Inside Evil Book 4 – Cover, Title and Blurb Reveal

I know, I’ve been banging on about it for weeks, but I can finally reveal that the new Inside Evil book is called New Alliances. This novel was an absolute blast to write. I loved getting back into Gathin, explaining some of the intricate details of the curse and the world where it came from and getting the gang back together. My editor is currently about 60% of the way through the work, so I’m hoping New Alliances will be published before the end of the month! Then there’ll only be one book left to write to wrap this series up!

New Alliances

Blurb: 

When Roberta was infected with a curse, she never realised the hidden world waiting for her. Ridgewood was a quiet and slumbering town, but it seemed there was a great menace waiting in every shadow. With the initial horror having been abated, Roberta’s cast back to another realm where it’s quickly apparent that forces of doppelgangers are waiting to break through to Earth.

But Roberta’s not alone, and there are many friends left behind who are still fighting. Whilst the gatekeepers fight to uncover secrets and develop a plan to protect themselves, new alliances are forged. And, with new and unexpected allegiances created, the protectors of Earth are finally realising that there’s more than one war being fought.

So, what’s next on my plate? I’ve now started work on the sequel to CRYO; Rise of the Immortals which also has a new cover and blurb – take a look. I left John and his escapees at a precarious point, and I’m eager to find out what their new world has in store for them. I’m going to write as many words as I can for NaNoWriMo and then finish it (hopefully) during December with the aim for a late Jan/early Feb release.

Then I’ll go straight back to Inside Evil to write the final tale to this series. I’m excited and quite sad about that – Inside Evil was the first book I ever wrote and it’s been with me for a LONG time. But it’s time to wrap everything up! So, lots to do!

 

EDIT – I forgot to mention; before the Inside Evil Book 5 release I’ll be offering a competition. I’m still drawing up the exact details, but prizes will include paperback copies of the series, ARC copies of the fifth book and the chance to get YOUR ideas into the pages of the final instalment.

Woodland walks and writing progress

Hello, and sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I’ve been in a little bubble of writing and TV addiction.

The fourth Inside Evil instalment is coming along nicely. I’m about four fifths done, and am aiming to complete the novel in the next couple of weeks. There will then be about a month of read-through’s, edits and proofreading, so I’m hoping to have it published towards the end of September. As yet it’s still without a name, though I’m ruminating on a couple of possibilities.

It’s been a great book to write, especially as we’re back in Gathin to explore this parallel world. Martha’s back on form too and recovering well from her venture into the Middlelands, so my favourite double act of Susan and Martha are getting up to all kinds of mischief. You’d never think these two were grown women. Meanwhile, Sam’s taking a lead role again so I’m enjoying getting inside his head..and there’s plenty of us in there, I can tell you. *hint hint*

Also, if you haven’t realised, Inside Evil is free on Amazon, so you pick up this fantasy novel without having to spend a penny. 🙂

Anyone who’s read my work will know only too well of the creatures and scenery I describe. Despite both CRYO and Inside Evil being set in urban locations, I still find a way to get my characters out into the wilderness, and the wood’s close to home never fail to inspire me. I’m asked where to find inspiration, how to find that muse? Well, look outside, explore the wilds, walk the streets, and it’ll find you!

I took some gorgeous pictures today whilst walking and it really got my brain ticking over. From the dark and ominous storm drain which any number of strange monsters could be lurking beneath, to a small mossy covered root bank, there was inspiration at every turn. Even my dog leaping through the forests reminded me of the great hunks of wolves that I’ve written about throughout the Inside Evil series.

Beetle leaps through the forest
Beetle leaps through the forest
A storm drain could be the home of many monsters
A storm drain could be the home of many monsters
Moss covered roots; a little carpet of colour
Moss covered roots; a little carpet of colour
The summer moon - who's up there? Who's visiting?
The summer moon – who’s up there? Who’s visiting?

My mind seems to find stories in every place I look, and I came home filled with words ready to jot down upon a page. For now, my work with Inside Evil continues and soon, I hope, I’ll be ready to reveal the latest title.

Happy Reading 🙂

 

 

Sample Sunday – An Inside Evil book 4 excerpt

I’m currently forging my way through the fourth Inside Evil book, and I have to say, I’m discovering a lot. Whilst Spirits of the Middlelands was set largely back on Earth, I’m excited to be back in Gathin for this latest installment. There’s a lot being explained in this new novel as Roberta finally starts to get some real answers. I thought I’d share this little excerpt today from the first chapter. Roberta’s been flung back into Gathin and is, like usual, trying to avoid being caught.

