Tuesday, 29 July 2014

What I've Learned: Titles Are Subtle & Important Things

Since I leapt into this Indie Publishing business in 2011 with my twin, Tasha, we've learnt lots as we've gone along. One of the things I think we've learnt about and are improving upon is our titles. There's nothing more troublesome as a title. It can keep a writer awake at night trying to decide how best to summarise their whole story in just a handful of words. Plus, as well as your story, there's the genre(s) to think about, the title has to fit that as well. AND THEN there's making sure the title isn't too common and also doesn't put people off.

For all these reasons, I've been thinking a lot about my novel, Death in The Family and doing some of the research I really should have done before. I meant Death In The Family, as a grimly humorous title, summing up Tom's discovery about his father being a vampire. However, I have come to the conclusion that the name is putting off potential readers, because it very closely mirrors more factual books on handling familial bereavement. Thus, after much deliberation, I have decided to change the title to something that I feel fits the book and the genre more closely and hopefully won't put off my readers.

So, the new title is Night Blood.

I'm also changing the title of the series to The Night Blood Chronicles, which is also slightly more Young Adult Paranormal (in my opinion that is) than Heritage is Deadly.

There will be a new front cover too, when I release the second in the series, Witch Blood, later this year.

So, what are your opinions on titles. Have you had any experiences you can share?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Snapshots by Patricia Lynne - Relaunch Blitz

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Welcome to the SNAPSHOTS relaunch blitz!

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Add to your Goodreads shelf
Buy on Amazon | Smashwords
It's said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but that's a lie. They are snapshots of a time yet to come–the future of the person to which they belong.

Cyclop Blaine stands out in a crowd with his pale skin and mismatched eyes, but it’s his ability to see the future that really sets him apart. The unusual gift makes him an invaluable asset to Tyler, his adoptive father and leader of the Victory Street Gang. It also means Cyclop must hide what he can do from others. Once, a man he knew only as Master controlled him, using him for experiments. Cyclop has no desire to return to that life.

But he may have no choice. A man claiming ownership over him haunts his dreams and waking moments, leaving him no choice but to go back to the past he thought he had escaped. Cyclop must face this man, along with his past, if he wants to reveal his own future.

About the Author

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Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. But some stories are meant to be told and this one chose her. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Follow Patricia on Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Author Blog


Express Yourself Meme - Who Would You Pick to Portray You In A Movie?

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is Who Would You Pick to Portray You In A Movie?

There's a complication with picking someone to be me in a movie, because, if I was featuring as a character in a movie, then there would be no doubt that my twin sister would be in the movie too, so whoever portrayed me, would have to either have a twin, or, with the wonders of modern TV wizardry, would have to play both of us :).

Anyway, there's only one glamour-puss who could manage to pull us off, she's trendy, she's got that certain je ne sais quois; she's feisty and she's a diva! Miss Piggy!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wittegen Press 48hr Discount Blitz - looking for folks to spread the word, please

We at Wittegen Press are in the middle of a revamp of our website, and in order to launch our New Look, we're planning a discount event where we're reducing all the books in the Wittegen Press Library to 99c.

This blitz is taking place on 5th and 6th August 2014, and we're currently looking for folks to help with publicising it both before and after the event.

So, if you're willing, firstly THANK YOU :), and secondly, there are two ways to help out:

WAY #1 (before the blitz): If you're willing to spread the word before the event here's button code for sharing anywhere you fancy.

Please copy the code to add our button to your blog/website, or share it in a post

This is what the button will look like and how it will function.
Wittegen Press 48hr Discount Blitz 5th and 6th August 2014

WAY #2 (during the blitz): if you'd be extra fantastic and put out a publicity post for us on 5th, or 6th, then please fill in the form below and we'll be in contact when all the material is finished.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Express Yourself Meme - Favourite, Comforting Things

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is What are some fave items you have that bring you comfort and/or special memories?

I'm not a big jewellery wearer, I don't have boxes and boxes of earrings and necklaces that I pick from to go with outfits. The only jewellery I wear every day means something to me. Most of it I have bought myself, but there is one necklace which I didn't buy myself, which means so much to me, that I never take it off.

The necklace is a quill, with a little ink pot engraved with my initial and it was given to me as a birthday present (it was a significant number) by my friends. I don't expect my friends to buy my books, or review them, or even like what I write, but the fact that they acknowledged what a big part of my life my writing is to me in this gift that I treasure meant the world to me. This writing malarkey is tough, whether books are selling, or not, and when I need a boost to keep going, with the endless rounds of marketing, with the book design, and sometimes just to get me off my arse to write something, I rub my little feather and remember that, no matter what, words are part of me.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Express Yourself Meme - What is a favourite grade school memory?

