Recommendations from My Recent Reads by Charlie N. Holmberg

It’s been a little while since I last had a guest post on my blog, so here’s fellow 47North writer, and all round awesome person, Charlie N. Holmberg.

Take it away, Charlie.

 

 

 

 

I love a good book. Who doesn’t? So when Steve invited me to guest post on his blog, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books from the last few months and spread the reading love!

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

 

Cruel Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a bit of a Rumplestiltskin flare. I loved this upper-YA read because the protagonist has nursed a hateful streak in her heart over eight years, and she’s sent to marry a “hateful” demon with the intention of killing him and saving her country. There are some great twists and character developments in this novel, and the way Hodge pieces together the ending is perfect.

 

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

 

This is my first Audible.com book! I’m a huge Jim Gaffigan fan, though I admit this is more a satirical book on parenting then standup-on-paper. But it’s an enjoyable read/listen, especially if you’re a parent (actually, if you’re not a parent, you probably won’t enjoy it as much. Recommended for parents!). It’s clever and a dash sentimental, too.

 

Shadows Beneath by the Writing Excuses Podcast Team

 

Shadows Beneath is the new Writing Excuses Anthology, put together by Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Brandon Sanderson. The quirky thing about this book is that it includes a transcription of the brainstorming sessions for each short story, as well as the stories’ first drafts and edits. It’s interesting if you’re a writer, or even just an avid reader.

 

I really enjoyed three of the four short stories, with Kowal’s “A Fire in the Heavens” being my favorite (“Sixth of Dusk” by Sanderson is a close second). And the cover is fantastic to boot!

 

~*~

4f200-charliepic1-1

Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses.

 

Links

 

Website: CharlieNHolmberg.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CNHolmberg

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1q2JDCC

Prison of Hope – Update 1

So, based on the number of messages I’ve received recently, I guess some people are wondering what’s going on with Hellequin Chronicles book 4, Prison of Hope.

 

Right, well it’s been written and will be with my publisher soon. Then the fun part of  editing takes place. I don’t have an exact date for it’s release yet, although the beginning of next year is a good bet.

 

On the plus side, I should have news for the release dates for books 4 and 5 soon.

 

On the minus, there probably won’t be a novella out before book 4 as I simply don’t have time at the moment. I do have plans for future novellas, but they’re a sort of time willing basis.

 

Update 2 will be as soon as I get more info, but until then I hope this at least lets everyone know where things are.

 

 

Dracula: Unsure

I saw the trailer for Dracula: Untold yesterday. I’d seen people on Facebook making happy faces at it for a few weeks now, but shrugged it off as yet another depressingly dreadful vampire movie.

 

The trailer is actually pretty good. A nice mix of vampire and non vampire Dracula. The big draw here is Luke Evans.

 

If you’ve never seen No One Lives, it’s a fun horror film, where Luke plays… well, basically the nastiest, most horrific badass.

He’s an unrelenting villain who enjoys creating terror and fear. It’s not the greatest horror film of all time, but it’s an entertaining 90 minutes. But more importantly Luke steals the show. And that lends me hope that he’s the perfect fit for Dracula.

I hope the new Dracula film is good, I really do. I love vampires when they’re scary. And I’d rather see more like Angelus, or the Dracula of old, than those that sparkle when it gets sunny out.

Road Warrior

This post has nothing to do with writing. Well, at the moment it doesn’t, maybe toward the end I’ll throw in an anecdote and it’ll be witty and clever, and I’ll look back on this opening and wonder why I didn’t think of it earlier. Or I’ll mention I’m an author and feel good about dropping it in. But at the moment no writing.

 

It’s about driving.

 

I’m 34 years old (35 in a few weeks) and a few months ago I took the steps to start driving for the first time. Being 34 and being unable to drive never really felt that weird, I live near a big city, there’s lots of public transport, so I wasn’t too concerned.

