Monday, 31 December 2012

Monday Fables #14: Big Bad Handsome Man

Last post of 2012. Ahhh! Well I hope this year has been a good one for everyone. 2013 looks good. I've got a new set of short stories coming that will definitely be a challenge. And you know what? I'm going to start one of my books. I'm going to write a book this year. Will you guys support me in that endeavor?

Friday, 28 December 2012

What I Learned From 10 Queries in 10 Tweets


For those of you who don’t know, Sara Megibow is an agent at Nelson Literary Agency who represents

Fantasy/science fiction               
Juvenile fiction                
Science Fiction                
Fantasy                
Romance
Young Adult
Middle Grade and
General Romance

She also does (well, did) a weekly twitter program called “10 Queries in 10 Tweets” where she randomly went through her slush pile and talked about why she would accept or reject any given query (while maintaining the author’s anonymity).

December 3rd marked the last of the #10queriesIn10tweets series to be replaced by something new and exciting in the coming year. She is a fountain of eternal query knowledge and advice and if you aren’t following her, you really should be.

With her permission I’ve taken a few of her sessions and compiled a sample “10 Queries” set up so you can get an idea of what she talked about.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

In Which I Discuss My New Years Resolutions (and why they won't work)

So Christmas is over. It's Boxing Day here in Canada and in the UK but the brunt of the festivities are over and people must prepare to return to their everyday life - if they haven't already.

Here's a scary thought: in less than a week it will be 2013. Some people honestly believed we wouldn't make it this far and some people just laughed at them - but as each year comes to a close people everywhere resolve to make a change in the New Year, goals to improve themselves in some way. And every year, people fail. Not everyone, mind you, but New Year’s Resolutions are infamous for failing.


Monday, 24 December 2012

Monday Fables #13: Summer Wind

How ridiculously appropriate for Christmas Eve: Summer. It is Christmas Eve and I hope those who celebrate are spending the day wisely. I, myself are posting this and then heading out to volunteer as an elf at a local hospital before heading home for some last minute wrapping and family time. And even if you don't celebrate the holiday, it's a monday and the world is sort of taking a breather so enjoy the moment.


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Traditional Scottish Christmas


It’s getting close to Christmas and so I thought it would be nice to sit around the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and learn a little about Scottish Christmases. This isn’t some comprehensive guide by any means; just some little tidbits to amuse you.

 
First of all, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. Christmas Eve is the 24th and St. Stephen’s Day (also known as Boxing Day) is celebrated on the 26th – commercially, Boxing Day is kind of like Black Friday; lots of sales.

The Christmas Tree gets its origins from Germany (Tannenbaum) and are decorated with different lights and homemade decorations like holly and tartan bows.

 
 
 
Christmas Dinner is filled with many dishes but some musts are (taken from How To Have a Scottish Christmas):
SCOTTISH BLACK BUN

This cake in a crust is the traditional New Year cake in Scotland. Every housewife has her own variations. This one is from a family recipe book

PreparationFirst make a 1lb weight of short crust pastry your usual method. Leave to chill.

Take a springform (if possible) cake tin, and line with baking parchment. Set aside.

Mix together

1teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, 1/4 fresh grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper.

Weigh into large bowl 10oz plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda, mix well. Add 4oz Demerara sugar, then the spices, and weigh in 1lb currants, 1lb raisins, 4oz broken or flaked almonds, 4oz mixed candied peel.
Mix altogether well.

Add two beaten eggs, 5 tablespoons buttermilk (or milk will do) & two or three tablespoons whisky. Mix to a stiff sticky dough.

Roll out 2/3rds of the pastry and line the caketin with this. Press the fruit mixture into the pastry shell so that it is filled densely. Roll out the rest of the pastry to form a lid, and put on top in the usual way, moistening the edges with water to make then stick.

