Category Archives: Fun

It’s Been a While

I haven’t really had anything to report the last few weeks. I’ve seen the new cover for Crimes Against Magic, which looks very cool, so hopefully I’ll be able to share that with you all soon. Same goes for the new Born of Hatred cover.

On the writing part of my world, I’ve been plotting out book 4, Prison of Hope, and working on the novella Infamous Reign. The former’s story has changed quite a bit in the last few weeks, although in a good way. It’s got quite a lot of mythology attached, so I get to do research, which is always fun (seriously, a lot of mythology’s are nuts).

I’ll go through more details about the novella in the coming months, but at the moment it’s been quite a fun write. Hopefully that translates to other people enjoying reading it. I’m hoping to have the draft I’m working on finished by the end of July and then it’ll be editing time.

Outside of writing, I’ve just finished The Last of Us, which is probably my GotY, in fact I’d be hard pressed to find too many games this generation that have been better. The story and acting are second to none, and the gameplay is excellent. It’s also got a few genuine moments of horror, something videogames have moved away from this generation, which is a shame. I love my survival horror games, and it’s nice to see a game that embraces the scares and tension that genre brings.

 

This is something pretty special. I can see people talking about it for a long time.

I’m hoping to watch Pacific Rim at some point in the near future as it looks excellent. Guillermo del Toro is an incredible director, and quite frankly it looks like fun. Besides even if it’s not as good as I hope it is, it can’t be worse than most summer blockbusters; transformers movies, I’m looking at you.

It’s giant robots fighting giant monsters, with a good director and budget. That can’t possibly go wrong.

I saw Jack the Giant Slayer, Wreck-it-Ralph and Olympus has Fallen at the weekend as it was far too hot to do anything else.

Jack the Giant Slayer was predictable, but fun. I enjoyed it for what it was, although the story itself was incredibly thin. I also would have liked to have seen it be a slightly more violent film and get a higher rating. It was begging for a darker edge that never happened.

Wreck-it-Ralph was enjoyed more by my kids. I liked the video-game references, and the first half hour and last half hour were pretty good. It dragged like crazy in the middle though. Still I laughed a few times, so it was worth a watch.

Best bit of the movie, right here. And it occurs in the first ten minutes.

Olympus has Fallen was great fun. Yes it was silly. Actually it was stupid. But it was also 90 mins of Gerald Butler beating up bad-guys, and that’s always fun (see Jason Statham). This is a bit of spoiler for you, but there’s a scene where the White House is under siege and is being shot at with huge chain guns. These guns are blasting away at the front door of the house. To combat this threat all the Secret Service personal run to attack the bad guys, by running straight out of the front door and getting mowed down. Now, I’m not a tactics expert or anything, but I’d like to think the Secret Service are slightly more intelligent than lemmings and might not run directly into the clearly non-survivable gun fire. So, yes, this is a stupid film. Really, really stupid. But fun. Stuff blows up and Gerald Butler is entertaining in his tough-guy role. Grab a beer, settle back and forget your worries for 90 mins. Then go read something intelligent after.

Even the poster is stupid. But gloriously so.

Speaking of reading (see what I did there). I finished Sarah Pinborough’s novel, Mayhem this week. It’s a great Victorian murder mystery with more than a little dash of supernatural horror, and deals with the very true crimes of the torso murders that took place in London at the same time as Jack the Ripper. It’s nice a nice happy-go-lucky book (it’s pretty grizzly in places), but it’s an excellent read.

I also finished Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Saga book 1, The Magician. What a book. It was incredible, and I can’t wait to start the other 2 in the first trilogy (although I’m going to take a break for a little while and read something else). I can’t believe it took me so long to discover it.

The cover is awesome.

And lastly, I have a tattoo booked for the 22nd July, for my half-sleeve on my left arm, my right arm already has Harley Quinn on it, so I’d need something a little less involved for that one. It’s my birthday present to myself (which is on the 25th July), as I’m a firm believer that you should always get yourself something nice for your birthday. This process can also be extended to Christmas, Weddings and because it’s Friday, so why not.