 

But I have 3 kids, and a new career as an author…

archer

 

 

Anyway, it’s become evident that I need to learn to drive. So I’ve set about having lessons. I passed my theory a few weeks ago and today I set my practical test for a few months time. It was a nervous moment, knowing I have this test in a few months, but I feel okay. I’m going to to suggest that I’m some sort of genius when I get behind the wheel. Unless you count stalling it, I’m damn fine at that, but for 14 hours of driving time, I feel fairly confident I’m not going to mount the pavement and squash someone who annoyed me. Yet, anyway. We’ll see how much pedestrians keep annoying me.

 

Seriously people, watch the road, not your damn phone. Also to the people who beep me because I’m not going fast enough. Firstly, I’m obeying the speed limit. Secondly, I’m in a car with a big bloody great ‘L’ on top of it, give me a break. And lastly, you see that gear stick right next to you. Well, you can just shove it up your ass.

 

Anyway…to be honest, I’m quite enjoying driving (apart from a few other ‘drivers’), something that whenever I mention it to people who have driven for a while their response is either, “it’s awesome, you’ll love it” or “that won’t last.” Apparently the act of driving is incredibly polarising. Who knew?

 

So, that’s what I’ve been up do. Learning to drive being all grown up and stuff. I guess it took longer than usual, but it’s actually okay.

 

Oh, yeah, I’ve been editing book 4 too. I promise I’ll have a release date soonish for everyone. Book 5 should have one too. Just to drop that in at the end there.

 

Have a good week, all. I’ll be back soon.

Being Human by J. Lincoln Fenn

I’d like to welcome J. Lincoln Fenn to my blog today. She’s the author of the excellent Poe, which you can find by clicking the cover

 

 

About 50 pages into my novel I realized I was screwed—royally. And I had no one but myself to blame.

 

I’d pitched a horror novel—evil spirit, demons, gore…galore—which had attracted the attention of a publisher that loved the concept, but when I started writing this wonderfully snarky character emerged that seemed to have a mind of his own. And he wasn’t a hero. Nor did he sparkle. In fact, he could sometimes be a bit of an ass. But he had things to say, funny and occasionally wise things. It wasn’t until about page 40 that I remembered oh yeah, there’s supposed to be some satanic shit and a ghost or…something.

 

I almost thought about scrapping and starting from page one because I didn’t know how to blend these two seemingly anti-thetical tones—how do you land a joke in one chapter and trigger a shiver in the next? I’d seen it done in film a few rare times—Sean of the Dead, Zombieland—but not so much in novels. Nothing deflates tension as quickly as making light of it, which is probably why It isn’t known for making wisecracks before it teaches kids how to float.

 

Netflix to the rescue. Desperate for something different to watch, I landed on the BBC’s Being Human and found a workable horror/humor/human model. Being Human made the paranormal…normal, with relatable characters and plots that easily arced between an evil vampire takeover and a werewolf nervous about what to cook for his first date. When scenes were domestic, or funny, or exploring humanity through the eyes of paranormal characters, nothing serious happened. But when lives were at stake (or about to be staked), no jokes were allowed in. I think I watched the entire season three times. Okay, maybe four.

 

The result was POE, which people have called quirky and sardonic, and likened to the lighter flavor of horror like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural. I’ll take that. But I have to give props where props are due, and I don’t think I would have dared to take a stab at comedic horror without seeing it done as brilliantly as Being Human.

 

Thanks to J Lincoln Fenn for popping in, you can learn more about her and her work at her blog: HERE.

Hellequin Chronicles Sale USA

It’s America’s time to join in the sale fun. For today only the 3 Hellequin Chronicles are only $1,99 each. The novella is also $1.99.