If you haven’t read the Inside Evil series, you can find them on Amazon (Inside Evil (1), The Tower of Souls (2) Spirits of the Middlelands(3)).

*****

As she was about to pull herself away from the grate and find one that was actually big enough to crawl through, Roberta froze. From below her came a deep rumble as if an earth quake was slowly erupting from under her very feet. A nose twitched and a huge hairy and black muzzle stalked into sight. Roberta ceased even breathing as she saw the nostrils below her sniff the air as if they knew she was there. The enormous hulk of Luguolo filled the room beneath her, the thin Mohawk of ebony coloured fur that ran along his back, upright and bristling in the muggy air. He could tell she was there, she just knew it. But he didn’t look up, he just stood transfixed to the spot as a drop of moisture pooled on the end of his quivering nose and dropped to the floor. From where she hung above him, Luguolo’s fearsome orange eyes were hidden, but she’d seen them devouring her before and knew he was preparing for a fight. Then, content that he’d surveyed the room and found it empty, he turned slowly and padded away, his tail almost brushing the very grate upon which Roberta lay as he did so.

It was several minutes before Roberta even dared move for she feared that Luguolo had simply sauntered out of sight and was now quietly crouched, awaiting his prey to stir. As she tried to regulate her heaving lungs and prevent an obvious gasp escaping her lips, she was aware of distant voices. They became gradually closer, accompanied by an odd clunking, until two men trundled into the room with an ancient wheelbarrow that looked on its last legs.

“’Nother one gone then,” one man said, the top of his shiny bald head bobbing up and down as he leant over and pulled a canister into the barrow. “She won’t have any left at this rate.”

“Ain’t your concern,” the other warned as he held the barrow firmly whilst the bag was thrown in.

“T’will be when she’s run out completely.”

“You ain’t the one who’s gotta cut out the symbol and feed what’s left to Luguolo. If it ain’t bad enough she’s got her fist upon us all, we ‘ave to bow to her flea bitten wolf pack.”

The man heaving the heavy metal cans stopped and looked up warily at his companion.

“Don’t be sayin’ stuff like that.” His voice was lower and quieter than before. “She’ll hang us both just for thinkin’ it, let along sayin’ it out.”

“I’d like to see her try,” the man holding the barrow spat viciously whilst the other fell silent. “A’right then,” he said after a pause. “Not another word. C’mon, we gotta get this furnace stoked.”

After heaving one final canister into the barrow, the two men disappeared from Roberta’s sight, though the sound of them trundling along the stone corridor lingered in the air for some time. She wasn’t sure who she was more worried about; Luguolo or her own doppelganger, The Queen of the North Realms. But there wasn’t time to pause for thought because Roberta was keenly aware that she was far from escaping and saving herself. Why did you put me here? She cursed the spirits of the Middlelands yet again for putting her in such a position. Surely a small and secluded lodge somewhere in the woods would have been a far better starting point?

Why Self Publish – Top Considerations for Going Indie

“I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because when it comes to blog posts, I tend to babble!

Cover - smallA few weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking to a writers group about self publishing. Most of the circle were new to writing or had spent years polishing manuscripts but had never stepped into the world of indie writing. I covered a lot of areas, including price points, the publication process and the many platforms that you can showcase your work on. It also got me really thinking about why I self published and what led me to the trail of putting my work out there for anyone and everyone to dissect.

Closure

How many of us have dusty manuscripts sitting around in desk drawers or hidden away in forgotten computer folders? I, for one, had several stories that had been written many years ago never to see the light of day. But, why shouldn’t they come out again?

This was one of the driving forces behind becoming self published. I wanted to put my work out there and actually gain closure on the words I’d written. After all, I’d put so much effort into writing, it seemed a shame that no one else would ever see it. If only one other person and read my work, I’d be over the moon.

Motivation

There’s nothing quite like motivating yourself to write because you have a hefty publishing schedule. Before the first book is out, you can rest on your laurels a bit and take your time to get everything right. When you have several pieces of work out, especially as part of a series, there’s a definite driving force behind your work. When there are fans awaiting the next book, I’ll tell you, your motivation is certainly bumped up a notch.

cryofor kindle-600pxFlexibility

In the past, the only route to getting your books out there was the traditional publishing method. But times have changed, and there are now many avenues to explore. I know many authors and friends who have broken away from agents and publishers because of their rigidity. Even for ebooks, it can take months for work to be proofed, edited, bounced around several agents and have the cover created. Much of today’s advertising responsibility is now put upon the authors themselves too, and publishers are increasingly taking a step back.