Take a long skewer, and pierce several times, right through the cake till you feel the tip touch the tin bottom. Brush the lid with a mixture of egg and milk, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 Fahrenheit; 170 Centigrade for about three hours. Test with skewer, when it is done, the skewer will not have any cake mix sticking to it.

Serve with coffee, or as the Scots do, with a wee dram of whisky!

DUNDEE CAKE

This cake is popular throughout Britain as an alternative to Christmas Cake. It is less rich, and not so indigestible. But it is originally a Scottish Christmas cake from Dundee.

Line an 8" cake tin with baking parchment. I prefer to use springform tins, as they are easier.. Set aside.

Cream together 8oz butter & 8oz sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with a little flour taken from the total weight of 10oz. This stops the eggs curdling.. Stir in orange rind, finely grated.

Sift together the rest of the flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt. Use plain flour and baking powder if you can, as it gives a better stability for the heavy fruit.

Fold the flour mix into the creamed mixture and add 2 oz ground almonds, 1lb of mixed dried fruits and 4 oz candied peels.

Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the surface, hollow it slightly in the middle so that when it rises it will not peak. Arrange whole blanched almonds around the top. Brush all over with beaten egg white. Bake in a pre-heated oven 325 Fahrenheit, 170Centigrade for about three hours. After the first hour, put a sheet of baking parchment on top, to prevent it going too dark and burning. Test with skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is ready.

SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD

This biscuit type cake is a modern version of a very ancient cake or Bannock, which was baked in honour of the Sun. Nowadays, we make marks which divide the biscuit into slices or wedges, but these marks originally were symbolic of the rays of the sun. Bannock was the old name which was used to describe a mix baked in a large flat round shape, and generally hardish like biscuit rather than cake texture.

For this recipe you need to line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Cream together 4oz butter, 3oz caster sugar (very fine). Mix in 8 oz flour& a pinch of salt. This should be a stiff dough, pliable enough to roll our like pastry. If too crumbly, add a tiny drop at a tine of ice cold water (from the fridge).
Roll out to 1/8 inch thick only. A tip here, I roll it out on a piece of baking parchment, and then lift it onto my baking tray complete with the parchment. It breaks very easily! Define a large circle by cutting around a dinner plate . Remove the bits. Then take a small circular cutter and cut away a centre hole, but not right through, just enough to get the indented shape of a circle (or a sun!). Make eight evenly spaced 'rays' or wedges around the cake. Pierce each wedge three times with a fork.. Bake in a pre heated oven at 350 Fahrenheit, 180 Centigrade for about 20 minutes. It will be softish when you take it out, but will harden as it cools - like cookies.

MAISIE MAGENNIS DUMPLING

Ingredients:1 lb.Self-Raising Flour
2 cups of Sugar
small packet Mixed Spice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
4 oz.Vegetable Suet (e.g."Atore" brand or similar)
2 lbs.Seedless Raisins, Californian
1 grated Apple
1 grated Carrot

Also, Linen Cloth to contain all ingredients while cooking. And a Pot big enough to take it all.

Mix together all dry ingredients then add raisins, suet, grated apple and grated carrot. Mix with cold water to a stiff batter.

Dust Cloth with flour, after rinsing the bottom of Cloth in boiling water. Tie Cloth tightly, but leave space to swell; tied halfway up is about right. Put in Pot.

Fill Pot with boiling water. Keep boiling and simmering for at least three hours.

-o0o-

At the stiff batter stage, we used to put silver threepenny pieces, wrapped in greaseproof paper, into the dumpling for the children to find. You might try the same with your decimal equivalent of the Silver "Thruppny".
Here is a delightful letter I received:

Dear Maria,

As an afterthought, it struck me that your folks might like some Braes of Atholl Brose to go with their Dumpling. It is not all that popular in my own family since drinking it led to the ensnarement of a relative of ours, Iain-mhor Donald, Lord of the Isles. Since then, the Macinnes´s have been traditionally teetotallers as far as Atholl Brose is concerned (but oddly enough, the Macdonalds have never let it bother them. I suppose they got the taste for it...

