2015: A time of GREAT change

I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for the start of a new year. It hasn’t helped that I’ve spent almost all Christmas feeling terrible; something that’s definitely had me craving the end of mince pies, tinsel and leftover turkey. On Thursday it’ll be January 1st, 2015, and I CAN’T WAIT.

2015 has several things in store for me, both writing and big steps in my personal life. In 2014 I didn’t manage to get as much writing done as I’d hoped for. I finished the Inside Evil series with ‘To Kill A Curse’ and published the second part of CRYO – ‘A Changed World’. Other than that it’s been pretty quiet (though I was working on another short story for The Alien Chronicles – which is now on pre-order, by the way). Writing-wise, there are quite a few things I’m hoping to get done in the coming year;

  • CRYO 3 – I’ve written the first paragraph and am going to spend the first part of the year getting this next instalment complete. John’s hunt for Kath is about to intensify, he’s finally going to be leaving Earth behind him as he ventures up to the stars and, as with A Changed World, there’s going to some new secrets uncovered.
  • CRYO Expanded Universe – I’m writing a number of short stories about the CRYO crew before they won their lotto tickets. These will be FREE for newsletter subscribers. :D I’ve almost completed Ann’ story; you’ll find out a little more about her wife, her love for horticulture and the accident that resulted in her losing forearms.
  • A New Chronicles – The Future Chronicles are becoming quite the talked about series in the SF world, and I have a CRYO story coming out in The Alien Chronicles. Later in the year there’s going to be a zombie themed edition, and this will have a new Pacifier 6 tale.
  • NEW SERIES – I’ve just started a brand new SF series following a group of colonists heading out to Mars to further the human race’s reach. THESE are the first few words;

It was cold, barren and the last place Rebecca wanted to go, but if she was ever to pay off her debts, a rotation on the Mars colony was the one clear choice. Space never failed to provide continued allure to the naive; until its true hostility revealed itself. When that occurred there was only one thing to draw the Environment Habitat Developers out; cash. An 18 month chore as an ENVO would solve all her issues. She could repay her loans and return to the relative luxury of Earth. There was only one problem – the thing that terrified her more than space itself was hypersleep, and that was a mandatory part of her upcoming tour. Black. Nothingness. No dreaming, drifting off to sleep or the comfort of a blissful awakening. Just emptiness. Death. It was truly frightening.

Rebecca looked down at her bare legs as she sat under the harsh lights of the prep room. She should’ve shaved; the small black hairs were well passed acceptable levels. They pricked the surface like the first spines on a young porcupine. The metal floor was cold under her feet, the bench beneath her hard and uncomfortable. She was about to face her worst nightmare and yet, here she was, thinking about just how undesirable she’d appear when her luke warm body was flopped into the sleep box.

The door behind her slid open and Rebecca instinctively drew her thin robe closer….she could hold on to her modesty for a little longer.

‘Dr. Galliance?’

The man looked up from his tablet device as she nodded.

‘If you’d come with me.’

She stood, wondering if he saw through the attempted bravado. Her forced smile wasn’t as strong as she’d hope for, and she could feel herself trembling. It was too late to back out, all the arrangements had been made. There was only one thing laying in her future; Mars.

But, aside from writing, I’ve got a few things planned too. I got married this year and we’re in the process of buying a home to renovate and move into during the first few months of the New Year. That means moving away from London -a place I’ve been for 14 years – and leaving my current gardening and dog walking businesses. I’m going to be focussing on building these business up again, as well as creating a beautiful home from the current wreck we’ve bought! Time, therefore, is going to be a premium and so I’m going to try and follow a few extra rules as well as cost-saving methods.

  • Grow More Food – I’ve had an allotment for many years but honestly, I hardly ever get there. I want to focus on growing more of my own food in 2015, baking bread and cooking from scratch, thereby being healthier and (hopefully) spending less.
  • Budget my Social Media Time – Seriously, social media is a MASSIVE drain. I love it, and I won’t leave it, but I do need to ration the amount of time I’m allowed on. So, no more checking in constantly. I need to carefully manage my time so it’s all used productively instead of saying I’m sitting down to write and then spending an hour on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Save for the future – Part of our plan in buying home is to increase the amount of capital we have in 10 years time so that we can quit urban living, head into Suffolk (where I have land) and do a self-build. In January we’re meeting with an architect to go through our current drawings and to revise costs down so we have a better idea of budget. Thus, we’re going to be saving a lot for the future so that, one day, the dream of doing a self build and becoming ‘hobby’ farmers can be realised. I already have chickens, but I want sheep, goats, cows and horses too!

