TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY EIGHT: KAREN KING

Can love survive death?

sapphire blue cover“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.

I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.

Friend and fellow author Karen King talks soul trekking in her new YA Sapphire Blue. Even better, as at press time, Karen had great news to share: She has racked up an award for cover design. Take a look:

golden star awards 2nd place - Paranormal trophy 300

Congrats!

Q & A

  1. Sapphire Blue reads like a quest journey; a YA novel that takes the protagonist through Hell in search of her Will, like Dante searching for Beatrice in the Inferno. What inspired you to follow this path in YA?

I’ve always believed that we live on after we die, that our souls go back to the place we came from, join our friends and family and carry on with our journey. I was talking about this to someone one day and they said that they hoped they didn’t forget life on Earth, when they died that they still had their memories. That started me thinking about what it would be like. If you loved someone would your love still survive in the afterlife? Does everyone go to the same place? It was from this that the idea of Sapphire Blue was born.

  1. In our fast-paced, social media driven culture here in North America, how do you account for the exploding popularity of YA literature?

People still like to lose themselves in a good book, kids, teens and adults alike, and there’s some amazing YA stories published at the moment. YA deals with things that teens (and adults) worry about, living, loving, dying, fitting in, the world ending. It’s imaginative introducing new worlds, magic, strong characters and above all it usually encompasses Hope. And that’s the thing I think people want to hold onto most in these uncertain times. Hope that you’ll survive, win through, that things will get better.

  1. What and who did you read as a teen and young adult? Which one(s) stayed with you?

Agatha Christie and The Saint books by Lesley Charteris. I loved trying to solve the mysteries in the Agatha Christie books and the nonchalant way The Saint dealt with the situations he was in.

  1. Let’s backtrack for our readers: Give us your elevator pitch for Sapphire Blue.

Sapphire Blue is a YA with a difference in that it’s set in the afterlife. It’s a story of love, bravery, drama, mystery, horror but above all Hope.

5. Your cover is in the running for an award. Tell us about it.

Yes I’m chuffed to say that the cover for Sapphire Blue –and the cover of my children’s novel, Firstborn – is in the finals of the Golden Star cover Art Contest run by Highlighted Authors http://highlightedauthor.com/golden-star-cover-art-contest/paranormal-cover-category/

I’ve got my fingers crossed for them both but there are some great covers in the finals so I’m just happy they’ve got this far.

6. What’s next?

Accent Book has just signed me up for three contemporary novels so I’m working on the second one of those – the first one is finished. After that, I’ve been asked by a couple of readers to write a follow up to Sapphire Blue so maybe I will.

ExcerptOur first drive together. Later, I’ll take photos of wherever it is we’re going, save a leaflet, a ticket, or receipt. Today deserves a whole page in our scrapbook.

Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.

I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.

“I love you,” I say.

“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.

“Sapphire Blue,

I do love you,

Forever me,

Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.

Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.

Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.

But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.

“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”

Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.

“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.

“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.

I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.

We’re going to die.

Craaaaaash!

An explosion shatters in my head.

biographyKaren King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction.  Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.

Buy Links

Amazon UK  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417793348&sr=8-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+by+karen+king#_

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417779552&sr=1-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+karen+king

Solstice Publishing   http://solsticepublishing.com/sapphire-blue/

Author Links

Website: www.karenking.net

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/74448.Karen_King

Twitter: @karen_king

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kryski/

Wow, Karen. You are busy. Keep us appraised and best of luck. xo

TOMORROW:

Reily Garrett

Carnal Innocence Banner

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY ONE: LYNETTE CRESWELL

It’s September 7, and the blog is back after summer hiatus. Hiatus? Well, not quite. I’ve been promoting HEUER LOST AND FOUND, revising SCOOTER NATION, and dreaming about what Part II of POOR UNDERTAKER will look like after November and NaNoWriMo. But it hasn’t been all about me. Friends and colleagues have been busy doing the same: crafting, molding, building, rebuilding and broadcasting to the world: “We’re here, and we’re writing.”
Bravo one and all. Keep on doing what you’re doing.
The blog for September begins appropriately enough with something I call TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS. Each day, a different writer will be showcased. Some are first timers; others, long timers, prize winners, novelists and short story magicians. Please welcome each and every one in turn. We are, after all, in this together.
Adult, unapologetic, and so glad to be back, I am,

FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

September 7, 2015

FIRST UP:

Clump, A Changeling’s Story by Lynette Creswell

Clump cover Feb - CopyA race of monsters by day and ferocious timber wolves by night, the Windigos who live in the Red Canyon are formidable creatures. They survive by eating immortals but, oddly enough, there is one amongst them who cannot abide the taste of meat on his lips. His name is Clump and he’s the chief’s only son.

On the night of his birth, his mother swallowed a potion which she hoped would stop her feeding on her young. The potion worked, but with dire consequences. Clump is born cursed and his father, Serpen, grows suspicious.

