Tag Archives: eBook

Meet the Author… Helen Claire Gould

Remember I attended The Darker Side of Fiction book signing? Well, I met a lot of lovely people there, and a bunch of great authors, of course! All fantasy writers, all trying to find fans. You’ve already met one of the writers, Martin Tracey, and in the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring more of these Darker authors, hoping that they may find some new fans amongst you. First up is Helen Claire Gould, writer of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been chatting with her since we became friends on Facebook. She’s very active as a writer in her community but broke her hip and arm in an unfortunate fall recently. She is recovering well from her hip replacement and should be up and about soon!

Helen Claire Gould

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Biography

Helen took English Language and Literature, A level (prior to going to university as a mature student of Geology in 1997) and came 5th in the country out of 16,000 candidates. She worked as a proof-reader for the first 5 years of her working life, firstly in publishing and then in insurance, where accuracy is even more important as an insurance proposal is a legal document. She edits and proofreads her own work, and she’s proud to mention Floodtide has an approximate 0.005% error rate.

Karma has not been easy on Helen. She has dyscalculia (the maths version of dyslexia), dyspraxia (the co-ordination version), and some features of dyslexia (luckily not spelling, grammar or punctuation, which seem to have gone in the opposite direction)–i.e. left/right confusion, so if she ever gives you any directions to get anywhere, take no notice of what comes out of her mouth, just follow the hand signals!

Who is/are your favorite author(s)? How much is your work influenced by his or her works?

Helen_Claire_Gould_TheStallion.pngAndre Norton. I write about similar subject matter, though not in her style. I’m not an imitator. I write what comes, but try to adhere to professional writing standards that are (supposedly) the same for traditionally published authors. She wrote science fiction, and science fantasy; I also bring in elements of horror.

What made you want to become a writer?

I read my first science fiction at the age of nine, and wrote some when I was fourteen. I’ve written ever since. I was top of the school for English from nine on, and bottom of the school for maths. I wanted to be a scientist, but didn’t think my maths would be good enough. I was interested in geology and palaeontology as a child, and when I researched the geology for Floodtide, I realised there was a science I could do. At 43 I went to uni, and discovered one tutor who was interested in planetary science, so I did all his modules–perfect for a science fiction writer!

Do you outline or just write?

Sometimes I’ll write a chapter or two to see where it’s going before I outline the story. When I wrote The Stallion I got up in the night to write down the dream I’d just had. My husband came into the study a couple of hours later, having realised I wasn’t in bed, and said, “Oh, so this is where you’ve got to!”

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, could you please share an example?

I worked as a proof-reader and in retailing, where I became a professional trainer, learned to write courses, and taught evening classes in geology and creative writing. After publishing Floodtide, I spent 18 months writing workshops on writing and self-publishing, delivered through local libraries. They include eureka moments, research and examples; I use my scientific knowledge to design diagrams and animate them in PowerPoint. Everything’s on handouts, with practical assignments, even in the self-publishing workshops.

Can you give us an interesting, fun fact about your book?

When I submitted the print version of Floodtide, the printers sent me an e-mail saying there was a problem with the dialogue from page 42 on. I checked the page and the telepathic conversations, bracketed with < > instead of “ ”, began there. I emailed back and explained about the telepathic conversationsand that because the alien concepts I used didn’t exist in English I’d invented a language, so if they came across what appeared to be nonsense words, these were in Naxadan!

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Most of my writing is set in an imaginary universe, based on ours. I’ve set up part of my website as a companion to it, with a timeline, views of the solar systems in each book, notes on the Naxadan language, relevant scientific material, links to book trailers and readings on my YouTube channel, and a star map of that universe. Some stories contain cross-references between the series.    

Are you working on another book? What are your current projects? Can you give us a small teaser?

