Tag Archive: short story


Raincheck…

Hey peeps!

So. Phew! Release day over, The Holly & the Ivy launched, A Sprig of Holly at #1 on several different lists in different countries… it’s been fun! A proper run down will follow, but just now I’m doing the last bits of tidy-up and admin.

The giveaway books are being parcelled up and sent across the world in all directions. The bonus material is just going through its last polish before I send it out – and I am pretty pleased with it. It includes: a recipe for Holly’s favourite spiced milk, a behind-the-scenes audio file talking about where the idea for A Sprig of Holly came from and what’s queued up to be written next, and best of all, a short story telling about the run up to the story, told from another character’s point of view. 

I’ve enjoyed putting all that together, but in some ways it’s been a bit of a learning curve – not least as I haven’t done any audio stuff before, so not only did I have to check out what the best equipment and software was for a beginner on a budget, but also I had to work out how to use it and find out whether I could talk unscripted for the right amount of time….! Turns out my early brush with a radio show was not entirely wasted – the problem was actually making the ramble short enough to not crash everyone’s inboxes! 😂

The recipe, as well, was one that I made from scratch, and it took a little time to get the mix of spices just right. I can tell you, I’ll be using that one again though! Mmmmm! Though I say it as shouldn’t….

Of course, with this being exclusive to those who bought before 1st Sept, none of this will be surfacing anywhere else for a while, if ever. Maybe when the Holly series has finished and there’s a box set or something…. so essentially, if you want to read any of this and you bought The Holly and Ivy, get your receipt into me quick! The email address is in the back of the book  but it is jaclement [dot] ondarkshores [at ]gmail.com. Get in quick!

So, apart from that, there will of course be the ongoing round up of deals and giveaways that my stuff is featuring in on the newsletter, which you’re welcome to sign up to if you haven’t already, and once I’ve finished off a couple of outstanding blog posts related to the release, it’ll be time to put together the big overview of what I did, how it went and what next….

…and then onto the next bit of writing of course. But which??

In the meantime, a couple of big deadlines in the dayjob, and the dog has managed to prang himself on a tree at some speed, so is currently sporting one of my tshirts to stop him licking the resultant gouge (far better than a cone, esp given that this is the dog who routinely slides off his own sofa!)

But though life is as frantic as ever, at the moment it feels oddly focused and productive. I feel like someone who’s been trying to carve something with a penknife and someone’s just given me a hammer and chisel… The tools available to us as writers are the moment may well make a huge difference, and I think now is the time to use them – I just need to keep producing the odd short to keep me publishing while I’m working on the longer series. 

Moreover, it turns out I have a genre developing, albeit one with a slightly high-falutin name. You know grimdark, where terrible things happen to everyone and are described in detail and it probably is all going to end with the bad guys winning (my definition!)? Well, it turns out, someone has invented “noblebright”, which sounds a bit po-faced, but as far as I can see, the diff is that whereas bad things can happen, noblebright fiction is characterised by a thread of hopefulness running through it. It’s not as simplistic as good always winning, but sad things can sometimes be the correct outcome too, provided they provide the best outcome. 

There are undoubtedly better definitions than this and unlike Joe Abercrombie who is known as Lord Grimdark, I have no illusions of being dubbed ‘Lady Noblebright’ any time soon (you’d definitely need a robe with stars on in that case, don’t you think?😂) but it’s nice to finally have something to tell people who want to know what I write. Esp as I have written what I wanted to write, and the genre has appeared just in time to fit my stuff! Most obliging!

Anyhow. Also turns out there’s a bit of a market for fairytale retellings and fairytale-like stories, which is the other thing I’ve been playing with with such shorts as The Last Dragon and The Scarred Artisan That’s good as I already had several ideas for more, so these might well be the shorts I work on in between chunks of series stuff.

      

So, it’s been a busy old month but a sharp learning curve, and has left me somewhat cheered. Can’t complain, eh? Anyhow, back to the edits on the bonus material – if you are expecting yours, look for it around the tail end of this week, if not before.