The Year was 1745 and Iain Macdonald was leading his clan in Bonnie Prince Charlie's Rising against the Protestant German Hanoverian that the scurrilous English had put on the throne of the Catholic Scottish Stuarts. In those days, people got uptight about that sort of thing and felt that the English should mind their own business. The English thought is was their business since they owned more than half the island and the intransigent Scots kept moving the goalposts where the Border should have been. Anyway, the word got around that our Iain (who was maybe originally a teetotaller himself?) always enjoyed drinking the water in a spring in Killicrankie in the Scottish Highlands. So that traitorous, treacherous scoundrel, the Duke of Atholl (you can see here how partisan feelings can arise, depending on your point of view) ordered that the well should be filled with a concoction of honey and whisky, bound in oatmeal. The noble Lord of the Isles (yes, you can definitely see a trace of residual partisanship creeping in again, even now), very taken with the brew, hung around for a few drams more than was wise and spent the rest of the Rising in the Duke´s dungeons. The Duke of Cumberland subsequently came up the M9 and arrived at Atholl with a permanent cure for Iain Macdonald´s alcoholism...

So if you fancy capturing a Highlander for yourself, here is the recipe for Atholl Brose: First prepare the body from oatmeal. Pour half a pint of oatmeal into a basin (the traditional measure is four sherry glasses full of the stuff) and stir in cold water until you have a thick gooey paste about the same consistency as wallpaper paste. Leave the mix to firm up for half an hour or so then squeeze through a fine strainer, using your hands or a non-metallic implement like a wooden spoon. The idea is to get the creamy extract, to provide a bit of body for the brose. The oatmeal you can throw away, or keep for somebody´s morning porridge, depending on how long you have been hiding in the heather. You don´t need it any more. Pour the extract into a jug and add four dessert spoons of whichever pure honey you prefer Stir it well, using a silver spoon. (If you don´t have a silver spoon, anything that.s handy will do; they´re only being pretentious). Pour the lot into a quart (1 litre) bottle and fill the bottle with malt whisky to your own favourite taste. Shake well before serving at room temperature. The toast is Slainte Mhath! (pronounced Slanjey-va, meaning "Good Health"). The response is Slainte Mhor! (pronounced Slanjey-voe, meaning "Great Health").

Slainte Mhath, a Mhari!

John

VENISON STEW

Today, most Scots will have their Turkey like everyone else. But Venison Stew is a rich traditional Scottish dish which would grace any Christmas table. Popular on tables of gentlefolk at Christmastide and New Year in the 18th-19th century.

Cut 1lb lean venison into strips. Cut off the rind from 1lb streaky bacon. Put 1oz butter into a non-stick pan, and brown the two meats briskly. Add salt & pepper to taste. Slice small 1lb carrots, a stick of celery, 1 large onion and grated peel of one orange. Add to meats. Then put in about 3/4 pint milk, just to cover meat, add a spray of thyme, and cover. Simmer for two hours until venison is tender.

Remove meat & vegetables, thicken juices with a little flour, and then add 2 tablespoons whisky and 1/4 pint cream. Heat gently until thick and smooth. Pour over the meat and vegetables in the dish. Grate a little cheese over, and brown in the oven until it bubbles.

Serve with buttered mashed potatoes and buttered mashed swedes or turnips - if you can get them.

And of course what Christmas Party would be without music? You’ve got your basic bands like Dougie Maclean, The Irish Rovers and Jimmy MacLeod and then there’s your traditional carols (though none have their roots directly in Scottish history).  

I hope your Christmas is merry and bright. Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Post Where I Update You On My Post-Apocalyptic Blog

I'm not even going to apologize for excessive posts this week. This close to Christmas and the end of the year, there's lots to talk about.

So...since the world did not end - though a zombie attack is still totally a viable option - I suppose I should start thinking about the new year. 2013 is fast approaching and I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you in on what's going to be happening in this new year.