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is What is a favourite grade school memory?

Since I'm a Brit, I'm translating grade school as primary school - not an exact fit, I don't think, but close enough. :)

I have lots of great memories from school, but one clear one that comes to me music time. Our school had a little room off the main school hall where they kept all the instruments, things like triangles, xylophones and those hollow wooden block things that make sharp, echo-y sounds. We didn't do music that often, as far as I can remember, but when we did, I loved it. We used to sing songs like The Lincolnshire Poacher and fit in the percussion where appropriate and sometimes where not so appropriate ;P.

The memory that is clearest to me, though is when we used to sing at a local children's music festival at the 'big' school in the market town near our little village. We learnt all the songs off by heart and it's the remembering, the first time through without words, that sits with me. One of the pieces we were singing was 'Lord of All Hopefulness', a hymn I knew well from church, so it wasn't the words that were the problem for me, it was getting the verses in the right order, because, if anyone knows this hymn, each verse has a very similar structure. We were all assembled in the main hall, in ranks and we went through all the pieces, and I wasn't nervous about any of the others like Yellow Bird, but I had to really, really concentrate on that hymn, consciously remembering which verse came next. I was so happy when I managed to get morning before noon and then evening. :)

I think it was the concentration required that stuck that memory in place, because I don't remember the rest of the programme any where near as clearly. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Well, Penny Dreadful Went Out With a Fizzle :(

I've been watching Sky's Penny Dreadful on Sky Atlantic since it began. Here was a chance for some frights, drama and mystery. Well, honestly, I think the creators of this programme missed their chance. Rehashing into one pot the plots from a handful of Victorian novels and several monster movies do not a TV show make, especially when, in an entire series, you don't finish any of those plots.


From the very first episode, I was nervous of the writers' abilities to pull this off. The characters were somewhat thin, hidden mainly behind the veil of mystery I mentioned earlier, but there was a glimmer of hope, since I thought the vampires on that first episode had a bit of originality to them. Thus, I decided to give the show a go and ignore the fact it seemed to be a rewrite of Dracula.

I was actually quite excited about a show being inspired by the Gothic noire of Victorian Penny Dreadfuls, I hoped they'd do something original with an old genre. Instead, I think they've taken the very worst aspects of those penny novels and turned them into a TV show.

Firstly, I would liked to have seen an original character, just one, not a set derived entirely from those Victorian novels I mentioned earlier. But, no, we had Alan Quartermain (he's not called Alan, but it's Alan), jaded, world-weary adventurer who has made many mistakes in his life, mainly with his own family. Then there was Mina Harker, and I don't mean the character they called Mina in the show. I mean Vanessa Ives, whose best friend, we'll call her Lucy, even though the show called her Mina, has been taken by the mysterious 'master', who, for convenience's sake, we'll call, Dracula. Dracula, is using Lucy to get to Mina, whom he want to make his bride - original, I think not.

Okay, so one rehash of a novel to hold the other original plots together perhaps.


Then there's Victor Frankenstein, plagued by his mistake in making his first monster, only to make his second monster. I will admit, that was the only time this show surprised me at all, when 'big brother' came along and ripped apart little brother' right in front of 'daddy'. After that, though, no surprises, murderous monster has daddy issues over his abandonment and wants a bride. In step, The Bride of Frankenstein('s Monster - if we want to be accurate and not use the film title), also known as Brona Croft, the prostitute with the heart of gold - who had 'I'm dying, I'm going to be a cadaver for Victor Frankenstein' tattooed across her forehead from the second episode.

To carry on listing characters: we then have Dorian Grey, who, they couldn't think up a new name for, and seems to have the sole purpose of shagging his way through the rest of the cast, men and women - he only has Victor and 'Alan' left to go, oh and Sembene, the mysterious native servant of 'Alan' (there's was a passing mention of saving lives and debts in the mix to explain why he's trailing 'Alan' around England, what a surprise). And finally, we have Tom Sawyer - oh wait, that's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the movie, not the comics) - Ethan, gun-slinger (with a heart of gold - he gets on well with Brona) who has a troubled past. guess what, he's a werewolf, or maybe when they give his monster a name, they'll call him a Wendigo, since he's American, just to be original.