Click the covers below to go to get yourselves a copy.
Joined all 4

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

Review from Liz Loves Books:

 

If you like Urban Fantasy you will love this. If you love Thrillers and Mystery but have not yet dipped your toe into the world of UF, then this is for you – you will get the best of all worlds. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to see the great words “Book 1″ in the title! “Born of Hatred” Book 2 is now sitting on my Kindle and I will be heading back to see what Nate is up too very very soon. You should come too…

 

McHugh_Born_of_Hatred_cvr_FINAL

 

Review from Bitten by Books:

“Nate is going on my list of favorite urban fantasy characters after reading Born of Hatred. I appreciate his absolute ruthlessness against evil, and his sense of integrity. While some might consider him an antihero, I definitely feel he is a good guy, even if he wears tarnished armor at times.

I definitely recommend the Hellequin series to readers who enjoy urban fantasy. They will find a lot to appreciate in these books, especially if they do not mind some gritty and violent content that is integral to the storyline.”

With Silent Screams small

 

Review by Liz Loves Books:

 

“This is definitely a set of books that has grown in stature since its humble beginnings as Nate and the mythology surrounding him has grown, developed and taken on a life of its own. So, all in all a terrific 3rd book in a series that is now absolutely one of my favourites in the Urban Fantasy stakes alongside Felix Castor and Alex Verus. Possibly not for the faint hearted but if you like your Urban fantasy absolutely Urban and fantastical these will probably bring great satisfaction.

 

 

 

And The Winners Are

A few weeks ago I launched a competition for 2 lucky people to win all 3 Hellequin Chronicles books on MP3.

The competition finished a few days ago and I’ve been going through the entries to pick the winners. The one thing I discovered is that a lot of people nominated people, several dozen in fact, which is fantastic. So, because of this, I’m going not only give away 2 copies of all 3 Hellequin books, but 10 other people will get Crimes Against Magic as an MP3 or as an ebook, it’s your choice.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

So, the 2 winners are:

 

Sarah Flynn Vilic – who picked Steve Conibear

And

Gareth Allen – who picked Darcy

 

Congrats to you both. If both of you can contact me with their address, I’ll get the copies sent out.

McHugh_Born_of_Hatred_cvr_FINAL

As for the 10 other winners, these are:

 

Hollie Roberts

Rachel Smith

Elaine Stansmore

Nth Wolf

Ian O’Neill

Gemma Averillo

Vicki Cooke

Donna Hayman Milton

Roger Gray

Justine Magill

 

 

If each of you can give me the e-mail address of the person you want it to go to (and whether they’d like the ebook or MP3), I’ll get the copy sent out to them.

With Silent Screams small

Congrats to everyone who won, and thanks for taking part. Commiserations to those who didn’t, but I’m sure there will be more opportunities to win.

Hellequin Chronicles Sale

There’s currently a sale on Amazon.co.uk, where you can get all 3 Hellequin Chronicles books for only £1 each. Click the book covers to go to the books.

 

So, if you’re yet to take a read, now’s your chance.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

 

Review from Liz Loves Books:

 

If you like Urban Fantasy you will love this. If you love Thrillers and Mystery but have not yet dipped your toe into the world of UF, then this is for you – you will get the best of all worlds. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to see the great words “Book 1″ in the title! “Born of Hatred” Book 2 is now sitting on my Kindle and I will be heading back to see what Nate is up too very very soon. You should come too…

 

McHugh_Born_of_Hatred_cvr_FINAL

 

Review from Bitten by Books:

“Nate is going on my list of favorite urban fantasy characters after reading Born of Hatred. I appreciate his absolute ruthlessness against evil, and his sense of integrity. While some might consider him an antihero, I definitely feel he is a good guy, even if he wears tarnished armor at times.

I definitely recommend the Hellequin series to readers who enjoy urban fantasy. They will find a lot to appreciate in these books, especially if they do not mind some gritty and violent content that is integral to the storyline.”

With Silent Screams small

 

Review by Liz Loves Books:

 

“This is definitely a set of books that has grown in stature since its humble beginnings as Nate and the mythology surrounding him has grown, developed and taken on a life of its own. So, all in all a terrific 3rd book in a series that is now absolutely one of my favourites in the Urban Fantasy stakes alongside Felix Castor and Alex Verus. Possibly not for the faint hearted but if you like your Urban fantasy absolutely Urban and fantastical these will probably bring great satisfaction.

