Latest News

Andrew's horror novella, 'The Bathtub', is now available.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

I’ve been Kindled!

After months of procrastination I’ve bought myself a Kindle.

“So what?” I hear everyone shout.

Well, a lot of my friends are having books published that either aren’t available electronically, or are expensive in print format.  And ‘Art Class’ is (I think) only going to be available electronically.  ‘The Well’ is only out electronically at the moment.  Being able to read e-books on Kindle is much more convenient than being tied to a PC, and I dislike laptops.  I’ll be able to get more involved in reviewing and marketing and the like now I can read e-books.

What do I think of Kindles?

Well, after a few days it’s probably too early to say.  I can see the potential, though.  I do think we’re maybe a version or two away from the perfect product, although I deliberately went for bottom of the range (I only want to read.  I’m not interested in add-ons).  The more expensive versions may well be nearer perfect. 

I thought I would really miss the feel of paper, but I don’t.  To my surprise I’m not even sure I’d rather have a real book than a virtual one, with the inconvenience of having to turn pages and the like. 

However, as a writer, I appreciate having something with my name on it on a shelf, rather than on an electronic device.

Maybe I’m not as much of a technophobe as I thought!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

“Try it, you won’t be disappointed.”

Art Class SmallFellow writer Neil Evans has written a review of Art Class.  Thank you Neil for reading the story and taking the time to write about it.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts - Review

I’ve never really got to grips with how to use ghosts in fiction, despite being a horror writer.  Ghosts are of course traditionally vaporous.  I can’t figure how a writer can frighten a reader with something that can’t cause any physical damage.

Despite that, of course, I know if I were ever to see a ghost, I’d run a mile.

So, I had three reasons for buying the book, which is a collection of short stories by different authors.  First, to find out how other writers use ghosts.  Second, I know a couple of the writers and wanted to read their contributions.  Third, I reckoned I was going to get an entertaining read.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Each story is noticeably different, varying from traditional scary stories, to paranormal romance, and to the bizarre.  It’s not fair to mention a favourite because the stories are all so different, but I will pick out ‘Take me to St Roch’s’ because it was set in the Sussex countryside.  It’s an area I know well from childhood visits to grandparents, so I could relate to the setting which the author brings over well.  Contributions from those other writers I’ve come across before didn’t disappoint, either.

As well as enjoying the read, I also learned a few tips on how to treat ghosts in fiction.  Who knows, I may even try a ghost story myself!

The book isn’t expensive, and is well worth what I spent on it.

The book is available from Amazon, among other places.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

‘Art Class’ Released!

So, the big day has come, and ‘Art Class’ is released.  Thank you to Mary at ‘Dreams N Fantasies’ for accepting it. 

A big thanks also to Summer Steelman for a superb editing job, to Elisa Elaine Luevanos for a stunning cover, and to Gianna Bruno for her help in getting an early draft into a submittable state.

Art Class SmallHere’s the blurb:

Kerry-Jane has always been too shy to do anything about her exhibitionist fantasies. When a friend arranged for her to pose naked for an art class, the opportunity is too good for Kerry-Jane to pass up.

The class goes even better than Kerry-Jane’s fantasies, and she enjoys being admired by the artists. When a couple of the class hunks invite her to stay on for a private lesson, painting is the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Writing Historical Fiction

I like writing historical fiction, although I often include fantasy/mythical elements.  ‘Andraste’s Blade’ and ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ are both set in Britain’s Celtic past.

So, someone asked a while ago, do I have any tips for writing historical fiction?

The answer is that I just get on with it, but I suppose there are some elements that help…

1.  Know the period.  ‘My’ time and place is the post-Roman Celtic British Isles (that’s a mouthful!) which I was fortunate enough to study for my degree.  That gave me a confidence that I would know the subject matter at least as well as most of my readers.  I once wrote a story set in the 19th century American west.  I thought the plot was fine, but it didn’t work because I couldn’t write about it with any confidence.

