Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Vampires - Be Still My Heart!

Vampires - Be Still My Heart!

So I'm on a new blogging site called Pillowfort, which is still in beta so unfortunately everyone can't just come along and sign up, even though it's great. On there we have things called Blanket Boxes, which are a set of questions for certain subjects to get people talking. I created one for vampires and since I know you're dying to know all about my vampire obsession, I thought I'd post it over here too :)

1. Why do you love vampires?

I love that vampire media can go from the darkest of the dark (Salem's Lot, John Carpenter's Vampires) through action (Underworld, Moon Child) to romance and comedy (Fright Night, Sundown the Vampire in Retreat) and combine any of these and still seem as believable as vampires are in the first place. Vampires can slot into just about any fandom if you try hard enough (I know, I made it my mission to write them into as many fandoms as possible ;)). Historical, Contemporary, Futuristic - they can be found anywhere, and they give that spicy edge to anything.

2. Which vampire(s) brought you to the dark side?

The Lost Boys - I never really though about vampires before that film. I saw it when it first came out in the cinema and never looked back. It's only looking back that its possible to see how the film changed vampire movies and how ground breaking it was, but, at the time it was definitely ground breaking for me. I never identified with Dracula or Mina or Lucy, but Sam and Michael and the very good looking Lost Boys - now them I could totally feel.

3. TV, Movie or Books - have a favourite vampire medium?

I love vampire movies. While I enjoy TV and books and occasionally comics, it is definitely movies that have me. I collect them, so I have some really, really bad ones, as well as the ones I really love. I think I have over 400 of them - not that I have seen them all yet - some are yet to be watched :). There is such a range in vampire movies and every time they have a resurgence I cheer.

4. All time favourite vampire?

Um ... this is hard ... I think I have to go for Regine (Julie Carmen) from Fright Night part II - she is bold, she is beautiful, she is ruthless and I love her style.

Beutiful dark haired woman with yellow eyes and long vampire fangs, in a red dress, opening her mouth wide and looking at the camera.

5. Current favourite vampire?

Adam (Tom Hiddleston) from Only Lovers Left Alive - he's so melancholy, but so focused and sexy. It's also a great film with a moody arty feel - not the usual kind of vampire movie I enjoy, but totally captivating. Okay, yes it also might have something to do with who plays him ... I'm not obsessed, I'm focused! :P

6. All time least favourite vampire?

Mama Dracula! Got the VHS out of a previous viewed bin at Blockbuster many years ago and hated her and it. There are many things I will forgive in a vampire film, but being deadly boring is not one of them.

7. Favourite vampire book?

It's a toss up between Salem's Lot by Stephen King and Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice (read the 1st 3 vampire chronicles books, but can't get into the rest). On balance, given how many times I have read each and seen the film/mini series adaptations, I think I have to go with Salem's Lot. I either love Stephen King books or I loathe them, this one I adore and my copy is so battered I probably need to get a new one soon.

8. Favourite vampire movie?

Fright Night (1985) with Fright Night part II a close second. The original Fright Night is a classic (don't get me on to the remake, I will rant ;)) and has everything I love about vampire movies. It has dark moments, it has comedy, it has wonderful special effects, it has plot, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry and I love everything about it. It comes out at least once a year, if not more often and I never get tired of it (except the cafeteria scene which makes me cringe). Fright Night is about Charley Brewster, an average teenager with an obsession for horror movies. He gets new neighbours and notices something very strange about them, becoming convinced one is a vampire. Things get tricky from there.

9. Favourite vampire TV show?

I have several :) it could either be Moonlight with Alex O'Loughlin and Sophie Miles or Blood Ties with Kyle Schmid and Christina Cox. They are both private investigators and vampires, only in Moonlight the PI is the vampire and in the other the PI knows about the vampire. Or Kindred: The Embraced with Mark Frankel, C Thomas Howell and Stacy Haiduk from way back in the 90s - that is a re-imagining of Vampire the Masquerade. Or Forever Knight with Geraint Wyn Davies and Catherine Disher - cops and vampires ... I should stop.

If I have to choose one out of all of them, I think I have to go for Kindred: The Embraced - after all I have written fanfic for it :).

