Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ghostly discount for Halloween

A quick heads-up: Riptide Publishing are offering super discounts on Gleams of a Remoter World just for Halloween.  The e-book version is on sale at a massive 50% off the cover price, but to get your hands on this chillingly good reduction you'll have to act fast, because it's for one day only!  All discounts cease at midnight EST (US time) on Thursday 1 November.

Don't lose out.  To get your hands on a spooky read at half price, hurry along to the Riptide store now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lost tourists and lamps

The weather suddenly turned cold on Saturday, with clear blue skies, bright sunshine, and a wind straight from the Arctic steppes.  Even at midday there was still ice on the roads above 1200 feet, but it was so pretty we decided we couldn't possibly stay indoors.  So, after a brief foray into Ambleside for cold-weather walking gear, and a slightly less brief stop for yummy pub grub in Glenridding, we set off into the foothills near Helvellyn for a walk.

Mind you, 'walk' is a bit misleading.  The first few hundred yards were fine, and then the path plunged off up a slope that was steep enough to have us hanging on by our eyebrows, heaving and puffing and heaving some more.  Gradually, it got steeper.  Gradually, it got wetter underfoot, until it was more like a stream bed than a path.  Gradually, it got rougher and stonier.  And the sun was so low it was shining straight into our eyes and we couldn't see where we were putting our feet.  After a few more hundred feet of struggling, we decided it was simply too dangerous to carry on, and found another path that led in a loop down a somewhat gentler slope further up the valley.

Part way down that, we bumped into a family of south-east Asian tourists, coming the other way.  Could we help them, they asked.  Could we point out where they were, and how far it was to the tarn they were trying to find.  Sure, we said, and grabbed the 1:25,000 scale map we'd been clinging to for dear life for the last hour.  Oh, no, they said, we can't use one of those.  Show us on our map.  And produced a tiny, roughly printed leaflet on pink paper with a sketch plan on the front cover - the sort of thing that's sold for about £2.50 in all the local gift shops.

Well, we tried.  But those maps are for guidance only, not to be taken literally.  The scale is ridiculously small, with half a mile compressed into something the size of a child's thumbnail, and they're also notoriously unreliable.  With the aid of our map and our local knowledge we managed to put them on the right path, having told them not to trust their map because it wasn't suitable for the terrain - something we're still not sure they understood.  And it was only when they'd wandered off, in roughly the right direction, that we noticed they were wearing trainers, and presumably had no map, no compass, no torch, no whistle... and there's no mobile phone signal whatsoever in that valley.

We haven't heard that Mountain Rescue was called out, which is good, but afterwards we were kicking ourselves for not being responsible adults and telling them forcibly to abandon their walk and head back to the village....

By Sunday the weather had changed completely, and it bucketed down all day.  We headed towards Lancaster to visit a vast antiques centre I recently saw featured on a tv antiques programme, because we needed a new standard lamp.  All the modern ones are made of metal, which I don't like, and far too short, so the light only reaches the floor, so it made sense to look for something older.  And we came up trumps.  The centre is indeed huge - roughly the size of an aircraft hangar with stall after stall after stall of antiques, collectibles, retro stuff, vintage stuff, and (if I'm honest) just plain junk, and we soon found half a dozen standard lamps that were suitable.  We chose the nicest, with a turned wooden base and 'pole' (and a hideous pink faux silk shade), forked out the huge sum of £36, wrestled it into the car boot, and drove straight to the nearest Homebase to find a better shade.  The end result is a little... unique, with a modern snazzy shade on top of a vintage lamp base, but it gives out a really good light for reading, looks eclectic and interesting, and cost about half what we'd have paid for a modern one in the shops.  Which is always nice.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gleams blog tour - Day Five

I seem to be blogging about nothing but... well, blogging, at the moment!  Bear with me - this is the last one for a little while, at least, since this is the last day of my virtual blog tour to celebrate the release of Gleams of a Remoter World.

And where am I today?  Well, apart from up the wall and round the bend, you can find me at Under the Covers, with a post about music.  Or, more specifically, which music would make a good backing track assuming Gleams was ever made into a film.  There's everything from 80s pop to Gregorian Chant on the list, so why not head over for a closer look.  You might even want to settle down with the book in one hand and your tablet in the other, checking out the tracks on YouTube to see why they're so appropriate.

And, of course, there's that store credit giveaway to remember as well...  ;)

Keep your truncheon in your trousers!

This is the title of my latest guest blog post, which I've just discovered appeared over at Romance Junkies on 17th October as part of the Riptide anniversary blog tour.  The title refers to a banner unfurled by women protesting outside New Scotland Yard over the antics of certain undercover police officers, and the post is all about the thorny issue of police breaking the law whilst working undercover.

This proved to be a controversial aspect of my recent book Necessity's Door, and the post is my attempt to set the record straight - yes, I really did do some research, and yes, this sort of thing really does happen, although you might never get a serving officer to admit it!

