Archive for July, 2013

Jay Posey Three Competition

July 31, 2013 - 10:23 am No Comments

Three Blog Tour Banner

I asked Jay Posey, author of post apocalyptic novel Three, the following question: There is a plethora of post-apocalyptic fiction at the moment, but how do you think the world will end and will you do to survive?

JP: I have to admit I don’t think I’m smart enough to accurately predict what the actual End of the World will be like. But I tend to think that whatever The End is, it won’t come as a result of any one particular event, but will instead be the culmination of many different events.
We humans will probably be our own undoing in some form or fashion. Whether through the use of some catastrophically destructive weapons of war, an accidental unleashing of a biological agent, or some other something (“I ate what now?”), I suspect our technology will have a hand in The End. I also expect that the human propensity for over-reaction and panic will probably be a significant contributing factor. But I don’t think that humans alone will be the ultimate cause.
When it comes, if I’m around, I think the best hope I’ll have to survive will start with building a resilient community. For all the stories out there about lone survivors, in reality people need people. So forming a community where everyone has a diverse set of skills and each is willing to help support the other is a big step in the right direction. And I think the biggest key to achieving that community comes down to trust, which is why it’s just plain good policy to be a good neighbor. COMMUNITY SERVICE PLUG: Every time you engage your own local community in some positive way, you’re building trust capital with those people that very well might come in handy once The End is upon us all. Help your neighbors!
Another piece is making sure I’ve got a plan in place. And not just one plan, but multiple plans that account for a number of different scenarios. There’s a saying that the biggest problem with most emergency plans is that they forget the emergency. It’s hard to keep in mind that those roads you’re counting on using, or that fuel you’re expecting to have, or those phone calls you’re planning to make, any one or all of those things might be gone. A retired Green Beret once taught me a handy planning tool; the PACE acronym.
PACE stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency, and it’s a great tool to help you make a resilient plan. Your Primary plan is the one you want to use, and Alternate is what you go to if your expected conditions change. Contingency is for if (when) something goes wrong, and Emergency covers what to do if everything goes wrong. Of course when The End comes, I’ll probably be tempted to skip straight to Emergency, but knowing my options ahead of time is always a good thing.
And finally, and maybe most importantly, it’s probably worthwhile for me to go ahead and live my life now in such a way that if The End comes upon me suddenly, I’m alright with what I leave behind. Living generously, regularly showing your family how much you love them, and generally doing what you can to make your community a better place for everyone are all great ways to be prepared.
But really, people have been predicting the end of the world pretty much since it began, and somehow we’re all still here, maybe despite the odds. For as much strife and drama we humans create, it’s still amazing to me how much we’re able to surprise ourselves in challenging times. In every major catastrophe, there always seems to be a precious few that run towards the calamity instead of away from it, those who willingly face their own destruction in the hopes that they might rescue or preserve another. It doesn’t seem to take that many to inspire the rest of us to greater things; just three or five percent maybe. As long as that heroic remnant of people remains among us, I think we’ve got a better shot at making it than even I usually give us credit for.

Now it’s competition time:
The deadline is the end of Jay Posey’s virtual tour so it is 12th August

Those great peeps at Angry Robot are going to give away 2 copies on Jay’s book Three and don’t forget they’re signed! I’m sure Jay would have no problem dedicating them, if required.

Each stop on this Blog Tour of Three by Jay Posey has a unique question. Be sure to enter your answers into the giveaway by dropping by My Shelf Confessions http://www.myshelfconfessions.com/posts/blog-tour-giveaway-three-by-jay-posey/
and enter your answers in the rafflecopter widget! You can answer as many or as few as you like as each answered question gets you an extra entry!

Here’s the questions for my stop: Question #13 – What kind of boots is the man wearing in the chapter 1 excerpt of Three?”

To read the extract click below
http://angryrobotbooks.com/books/three-by-jay-posey/
Here is the link for the extract on ISSUU, with embed link:

http://issuu.com/angryrobot/docs/three-samplechapter

Good luck and let me know if you win!