The rest of you, take care. It’s a bit of a grimdark world at the moment, and we fantasy fans need to look out for each other. I sometimes think that when we can’t influence real life, all we as writers can do is to provide an escape for people, and hope that when they set our books down, they have had a little emotional respite from it all, recovered enough of their equilibrium to get through the day, and the next and the next. If that is all we can do for our readers, that’s a pretty powerful gift, not that we will ever know it.

So. Be kind to yourself and others, and stay safe. Whether from fire or flood, or the far off rumble of national hostility, I hope you can all find a safe haven, whether in the real world or fictional ones. 

Take care;

JAC.

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A Passel of Teeny Reviews Part 1

Ooh, look! A nice review of “The Locket” from CNC Books Blog. NB it’s at the end so you’ll need to click through to the blog.

Thanks to Lelia for taking the time to review it- much appreciated!
JAC

Buried Under Books

Once again, big surprise, I find myself with
an overload of books read but not yet reviewed
so I think it’s time for a roundup or two.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
Colin Goodwin
2QT Limited, July 2015
ISBN 978-1-910077-60-3
Trade Paperback

This book had me chuckling quite a bit with its premise—blackmailing an English village’s cricket club to either win  a trophy or lose its playing ground. Along with this audacious crime, we have village ladies who truly appreciate the hired ringer’s skills and a shady real estate development plan. It’s all great fun even with sabotage and perhaps a little murder.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cat in an Alphabet Endgame
The Midnight Louie Mysteries #28
Carole Nelson Douglas
Wishlist Publishing, August 2016
ISBN 978-1-943175-05-5
Trade Paperback

I confess, I put off reading this as long as I possibly could, so long I’m really embarrassed but…

View original post 620 more words

Guest post at Barb G Tarn’s blog is here: Barb was one of my early friends on Goodreads, I think from the original Creative Reviews gang.

Release day frivolities will include; 

Giveaway of a rather lovely copy of Jackie Morris’s children’s book The Golden Hare.

Giveaway of paperbacks to the first few people to leave a review for both A Sprig of Holly and The Holly & the Ivy

Details of some outrageously good deals on other books that I have enjoyed

And a solar eclipse we put on, special….

….okay, maybe that wasn’t us, but it’s still going to be cool, okay?

More tomorrow-watch this space!

JAC

Hey people!

So, how’s things? Enjoying the rain? (Hey, I’m in the UK and it’s summer- I’ve just taken my raincoat off!)

Here all is even madder than normal. Apart from that thing that happens sporadically where I end up covering two totally different jobs simultaneously in the dayjob (quick version: if you have a good senior manager I believe you should support them, as there are SO MANY bad senior managers out there) and the sheer non-stop nature of wrangling a large puppy through the day with a minimum of damage, I seem to have suddenly taken it into my head to attempt some marketing and something resembling an actual proper release for Sprig 2 (that’s The Holly & the Ivy, for newbies and random passerby).

So- the date is set for 21st August and all sorts of promotional things are happening in the interim. Watch this space for details of various promos, contact me if you’re up for a review and want an ARC, or if you have any other comments or suggestions for promotional ideas, etc: and if you haven’t signed up to the mailing list, now’s the time to do it as there will be giveaways and bonus material exclusive to the list!


Exciting, huh? Even if I have chosen a cover based around a colour that really clashes with the blog. 😏

Let’s see how it all goes, eh?

Catch you later;

JAC.

People!

Image courtesy of Angela Yuriko Smith

It’s that time of year again! the snow is falling on my blog, the Christmas tree pics are all over Facebook, and this year’s edition of our fabulous charity anthology, Christmas Lites 3, is now available on Amazon!

Some links are:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

and the paperback is currently available from Createspace

More sites are going live as we speak so if you prefer others, please do search in case it’s live and we just haven’t had confirmation of it yet!

Having had a sneak peek myself, I can tell you there are some absolutely stunning stories in there – and for those who knew the lovely and much-missed author C.S Splitter, there is a page of tributes to the man who was first to suggest that we should put together an anthology, and suggested that the charity we donate the proceeds to should be one that dealt with domestic violence.

Once again, all funds from the three Christmas Lites anthologies go straight into the bank accounts of the NCADV, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which acts as an umbrella organisation providing training and funding to all the smaller DV-related charities in the US.

