Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"The Dash" Release Date!

Great news!

C.J. Duarte's debut novel has an official release date! Look for it on October 24, 2011 (will post links when available).

Who is C.J. Duarte? Check out his Q&A here.


I recently managed to corner Barret to try to learn more about him and while I had really hoped to share his Q&A with everyone, the whole conversation consisted of the following.

Q: So, Barret, can you tell me about yourself?

Q: You're from Germany, isn't that right?
A: Yes.

Q: And you were a part of the German federal police for a number of years before you met Adrian, where you had earned an impressive reputation. What can you tell us about that experience?
A: Yes.

And so it continued. Instead of Barret telling you in his own words, of which he is a man of few, allow me to enlighten you on his character.

Barret is a man of unknown first names. He was indeed a sergeant in the German federal police and, therefore, is trained to be strict, disciplined and terrifying. He is very tall. And wide. And tends to loom over everything in his path, which is very useful for Katerina, who is about the height of a pre-teen. He also has a sweet tooth.

Barret is the thrall of a thousand year old vampire, and old friend of Kat's, named Adrian. By chance Adrian was there to save Barret's life in a moment of crisis, and in return for future protection from magical influence and supernatural villains, Barret has sworn his allegiance to the vampire and now heads his household security.

He and Kat are not the best of friends, both of them stubborn, and mistrustful of others' abilities. Thrown together into the mystery that is Playing with Fire, they have to learn how to deal with each other, or perish of animosity.

Most people who've read all or part of my various drafts really enjoy Barret's character. I don't blame them! He's a blast to write even if he says all of 150 words throughout the book. The tension between him and Kat is just one of the many conflicts, but it's one that (I hope) draws out a chuckle in my readers from time to time.

Questions for Barret? Feel free to ask, but don't expect an answer...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Like Free Stuff?

Here's an opportunity for you!!

A very supportive, wonderful friend of mine in the Twitterverse is having a giveaway on her blog. Anne Michaud, blogger and horror writer extraordinaire, is offering a copy of her horror anthology, Tattered Souls, Volume 2.

Check it out here! You're in competition with me ;)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In honour of Kat's 884th birthday today, I invited her to sit down and have a chat with me about her life and all the exciting things she's been up to the last near-millennium. She told me she didn't have the time. Fine.

For now , please allow me to offer some insight into the woman that is Katerina; Kat to her current acquaintances and Kate to people long since dead.

Kate was born in the village of Palonia, a community of galderas, or sorcerers, a breed now extinct. The shooting-fire-from-the-fingertips kind of sorcerers. The village was located in the hills of northern England near the current town of Ambleside and had a population of maybe one hundred and fifty.  Palonia no longer exists, unfortunately. If you went there now you would see nothing but a lovely view of the Lake District.

Due to a magical accident, she has been trapped in the body of a twenty-one year old for just shy of nine hundred years. While she has hardened over time, she still retains a love of laughter (admittedly more out of cynicism and sarcasm than a joy of life) and has developped a passion for corsets and ankle-length skirts.

Thanks to her immortality, Kat doesn't have many relationships with the short-lived, but is loyal and protective to the ones she does have. On the other hand, she won't shy away from throwing them into a fight if it comes to it. Her only purpose in life is to take down and destroy any supernatural beings that threaten her privacy or way of life, and she loves her job. Perhaps too much.

I've loved Katerina since the moment she walked into my head. Right from the start I mistrusted that small smile and the wicked glint in her dark blue eyes, but I never doubted that we would have a great working relationship. She's fascinating to write because of everything she's gone through, and some of it I don't even know yet.

Playing with Fire covers one year of her past and only a few months of her present. Everything in between is still a tale yet to be told, and in some cases a mystery still needing to be explained, but all of those experiences have to reflect in her personality now, in this book. It's one of the challenges of writing a character like hers, but I'm very excited to find out more.

Do you have questions for Kat? Sweet mother of mercy don't ask her directly, but feel free to post them in the comments and I'll see if I get her to answer. I mean, really. She's been around 900 years and doesn't have time to answer questions?

No, sorry, I didn't say that! I don't judge, I sw--

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Character Outlines

A buddy just gave me a really great idea for some posts, so over the next couple of weeks, keep an eye out for some character sketches (written, not drawn. Sorry folks!). Some will be from Fenwith, some from PwF, and some from the next series I hope to start. The challenge will be not giving too much away...

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Dreaded "WB"

Some writers strongly believe that writer's block doesn't exist. I'm not about to start arguing this point, but I can say that for the last few weeks my brain turns to static whenever I try to get creative, like snow on a bad TV channel, or a weak radio frequency.

Fortunately this time around I know the cause of it, and it's the same problem I had throughout my four years of university: I find it very difficult to switch my brain from analytical to creative. My default setting is creative, something my more logical friends find frustrating. Once the writing is done and I begin the editing phase, there's a huge overhaul to change my thinking, but I move in that direction easily enough. The trouble seems to come when I need to switch back.

So far there is only one solution I've been able to find: push through. For the last four days I've made myself sit down and stab away at the keyboard to create words. I string those words together into a vaguely coherent combination, and then I throw in some punctuation and move on to the next sentence.

For now, I don't care about the quality (and I don't know if I'm a fair judge. In my mind, it's very choppy and disjointed, but based on a beta comment, it's just as good as the rest...and hopefully that's a good thing?), it's just about getting the words out and letting my creative side get back in the game.