Control

July 30, 2013 - 8:22 pm No Comments

Control
Author: Kim Curran
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Page count: 349pp
Release Date: 25th July 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Scott Tyler is only a teenager but could almost have the power to change the world. Because, what if you could change your past? What if you had the power to undo any decision you had made in the blink of an eye?
In Kim Curran’s stunning and fast paced debut Shift young Scott Tyler discovers he can ‘Shift’; undo any of his own decisions and change the past. He is recruited by Aubrey Jones, a 15-year old officer in ARES, an organisation created to adapt and use Shifters for the benefit of the government, and to track down any rogue shifters who are using their talents for illicit purposes.
At the end of the first novel, Scott discovered that there are adult shifters out there, despite the fact it is only children who can normally shift. As the new novel starts, ARES have sent Scott on a mission – to track down the last of the adult rogue shifters, specifically, the very last one Frank Anderson. It doesn’t take them long to find Frank after a rather strange tip off, but what are Frank’s real motives? Is Frank really a benign and honest philanthropist the reader imagines Anderson to be?
A mix of intrigue, humour, action and a sharp narrative that whizzes by, Control is, if possible, even better than the first book. After multiple shifts that take place, characters destinies have changed dramatically and Scott and Aubrey go through a rough patch that will test their burgeoning relationship.
Curran has excelled herself with this novel. And the ending? Wowzer! What a finale!
Not to be missed.

Strange Chemistry Double Book Launch

July 29, 2013 - 4:14 pm 1 Comment

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On Thursday 25th July 13 at Forbidden Planet Shaftesbury Avenue, I joined a plethora of fans to celebrate the launch of Control by Kim Curran and The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce. These two books are new releases from YA Publisher Strange Chemistry, from the stable of genre publisher Angry Robot. Bloggers and reviewers for Angry Robot will recognise the name Amanda Ritter who is now Editor-in-Chief at Strange Chemistry; and doing a bang on job she is too!
After a reading from both authors, attendees battled through the sweltering heat in the FP basement desperately clutching their copies of both books, eager to meet the writers and get their signature on the book. Both Kim & Bryony were smart, polite and pleasant, but more importantly, were offering free CAKE! Cake, cake, I love cake me! As you see from the photos they went to town on making their cake fit the theme of the day.

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We followed up the event with drinks at the rather swanky Detroit Bar a five minute walk from FP. There I had, er CAKE and a drink, and got a brief chance to say hi again to Kim & Bryony and wish them every success with their books.
And soon alas, it was time to leave . . . with someone else’s books. Yep, Theresa the book thief I’m afraid. Whilst I was busy gathering up my FP bag, so was my friend Adrian, and unfortunately we didn’t realise until we got onto our coach home after a lovely summer evening stroll through St James’s Park. So, if you’re missing three books, two copies of The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce, one signed to Sharon and one to Dean and a copy of Control by Kim Curran signed to Dean, please drop me a line asap and I’ll get them back to you. In the meantime, to get you in the mood for my reviews of these two books to follow, here’s what I thought of Kim’s first book, Shift.