Clump’s life changes forever when he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit and is forced to flee his village. This takes him on a magical journey where he strikes a dubious deal with a witch, is saved by a Plainwalker and finds a friend in an Elvin princess.

Be prepared! This is a touching story of unlikely friendships, unexpected love and the most deadly of betrayals.

About Lynette

Lynette was born in London but moved to Burnley, Lancashire when she was still quite young. From the Lyn pic2 - Version 3tender age of five she was raised by her grandmother and given books to help keep her quiet. Lynette found she had a passion for reading and subsequently started writing once she began school.

Years later, Lynette’s husband was so impressed with her ability to capture children’s imaginations with her stories, that he encouraged her love of writing by buying her a laptop in the hope she would write something more substantial. So with a little push in the right direction, Lynette decided to write a fantasy trilogy and the subject would be something that all children love to read about (and most adults too) – magic!

Lynette’s inspiration came from childhood books written by Enid Blyton. The Enchanted Wood and The Faraway Tree were her first real taste of fantasy. Later on in life Stephen King captured her own vivid imagination.

Sinners of MagicHer first novel, Sinners of Magic was published in 2012 and is now Betrayersreceiving attention from both London and American film producers. Betrayers of Magic became the second book of the series followed by Defenders of Magic. Her latest book Clump, A Changeling’s Story was released in August 2015.

Winner of the 2014 ‘Write On’ Competition, enabled one of her short stories to be made into film for TV and narrated by the actress, Julie Peasgood. Lynette has since had another of her short stories published in defendersAmerica, hitting No 4 in the US bestsellers charts. The Witching Hour is only available via Amazon.

Lynette lives in North East Lincolnshire with her husband and King Charles witching hour
Spaniel, Ruby. All of her grandchildren are the apple of her eye.

LINKS

Universal Link to the paperback: http://getbook.at/Clump1

Universal Link to Kindle: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00QXO08MW

My website/blog is: www.Lynetteecreswell.wordpress.com

My Twitter Account: @Creswelllyn

My Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/lynette.creswell.1

 

Thank you, Lynette Creswell, for kicking off the Autumn writing season. Good luck with CLUMP as well as the UK and US producers. Come back to visit soon!

ABF

 

TOMORROW:

The blog welcomes an awesome Solstice Publishing double header: Heidi Mason and Maighread MacKay. Two authors, two debuts.  INVESTIGATING THE HEART and STONE COTTAGE  will keep you wondering who loves whom and why????????

DSC_3980-2
Heidi Mason
Maighread MacKay
Maighread MacKay

 

OMG. I have a YouTube Channel and a Book Trailer

I’ve been dancing around for weeks here on the blog and finally, at long last, I can release DAS BOOK TRAILER. Months in the making, I can say, without a hint of irony or fiction, that HEUER LOST AND FOUND, THE TRAILER, is all mine and made with my own two hands. Another milestone on the path to publishing. The learning curve has been incredibly steep and it is only the beginning, but I’m ready…I think. 😉

NOW AND FORWARD

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good day.

ABF

COUNTING DOWN WITH MARISSA CAMPBELL

Author and fellow B7 Sista Marissa Campbell is throwing a Countdown Cover Party on Facebook this Sunday, March 8 from 12 noon to 8 p.m. EST to celebrate the September 8 launch of her first historical novel AVELYNN through St. Martin’s Press. During that time, Marissa will be hosting authors and offering free give aways every hour.

A Bit About Marissa

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Her debut historical fiction, Avelynn, is due out September 8th 2015, from St. Martin’s Press. Currently hard at work on the second book in the Avelynn series, she is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7.

When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

Find out more at:

www.marissacampbell.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marissa-Campbell-Author/297803293617830?ref=tn_tnmn

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/marissa_author

About the book 

Avelynn Cover Reveal Teaser #2

One extraordinary Saxon noblewoman and one fearless Viking warrior find passion and danger in this dazzling and sensuous debut

It is 869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Ealdorman of Somerset, has lived in an environment of love, acceptance, and equality. Somerset has flourished under twenty years of peace. But with whispers of war threatening their security, Avelynn’s father makes an uncompromising decision that changes her life forever.

Forced into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status, Avelynn’s perception of independence is shattered. With marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik the Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed.

In a year of uncertainty that sees Avelynn discover hidden powers, stumble into a passionate love affair with Alrik, and lead men into battle, Avelynn must walk a fine line as her deceptions mount and Demas’ tactics to possess her become more desperate and increasingly brutal.

Avelynn and Alrik are caught in the throes of fate as they struggle to find the way back to themselves and onwards to each other.