I know I’ve told you this before, but when we were setting up the first Christmas Lites anthology, Splitter told us a story of how, one year, he was nominated Santa for his office party. He hired the costume, bought a bag of candy canes and headed off for the place where the party was; but he got a bit lost along the way, and ended up at an odd little building. He walked in, and there was a fair amount of fuss. How he’d got in he didn’t know, because there is normally a lot of security around a safe-house, but he apologised profusely.

During the course of the discussion he found out that all these women had fled violence in the days preceding, and were living in terror of being found by the people who should most care for them in the world. They had fled, in some cases with nothing other than their children and the clothes on their backs. For them, Christmas would not be a magical time of loving togetherness, of snuggling on the sofa watching TV in that fairly terrible sweater Auntie Ethel knitted, or of laughing over a criminally large turkey dinner. For them, Christmas was huddling together in a strange house, too numb to even wonder how to put the pieces of their lives back together.

It was very quiet. The building was full of children, but children who had learned the wisdom of being as quiet as possible. All of them knew – KNEW – that Santa was not coming down the chimney that year – and yet, Splitter realised that even though all he had in his sack was candy canes and sweets, at least  there was one thing that he could do for them.

And so they took him into the main lounge where everyone was sitting, and he boomed “Ho ho ho! A Merry Christmas to one and all!” and was besieged by delighted kids who all got a candy cane. It wasn’t much, but to them that solitary piece of stripy peppermint was a little bit of Christmas, and it meant a lot to them.

All of them wanted to talk to Santa, and he ended up stopping for a couple of hours, rather than the twenty minutes he had imagined. By the time he got to the office party, it was pretty much over. Drinks had been drunk, the mistletoe had been thoroughly invoked, and there wasn’t much of the evening left; but the boss had noticed his absence and was sober enough to enquire. He told her the story, and she went quiet, very quiet.

The following day was Christmas Eve, and Splitter was somewhat unimpressed to get a call from his boss asking him to come into work, but  she was a Jewish lady and didn’t celebrate Christmas so there was no particular reason for her to take time off either. Besides, he had been thinking he might be in trouble for being late to the party, so he didn’t quibble. He arrived at work to find the boss waiting in the carpark with the boot of her car full of toys. She apologised for interrupting his Christmas, but explained that she needed him to show her where the shelter was so that she could make her delivery. Splitter went with her back to the shelter, and helped her to unload sack after sack after sack of toys. They asked the pair to come in and help distribute them to the children, and from the way he told the story, the way those kids’ eyes lit up stayed with him for a long, long time afterwards.

So this is why we put together our anthology every year. For everyone who has ever been the victim of violence, or the survivor of it: this is for you. For every mother who has had to grasp the remnants of her shattered courage in two hands, and walk out of the door into the great unknown because it was the only way she could protect her children: this is for you. For every child who has lain awake listening for heavy footsteps and raised voices and the terrible slap of fist on flesh: this is not how it should be, and this is for you.

This is our attempt to make something which will help all of you, by helping to keep the shelters open so that there is a place you can run to, by helping to train the people so that they know how to help you, by helping to fund the organisations so that they can provide you with another set of clothes, a travel ticket to another place, whatever.

For us – or certainly for me – Christmas is a time of joy and laughter, of relaxing with loved ones, and enjoying the togetherness of cooking and eating, and of watching really old films or falling asleep on the sofa, of giving silly presents and useful presents and clever presents and apt presents, and of using this time to really appreciate the wonderful people with whom I am surrounded, and my incredible good luck in the places and circumstances in which I live.

This being the case, I wish just such a fun, goodnatured Christmas to all of you.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better get back to ODS.  But I might have a little re-read of a couple of the stories in the anthology first.. just one, or maybe two. Well, maybe three…

Catch you later peeps!

JAC

Dear all:

It’s been a bit quiet round here lately, hasn’t it? Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you all (nor have I stopped writing, for that matter) but I have started a new job whilst attempting to move house so time has been in pretty short supply.

Things are likely to remain that way for another couple of months yet. As you know, I’ve just had to cut 70k words from Book 3 (OUCH!!) but they will be appearing as a separate in the Parallels series probably some time round Easter or thereabouts, and further on there will also be a long-ago prequel, set some 2700 years before “On Dark Shores”. But in the meantime Book 3 is trickling on slowly; looking forward to getting a bit more time to work on that once the house stuff has settled down a bit!