Helen_Gould_FloodtideHaving put out two short books this year, I’m currently working on The Zarduth Imperative: Discovery, about the crew of Zarduthi clanship, the Bekel. The Zarduthi are space mercenaries who trade their services for food, clothing, and weapons. The ship drifts into the solar system and 33 unaccompanied children are discovered inside, revived, debriefed, fostered in different countries, and forbidden to communicate with each other. Raised communally on the Bekel, they’re desperate to take back their ship and find their parents. Oh, and a dead Voth, a bacterium-like species terrorising our corner of the galaxy was onboard–and Earth is next in line…

From the opening scene:

“Kaylar, raise shields. Nam–switch orbit now! And keep us hidden from the Voth fleet.” Although the Bekel would be vulnerable to detection during this manoeuvre, for this planetary configuration it was the best defence Rilla Dekkutz knew.

“Defence shields raised, Rilla,” Kaylar said.

“New orbit laid in,” Nam reported from the nav column.

Rilla stared into the simtank cube mounted between and below the forward sightports. A white hologrammatic dot marked the Bekel’s position between the twin moons, Bacar and Ammax, as they swung about their common centre of gravity. They’d exchanged positions again. Bacar was now nearest the planet below. Rilla saw the white dot marking their geostationary orbit change from Bacar to Ammax.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Helen_Gould_She...Postal writing workshops contain five members, each allowed to keep the parcel for up to two weeks. The administrator puts their work in a parcel and sends it to the next person on the list, who writes feedback, puts in their work, then sends it on. When the parcel comes back, the administrator has four pieces to write feedback on and four pieces of feedback on their work. I learned to critique work and received helpful criticism and suggestions.

The least helpful thing was feedback from a publishing house talent scout. She didn’t read my manuscript properly, and with hindsight I realised she wasn’t even as good at giving feedback as my fellow orbiters.

What has been the best compliment?

My friend Fyzz, who runs the Fyzz Wallis Band, had read that books you love, near the end, feel like ‘that break-up feeling’, and said Floodtide was like that! Her bassist Zoe apparently reads lots of self-published books, and said they often contain many typos, but Floodtide read like a traditionally published book.

What motivated you to become an indie author?

When ill-health set in, Mike said I should stay at home and work on my novels, but he probably didn’t expect me to publish anything. In 2014 I published the ebook of Floodtide, and in 2015 brought out the print version. A day’s free self-publishing course at the printers’ gave me the confidence to go into print.

Social Media Details

Here’s where you can find Helen Gould online:

Email: cleargold1@gmail.com

Website (where the first three chapters of Floodtide are available to read!)

Facebook

YouTube

Amazon Author page

As mentioned before, Helen is very active as a writer in her area, East Anglia, and has her books available in the following stores:

  • Waterstones, Bridge St., Peterborough;
  • Peterborough Visitor Information Centre, Bridge St., Peterborough;
  • Bookmark Spalding, 20, the Crescent, Spalding;
  • Beccles Books, 1, Exchange Ho., Exchange Sq., Beccles, NR34 9HH;
  • Oundle Bookshop,13 Market Place, Oundle PE8 4BA.

Her books are also available from the following local libraries: Peterborough Central Library, Bretton Library, Orton Library, Stamford Library, The Deepings Library, Spalding Library, Oundle Library, Long Sutton Library, Boston Library, Huntingdon Library.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Helen. I wish you a speedy recovery and have my fingers crossed you get some reviews for your short story and horror bundle!




Living Like A Vampire Blog Tour – Day 5

Day 5

Guess what? Today I have three bloggers posting about Living Like A Vampire! Each will have a little bit more information about the book or about me.

Let me start with Kim from Nemesis Book Blog. Kim has posted a little excerpt from the book when Kate and Charlie try to escape the suckers in a car. It doesn’t seem like much, but it has dire consequences! Go check it out on Kim’s site.

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The second stop is on Laura Nelson’s Facebook site: Tangents and Tissues Book Blog. Laura wanted to know more about me, so I wrote a bit about a question I often get when I wear my fangs; “Are you a real vampire?” Check out my answers, and I’ll let you decide!

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The third stop is on the blog of Cassandra’s MADEUP-Group. I’m so thrilled she liked the story! This is what she has to say about it:

“For somebody who enjoys Vampire type stories, I tend to have quite high expectations from them, and this didn’t let me down. (…) If you enjoy Vampire/Apocalyptic/Romantic stories with a bit of a twist on the norm, this is the story for you! I can’t wait to see what comes from the next book!”