First I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been following my blog these past few months. To those of you who commented...
you're awesome!!!! I know my blog is tiny but we're slowly growing and I really appreciate every one of you who are helping me along the way.

2013 is going to bring a few changes. I'm going to be starting a new semester at University (Shakespear, Greek Poetry, Archaeology and Chamber Choir...what) and - hopefully - a new job and possibly a new resolve to write one of the novels tumbling around in my brain box. And I'm also making one or two changes to the blog. Nothing big, just little things.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

This Fairytale Lives of the Brothers Grimm (200th Anniversary)


If you look on Google today you’ll find they’ve changed their logo (as they do for all geeky/awesome anniversaries and events). It features a little girl in a red riding cloak and if you scroll through the images on the logo you’ll get her complete story. It’s the story of little red riding cap, a French tale that can be traced as far back as 1697 that was included in the original first edition of Children’s and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Today (December 20th 2012) marks the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm publishing their first collection of fairytales. The first of many.  Over the years the tales they collected have been warped and twisted so that you can barely see where it began but like any good story, there is a beginning to the tale of the Brothers Grimm.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Importance of Fairytales by Anna Meade

As part of the fairytales collection week, I got the Fairy Queen herself, Anna Meade to talk about the importance of fairytales. How awesome is that? So without further ado, I present (with a flourish) Anna Meade:

The Importance of Fairytales

When Vicki asked me a few weeks ago to write a post for her blog on the importance of fairytales for the 200th Anniversary of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, I almost declined. I enjoy writing, I famously love fairytales, yet the analysis of the “why” seemed overwhelming. How could I speak for the human experience? I can’t, not being an anthropologist or a sociologist. I have no scientific basis for these words, only the long-held tang of instinct when the words ring true to me.

Fairytales are one of the oldest forms of storytelling. We have stories that survive from hundreds of years ago. They make up our common mythology. The Grimm brothers wrote down these stories and folktales, codified them into their most famous versions. But Cinderella existed in 1st century B.C. Greece:

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Retelling Tales: Fairytales with a modern twist

Everyone nowadays has seen - or at least heard of - NBC's Grimm and ABCs Once Upon a Time as today's example of modern day fairytale retellings. Although they take very different approaches to storytelling, the both centre around a world where fairytales are real. It seems that these two shows have started a fad in hollywood of fairytale retellings with movies like "Mirror, Mirror" and "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" but really, we've been retelling tales since the tales were told - and yes, that was the cheesiest line I could come up with.

 
 
In fact, the Brothers Grimm are just retelling tales and folk lore that have been around for centuries but I'm getting a little ahead of myself. These are the modern fairytale retellings from books to movies to television, OUAT and Grimm are just two in a long list of tales retold. And this list I'm providing is just a sampling.
 
Books:
If you look up fairytale retellings on Goodreads you're going to get a lot of books pop up. 
    One of the most popular nowadays is 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer: a Science Fiction retelling of Cinderella where our leading lady is a cyborg living in futuristic Bejing.

    Another is 'Beastly' by Alex Flinn: adapted into a movie staring Mary Kate Olsen and Vanessa Hudgens.

    Then, of course, there is 'Ella Enchanted' by Gail Carson Levine: a favourite author of mine, known for her YA fairytales.


    Month9 Books recently released 'Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes' featuring - you guessed it - twenty two authors spinning their own twisted tales.

    That's just four and there are hundreds if not thousands more out there, available with the click of a button.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Movies
Not even thinking about Disney or Barbie there are countless movies based on popular fairytales (especially Cinderella). There's a psychological reason for why people are drawn to the story of the girl who finds true love through a magical slipper but there is just not enough time to explore it. So instead, I'm going to rattle off a short list of movies based on fairytales that aren't Disney Animated or start with 'Barbie and the'. Ready?
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Little Match Girl
  • Sydney White
  • The Snow Queen
  • Rumplestiltskin
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Brothers Grimm
  • Shrek (1,2,3,and 4)
  • Happily Never After
  • Jack and the Giant Slayer
  • Black Forest
  • The Frog Prince
  • The Red Shoes



Ta da! So now you have something to occupy your time during your Christmas break. Some of them suck, some of them are awesome (like Brothers Grimm) and some are just weird (like Black Forest) but there's something out there for everyone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Television
Like movies, there have been fairytale retellings extended into televion since the 1930s. They're everywhere and come in all different forms.