10. What trait does a vampire have to have for them to be a "real" vampire for you? (e.g. fangs, speed, strength, hopping, nocturnal etc)

For me they have to have fangs. There are a couple of exceptions, but the fangs have it usually, I am afraid. It doesn't matter what kind of fangs, but I do like my vamps to be able to snarl ;).

11. Any vampire fanfiction recs?

Um - I will have to think about this and come back to fill in this space later.

12. Do you create vampire content - what is your favourite of your own creations?

Oh, lord, which to pick. I think I am most proud of my Harry Potter/Anita Blake crossover. It took the most work and I think I did a good job of melding the two universe. It's called Black Magic By Moonlight, it's 35 chapters and 169.6K long and it can be found on: AO3 or Wattpad

Harry gets himself almost sacrificed on a trip to St Louis, which ends up involving Anita Blake, most of the preternatural community and Draco, who was the one who sent Harry away to get some rest in the first place.

So when I originally wrote this I was totally in fandom mode, but decided to cheat and mention original fic too :). I have a vampire book out I am very fond of called Dead Before Dawn: The Vampire Curse - it's in eBook & paperback from Amazon, just eBook from Smashwords. Gay characters, bi characters, poly relationship, angst, humour - I tried to get it all in there.

Max Statton's life will never be the same again. While in Moscow for the premier of his new movie he is attacked by one of the city's resident vampires. Bitten and infected, only a team of local vampire hunters prevent him being dragged into the violent underworld of the undead. Fighting for his very existence, Max must resist the vampire curse with everything he has.

13. Any unusual vampire law you would like to share with us?

Vampires don't have to just be staked with wood in folklore - sometimes they were staked with iron or other metals. The original idea was that if you impale the corpse into the ground or into its coffin, it can't rise as a vampire.

Have a go at the Blanket Box

If you would like to have a go at the Blanket Box, here are the questions in a neat little list for copying and pasting. You don't have to answer all of them, just have fun :) Drop a link in the comments if you do it so I can come look at your answers!
  1. Why do you love vampires?
  2. Which vampire(s) brought you to the dark side?
  3. TV, Movie or Books - have a favourite vampire medium?
  4. All time favourite vampire?
  5. Current favourite vampire?
  6. All time least favourite vampire?
  7. Favourite vampire book?
  8. Favourite vampire movie?
  9. Favourite vampire TV show?
  10. What trait does a vampire have to have for them to be a "real" vampire for you? (e.g. fangs, speed, strength, hopping, nocturnal etc)
  11. Any vampire fanfiction recs?
  12. Do you create vampire content - what is your favourite of your own creations?
  13. Any unusual vampire law you would like to share with us?

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Review - Moon Child (2003) [vampire, gangster]

Title: Moon Child

Summary: After Japan suffers a major economic crash, many Japanese move to mainland china, one of whom is the vampire Kei. On the verge of death he is found by an orphaned boy, Sho, and saves him from gangsters out to take revenge for Sho, his brother Shinji and friend Toshi, stealing to survive. Sho and Kei form a bond that endures through the ups and downs of Sho's mortal life.

Hyde ... Kei
Gackt ... Sho
Leehom Wang ... Son
TarĂ´ Yamamoto ... Toshi
Susumu Terajima ... Shinji
Zeny Kwok ... Yi-Che

So this film is part vampire movie, part gangster film with all the craziness of a live action manga. It was written by Gackt, Kishu Izuchi and Takahisa Zeze and it's engaging and has surprising depth.

Now I know what you're thinking, a movie part written by a musician (Gackt) and staring said musician and another musician (Hyde) who happens to be a good friend of his - it's going to be terrible, right? Wrong. This film is brilliant. It makes me cry every single time I watch it ... and it makes my husband cry too.

Let me give you the low down.

This is Kei (Hyde) and he's a vampire.

When Sho first meets him he's not doing so well and he looks like this:

At this point Sho is not Gackt because he's a wee thing and is played by Kanata Hongo (isn't he adorable):
Sho saves Kei's life and in return Kei deals with some bad guys who are after Sho and his little gang. Sho then grows up into Gackt, learning from Kei and pulling off daring heists against gangster types and generally being a little shit.

