Writer Wednesday: um… Me actually.

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned my own writing on my own blog. So I thought that today, my Writer Wednesday feature could be about me!

I’ve been told that I don’t blow my own trumpet enough. There is a reason for this and that’s because I never actually know what to say. It’s a bit like writing a personal statement for a job interview; you don’t want them to dismiss you as useless, but at the same time you don’t want to come across as arrogant about your abilities.

Maybe this will be good practise then…

I’m much more than a writer of course, and if you’re a regular subscriber / reader, you’ll know that, but for those that don’t, let’s get the other things that I do out of the way, in no particular order:

1) I am the partner of an incredibly talented, but highly self concious artist with bottoming out self esteem – TOH is brilliant at what he does (he has an exhibition coming up in Barry soon) and everyone else can see it, but he needs so much validation that I have had to become a part time Life Coach!

2) I have two energetic, wonderful, polite and mischievous children. NOS and PT are the centre of my existence as a mother… but they can be damn annoying and seriously messy, so I have to add Laundress/Seamstress, First Aider, Interventionist, Entertainer and Prison Guard to the jobs list.

3) Because of the first two, I also have to be a Housewife. This is not a role that comes easily to me (damn you mum!) and I hate washing up with a passion – I’ll do anything else other than that particular chore…

4) I have the honour of being an Assistant Leader at the local Guide troop. This means I have to be a Teacher and add a few of the roles that I play as a mother as well as supporting my fellow Guiders.

5) I have a passion for sparkly, twinkly things that is blossoming into a job – yes, I make jewellery and accessories. There’s a separate website for that though, so I’ll just say that I have to add Designer/Maker, Secretary and Marketing Assistant to the list.

6) I am the Editor of Welcome to Wherever Webzine. Again there is a separate website to look at, so I’ll leave you to imagine what that entails…

…Okay then, having got those out of the way, let’s get on with my writing…

I have a small catalog of books at the moment (if you pop up to the menu bar and look at the bookshop menu, you’ll be able to find out about each one) but, the thing is, I don’t think many people actually  realise that I have actually got books published and that they only came out this year, so I’ll run through them now for you –

The first book to be published was “Pika the Phluph and the Gribblebid Tough” in collaboration with illustrator/writer, Maria Kuroshchepova.

Book One of “The Land Far Away” Series

“Look under your bed and what do you see, A place full of dust or a magical tree? Crawl under your bed and continue the tale, There’s a ship by the tree and it’s about to set sail.”

So begins the journey into Land Far Away – a magical domain filled with strange creatures, like the Phluphs, the Linzers, the fearsome Grungegogglers, and the gentle Snuggles.

Join the author Kira Morgana and illustrator Maria K. on the first Land Far Away adventure, as Pika the Phluph sets out to conquer the heart of the savage and uncouth Gribblebid

Pika is one of my favourite characters, mostly because she is my Daughter’s creation and so much like PT it brings tears to my eyes. Pika is pink and fluffy with an adventurous spirit, no fear and very little good sense!

Publishing this book with Maria was a wonderful experience and we have several more in the offing…

The next book was my own self publishing effort “The Necklace of Harmony”.

My first story collection!

One of the fun things about being a writer is responding to a challenge. This book is full of the results of such challenges…

From the wedding celebrations of Greek Deities, to mermaids, ghosts and superheroes, a whole gamut of creatures await your eager eyes. 

This is a short story collection that basically charts my progress through the world of publication from Flash contests to Anthologies and allows the reader an insight into my mind as well.

I think my favourite story of the whole book is “The Horse Knows Best” – a story set in one of my favourite worlds and connected to the next book that was published…

“The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning” was published in February…

Published Spring 2012

Peace came at a price…

The Black Tower War lingers in memory and the stories that spark fear in children lie in truths long buried. Tales of the Dungeons of Doom, a fearsome Overlord and The Eye that rules all, remind the people of the Heart Kingdoms of Quargard that harmony must be earned.

…and danger lurks just below the surface.

When the Overlord and his Creatures re-awaken, Heroes and Heroines must arise to stem the tide of evil. So it is decreed. So does Legend say.

From each Kingdom, a Champion…

…born to become a Dungeon Destroyer. But the tales and legends leave much to be desired and not all who venture into the Dungeons of Doom will emerge alive.

As with everything, each quest will have a beginning…

…and the Kingdom of Galivor provides an unlikely collection of candidates who seek to plunder an abandoned dungeon.

Little do they know they are being watched…

… by Pfoxmoor Publishing, under their Pfoxchase imprint.

Quargard is one of the best worlds I have created so far and I am forever coming up with new ideas for stories to take place there; it’s almost as if the world really has come alive and wants to be written about!

Some will appear in a story collection- “Quargard Chronicles” -which I am planning, although I don’t know if it will be self published or picked up by Pfoxmoor yet.

I am however going to continue with the self publishing. I have two books lined up for publication this summer:

Turn a city upside down and shake it – what falls out? 