Once Upon a Time: tales of love, betrayal and magic woven together in both fantasy and reality.

Grimm: bringing the legend of the Brother's Grimm to life in the form of monsters and magic.

10th Kingdom: a mini-series thrusting a girl into a post 'happily ever after' fairytale where not everyone is who they appear to be.

Faerie Tale Theatre: a series of retellings starring an amazing cast from the 1980s of so many well known actors it'll make your head spin
 
No matter how long ago these tales were written, there still sings a ring of truth and necessity to them that is reflected in the countless times these stories have been told over and over again in books, televion, movies and even musicals (Google: Once Upon a Mattress).
 
These are just a few examples of the timeless classics retold again and again: some in a gruesome twist and others in a family friendly environment that tell the tale as it's never been told before.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Monday Fables #12: Best Safety Lies in Fear

In honour of 'Fairytale Week' I've got a somewhat fairytale-esque story that was written several years ago. It was inspired, actually, by J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan - which I don't consider a fairytale but it's still one of my favourite stories ever. If you've written a fairy tale, let me know; I'd love to read it!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Fairytale Week: The Week I Went Insane

So this entire week is going to be a bit of a cry for help on my part. I am going to make myself go crazy for the simple reason that I love you guys that much. This week marks to 200th anniversary of the Brother's Grimm publishing their first anthology "Children's and Household Tales" and some of you may be like "why should I care?" and you don't have to but I love fairytales so of course I really wanted to celebrate with you. So all week (well actually just Monday-Thursday) I'm bringing you something Fairytale themed.

Monday: It's still Monday Fables but I'm sharing with you a fairy-like story I wrote about a year ago.

Tuesday: The world is latched on to the fairytale remake idea so we're going to go through some of them and their pros and cons.

Wednesday: Anna Meade, the fairy queen, is coming on to talk about the importance of fairytales.

Thursday: Marking the 200th Anniversary with a little history fo the Brother's Grimm.

Friday: No more fairytales but I've got an update on the coming new year - should we make it that long...

Saturday: In co-ordination with my other blog Aiden's Angels I'm talking about the Traditional Scottish Christmas.

So, lot's to look forward to this week. The reason I'm going insane is because I have my final exams this week and I haven't finished writing christmas stories for the people who are getting short stories for Christmas. Lot's of craziness for Vicki, lot's of awesomeness for you guys.

Enjoy!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Author, Virginia McKevitt’s Take On Fantasy


Today we have the fabulous Virginia McKevitt, author of The Secret Enemy Saga, here to talk about what fantasy means to her.