 

 

2 Years Published

April 30th this year marked 2 years since I decided to try self-publishing and released Crimes Against Magic on an unsuspecting world.  A lot has happened in 2 years. So, I thought I’d go through some of the highlights in, sort of, chronological order.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

Selling a copy.

On the opening day of release in 2012, I sold 28 copies of Crimes Against Magic and was, frankly, astonished. I wasn’t really to know how things would change over the next year, but it was a hell of a start.

 

Getting e-mails from people.

This never gets old. Not once. I always love to hear from people who have enjoyed my work. I’d be crazy not to.

 

Breaking the top 10 in my genre

A great moment for me. I think the first time it happened, in July 2012, I got to #8 in urban fantasy in the US.

McHugh_Born_of_Hatred_cvr_FINAL

Publishing my second book

Born of Hatred was also self-published in Dec 2012.

 

Getting to the top 10 in my genre the UK.

Jan 2013, I had both books in the top 10 Urban Fantasy in the UK. It’s always nice to do well anywhere, but it was pretty special to get it that high up in my own country.

 

The offer.

Feb 2013 I got a call from my now publisher, 47North who offered me the chance to work with them. I said yes. Turns out that was a pretty good call on my part.

 

The re-release

September 2013, both Born of Hatred and Crimes Against Magic are re-released by 47North with edited content and new covers.

 

Top 100 part 1

Oct 2013 was the first time I broke the top 100 in the US and Canada.

Infamous-Reign

Dec 2013

I release my first novella, Infamous Reign. I’m quite proud of that little story, even if it did take me longer to write than Born of Hatred.

 

Top 100 part 2

By Feb 2014, Crimes Against Magic was in the kindle top 100 in US, Canada, UK, Germany and Australia. Born of Hatred was in UK, US and Canada.

With Silent Screams

With Silent Screams

Feb 14th was the release of Book 3, With Silent Screams. It went in the top 100 in several countries, as well as hitting the number 1 spot in 7 genres, and appears to have gone down well.

 

Waterstones

Getting a phone call from Waterstones to be asked if they can stock my books because people are asking for them was a massive moment for me.

 

Agent

April 2014, I got myself an agent in the form of Paul Lucas from Janklow and Nesbit.

Joined all 4

Future

It’s been a crazy 2 years, and I’ve met some awesome people, specifically my 47North brethren who have both incredibly fun to get to know and more help than I could possibly hope for. If there’s a closer group of writers working for any other publisher, I’d be astonished.

I’m writing Book 4, Prison of Hope, and should have a release date for you about both that and book 5 soon enough. I’ve got other things I want to write too, so I’m hoping to start the first book in a new series at the end of the year. Other than that, I have no idea what the future holds, but so long as I continue to enjoy writing and people enjoy reading my ramblings, I’ll be pretty happy.

The Hellequin Chronicles seems to have struck a chord with readers. People tell me they enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them, and I can’t ask for anymore than that.

 

Pick a Winner

Right, I figure it’s been too long since my last competition and it’s time for another one.

Joined all 4

So, here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to send the MP3 of all 3 Hellequin books (Crimes Against Magic, Born of Hatred and With Silent Screams), to 2 lucky people. I’ll sign the boxes of both and the winners will probably get some other stuff put in the bag too.

 

This is going to be a little different, because to enter I want you to nominate 1 person who you’d like these to go to and tell me why.

That’s right, we’re going to be all altruistic about this and give these to someone you think will enjoy them. It could be your other-half, your parent, child, friend, neighbour or even random dude in the street. That last one is probably a little weird. Just tell me who and why.

 

Next Friday I’ll get one of my daughters to randomly pick names out of a hat and those two people will get MP3 copies of my books sent to them.

 

Good luck

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