There's a whole love story going on (unfortunately not Kei and Sho) while Kei angsts about being a vampire and Sho grows up to be a big shot gangster himself.

There is angst (oh boy, is there angst), there is love (familial, romantic, it's all in there), there are amazing gun battles (don't worry about the physics ;)), there are themes of deep racial divide (Sho and Kei are immigrants in a country that doesn't really want them), there is hopelessness (the story has an inevitability in its journey), there is heartache (if you have a soul you will cry ;)), there is comedy (Gackt can be very silly when he wants to be), there are vampires (they just fit)—there is everything we could ever want from a movie. This is a film that has it all.

This movie takes us through Sho's lifetime and it feels as if we are there every step of the way. It makes us laugh with him, love with him, bleed with him, and then it gives us Kei too, who has just as much depth, as well as a plethora of supporting characters who become real to us.

This is a great film that doesn't get enough respect and I thoroughly recommend it.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Why Distance Can Be Our Greatest Ally When Drafting Fiction #TipsTuesday

Why Distance Can Be Our Greatest Ally When Drafting Fiction

We all know we can be a bad judge of something when we are too close to it. Bad decisions can come from having too much invested in a situation or having far too much information to know which way to look next.

The same goes for writing fiction.

Distance can be the answer for different aspects of the process.

Image from Pixabay via Pexels

Writer's Block

We've all had those times when we just run out of steam as we're writing, we burn out.
  • All the creativity dries up. 
  • We start to hate our plot or our characters.
  • We can't seem to think of a way out of the blind alley we seem to have written up.
  • Everything we write is clearly terrible (to us at least).
  • We get caught up in an editing cycle that is going nowhere because new words and ideas are so hard.
These problems can often be solved by a little distance. Step back, walk away, work on something else for a little while. 
  • Sometimes it takes hours - sleep on it, 
  • Sometimes days - focus on another project for the rest of the week
  • Sometimes weeks - put the manuscript away, bring out other projects, be they creative or managerial.
It all depends on the work, but putting it aside and coming back to it can give perspective and insight and reignite the creative fires.

Editing the All Important First Draft

Whether we use a professional editor or not, we need a decent first draft. It's exciting when we type the final word and sit back and know we have come to the end of the story - BUT - we should never be tempted to bundle it up and send it to everybody.

If we have alpha readers, we can send it to them, but, unless we are some sort of literary genius, we should all realise our first draft it not yet ready for other eyes.

However, we should also not be tempted to jump straight in with the self-editing.

At this point we have all the facts buzzing around in our heads, we know exactly what everything it supposed to mean, how it is supposed to go. If we re-read now, we are likely to miss things. The secret is to:
  • close the file
  • sit back
  • pat ourselves on the back - we've done a great thing
  • move on to something else for a couple of weeks at least.

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels
Yes, I know, I totally understand, the manuscript is our baby, we have worked very hard on it and we want it to be perfect right now! However, what we need to understand is this is unlikely to happen if we just dive right back in.

What we need is distance.

Taking that step back will allow us to see many things:
  • Spelling mistakes - there will be many we have just not noticed and coming back to text fresh helps them pop out.
  • Grammar - we often read on the page what we expect to see, or what is in our head, taking a step back gives us fresh eyes to see what is really there.
  • Pacing issues - we loved a scene so much we put in way too much information and slowed it down, or we were so excited writing something it is over way too fast.
  • Plot holes - we totally forget that Leopold needed a way to find out that Maxine was flying to Budapest before he chased after her.
  • Missing information - the fact Leopold is addicted to chocolate but is vaguely allergic to it was in our head, but we forgot to mention it, so him having a horrible headache after binge eating a whole fudge cake makes no sense.
All of these things can be helped by alpha and beta readers and editors, but if we want our first draft to be palatable and to spark excitement, we can fix a lot of this ourselves before we send it out.

In Conclusion

Our writing comes from our hearts and minds. It is part of us. Sometimes the creative process is wonderful and everything flows onto the page, sometimes we have to force every word. However, no matter how we got there, our manuscript is close to us. 

This is amazing, but it causes issues.

