Saturday, 29 September 2012

A man out of time

It's been a while since I had a bit of a musical theme here, so today we're going to start off with a clip from one of my favourites:

Of course it's Elvis Costello, doing what I think is one of his greatest songs - Man out of Time.

As a writer, it's easy to hold Elvis Costello's songs in high regard - he's definitely one of the cleverest and sharpest wordsmiths around. The reason I particularly enjoy this song is because it really strikes a chord with me. I often feel like I'm a man out of time.

I reckon I feel it most strongly on the tram heading into work. I look around and there are all these people engrossed in their mobile phones. Hammering on their non-existent keyboards and staring at them as if somehow the secrets of the universe are contained on their screens. I don't get it. I don't even own a mobile phone. Does that mean there's something wrong with me - or does it just mean I'm totally not with the times.

It's not just the phone thing either. It's TV and movies and music. I have no interest in being up with the latest in any of these. Modern pop music just sounds like noise to me now - and hey, I used to love to rock out with the best of them (in my own kind of way). These days I sound a lot like my dad. It's a bit frightening.

Sometimes it makes me feel lost. I talk to people and they say, "Have you seen this?" or, "Have you heard this?" or, "Have you got the latest app?" Most of the time, I haven't got a clue what they're talking about.

But other times, it makes me feel like I've got my own place, and I'm not just following the crowd. Maybe it's a snobbish thing - I don't know.

What I do know is that I think I'll just keep on doing my own thing, listening to the music I like, and writing my own kind of stories, regardless of what is currently on the bestseller lists. I've gotten used to being a man out of time, and while it can have its disadvantages, it's mostly pretty good.

Enjoy the music. See you next time. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

New release from the APG: Glass Block by Kai Wilson

Today I'm not going to be talking about me - which will probably be a bit of a relief for most of you I bet.

Today I want to put the spotlight on one of the really top people in the indie publishing world, and one of the mainstays of the Alexandria Publishing Group - the incredible Kai Wilson.

I reckon I've known Kai for a bit over a year now, and in that time I don't think I've seen a more tireless worker and helper for all of us clueless writers out there. Her range of skills is amazing. She's a terrific editor and proofreader. Plus she's extremely cluey when it comes to all things webby. But most of all, she's a brilliant writer, and that's what this post is about. Because today Kai is launching her new novel, Glass Block.

Before I talk about the special events in store, here's a quick blurb to describe what the book is about:

When Big Brother fell out of popularity in the early part of the 21st century it was replaced with ever more ‘realistic’ reality TV shows, till the need for this was replaced with a need for fantasy. In an attempt to resurrect the old format some die hard fans filmed themselves locked in with a recently released murderer. The person to get out got the money from the stream sales at the end. Needless to say they were slaughtered.

Word of this spread on the internet and a ‘sanctioned’ version by the UCPS (United coalition of Prison Services) was established. Brought in from Darkness, one of the cities providing most of the prisoners, most of which he’d been responsible for collaring, Elliot Peters is forced into a nightmare world where the walls are made of glass and people vote as to whether you survive.

Sounds good? There's more. To celebrate the release, Kai is putting on a special event with a whole lot of prizes, including signed books, gift cards, ebooks, letters from Elliot and a case notes file, of your choice, with a short story created - signed and posted to YOU.

So come along and join in the fun at And for more information about the book, see

Hopefully you'll enjoy this - another quality release from the Alexandria Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Whether I live or die - guest post by Stacy Eaton

Today I'm really pleased to have another guest - Stacy Eaton is here to talk about her new release, Whether I’ll Live or Die.

So take it away, Stacy.

Jonathan was gracious enough to invite me to his blog today and talk about my newest novel, Whether I’ll Live or Die. Thank you Jonathan!!! It is always a pleasure to reach out and visit with other authors and their readers.

Jonathan asked me to write a guest post talking about why Whether I’ll Live or Die (WILoD) is different than other novels.  I have to say that this was a very different request and I had to spend some time thinking about the true answer to that. After some long hours of throwing it around in my mind, I found that I really liked that he asked me to write about that topic.

Before I get into the answer, I feel it is only necessary to explain to you what WILoD is about.  This novel was officially released on July 13, 2012. It is a very intense and emotional novel dealing with the very serious topic of domestic violence.  Here’s the book blurb for you to see real quick:
“It sounded so simple in theory; ready... aim... fire... but what actually transpired was so much more.”

Officer Nicole Nolan holds the gun steady in her hands, knowing that life will be forever altered once she pulls the trigger. Her position as a small town police officer is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is her job, her career and her life.

Amanda stands where protection does not exist. With several failed relationships behind her, Amanda turns a blind eye to the possessiveness Josh displays in order to sooth her desperate need to be loved. As the mental abuse turns violent, Amanda must deal with the denial and embarrassment of being a victim once again. With her emotional and physical health siting on the edge, she must fight to regain control of her life.