It's the best advice I can give anyone in this position. Don't sit around and expect the inspiration to come back to you in a great revelation. You can try it that way if you want, but if you're serious about writing as a career then you have to work at it. Persevere!

In the meantime, however, I also indulge in comfort food and warm blankets, because it's difficult, and frustrating and can make life a temporarily grey and bleak place. *sniff*

Friday, September 16, 2011

Writing Update #4

I should probably come up with some more creative titles for my writing updates, eh? Titles have never been my strong point, so I welcome suggestions!

I do have a few updates to offer you *waits for the fanfare to end*.

Last week, I finished my final (for now) read-through of Playing with Fire, and I'm thrilled to say that I had many "Man, I don't entirely suck!" moments. I'm actually very proud of the product as it stands right now and my fingers are very crossed that somewhere out there a publisher or an agent will be similarly impressed.

I have been sending out queries, and so far I've received 3 rejections (unsarcastic cheer!), but unfortunately (though not unexpectedly) no solid feedback in terms of writing quality or anything. S'all good!

On an even more positive side *deep breath*, I have heard back from a publishing house I've had my eye on for a while. Sent in my query and prologue, and within days had a request for the next 3 chapters! I'm very nervous, very anxious, and very obsessively checking my e-mail hoping they'll be interested in the rest of the manuscript. Either way, this is the furthest point I've reached in the process so I'm excited and happy.

And that's not even the end of my news! With Playing with Fire edited, read, sent out, and pending, I've officially moved on to Bitter Cold, the next book in my Daughter of Time series. The prologue and first chapter are done, and I'm busy planning out chapters 2, 3, and 4. Thanks to my wonderful sounding board, I've been introduced to 2 new characters and the knowledge that a 3rd will be coming to me over the next couple of months.

As for upcoming blog posts, I'll admit I'm a bit stymied for subjects, so I'm open to requests and suggestions if you want to comment, e-mail, poke, tweet, etc. I do know that I'll be having another Q&A session soon with the lovely Muffy Morrigan, author of the Custodes Noctis series I'm currently enjoying. Hope you'll all come back to take a look!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thank you!

I was checking out my stats this morning and I noticed two exciting updates: 1) I recently hit 1500 views since I rebooted my blog four months ago and 2) there are some recurring visitors from all sorts of far away places. As a little blogger on the big, busy interwebs, I want to thank you for the interest and support!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Minions of Misery Award

I've been awarded again! This time not as a reflection of how precious and adorable I am, but in honour of my darker side. Thank you Angela.

Instructions: Share one dark book, one dark movie, and one dark secret. Hmmm...

Dark Book: The only one that keeps coming to mind is Stephen King's "It". It's the only book I couldn't read at night unless I didn't feel like sleeping. Otherwise, I would have to go with Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett's "Good Omens". Dark apocalyptic subject matter, hilarious execution.

Dark Movie: MUCH easier. "Sweeney Todd: the demon barber of Fleet Street." The Johnny Depp version, but I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy any of them. How can you not enjoy a music about cannibalism? When I went to see this in theatres, the person I went with was very disturbed by how cheerful I was when we left.

Dark Secret: I love mediaeval style clothing. If I had the money I would sport layered skirts and deep-hooded cloaks all the time. Anne Larochelle knows what she's doing. *le sigh* One day.

Now to honour someone else's darkness, I nominate:
Colin F. Barnes

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Writing Update #3

It was a weekend for submissions! I did my first query blast and with luck the responses will come trickling in over the next few weeks.

I also posted a bit about my pending novel The Fenwith Trials, which you can check out on the Fenwith page.

Chapter 2 of my next urban fantasy got completed while waiting for someone at the mall today, and my Final Read-through of Playing with Fire starts this evening. All in all it's been a writing-focused, productive weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Aaron J. Booth's Life Eternal - A Review

A Quick Review

The warrior priest, Castus, embarks on a hunt for one of the deadliest creatures to ever walk the lands of Taal—a vampire by the name of Sallus. After a year of failure, Castus enlists the aid of Giento, a man who claims a special ability to sense the dread lords, but in fact is nothing more than a coward.

As the hunt intensifies, the duo find themselves facing not only Sallus, but the family the vampire has made for himself. With the hunt expanded to four of the deadly creatures, Castus plunges headlong into a chase that Giento fears will end in the worst of all possible fates.

Meanwhile, Sallus’ latest son-in-death, Conrad, encounters all the dangers of his new life as a vampire – a life where the warrior priest turns out to be the least of his problems

Great. Another vampire story. Aren't there enough already?

If that's what you're thinking, then you need to stop thinking and trust my judgement instead. We've been so inundated with vampires  trying hard to be human lately, that it's about time someone reminded us what these creatures originally were - Blood. Drinking. Monsters.

As usual, the back cover hardly even scratches the surface of this novel's complexity. The story begins with Conrad, a newborn vampire, experiencing his new life for the first time, and from the very first paragraph I was swept up in the images and sensations that would carry me through the rest of the book.

There are no uninteresting characters in this story. My favourite character appears for one scene, fills it with awesomeness, and is never seen again. But with that brief glimpse, you know there's a whole other story behind him.

At times leaning towards the extremely gory (personal advice: some scenes should not be read near dinner time), the story is beautifully balanced with good humour, suspense, mystery and the pursuit of a beautiful woman.

In sum: if this is Aaron's debut novel, then I am certainly anticipating the next.

Interested in forming your own opinion? Order the book on Amazon here.