May 26, 2011

{POSTPONED} Unread Interview and Giveaway - Jess Mountifield

Please welcome Jess Mountifield for this week's Unread Interview! Jess is promoting her latest book  With Proud Humility. We have a giveaway, aswell, so please, keep on reading, to the end, to find how to participate!

Unread Interview is a series where I feature authors whose books I couldn't accept for review because of time or logistics issues. 
From Amazon: Marie's mother died protecting something, but what? Determined to find answers, Marie is prepared to go to any length to locate her mother’s legacy, even to pursue the man responsible for her death - Black Vane. No price is too dear to Marie, who gambles everything on a marriage of convenience to a ship's captain she knows she can’t trust, but who may be one ally she needs.

This is a historic story of romance and adventure, set on the Caribbean seas of the early 1800's, a tale of betrayal and sacrifice in pursuit of an unknown goal.

Tell us a bit about your book (s).
Currently I only have one ebook released, With Proud Humility. My first passion for writing is and always will be historical fiction. There is something I have always loved about tales of long ago and the history of places.

Have you ever wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing "seriously"?
I started writing when I was in my teens as a sort of therapy for some nightmares I was repeatedly having. I would write them down to work through them.

I didn't start writing stories I wished to share until about four years ago, however, but I knew almost as soon as I did that it was what I wished to do. It then took me another two years to get to the point I could actually give up the day job to be a full time writer.

Do you read much? What kind of books do you usually read?
My reading varies. I try to read whenever I can find the time. It probably averages about 20 books per year but my tbr pile is always growing.

I read all sorts of books except erotica and paranormal. My favourite genres are historical, sci-fi and fantasy but other genres have been known to catch and hold my attention. As long as I can relate to the characters I tend to enjoy the book.

What are your favorite or least favorite scenes to write?
My favourite scenes to write are usually the scenes I have in my head when I first get the story inspiration. Often they are the scene where certain characters meet but they can equally be action scenes. It's very rare for these to ever be where I actually start the story.

In With Proud Humility the scene I actually had in my head from the beginning was 3/4 of the way through the book where my heroine's life is in danger, she can't save herself and doesn't think anyone else will either.

My least favourite scenes are always the ones in chapter 1. I've always struggled to figure out how to link the initial scene in my head to a good starting point for a story. I have to back track and pretend I don't know my characters either.

Do you relate more to any of your characters? Why?
For the most part I don't relate to any particular character more than another at all. I've always done everything I can to avoid having too much of myself in my characters so it mostly prevents that from happening.

That has changed recently, however. I've begun working on a sci-fi series and my female supporting character in that has a very similar belief system to myself, which was needed for the story to work.

I've also been exploring an interesting moral situation and what I would do if I were forced to choose between two things that both go against my own morals, and the initial scene I have of this character is her in exactly that situation. I'm assuming her answer will be mine, when I finally get to writing that part.

Which genre do you feel it would be a challenge to write?
I would definitely find comedy hardest to write. I don't think I could cope under the pressure of having someone laugh often enough. I can occasionally have something funny in what I write but I know I'm just too serious to keep that up for long.

What inspires you? And how's your writing environment - music, place, etc.?
I'm inspired by quite a number of different things. Sometimes I can be out walking teh countryside near me and just have an idea pop straight into my head. Occasionally I wake up with a snippet of something. Every now and then someone will say something to me, I'll have a light bulb moment, and two previously unrelated things I've been dwelling on will connect themselves and spark an idea.

To write, though, I find I need to be sat somewhere comfortable, like my sofa or my local cafe with my familiar fountain pen and plenty of background noise, or music. I can't stand silence and I can't think straight if I don't write by hand first and then type up.

What would you say about the book - your words, no blurbs! - to convince someone to read your book?
With Proud Humility is a great book to read for anyone that's always wanted to go running off on some great big adventure at some point as a child. It's full of swashbuckling excitement, sea battles with pirates, rum, poker and a little romance thrown in for good measure.

What are your plans for the future, writing-wise? New books, sequels, publishing deals, etc.
Currently I'm working on the first draft of my second novel, also historical fiction, and editing two short fantasy pieces for a collaboration with two other authors.

I've also got the sci-fi series I mentioned above that I've just begun fleshing out.

Thank you Jess! 
And now... For the giveaway!

Jess agreed to give you guys a digital copy of her book, With Proud Humility. I'm making this easy for you, just comment on this post, don't forget to leave your email adress, either on the indicated field or on the comment (if you use twitter or facebook to comment), so I can contact you if you win!