Obviously, she has more nice things to say about Living Like A Vampire, so head over there to check it out!

Thank you, Kim, Laura, and Cassandra, for participating in my Blog Tour! You are wonderful people!

Living Like A Vampire Blog Tour – Day 3

Day 3

Another great review for Living Like A Vampire today! This time from the lovely Kirsty Crichton on The Midnight Review blog. You can read her review there, but here’s a summary of her review:

Overall Thoughts:

From the opening chapters, the tension ratchets up and stays that way. That and the short chapters have you racing through the book in no time. The pace is pitched perfectly. I read this in two sittings. I have a love-hate relationship with short chapters, ‘oh, just one more’ followed by ‘how is it 2am?!’ They certainly help you to speed through.

I did enjoy this book and it certainly is an excellent choice for a Halloween read! 

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Love at First Sight

Now, Kirsty did have a problem with the ‘love at first sight’ that Kate experiences. She’s not the only one, or so I’ve heard. My guess is that some people put the book aside once ‘the moment’ occurs. I honestly don’t understand why. As I mentioned in my interview with Emit Blackwell on The Emit Blackwell show, a lot of what I write in my books are taken from my own life. Not exact moments, I’m not writing about particular persons or events; I’m talking about emotions. And I have experienced these ‘love at first sight’ moments.

It’s not love-love, i.e. not the love I have for my husband whom I’ve shared my life with for nearly thirty years. That’s a different kind of love. No, call it an infatuation, an instant attraction to someone that you can’t explain. It gives you butterflies in your belly, attracting you like a magnet, and you just have to get to know this person better. Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Maybe, in this day and age, relationships are more calculated, more business-like as in ‘what do I get out of it?’ Or maybe my hormones have been more active in the falling-in-love department than the average person. Who knows? All I know is that love at first sight really is ‘a thing.’ I’d love to hear from people who’ve had the same experience.

Thank you, Kirsty, for being part of my Blog Tour, for with sticking with the story, and finding out what Suckers is all about!


Twisted50 Vol. 2 is nearly here!

I hope you remember I entered a competition for Create50, Twisted50 Vol.2, and my little horror story won entry as one of the fifty scariest entries. Well, it is finally being published! We’ll have to wait until the 19th of November before you can buy it, but I couldn’t wait to let you know. I’m so excitied!

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In the meantime, why not get into the mood for Halloween with Twisted50 Vol.1? It’s sure to give you a fright! 😀

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50 stories from 50 disturbed voices of modern horror… Twisted 50 volume 1 is a deliciously dark slice of contemporary horror literature. Reading it is like attending a late night secret banquet where you know each course will serve up something unexpected, forbidden and unforgettably chilling. Take your private seat now for 50 luscious courses of terror, from 50 of the strongest voices in modern horror.

 

 

Meet the Author… R.H. Hale

Rebecca H. Hale is one cool chick! I asked her for an interview and she said yes immediately… in July. And then her email slipped the net. My bad. Instead of bombarding me with emails asking what’s happening, or getting stroppy and giving me the cold shoulder when I asked her the other day when I could expect her answer, she just went with the flow. I like people like that.

R.H. Hale

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Biography

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, R.H. Hale’s interests range from reading and writing, to science and the arts, including theatre. After receiving a BSc (Hons) in Natural History from Kingston University in Surrey, she returned to Edinburgh where she joined a ghost tour company to pay the bills – and became hooked, terrifying innocent tourists on a daily basis in the city’s underground vaults. Not long after being clinically diagnosed with autism, in 2014 Hale began work on her first novel, Church Mouse (Book 1): Memoir of a vampire’s servant. Its sequel, Church Mouse (Book 2): The Change, is completed and due for release in 2019.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

That’s a tie between two. When I was eleven years old I attended a festival in the town of Wick in Caithness, Scotland, where I had the pleasure of meeting the late, great Scottish poet Norman MacCaig. He was a delightful old gentleman, very calm and patient. If I’d had any idea at the time how famous he was, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to read him a poem I’d recently written for class at school. I did read it to him however, and he seemed very impressed by it.