 

Somewhere on my arm will be a Kitsune mask tattoo.

 

 

Have a good week one and all.

 

Competition and Questions

Well, it’s been 2 weeks since I announced my signing with 47North and I’d just like to take a moment to say thanks for everyone who offered their congratulations.

The support has been pretty much universal, but there have been questions, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to go through them.

 

What’s happening to books 1 and 2?

They’re being re-released in Sept of this year with new covers and some edits inside. The story remains the same, but the edits will change a few bits and make a few things easier on the reader. If it make you feel better, think of them as my Director’s Cut.

 

When will book 3 be released?

Feb 2014.

 

Are there more Hellequin Chronicles books to come?

Yes, I have notes for lots of them. So there’s going to be no shortage of stories.

 

Will Prison of Hope, book 4, be released in 2014?

I have no idea. Ask me the question after book 3 is released and I may have a different answer. But I have to write it first.

 

Will there be any novella’s?

Yes, yes there will be. I’ve got notes for quite a few of those too. One of which, Infamous Reign, will be hopefully released this Halloween. I’ll go into more details soon, but it’s turning into quite the enjoyable little story. And hopefully it’ll be a nice way to get ready for With Silent Screams.

 

I think they were the main questions I received over the past fortnight, but if you have any others, feel free to ask and I’ll put them in my next blog.

 

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So, now onto the results of the competition.

Firstly, thanks to everyone who entered. Because there were so many people taking part, I’ve decided to not only give away a Paperwhite to the winner, but also signed copies of Born of Hatred to the next 2 names picked.

And without further ado. My lovely assistant, Harley, will draw a name from a hat.

My wife and my lovely assistant, Harley.

My wife and my lovely assistant, Harley.

Firstly, the two runners up, who both get a free signed copy of Born of Hatred.

Jacob Stein

and 

Kaela Martin

Born-of-Hatred (1)

and the winner is:

Ken Haugen

 

Congrats to all of the winners. You all have 14 days to let me know where to send your winnings.

Competition

This is just a brief update.

Due to the huge number of entries, I’ll be doing the draw tomorrow afternoon. This should give everyone in different timezones enough time to get their answer in before the competition ends.

I’ve also decided that there will be a second and third place, each person will receive a signed copy of Born of Hatred.

Back tomorrow with the results.

Update 3.3

There’s going to be a bit of a re-occurring theme going on with this and the previous posts, but I’m almost done with this draft of the book. Once that’s done I have a bunch of edits to do, so unfortunately I don’t have a release date for you just yet. But I do appreciate everyone being very patient.

I also know that I said there was going to be a competition to win something cool, and there will be, but I’m sort of waiting on a few things before I go ahead with it, so as soon as I get the okay, you will all know what you can win and how.

This has nothing to do with what you can win. Nope, not even slightly. I just really like the picture.

In the meantime, if you have any interest in winning something very cool, read Born of Hatred. The question I’m going to ask will come from that book.

I know it’s all very vague, but I promise all will become clear in the near future.

 

Other news:

 

I saw the new Star Trek last week and it’s fantastic. If you have any interest in Star Trek or the first movie in the re-boot, go see the new film, you won’t be disappointed. I was even impressed with the 3D, something I don’t normally care about even slightly.

 

 

These three men are so good in the film.

I took Mim (my eldest daughter) to go see The Croods at the weekend too. It was good fun, although incredibly formulaic; new younger person intrudes in the family, causing friction with dad who was in charge. Everyone in the family begins to love him, except dad, which leads to a clash between the two. They make up and work together. Despite that it was funny, and silly and made me laugh a few times, which is the important thing when it comes to kids movies.

And then next week it’s Superman. Which had better not suck, it’s been far too long since a good Superman film (a non animated one).

Please be more like Dark Knight  and not Dark Knight Rises.

Also, finally got round to watching Archer Season 4. I love Archer, which if you haven’t seen before, shame on you. It’s probably the funniest TV show on at the moment, although it is definitely not for kids.

Danger Zone!!!!!