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Shift
Author: Kim Curran
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Page count: 322pp
Release Date: 2nd Sept 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Scott Tyler is only a teenager but could almost have the power to change the world. Because, what if you could change your past? What if you had the power to undo any decision you had made in the blink of an eye?
It’s the last day of term for Scott Tyler and whilst he should be out celebrating the beginning of summer with friends, he is sat on his own playing zombie games. Branded a loser by his sister, he is starting to believe she may be right, after all, he’ll be back to the same boring old school when the summer ends. Amidst Scott’s predictable life is the ‘family’ Friday night; a night where he can look forward to the parents arguing as usual, blaming each other for the way their lives have turned out. So when Scott’s best pal Hugo invites him out to a party with the ‘in’ crowd, he decides to go, a decision which will change his life forever. Trying to be accepted by the popular kids, Scott sets off on a dare to climb a pylon, desperate to attract and impress the cute girl he can see watching him.
All is going well until Scott falls forty feet – then suddenly, he hasn’t fallen, and the young girl he was watching is Aubrey Jones, an officer of ARES, who drags him away to hide him before the Regulators can arrest him for ‘shifting’. Because Scott can ‘Shift’ and change any decision he has made.
Moving at a rollercoaster pace, ‘Shift’ doesn’t stop. In between the action as Scott comes to term with his new powers we get a logical and feasible scientific explanation for the ‘shifting’. And trust me, there is plenty of action, adventure and intrigue. Curran absolutely nails the voice of a confused sixteen year old boy and all of the characters are believable.
I haven’t read many YA novels, but what struck me was the adult nature of the content, yet toned down just the right way, making the book equally enjoyable for is YA audience and adults alike. I was also surprised how horrific some of the content was in a tasteful and reasonable way respecting the younger audience.
Thoroughly enjoyable. After plowing through ‘Shift’ the first thing I did was open my copy of Control on the coach journey back from the book launch. Amazing stuff.

Meet Charlaine Harris

July 20, 2013 - 1:57 pm 2 Comments

Meet Charlaine Harris

On Thursday 18th July 13 at 7.30pm I joined an crowded audience of around hundred fans for an evening with Sookie Stackhouse author Charlaine Harris. Yes, Charlaine Harris, with her wonderful Southern charm and bags of personality that simply dances through her writing. After my initial OMG moment I dediced, as any good blogger should, to capture the moment. The first thing I spotted was the queue! Yes, we had to wait in that queue. There I met uber-fan Charlotte Searson replete in her Merlotte’s bar t-shirt.

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After the good staff at Waterstone’s New Street Birmingham started to let us in, we were given a chance to pick up more Charlaine Harris goodness including the final Sookie novel Dead Ever After. Then came the evening itself. As you know, or can imagine, Ms Harris is a busy bee, so she spent ten minutes talking about her worlds, and what was coming next, then about fifteen minutes answering questions, before we all got to queue up again to get our books signed and to actually say hi to Charlaine.

Me & Charlaine

Being the intrepid reporter I am (ahem) I took some notes, so here is news from the world of Charlaine Harris . . .
Following Dead Ever After, Charlaine will be releasing a small book, After Dead, a small encyclopedia companion book which will literally list/detail what happens to everything and every character at the end of the novels. Perfect if the final novel, which could not possibly end everything, does not offer you enough closure. Next year she’ll be releasing/working on a number of projects including a brand new series Midnight Crossroads which will be a three part series at the least, more work with Chris Golden, and for fans of her ongoing editorial work with writer Toni L P Kelner (Many Bloody Returns etc) she’ll be editing a Sports/Supernatural themed anthology, which we were told contains a very new exciting story by Seanan McGuire involving the can-be-vicious Roller Derby. Amongst her new work she’ll be writing the Midnight series in 3rd person multiple POVs, quite a change for fans of the Sookie books.
Here are some of the questions the fans asked:
Did you know how it would end when you started the Sookie series?
No spoilers here – Yes, she knew from the second book where the series was going to finish. Initially she thought it would be standalone novel, until Ace came back and asked for more. This series sold better than anything she’d ever written.

Why do you think it has taken off so much more?

Maybe it’s because I’m a better writer now, and have improved over the years. I picked the right character at the right moment. There was no real Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy then, just me and Laurell K Hamilton. The Sookie books have been real good to me.

TD: However, conversation soon led to the fact that Charaine actually received some not-so positive reactions to the last book, including death threats. She believes that it could be because readers have invested so much in the character and the books didn’t end exactly the way they’d envisioned. It was very disconcerting for her.

Was the show what she expected and did she approve of it?

CH: I have a very cordial relationship with Alan (Ball) and the show but things are changing. Brian Buckner is the new showrunner. In Ep8 S6 my daughter has a guest part. My kids have all been in the show. S7 will happen.