It will run from May 26th to June 16th, so you have plenty of time, and it is INTERNATIONAL!

**I have postponed the results to June 19th, due to personal issues**

May 24, 2011

Review: Black Widow and The Sandman - L. L. Reaper

Hello my friends! I'm updating myself on my reviews - have quite a few late, since I've done too much reading and not nearly enough computer time (and a major case of blogger's block), so let's go!

The Black Widow and the Sandman is a book written on 4 hands and I've interviewed the author, click here if you haven't read it yet. It tells the story of an unlikely duo that, of course, ends up working wonderfully.

Jeanette "Black Widow" Mason and Roman "The Sandman" Tate are murderers. Contracted killers - but neither of them actually does it because they chose to, they are being blackmailed by a man known by different names, who discovered some of their dirty secrets and forced them into doing his jobs.
Now, children in Cuba are dying of a misterious disease, a terrible one, that eats up their flesh and kills them in much pain. And Jeanette, an amazingly brilliant scientist, is their best bet on finding a cure, but they can't be officially in it, so that's where both hers and Roman's gifts com in handy.

Of course, some of the book is very predictable, the couple has some awesome hot tension between them, which is really interesting to read, the villains are greedy bad people, the good guys are killers but because they love too much or think the world is all wrong and they are some sort of vigilantes. Both Black Widow and The Sandman have a soft spot for kids, which makes them work extra hard on the assignment.

But don't take me wrong - the fact that it may be predictable in some parts, doesn't make this less of an awesome book, actually, it is amazing to see the same "general" elements we see in many books tossed around and mixed, used in different ways. I have to admit that anti-heroes are my favorite kind of heroes ;)

I'm ansious to see the sequel, because we didn't quite see Jeanette and Roman in action - ok, not the kind of action -I- wanted, but they did have a nice fight and kill and all after the second half of the book... But I still want all kinds of action *wink wink*

You can buy Black Widow and The Sandman  on The Book Depository and Amazon

May 20, 2011

Review Block

I'm sorry, I'm a terrible blogger. I know.

I've been trying to, but I have a severe case of what's usually called "Blogger's Block". I can't seem to post.

It gets worse when I try to review books - it just doesn't come out, like I have nothing to say.
Setting up previously arranged content (like interviews) seem to work, but with a minimum of interference...
Even replying to my email has been a pain.

Clash of Kings (Song of Ice and Fire #2) has unblocked me a bit. But I'm still... Jammed.

What do I do? Stop trying for a while or keep on pushing until it comes out?

May 07, 2011

Results - Party like it's 1889

Well hello friends!

The result for a digital copy of Typhoon is out and the winner is...

*drum roll*

Paula SHx  - yes, you, who asked why wasn't this happening in the UK ;)

The lovely folks at 1889 Labs will be contacting you to deliver your copy!

Also, everyone else, don't be sad, you're entered on the larger giveaway of paperback copies and other prizes!

Results: International Giveaway of Skulls!

Hello guys!
I'm sorry for the delay on the results, but I've been sick - the flu, nasty nasty flu.
So, long story short, we had 57 entries on the Giveaway, and the winners are...

Desmond (US) - congratz, you won the signed copy!
Rhonda (International) - Congratz, you won a digital copy!
Conda V. Douglas (at (US) - Congratz, you won a digital copy!

Well, since we got more US winners than international, one of the US winners will get a digital copy, if you do not want it, please, let me know and I'll use again and get another winner.

I've contacted you by email :)

May 05, 2011

Unread Interview: Tim Marquitz

Please welcome Tim Marquitz, author of Skulls, to today's Unread Interview. But first, a reminder! We have a Giveaway up, for Skulls, Tim Marquitz's book, so please, take your time to click on the banner below and sign in for the giveaway - we have a signed "paper" copy for the USA and 2 digital copies for international readers! (I postponed it until today May 5th, so that's your last chance!)

Now, today's Unread Interview.

Summary by Amazon: Life held little interest for Jacob - until he found death.
Abused and neglected, Jacob's only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend. But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he learns what true suffering is. Drawn to examine the skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares. Through their eyes he watches them die.
With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur. A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again. But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come. Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.