The Unvarnished Interview

In the spirit of brave self-promotion, I continue today’s post (see Heuer Advance Review) with an interview given by yours truly to the ever intrepid Bernard Foong. It’s another first for me, and another reason to do a victory lap around the neighborhood (after I shovel the sidewalk), because self promotion goes against everything I was taught growing up. Careers in politics, the car business and funeral service notwithstanding, I have managed to stay under the wire…until now.
Heuer, Heuer. What have you done?
  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

That’s always a bit tough for me. I was raised in another time where shouting out accomplishments was

An expression of the author's feelings through a doppelganger.
An expression of the author’s feelings through a doppelganger.

considered rude. But I’ll try. I’m a Pisces that celebrates the Year of the Snake, but unlike dear vain snake, work extremely hard not to be mendacious. (Laughs) I have a furtive imagination, love art in all its forms, and cannot live without music playing somewhere in the background. If forced to choose between comedy and drama, comedy wins…every time.

  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

That’s easy! I’m outside. Unlike you, dear friend, I live in the four seasons (hint of jealousy here) and have the coats, boots and sunscreen that goes with them. I have a large wild flower garden that I tend in summer, and a very long driveway I shovel in winter. And I love classic cars, particularly those from the muscle era. Summer and autumn are for road tripping to see the shows. I try to get to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan every other year.

For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
  1. Do you have a day job as well?

Yes, although I am on hiatus and that has paid off, as you see (big grin). I’m a funeral director, licensed to practice in Ontario, Canada. For me, it ranks as one of the best jobs I’ve ever had next to seeing to my family.

  1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I began writing in 2010 in response to the loss of a dear friend. In funeral service, the families we serve ask how to cope with the pain. One way to manage is to seek out others—groups, counselors—those who have walked in their shoes and really know how it feels. Another approach is to write a grief journal. My friend and I went through school together, and during that time we became sympats where comedy was concerned. We laughed at the same things. It didn’t take long for my journal to take a comedic turn before straying off into outright fiction. I finished Heuer five years later.

  1. How did you choose the genre you write in?

The characters decided it for me. They are bossy, incorrigible and I completely adore them. They were impossible to ignore.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

I put a foot out the door and live day to day. You wouldn’t believe the kind of trouble you can get into at the grocery store.

  1. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Absolutely, but it’s more likely because another story or character is nagging at me. My first teacher called this popcorn writing, where you just push away from the current project and go on a tangent with a wild horse scene. It’s exciting and informs the other projects.

  1. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I mull for about a year, and then churn out the first draft during NaNoWriMo in November. I don’t plot per

I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.
I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.

se, but I do know where I’m going before I begin. This is also where some of those popcorn scenes find a home. After the first draft is complete, I return to the previous project in line to revise and refine. It’s a whole system that works for me. You see why I had to go on hiatus?

  1. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Absolutely everything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. From him and Dr. Seuss, I learned the value of having outrageous character names. My current fiction includes a hysteric named Sigrid Bork. I love her.

  1. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I worried a lot about having one book followed by writer’s block to shut me down for good. So I decided to

Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.
Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.

get some manuscripts down—four to be precise—so that I’d have a body of work to play with when pitching to agents and publishers. The last four years were dedicated to pure creation without pressure to produce to a contract. It was sensational. During that time, I plugged into Twitter pitch parties on the recommendation of a writer friend, and that’s when things really started to happen. I queried, synopsized, wrote dozens of tag lines and met hundreds of amazing people who got me to Solstice Publishing. Now I have to learn about and engage in—boots first—marketing, which is very challenging because of the way I was raised (see question one). I’m enjoying Twitter parties and blogging. Frankly, I didn’t know I had it in me. A great surprise.

  1. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Nope. It was all organic. I tripped, I fell, I studied, and I applied. I got better.

  1. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

It’s early in, so stats aren’t there, but I will direct a lot of applause to the writing groups I belong to—The Booklin 7, Writers Community of Durham Region, and amazing teachers at Writescape—for plugging me in with others dedicated to the same goals. Marketing is a learning curve and a steep one, so look to others engaged in the same activity; ask questions and try things on. Tweet, Tweet, Tweet. Blog, blog, blog, and follow your publisher and agent advice. Support other writers by reading their work, reviewing and attending their promotional events. If you want society to know about you, you must socialize.

  1. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I love them all, but can only dedicate my energies to one at a time. The others? Their day will come.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Heuer Lost and Found is adult, unapologetic and cognizant with a hint of dark humor. At 237 pages, it is a

Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character--at least where I'm coming from.
Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character–at least where I’m coming from.

compact study that rocks ’n’ rolls with the help of an erudite Latin speaking rat and a wise-cracking floor lamp with ulterior motives. They’re off beat and badly needed to help my protagonists: a dead, unrepentant cooze hound lawyer, and his very much alive boozy lady undertaker who he used to know back in the Eighties.

  1. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I think all fiction is informed by real life experiences, but I have yet to meet sentient rats or floor lamps. (laughs) The funeral home in Heuer is actually a composite of four different establishments, none of which survives today. As to the characters, some guy buddies insist that they are Heuer, but they’re not. There’s actually a little of me in him, but I guess it’s to be expected if I’m the one behind the keyboard.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

SPOILER: The very end, because it’s where the Kleenex box comes out. When that happened, I knew I’d got it right.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

From the short story. Heuer actually made it into three separate shorts before becoming a full-fledged novel character.