If we're having trouble, or we just want our work to be as good as possible for the next person to see it, what we often need is distance. Take that step back and look away for a while, it can really help.

Have you found it really hard to step away from a project either at the end or during it? Did it help in the end?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Fanfic, Fanfic Everywhere ... But Nothing A Spreadsheet Can't Handle!

Fanfic, Fanfic Everywhere ... But Nothing A Spreadsheet Can't Handle!

So as I mentioned last week, I'm really into Wattpad these days and, while I am using it to publish original fiction, I am also using it to publish my fanfiction. Then there is also a new blogging platform called Pillowfort, which is in beta at the moment, but seems to be just the place fandom and social media needs.


There is a thriving fanfiction community on Wattpad and it is still growing. When I first dipped my toe in a few years ago it all seemed to be One Direction fic, but digging deeper there is much more and expanding these days. Now while none of us can make money off of fanfic, as is proper, it is a very useful tool for expanding our audience.

Because of this I am working on adding many of my fanfiction works to my Wattpad library so my audience over there can enjoy them as well.


It's a site that is still growing, but it allows the kind of discourse Livejournal was always good at, as well as offering the reblogging functionality and media flexibility of Tumblr. Adding my fanfiction over there is a no-brainer for me :)

Fanfiction vs Original Fiction

Fanfiction is looked down on by some, but most people who read it are avid book worms. They love to read and read lots. It is only logical that there will be those who read fanfic and original ficiton at the same time. One kind of fiction may be set in another creator's universe while the other is in our own fictional universe, but they still have many things in common.

For example:
  • I love vampires and have made it my business to write them into every fandom I can manage when writing fanfic.
  • I write lots of original vampire fiction too.
  • Most of my fanfiction is slash = male/male pairings.
  • I write lots of lgbtqia original fiction.
Hence I have a crossover in my audience reading tastes. Not everyone will want to jump from one to the other, but the cross-pollination is there.

The Issue

Only one problem - I have fanfiction all over the place and I'm not sure where all of it is. Hence, this week, I have set myself the task of finding all the major places I have posted it and creating Google Sheets so I can keep track of it.

I have 338 works on AO3, but I've already found several small fics that seem to have been overlooked when going through my tags on Livejournal.

My reasoning is thus - if I have a place where everything is recorded I will know where to find it should anything happen for reasons not yet known. And I also like organising things, so my inner librarian is very happy. As long as my inner child and my inner librarian never meet, everything should be fine ;).

Over the last few years I have been writing fanfiction less and less, but I have to say, Wattpad and Pillowfort are beginning to reignite my fire, which, in turn, is helping with my original fiction mojo as well. It seems when I light one creative fire they all burn brighter :).

Do you write or read fanfiction? What are your fandoms? If not, do you have a reason for not doing so?

Friday, 6 July 2018

Fire Within by Natasha Duncan-Drake #FreeFictionFriday

Fire Within by Natasha Duncan-Drake #FreeFictionFriday

It's July, which means strawberry and cream, with champers at the tennis and this year there's footie on the telly for those who like that too. I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine. Can you believe it's been a whole year since we started Free Fiction Friday? Nope, neither could I, but my spreadsheet does not lie. The first Free Fiction Friday was on 7th July last year.

This Month's Free Story

Title: Fire Within
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: paranormal romance, lesbian
Length: ~4.5K
Maya's life is complicated because of her unusual condition and she'd got something of an emergency. A friendly and intriguing new neighbour brings complications and the hint of romance.

Now before you click - the story is completely free, but you do need a password to access it.

Soph and I do Free Fiction Friday for the subscribers to our newsletter to say thank you for being members.

We never spam our newsletter. 

In fact it mostly gets used to tell everyone about the free story each month, with the odd other update in between with special offers and new releases and such :).

The password for the current month's story is always in the final welcome email for those who sign up to the newsletter, so no-one misses out even if they sign up after the announcement email for the month goes out.

Please, please, please don't forget to tick the little email box at the bottom of the sign-up form, otherwise we can't send you emails and we will never be able to tell you about more free short stories (yes, I know, you'd think signing up to a newsletter would automatically mean you agreed to emails - but GDPR is a royal pain).