So that's our cast, King Solomon's Mines, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Bride of Frankenstein, Dorian Grey all thrown into one show, each with a tiny bit of plot, the show relying on the fact that we can all recognise these old stories in order to have nay back story at all. In fact, Penny Dreadful does remind a bit of fanfic, where writers do assume their readers will be fans of the book/show they're writing about, so back story isn't a problem. And, like BAD fanfic (DISCLAIMER - there is good fanfic, I like fanfic) - the story lurched from one good idea melodrama to another without much connection in between each. In fact, I can imagine how this plot was put together...

...a bunch of people, mainly men I think, sitting round a table discussing what would be good to go in the show. Let's be gritty, let's be violent and overtly sexual (translation - lots of boobs, girls on guys, girls on girls, girl on demon even, and yeah, yeah, we'll allow a kiss between two men - now, I'm all for kissing between guys, I write m/m erotica, so I was disappointed that when it came to the lasses, we had full nudity, long drawn out sex scenes, but with the boys, just one kiss, purlease! that's not edgy). Oh yeah, and vampires, they were a staple of the genre, we should do vampires (translation - Dracula, let's rehash Dracula, but shift the characters a bit). And we gotta have Frankenstein, he was cool (translation - bit of existential mutterings about the line between life and death and a homicidal monster with daddy issues). And werewolves, they're hot right now, aren't they (translation - yeah, werewolves are hot right now). Oh, wasn't there that story from around the same time about the guy with no morals and a painting (translation - Dorian Grey).  And demonic possession, that's always good for the shock factor (translation - that's so good, let's use it twice).

Actually, demonic possession wasn't the only thing they used more than once in the show. We had a fight scene with vampires on a boat, lots of women in white wigs running around snarling and wailing and one male (obviously, because the controllers of hives in nature are always male, right) lead vampire, plus let's stick Lucy Mina  in there too, even though that doesn't make sense, because she's not gone all white haired and Wraith-y (and yes, I mean Wraith as in the those bad guys from Stargate Atlantis). Then let's do it all again for the last episode, only this time, in a theatre - and it literally was a rerun of the previous fight, except Vanessa was there this time, not with a weapon or anything, she just stood and watched as far as I could tell (also, as an aside - bit strange that Frankenstein's monster had never noticed all the vampires he was living with only the day before).

I did have a problem with the portrayal of women in this show actually, all 2 of them. Brona was, as I said, Prostitute with heart of gold there to be shagged/loved by Dorian and than Ethan and then die to become Bride of Frankenstien's Monster. Vanessa was supposed to be the strong woman, but actually, she too was defined by who she shagged, quite literally: first her best friend's fiancé on the eve of Mina's wedding (that one was subtle); then a demon, or is it Dracula/The Master, I don't think the writers were sure, who releases her psychic abilities; then Dorian Grey, who kicks them off all over again (and we have a second session of possession, in which the demon proceeds to give away all the male character's secrets, except the tricky one of Ethan's about being a wolf, because, oops, they hadn't done the reveal on that one yet).

So, if I thought this show was so awful, why did I keep watching? Well, despite it being quite derivative, I kept hoping that the writer's would do something interesting with all these not very well connected plots in the last episode of the series. I hoped they'd surprise me, wow me with their originality at the end. They didn't. In fact they didn't even finish the plots of the stories they'd nicked.

We're halfway through Dracula, the bit where they had to kill Lucy to free her from Dracula's curse and we get overtones that he's after Mina. Mina, sorry, Vanessa, is now looking for redemption on her black hear, I have a feeling next time we see her, she might be in a wimple. We're at the end of Frankenstein (but then we were at the beginning of the story too, so that plot moved at epic speed) and the beginning of Bride of Frankenstein, finally. the Wolfman plot is also snail's pace, we've just been shown Ethan wolf out. And to be honest, Dorian never really had his own plot, so we're just where we were before with him. Oh, and I think there's a hint of a seekrit society in the background too.

All in all, I'm annoyed at how disappointing this show was. I would still love to see a good Victorian Gothic original show that doesn't rely on its viewers knowing the old classic horrors to make it work. Do something original, mix steampunk with horror, throw in vampires and werewolves by all means, but don't hang them so directly off the old pegs.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Do you ever have one of *those* stories?

...and by those stories, I mean one where you blast through most of it at a creative pace that has your muse running to keep up and then get within a hair's breadth of the end and you come to a grinding halt?

This only happens to me with short stories, because I plan my novels in enough detail that I'm sure of the end before I start writing (or maybe I should say an end, because it can always change before I get there). I'm in the middle of, or should I say, a hair's breadth before the end of a short ghost story I'm submitting to S D Neeve's IWACA magazine, and I was running at full pelt at the plot when I made the fatal mistake, I took a break. Well, actually, I was forced to put my computer down to be, y'know, social - have lunch, then wave my arms in front of a choir.