Speaking of TV, Michael J Fox is back with a TV show, the trailer of which looks awesome. I’m glad to see him back on TV after so long, Spin City was one of my favourite comedy shows when it was on.

 

So, that’s it from me for another week. I hope you all gave a good weekend. I’m off to do some more writing.

Fun With Maths

Another small update this week as I’m still neck deep into writing With Silent Screams. I should have more news about it in the next few weeks.

First of all, I finished Tomb Raider. It’s  great game and one I can highly recommend. I do have 2 small problems with it. 1. There aren’t enough tombs to actually raid. And 2. There are a few too many enemies, especially toward the end of the game where it can feel like you’re being swarmed. If it weren’t for the fact that the combat is excellent, that would be a much bigger issue.

As it stands though, it’s 10-12 hours of awesome. Personally I can’t wait for the inevitable sequel (as it’s the best selling Tomb Raider game ever, there will be a sequel.)

Bioshock Infinite also has some of the best adverts I’ve ever seen for a game.

However, next week it’s Bioshock Infinite. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the original Bioshock. While Bioshock 2 wasn’t as good, I have a feeling that Infinite is going to be something special. It’s a shame they’re releasing all of these incredible games in such a short space of time. Damn them.

Savour the awesome.

I actually got some reading done last week too, which is a bit of a novelty for me. I finished the first Star Wars –New Jedi Order book: Vector Prime. I haven’t read too many of the expanded universe stuff for Star Wars, but with a new film in the pipeline I figured I’d read some more. Turns out it was excellent.

 

Slight Spoiler – One of the main characters from the series dies in this book in probably the single best death scene I’ve ever read. It’s just utterly epic stuff, and while it’s a shame they died, it was done well and it appears that they’ll be building on it so it’s not a throwaway.

 

 

 

On the writing front, I’ve realised I’ve sold over 22,000 books of Crimes Against Magic and Born of Hatred.

In fact, if I can get all mathy for a minute, in 2012 I sold:

 

Crimes Against Magic – 9300

Born of Hatred – 2300

 

So far (Jan and Feb) in 2013, I’ve managed:

Crimes Against Magic – 5100

Born of Hatred – 5500

 

It’s a wonderful achievement for me personally, and I can’t thank everyone who supported me or purchased a book enough. But thank you none-the-less.

If anyone is interested in what my magic secret is… well, I wish I knew. Because I’d tell everyone.

 

 

So, that’s it for this week. Have a good weekend all.

Tombs and Assassins

No real blog today as I’m deep into writing With Silent Screams (about ½ way through now) and trying very hard to not think about making notes for book 4 and 5. Why ideas always pop into my head when I’m meant to be doing something else, I have no idea. Not complaining mind you, it’s just awkward.

On the non writing front, I’m playing the new Tomb Raider. If you own a PS3 or 360 or a PC, buy this game. It’s simply incredible. I’m about 6 hours in and it’s very hard to put down.

Her voice work is, for the most part, excellent. The same can’t be said for the rest of the cast, but they’re all serviceable.

It also has a good story, a rarity for a game, which was written by the always good Rhianna Pratchett (who wrote the excellent Mirrors Edge). Very few videogames have a story that’s engaging and well written, but in the last few months there have been several. Ni No Kuni and the Bafta winning Dishonored are the two off the top of my head. Hopefully with Bioshock Infinite out at the end of the month, it’s a trend that’ll continue.

Very few games make you feel as much of a badass as this game.

So, that’s my recommendation for anyone wanting to play a videogame: Tomb Raider. Although, both Ni No Kuni and Dishonoured are well worth your time – the latter my favourite game from 2012 and should be played by everyone.

So, that’s it for this week. Short and sweet. Have a good weekend.

Born of Hatred Competition – Results

Hello, all!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday/drunken evening of frivolity, depending on what you celebrate. I had a very nice time, with an awesome Christmas dinner (made my myself and my wife) and some great presents, including the Lord of the Rings extended blu-ray set and a G.B.F (Garrett Bobby Ferguson or Giant Bearded Face) t-shirt.