Do pop along to Romance Junkies, read the post, follow the links to various relevant newspaper articles, and join in the fun! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gleams blog tour - Day Four

I'm due over at Ed & Em's Reviews today, with a little something about the settings I used in the novel. 

Many of the locations are based on real places, visited during a holiday Dave and I had in Connemara about ten years ago.  So if you want to know where Kilveenan really is, or the truth about the harbour or the ruined church, then look no further than my guest post, which should hopefully be appearing soon.  (At the time of posting this it hadn't yet been uploaded, presumably because of time differences around the world, but keep watching.)

Yet again, commenters can give themselves the chance of winning Riptide store credit so don't forget to add your thoughts at the end of the post (there, not here!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gleams blog tour - Day Three

Day three of my blog tour finds me washing up at Mrs Condit and Friends Read Books, with a so-called 'missing scene' with a difference.  The scene isn't from Gleams of a Remoter World at all, but from the novel the main character, Chris, settles down to write towards the end of the book.

Confused?  Don't worry, hopefully all will be explained if you read the blog post at Mrs Condit.  The book the scene is from is called Moondust and Memories, and it does actually shed some light on events from my own novel.  Honest!

And yet again, don't forget to leave a comment to enter yourself in the Great Riptide Giveaway.

Gleams blog tour - Day Two

Sorry, sorry, this is going up a little later than planned owing to the fact that muggins here got the address for the guest blog wrong.  head::veryhardagainstnearestwall...

Anyway, the good news is that the second of my guest blog posts has gone live over at Well Read, and this time the subject is all the archaeology involved in the novel.  Find out what it's doing in a book about ghosts, and why I love it so much!

You can find the post here, and don't forget that there's a chance to win Riptide store credit if you leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back in one piece

Well, we finally stumbled through the door after our marathon trip round Britain for Dave's grandmother's funeral.  Cumbria to London via North Wales, and back, in two days flat is NO JOKE, but we're glad we went to support the rest of the family and join in the occasion.

These things are always sad, but this particular one was also fascinating.  Dave's grandmother was born and brought up in the east end of London over ninety years ago, and the funeral followed east-end tradition with a carriage and four matched black horses with huge black plumes on their head-harnesses instead of a hearse, plus a procession through the local streets.  The cortege consisted of a standard hearse filled to the brim with flowers, the carriage, three limousines stuffed with family, and at least two ordinary cars following on behind.  It travelled at a slow horse-walking-pace along the local high street (where it stopped the traffic and people were so amazed they were taking photos) and then all the way to the crematorium, about five miles away across a couple of London suburbs.  It was quite a sight, and a lovely way to make sure the event was remembered for good reasons as well as sad ones.

The carriage was rather like this one, except that we had four horses:

Monday, October 22, 2012

E-book and blog tour - day one

Just popping in for a second from the closing stages of the funeral to say that 'Gleams' is now also available in e-book format - see my webpage for further details.  I'm having a few problems connecting to the internet via a mobile dongle-thingy so if it isn't working today, many apologies, and it will definitely be updated with all the details you could possibly need (and a few more...) by tomorrow.

Today is also the first day of my virtual book tour around the net, where I visit various blogs which were kind enough to have me and rabbit about myself and the book.  Today's victim, ooops I mean kind hostess, is Amara and you can read a brief interview with yours truly.  Don't forget - leave a comment at Amara's site to give yourself the chance of winning $10 Riptide store credit!

I'll be checking in there whenever I can and will try to reply to any comments either later on today, or early tomorrow.  Please bear with me - it's a 7 hour journey each way and there's nowhere to plug the laptop into in the car!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's out! 'Gleams' in print...

Yesterday brought some truly exciting news - my novel Gleams of a Remoter World has made it out in print!  Apparently Amazon quite often jump the gun in terms of release dates and they've done it again.  The novel will be out in various electronic formats from Riptide Publishing on Monday, but you can buy the print book today.

You can find the book here, or to discover more about it go to either my webpage or Riptide Publishing.  In both cases you'll find a blurb, the odd review, and a good chunk of the novel to read as an excerpt.  In Riptide's case this is the first four chapters; on my website I'm a little more limited on space so I've only uploaded the first chapter, but hopefully that will be enough to whet your appetite.

I really hope that you enjoy the book and the mysterious otherworld that the wonderful north-west coast of Ireland inspired me to create!

And watch out from Monday onwards for both the e-book, and my virtual blog tour, which will be kicking off at Amara's Place with an interview with yours truly.  Why do I write?  Why do I write about ghosts?  Why did I write Gleams of a Remoter World?  All that, and you can win Riptide store credit too!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Amazon author central update

A couple of weeks ago I set myself up with an author profile page on Amazon UK but didn't have time to transfer it across to Amazon US.  Now I've put that right, and American readers should be able to find details about me here.

