Tuesday, 29 July 2014

What I've Learned: Titles Are Subtle & Important Things

Since I leapt into this Indie Publishing business in 2011 with my twin, Tasha, we've learnt lots as we've gone along. One of the things I think we've learnt about and are improving upon is our titles. There's nothing more troublesome as a title. It can keep a writer awake at night trying to decide how best to summarise their whole story in just a handful of words. Plus, as well as your story, there's the genre(s) to think about, the title has to fit that as well. AND THEN there's making sure the title isn't too common and also doesn't put people off.

For all these reasons, I've been thinking a lot about my novel, Death in The Family and doing some of the research I really should have done before. I meant Death In The Family, as a grimly humorous title, summing up Tom's discovery about his father being a vampire. However, I have come to the conclusion that the name is putting off potential readers, because it very closely mirrors more factual books on handling familial bereavement. Thus, after much deliberation, I have decided to change the title to something that I feel fits the book and the genre more closely and hopefully won't put off my readers.

So, the new title is Night Blood.

I'm also changing the title of the series to The Night Blood Chronicles, which is also slightly more Young Adult Paranormal (in my opinion that is) than Heritage is Deadly.

There will be a new front cover too, when I release the second in the series, Witch Blood, later this year.

So, what are your opinions on titles. Have you had any experiences you can share?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Snapshots by Patricia Lynne - Relaunch Blitz

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Welcome to the SNAPSHOTS relaunch blitz!

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Add to your Goodreads shelf
Buy on Amazon | Smashwords
It's said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but that's a lie. They are snapshots of a time yet to come–the future of the person to which they belong.

Cyclop Blaine stands out in a crowd with his pale skin and mismatched eyes, but it’s his ability to see the future that really sets him apart. The unusual gift makes him an invaluable asset to Tyler, his adoptive father and leader of the Victory Street Gang. It also means Cyclop must hide what he can do from others. Once, a man he knew only as Master controlled him, using him for experiments. Cyclop has no desire to return to that life.

But he may have no choice. A man claiming ownership over him haunts his dreams and waking moments, leaving him no choice but to go back to the past he thought he had escaped. Cyclop must face this man, along with his past, if he wants to reveal his own future.

About the Author

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Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. But some stories are meant to be told and this one chose her. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Follow Patricia on Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Author Blog


Express Yourself Meme - Who Would You Pick to Portray You In A Movie?

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is Who Would You Pick to Portray You In A Movie?

There's a complication with picking someone to be me in a movie, because, if I was featuring as a character in a movie, then there would be no doubt that my twin sister would be in the movie too, so whoever portrayed me, would have to either have a twin, or, with the wonders of modern TV wizardry, would have to play both of us :).

Anyway, there's only one glamour-puss who could manage to pull us off, she's trendy, she's got that certain je ne sais quois; she's feisty and she's a diva! Miss Piggy!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wittegen Press 48hr Discount Blitz - looking for folks to spread the word, please

We at Wittegen Press are in the middle of a revamp of our website, and in order to launch our New Look, we're planning a discount event where we're reducing all the books in the Wittegen Press Library to 99c.

This blitz is taking place on 5th and 6th August 2014, and we're currently looking for folks to help with publicising it both before and after the event.

So, if you're willing, firstly THANK YOU :), and secondly, there are two ways to help out:

WAY #1 (before the blitz): If you're willing to spread the word before the event here's button code for sharing anywhere you fancy.

Please copy the code to add our button to your blog/website, or share it in a post

This is what the button will look like and how it will function.
Wittegen Press 48hr Discount Blitz 5th and 6th August 2014

WAY #2 (during the blitz): if you'd be extra fantastic and put out a publicity post for us on 5th, or 6th, then please fill in the form below and we'll be in contact when all the material is finished.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Express Yourself Meme - Favourite, Comforting Things

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is What are some fave items you have that bring you comfort and/or special memories?

I'm not a big jewellery wearer, I don't have boxes and boxes of earrings and necklaces that I pick from to go with outfits. The only jewellery I wear every day means something to me. Most of it I have bought myself, but there is one necklace which I didn't buy myself, which means so much to me, that I never take it off.