In the meantime, however,  here are a couple of links you might enjoy, to other books and writers associated with WGP as well a a short or two of my own. In particular, please have a look at the Christmas Lites anthologies as all profits from these go to the anti-domestic violence charity NCADV.  Let’s try and pass on a little help where we can.

Upon which note I will quit rambling and merely point you in the directions of some other entertaining literature, ALL of which which I have personally read and enjoyed.

Christmas Lites 1

Christmas Lites 2

Sprig of Holly

Christmas comes to Oddleton by WGP colleague Dulcie Feenan

Work Wife Balance by WGP colleague Jo Edwards

Have a superb Christmas, peeps, and an excellent New Year, and as soon as I have unpacked the furniture upon which to sit while typing, I’ll drop by again and give you the latest update…

All the best:

JAC

Hey peeps –
ain’t we the lucky ones today?! For why you ask (or at least those of you who didn’t read the title do)??
.
Because today we have a special guest post with the lovely Cambria Hebert, published paranormal author, fellow member of the Creative Reviews group on Goodreads (click the button over there on the right if you haven’t visited there yet) and general lovely nutter. This is her, look:
Hot chick with thiing for werewolves

Hot chick with thing for werewolves

Now boys, calm down (girls, she is just as lovely as she looks). She has kindly agreed to answer some questions for this blog to celebrate the release of short story Before, which will be released for your enjoymen and delectation on 18th November, no less and is a taster forher main novel Masquerade, due to hit the shelves on 16th December. Her blog is full of amusing and entertaining stuff, and her book trailers are WAY cool! Especially the one for the short story White-out which is frankly the best book trailer I’ve seen in some time. She is also one of the main culprits responsible for the Creative Reviews Charity Anthology, Christmas Lites, due out on Nov 26th,  so keep an eye out for all of these literary amuse-bouches.
So – let’s hear from the lady herself….

Name: Cambria Hebert

Title: Before

(more details  and frankly fabulous cover are at end of post)

Format: Ebook (no links yet)

One sentence summary:  What if your life was charmed and everything in it was perfect… Before.

One sentence author bio: Cambria is an author, blogger, latte sipper who loves werewolves and just knows a toilet snake is waiting to get her.

Links:

Website: http://www.cambriahebert.com

Blog: http://www.theunlockeddiary.blogspot.com

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambria-Hebert/128278117253138

Twitter: @cambriahebert

1.  When writing Before what element did you start with and how did it develop?

Before is the prequel to my debut novel, Masquerade, so I used the novel as a jumping off point. Masquerade is based on Heven, a teenage girl who had the perfect life before there was an accident and she was left horribly disfigured on the left side of her face. She is then treated with caution and considered a freak. Heven can’t remember the accident or how she got her scars. Before is about Heven about her life before her accident and the trouble that is lurking in the background that she doesn’t see….

 2.  What was most difficult about writing Before?

The most difficult thing is that it is a short story and shorts are hard!!! Trying to pack some interest and action into such a short amount of writing. Also, I felt a lot of pressure to make it be enticing so people will want to read Masquerade.

 3. Do your characters do as you intend or do they run away with the plot?

They run away with the plot – always!! That’s why it’s so fun to write! Once I researched a character’s name for an hour, picked one out and then wrote the scene where the character came into the book. When he was asked his name he said something else!!! I was like all that time researching wasted! I couldn’t force his name because he never would have been quiet in my head. I would have insomnia!

 4. Why toilet snakes?

Imagine this: its one o’clock in the morning, you wake up and crawl out of bed, trudge through the dark and into the bathroom. You sit down on the toilet, half sleeping… and then a snake bites you! On your butt! Ack!!!  Always look before you sit. It’s a rule!!! Never get caught with a snake on your bum. It could happen. But it won’t happen to me, because I look before I sit. Yes, even in the middle of the night.

 5. Werewolves. How often do you have to groom them?

That’s the beauty of a werewolf. Sometimes they are hairy and other times they are hot men. Wait – not just hot – Hawt. Yup, gotta exaggerate that hawwt. Uh –huh. Anyway, when they get shaggy looking you can just either make them morph into their human selves or send them to the groomer. Or perhaps they can just run off into the woods and scratch themselves against a tree. Either way they are great for cold winter nights….