I've even managed to link this blog to the page (I think...) although I can't now find how to do that on the UK page.  Sigh.  Why is nothing ever straightforward?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shotgun Honey presents Both Barrels

The online crime magazine Shotgun Honey, who ran one of my stories a few months back, have announced the release of their brand new anthology 'Both Barrels'.  This is a collection of short, sharp crime fiction by a mixture of established and new authors (or, as the magazine's editor puts it, "those we'd already published and those we had incriminating evidence on").

There are twenty-nine different stories, and as Shotgun Honey themselves say: "We’ve got a little bit of everything with stories about abusive spouses, down on their luck gamblers, ill-fated drug deals and even some cyborg lesbian vampires thrown in for good measure."

Like the sound of it?  It's available on Amazon right now as a paperback or a Kindle edition, so what are you waiting for?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sad times

Sadly, Dave's elderly grandmother passed away at the end of last week, and the funeral has been set for next Monday, 22nd October.

This is the very day my novel Gleams of a Remoter World is due for release and there's a possibility I won't have computer access for a couple of days while we travel to London, stop over, attend the funeral and travel back again.  If I can't get online, please bear with me in terms of updates about where and when the book is available.  I'll get onto it as soon as I possibly can.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gleams blog tour announced

The release date for my new novel Gleams of a Remoter World has just been announced, and it's going to be 22nd October - a week on Monday.  Starting that day, I'll be heading off on a virtual book tour around various blogs, with a variety of guest posts on subjects as varied as the settings for the novel, why it contains so much archaeology, and which songs might make a good backing track if it was ever made into a film!

On top of that, there'll be a giveaway with one lucky commenter at each stop winning themselves $10 of Riptide store credit, so do come along and join in the fun.

The various dates and stop-offs are as follows (and there's also a complete list on the events page at my website, just in case):

October 22, 2012 - Amara's Place
October 23, 2012 - Well Read
October 25, 2012 - Ed & Em's Reviews
October 26, 2012 - Under the Covers Book Blog
It's all getting really exciting now - I can hardly wait another ten days!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Safety Last - on an organ

The Royalty cinema in Bowness isn't one of the biggest or the grandest, but it does have a surprising amount of history.  Built in 1926 and opened as a cinema the following year, it's the proud possessor of the only working Wurlitzer organ in a cinema anywhere in Europe.  After a major restoration project, the cinema celebrated both the organ's new working status and its own 85th birthday with a couple of fun events.

The first of these was an organ recital concert, which we didn't go to.  The second was a showing of several genuine old black-and-white silent movies with organ accompaniment, which we did.  And boy, was it fun!

The programme started with an early Charlie Chaplin film about a boxer or prize fighter.  The bits we could see were very amusing, but sadly the film stock was in such poor condition that a lot of it was too dark to see what was going on.  Next came Buster Keaton's 'The Paleface', which was thoroughly non-pc but laugh-out-loud funny - and a must-see for anyone who loves Johnny Depp's performance in 'Pirates of the Caribbean 2'.  Then just before the interval we saw an old Laurel & Hardy title.  I've never been a big fan of theirs - too often their humour involves smashing things up and the jokes tend to be repeated ad nauseam - and it was interesting that this probably got the fewest laughs of the evening, but it was still pleasantly silly.

After an interval with a real usherette selling real ice-creams off a real, round-the-neck tray, we settled down for the main event - a showing of Harold Lloyd's 'Safety Last', complete with organ music and special effects.  It was an absolute scream.  Comedy filming had clearly moved on considerably since the Chaplin-Keaton era; there were more close-ups, more stunts, and a much more sophisticated approach.  Watching Lloyd climbing the tower-block and dangle dangerously off the hands of the clock at the top still gave us a real thrill even after 80-odd years, and the whole audience laughed their socks off pretty much the whole way through.  And the succession of bells, clanks, whistles and bird calls mixed in with the delightful organ music (reminiscent of old Tom & Jerry cartoons) really added to the atmosphere.

The cinema will apparently show other silent movies, also with organ accompaniment, in future and we're watching the listings to see when they will be, because this is something we'd definitely want to do again.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Riptide anniversary - 'Necessity's Door' on sale

As mentioned earlier, October is the month Riptide Publishing celebrate their first anniversary, and they're doing it with a mass online party and all sorts of goodies. 

Not only can you win yourself all sorts of swag and freebies by following the blog tour, but any book published before July 2012 is on special offer for the whole of October.  This means 'Necessity's Door', my novella about an undercover police officer, has a whopping 15% off the cover price if you order a copy during October.

So, what are you waiting for?  Discounts on Riptide books, fun facts and guest blog posts, cake, more fun, and the e-book of Necessity's Door for only $3.39.  It's got to be worth checking out!