Author, Virginia McKevitt’s Take On Fantasy:
I started reading when I was about four years old. I have a sister who is ten years older than I am and she loved to read to us little ones (I come from a family of eight) all the time. She was the one who taught me to read. That is when my love for fantasy really began. My imagination was always off the charts, and reading books like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Cinderella, only added fuel to the fire. Disney’s Snow White is the first book I remember reading by myself. I carried that little book around with me until it fell apart. As I got older my taste changed, but not my hunger for fantasy or reading. I would write little stories about fairies, dragons, wizards, and kings. My teen years were vampires and the baddies that run around today. It’s funny how the circle continues. Some of my favorite authors are- Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and James Patterson. I could go on… Anne Rice in my teens, Stephen King forever, and the rest just followed. I like stories that have a lot going on from one page to the next and I hope I am giving that to my readers also. I am a character driven kind of reader, and writer. I like a strong plot but if I don’t get into the characters, it’s hard to stay with the story. I write fantasy, with a romantic flavor, but I want a lot of action and mystery for my readers. I don’t write erotica or occult type books. It’s just not me, but I do give you a peak and you can take it the rest of the way your imagination. The first person to read my finished work, Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga, was my husband who reads like most people eat. I will never forget what he said when he turned the last page, "I feel like I've been on a journey that I didn't want to end. Don't stop."
Those words have pushed me onward and there is no turning back. I wrote the following as a Q and A post originally, at Goodreads, to see what other writers had to say, and the reach continues onward. 
Paranormal Romance is one of the hottest genres (actually a sub-genre of fantasy) on the market today. The titles and book covers alone can make one break out in a sweat, but what is it that makes you want to read about romantic encounters with beings from other worlds or vampires and werewolves? Is it the old concept of forbidden love or the thrill of the bad boy (or girl) image mixed up with fangs and wolf fur? Dragons and wizards are sitting on the back burner, while muscled bodies and creatures who howl at the moon warm the beds of the humans we write about. Steamy romance, whether implied in YA or graphic in paranormal erotica, has increased by leaps and bounds since the e-book revolution and now knows no boundaries. Fantasy, as wild and imaginative as it is, still has rules. If your reader does not find your characters and story believable, you will lose their interest. Make the relationships between your human and non-human characters real. Give them a cause they both have a stake in (no pun intended), especially if it is for different reasons. Obstacles that strengthen real life relationships are everywhere. Just give them a little twist. So, what makes it hot? Dark and dangerous delivers whether you dash it with a little pepper or turn on the hot sauce. Romance appeals to the heart and the paranormal infuses it with the thrill of the fantastic, something we all want a little bite of (I just can't help myself). There are many challenges in mixing genres, especially fantasy and romance. How can beings from different worlds become romantically involved and even be believable? I hope I can shed some light on that very subject because that is what my novel, Fracture The Secret Enemy Saga stands on; two people from different worlds, fighting in the same cause and falling in love. That's a mouthful!

How can I make that believable you ask? Next time you go to the mall look around you. The couples holding hands and shopping are as diverse as you can get; different nationalities, different shapes and sizes, even different beliefs, yet they seem to make their relationships work. How? The Asian man with the American wife are from worlds so different they might as well be from Mars and Jupiter. What about the Italian woman or the French man? I could go on and on. The cultures and beliefs that separate us everyday are broken and shattered by one simple need, to be loved and accepted by another. How far off am I, that someone from another world could actually fall in love with someone from this world and vice versa. Not far at all. Take those two people, throw them into a conflict that threatens both their worlds and fill it in with a little magic and mayhem, friends and family and who knows.
 
Virginia McKevitt is an American author of fantasy. Her 5 star novel, FRACTURE The Secret Enemy Saga can be broadly described as fantasy incorporated with elements of the paranormal, suspense, mystery and romance (I couldn’t help myself). FRACTURE The Secret Enemy Saga is available in paperback at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon.com, and as an e-book through Amazon and Smashwords. Her vivid imagination and love of fantasy pushed her to finish a book she had started over two decades ago. The first book in this series, FRACTURE The Secret Enemy Saga, has received praise from readers since its debut release in early 2012 and now the beta readers are saying that book two, The Hunted, available at Smashwords, is another winner. Turn the pages and see for yourself.
 
Find her on Facebook and Twitter
Amazon.com: Virginia McKevitt: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
Visit Amazon.com's Virginia McKevitt Page and shop for all Virginia McKevitt books and other Virginia McKevitt related products (DVD, CDs, Apparel). Check out pictures, bibliography, biography and community discussions about Virginia McKevitt
Thanks so much for stopping by Virginia.
Now tell me minions: what do you love about Fantasy?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

"What the Hell is that?": Writing Contemporary Horror by Mike Robinson

I'm very excited because today I have the brilliant Mike Robinson author of Green Eyed Monster here to talk about Writing Contemporary Horror Fiction. Last week, I reviewed his book so you can check that out in the archives. How many of you guys are fans of horror? Do you have any favourite books?