Vampires: Do you think your books have been a launch pad for other writers and who is your favourite literary vampire?

CH: We look at vampires in a different light now. I’ve never met a genuine vampire – yet – they are a powerful symbol. In Sookie they are a message for tolerance. I’ll be glad to never hear another vampire joke again. My favourite vampire (by another writer) is Don Simon Ysidro from Travelling with the Dead by Barbara Hambly.

Do you intentionally create strong female characters?

CH: Yes. I write strong women as a feminist approach. I like to depict women who don’t wait around for someone to solve all of their problems. Sometimes they need help though. We can’t solve all our problems on our own. We all need a support network. Sookie is a thoughtful person who looks into her own spiritual beliefs. But she makes mistakes too and gets into trouble.

Of the anthologies you have edited with Toni, what is your favourite?

CH: Wolfsbane and Mistletoe. (NB: My favourite too) We started a series of books where we offered the writers two ideas and asked them to write something. With this one it was Werewolves and Christmas. The UK cover is nice but the American cover is amazing. It is great for readers to discover new writers.

What is the most challenging part between writing for books and writing for graphic formats?

CH: The artist does all the description. Chris Golden advised me ‘You can’t write what he can’t draw.’ It may be a double negative but after that everything fell into place.

Do you get writer’s block and how do you deal with it?

CH: I have days when it’s hard to write something, but you know what, I have a contract and I have deadlines. I will always write something, such as a blog entry then go back to the original piece and find out where it went wrong.
Charlaine blogs about herself and books she has read at http://www.charlaineharris.com/index.html

Asked about her favourite books, Charlaine cited Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, ‘a template for any romance novel to come after.’

Are any of the characters based on someone you know?

CH: None of my characters are based on people I know (NB: This was answered with a wicked twinkle in her eye) I use bits of each person, but not a whole person. A whole person or a real person probably wouldn’t work.

Following these questions we got to meet Charlaine. Being clever as always, when asked if I wanted my name or just a signature, I insisted on just the signature, my reason being one book was a gift and because the queue was long I didn’t want to hold up the queue. So what did I say? Oh yes, “It’s not one of those get the signature only cause it’s worth more when you drop dead things. It’s cause one is for my best mate.”

Foot in mouth disease anyone? Yes. Way to impress! Never mind. I got to meet her and she was lovely. What an experience!

Gemmell Awards 2013

July 17, 2013 - 4:27 pm No Comments

The Gemmell Awards for Fantasy
www.gemmellaward.com

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Countdown for longlist voting – only a fortnight days left! You get the chance to support your favourite fantasy folk by choosing from those listed on our website.

The categories are:
The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art of 2012
The Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer in English of 2012 (translations welcome)
The Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel of 2012 in English.

This is our fifth year and we’re going all-out to make it the biggest yet. These international awards garner votes from readers and art fans all around the world. Last year raised about 11,000 votes from 72 countries.

What’s the Gemmells’ mission? To give the reading public a real voice. We don’t have hidden votes and secret committees. We ask fans what they like so publishers know what we want more of. Also we want to raise the profile of our favourite genre, and support the writers and artists who put so much into it. And to commemorate that great man, great writer and great friend, David Gemmell. He wanted everyone to stand up and be counted because he believed that everybody counts.

The shortlists will be announced at the 9 Worlds Convention (www.nineworlds.co.uk) to be held in London from 9th to 11th August. They’ll then be posted on our luscious website, where you can vote for the winners until 31st September.

This year the Awards Ceremony will be held at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton on October 31st. (www.wfc2013.org). The presentation is a glittering event with a sponsored buffet. Members of the public are welcome. You don’t even need to be registered with the WFC to come! Dress to impress.

Past winners have been from the USA, UK, France, Iceland and Poland. These truly are international awards. Even if you can’t make it in person on the night, make sure you vote at www.gemmellaward.com

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