That’s a little round-up of my coming year; lots of writing, saving and moving to do!! I’m excited…and a little nervous. ;)

2015’s a Science Fiction year for Hollywood

I’ll admit that when it comes to entertainment, I watch television series and movies more than read. Becoming a writer has seemingly destroyed my ability to completely envelop myself in a book; I’m either dissecting the work or becoming side-tracked by my own stories. When it comes to movies and tv, however, I can sit back, relax and become obsessed.

In 2015 there’s some tremendous sci-fi movies coming out and these are a few of the ones I can’t wait for!

Jurassic World

Seriously, no matter how bad it may eventually end up (I’m hoping it’ll actually be good), I can’t wait for Jurassic World. I’ve seen the original AND the crappy sequels over and over again, so I can’t wait to have something new to get excited about. The trailer looks incredible, and it seems they’re tackling an old story but adding some updated scientific gadgets and theories to give us something really great.

Snowpiercer

Now, I know that Snowpiercer has already made its way to the US, but here in the UK we’re still eagerly awaiting it – will it ever actually get a cinema release date? I love Tilda Swinton, and her characterisation looks awesome as always. I’ve read a lot of fan reviews, many of which say Snowpiercer is one of the most surprisingly brilliant science fiction films to have been made in the past few years.

Jupiter Ascending

This movies has had its release date pushed time and time again, so now we’re looking at a 2015 launch. It has all the makings of cliche movie; good vs bad, a forgotten princess, the chosen one. However, if it all comes together well, I’ll doubt I’ll care about these common tropes and instead enjoy it for what it is; a YA Science Fiction Blockbuster.

Tomorrowland

If you’re a fan of Under the Dome, then you’ll recognise this little lady; Britt Robertson. Hollywood has obviously come a-knocking as this looks to be a big budget film and it looks as if it might be rather interesting…

Project Alamanac

Time travelling teens having a blast as they go back and correct all the wrong doings in their lives…..until the consequences of changing the past start to catch them up. Looks like it could be a surprisingly good movie.

Terminator Genisys

Okay, I’m sure it’ll probably be bad, but I’m a Terminator fan, from the first three movies through to the Sarah Connor Chronicles. From one GoT actress to another, we’ve got Emilia Clarke in the role of Connor this time, over Lena Headley. There’s also the awesome cameo of Arnie which I’m going to love regardless of what else happens.

Finally, I can’t finish this post without mention of Mockingjay: Part 2 and Star Wars; Episode 7, both of which are likely to be phenomenally big movies that take over the coming year….despite the fact they’re not out until December. But, whilst we’re waiting, at least there’s some potentially winning entertainment on the cards.

More Companies Cash In on Zombie Craze

Zombies are starting to take over all right, just not in the running-people-down-and-eating-them kind of way that they do in the movies. Instead, today’s zombies are attacking where it really hurts: your wallet.

Companies haven’t hesitated in taking advantage of the zombie trend. While some zombie enthusiasts have been able to pick up some cool new gear as part of this rise in popularity, there are a number of zombie-inspired products that even die-hard fans may find surprising.

Take a look at some of the times you can incorporate these unique zombie products into your daily routine… if you dare.

Snack Time

zombie-jerkyFor those of you who can watch a zombie show and somehow still manage to have an appetite, try indulging in one of the zombie snacks from Harcos Inc the next time your cravings hit. Their zombie line includes “Crusty Zombie Toenails” (a puffed wheat snack), “Little Old Zombie Moles” (dried berries), “Zombie Jerky” (beef jerky), and “Zombie Pea Brains” (wasabi peas), among others.

While zombies aren’t picky about their diet, the living tend to have restrictions or preferences when it comes to food. Not to worry: Kitchen Overlord created a recipe for “Vegan Zombie Jerky, made from pumpkin, cinnamon, and a dab of food coloring.