  1. What project are you working on now?

    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series "Unapologetic Lives"
    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series “Unapologetic Lives”

Poor Undertaker is next in the series, which tracks the ups and downs of the Weibigand Brothers funeral establishment. Its every bit as much a joy as the first, second and so on, because I see this remarkable building go through all its incantations. At one point, it’s actually bought up and is not a funeral parlor any more.

  1. Will you have a new book coming out soon?

We’re at least a year away, I think. Scooter Nation is next, but I’d like to give it another go over before setting it free.

  1. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Absolutely. My series is non sequential, so the character that dies in one is born again in the next. They’re

SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.
SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.

never far away. There are a number of themes I return to, but some of my favorites include: the negative impacts of nostalgia; the problem with prying; insular people coming out into the light; finding kindness in peculiar places; and letting go of that thing you need so that you can keep it forever.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’m an upbeat person, so if I’m criticized, I turn it into a plus by learning something from it. The best compliment I ever had came from a teacher who said my voice was “strong and unusual”. That really made my day.

  1. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Get it all down before trying to make sense of it. It’s a journey and often a very long one. Enjoy every leg of it knowing that there’s more just ahead.

  1. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Observe, listen, and do not ignore the excellence to be found on HBO, Netflix, Showcase, etc. This is your university.

Fin.

Advance Review of Heuer Lost and Found

No stranger to this blog, author Bernard Foong (A Harem Boy’s Saga I, II, and III) had a look, and in advance of Heuer’s debut April 23rd, here’s what he had to say:

5 star review:

Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre cord with her book Heuer Lost and Found”.

Written from

Bernard Foong is an international best selling author.
Bernard Foong is an international best selling author.

the perspective of an undertaker, she gives her readers a ringside seat at the Weibigand Mortuary where Enid, a middle aged woman with a taste for scotch, arrives on a Monday morning still in a stupor from the night before. Initially, the reader learns a bit about Enid and the history of the mortuary, its original owners and their heirs who continue to operate the family owned business, along with all of its eccentric employees. Early in the day, a call is received and there after a not so typical day in the life of a mortuary begins. Heuer, a well known middle aged attorney has been found dead in his apartment, where he laid for several days. The story now moves between present day and flash backs to a time when Heuer, Enid and others in the story are intertwined in one way or another. Heuer appears as a ghostly spectre to enchant us with his own take on his past, and his current impressions of what is being said and done as his body is prepared for burial. I for one like this book. I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series “Six Feet Under”.

Ms. Funkhauser is a wizard with words and did a fine job of weaving this story of Greek, German and English speaking families that bounced back and forth throughout the entire book.

Hooray! And thank you, Bernard Foong.

Drop by #1lineWed for more Heuer and some excellent one liners from incredible authors. 🙂

TREADING CAREFULLY WITH DAVID K. BRYANT

Solstice Author David K. Bryant

The Solstice family of authors are to be congratulated for their community support–they are always there for each another. I should know, becoming one of the group a little under two months ago. It’s been a whirl wind with a learning curve that at times threatens nosebleeds. I nonetheless carry on, because I’ve got good friends behind me with lots of advice and positive vibes. David K. Bryant is one such cheerleader, and the pressure to live up to his expectations is exhilirating, because HIS stuff is that good. Have a look:

TREAD CAREFULLY ON THE SEA

FIRST BOOK BY DAVID K. BRYANT

www.davidkbryant.com

Buy link: http://amzn.to/1zs9ebu

SOLSTICE PUBLISHING

 

Step up the gangplank to an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, when the world made its money from conquest and slavery, pirates were the muggers of the sea lanes and life was fragile – with violence and disease never far away.

Tread Carefully on the Sea is the first novel by retired journalist David K. Bryant. Packed with historical atmosphere, it will take you on a voyage from Jamaica to the “New World” of the American colonies. The Tread Carefully on the Sea cover pictureaction comes as rapidly as the horrors in a ghost train, starting with the kidnapping of an aristocratic young woman on the night of her 21st birthday party by Captain Flint’s crew.

Amidst conspiracy, murder, cannonades, bare-knuckle boxing, disease and a devastating storm, there is the chance for all the main characters to reveal the better or worse sides of their natures. This is a swashbuckle, yes, but it’s also a story about the strengths and weaknesses of believable human beings.

“I’ve written an escapist yarn in the tradition of high adventure but in much more user-friendly language than the old classics,” says David K. Bryant.  “It’s exciting, involving, a bit tear-jerking and is pure adventure and romance.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE MAIN CHARACTERS

Captain Flint is a lonely man. His education, intelligence and wit leave him isolated amongst the pirate crew who sail with him. He feels more affinity with the hostages who are brought aboard his ship but he becomes trapped by the need to escape the consequences of the kidnap and the challenge to his leadership from one of his officers. Flint kills and schemes his way out of several dangers but there are two threats from which he cannot escape. The first is the failing health that he refuses to accept. The second is the scale of his own success as a criminal. He will never be left in peace to enjoy the proceeds of his piracy. In this story we learn what finally happens to him.