Why get a traditional deal where you’re paid 10% but have to do most of the work?

Why sign up to an agent who will delay the release of your work and change story details when, left to your own devices, you can publish on your own terms?

I had manuscript requests for CRYO from several agents. However, I knew that any release would be delayed for a long time and that story changes would inevitably be made. That was something I didn’t want to compromise on. Thus, self publishing was the way forward for me.

Royalties and Ranks

I’ve left this one till last, but it IS important. I think a lot of non-publishers think that us indie authors are money grabbing because we get up to 70% of royalties! Damn right we do; it takes a lot of time, effort, tears and frustration to write, publish and market a book. Why would I go to a traditional publish to get a 10% cut but have to do an increasing level of work that was traditionally their responsibility? The answer – I wouldn’t.

The other point to mention is that authors working through agents often have no idea of the quantity of books they’re selling. If you’re being asked to market and advertise, how on earth are you supposed to do so effectively if you have no idea the numbers of novels you’re shifting? Simple answer – you can’t.  In self publishing you have complete control on price points, can see your royalties and rankings, and can, therefore, market properly.

There are MANY more reasons for self publishing, and I hope I’ve shown you just a few pointers which led me to become an indie author. If I was offered a print only publishing deal tomorrow, then – I’ll be honest – I’d probably take it. However, in the modern world of publishing, I personally think it’s daft to compromise yourself simply for the perceived pride of having a publishing deal.

Spirits of the Middlelands in Paperback

photo (13)I’ve finally gotten around to creating, shipping and mailing the proof copy of Spirits of the Middlelands. I don’t actually sell many copies of the Inside Evil series in paperback, and truthfully, creating these physical books is probably more for my pride, than anything else. Having your novels sitting on the shelf at home is a delight, and it always helps spur you on to write the next thing. I’ve also found it’s a good way to passively advertise….just read your books when you’re on the train, waiting at a bus stop,  laying on the beach. It naturally creates exposure, and if anyone asks, you can say you’re doing research for later books!

Anyway, creating paperbacks with CreateSpace isn’t hard, as I blogged in a previous post; you just need to set aside a half a day to get it all correct. Then, you’re little proof copy will be winging it’s way to you in no time!

Now that I’ve finally got this paperback done – and yes, I will be sorting out a CRYO paperback eventually – I can announce that there’ll soon be a little competition. If you’d like to win the first three books in the series, signed of course, then check back here over the next few weeks. In addition, if you’re ready to get your writers/readers hat on, you might even be able to see something of your own creation in the next novel.

Inside Evil Book 4’s opening scene

So, as many of you know, I’m currently working on the fourth instalment of Inside Evil. With only two books left, there’s a lot to cram into these two last novels! I thought I’d share the unedited opening scene of the latest book so you have a taster of what’s to come. If you haven’t read any of the series, then you can check out the books by reading the first chapters that are all available on this site for FREE. 😀 Just click on the series covers below.

Cover - small TTOS-small Spirits of the Middlelands (1)

 

Opening Scene – Inside Evil – Title TBC

Another scream rang out in the darkness, and Roberta pushed her hands tighter over her ears. The torturing had been ongoing for hours. The cries had been sharp and prolonged at first, until they gradually quietened to a muffled and dull whimper. Then they’d stopped, and she’d been relieved that the horrendous sounds were no longer eviscerating her ears. But it seemed the victim had only been left to recover, for another painful onslaught was soon brought upon them.

Roberta had quickly realised just where in Gathin she’d been thrust into. Though the opening at the top of the tall cylindrical tomb had shone light down upon her, it was not the blue sky she saw, but a mural painted on a ceiling far above. The drop from that room to where she lay now was vast. As someone had been dragged across the floor and propped into the chair that now covered the small spherical opening above her, Roberta had realised she was in Gathin’s central tower, the windowless pillar that rose out the ground in the heart of the Queen’s domain. Above her was the room where she’d fought off the Queen of the North Realms, where she’d attempted to throw her doppelganger to her death. The small opening was covered with an iron grate and was the only barrier that kept the seat from dropping into the chasm below. Though, it seemed as if things – creatures, people – were dropped from that height, for the mound of corpses in the room in which she was now trapped rose towards the middle like a newly forming mountain.

