Monday, 26 January 2015

A to Z Challenge 2015 - yes, I'm doing it again! Why Don't You?

Well, it's that time of year again! It's the
A to Z Challenge signup time.

And, yes, I've signed up.  :)

For those who don't know what A to Z is, but might be interested, it's a challenge for bloggers. During the month of April, post every day (except Sundays) on a theme of your choice, but each post must be inspired, in order, by the letters of the alphabet. The idea is to post and to visit other blogs to chat with other bloggers.

So, why, you wonder, is the sign up in January, when it all happens in April? Well, there's a lot of prep work that goes into 26 blog posts in 30 days. I'm a glutton for punishment, I had two blogs in the challenge last year, and this year, I have three: this one, Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles; Fantasy Boys XXX, Wittegen Press' erotica blog; the Wittegen Press blog itself is also joining in this year. My twin, Tasha, and I are sharing the work at FB3X and Wittegen Press, so it's only the equivalent of two sets of blog posts I have to prepare, but I'm rolling up my sleeves and starting now, because, odds are I won't finish all the posts before April even with two months to prepare.

So, come on, if you're a blogger and you fancy something that is social, a blogging marathon and a chance to network with others, getting a few more followers in the process, go sign up and take the challenge!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Guest Post: Author Julia Matthews, Moon Called (Human-skinned Wolves Book 1) - releasing on 5th Jan 2015

Today, I am welcoming author Julia Matthews to my blog to talk about her new novel, Moon Called, that is releasing very shortly on 5th Jan 2015! So, without further ado, over to Julia. :)


Background on Creative Spark for Moon Called
The main spark of creativity for Moon Called came on a late summer night, while I was sitting outside watching the star lit sky. The moon was lighting the night, like it did so many times back in my childhood home. As a teenage living on the outskirts of a small town I spent a lot of time watching the night sky. (I have to admit it’s the one aspect of country, small town living I miss. There aren’t many clear sky nights in the city I live in now.) The teenager me was drawn into the backyard many of nights, just to bath in the bright moon. I often wondered what was truly lurking among those stars. Guess that’s why it doesn’t surprise me that I’ve written a book that combines my love of the night sky, with my love of werewolves, magic, and nature.


Randy Chance, an orphan werewolf Scout never knew one trip to a bar would turn his life upside down in so many ways. Tiffany knew her adoptive parents loved her, but she couldn’t destroy the feeling of being inadequate. She never thought working on a Monday Night Football night would give her to opportunity to rectify six years of emotional turmoil.

Release Date: Jan. 5, 2015, exclusively on Amazon and be listed in Kindle Unlimited.

Book Trailer:

About Julia
My family is small, just me, mom and dad. They have stayed together for over 30 years. They are very supportive in anything I decided to do, whether they agree to it or not. I grew up Mt. Airy, NC. Most would know it by hometown of Andy Griffith and the Andy Griffith show. Lived there till about 2007 then moved to Winston Salem. I’m a huge animal lover. I have a pug, which is spoilt worse than a child, according to my mom. Then there’s my mom’s toy poodle, and the newest addition is the shin-tzu.

Ways to contact Julia:

Other Books (All books are now exclusively on Amazon and listed with Kindle Unlimited)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas One and All! (Free Reads)

A Very Merry Christmas to One & All!

And at this time of year, we'd like to say a big thank you to all our Wittegen Press readers, especially those who have supported us by signing up to our mailing list. As a gift from us to you, we have two books for you to enjoy totally free. 

Those of you already subscribed to our mailing list will remember us asking you to vote on your favourite genres and now the two books based on the top two genres are ready for you to enjoy :).

Genre: Paranormal

Assassin's Blood

by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Meet Kira Roltof, or rather Jasmin Welby at the moment because she’s undercover. Kira’s an assassin with a sense of humour that’s almost as dangerous as she is. When hunting down her targets it helps that she's a vampire/werewolf hybrid and has been at the killing game for over seventy years. Practice makes perfect and all that jazz.

Of course her combined species status could just as easily get her killed as help her out. If either the vampires or the werewolves figure out she’s both, she’ll never be safe again.

Her latest target is a Mafia big shot. Nothing she can’t handle easily, except she runs into a little snag of the vampire persuasion at the end of the job.

Assassin’s Blood is a short story full of paranormal intrigue and action with a little bit of romance to round it off.

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Curse of a Banshee - (The Darwell [Magical] Cleaning Services #1)

by Sophie Duncan

B, a djinn/banshee low fae, runs Darwell Cleaning Services, a business that specializes in tidying up magical crime scenes. She's managed her company with her friend and business partner, Jean, for over one hundred years without any complaints, or problems. She keeps her head down and offers a job to those whom higher fae look down on for their lack of personal magic.

B and her team are expecting an ordinary night of clean-up when they arrive at the aftermath of a spell battle in the middle of an English woodland. However, when a terrified djinn boy appears in the middle of their job, B finds the mix of her djinn and banshee instincts, which she normally keeps under strict control, beginning to rise. The boy is not alone, he is being chased by criminals intent on selling him to become a genie, the same gang who took B's father a century earlier.

B must struggle with her own unsettled powers and fight the slavers for the boy's freedom, risking her own life and those of her friends in the process.

Curse of a Banshee is fast-paced fantasy taking a fresh look at ancient powers in a contemporary British setting.


Existing subscribers to our mailing list will have received our Christmas Newsletter containing the links to the books, for anyone else, you can get the books as well. We'll send you the links in the confirmation email when you sign up to the Wittegen Press mailing list.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Pay To Enter Writing Competitions - Your Opinion?