Far more recently, last year I met Dacre Stoker, the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, at the Edinburgh Horror Festival. Fortunately, I’m close friends with the event organisers, so I took him and his assistant on a short tour around The Banshee Labyrinth, the reputedly haunted pub where he was giving a talk about his latest book and his research. He is fantastic company, a joy to speak with and very generously asked me about my debut novel, so I felt honoured to have had the chance to discuss it with him.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

It may sound cliché, but in truth my biggest surprise has been that people are liking the book! Every writer understands how scary it is releasing a debut; it’s like having one of those dreams where you find yourself haplessly walking around in public in your birthday suit.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

R.H.Hale_ChurchMouse1I think it depends on who you’re asking. For many including me, writing is also a way of exorcising demons, a silent scream if you like. I think it can be both, since it’s lovely to be told you have a gift and makes it all worthwhile if your work touches people and takes them on the journey you intended. But it comes with a price: you may’ve had to live through (or be living through) hell to create the worlds, scenes, characters and descriptions you did. The greatest reward is getting good reviews, so combined it can be negative feedback loop.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Often pen since you can never know where you’ll be when ideas strike. Computer later, though ideas churn out on both. I haven’t used a typewriter since I was child just before computers kicked in everywhere and frankly I don’t intend on revisiting them; the stress of corrections and Tippex would give me a heart attack.

Do you write alone or in public?

Definitely alone for me. To many distractions in public. I even have to pause grumpily if I hear my poor housemate crossing the hallway to visit the bathroom!

What is your favorite place to write?

My room at home, sitting in bed, propped up by the pillows. Though in an ideal world I’d love a secluded Victorian study with a massive bay window and fireplace, me curled up in a gigantic leather armchair with cushions, hemmed in by a small portable table for my laptop and another table by the armrest for my coffee and ashtray. Maybe a grandfather clock ticking away in the corner…

Is your ‘being an author’ a goal achieved or an accident?

I never expected this to happen. I’d always had ideas for stories, screenplays, written dozens of poems and started many things throughout my lifetime, but I never originally set out to be an author. I thought I was going to be a scientist or maybe an actress. One day I just had some scenes in my head so solid they were baying for release and I had to get them down on paper. The rest grew from there.

Do you try to be original in your storytelling or to deliver to readers what they want?

Some people may disagree with me here, but to be honest I don’t understand this concept of ‘giving an audience what they want’. How are audiences supposed to discover anything new otherwise? If art of any sort teaches, shocks, surprises or inspires, it makes an imprint or mark, and to me that should be the whole idea. In fact, ‘what they want’ may have been exactly that to begin with – something original they weren’t expecting; before it got re-used again and again. I know that realistically there’s hardly any such thing as new ideas, and no matter how hard any writer works, it’s impossible to please everyone, but long as you’re driven by the desire to create, that’s what counts. Putting original ideas out there always carries a risk, and in many art forms, the powers that be like to “play it safe” by sticking with whatever made them money last time, but to me there’s something dishonest – maybe even mercenary – about ‘giving readers what they want’. Not all audiences know what they want until they’ve seen it. Besides, if I tried writing from only that perspective, I’d never get anything done. My head and heart do the dictating, otherwise what’s the point? That said, it really isn’t for me to tell anyone how to write, and if some readers prefer authors that give them what they want, fair enough, it’s their personal choice.

Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

V0017193 Still life with a skull and medical book. Oil painting by anIn Church Mouse (Book 1), there’s a scene involving an old Victorian surgeon’s medical case, bound in leather, containing the top half of a human skull. That was inspired by a completely true story. When I worked at the ghost tour company in Edinburgh, one of the vaults was run by a group of Wiccans, led by George Cameron. One day he entered the office, showed me the medical bag with the top part of the skull inside and I was fascinated. My other colleague present at the time was not quite so enthralled and turned green on the spot, so I tortured him by chasing him around the office wearing the skull on top of my head like cap. Out of respect though I did apologise to the human remains in advance. I don’t know if this is true, but Cameron told us that apparently the skull came from a cadaver stolen from Greyfriars Cemetery in the early-1800s, possibly by an ambitious medical student, as cadavers at that time were in relatively short supply. The crude chisel marks of the surgeon’s blade were clearly visible around the bone. The above details are mentioned in the novel.