Unfortunately, that meant I had time to think, to go over my ideas, to think of different ways to end the story and I got myself into a dilemma. I think if I'd just carried on, I'd have gone with instinct and followed Zen and the Art of Writing, which can sometimes wend its bountiful way to the end of a story without much conscious intervention from little ol' me. But my brain got in the way of serendipity and now I've been pondering on the ending for two days! Add to that a word count I have to meet of 2000 words max, which is a challenge for me, because my short stories usually start at about 5000 words and I have put myself into a real pickle.

Actually, looking at it in the light of the word count, the original story I wanted to write would never had fitted, I had too many characters and additional plot development. It would have built up the suspense more slowly, but I can't afford that in words :). So I have to come at the story from a different way - pack a small punch earlier on and build more rapidly to the climax.

I've now had a lot of practice on very short stories, the art of capturing moments in 100 words with drabbles thanks to FB3X Drabble Cascades, and I think some of them have worked. I've been writing much longer works too for a long time and it's where I'm most comfortable. I also seem to be okay at the novella length story. 2K - well 2K is killing me ;P. But, I'll get there, I have an idea in mind for my ending now, I just need to shape it into something that will entertain. :)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Express Yourself Meme - Lines in My Work In Progress

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is In your WIP, what is the last line on page 10, and the first line on page 42?

Well, I have quite a few works in progress at the moment, but not many have 42 pages, if I'm looking at the MS Word format, so I'll go with my ghost story, The Burning Web. I originally published it over the course of this year's A to Z as a part story, but now I'm reworking it into novel format, adding in some moments that wouldn't fit into that format.

So, the last line on page 10 is: Yet, it was even worse when the sounds stopped, leaving his breathing taut and alone.

The first line on page 42 is: "Quite enough, quite enough," Kenneth replied and she realised he was looking at her glass.

I'll be re-releasing The Burning Web over the summer, and look out for a cover reveal soon - here's a teensie preview  :).

I hope these lines give a small hint of the drama in the book, although the second one is a little vague, the first one, I think, expresses the atmosphere of the ghost story :). So, do you have a WIP, pick a couple of lines you think evoke the nature of the work, or, if you're not a writer, how about a favourite book, can you sum it up with just selecting a couple of lines? I challenge you :)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Express Yourself Meme - Did you have a beloved toy growing up?

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is Did you have a beloved toy growing up? What was it?

I'm a bit late this week, but I'm joining in anyway :)

I had a koala-shaped teddy that was given to me when I was born, and I would still have him if it was not for our first ever dog, Barnabas. When he was a puppy, and teething, Bassy would chew anything, and one day, my koala-bear was in reach. All that was left by the time he had finished was a head and bits of body. I was most upset, even though I was in my teens at the time. However, my wonderful parents went searching and found a replacement, so I still own koala mark II. He sits on top of my sideboard in my bedroom, an ageing, but much loved old friend. :)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

I have been tagged in The Writing Process Blog Hop, by my wonderful sister, Tasha. We're twins and we write together, run a publishing company, Wittegen Press, together. Tasha writes great genre stories, her favourite being vampires - just mention them and let her go! ;)

So, what is this blog hop all about then? Well, The Writing Process Blog Hop is very simple and is a great way to find lots of lovely writer bloggers.


  1. Introduce who referred the blog tour to you
  2. Answer the following 4 questions:
    • What am I working on?
    • How does my work differ from others in its genre?
    • Why do I write what I do?
    • How does my writing process work?
  3. Introduce the people you're passing this on to (3 - 4 people if possible who will then post a week later)
So, without further ado, let me answer those questions :).

What am I working on?
I'm a busy, busy writer at the moment, because I have quite a few irons red hot in the fire, so I'll go in order of deadline :).

I am working on a short story at the moment (no working title), based on the premise of technology. It's for giving away at the relaunch of the Wittegen Press web site, which my sister, Tasha and I have been redesigning and bringing up to date with new technologies.

I am also working on a second short story for a IWACA, a literary magazine run by one of wonderful 'tagees'. S D Neeve. It's a ghost story, and that's all I'm saying, you'll have to read the Autumn issue of IWACA to find out more :)

Apart from my short stories, which also include the weekly FB3X Drabble Cascades, I am also working on three novels at the moment. Yes, I did say three, not sure how it happened, but they are all in progress.