Tell us a bit about your book (s).
TM: My most recent release is a crossover young adult horror book, entitled Skulls, released through Damnation Books. It’s about a teenage boy, Jacob, whose life isn’t the best. His mother has left him, his father is an abusive drunk, and his stepmother pretty much ignores him. His father recently moved them to Ruidoso, New Mexico, a touristy town in the middle of the mountains.
The story starts when Jacob stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls. He’s drawn to examine them and learns they’re all the victim of a serial killer. By staring into the skulls, Jacob is able to watch the death of each through their own eyes.
My first book is part of the Demon Squad series, entitled Armageddon Bound. The main character, Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg, is the nephew of the Devil. The premise of the world is that God and Lucifer call a truce and leave existence behind to fend for itself. With the leadership of Heaven and Hell gone, the angels and demons are now scrambling to define their lives, suddenly given free will. Overall, the book follows Frank as he struggles to help keep the world safe from the machinations of the supernatural forces turned loose. It’s an action-packed, snarky, and perverse story wrapped up in an Urban/Dark Fantasy package.

Have you ever wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing "seriously"?
TM: I think I’ve always wanted to write, I just didn’t have the proper motivation in life. Around ’95, a buddy of mine showed me a novel he’d written and it kind of helped ignite the passion. I started exploring my ideas and writing stories, but I was still lacking the skill to make them decent. Finally, determined to do it right, I hooked up with a small writing group and they really got me focused.

Do you read much? What kind of books do you usually read?
TM: I try to read all the time, but it doesn’t always happen. I tend to go to bed just a little earlier so I can squeeze in some reading before I fall asleep. I also take my Kindle with me so I can sneak a few pages in here and there.
Much of what I read is horror or fantasy. I’m a huge Clive Barker fan, so I read everything he puts out, as well as Jim Butcher. More recently, I’ve read all the Dexter books by Jeff Lindsay, The George RR Martin series, The Song of Ice and Fire, a good bit of Brian Keene, and I’ve just finished off Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear.

What are your favorite or least favorite scenes to write?
TM: I like writing in general, but the more odd, or different a scene, the more I enjoy it. I like being able to stretch my imagination out and create something that isn’t common. While my books tread upon familiar themes, I like being able to twist the idea just enough to make it mine. Any time I can experiment with a visual is when I’m having the most fun writing.

Do you relate more to any of your characters? Why?
TM: I definitely relate to all my characters because they’re all a piece of me, in some small way. That said, I think Frank and I are the closest. He’s basically me without the censors of a polite society. He says what he thinks and doesn’t sugarcoat it or try to dance around people. He just lives his life, the world’s opinion be damned.

Which genre do you feel it would be a challenge to write?
TM: While I believe I could write anything, I imagine romance would be the hardest. As my wife can attest, I don’t know much about the subject. Any romance book I wrote would come across like a Hallmark card on steroids.

What inspires you? And how's your writing environment - music, place, etc.?
TM: I need relative peace and quiet to write. I don’t really need any special place to write, but I can’t have any kind of consistent interruption or I start to lose the immersion that’s necessary to write well. I don’t listen to music either because I find I’m inspired by the mood it creates. The feeling infiltrates my head and starts to influence the direction of my writing, which often runs contrary to what I’m trying to get across.

What would you say about the book - your words, no blurbs! - to convince someone to read your book?
TM: For Skulls, I’d say it was a whirlpool of psychological horror that tries to drag you down into the abyss right along with Jacob.
As for the Demon Squad series, I’d likely say it was an action-packed, roller coaster ride of violence, horror, and perverse snarkiness, with undertones of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.

What are your plans for the future, writing-wise? New books, sequels, publishing deals, etc.
TM: I’m always writing something. Right now, I’m working on a sword and sorcery type book, entitled Witch Bane. I’ve also just recently completed the first book in an epic fantasy series I’m writing, and intend to start sending out queries to agents soon.
As far as publication, I have the second Book in the Demon Squad series coming out on June 1, from Damnation Books, and my YA Horror book, Skulls, was just released, on April 1st of this year.
If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my web site at: htt://

Thank you Tim for your generosity on the giveaway and thank you for your time for the interview! Good luck with your carreer!

May 03, 2011

Giveaway: Party Like it's 1889!

Hello my fellow readers!
Today I bring to you, 1889 Labs, an independent Canadian Publisher that declared May to be a crazy giveaway month! Each week, there will be a $10 Amazon voucher and a paperback up for grabs. By commenting on that weeks' posts, readers enter the giveaway.

I'm hosting the week from May 1st to May 7th and I'll be giving away a copy of the book Typhoon by MCM - simply by commenting on the post.
Also, commenters will be entered on the wider week giveaway for the Amazon voucher and paperback.