Looking into the darkness with the vague hope that she might’ve gained the sudden ability of nocturnal vision, Roberta picked out the top of the mound, the place where she’d found herself sprawled only hours ago. Perhaps it was days? She couldn’t be sure. The desiccated and mummified rat corpses that littered the floor of the room in their thousands made Roberta’s skin crawl. She allowed herself, just momentarily, to remember that her sister’s body also lay amidst the mound, Natasha’s sunken face being dry and lifeless. But she shouldn’t jump to conclusions, it might not be Natasha, it must be her sister’s doppelganger. It had to be.

Now, Roberta was huddled against the outer wall of the circular room trying to shut out the sounds that came from above her. A thin layer of dead rats shifted under her slightest movement, and though she’d managed to clear as many of them out of the way  using her feet, a few rogue skeletons still creaked beneath her as she sat in resigned devastation. She’d fumbled her way through the dark as her fingers traced the rough stonework of her tomb, but she’d found no way out other than the obvious; a large impenetrable door that was solidly locked. At one point there’d been noise beyond, thick gravelly voices and then a deep snarl that could only have come from one of Gathin’s gigantic wolves. If she stayed in this room, she was dead. But if she alerted anyone that she was here…..it would be worse.

A scream rang out again, causing Roberta to look towards the grate and push her fingers even deeper into her ears.

“What use are you to me if you know nothing?”

The voice wrenched Roberta’s gut as she recognised it as her own. The woman she sought to kill was almost directly above her, but yet so far out of reach.

“Please…..forgive me, my Queen. I will remember, there must be something of use….please.”

The man’s words were cut short and Roberta drew her eyes to the floor as she saw a shadow fall still upon the grate. There was the sound of light rain, as if a sparse cloud was fluttering overhead and giving the land below the slightest of moist dustings. She knew the rain was crimson, that it splashed the mound of carcasses at the base of the tower with scarlet. The trickling ceased to be heard as a deafening roar echoed around her, and for a moment, Roberta twisted her head anxiously towards the small door, expecting it to open with a loud crunch. Movement at the top of the tower momentarily plunged her into full darkness, until the roar was heard again and the grate was pulled back into place. Seconds later there was a sickening crunch as the tortured soul’s lifeless body from above was reunited with its lost blood. It landed on top of the mound with a thud, scattering rat carcasses and drawing the few live rodents on the edge of the room scuttling towards the centre for their newest meal.

Roberta wasn’t sure what drew her towards the body. Perhaps it was the morbid curiosity of seeing just what had been done to the man, or the chance to actually move with purpose from where she’d been stagnating in the darkness. Her fingers touched the revolting rats as she crept on her hands and knees towards the top of the mound, her only relief coming from the fact that the rodents she felt beneath her fingers were dead and not the living carnivores that seemed to have their beady black eyes upon her as an extra meal. She felt something wet on her fingers as she placed her hand down upon the gnarly head of one particularly gigantic rat. In the dark light there seemed little than black goo on her hands, but as her eyes squinted to try and determine just what the viscous liquid smeared across her fingers really was, she saw that the sound of rain had indeed been the splatter of a life force draining away. Despite appearing dark, black, upon her fingers, she knew it was the scarlet ink of life.

After a brief attempt to wipe the blood from her hand, Roberta leant forward and tried to inspect the fallen figure. He’d dropped in such a way that he was sprawled on the top of the heap, his arms laying at angles normally prevented in life. Here, his body was contorted and crushed by the severity of the fall, a limp wrist lying lifelessly before her. Such was the keenness of her eyes and the length of time that she’d been trapped in the dark, that Roberta found the light around her to be enough to perceive a diagram on the man’s wrist. She recognised it instantly, for it was the same symbol that Galdur had etched on his chest; the Ammokra. But Galdur, Roberta’s Icelandic gatekeeper, wore it to symbolise his part in keeping the dark from their door, to stop the curse breaking through to Earth and causing complete and utter devastation. Why should someone in Gathin have the Ammokra so carefully inked upon their skin? The man wore a long robe, the hood of which was covered in silver threading and feathers. A priest, perhaps? A Gathin man who wielded the curse that came to Earth every decade? Roberta couldn’t be sure, but he’d known something. Or, at least her doppelganger had perceived that he’d held information important to her quest.