A gripping story with one final destination, but will it be life or death?
Now out there in the market are many books that bring to light the effects of domestic violence. Some of them are written by the victim spilling the truth of pain and torment, some are written from an author’s perspective and they use what they have learned from research in a fictional manner.  This book was written giving you both.

Many years ago I witnessed domestic violence firsthand. I knew what it felt like to feel the physical and emotional pain. I know what the lack of self-esteem can do to a person and I know the fear they have not only of the attacker but also the fear of what others will think about them in society.

Now, I am a police officer. I see even more domestic violence in my job on a daily basis and I have to help the victims and the families deal with it. I also have to deal with the legal aspects of it.

Putting these two things together gave me an edge to write this story in a way that I could show people what happens when the doors are closed and the neighborhood is quiet.

Maybe you have stood at your front door and watched police show up at your neighbor’s house and wondered what was going on. Or your friend showed up with an unexplained bruise and some wild excuse for how they got it. Stepping into the pages of WILoD will give you, the reader, and advantage of understanding a very serious issue that too many people deal with on a daily basis.

This is not a light hearted story. There is some very minor romance, only to show there is good in the world, but this story was meant to bring the raw emotion to light for those who have never witnessed it. It was written to show families they can get help and there are people who will listen. These words were written so the voice of the victim could be heard and instead of you saying, “Man, I can’t believe she stays with that guy”, you will say “I understand how hard it is to leave that situation, is there anything I can do to help”.

I’m not asking people to jump into a situation that is none of their business, but I want people to know that while it mostly happens behind closed doors, it needs to be discussed.

Do I think this is a great book? Of course, I wrote it, lol… but what shows me it is a great book is that I am reaching people. I am showing people who have never had to face abuse what it is like. I am showing them that if someday they are abused, then there is hope. I have had all kinds of people read this. People who were true victims, people who have never seen abuse. People who have lived it through family members, police officers, social workers, mothers, fathers, dispatchers and other authors.  All of them have said basically the same thing. Wow, intense…  And that to me is the absolute best I can ask for.

Thank you Jonathan for allowing me to visit your blog today. It is an honor to be here and to visit with your readers.

Author Bio:

Stacy is a full-time Police Officer who enjoys crime scene investigation above all else. She also owns a business that deals with helping people get the awareness out for the causes they care most about. She is a mother of two and her husband is also in law enforcement. She is very much into photography and carries her Nikon Digital SLR with her almost everywhere, just in case. She also has two Shiloh Shepherd dogs and loves to play catch with them.

Stacy uses her experience at work to make the stories more believable, weaving bits of crime solving knowledge into her stories of fiction to make them more lifelike. She writes using a unique style that keeps you in the minds of all the important characters. Switching back and forth from mind to mind to keep the readers aware of what each character is feeling and why they do the things they do.

Her first book, My Blood Runs Blue was the start of her writing career.  It brings the world of law enforcement into the paranormal world of vampires. It is a suspenseful adult series that will keep you guessing from chapter to chapter. Book one, My Blood Runs Blue, was published April 2011 and is currently available in paperback, hardcover and e-book editions. Book two of the series, entitled Blue Blood for Life was released September 2011 and like book 1 made International Best Selling lists on Amazon very quickly.  The third book of this series is in the plot and characters development stage. She is hoping to have it completed and published in the winter of 2012.

Stacy is also currently working on several different novels. The first one is called Liveon. Using a similar writing style as her series, this book brings to life Detective Jacquelyn Liveon as she tries to protect a movie star who is being threatened. While this book is well on it’s way, it has been put to the side to make way for another book that she is working on.

Whether I’ll Live or Die was released on July 13th! This book is a fictional story about a young woman named Amanda who deals with the pain and emotional issues of Domestic Violence. You will read about how Amanda deals with the things life hands her while you follow Nicole Nolan as she grows at her new job as a police officer. This book is very emotional and intense as it deals with the all too real problems that face people in violent relationships.


“This book is absolutely riveting, taking you on a kaleidoscope of emotions…”

"WOW - That was Powerful! So well written I felt like I was right there."

“The story is phenomenal and beautiful in an emotion way.”

“Thank you Ms. Eaton for this excellent story of a very heartbreaking fact of life.”

“Life changing, compelling and heartbreaking are just a few of the words I would use to describe author Stacy Eaton's novel…”

“This book is raw and real.”

“…a brilliantly crafted journey that engages the reader both emotionally and psychologically.” 


Twitter: @StacySEaton

Friday, 14 September 2012

A special treat from the APG: four for the price of none

This is a big weekend for us at the Alexandria Publishing Group.

We're offering, not one, or two, or even three, but four of our books for the extra special price of nothing. Not a penny, or a pence, or whatever currency you're used to. The same price as a cup of coffee, minus the coffee, or a box of chocolates minus the chocolates. And the box.

When you see the listing, you'll know there are even more reasons to be excited.

Ok, so one of them is from me. I don't usually like to be the one to blow my own horn, so maybe I should let others do the talking. Reviewers have described Magnus Opum as "totally magical, brimming with imagination and fantasy, and entertaining from start to finish" and "a master work of both parody AND satire rolled into an easy-to-read family-friendly story", so who am I to argue?

