Getting Back to ‘Normal’…

WebsiteMVI have had a break from the writing desk. Finally, after 6 months, our home move completed. We are now in the new house. There was lots to do to prepare, and then settle in, and we’ve only been settled for the last week or so. In all honesty, I could have been back at the keyboard last week, but I just needed the weekend to do sweet nothing. I needed it after… THE MOVE. I’m sure this is going to be a horror title in my writing future…

The Move

The move was pretty intense. It was only a three property move, with only us and our buyers actually required to physically move. The place we bought was vacant. The owners died. Under pretty mysterious circumstances actually. They were found in the basement with loads of candles lit around them. Eh, not really. We don’t have a basement. They were murdered in the lounge. Eh, not really. They already live somewhere else. We thought the move would be quick, as we all settled offers in May, but it dragged on. We were all set, our solicitor was on the ball, and we started the packing and selling stuff we didn’t want to take with us, and were ready to go by the second month. Unfortunately, we were told our buyers hadn’t instructed their solicitor and our solicitor and estate agent pushed how unusual this was and that we should think about putting our home back on the market.

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New Look for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, & the End of My First Kindle Countdown Sale…

WebsiteWUNew Look for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’…

Finishing up on the last in my latest run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, I have taken a break from writing to rethink the covers for the series. For anyone who has stuck around long enough, you will have seen the covers change four or five times. Starting from the ugly to the acceptable. I will admit, I was daunted at having to get another 11 covers done. While I can have my insecurities about writing, I know one thing with a certainty–I am not an artist. And, after doing 2 or 3 new ‘art’ elements for the covers I decided that my stories deserve better than what I can produce with pen and paper. So, for each individual story I have opted for photo elements, and I am dropping individual art elements for each story–only the number and title of the story will change. The collections will remain as the leather look with just a few tweaks as I do like that classic style.

I spent hours trawling shutterstock for images. People who tag these images have a very loose interpretation of Victorian. Regency isn’t Victorian. Images ranged from original period, to Gothic romance cover, to cyberpunk, to… well, ‘sexy’ Victorian… There has always been one image I have fancied as Darkwood, and ended up just going for that one in the end. What I have always liked about is that her hat hides much of her face, so the reader can keep her looking just how they think she looks. That set me the task of finding a male with a similar hat over face style. I ended up having to do a bit of cutting and pasting for Hobbs, and both had to be recoloured, but I was pleased with how they turned out. I wanted some kind of detailed background, and trawling images of Victorian London and fog, I ended up just lifting a smoky element I use in my banner. That was handy. So… here is what the standard cover will look like:

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October 99p/c Sale, Book Promotion & Proofreaders Wanted…

WebsiteWUOctober Sale

Starting today, every week in October, one of my horror novels will be on sale for 99p/c. It’s the first time I have tried a Kindle Countdown promotion, and aside from sharing links on social media, this is the first time I have tried promoting my work in quite a while. But, I knew I couldn’t just leave this to Amazon. So, I have been trawling the Internet for Kindly book promotion sites, and then every night this week I have been uploading them. A lot of the sites seem very similar in structure, even down to author interviews having exactly the same questions and requirements–so, I hope they aren’t just multiple reskins of the same site. I also hope they aren’t closed markets with Indie authors promoting to one another. I will be keeping a close eye on my sales to see whether the countdown promotion and the uploading to the promotion sites do anything. I plan to do more uploading every week through October.


These are the sites that I used where I could. [SOURCE]

$0.99 Thrifty Thursdays:

Each Thursday, they put up a post calling for anyone who has a book priced at 99¢ every Thursday. They will not post erotica, religious, or political books:

Digital Book Today:

If you have a full length fiction novel with at least 25 reviews and an average rating of 4.2 stars, you can submit your book to be featured on this site for free. They do have a limited number of spaces you you need to submit early:

Pixel of Ink $0.99 Bargain Book:

Daily Cheap Reads:

If you have a 99 cent eBook that is not in the exclusive KLL and you would like them to consider posting it, they require a minimum of five reviews.

Reading Deals:

They currently offer a free and paid option:

eBook Lister:

Submit here:

Choosy Book Worm:

You can submit your book here:

Awesome Gang:

Submit here:

Free 99 Books:

Submit here:

And the Awesome Gang (above) sent me the following links in an email:

Book – Free online book promotions with a large audience waiting to find good books. Use coupon code Awesome25 to save 25% off a featured listing. – Home to the hottest books on the planet. Use coupon code Awesome to get $10 off a featured ad.

Book Reader Magazine – Submit an interview and get more free exposure. You can now submit your book and use coupon code kboards at checkout to save $10.

Discount Book Man – If your book is under $2.99 list it here. Coupon code for featured book is kboards to save $5.