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The Delights of Wattpad - Come Join the Fun

The Delights of Wattpad - Come Join the Fun

Okay so I meant to post this yesterday, but got hung up on other things :) hence the Writerly "Almost" Wednesday.

I am really into Wattpad these days and post over there a lot, and I wanted to share the joy (My Profile on Wattpad).

About the Wattpad Community

Wattpad isn't like Amazon or Smashwords. It is not a site where you put your books for sale and run. Fiction on Wattpad is free, but it has some amazing opportunities for writers, as well as a phenomenal amount of content for readers.

There are some ads, but that's how the site supports itself, so it's only fair, and they are non-intrusive (unlike some sites I could mention). If you want a completely ad-free experience and to support Wattpad more, there is the new Premium service that is explained here.

Wattpad is also not just a site for fanfiction (that would be the wonderful AO3) - although some people seem to be under the mistaken impression that this is what Wattpad is for. We do have a thriving fanfiction community - I know, I post to it, but there is a huge amount of original based content too - I post to that too.

And for those worried about plagiarism (which I have seen bandied around when I've mentioned Wattpad on here before) - there is a strict code of conduct and systems in place to stop this from happening, or remove offending content if it does occur. Wattpad takes such things very seriously (Copyright FAQ).

To experience Wattpad to its fullest takes engagement - it's a community and to appreciate it best we have to become part of the community. But for a little effort, the rewards are countless. Not least of all, making friends!

click image to visit my profile
Wattpad is all about engagement. It has an Ambassadors program of users who volunteer to help Wattpad support the community. Ambassadors do things like help run certain profiles (Directory of Ambassador run profiles), and they are also there to help users.

There is a very comprehensive explanation of what the Ambassadors do on the Wattpad support site for those who are interested: Wattpad Ambassadors. And a great piece on them on the Wattpad Writers' Portal (more on this later). There is also the @Ambassadors profile which has lots of useful information too.

First things first, Wattpad is a Canadian company and we all know what a reputation Canadians have for being nice. Well Wattpad is the epitome of that - they want to do everything they can to make sure their users have the best time on their site.

That being the case, there are Ambassador teams for other languages - so the site is not just all about stories in English. Wattpad has users from all across the globe and they work hard to support everyone they can.

Wattpad is for readers and writers. It has aps as well as a website, so just about anything you can do on the website, you can also do on your phone or your tablet, and vice versa.

Writing on Wattpad

Now, I will be the first to admit, when we start with Wattpad it seems a little daunting. One little account among millions with no followers and it can be like shouting into a void when we post our stories. However, Wattpad want you to find readers, they want you to succeed, hence there is:

The Writer's Portal is there to give us advice on:
  • how to become a better writer, 
  • how to grow our audience
  • how to be inspired
  • as well as tell us all about programs and opportunities for writers on Wattpad.
It is a one stop shop for all the info we need to get started and to grow.

Wattpad is also not just for fiction, there is a non-fiction and a random category. Want to share your recipes with the world? Create a recipe book. Have an inner Wordsworth trying to get out? Publish your poetry. (There are comprehensive Content Guidelines here if you are worried what you want to post is not allowed).

Reading on Wattpad

Want to just read amazing stories? That's okay too, you don't have to be a writer to be on Wattpad, and writers will adore you even more if you vote and/or leave comments on the stories and story parts that you enjoy.
  • Wattpad has recommended reading lists and features stories to help us find the best of the best.
  • Ambassador run profiles have reading lists for their genres/subjects and some have anthologies full of contest winners
  • The tagging system makes it easy to find what we're looking for (Searching with Tags).
  • Prominent covers and easy to see descriptions help us to find stories worth a look.
With every account we have the ability to create our own reading lists so we can always find the stories we really liked again, and to keep up with updates on serialised fiction. Some accounts become a hub of reading lists to recommend stories to other users too.

There are also the Wattpad Clubs to find like minded people, talk about particular genres, tell the world about our current story (we just have to make sure we do that in the right thread ), and everything like that.

In Summary

So basically, what I'm trying to say is Wattpad is a great place for writers and readers alike. It has a community behind the stories and profiles, that is rich and diverse.