What motivated you to become an indie/published author? How did you break into publishing?

I decided being an indie author was the only way, chiefly because of word count. No literary agent is going to take a chance on the printing costs for a newbie if it’s over 100k words. My editor also works for Help For Writers: not a traditional publishing house, but they convert authors’ work into e-format, publish and distribute for a fee; the author keeps all the royalties.

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, Rebecca. I feel very privileged that I actually have that perfect writing spot that you talk about. The windows are still a bit draughty, so I don’t sit in front of them, but yeah, all the other bits are there. If you’re ever in Aberdeenshire, do look me up!

Where can we find you online? 

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Amazon Author page

R.H. Hale’s book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Goodreads, Blackwells, and other online bookstores


Meet the Author… Charles E. Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz is the author of the Legends of Windemere novels (fifteen books already!) as well as various other novels. The covers of his Windemere books attracted me as I retweeted them on Twitter, but, being a vampire-lover, his new WIP War of Nytefall – Loyalty made me contact him for an interview.

Charles Edward Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz

Biography

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Legends of Windemere is his first series, but it certainly won’t be his last.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

If I want to be technical, it was in 2nd grade and I wrote a picture story called Hunt for the Ruby Monkey. This was heavily based on King Kong, but I was trying to show characters and build tension without knowing it. This was a gift for a friend, so I don’t have it anymore. Prior to this I was writing little books that involved jokes, my week, or animals.

Charles_E_Yallowitz_ImmortalWarsSince I didn’t really know what I was doing during this attempt, I would say the real first story of mine would be Immortal Wars: The Summoning. I was in high school and decided that I was going to be an author. One of my favorite things to do was read comic books, so I went with superheroes. It was about four teenagers who discover they are immortals and need to protect the universe from a band of evil immortals who are about to return. Each character had a magical weapon built on one of the nine planets. This was in the 1990’s, so Pluto hadn’t been downgraded at this point. I had an entire series planned out with the weapons switching hands, deaths, births, and any twist that came to mind. I only wrote the first book, which was ‘The Summoning’, but then I moved on to fantasy.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s the cursed gift that keeps on giving.  The curse part is that authors can find it hard to explain things to other people. You become very aware of spoilers, so you have to explain stories without going into the details. This can lead to confusion and the sense that nobody understands you. The gift side is that you develop this drive to create and explore worlds that you’re helping to nurture with your words. There’s a thrill to the building of a story from nothing to an intricate world that can draw others into it.

What is your writing Kryptonite? Have you ever gotten writer’s block?

My mood can be my personal Kryptonite. Once I’m annoyed or flustered, I lose the ability to focus on my creative thoughts. It isn’t that I have to be in a good mood to begin with, but I need to have a clear mind. Otherwise, the issues of the real world will get in the way of fiction and that doesn’t always match up. This is really hard for me because I don’t have an office or anywhere private to write.  So, I’m constantly running the risk of being distracted. As far as writer’s block goes, I’m lucky that I’ve never really hit a creativity wall. If I have a problem, I walk away to work on another project and it comes to me the next time I sit down.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

All of my books are exciting action adventures that can take the reader out of reality. They’re pure escapism, especially since I write in third person present tense.  It’s not a common style, but it means my books read like tv shows and movies where you see things unfolding in real time instead of them being past events.

Charles_E_Yallowitz_QuestoftheBrokenHeartedMy most recent book is Quest of the Brokenhearted, which is on sale for 99 cents until the end of July. This is a spinoff of my series, Legends of Windemere, and it shows the fate of a supporting character named Kira Grasdon. Over the course of the previous adventure, this merchant house heiress lost everything and now she is struggling to survive on the streets. She learns about warriors going to Lacarsis, the City of Evil, which has begun to move. Deciding that she will either find a new reason to live or meet her death, Kira heads into the monster-filled city. This is an exciting, action-packed adventure, but it also looks into the psychology of a hero who has already been broken.  Mentally, Kira is hanging on by a thread and I think this is a state that many people can understand.