My Book Place – Your place to find great books online! Submit your book and use coupon code Awesome25 to receive 25% off a featured listing.

Read Write Club – Great site with featured submissions and author interviews.

‘The Darkwood Mysteries’

I recently finished writing the 20th of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ and the last I need to write for the next run. Now, I will be going back to the earliest ones of the second run and editing those. I’m hoping the distance I have from those first drafts will make editing them easier. Then I will be ready for second and third edits.

Beta Readers & Proof Readers

Any of you lovely people want a first read and to proof read some or all of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’? I can’t offer much in return, but I would place dedications to you in the front and thank yous in the back of each tale and any omnibus editions they might appear in. You might also get a character named after you.

If you’re interested then get in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter.


Fond Memories of Target Doctor Who Books…

WebsiteMVTerrance Dicks, script editor and writer from 70s Doctor Who died this month. Dicks was part of Doctor Who at a pivotal time–the transition from the second actor to play the part to the third, and at a time of massive change for the show. No longer an eccentric time traveller, Doctor Who was to become a man of action grounded and attached to a military organisation in UNIT, defending the earth from alien invaders and mad scientists. It was like nothing which had come before, or would come again, and brought us so many characters Doctor Who fans have come to love–Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, the Brigadier and the ‘UNIT family’ and of course, the Doctors very own Moriarty–the Master.

As a Doctor Who fan finding the series in its final three seasons in the late 80s, there were 23 years of Doctor Who I hadn’t seen, aside from the odd story here and there. Yes, was captivated by the series when it was in what many consider to be its ‘low point’ and final death throes–and still loved it. It’s a solid reminder that while many a fan will bemoan a Doctor or a period of Doctor Who, they will be the hook into Doctor Who for others. I was able to enjoy these unseen stories through the novelisations made by Target. Each one of these books was a gem to me as I read of Doctors and companions and monsters I had never seen or heard of before and wouldn’t see again until Doctor Who crept out on home video release. Terrance Dicks wrote a number of the novelisations, and so, feeling a bit of nostalgia from losing another piece of Doctor Who history, I revisited one of his titles ‘The Web of Fear’.

The story itself was actually one of the ‘lost’ series–episodes which the BBC wiped from its own archives, and was only found again a  few years ago (minus 1 episode which went missing after being found–drama). The novel is an exercise in editing–condensing 6 episodes of a TV serial into a 160 page novel. It’s for kids, so it breaks the writing convention of having just one view point in a scene, happily jumping from one person to another to convey the story. Something I took into my early writing until I was told that this was ‘not the way to do it’ unless you are doing something experimental. But it works well here.

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The Freedoms & Limitations of Writing Historical Horror…


One of the joys of writing historical fiction with my Victorian horror and adventure series, ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, is being released from some of the limitations that modern technology can place on crime writing–it’s hard planning crimes when science and DNA can do so much of the detective work! Also, the limitations of modern communication for creating tension is no longer an issue–my characters can’t suddenly pass on information to each other, and can’t call for help so easily. It frees me up from convoluted ways of disconnecting my characters in the increasingly connected world of modern horror fiction.

It can have it’s issues though, one is being mindful of what doesn’t exist yet… And as I have found in my latest project–long distance communication. My story is an origin story of sorts, set in 1851–about 25 years earlier than normal for the series, and sees Darkwood’s parents separated through her father, Edward, being in India steering the family teasing business and her mother, Anne, left to run the Darkwood estates. Communication through letter would take weeks each way, creating a big disconnect between their back and forth–which has been a problem for me as both will experience shared events through Anne coming into possession of the guide stone which is so important to the series.

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Why I Find Comfort in Horror… The Family, Looking for Mike &… She-Ra


‘The Family’

This 5 part limited Netflix documentary explores how a secretive Christian cult is set upon a world of Christian leaders. The members court politicians, bring them in, and they act as missionaries to other countries, where it’s quite clear that Jesus–and Christian beliefs–are all that matter. ‘Dictator with appalling human rights records? Hey, that’s ok, we both love Jesus, right? Let’s be friends’. Meanwhile someone I know mentions they voted Brexit and I want to cut them out of my life… A Christian world enmeshed in politics and the ruling class frighten me. We might think something like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ won’t happen, well, it could–maybe not as extreme–but social freedoms could so easily be dialled back with an increase in the religious right, appealing to the populist fears and prejudices. It showed the Romanian referendum on changing their marriage definition from spouses to being between a man and a woman, and the Family not promoting it but commending the government for promoting family values. As if gays are the world’s problem. It doesn’t feel so far fetched to think that here in the UK that same sex marriage could be rolled back, and suddenly my relationship won’t have the acceptance and protections of other committed relationships. Especially when parties like UKIP have their surges in popularity with their views on same-sex marriage, and our current prime minister is also quoted with his own questionable opinions.

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