What the hell is G.B.F? I hear you cry.

This is G.B.F. And if you’ve ever seen Regular Show, you’ll know why he’s awesome.

But discussing my fantastic Christmas haul, isn’t why we’re here. It’s to announce the winners of the Born of Hatred competition. One lucky person will win a Lego Nate.

I’m going to use this picture at every available opportunity.

I’d just like to thank everyone who took part. As my daughter, and usual name picker, is otherwise engaged with whatever present she wants to play with today, the winners names were picked out via an incredibly geeky formula I did in Excel. So it was utterly random and completely unknown to me who would win what.

So, in reverse order.

Third Prize

You win a poster sized (20 by 30 inches) copy of the cover to either Born of Hatred or Crimes Against Magic (you can pick which), signed by myself and the artist, Eamon O’Donoghue. And a signed bookmark.

Ben Dean

 

Second Prize

You win the same as above (poster of your choice and a bookmark), along with a signed copy of Born of Hatred.

Deanne

 

First Prize

You win a poster sized copy of both covers (Born of Hatred and Crimes Against Magic), both signed by Eamon and myself. A bookmark. A signed copy of Born of Hatred. And the Lego Nate. And the winner is:

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Natalie Westgate

Congrats to all of the winners. I’m picking up the posters in the beginning of Jan, and will just wait until the books turn up until I send everything out. So, you may not get them for a few weeks, but I’ll let you know when everything is sent.

As before, the winners now have 10 days to contact me and let me know their address so I can send them their prizes.

Thanks to everyone who took part, and have a good weekend.

The Past Week

The past week has been one of editing. Editing is a solitary job and sometimes it’s a depressing one. But it needs to be done, so you just get on with it. When the book is ready, I’ll post the Prologue and first two chapters like I did with Crimes Against Magic.

Until it’s ready, I figured I’d go through what impressed me and what didn’t during the past week. And something that didn’t.

The good.

Batman #13 – Death of a Family part 1.

I imagine most people have seen Heath Ledger’s excellent portrayal of the joker in The Dark Knight. He captured the insanity of the character very well.

Scott Snyder goes one further. This is a joker I would be terrified of. It takes him 3 sentences to turn the Joker into the kind of character that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie.

If anyone out there wants to know how to write suspense or horror, read the first 5 or 6 pages of this book. And then read the rest of it. This is only the first part, but I can imagine it’s going to be a hell of a nasty journey for the reader. And I can’t wait.

Oh and the art work is incredible. Easily the best book DC puts out.

Avengers Vs X-men

It’s done. Over. Finished. And I enjoyed it. It was probably the best ‘summer event’ from comics I’ve read in a long time. Yeah some of it was stupid, and some of the character work was… off. But other than that, well worth your time.

Uncanny Avengers

Well that was great. Firstly the art is superb. Incredible work from John Cassaday, who makes everything look like fantastic.

The story was good too. Rick Remender is an excellent writer, and I for one am very interested in seeing where it goes. Judging from the end of the book, it’s going to go to somewhere very interesting.

The Bad

 

Dark Shadows

I watched this the other day and basically it’s saved by two things. Jonny Depp is great. Eva Green is stunningly beautiful. I mean she can act too, but it’s her beauty in this film that wins out. Other than those two things, it was dull and didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be, horror or comedy and it didn’t really work as either. On the plus side, once more… Eva Green.

 

 

There’s no ugly, because nothing I watched or read was that terrible, and I tend to avoid reality TV like the plague.

I did get some writing done on book 3 (With Silent Screams), although not enough to consider it impressive. I’ll be doing Nano this year, because I’m insane apparently. My plan was to get a lot done then and finish book 3 in Jan/Feb when I take time off work. But they turned me down to take the time off, so I need to re-think it.

Until next week, have a good weekend. And it’s almost Halloween soon. That’s something to look forward to.

Interview with The Ink Babes

I’ve got a treat for everyone today, with an interview with the fantastic Ink Babes. The Ink Babes are 3 talented women-Pat Hollett, Lisa Forget and Tammy Crosby-who put together the Bleeding Ink anthology –  60  dark tales by 40 authors – from short stories to poetry.