Captain Michael Townsend is the model of a disciplined and dutiful Navy officer. He is also a man haunted by something in his past; something that could ruin his future. The decisions forced upon Townsend by the kidnapping help him to resolve his inner conflicts but jeopardize the survival of those he wishes to protect. Townsend’s instincts are to put duty first but will duty deny him happiness?

Jessica Trelawny is the spirited niece of the Governor of Jamaica. She hates the conformity of 18th century society. Soon after she is snatched away from her home she puts her rebellious nature to work against the pirates. Captain Flint learns to admire her — and to regret that she ever came aboard his ship.

Jessica’s maid Libby becomes a prisoner simply because she is with her mistress at the time of the kidnap. She plays a major role in the fight-back against the pirates. Does she bring into use special talents inherited from her African origin — or is she simply a very clever woman?

Patrick O’Hara began life in the squalor of the Irish famine and by a fluke became an officer in the Royal Navy. He is thrust into a vicious bare-knuckle fight aboard the pirate ship. Whether or not O’Hara wins, the legacy of the fight is a power struggle threatening the survival of Captain Flint himself.

The Walrus is the huge black galleon stolen by Flint from a Spanish captain. It has a pivotal role in the narrative and a heart-rending demise when Captain Flint’s voyage of crime comes to an end.

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EXTRACTS

**

As the shirt was removed, her eyes came level with a huge tattoo of an eagle on his chest. Ridiculously, that gave her renewed terror, as though the tattoo was worse than the man. There was certainly menace from the eagle. It stared at her, its talons outstretched and its wings spread wide. It looked prepared to pounce right out of his chest and claw at her face.

**

The cry that would have brought forth a dozen soldiers was about to leave the governor’s tongue – but remained unleashed as the pirate warned: “I wouldn’t do that, Governor, for the sake of your niece’s health.”

**

“Did you get the name of the ship?” demanded the governor.

“It was the Walrus, Sir,” the messenger replied.

“Captain Flint,” said Trelawny, and for the moment that was all he did say.

**

One of the stories that had evoked within the Royal Navy a sneaking admiration for the pirate chieftain was that he had captured a big Spanish galleon and made it his own. Now Townsend could see in front of him the confirmation of that audacity. The big ship sat on the ocean like she owned it.

**

“Britain came to this part of the world to find riches. It was very successful in doing so but it had a major problem. It was shipping around so many slaves and so much merchandise that it didn’t have sufficient military resources to protect its new-found wealth. So what did it do about the policing of its trade routes and the protection of places like Jamaica? It found it convenient to encourage the people you would call pirates…You had better hope that the King never turns against the Royal Navy in the same way that he turned against the privateers.

**

Reeling and with blood dripping down his face, O’Hara got up on one knee, then the other. By the time he was on his feet, Hugh was charging forward like a stag in the rutting season. Another head butt was imminent.

**

Flint bent his knees and placed his hands on them so that his face came level with Townsend’s. “That’s it, then” barked the pirate captain. “You don’t agree to my proposal. I don’t agree to yours. Our fates are intertwined.”

**

She didn’t close her eyes and her brain pitifully tried to distract her from reality by registering that the gunman was left-handed. His finger was going back with the trigger. Spontaneously, she said a few words of her native Ashanti. The phrase had been taught to her by Queen Nanny: “Do not fear death any more than you fear life.” If Libby was going to die, she wanted those to be the last words she said.

Tread Carefully on the Sea by David K. Bryant

Solstice Publishing

www.davidkbryant.com

Buy link: http://amzn.to/1zs9ebu

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DAVID K. BRYANT – BIOGRAPHY

 

I started writing fiction after retiring from journalism and public relations. I suppose the books waited their turn during all the years I wrote articles, features, speeches and promotional material for other people. My career included running a district office for a daily newspaper, helping to introduce professional PR into the British police service and promoting a major parliamentary Bill for Margaret Thatcher’s government.

I live in Somerset, one of the nicest counties in England, and am blessed with a wonderful family. My wife Stephanie and I have been married for forty years. We are proud of our two children Matthew and Melanie, grandson Henry, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Fleur.

 

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Tread Carefully on the Sea – the background

I was seven years old or thereabouts and I walked round the garden reading Treasure Island. When I got to the bit about the musket and cutlass battle I was so engrossed I walked into a tree. I was proud of my bleeding nose – I imagined I got it in a fight with a pirate.

What intrigued me most about that classic book by Robert Louis Stevenson were all the references to Captain Flint, a pirate king who was brutal, intimidating and quite likely an alcoholic – yet obviously very clever.

Without Flint there would have been no Treasure Island for he was the man who had buried the Treasure on the Island. Yet in that book we hear about Flint only in reminiscences from some of the protagonists because Flint is dead by the time the story begins.