If you're stuck, ask an Ambassador for help (look for this symbol beside the profile name) and they will point you to where you can find the solution. Or there is Wattpad Support who have a comprehensive help FAQ and are very good at sorting out user issues that aren't covered in the documentation.

Wattpad is a rich community with some amazing quality fiction, as well as enthusiastic new writers with some brilliant new ideas. It is a platform for newbies and experienced creators alike. It is a platform for anyone who loves stories. Come and join the fun.

Any questions? 


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Recipe: Chilli Chicken/Tofu with Spicy Beans & Tomato Sauce

Chilli Chicken/Tofu with Spicy Beans & Tomato Sauce

My apologies for not updating in a while - I have been busy with a project, but I am back today with a lovely recipe to share. It is actually a cross between two recipes that I am very fond of, Chicken Marsala (I haven't posted this one yet), which gave me the technique for doing the chicken and Turkey/Soya/Quorn Chilli with Tortilla Crust and Avocado Salsa for the beans and sauce.

Updated - I forgot to mention this works extremely well with smoked tofu, rather than chicken for the vegetarians among us - the flavour goes beautifully, and coating it in flour and frying it would give the little crunch too.

Serves 4 Cooking Time 45 min


  • 4 skinless chicken breasts or 1 packet of smoked Tofu (Tofoo is fantastic)
  • 3 tbsp regular flour (for gluten free, you could use another flour of your choice - it is only to help the browning)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ tsp mild chili powder
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 skinned red pepper 
  • 500g box of passata
  • 1 tbsp chipotle (if you don't like it as spicy, reduce the amount)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup sherry (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
Rice or tortillas for serving, with soured cream and avocado salsa (optional).


  1. Put flour, pepper, salt and mild chili powder in a bag and shake to mix. 
  2. Pound the chicken breast until they are about ¼ inch thick or Cut the tofu into four equal, flat pieces.
  3. Put the chicken or tofu in the bag and shake to coat with flour.
  4. In a large frying pan (30cm/12in) or flameproof casserole heat the oil and add the chicken/tofu. Cook until golden on both sides and just cooked - about 5-6 mins for chicken, less for tofu.
  5. Remove and set aside to rest in a warm place.
  6. Chop the onion finely.
  7. Sweat down in the same pan as the chicken was cooked in, over a low heat, until translucent.
  8. Chop the red pepper into bite sized pieces and add to the pan.
  9. Add the ground cumin and stir through - cook for 1 min.
  10. Stir in the passata and chipotle - rinse out the passata box/can with a little water and add that too.
  11. Add the beans and the sherry and bring to the boil.
  12. Cook until the sauce has thickened and is viscous - can take up to 10 mins, but use your judgement.
  13. Turn the heat down, add the chicken/tofu to the pan, including any juices that came out, pop on the lid and cook for 2-3 mins until the chicken/tofu is warmed through.
  14. Serve with rice or tortillas.
This is a very hearty meal with lots of things that are really good for us. It is also very tasty and the way the chicken comes out so juicy inside and slightly crunchy on the outside it just about perfect.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Shower of Destiny by Natasha Duncan-Drake #FreeFictionFriday #Fantasy #Humour

Male torso in shower of water - Shower of Destiny over top.

Shower of Destiny by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Free Fiction Friday

It is once again Free Fiction Friday because we have hit June already (where does the time go?) and it's the first Friday. Every month Soph and I produce a free short story for the members of our newsletter to say thank you for sticking with us. These stories range from ghost stories to sci-fi with paranormal and fantasy in there too, so there is something for everyone.

This month we have contemporary fantasy with a good side of humour.

Each story is posted over at Wittegen Press and we send out the password to all our members so they can unlock the delights of the monthly offering.

If you aren't a member, fear not, the password is also contained in the welcome email for the newsletter, so if you sign up now, you'll be able to read this month's story.

Our newsletter is all about:
  • releases, 
  • competitions, 
  • special offers, 
  • our authors,
  • and any other useful information about Wittegen Press
  • as well as Free Fiction Friday every month.
We pride ourselves on never spamming our members, and you can unsubscribe at any time you wish, of course.