The necklace is a quill, with a little ink pot engraved with my initial and it was given to me as a birthday present (it was a significant number) by my friends. I don't expect my friends to buy my books, or review them, or even like what I write, but the fact that they acknowledged what a big part of my life my writing is to me in this gift that I treasure meant the world to me. This writing malarkey is tough, whether books are selling, or not, and when I need a boost to keep going, with the endless rounds of marketing, with the book design, and sometimes just to get me off my arse to write something, I rub my little feather and remember that, no matter what, words are part of me.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Express Yourself Meme - What is a favourite grade school memory?

The Express Yourself Meme is hosted by  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests. And their 'question' this week is What is a favourite grade school memory?

Since I'm a Brit, I'm translating grade school as primary school - not an exact fit, I don't think, but close enough. :)

I have lots of great memories from school, but one clear one that comes to me music time. Our school had a little room off the main school hall where they kept all the instruments, things like triangles, xylophones and those hollow wooden block things that make sharp, echo-y sounds. We didn't do music that often, as far as I can remember, but when we did, I loved it. We used to sing songs like The Lincolnshire Poacher and fit in the percussion where appropriate and sometimes where not so appropriate ;P.

The memory that is clearest to me, though is when we used to sing at a local children's music festival at the 'big' school in the market town near our little village. We learnt all the songs off by heart and it's the remembering, the first time through without words, that sits with me. One of the pieces we were singing was 'Lord of All Hopefulness', a hymn I knew well from church, so it wasn't the words that were the problem for me, it was getting the verses in the right order, because, if anyone knows this hymn, each verse has a very similar structure. We were all assembled in the main hall, in ranks and we went through all the pieces, and I wasn't nervous about any of the others like Yellow Bird, but I had to really, really concentrate on that hymn, consciously remembering which verse came next. I was so happy when I managed to get morning before noon and then evening. :)

I think it was the concentration required that stuck that memory in place, because I don't remember the rest of the programme any where near as clearly. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Well, Penny Dreadful Went Out With a Fizzle :(

I've been watching Sky's Penny Dreadful on Sky Atlantic since it began. Here was a chance for some frights, drama and mystery. Well, honestly, I think the creators of this programme missed their chance. Rehashing into one pot the plots from a handful of Victorian novels and several monster movies do not a TV show make, especially when, in an entire series, you don't finish any of those plots.


From the very first episode, I was nervous of the writers' abilities to pull this off. The characters were somewhat thin, hidden mainly behind the veil of mystery I mentioned earlier, but there was a glimmer of hope, since I thought the vampires on that first episode had a bit of originality to them. Thus, I decided to give the show a go and ignore the fact it seemed to be a rewrite of Dracula.

I was actually quite excited about a show being inspired by the Gothic noire of Victorian Penny Dreadfuls, I hoped they'd do something original with an old genre. Instead, I think they've taken the very worst aspects of those penny novels and turned them into a TV show.

Firstly, I would liked to have seen an original character, just one, not a set derived entirely from those Victorian novels I mentioned earlier. But, no, we had Alan Quartermain (he's not called Alan, but it's Alan), jaded, world-weary adventurer who has made many mistakes in his life, mainly with his own family. Then there was Mina Harker, and I don't mean the character they called Mina in the show. I mean Vanessa Ives, whose best friend, we'll call her Lucy, even though the show called her Mina, has been taken by the mysterious 'master', who, for convenience's sake, we'll call, Dracula. Dracula, is using Lucy to get to Mina, whom he want to make his bride - original, I think not.

Okay, so one rehash of a novel to hold the other original plots together perhaps.


Then there's Victor Frankenstein, plagued by his mistake in making his first monster, only to make his second monster. I will admit, that was the only time this show surprised me at all, when 'big brother' came along and ripped apart little brother' right in front of 'daddy'. After that, though, no surprises, murderous monster has daddy issues over his abandonment and wants a bride. In step, The Bride of Frankenstein('s Monster - if we want to be accurate and not use the film title), also known as Brona Croft, the prostitute with the heart of gold - who had 'I'm dying, I'm going to be a cadaver for Victor Frankenstein' tattooed across her forehead from the second episode.

To carry on listing characters: we then have Dorian Grey, who, they couldn't think up a new name for, and seems to have the sole purpose of shagging his way through the rest of the cast, men and women - he only has Victor and 'Alan' left to go, oh and Sembene, the mysterious native servant of 'Alan' (there's was a passing mention of saving lives and debts in the mix to explain why he's trailing 'Alan' around England, what a surprise). And finally, we have Tom Sawyer - oh wait, that's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the movie, not the comics) - Ethan, gun-slinger (with a heart of gold - he gets on well with Brona) who has a troubled past. guess what, he's a werewolf, or maybe when they give his monster a name, they'll call him a Wendigo, since he's American, just to be original.