The first is an already published piece, which I wrote for this year's A to Z Challenge: The Burning Web. It's a ghost story about an ex-police officer, Tris, and his partner, who buy an old house, whose unearthly inhabitants bring Tris' own personal conflicts to the fore. The story was posted in 26 short sections over the challenge, and thus it was written in those sections, with the odd cliffhanger, a bit like a penny dreadful. So, I'm currently redrafting the prose for novel format, and adding a few bits that the format of the A to Z didn't allow me to include.

The second novel I'm working on is the sequel to Death In The Family, my Young Adult vampire paranormal fantasy. In this second story, Tom is moving beyond the revelations of his past and into a new way of life shaped by those discoveries. He is supported in that journey by friends, old and new, but also threatened by a new enemy. I am enjoying writing about Tom finding his feet and working through what that means to him - it's a journey of discovery for me too.

And the final novel I'm, currently working on is actually another rework of an existing story. I have a very popular free novella called, Bonds of Fire, about dragons and the augmented humans who live with them, for which quite few of the reviews were asking for more. So as part of NaNoWriMo last year, I began work on a novel inspired by the novella. I'm 60K in at the moment (yes, only a paltry 10K since completing NaNo, I need to do better).

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
This one's a toughie, because, of course, I think my writing is a special little snowflake, unique in all the right ways ;P, but putting that into words - hmmm. Well, I hope, my work differs from others in their genres (because I don't write in just one genre), by the way I put my ideas together and my use of words. I haven't swallowed a dictionary, but I hope my natural breadth of vocabulary means that my work is interesting to read. I don't adhere to 'brevity is best', which seems to be the modern style for genre work, but I do like words to fit and flow and move the work along, sometimes that means short, fast sentences, other times that means longer, more flowing prose.

Why do I write what I do?
That's easy, I love writing. I have written since I was a child, just for the sheer enjoyment of putting the words on the page, My favourite element has always been fantasy, first in fairytales and then the likes of David Eddings. I love being able to explore new places, exotic peoples and magic both reading and writing, and so it was only natural that my work centres about the fantastic, ghosts, magicians, dragons, special powers, vampires - in fact, anything that lights up my imagination :).

How does my writing process work?
That depends on what I am writing.

For short stories, I normally just go with it, get an idea, start writing and see where it gets me. I like this freedom to just see where creativity takes me and sometimes I surprise myself. :)

However, for longer works and also when I'm working with others, like my sister, Tasha, I take a more methodical approach. I usually plan a story, starting with logical breakdowns of the progress of the story (this is at a higher level than scenes), and then it's like slicing a pie in to smaller and smaller bits, until I get down to scene level. Some scenes can have lots of detailed notes, especially if they have lots of action or plot points that I know have to fit in. My sister says that sometimes I might just have well have written the scene itself, but y'see, if I did that, then when I started writing the story proper (I write in order normally, front to back of a novel), then I'd only rewrite the scene anyway, because I know there would be things I'd want to change because of continuity. :)

My process for both short and long fiction unites once I have a first draft. I'll leave it for week or two, maybe longer, then come back, reread, make tweaks and then it goes off to my editor. Thus ensues the usual round of corrections, gnashing of teeth as my perfect baby is ripped to pieces ;P, and the inevitable rewrites.

And now for the lovely folks I'm tagging to pass this hop onto. (and you might notice I'm only listing two folks, and that's because our of all the awesome people I know, lots have already done this hop, which means it can't be a bad hop, now, can it!)

S D Neeve
I met Sarah, talented MG/YA author that she is, through the A to Z Challenge this year, because I fell in love with her characterisations for her upcoming project The Mysterious Islands of Alphabet Cove. Sarah shared with us her ideas for the main characters, both human and non-human, but what made me really take note was the first draft of her first chapter. Wonderful writing!

Sarah also runs the IWACA Dream… Create… be who you are literary magazine that I mentioned earlier. It has stories, pictures, spotlights on creative folks such as writers, artists and photographers and it's FREE.

So, go check out Sarah's work and IWACA :).
Website | Twitter | Google+ | Facebook | Pinterest | IWACA

L G Keltner
Poetry, flash fiction, and longer serials - Laura is an award-winning blogger and great writer. For a little intro, check out her flash fictions from this year's A to Z, they are emotive, sometimes visceral and always wholly engaging.

Laura is, in her own words, ' many things: a writer, a mother, a wife, a certified nutcase.' And, as the photo clearly shows, she writes when her children let her! ;)

Blog | Twitter | Google+ | Facebook


It's been fun talking about my writing habits. Anyone care to share any of theirs? :)