2.  Throw in some historical niceties.  Even if you’re not familiar with a period, a little knowledge can go a long way.  If people styled their hair in a certain way, for example, have a character arranging their hair like that.  If they believed in certain gods, have a character uttering a short prayer.  Have a character mention the king in passing.  A small amount of knowledge may fool a few people!

3.  Research!  The more the better.  Researching a novel should be fun.  If it isn’t fun, it probably means the story doesn’t match the novelist.  I can’t tell you how enjoyable I found researching the shape and size of 5th century north Welsh houses (yes, honest!).

4.  Be prepared to defend yourself.  In other words, know your facts before sending a manuscript to an editor or critique group.  I worked with one editor who queried every historical fact I’d put in a manuscript – I guess trying to make sure the document would stand up to scrutiny.  Fortunately, I could back up everything I wrote.  I think our working relationship would have been a tough one if I couldn’t.

Glaslyn5.  Know the place as well as the time.  The same probably goes for most fiction set in the present day, too.  I set much of my historical fiction in north Wales.  It’s an area I know like the back of my hand, and I can’t walk along the River Glaslyn upstream from Beddgelert (where this picture was taken) without ‘seeing’ Breena and Prince Einion from ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ flirting on the bank.  That sort of local knowledge made the story so much easier (or should that be less difficult?!) to write.

6.  Don’t let the history get in the way of a good story.  In other words, don’t throw so much history at the reader that the plot gets muddled.  Historical fiction should only be set in the past, not swamped by it.

That’s about it.  Unless anyone can think of anything I’ve missed?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Guest Blog: Courtney Rene

I’ve always thought I was doing pretty well by branching out into the occasional erotic novelette in between my horror/fantasy novels. So, it’s a bit of an eye-opener to meet a writer who writes…well, just about everything.

Fellow Rogue Phoenix Press author Courtney Rene has successfully turned her hand at most genres, so I asked about the good and the bad of being a versatile writer. Here’s what Courtney told me:


By Courtney Rene

Photo.BasicI’m versatile. I write non-fiction. I write children’s fiction. I write horror, fantasy, and paranormal. I write anything and everything that pokes my brain and interests me. Now you know that, I bet you are wondering, HOW I can write within so many different areas. How can I be scary and gory one moment and fluffy animals the next? Welp, it’s all frame of mind and setting.

Okay, I can already see the look on your face. The one that says “huh?” Let me explain. There are days that I head out on my lunch hour to the park. The sun is shining. The flowers are in yellow and purple bloom. The bees are in full pollination swing. I can’t very well right about murderous zombies and soul stealing demons within this setting. I am too happy and content. Instead, I will write the fun learning story about what makes a hedgehog wonderful in the face of others. But…

In the dark of the night, with only the light of my screen to see by, the house creaking, and the wind blowing against the windows, I can’t write that sunny happy story. So instead, I will write the spooky or chilling story of darkness stealing the light from within the soul to survive. If I can give myself the willies while writing it, then I know I have done a good job.

What about my fans? How can I write so many different genres and for so many different ages? That one is easy to explain. I love to write. I love being able to write what I feel, not what I have to write because I am stuck in one single genre. FOREVER. Children grow into teens, and teens to adults and adults have children and the cycle begins again. You can find me in all sections of life. I like that. A few of my fans have also said that they are finding they like it as well. That it’s nice to have an author they like to read that they can refer other people to, regardless of their age or their genre preferences.

What do publishers think about my versatility? No idea. None have ever mentioned it to me. I do wonder though if I ever thought to venture into the genre of erotica if it would be a problem for the younger markets. I don’t believe that it will ever become a problem though, as I get giggly when I read steamy stuff, let alone try to write it.

So, there you have it. I’m versatile. I like it that way.



Courtney’s novels have been published by Rogue Phoenix Press. Check them out here, including her most recent release, Shadow’s End.