SUMMING UP: Comment on this post to enter on an e-book giveaway and be entered for the wider Amazon Voucher + paperback giveaway!
Also, they have other stuff up for grabs, including A KINDLE, yes guys! So you should really go check it out, clicking on the logo here:

I also present you with a guest post by MCM, which brings us some insight on Typhoon and how it's been worked on for quite some time now.
Summary for Typhoon: Kani isn’t Tundra. Tundra is a dustrunner: a ruthless space pirate, flying dangerous missions in low Earth orbit, risking the lives of millions of people below. Kani is just a regular teenager, and she wants absolutely nothing to do with that. Unfortunately, she has no choice.Now, thrown into a world of deception and betrayal, Kani must fight to keep herself alive as she’s hunted by law enforcement, spies, mobsters, and even her so-called teammates, none of whom want to see her survive another day. All she needs to do is make one fatal mistake: tell them who she really is.


Ten years ago this week, I was knee-deep in a project that almost ruined my life. 

I'd quit my job a few months before, giving up my family's stability and predictability, all for a chance to follow an irrational ambition: making an animated series about space pirates, to be distributed exclusively on the web. It was called "Dustrunners", and it was going to be awesome.

This was before YouTube, before internet video really existed in any meaningful way, and at a time when advertising could bring in hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a month, against a budget of tens of thousands per episode. Undaunted, we produced scripts, character designs, 3D models and all kinds of media in anticipation of a spectacular September premiere. But a few weeks before launch, disaster struck: almost none of the animators were delivering on time, and it was increasingly clear we were going to run out of money before we could fix the problem. Many desperate moves later, Dustrunners died a quiet and lonely death.

A lot of writers talk about the projects they keep in the drawer, waiting for the right moment to shine. I put my project out there, and it cost me a boatload of cash, and almost a decade of agonizing recovery. Some people want their ideas to shine, but I wanted mine to SUFFER for what it had done. Sure, it had been managed badly, but it was the project's fault for being so damn interesting that it blinded me to reality. I didn't just want to put it in a drawer, I wanted to draw and quarter it, and put its head on a pike over my front door.

Skip ahead a few years. I had a popular animated series playing worldwide, a handful of books out in the world, and a strong desire to try something crazy and new. The idea was called "livewriting", which is essentially improv literature, live on the web. In the space of three days, I would write a complete novel, using ideas from the audience at key moments. Utter madness, and almost certainly doomed to failure. I just needed to pick a subject. I didn't want to use one of my newer ideas, because I really loved them and couldn't bear to see them fail. It had to be something disposable. Something rich, yet unimportant.

Something I wanted to see suffer.

I had reservations about digging up this particular grave. Sure, it was a throwaway project, but it was also weighed down by so much hate that I was afraid I might not be able to stop myself from torpedoing the thing, just to get even. If stories are like children, this was the kid that burned down the house and killed the cat and opened all the bottles in the hotel minibar but didn't drink a thing: no punishment could be severe enough. I didn't want to see it flourish, I wanted to see it fail, which was a funny sentiment, considering I was planning to invest so much in it.

I knew I had to update the original concept. Writing for a series is different than writing a novel: the problems have to be complex, but compact enough to unravel in an orderly manner. I set out to create an outline based on the old pilot episode, trying to re-imagine things as much as possible. In the process, a lot of my own problems from the last decade seeped into the characters' lives without permission. Money troubles, tension at home and at work, a kind of crazy paranoia that comes from being on the verge of a meltdown all the time. The battle scars were showing, and rather than dampen them, I let them breathe. It was like therapy, only my intention wasn't to be cured, it was to document my state of mind.

But then something strange happened. Slowly, a little bit every day, I started to find myself enjoying Dustrunners again. I stopped myself a few times to remember how much I hated it, but by the time the livewriting was due to start, I was genuinely excited again. I was more excited than I'd been in years. My brain wanted to see it fail, but my heart was wishing it would fly.

In the end, the livewriting was a major success, and the resulting work, "Typhoon", has become one of my favourite books. The sequel, "Polarity", was livewritten late last year, and the third in the series, "Macedon", is getting the same treatment this fall. The funny thing is I never could have written this story in 2001. I had to have an idea, hate the idea, discard it forever, and then bring it back before it could properly live. The story — like me — had to climb back from the brink before it was ready to stand on its own. And it was that journey that has made it worth hearing at all. 


Author bio: MCM is the author of books like 'The Vector', 'The App', 'Fission Chips' and the livewritten novels 'Typhoon' and 'Arkady and Kain'. He also made the anti-DRM fable 'The Pig and the Box', which has been translated into 18 languages and read by millions of people across the globe. In his spare time, he creates series like the award-winning 'RollBots', because TV needs some lovin' too.