Stevenson’s narrative tells us Flint took six men ashore with him to stash the loot. But, having apparently murdered the others, only Flint came back to the ship, giving him the security of being the only man who knew where the cache was.

There had to be a story around that. For me, Flint deserved a biography of his own. What’s more, it should answer all those other questions posed by Treasure Island. If, as Stevenson tells us, Long John Silver had lost his leg in the same broadside as Old Pew lost his ‘deadlights’, what were the circumstances of that broadside? And how come that Billy Bones, the first mate, came into possession of Flint’s map where X marked the spot of the buried loot?

It’s taken me a long time but now I have supplied my own answers. I hope you enjoy them and I hope you identify with the experiences of the other characters I’ve created when you read Tread Carefully on the Sea.

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INTERVIEW WITH DEBORAH MELANIE

Thanks to my friend Deborah Melanie for interviewing me.

Deborah is at     http://londoncatreviewsanddesign.blogspot.co.uk/

Can you tell us how to came to be an author? Has it been an easy or difficult journey?

It’s a journey I didn’t know I was going to make. I spent my career in journalism and public relations, writing reams of stuff for other people. During that time I made one attempt at a book, a pirate story. Many years later I read it to my young son. Then in about 2010 when he was in his twenties he asked to read it again. I was ashamed to give him the sub-standard original so I set about re-writing it. It became Tread Carefully on the Sea, which has now been published by Solstice. It’s my first published book – at the age of 68.

What motivates you as an author?

This should be a simple question to answer but it’s got me stumped. Hoping not to sound trite, I think I want to produce something that people will enjoy. I want it to be good in terms of making sense, being exciting, having some originality and a believable set of characters. I think it’s important to create characters who readers can associate with, feel their emotions, understand their faults – and like.

How do you deal with rejection and setbacks as an author?

I think I can boast that I deal with them well. I approached 370 literary agents with Tread Carefully on the Sea. But I wasn’t going to give up until there was nobody left to try. Then I started sending to indie publishers who took direct submissions and Solstice took me on. God bless Mel Massey-Maroni (my editor-in-chief).

How do you deal with writer’s block?

While it’s very frustrating, I think you have to wait. All of a sudden when your mind is totally elsewhere, you’ll get an idea of how to continue your story. I think it’s worth always carrying a notepad around and writing down thoughts whenever they occur to you. And if you can’t write at that particular moment because you’re driving or something, then keep repeating the idea inside your head so you don’t forget it.

Do you have any motivational books or websites which you find useful from time to time?

I am so glad there is a thing called the internet because it answers so many questions. Motivational books – The Odyssey, one of the oldest bits of literature around. It’s about a guy who spends ten years encountering all the dangers of reality and fantasy yet he never gives up.

Who has been the biggest influence upon your writing?

My dear brother Ray. He helped me get into journalism and he was an author himself. His main work was published in the 1980s and is still available from Amazon. It’s called Warriors of the Dragon Gold and is based on the Bayeux Tapestry. Ray died far too early.

Tell us about a typical day for you. Do you have any special routines which you strictly keep to?

I’m retired so my time is my own and a lot of it is spend hitting the keys I’m hitting now. I make a conscious effort not to leave my wife an ‘author widow’. But she’s very understanding and helpful with the books.

How have family and friends reacted to you as an author? Are they supportive?

Yes, they are supportive. They make constructive suggestions and have stopped me falling into a few traps.

Do you have a muse? If so, please could you tell us a little about him/her?

No, I don’t think so.

Going forwards as an author, what do you realistically hope to accomplish?

Recognition for being good. I’m not being conceited and saying I am good, but I would love the world to judge me so – and enjoy my work.

SINGIN’ PRAISES FOR THE TRAILER MAN

I owe a lot to Rich Helms, author, software guru and creative cheerleader, because it’s Rich who dragged me kicking and screaming into the amazing world of Hands-On-On-The-Ground Book Trailer creation.

Did I leave anything out Rich?

BIOGRAPHY

 Rich Helms Painting

Rich Helms has spent decades creating bleeding edge innovations, including groundbreaking course Book Trailer 101. A seasoned software developer with over 30 years of experience in computer Research and Development, his credentials range from deep technical work (five patents in hardware and software) to running multi-national R&D shops. Rich has been developing multi-media technology since the 1980’s including CARES (Computer Assisted Recovery Enhancement System) for the Metropolitan Toronto Police. CARES was the first computer system in the world for locating aging missing children. He also served as a board member for the Writer’s Community of Durham Region (WCDR) for eight years.

I 2010 he co-authored, Amazon Simple DB Developer Guide for Packt Publishing.

WITH GRATITUDE

I met Rich a few years back at a Writer’s Community of Durham Region breakfast where his spouse, the inimitable Dorothea Helms was espousing the virtues of comedy and poetry slams. At press time, I have yet to summon the nerve to get up on stage and become a slammy, but I sure took Rich’s advice and got myself together a book trailer.