The Treaty that binds the Vampires, Werewolves, Humans and the rarely seen True Dragons, is over 1000 years old. It provides stability and safety for all the citizens of the city of Te Ling. Triads and Yakuza are not welcome here and Tourism flourishes like a well fed swan amongst the parks, temples and theaters by day,  and under the bright lights of the night clubs and other leisure facilities by night.

But many lights cast a multitude of shadows, and they get darker as you get deeper.

Li is as deep into the darkness as you can get: cop by day, shadow by night, he eats and drinks the lifeblood of the city. A threat to the current Te Ling Triang Leader is a threat to the City and The Black Dragon cannot be risked. Li is handed the responsibility of tracking down and removing the threat…preferably permanently .

This is one of the first books that I ever wrote and while it has changed substantially from the original text, thanks to the intervention of a series of Beta Readers and Editors, the story and the characters have stayed strong and alive (well, undead) to me.

This will be published under my other Pen Name, A. E. Churchyard and you may discover that you like this darker side to me.

Which would be good because the second book I am publishing is also under that name –

The Darkness in Mind

Apologies for the lack of cover – I only conceived of the title this morning and I don’t have a cover designed yet.

This is going to be a short story collection, but where “Necklace of Harmony”  was sweetness and light, fantasy and fun; “The Darkness in Mind” will be horror stories so it really is the opposite side of my psyche coming out to play.

A lot of my early published work was horror and although much of it was published in anthologies by House of Horror Webzine a couple of years ago. I thought it would be fun to bring them out in a book and add a couple of stories that didn’t see the light of day at the time. More news on this closer to the time…

Apart from that, I have a YA series being written and I’m working on a couple of SF stories. I have no idea if they’ll see the light of day, but you never know. Oh and by the way, I do have an amazon page so, if you don’t hear from me for a while, keep your eyes open and on the page – anything new published should appear on there!

Writer Wednesday: Raven Dane

Winter is the perfect time for curling up with a good book and the writer I want to talk about is not only a prolific author, she’s witty and funny!

* * *

Sexy Deep Voiced Announcer: Welcome to….DRUMROLL…The World of the Tiger Princess! Please put your hands together for the lady herself… The Tiger Princess!

 

AUDIENCE CHEER AND APPLAUD

Tiger Princess: Hello everyone! I’ve been busy reading recently. There are so many good books appearing now. It seems that everyone and their aunts are self-publishing via eBook and while that’s wonderful because it means the genuine talented writers can get a foot up the ladder, it also means there is an awful lot of dross out there.

AUDIENCE BOO

Tiger Princess: Having said that, I have found a lot of books that I want to read! I’m having trouble keeping up with my reading list now.

AUDIENCE LAUGH

Tiger Princess: My latest find has actually been out on the market for a while now. “Blood Tears” was first published in 2005 and was re-released as an eBook in December 2010. I snapped it up – I love Vampire books – and devoured it. Now I’m hooked and eagerly awaiting the next one! Our Guest today is the Author of “Blood Tears” and another of my favourite books, “The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire”, please welcome Raven Dane!

‘PRINCE OF SHADOWS’ BY INCUBUS SUKKUBUS STARTS PLAYING ON THE VIDEO SCREEN.

RAVEN DANE APPEARS AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS FLANKED BY A PAIR OF HANDSOME MEN IN TUXES. THEY WALK DOWN TO THE DAIS AND ONE HANDS HER UP ONTO THE DAIS, WHILE THE OTHER BOWS DEEPLY.

Tiger Princess: Welcome to the Show, Raven.

Raven Dane: Thank you for having me.

Tiger Princess: Let’s talk about you. When & why did you start writing?

Raven Dane: At secondary school, I used to suffer regular bouts of cringeworthy embarrassment as my English teacher Miss Currie read out my short stories in almost reverential tones to the class. But I fell in love with story telling then which has never left me. I messed about trying to write a vast sci fi saga during the 1990’s, which was dreadful, utter pants. I changed genre to dark fantasy and haven’t stopped writing since.

Tiger Princess: How much writing do you do on a daily basis?

Raven Dane: In the past, I could rattle off up to 3000 words a day when on a creative roll, but recently I have been frustrated with health problems that have hampered my work rate. At the moment, I would be pleased to manage 1000 words a day.

Tiger Princess: If you could meet any writer (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Raven Dane: Gosh…so many. I guess it would have to be Robert MacCammon who wrote so many amazing books like Wolf’s Hour and Swan Song but then packed it in. I’d love to know why.

Tiger Princess: What is your favourite music to write to and why?

Raven Dane: Silence! I used to need music to write to. “Blood Tears” was fuelled by Annie Lennox and U2, “Blood Lament” by Muse and Editors. My concentration level has fallen so much I can only work to normal background sounds…my dog barking, the cat purring, phone ringing, my OH wanting coffee….

Tiger Princess: Did you choose that theme song for anyone in particular?