Do you have any difficulty writing characters of the opposite sex?

I don’t feel like I have any difficulty writing female characters. I only use their gender to designate clothing to some extent, pronouns, relationships, and physical appearance.  Beyond that, the abilities and personalities for a man can still be used for a woman.  Both can be brave warriors, cunning thieves, or sadistic villains.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’m trying to find a middle ground for most of my books. Each book and series tells a self-contained story, but they take place in the same world. Every entry adds to the depth of Windemere and builds it into a playground for future heroes.  This would be similar to Middle Earth or the various comic book universes.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Charles_E_Yallowitz_War of NytefallI’m currently working on a fantasy vampire series that takes place in the world of Windemere.  It’s called War of Nytefall and it’s my current ‘core project’ for the next 3 years. After that I have about 30 other series and one-shot stories that I’ve been outlining over the last 15 years.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing I learned when it came to writing was that I had to write what I loved. If I enjoyed the story that I was working on then that would come through and the readers will have a better experience. The most destructive lesson that I learned nearly cost me the first book of my Legends of Windemere series. I let a lot of people read it over the course of ten years and I tried to implement every suggestion that was given. This made a mess out of the entire story and even caused trouble for future volumes. It required a lot of rethinking and rewriting before I felt comfortable publishing it.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

There are a lot of common traps, but there are two that come to mind. First, there is always the temptation to respond to negative reviews. Not everyone gets the warning that you have to take the lumps in silence. This means a new author can build up the reputation of being a ‘spoiled and combative’ person. The other is the ‘Pursuit of Perfection’. I’ve known many aspiring authors who refuse to publish until their work has met this ideal of flawlessness. They will read every book they can find on the art of writing and tear their work down at the slightest mistake. In the end, they enter a cycle that they can’t get out of that seems to stop at the first draft stage at best and they eventually give up. The truth is that every story will have a flaw of some kind because it’s a human writing it.

How do author friends help you become a better writer?

Charles_E_Yallowitz_LegendsOfWindemere15Discovering the large community of authors online was like wandering into a place that feels like home. You get a level of support and insight that people who never considered being an author can’t give you. Criticism is given in a more palpable method and discussions are allowed instead of the blunt tearing apart that non-authors think are necessary. There’s also a lot of sharing of experience and tools, which helps new authors avoid some of the pitfalls. Honestly, the whole community functions better as a support structure than a pit where everyone is out for themselves.

Where can we find you online?

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Tumblr

Amazon Author page

Anywhere else where your book(s) is/are for sale:

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Thanks so much for you time and chatting with us, Charles. I’ll be looking forward to reading your vampire stories!

All Charles E. Yallowitz’s books are available on Amazon. Take your pick!

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Amazing Fantasy Giveaway!

Fantasy lovers, look no further than this amazing fantasy giveaway! EIGHTY-FIVE, yes, that’s correct; 85 FREE ebooks for you to read in this amazing promotion offer (including one of yours truly)! It runs for one month from 20 June – 20 July. Check it out!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/amazingfantasyjune

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Meet The Author… Vanessa Ravel

Vanessa Ravel is an author I met on the Dark Fantasy Books website. She is a far cry from the standard girl next door and I expect her book, Four o’Clock Alice, isn’t any different.

Vanessa Ravel

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You are an epidemiologist by trade. Do you still work as a scientist or are you now a full-time writer? Does your work feature in some way in your book?

I still do consulting and medical writing on a freelance basis, which allows me to devote time to my real passion of writing fiction. Funny enough, after all my schooling, epidemiology doesn’t at all figure into Four O’Clock Alice, but I do have some ideas stewing on the back burner where I might be able to use my public health background. 

Why do you write dark fantasy?

Horror is my favorite genre, but I’m not really a fan of gore or graphic violence. I like writing about ugly things in the most beautiful way possible, so I think dark fantasy allows for that outlet over horror. To me, writing delicate prose about vile things is more shocking than any gorefest because, strangely enough, there is beauty in vile things. There is beauty in everything. You just need to find the right words.