Happy Hour

zombie vodkaSome companies take years to develop a catchy concept that will get people interested in their project, especially within the highly saturated alcohol industry. So instead of competing with companies that market their products on the idea of celebrating life, Braided Oak Spirits found the undead to be an untapped market.

Case in point: They launched Zombie Apocalypse Vodka in October 2012. While a betting man will say the vodka would taste harsh, bitter, or any other flavor that would leave drinkers dying for a chaser, it’s actually rather smooth, made from soft white winter wheat with hints of vanilla. There may not be anything particularly haunting about the vodka itself, but there are several interesting mixing recipes on the site. Favorites include “Necrophilia” (vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry and pineapple juice) and “The Zombie Chill Chaser,” (vodka, apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg).

Plus their commercial is so bad it’s almost good. Given their product, it was likely intentional.

Story Time

What would a zombie fan be without their hundred dollar Zombie Survival Crate? Not only does the package from Man Crates contain a first aid kit, flashlight, SPAM, and a 10″ machete, it also includes the bestselling book Zombie Survival Guide. Lull yourself to sleep at night learning how to properly decapitate the undead.

Also, just in time for the holiday season, Antarctic Press Publishing has released a new addition to the graphic novel series A Very Zombie Christmas. Issues 1-5 take place in a fantasy world where a nuclear accident is responsible for turning the people into decaying denizens. The white winter wonderland is artistically decorated in blood and brain matter to really make the scenery pop, and if you’ve never seen a zombie Santa chowing down on the arm of a victim, now’s your chance.

Bone O’Clock

Experts at Adam and Eve have worked hard to take away the stigma of sex toys. They call them “crucial” to a healthy sex life and are constantly reassuring buyers that enjoying toys is 100% healthy and completely normal. All that being said, a zombie dildo probably isn’t what they had in mind, nor is it helping their crusade to make sex toys appeal to everyone.

According to The Needs, realistic undead dongs were being sold by Walgreens. That’s right, Walgreens—the same place that your grandma gets her heart medicine. The sexual wellness toy has a ragged-looking design to mirror that of the undead with “patented real feel superskin,” as boasted on the product description.

Since news of the product went viral, it has been taken off the site. The reason for the removal, however—be it Walgreens deeming the product inappropriate or hardcore zombie fetishists buying them up—is unknown.

If you’re looking for the line that defines the difference between a zombie enthusiast and zombiephile, that last one definitely crosses it.

Ascension; A SyFy Misfire

I’ve come to the conclusion that Battlestar Galactica was a one-off, accidental and lucky fluke for SyFy. There’s been a huge push by the network for Ascension; it’s latest big spend in the science fiction genre. It’s said they were to return with this blockbuster of a series, beginning with a six-part miniseries which, if it does well enough, could spawn a fully fledged series. With a good cast, concept and excellent writers at the helm, I suppose I placed a lot of hope on this series; after all, Tricia Helfer aka mega siren cylon Number 6, is at the helm. In fact, I decided to start watching Battlestar just to get me into the mood. So, back to Ascension. Set in the 1960’s, the Ascension – a secret yet mahusive ship – was sent into space with a lifeboat of the human race to populate Proximus; the nearest habitable system. Sounds good, right?

I’ll say right here, that I only watched the first two episodes…but I have an explanation. 

The whole premise of this show gripped me; a small community of humans sent off into space, on their own, to evolve both their society and themselves on the way. But here starteth the problem……the opening scene was Tricia Helfer fussing over a troupe of 1960’s-esc stewardesses. But, hang on, they set off in the 1960’s and have been aboard 51 years….wouldn’t fashion have moved on a little? I get that the actual ship and technology they’re working with are set; I mean, they can’t rebuild the ship whilst in transit. But fashions? Hairstyles? Social etiquette? Wouldn’t these things have all evolved throughout the journey? Yet, here it was, set in stone as if they’d only left yesterday. Everyone aboard was supposed to be the first generation from those first intrepid explorers….wouldn’t they have moved things along from their parents era a little?