Here’s a small excerpt:

Through The Eyes of Him – By Christian Riley

 

He walks these same streets of this city in which I live in—San Francisco. I know this, because I’ve recognized certain familiar features. Store fronts. Buses. Street names. And he’s here now, in this day and age of which I also live. I know, because I read about the work he does in the San Francisco Chronicle. Or, I watch it on the evening news. And the perversion within this particular detail is that I don’t really need to follow the news in order to learn about his work. I don’t need to read about what he did the night before. And that’s because, I’ve already witnessed it.

I see it glowing on my bookshelf now, in the spot I’ve made for it next to a wooden bowl; the mask of death I picked up at a yard sale last year. Rightfully so, I thought it’d make an excellent addition to the decorum I’ve got going on in this home of mine; a one bedroom studio right above Marley’s Dark Roast Cafe.

It is made from what I think is cocobolo wood, with shades of brown, and hints of red. Although I’m no anthropologist, I believe this thing was crafted by some witch doctor from the jungles of South America. Or the plains of Africa. It’s got that kind of look to it, you know, roughly hewn, tribal.

It’s a mask for crying out loud, so of course I’ve worn it. I held it up to my face the first time I found it, looked through those gaping holes as if they were my own eyes. No big deal.

But then I noticed it was glowing red one evening, like it’s doing now. And yes, I held it to my face on that night as well. And yes, I saw something much more than the confines of my apartment. I watched in lurid horror, as a nightmare unfolded in the streets of this city . . .

Him.

I don’t know this man. Don’t know his name, or where he lives, or what he does for a living. Hell, I don’t even know what he looks like. But I know what he does when the day grows black, and the night crawls out from the sewer to bathe the citizens in the stench of decayed debauchery common to a beautiful city like this one.

I’ve seen how he stalks young women, barely-dressed prostitutes standing on corners, eyes scanning passing vehicles and walking patrons, searching for that next meal. He usually stands between two buildings, black trench coat, studying his victims. Yes, he kills these women. He’s a murderer. A predator. A hunter of the weaker beings within our species.

But what does that make me?

Sometimes he gets bold with this hobby of his—killing more than one person in the same evening. On those nights, this mask glows fire red, like a smouldering ember. Warm to the touch, as I place it over my face, sit back on my couch, and then watch him jerk people around with his strong arms, gag, and bound them in the back of his car, rip at their clothes. After he strangles them, when their last breath comes to a complete gasp, he drags them out onto the street, or parking lot, and then buries a two-foot long piece of rebar into their back—the signature of his work.

I see it all.

There’s plenty more where that came from.

And here’s an interview with the lovely ladies, themselves:

The Ink Babes

 Tammy Crosby

Lisa Forget

Pat Hollett

1. So, why don’t you tell us all a bit about yourself?

We’re three women who sought a way to bring together wonderful writers, great stories, and package it into something dark and delicious.

2. What made you decide to self-publish?

So many things, but a big part of was that we wanted creative control over it, and the learning experience as a whole. An anthology seemed like a fun manageable project to tackle. Since it’s so unique from anything we’ve seen so far, it would have been even harder to place with a traditional publisher. Not to mention we wouldn’t have gotten to know so many amazing authors! J

3. Do you have a favourite book or author? What are they?

Well it’s a given that we all like Kelley Armstrong, since we all met up as members of her OWG writing group. 😉

 

4. What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

(Pat) Having just bought a new home, I spend a lot of time unpacking and working on the house.

(Tammy) Well, when I’m not a full time working mom, I love to get out and play hockey once a week and possibly take the dog out for the occasional trail run when I have the energy for it.

5. Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Currently, we’re all working on our own manuscripts which we put aside while working on the Bleeding Ink Project.

6. What has been your favourite part of this writing/publishing experience? The scariest?

Favourite part has to be working together. We get along so well, it’s like working with best friends. We laugh together and agree on most things. We also challenge each other as well. The scariest? Same as it is for any author I suppose, will they like it? That’s always the big fear.

7. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

(Pat)I guess it happens. I just work on something else if it does. The ideas always seem to flow, if not for one story, then for another.

(Tammy) Since I have so little time to devote to writing I’ve never had a block. *knocks on head*

8. How did you come up with the title?

Tammy has always liked the quote “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” By Ernest Hemingway. So Bleeding Ink just seemed to be a natural fit for our first work

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep putting those fingers on the keys. Never quit. You could be the worst writer on earth, but if it FILLS you up, heart and soul, then by all means, keep writing.

10 . Best and worst writing tip you’ve learned?

(Pat) Grab a hold of the reader and make them hang on for the ride has been the best writing tip I’ve learned.Can’t really say there are any bad writing tips, just different opinions about how to write.

(Tammy) Best tip is to read your work aloud. It’s amazing to me how you can ‘hear’ the pacing of the words when you read them aloud. Never had a ‘bad’ writing tip. Some work, some don’t, but it’s different for everyone.

11. Tell us about your cover. Where did the idea come from?

Tammy designed the cover. She’s great with Photoshop and she’s done many banners and icons for us writers and bloggers.

12.Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Just that we really hope you enjoy the anthology. We really did our best to pack it full of a wide variety of pieces to the reading both short and thought provoking.

13. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

(Pat) I think when I first started writing. Anyone can be a writer. But, you strive to become an author. I believe that’s what most writers hope to accomplish through their work.

(Tammy) When I wrote the first draft of my first manuscript. That was when I truly thought, I’m a writer. Good or bad…yet to be decided. 😉

14. What is the last book you read?

(Pat) Currently reading Game of Thrones.

(Tammy) Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong, are you seeing a pattern here? Lol

15. You can be any comic book superhero – Who would you be?

(Pat) Definitely Thor

(Tammy) Lara Croft. I want big boobs and bigger guns. 😛

 

16. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

(Pat) Don’t let other people hold you back from doing what you want to do. Listen to your inner guide, and do everything you dream of doing. (Tammy – yup that about sums it up! J )

17. If you found a time machine, where would you go, and when?  (What time period)

(Pat) Either back to the time of knights and castles in England, or ahead to see the future here in Canada.

(Tammy) – I’d stay put. For women there was never really a ‘good’ time to be one so I’ll just stay right where I am and hope for the best.

18. What TV shows do you enjoy?

(Pat) Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Dallas.

(Tammy) – Mentalist, Vampire Diaries, Project Runway, and I’m really looking forward to Elementary starting soon.

19. Someone wrongs you. Do you get revenge or allow Karma to do it for you?

(Pat) like Karma biting people in the ass, but then again, Karma sometimes needs a little help… LOL!

(Tammy) Depends if it involves my kid or not. 😉

20. You get turned into a werewolf, who do you pee on first?

(Tammy) – Without a doubt, our new puppy Max. He’s peed on pretty much everything I own, so it’d be only fair.

21. What was the last movie you went to see?

(Pat) The Hunger Games. (Tammy – yeah me too, I don’t get out much.)

And that’s the end of the interview. Thanks to the Ink Babes for taking part, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did. If you want to learn more about The Ink Babes, you can go:

Blog

Smashwords

And Now the Winner

This is going to be a quick post, because I’m neck deep in edits for Born of Hatred. So, I just came in to thank everyone who took part in the competition to win a signed copy of Crimes Against Magic.

The last time I did this, I got my daughter to pick the winner. Well, she wasn’t in the room at the time, so my wife did it.

This is something else stunning in place of my wife. If I posted a picture of her on my blog she would kill me. And no one would ever find my body.

And the winner is:

Kelly Lawrence

Congrats to you, Kelly. You now have 1 week to let me know your address, so I can send it to you.

And to those of you who didn’t win, I’m sorry. But maybe next time.

And that’s almost it for this week. I just have time to say that the superb writer, Paul Tobin, has given me an excellent interview on his blog.  Go here to read it in all its fantastic glory.

Have a good weekend all.