 

Creature Characters

ImageWhen I was young I was obsessed with many creature driven stories. Many still make my shelves groan with their weight – The Animals of Farthing Wood, Redwall, Mossflower, The Dark Portal. They were stories that inspired me, that drew me in so deeply to their creative worlds that I couldn’t put them down. They were tales of fantastic creatures living in their own little societies all around us.

I’ve never attempted to write an actual animal character driven book – though I’m realising that perhaps I should – but anyone who’s read the Inside Evil series will know that nature is an essential part of my writing. Whilst some world-builders might talk about geological formations or towering skyscrapers to create their setting, my paragraphs are filled with trees, foxes or little bugs even if they have nothing to do with the story at all. In CRYO you’ll find birds flitting around or follow Ann’s wonder as she discovers the rainforest. In Pacifier 6, as Carl makes his way through the zombie apocalypse, there are still signs of the natural world in London. In Inside Evil, however, these creatures became so much more.

I’m a complete pantser when it comes to writing, and nothing is normally planned aside from major milestones and plots. I never intended fantastic Faithful to appear between the pages and become such an important cat. The Ammokra Arbor, with its glittering moths, spun its own way out of my mind and into the novel, whilst Elrick, and subsequently Montgomery, were complete surprises. Now, as I’m writing book four, I’m realising that there’s quite a cast of creature characters within the pages of the Inside Evil series. With good and bad creatures on both side of the rift, my zoological path and childhood reading seems to have made quite an impact upon my writing without me even realising it to begin with. I wouldn’t have any of these novels without my favourite little animal friends. So much so, that I’m thinking about writing a short story set in the Middlelands with Faithful, or his ancestors, taking the lead.

A sad loss

In October 2004 I got a call from my vet-nurse colleague who said that a ginger kitten had been brought into the surgery. He’d been found bedraggled and wet by the side of the road, was only about two weeks old and would I nurse him back to health? How could I resist? I’d wanted a ginger tom for a while to beat the crap out of a mangy cross-eyed brute who’d been coming into my house and terrorising my other two cats – this little kitten was the answer.

This tiny ball of ginger fluff was soon mewing all night and keeping me awake as I fed him every two hours on weaning milk. Both his little voice and bright blue eyes were piercing, and he followed me everywhere I went, without fail. I’d run to the loo during a commercial break and he’d just about making it halfway up the stairs before I was on my way down again. He slept on my pillow and lived under my jumper for the best part of a month.

My little ginger tom spent several weeks with rather politically-incorrect names. He had the shakes a bit – we later found out he had a condition known as cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) – and was called Parky and Ozzie -aka – Mr Osborne. He also looked like a tiny gremlin, and earned himself the name of Gizmo. Eventually, however, he became Tobias, Toby or Tobes.

Over the past 10 years, poor little Tobes has been rather manky. His CH meant that he fell over, dropped off and tumbled down a lot of things, breaking whiskers and many teeth in the process. He developed urinary tract disease, had a blocked bladder four times, had a heart murmur, went bald on the tip of his tail, got a flea allergy, development arthritis in his back legs, suffered from occasional fitting and decided that peeing and pooping outdoors was not for him. Nor did he have the capability of going in a litter tray because of his wobbles. So, for almost a decade, I’ve lived with towels covering my kitchen floor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADespite that, Tobes always snuggled, came on holidays with me, journeyed on the train back home for Christmas, buried himself under my duvet, and purred in my ear when I was feeling ill. He even managed to pull a softer side out of Mimi, my tabby with the most horrible of temperaments, and got her to lick his ears on occasion. Meanwhile, despite my fantasy series never originally having cats in it, Toby wormed his way into the pages there too, and will forever be the lolling ginger and white tom in Roberta’s Ridgewood house.

Yesterday, another blocked bladder and a lot of pain finally meant that poor ‘ol Tobes had to pass on. It’s a sad day here, and the place feels empty without the sounds of him tumbling around the kitchen, banging into things and taking hours to eat just one kibble. Life is an experience, and so too, is death. And, no doubt, poor little well loved Toby will have etched his way into my writing in some form or another. But, for now, my little hermitage is slightly bereft at the loss of a brave little moggy who soldiered on despite extremely poor odds. RIP Tobes.