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but my instinct when a competition wants me to pay to enter is that they're only interested in making the money from the entry fee and not in the 'quality' of a winner, i.e. like the lottery, or those phone competitions where it's £1.50 to call in and the question is so easy it's just a raffle disguised as a competition. So, when I see writing competitions, either asking for writers to submit stories, or ones for authors to enter their published books, and then there's a fee to enter, I instantly get suspicious, my 'scam' radar goes off.

Is this just me being way too cynical? 

It seems to be pretty standard in writing circles that these types of competitions have entry fees. Some claim they're just covering administration, and that could be true for the $5 ones, but then I've seen others where the competition organisers are asking $50 and over to take a book submission. This to me is daylight robbery and can't possibly be for pure administration, this is for making a profit. I didn't think competitions were about making profits, I thought they were about showcasing talent, albeit talent carefully controlled by the 'traditional' publishing fraternity if you're talking about the major literary prizes.

To be fair, I have seen a few competitions out there that are formed in the pure spirit of finding new talent, no entry fee required. The Guardian are running a monthly prize for self-published authors which requires no entry fee, all that is required is some effort to enter. And the prize, kudos and some decent publicity - a pretty fair trade I would say. :)

So every time I see someone announce a literary competition on my social media streams, I'm excited, but prepared to be disappointed if I go to the site and they're asking for an entry fee, because, even if it's a small cost, it rankles. Maybe I'm not being cynical enough then, maybe I'm not seeing the 'competition' for what it is, a marketing opportunity, and every indie author knows that publicity isn't always free. Still, if I pay for marketing, I'm guaranteed some exposure, paying to enter a competition doesn't guarantee my book will even make it to a web page in the back end of the web somewhere.

So, I'm torn. What's you opinion - are these myriad competitions just a way of turning a profit for the organisers, i.e. do they care about the winners, or are they genuinely looking to present undiscovered new talent to the world?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

I'm Withdrawing From NaNoWriMo :( - but I'm still writing (Curse of a Banshee Cover Reveal)

This is the third year that I've done NaNoWriMo, but, unfortunately, this time, I am going to have to withdraw. Circumstances have conspired to mean that I cannot attain that goal of 50K words in a month.

I've been sick all this week with a heavy cold that knocked me for six, to the point where I spent a lot of time sleeping and just feeling sorry for myself and thus I am way behind. I am also not convinced about the plot I launched into and if it can't convince me, then there is no way it is going to convince a reader - I need to do a bit more research, I think. Thus, the pantsing experiment has failed for me. I might have been able to work my way around the plot hiccup if I hadn't been feeling so awful this week, but the two problems together mean I won't be able to win NaNo this year :(.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to be writing more than normal this month - but it won't be on the novel I launched for NaNo. I have plenty of projects to be getting on with. Firstly, I am finishing a novella which is a thank you to all those who join/have joined the Wittegen Press Mailing list. It's called Curse of A Banshee, and it is the first in a contemporary fantasy series called, The Darwell (Magical) Cleaning Services. Our mailing list members voted on the genres of the stories they would like us to write, and this story evolved from their vote for contemporary fantasy. It follows a group of fae who make a living by cleaning up magical crime scenes in the UK. They don't have exciting powers, in fact, some of their talents are pretty useless when viewed in isolation: business partners, B a banshee who can see the future, but not tell anyone about it and Jean, a man-turned-gargoyle impervious to magic, but who solidifies to stone in sunlight, and their clean-up team, a human-hating pixie, a middle-aged human with magical sensitivities and a pair of shadow imps who would rather hide in the dark than talk to anyone. Yet, when they get to work on a large crime scene in the middle of a pine forest, they find themselves in a battle for theirs lives, a battle that will test their ingenuity and their teamwork.

And here's the front cover (expertly created by my cover artist, Tasha)! Isn't it fantastic?

So, I'm back on the writing bandwagon after my week of flu-y lethargy, and it's onwards after my muse. :)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

NaNoWriMo - OMG!

Okay, so I've been umming and ahhing about doing NaNoWriMo this year, because work is very busy and I have a lot of pieces to finish, rather than start another one. I was also dithering about whether to just use NaNo to up the word count on one or more of my existing novels - which felt a little bit like cheating. So, with all my dithering, November has rather snuck up on me and at 1 hour to midnight last night, I was still deciding if I would dive in to a new piece in the full spirit of NaNo.

The answer is, that I have decided to keep with the sprirt of NaNo and start a new novel, one I think can be completed in 50K words, since it is going to be the sequel to The Burning Web, which is only just over 40K. My reasoning behind this is that my muse is still wandering in a ghostly direction and, if I'm going to have a chance of getting anywhere this November, I have to follow my muse.

So, here goes nothing, I have a vague idea of the plot, also thrown together before midnight last night, and I'm pantsing this one - also not something usual for me - let's see where it takes me!


The Burning Web (5 stars).

The Burning Web by Sophie Duncan
Is it symptoms left from his brain haemorrhage, or a guilty conscience that is making Tristan McCall see things no-one else can?

Forced out of the police by scandal and illness, Tris is trying to rebuild his life through the renovation of the home he hopes to share with Xander, his husband. A sprawling Gothic pile, Berwick House is in need of attention, but Tris soon realises the attention is not all one way. Faced with a presence in the house only he can sense, Tris must decide if his damaged brain is playing tricks on him, or if Berwick House really holds a dark and dangerous message from beyond the grave.