We'll also give you 2 FREE eBooks for joining us. You can't get these 2 anywhere else at the moment.

Free Fiction Friday for June 2018

Title: Shower of Destiny
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
Genre: contemporary fantasy, humour
Length: Short Story
Destiny is never easy to deal with, especially when it involves being accosted while naked.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Amazon KDP Author Copy Paperbacks & Local Promotion

Amazon KDP Author Copy Paperbacks & Local Promotion

We can all cheer - Amazon KDP is finally doing reasonably priced author copies of paperback books, printed in whichever market place you choose, so postage is also reasonable - yay! They are identical to the product customers get when ordering through Amazon itself.

It's really easy:

  • click on the "..." next to the PAPERBACK ACTIONS 
  • choose "Request Author Copies"
Screen grab of KDP bookshelf

  • Put in the quantity
  • Choose our market place
  • Submit the order and it will take us to our Amazon cart.
Screen grab of Amazon KDP author copies page

If we want to order more than one set of books at a time, we can go back into the bookshelf and do the same again - it will add the order to our cart.

N.B.The postage for 5 books and for 10 books was identical for me, so buying more in one go was more economical. Not sure if/when the postage changes, but we can order up to 999 books at a time, so I assume it eventually does :)

What makes this so exciting is I can finally do some local promotion without having to deal with ridiculously high postage costs and having to set up a completely separate book on CreateSpace.

As of next week (or the week after depending on when the bookmarks I'm having made arrive) Cat's Call is going to be available in The Shop on the Green, one of our village stores. The chap who runs it, Alan, is such a lovely bloke and very community minded. I had no idea how much local produce he has in there - I shall have to keep going back for the local strawberries and beer at the very least. He also had the fab idea of raising some money for charity too, so £1 from each sale is going to go to The Air Ambulance.

Now I just have to design an A3 poster and a little stand to go with the books so people know what's going on :).

I will let you all know how it goes. Alan has said I can do a signing at the shop too, which is kind of daunting, because I've never had paperbacks to do this with before, but very exciting too. Shall have to see if they sell and then decide on a signing.

P.S. Also still seeking guest bloggers to take spots on Writerly Wednesdays - anything to with books, publishing, illustration, editing etc is welcome from authors, artists, editors, bloggers. Details and form are here: Seeking Guest Bloggers

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Seeking Guest Bloggers #WriterlyWednesdays

Seeking Guest Bloggers

Greetings one and all. As the title says, I am seeking guest bloggers to fill some of my Writerly Wednesdays slots in the rest of the year.

Anyone who would like to post anything about writing/editing/publishing/illustration/books/comics is welcome:
  • Authors
  • Artists
  • Editors
  • Bloggers
  • Podcasters
  • Youtubers
What I won't take:
  • Advertising only posts
  • Posts with links to nefarious websites (yes I check all links before posting)
  • Anything that promotes hate speech or other illegal content.
Everyone who does a guest post is welcome to include:
  • an "About the Author" section with links to their own social media/blog (see example below the form)
  • an "About the Book/Comic" section about their latest creation (see example below the form)
Every post I make has a banner image similar to the one at the top of this post - it makes sharing the post on social media more visible. If you do not have a banner of your own, I would be perfectly happy to put something together for your post (default width 500px because it fits my blog layout). Something like :

I'd also be very interested in doing guest posts for other blogs as well, but post swapping is not a criteria for your post being accepted here.

Please fill in the Google form below if you are interested.


Example - About the Author

Natasha Duncan-Drake

Natasha is a British author with Wittegen Press and has been publishing genre fiction since 2011. Her work includes everything from horror to young adult fantasy and she has never met a genre she didn’t like. A prolific producer of short stories and novels alike, Natasha currently has over twenty five titles in her back catalogue with further releases always imminent.


Example - About the Book

Title: The Chronicles of Charlie Waterman
Author: Natasha Duncan-Drake
genre: contemporary fantasy
Format: eBook & Paperback

Charlie is an ordinary 18 year old whose whole life is turned upside down when he is attacked by a two inch cat figurine. Magic was not in his plans, but he soon learns reality is not quite as straightforward as he thought.

Amazon links: