Friday, 26 July 2013

What every writer needs to remember

Any writer with internet access, or a library card, knows that there is a wealth of advice out there. Hundreds of people, experts or not, have something to say on the topic of writing. It’s easy to become obsessed with ‘doing it right’.

Writing the first draft can go one of two ways: you either spend very little time worrying about quality and focus on finishing, or you fixate on the million and one things you should apparently be doing in order to be a ‘great writer’. Some of us are fortunate enough to have found a way to do things that works for them.
But I want to strip it all back to basics. Because, in the end, the real judges are our readers. They are the ones that decide whether you are worthy of 5-stars. So shouldn’t we be focussing on giving them what they want?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Guest post: Go West, Young Crankshaft...


Hello, readers of Zoe’s Corner.  My name is Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. and I have written a steampunk adventure novel called Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders which released from 47North on July 2nd, 2013.  City of the Founders is the first installment in the post-apocalyptic Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin book series, to be followed by book 2: Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War on November 19th, 2013.  The Romulus Buckle series is set over 300 years in the future and follows a war zeppelin captain and his crew as they mount expeditions across the icebound surface of the earth in an area once known as Southern California.  A race of zebra-striped alien beings (known as ‘Martians’ though they came from some unknown place much further away than that) have invaded and nearly annihilated Earth, and have left behind a handful of rebel descendants and a menagerie of alien monsters known collectively as ‘beasties.’ The aliens also suppressed all electrical power and cast the world into a new ice age, so humans now rely on steam power and fantastic steam-driven machines, and have modeled their new civilization on their fragmentary memories on the old Victorian age (there are reasons for this, to be explained as the series progresses).

[Read an extract of Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders and enter the giveaway at 'this link']

I’d like to take a moment and thank Zoe for having me here to guest on her blog and also running a signed book giveaway (just make a comment on this post, or the giveaway/extract post to enter) as part of the book promotion.  I appeared here before to do an author interview (link here) on February 12th and Zoe has always been enthusiastic, kind and professional.  I have had a great experience with her and the other online book bloggers I have met and they should be proud of their contribution (and hard work) to make the internet such an informative and vibrant place for new novels, authors, and book discussions to thrive and find an audience.  I’d like to thank everyone in the UK as well, for Romulus Buckle has held the #1 spot in the Amazon UK Kindle Store science-fiction/steampunk category for nearly a week now.

So, back to the story of Romulus Buckle—I wanted to write the tale of the crew of a ship at war, an epic,

Extract and Giveaway: Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders (CLOSED)


The Pneumatic Zeppelin descended into the heart of the sprawling valley once known as the San Fernando. Low, brown foothills loomed to the south and east, their rough backs striped with rivers of snow and ice. Buckle sniffed. Despite hundreds of years, the place still stank of ash. He did not like this—going to ground when a cunning enemy like the Founders might be on the move. There was no easier target than an earthbound zeppelin. It was little more than a bounce, yes—Buckle would have his feet in the snow for only a minute or two—and the likelihood of the reclusive Founders being anywhere near the Boneyard was almost nonexistent, but a little needle of anxiety stabbed him nonetheless.

Pluteus and his grunts had better be on time, on target, and ready for evacuation.

Buckle clamped his teeth. Once Pluteus and his soldiers were aboard, they would be on their way to the City of the Founders, the most powerful clan’s fortified citadel, considered impenetrable to attack, on a desperate expedition to save their leader, Admiral Balthazar Crankshaft, from the clutches of the Founders, who had abducted him.

It was also of no small matter that Balthazar was Buckle’s father by adoption, and really the only father Buckle had ever known.

“Airship sighted!” the aft lookout’s voice rattled down the chattertube. “North northwest, five miles off the stern!”

Friday, 5 July 2013

Don't be afraid to be brutally honest

Before I go any further I’d just like to clarify that this post doesn’t encourage negative behaviour of any sort. It is about being honest with yourself and embracing change. There will be complete transparency on my part in the hope that you can learn from my mistakes.

The story starts in 2010: I was fourteen and had just decided that the rest of my life would be dedicated to writing. It was around this time that I had begun to explore the internet, discovering things that I hadn’t known existed before. Blogging was one of those things.

Naturally, I set up a blog. It had no structure, no set schedule, no definite future. In basic terms, I had jumped into it with little consideration. At around the same time I started on Twitter and for some reason I had a fairly large following. One or two were writers and that, ladies and gentlemen, sparked my next idea.
I began to consider interviewing writers. I contacted the few that had followed me, they agreed. I posted the interviews. Then I realised that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it properly.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Blog tour: Tales of Finndragon (Richie Earl)

I was about seven years old when my Dad first took me to see Morlais Castle. He showed me a huge hole in the ground, which he said had been the well, but now I think it was more likely used for waste products! He told me about the time that he’d climbed down there to rescue his brother’s shoe, but slipped when halfway down and fell to the bottom. He couldn’t climb back up and was later rescued by a local farmer. He showed me the moat, and he showed me the only structure still standing and said it was the dungeon. I think that he called it that to make it sound more exciting to a young boy, or maybe because I wouldn’t know what a crypt was.

There really wasn’t much to see, but I remember a feeling of wonder on standing in a place where there had once been an ancient castle. At the time my family lived less than a mile away and over the next three or four years, I spent many happy days exploring the area. Surrounding more than half the site, was what I thought was a natural cliff-face, making attack impossible from these sides. It seemed like such a great place to build a castle. My romantic illusion was shattered, when I later learned that the cliff had been carved out of the side of the mountain. This happened many years after the castle had been destroyed, when the area was quarried for its limestone.

The history books show that Morlais Castle was built by Gilbert De Clare. De Clare also built the magnificent Caerphilly Castle, which is still largely intact, some twenty miles to the south. Click if you want to know more about Morlais Castle.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Interview: Grant & Linc Vasser - #BeNotorious Blog Tour Day Two

Interview With Grant & Linc Vasser - #BeNotorious Blog Tour Day Two

Welcome to Day Two of the #BeNotorious Blog Tour! We are revving up to the release of the highly anticipated sequel of Katie Jennings’ family drama When Empires Fall, aptly named Rise of the Notorious

Follow along on this notorious blog tour from April 2nd till release day on April 23rd, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some AMAZING prizes!

Today’s stop is an exclusive interview with two infamous men of the Vasser Hotel family, Grant and Linc. These brothers couldn’t be more different, but if there’s one thing they have in common, it’s love of family. Enjoy!
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Friday, 29 March 2013

Interview: Claire E Smith

 You can find Claire on Twitter @SmithEClaire and on her site (here).

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.
Claire: Well, people usually associate me with coffee and/or Starbucks. I'm a huge addict ever since I was a Barista during college. And now that I work in the coffee industry during my day job, I have a higher appreciation for how much work goes into making a single cup of coffee.

My other addiction is writing. I get a little crabby when I can't write, and I've been writing for ten years. This book, the Duke's Trumpet, is my debut novel which I'm very proud of. It's written by a sci-fi fan, for a sci-fi fan and a lot of fun and a little bit of silliness.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Interview: Yvette Russell

You can find Yvette on twitter @YvetteRussell, wattpad (here), Facebook (here) and on her blog (here).

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.
Yvette: Well, to start, my name isn't actually Yvette Russell; that's a pen name. I'm not hiding my name for nefarious purposes, or because I'm ashamed of my writing or something. My answer is really quite silly... I didn't want my novels popping up in Google search results for my name, because I work as a web designer. It's as simple as that!

I'm not going to tell you what it is though, just to be cheeky, but it can be very easily found. See if you can guess!

Other than that... I'm just a web designer and illustrator living in Vancouver, Canada, though I'm originally from the prairies. I have a cat, named Daphne, who gets fussy when I'm writing and tries to sit on my keyboard (I blame all my typos on her). I love books, comics, loose-leaf tea, and thunder storms.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Interview: R. E. Palmer

You can find R. E. Palmer on twitter @R_E_Palmer or on his site (here). His debut novel Sky is going down a storm with eleven five-star reviews and multiple four-star reviews. You can buy it (here).

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.
R. E. Palmer: I'm married with two kids (12 and 17). I used to be a computer programmer until I decided to leave and train to become an Alexander Technique teacher. I've always been interested in sport and hold a 2nd degree karate black belt, I'm a cricket coach, and recently became an athletics coach. Since an early age I loved to read and grew up with the books of Arthur C. Clarke, Tolkien and John Wyndham. Readers familiar with their work will see their influence in SKY.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Review: Chasing Dolphins by September Lynn Gray

For a summary review you can go to Goodreads or Amazon.

You can buy his novelette for kindle on Amazon or Amazon UK.

Click HERE to find out what is going to happen to reviews in the new year.

Title: Chasing Dolphins
Author: September Lynn Gray
Released: 22nd January 2012
Genre: -
My Rating:  ★★★★ (4 out of 5)


Charlie loses things. She has, on occasion, lost her job, her home and even her rightful inheritance. Mainly, she loses the people she needs and loves the most. Then, on a night she always feared would come, she meets the wrong man and can only pray she doesn't lose her very life.

Review: Luna For The Lunies by Ira Nayman

For a summary review you can go to Goodreads or Amazon.

You can buy his novella in paper back or for kindle on Amazon or Amazon UK.

Click HERE to find out what is going to happen to reviews in the new year.

Title: Luna For The Lunies!
Author: Ira Nayman
Released: 10th February 2012
Genre: Science Fiction/ Humour
My Rating:  ★★★ (3 out of 5)


If you don’t read Luna for the Lunies!, you will miss the following:
This is the future: an Apple Records logo stamped on the cheek of humanity...forever.
Proper attribution format in news articles must be maintained. This is what separates us from the animals!
When everybody looks like they are starving, true starvation becomes kitsch.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Interview: Richard Ellis Preston, Jr

You can find Richard on twitter @RichardEPreston, on facebook at Richard Ellis Preston, Jr and on his site which you can find here.

Me: Tell us a little about yourself. 
Richard: Difficult question to start with.  Writers tend to be boring, which is why we love to live in imaginary worlds, right?  I have lived half of my live in the United States and half in Canada.  I moved back to Los Angeles in 1991 to pursue my writing career and spent quite a long time writing for television and made-for-cable movies.  Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is my first novel to be published.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Interview: Jesse Abundis

You can find Jesse on twitter @Jessenovels or on his website, here.

Me: Tell us about yourself.
Jesse: What can I say, I’m just a guy, with a very active imagination, random, sometimes says the things that leave you a shock but in a good way, whose passionate in the things I believe in and will fight tooth and nail for. I’m nothing extraordinary, I’m just simply me. Maybe that’s not what the readers want to read, but do they want to read about someone with a high opinion of himself/herself? I wouldn’t. We get enough of that in our daily lives.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Review: An Unfamiliar Murder by Jane Isaac

For a summary review you can go to Goodreads or Amazon.

You can buy her novella in paper back or for kindle on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Click HERE to find out what is going to happen to reviews later on this year.

Title: An Unfamiliar Murder
Author: Jane Isaac
Released: 17th Jan 2012
Genre: Crime/Thriller
My Rating:  ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)


Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder enquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim... Leading her first murder enquiry, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?