Four o’Clock Alice is your debut novel. Did you intentionally write a novel or does its creation have a different story?

I did set out to write Four O’Clock Alice, although the original idea doesn’t at all resemble the finished product! The impetus for writing was a series of personal tragedies which afforded me the perspective to ‘write what I know,’ not in a sense of ever having been in any of the characters’ situations per se, but nonetheless being newly able to empathize with those situations.

How old is Alice and what is the target audience for your novel?

Although the book starts with a ten-year-old Alice and follows her until she is 17, I would not say this is necessarily a book for that age range. I believe the target audience for my novel is adult, although the older ‘young adult’ market (say, 14+) would sympathize with Alice’s coming-of-age situation.

 

Four_OClock_AliceCan you give us a quirky detail about Alice that doesn’t feature explicitly in your book?

Her second toe is longer than all the others. But don’t tell anyone; she gets enough hassle for having the touch of death.

What can people expect when they read your book?

You’re in for a surreal trip down the rabbit hole! Four O’Clock Alice examines the human condition from a unique perspective, and the book takes a surprising twist. There are certainly aspects of horror as the antagonists run the gamut from Lovecraftian creatures to evil overlords to flesh and blood humans (in my opinion, the scariest type of monster).

You have a lot of dogs. Please tell us more about them. Do they feature in your book?

I currently have four small dogs: Anaïs the dachshund (11, she may be short, but you’re still beneath her); Zoë the mutt (9, says she’s Chihuahua-beagle-dachshund, but she won’t show us her papers), Dolce the Chihuahua (7, she’s only comfortable if she’s sitting on another dog’s head); and Penny the schnauzer (6, if there’s a worm on the ground, she’ll roll on it). While my dogs don’t personally appear in my book, their humanity—particularly that of my beloved Dudley who passed in 2014—is largely what inspired me to write about what makes us human.

Are you working on another book? If yes, what’s it about, and could you give us a little ‘preview’?

My upcoming release will be a short story collection called Demon Dance: 10 dark stories to rattle your psyche. This book will be a big divergence from Four o’Clock Alice in genre and in tone, and can be classified as more horror/speculative fiction than dark fantasy. The 10 standalone stories examine the boundaries between personal demons and the ones that come from Hell. Here’s a preview from The Wild Hunt:

The rumbling intensified. Thunder? No—hooves. Dozens of them. Moving fast. Shaking the room. Then an additional sound rode in on the heels of that stampede. Howls and yips punctuated by agitated pants echoed through the night. As the racket came to a crescendo of howls, whinnies, and neighs, the glass French doors to the terrace exploded, and Marcus dove behind the couch. The late December air blew a rare handful of snow flurries onto the brand new pine floors. A dark form eclipsed the streetlight pouring in through the broken French doors. Horses chuffed. A hideous stench mushroomed into the lounge, provoking Marcus’s gag reflex. He peeked over the couch at Vesta. “What is that?”

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for letting us know a bit more about Four o’Clock Alice and your dogs. Please give a cuddle to all four of them from me 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your book one day.

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Four o’Clock Alice is available on Amazon.

Join Me Tonight for the Dark Fantasy Spring Giveaway Event!

Do you like FREE books? Do you like FREE DARK FANTASY books? Do you also like games and quizzes? Then you’re in luck, because tonight, Dark Fantasy Books is hosting a Spring Giveaway Event. You read that right, a Giveaway! Authors will give away their books! They will share some exclusive knowledge about their characters and their stories as well as entertain you with games and quizzes. I attended last Halloween and had a ball!

Why don’t you join us tonight at Dark Fantasy on Facebook from 12:30 to6:30 PM EDT? That’s 4:30-10:30 PM GMT or 9:30 AM – 3:30 PST.

Check out the books you could win:

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Dark Fantasy Spring Giveaway Event

Fun, games, and prizes! Why not join us at Dark Fantasy on Facebook this Wednesday, 21 March from 12:30 to6:30 PM (EDT)? We had a ball at the last event, doing quizzes, sharing jokes, and winning books! Everyone can join, so come and have some fun with us 🙂 !

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