Here's a little about the other books on offer:

The Coming Storm is by Valerie Douglas, author of the bestselling Song of the Fairy Queen (which has now spent several weeks in the upper reaches of the Kindle rankings). It is an epic fantasy that has been described by reviewers as "Compelling Heroic Fantasy" and "fast moving with strong, well developed characters that are easy to identify with and yet complex."

The Shadowbearer is the second book in Terry Simpson's Aegis of the Gods series. It has been described by reviewers as "a high paced fantasy with all the twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat" featuring "an original world, a cool system of magic, and some touching character scenes."
Cataclysm: Return of the Gods is by Stephen King. No, not that Stephen King - the other Stephen King (or TOSK as he likes to be known). An urban fantasy with gods and goddesses aplenty, reviewers have described it as "a great, detailed story that I could not stop reading" and a story that "flows and keeps you interested and emotionally involved." 
So don't waste any more time. Click on the links below to get over to Amazon now to grab yourself free copies:

Oh, and I better not forget - Magnus Opum.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hey you - are you talking to me?

Hope that got your attention. If not, well I guess you're not reading this anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Today I'm going to be talking about talking. Or talking about dialogue to be more precise. Yes that's right, I'm actually going to talk about writing for a change. Even I've had enough of all that complaining and whinging. So, here goes...

I love writing dialogue. I reckon writing dialogue is my favourite  part of the whole writing process. You can take your flowery descriptions, or your heart-stopping action. I'll happily write scene after scene of nothing else but people talking to each other. Come to think of it, there are a couple of short stories I've done which pretty much contain nothing else except dialogue. They're rather good too, if I might say so myself.

Am I short changing readers with my focus on dialogue to the detriment of the other components of story? Not at all, in my opinion. As a reader, dialogue is my favourite bit as well. I'll skip over long passages of description. I'll even yawn at action scenes that are meant to excite. I'm always in a hurry just to get to the next bit of dialogue. And given that the first person I'm writing stories for is me, it makes complete sense for me to take that approach.

Of course, that doesn't mean I completely neglect the other aspects of the story. Beyond the short story form, it's pretty much impossible to write nothing but dialogue. And there have been times when I've been rather pleased by a descriptive passage or a bit of action I've just managed to compose. But dialogue is still the best bit. It's how characters get to show who they are, and the way they bounce off each other is the way relationships are established and plot is progressed.

I'm really inspired by some of the great dialogue writers, the ones who can really make their characters come to life with distinct voices. Dickens is one obviously example. Another less obvious one is J.K. Rowling. In all the talk about the success of Harry Potter, one thing I think that is often missed is how good she is at voicing her characters. But my big inspiration is Douglas Adams. I love how, especially in the first two Hitch-hikers books, the dialogue just zings off the page. A lot of it was originally written to be performed via the original radio series, and it shows.

I don't know if I could ever reach the heights of some of those masters but it's something to aspire to. When I write dialogue, I try to hear it in my head. I try to imagine how each character will sound -  sometimes I'll even make notes to describe it, e.g. this one sounds like a TV gameshow host, while another sounds like an overly hammy British stage actor.

Sometimes it's a tricky thing to get right. Every line has to serve some sort of purpose to the bigger story, whether revealing character or plot (hopefully both together) while also sounding natural and unforced. I suppose it's up to my readers to decide whether I achieve it or not. But it's certainly fun to try.


Scribbling update


Speaking of dialogue, there's an awful lot in my new novella, Scribbling. Scribbling is a sequel (of sorts) to Doodling and features more of the strange and unexpected adventures of Neville Lansdowne.

Currently, it's in the final stages of editing so hoping to have it available in late October/early November. Keep posted here for more news. 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Happy birthday to the Indie Exchange - September Social Smash

September Social SplashThis month I'm excited to be part of a special event.

A year ago, a great friend, Donna Brown, established an event called Adopt an Indie. It was a terrific event and I was privileged to be able to take part in it. Over the following year, this evolved into a really great and supportive group for independent authors called The Indie Exchange. Now, a year has passed and I'm pleased to be able to be involved in the birthday celebrations. From an event supporting dozens of authors, the Indie Exchange has grown into an 800 member strong - and growing - group.

To celebrate, this success, they are holding their best ever giveaway: The September Social Splash.

Main prize: $100 Amazon voucher

Second prize: $10 Amazon voucher

There are so many ways to win - just check out the Rafflecopter below. You can complete as many actions as you like to enter the draw and be in with a chance of winning the $100 prize.

It's great to see so many members and visitors making The Indie Exchange such a success so far! Visit The Indie Exchange: Website ** Facebook Group ** Facebook Page ** Twitter

So let me finish with a big thank you to Donna Brown, Coral Russell, and all the other wonderful people who make the Indie Exchange such a great resource for writers everywhere. May your group continue to go from strength to strength.

Happy Birthday The Indie Exchange

Happy Birthday
a Rafflecopter giveaway