After just five weeks under Rich’s tutelage, my classmates and I now dabble in sound editing, animation and movie making. Not bad for a clutch of novelists, poets and diarists.

Something this good had to be shared. Presenting Rich Helms, Trailer Guru and father of Book Trailer 101:

Oh,Rich…

The Q and A

You live in Durham Region but sound suspiciously American. Care to explain your provenance?

I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Pittsburgh. My wife and I met at Clarion University, then moved to Canada for my graduate study. We intended to stay for only two years, but it quickly became home.  I joined IBM and we lived around the country, for as many know, IBM stands for “I’ve Been Moved.”

How different is a book trailer from the book itself in terms of the subtext that governs it? Is it more about marketing than telling a story?

A book trailer is a video commercial. It is all about marketing, but it is soft sell. Hard sell doesn’t work for books. Most people read a book for entertainment or to learn. The trailer needs to communicate that their desire will be met. With the Internet offering so much content for free, the trailer has to capture their attention and convince them the reward will be worth the cost both in money and time.

The trailer may tell a story, such as the Miriam Black trailer by Chuck Wendig (http://bt101.info/bm), but more often it is a tease. The story involves an intriguing set-up, but then you are left wanting. A good book trailer taunts, tantalizes and seduces, but reveals little.

Someone in publishing recently told me that a cover font has nothing to do with what’s inside. The same would apply to a level-one trailer if this were true. Do you agree or disagree with either of these statements? And  I guess you better explain what a level-one trailer is.

I don’t see the correlation. A level-one trailer has a lot more to do with the book than the font on the cover. A level-one book trailer communicates with titles, i.e. words, rather than a voice-over or live video sound. Titles are limiting, as you can present only about 60 words in 60 seconds. Reading sentences of text in a video is challenging, so you are limited to short phrases. Now comes the big challenge – exciting the viewer with so few words. It is like writing poetry, where every word is precious and has purpose.

The images, font and music set a tone, but the work is done with the words. They sell the story.

The key to an effective DIY trailer is doing your homework. A lot of people want to jump on Animoto, spend a couple hours and produce a trailer, which is fine. So is writing a book in a weekend. Problem is, will either of these be any good? I doubt it. As with writing a book, creating a book trailer takes a lot of thought work to awaken moments of inspiration. It also takes some trial and error, along with an honest look at what the book is about.

That is why I wrote my Book Trailer 101 site and upcoming book – to walk the DIY author through the process to create an effective book trailer. 

You have analyzed many book trailers. I hear the comment that a lot of book trailers lack the zip their creators hoped for. Why is this?

It takes time and effort to learn what makes an effective book trailer and when you see the result it becomes clear they didn’t invest the time. Fancy music, pretty images and amazing video transitions do not make a good trailer. Writing does.

The most common problems:

  1. Too long
  2. Too much detail
  3. Overly dramatic including the music
  4. Music is all one level – loud and pounding
  5. No grab up front or hook at the end
  6. Cliché lines used – “Will he survive?”
  7. The lines could apply to any book
  8. Too much praise

A great trailer like a great movie starts with a great script.

And you have a book trailer of your own?

Of course (laughs) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4ReQnbvL2E

 

Thanks for the snapshot Rich. I hear you’re teaching a Master Class at the Ontario Writer’s Conference in April?

That’s right. Three-hours on April 24, 2015. Last year I did a one hour teaser. This one will cover the 7 steps needed to create an effective trailer. And I’ll be making the point again that whether you are working on a first draft or your book is already published, the prep work for trailer creation can help you focus on what your book is actually about.

With some hands on?

Yes! Participants will actually create a trailer for Terry Fallis’ first novel, The Best Laid Plans, during the three-hour session. http://bt101.info/owc

 

Thanks for your time, Rich. I’m this close to posting my trailer to YouTube.

Good to hear, AB. And great to be here. Post that trailer. Cheers.

Links to Rich Helms and Book Trailer 101

Click for a Summary Resume in PDF format
Click for LinkedIn Profile

http://bt101.info/rich

http://bt101.info/owc

BookTrailer101.info

Twitter @BookTrailer101

Facebook BookTrailer101

Rich@RichHelms.com

The Chronically Excited Rocky Rochford, Unleashed

My friend and fellow Solstice author Rocky Rochford reminds me of my dear Doctor Who. Curious, excited and always WORKING. His latest, The Devil You Know, now available on Amazon, details one curious con’s face to face with the devil incarnate and the consequences this provokes.

Ladies and Gents: Rocky Rochford. 

Greetings to one and all, my name is Rocky Rochford, writer, poet, scuba diver and sword collector, among other things. As I have been so kindly given the space to talk about myself and my works, let’s get to it.

About me:

Scuba Diving, Photo taking, Adventure Seeking, Sword Collecting, Writer & Marine Conservationist. That’s me. I’m a handful of years into my twenties, but after living life on the road, going town to town before finally settling down, I’ve gained great insight into the world and her workings. From Day 1 I have been a Writer and a Writer I shall forever remain.