So that's our cast, King Solomon's Mines, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Bride of Frankenstein, Dorian Grey all thrown into one show, each with a tiny bit of plot, the show relying on the fact that we can all recognise these old stories in order to have nay back story at all. In fact, Penny Dreadful does remind a bit of fanfic, where writers do assume their readers will be fans of the book/show they're writing about, so back story isn't a problem. And, like BAD fanfic (DISCLAIMER - there is good fanfic, I like fanfic) - the story lurched from one good idea melodrama to another without much connection in between each. In fact, I can imagine how this plot was put together...

...a bunch of people, mainly men I think, sitting round a table discussing what would be good to go in the show. Let's be gritty, let's be violent and overtly sexual (translation - lots of boobs, girls on guys, girls on girls, girl on demon even, and yeah, yeah, we'll allow a kiss between two men - now, I'm all for kissing between guys, I write m/m erotica, so I was disappointed that when it came to the lasses, we had full nudity, long drawn out sex scenes, but with the boys, just one kiss, purlease! that's not edgy). Oh yeah, and vampires, they were a staple of the genre, we should do vampires (translation - Dracula, let's rehash Dracula, but shift the characters a bit). And we gotta have Frankenstein, he was cool (translation - bit of existential mutterings about the line between life and death and a homicidal monster with daddy issues). And werewolves, they're hot right now, aren't they (translation - yeah, werewolves are hot right now). Oh, wasn't there that story from around the same time about the guy with no morals and a painting (translation - Dorian Grey).  And demonic possession, that's always good for the shock factor (translation - that's so good, let's use it twice).

Actually, demonic possession wasn't the only thing they used more than once in the show. We had a fight scene with vampires on a boat, lots of women in white wigs running around snarling and wailing and one male (obviously, because the controllers of hives in nature are always male, right) lead vampire, plus let's stick Lucy Mina  in there too, even though that doesn't make sense, because she's not gone all white haired and Wraith-y (and yes, I mean Wraith as in the those bad guys from Stargate Atlantis). Then let's do it all again for the last episode, only this time, in a theatre - and it literally was a rerun of the previous fight, except Vanessa was there this time, not with a weapon or anything, she just stood and watched as far as I could tell (also, as an aside - bit strange that Frankenstein's monster had never noticed all the vampires he was living with only the day before).

I did have a problem with the portrayal of women in this show actually, all 2 of them. Brona was, as I said, Prostitute with heart of gold there to be shagged/loved by Dorian and than Ethan and then die to become Bride of Frankenstien's Monster. Vanessa was supposed to be the strong woman, but actually, she too was defined by who she shagged, quite literally: first her best friend's fiancé on the eve of Mina's wedding (that one was subtle); then a demon, or is it Dracula/The Master, I don't think the writers were sure, who releases her psychic abilities; then Dorian Grey, who kicks them off all over again (and we have a second session of possession, in which the demon proceeds to give away all the male character's secrets, except the tricky one of Ethan's about being a wolf, because, oops, they hadn't done the reveal on that one yet).

So, if I thought this show was so awful, why did I keep watching? Well, despite it being quite derivative, I kept hoping that the writer's would do something interesting with all these not very well connected plots in the last episode of the series. I hoped they'd surprise me, wow me with their originality at the end. They didn't. In fact they didn't even finish the plots of the stories they'd nicked.

We're halfway through Dracula, the bit where they had to kill Lucy to free her from Dracula's curse and we get overtones that he's after Mina. Mina, sorry, Vanessa, is now looking for redemption on her black hear, I have a feeling next time we see her, she might be in a wimple. We're at the end of Frankenstein (but then we were at the beginning of the story too, so that plot moved at epic speed) and the beginning of Bride of Frankenstein, finally. the Wolfman plot is also snail's pace, we've just been shown Ethan wolf out. And to be honest, Dorian never really had his own plot, so we're just where we were before with him. Oh, and I think there's a hint of a seekrit society in the background too.

All in all, I'm annoyed at how disappointing this show was. I would still love to see a good Victorian Gothic original show that doesn't rely on its viewers knowing the old classic horrors to make it work. Do something original, mix steampunk with horror, throw in vampires and werewolves by all means, but don't hang them so directly off the old pegs.