.

 JAC: <bafflement. Fleas?>

 .

6. Brussel sprouts – why?

As in why would anyone eat them?? I don’t like them. I’ve tried to cook them, bake them, season them. They are gross. They taste like mini cabbages (which isn’t that what they are?) and cabbage is gross too. Sorry to all you cabbage lovers out there!

JAC:
Thanks to Cambria for answering those questions,even if the whole werewolf / fleaing thing is a bit of a worry….. So here are those links again in case you missed them!

Cambria Hebert
Didn’t get enough? Check me out on Tuesday nights at 9pm (EST)
 BEFORE – by Cambria Hebert
 Details:
Cover of short story by Cambria Hebert

What if your life was charmed and everything in it was perfect…

Before.

This is the story of my past. Of what things were like for me when everything was normal. Of what every teenager’s life is like. Clothes. Parties. Boys and summer vacation. What’s so wrong with that? I liked it. I was happy.

Until things changed. I changed.

I didn’t know that lies and secrets were about to take over my existence. I didn’t know there was someone out there, someone meant just for me. I didn’t know that I was about to go on a journey, a journey that would lead me to the girl I am today.

This is the beginning of the worst year of my life. Would I go back and change things? Erase everything that has happened to go back into these moments?

Not a chance.

This is a story of before.

= = = = = = = = =
So once again thanks to Cambria for her fab interview, and best of luck with the exciting multiple releases over Christmas! And remember, kids, when she’s at the top of the NYT Bestsellers list – you saw her here first!
In the weeks to come – a guest-blog from CS Splitter, author of The Reluctant with hopefully some details about his new release The Willing, due out 21st November…. and a couple of other treats queued up between now and Christmas, so keep an eye on this space! And you never know, it’s just possible that I might have a new release in the On Dark Shores series for you before the end of the year….here’s hoping!
Upon which note I shall get back to my edits and leave you lovely lot to go look at Cambria’s websites (go on! I didn’t put all those links in for nothing!) Have a great week, peeps – and  when you’ve read Before, and indeed all the rest, don’t forget to leave a review!
Catch you later;
JAC

Christmas Lites Charity Anthology from Creative Reviews

 

Look, not only do we have a new cover for Christmas Lites!

If you have not been paying attention so far, this is the new short story anthology including 26 stories from of the Creative Reviews group – it’s going to be great fun, including at the last roundup Santa, zombies, ghosts, a living snowmaiden and a ninja elf…! Furthermore, all proceeds will go the the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, so it’s all in a good cause. If anyone is up for helping us with a bit of publicity, please get in touch either here or on the Creative Reviews group, as we’d really like to raise a bit of money for the charity at Christmas.

More as we get it but there is a bit more info on Cambria’s blog here:

http://theunlockeddiary.blogspot.com/

and a bit more about the NCADV here on Jenn’s blog:

http://www.indiesupporter.com/

And both of them have the trailer all ready to be watched as well, so do check that out – ninja elves – how can you resist?!

A blog with author Cambria Hebert later in the week so do watch this space – and please, if anyone is up for spreading the word about the anthology, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks all – as always you are stars!!

JAC

 

Hey all!

Sorry for the long silence – I’ve been busy writing, editing and writing some more!

Book 2 will now bw called “The Other Nereia” and “The Mother” will be book 3 (just as you all requested!). Editing is ongoing – hopefully book 2 will be online before Christmas and the paperback version of 1&2 is due out in Spring 2012.

In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for my short story “A Sprig of Holly” in the charity anthology “Christmas Lites” – this is an anthology of short stories written, edited and generally put together by authors, editors, and other members of the Creative Reviews group on Goodreads and is due out in time for Christmas, with all proceeds to go to NCADV, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

More details to follow…watch this space!

Also:

later in the year, an interview with Cambria Hebert, author of the imminent release Masquerade.

This should be a good one, so I’m really looking forward to finding out what she has to tell us about her writing, her radio show and where on earth she first came across toilet snakes….

More later!

JAC