Monday, 10 December 2012

Monday Fables #11: Endless Night

I can't even believe it's December 10th already. I feel a little like I'm screwed in terms of Christmas - I'll rant about that later I promise - but I am determined to make it through...well I have to make it through so that's not up for discussion.

Today's fable turned a little darker than I had originally intended but I like it. It's taken from The Lion King on Broadway which has some amazing songs in it so you should definitely check it out.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Automatic Woman Blog Tour (And Giveaway)

Automatic Woman by Nathan L. Yocum

The Automatic Woman, by Nathan L. Yocum - Cover
There are no simple cases. Jacob “Jolly” Fellows knows this.

The London of 1888, the London of steam engines, Victorian intrigue, and horseless carriages is not a safe place nor simple place…but it’s his place. Jolly is a thief catcher, a door-crashing thug for the prestigious Bow Street Firm, assigned to track down a life sized automatic ballerina. But when theft turns to murder and murder turns to conspiracy, can Jolly keep his head above water? Can a thief catcher catch a killer?

Automatic Woman is the second novel from award winning screenwriter Nathan L. Yocum. A volatile mix of steampunk, noir, historical fiction, and two-fisted action, Automatic Woman takes us to a place that never was yet we all know so well… the London of Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack the Ripper and Bram Stoker with a pneumatic twist.

EXCERPT from Chapter One:
I am a jolly fellow. My name is actually Jacob Fellows. The gentlemen in my office refer to me, literally, as Jolly Fellow, which is their euphemism for my rotund figure. There’s a long precedence of fat men also being funny men. I don’t regard myself as a man of mirth or good humor. In truth, I’m more apt to crack skulls than I am to make silly gestures, but the assumption stands and it’s easiest for my mates to pigeon-hole me in what they already hold true.

I’ve often looked for a solution to my roundness. I’m physically active at work and in leisure. I love football and am bloody hell on gears in the goalie box. Nevertheless, my cheeks are round and my jowls hang.

Whenever blokes find out that I’m a thief-catcher by trade, that I’m an operative for the Bow Street Firm, their eyes light up and I am forced to tolerate the inevitable comments.

“Oy, what kind of man are you going to run down?”

Or, “business must be good, my friend!”

Or my personal favorite, “your wife must be a jolly good cook, mate.” I’m not married, never had much luck with the female folk, and any reminder of this is liable to put me in an ugly disposition. An ugly mood means ugly deeds and I’ve hurt fellows over the odd comment. I’m not proud of that, just stating the truth.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review of Green Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson (Blog Tour)


At the end of October “Green Eyed Monster” by Mike Robinson was released and as part of the blog tour I got my hands on the book and I devoured it in the span of a weekend. I love it so much in fact that I got myself two slots on the blog tour so we’ll be back next week with more. This week, however, you get my review of the book.
Martin Smith and John Becker: bestselling authors with ordinary names and extraordinary minds.

Their words have power — to heal, to kill, to change the lives of their “characters” in shocking and unexpected ways. Famous for their uncanny similarity in both physical manner and literary voice, their childhood rivalry spins out of control into adulhood.
The death of one at the hands of the other brings to light their troubling past — and a mysterious presence, watching on from the shadows — an authorial entity with roots beyond our time or dimension; an entity with far-reaching designs.
The pen is truly mightier than the deadliest sword.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Monday Fables #10: Like a River

Holy crap! Ten? How have I done ten of these? Wow. Well I'm still thinking of what to replace this with in the new year so if you have suggestions let me know.

Both this song and the piece I wrote are about goodbyes between a couple but they're different goodbyes but no matter the circummstance, saying goodbye to someone you love is always so hard. Are there an goodbye stories you're willing to share?