanov’s film; and as the theme of the Greenwood became more important throughout Winterbloom, I also became fascinated by the Bialowieza Forest in Eastern Poland, a tract of woodland that has remained relatively unchanged for centuries.

The tunes by Skoryk are melancholy and haunting, full of regret and nostalgia for a lost time and place. But the piece called “Childhood” also evokes energy and excitement; the children in the film are running away from a witch into the sunlit forest.

I think when I’m writing, I want to capture that haunting quality. An awful lot of the themes in my shaman series are about guilt, regretting what you did in the past, and how the past overshadows the present. Perhaps the most important theme concerns two girls who attempt to cast a spell for a simple and compelling reason. The spell goes wrong, with disastrous consequences; and that’s the main engine of all the books in the series.

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