Worse than the failure to address societal evolution, was the fact it was boring. After the first 20 minutes, I turned to my husband who was muttering about being unenthralled and, shock horror, I agreed. A space show…and I was bored?! Everything felt a little cardboard, cliched and moulded to try and tick every box in the ‘make an award winning series’ formula. But….it didn’t work, due, in part, to the jumps back to modern day Earth where it was obvious that another story was unfolding. Unfortunately, neither it or the space ship sagas were enough to keen me onboard. And THEN – the twist ending. Yes, expletives were announced, but after a couple of WTF’s, I suddenly realised Ascension isn’t a science fiction story at all; it’s a badly disguised murder mystery and social experiment…a Truman show…a Big Brother.

So, there it is; I’m vastly disappointed and don’t think I’ll be watching any more. Did you watch the show? Did it rock it for you, or were you as badly let down as I feel?

The Alien Chronicles

You haven’t heard from me for a while because I’ve been busy beavering away behind the scenes. Now, however, I’m excited to let you know that there’s a new CRYO tale to be had; as a short story in the upcoming ‘The Alien Chronicles‘. If you haven’t heard of the Future Chronicles series, then be sure to look them up. So far, two episodes have been released (The Telepath Chronicles and The Robot Chronicles), both of which have some of the genres top names, including Susan Kaye Quinn (Mindjack), Hugh Howey (Wool) and Jennifer Foehner Wells (Fluency). So, I’m in high spirits to be alongside these authors in the latest anthology. Of course, as an author it’s a great thing to be included in an anthology, but for readers too, short story collections are great; lots of new reads for a good price AND you get to discover unknown authors who’s work you may love.

But, what about CRYO?

So, as I mentioned, my short story fits into the CRYO universe. Here’s a little summary;

Professor Serelah Delekin is accustomed to uncovering the secrets of alien artifacts. But when one of her co-workers is killed while researching their latest find, she soon realizes that this particular artifact is protecting far more than ancient secrets—it harbors a conspiracy that will soon put her own life at risk.

For those who’ve read A Changed World, there’s a few indications of a far greater universe that John and his comrades could ever imagine. In this new tale, you’ll discover some of the local alien races, along with discovering that the Kholorians may not be exactly who they say they are.

10730916_10152845806350170_744086140384469700_nThe Alien Chronicles is coming in January, so keep an eye out!

WIN a copy of Pacifier 6; The Shadows Within

Halloween is just days away, and what with the new series of The Walking Dead, I’m in a zombie frame of mind once again. For this reason I thought, ‘I know, I’ll give some copies of Pacifier 6; The Shadows Within‘ away. How would you put your life back together after an outbreak? That’s what Carl and his mother are trying to do in London  – all with the help of a little drug called Pacifier 6.

Pacifier final art KB (200)The apocalypse has come and gone. A disease, an infection, that blackened the Earth with horror. Then came Pacifier 6; a drug to calm the evil, to dampen the cravings for flesh and bone. Now you go to the store and pick out a zombie as if you were buying a new pet.

But what happens when you realise that familiar faces still have feelings?

Carl’s pulling himself back together, attempting to cope with the losses that life has dealt him. Amidst the horror of the past few months, he begins to realise that death isn’t necessarily the end; it can be the start of something new, something that has never been seen before. With everyone around him battling to keep society intact, Carl manages to see beyond the ravaged faces of those he once knew. There’s a new creature in the darkness, a consciousness that most have overlooked, and it’s waiting to reveal itself.

You can find a sample of Pacifier 6 on this website (just click the relevant link in the sidebar). Enter the giveaway by clicking the link below or, if you can’t wait, the novella’s just 99c on Amazon.

Click here to enter the Giveaway

To Kill A Curse is LIVE

tkac3

There’s little to say other than, ‘Ta Da! It’s here!’

After almost a decade in the making, the Inside Evil series has finally come to its conclusion with To Kill A Curse. The fifth and final instalment means that you can read straight through from beginning to end. Follow Roberta on her quest to eradicate the curse, enjoy Martha and Susan’s quirky relationship as they explore their new powers (along with A LOT of Gin and Tonic), discover the parallel world of Gathin and uncover the hidden creatures living in our worlds.

So far it’s only uploaded at Amazon, so head over, grab a copy, read and, hopefully, enjoy. As ever, if you love the book then please consider leaving a review to help others discover the series too.

AMAZON US AMAZON UK