I like to consider myself to be a Student of Everything, and yet a Master of Nothing, who does not

The prolific author at home, sword in hand.
The prolific author at home, sword in hand.

choose what he writes, but writes what chooses him, be it fantasy, crime, poetry, philosophy or even adventure. After all life is a journey we all get to experience, just like a good book.

Every read of one of my typed works, is another trip into the imagination of my mixed up, crazed and deranged mind. Welcome to the World of Rochford.

And just one of those works happens to be my newly released “The Devil You Know,” an 8 Chapter long ebook to introduce you to a conman who gets an offer he can’t refuse, one that would see him return in the full length novel “The Devil You Don’t.”

            The Blurb reads a little like this:

Meet a conman who always carefully chooses his marks. Then one day he discovers that he’s been someone else’s mark, and not just for a little while, but his whole life. Think you know the Devil? You don’t know Jack.

          And if that’s got your taste-buds waging, allow me to hit you with an excerpt:

I’ll never forget the day my life changed, never to be the same again, the day I met him. I knew it was him the second he walked into the bar. I didn’t need to see those yellow eyes of his, or to notice the curve of his mouth as he smiled gladly upon the mere sight of me. Out of all the bars in the world and the Devil walked into mine.

Shit” was the word that came to mind.

The Devil You Know released on Amazon and www.solsticepublishing.com on the 30th of January and is available on every version of Amazon, so what are you waiting for and pick up your very on copy of a devilishly good tale.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IamRockyRochford?fref=ts
Twitter: @RockyRochford

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/RockyRochford
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7310280.Rocky_Rochford
My personal Website:  rockyrochford.wordpress.com
Rabmad: http://www.rabmad.com/authors/Rocky-Rochford/

And of course links to my works (listed from oldest to latest). Quick little thing I should mention, I am an author of many genres, I’ve recently released a Poetry Collection. I have written a number of short stories, both stand-alone pieces and part of a continuing series. As far as genres go, I write Fantasy, Adventure, Thriller, Psychological Thrillers, Espionage, YA & Supernatural:

Phoenix Rises – a Deep Water novel: (Full length novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Rises-Deep-Water-Novel/dp/3854382375/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761419&sr=8-7&keywords=rocky+rochford

The Spirit of Iris – Part of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles: (Full length novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Elohim-Spirit-Rocky-Rochford/dp/1625261292/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-4&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-rise-of-the-elohim/

Dead on the Floor – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Floor-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00NOBCNIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-2&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/dead-on-the-floor/

Hour of Darkness – Part of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Elohim-Hour-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00O4C4ZV0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761365&sr=8-5&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/rise-of-the-elohim-hour-of-darkness/

Don’t Turn Around – A short tale about Murder: (Short story)

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Turn-Around-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00NY9T8W0/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761396&sr=8-6&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/dont-turn-around/

The First Glance – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/First-Glance-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00PUTJPES/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416760996&sr=8-1&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-first-glance-part-of-the-entwined-saga/

Little Boy Death The Life of: (Poetry Collection):

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Death-Life-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00PV0MV56/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-3&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/little-boy-death-the-life-of/

I Watched Her Die – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Watched-Her-Die-Part-Entwined-ebook/dp/B00Q713HCE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028399&sr=8-2&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

Burning For You – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-You-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00Q389D8S/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028757&sr=8-5&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/burning-for-you/

Save Her – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Save-Her-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00Q38A7LK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028812&sr=8-7&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/save-her/

The Devil You Know: (Short Story)

Link coming soon

A quick thank you to our kind and lovely host and to you, the readers, for putting up with me. Till next time.

Kind and lovely host thanks you, Sir Roch. Keep writing, sir.

ABF

Advance Review: Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire

Find it on Amazon and at Solstice Publishing, February 3rd.

The second instalment in Rachael Stapleton’s sprawling Temple of Indra Series, The Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire finds time-traveling erstwhile librarian Sophia Marcil celebrating her engagement to hunky Cullen O’Kelley. Trouble is, her engagement ring contains a centre stone that’s all too familiar—a purple sapphire from a suite of cursed jewels. Once on her finger, the ring takes her from Ireland to Toronto to England and back again. At various times occupying the body of a child, a malevolent teen and a heinous villain, who continues to track her and the jewel from the first book, Sophia is forced to think and act on her feet, with a little romance in between. Colorful and layered, Curse co opts an astonishing cast with shifting time frames and multiple points of view. The villain, nasty as ever, makes a dramatic entrance, spilling blood and driving this reader to wonder if the wretch will finally get what’s coming to him. But first, I had to figure out who he was masquerading as in the present. Plenty of twists, a sprinkle of humor and a whodunnit with a surprising ending, Curse reminds me of great old story telling, but with a fresh and vital voice. Hello again, Miss Stapleton.

Thumbs up
Thumbs up!

A.B. Funkhauser