Raven Dane: I see ‘Prince of Shadows’ by Incubus Sukkubus as a love song to Prince Azrar, my favourite character.

Tiger Princess: Which do you prefer – Paper / Ink or Computer / Keyboard and Why?

Raven Dane: I used to write with biro and paper on the train while travelling to work. That would be impossible now; I have to use a PC and keyboard. My handwriting is beyond appalling and my wrists and finger joints are occasionally painful with arthritis so a keyboard is essential. It can also keep up with my creative flow too which handwritten cannot.

Tiger Princess: What’s your favourite way to relax when not writing?

Raven Dane: The very best way for me to relax is enjoying the company of friends, walking our dogs together, coffee with the girls or an evening meal out. I need to be able to laugh!  I also enjoy vegging out on the sofa with a good, scary film, a glass of wine and some non-dairy chocolate. With all the doors locked!

Tiger Princess: Is there anything that really distracts you from your work?

Raven Dane: Having a husband now working from home! He hasn’t a clue that authors get into a zone and a creative flow and do not want interrupting with such gems as ‘have you seen how much the hedge has grown since last week and could you make me a coffee.’ Grrrrrrrrrrr ! It is like having the ‘man from Porlock’ on permanent standby.

Tiger Princess: Finally – if you won the Booker Prize, how would you celebrate?

Raven Dane: First, you would have to pick me up from the floor! I would probably need oxygen too. The ‘literary’ crowd have made it clear so called genre fiction is a lesser art form, so the chances of one of my funny fantasy; vampire or steampunk novels winning a Booker is less than a whole flotilla of snowballs flying out of Hell. I would be delighted to win a British Fantasy Society book award though, that would mean so much to me. Voted for by people in the fantasy book world whose opinions I respect.

Tiger Princess: Thank you for being here, Raven.

Raven Dane: It’s been fun.

* * *

When a foreign child is abandoned by her family in Isolann’s wolf-ridden forests, she is taken to live under Azrar’s protection as his ward. The strange ability that the girl possesses, a power that so terrified her own people, could be the only hope for Prince Azrar’s survival.

The Dark Kind is an ancient species, the top of the Primate food chain, slowly dying out as ever-present Humanity expands.

A powerful Dark Kind Warlord brings up a Human Girl, Khari, for she holds special powers. When the Human world inevitably intrudes upon her peaceful world, her Guardian sends her out to learn about her own kind, while he fights the menace that threatens the health and well-being of every living thing.

This is a Vampire story. That much is certain, but despite the obligatory vampiric introduction of Jendar Azrar in the first chapter, full of the joys of the hunt and his feeding, “Blood Tears” is certainly not your usual type of Vampire story.

“Blood Tears” is a Dark Fantasy and Raven Dane knows how to construct a realistic tale, drawing the reader into the world without them noticing. She has woven the fantastic elements of the story through the backdrop of the Second World War in such a way that it is a seriously plausible accounting of the war.

This is not a story for those who want the emotional “I’ve lived for a hundred years and I’m sooo lonely” type of Vampire; there is no teenage angst here. The horror doesn’t come from the Dark Kind, but the various human monsters both in military uniform and civilian guise… and I don’t just mean the Nazis. All the usual Vampire clichés are here, however, Raven’s writing style makes the whole book original and new, with reasonable explanations for them.

I’ve read many different ways of presenting Vampires (except Twilight – don’t ask) and this is very much my favourite one. I feel that “Blood Tears” is on par with “Interview with a Vampire” and in many ways surpasses it.

The characters are created in such a way that it is a real wrench to leave them at the end of the book and you are left wondering what happens next. I fell in love with Jazriel from the moment he was introduced and hated Prof. Parrish with a similar passion and this is why I love the book!

If you like the Vampire / Gothic Romance Genre then this is one book you are going to love!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Tears/dp/B004EYT9EG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302518412&sr=8-1

Praise for Blood Tears
‘Vampirism at a deliciously literary level, dark fantasy at its best!’  Gary Power, Author

Taut, pacey and beautifully written, a refreshingly different vampire novel. I cannot praise Blood Tears enough
Karen Stevens for The British Fantasy Society

“The story is compelling and intriguing – a must to read.”

Helen Hollick, author of Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, Harold the King and A Hollow Crown

“Sexy, subversive and beautifully written”

Rachel Cropper, TFC

“Raven continually manages to use clichés of this romantic gothic genre and
twist them into something new. Incredibly refreshing”

Alix Ali, Bucks Free Press

* * *

Not only is the Gothmother a writer of wonderful, unique Vampires, she has created the best Fantasy Spoof since Sir Terry Pratchett created the Discworld.

Poking a gentle stick in the eye of traditional fantasy, “The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire” by Raven Dane, is a hilarious romp around the stereotypes.

Morven, the Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire, is the on duty seer.  She’s been on duty since Angharad, the Extremely Knowledgeable Unless it was Questions about the Weather, retired from the trade to go and live with her sister.  Then the feast of St. Epiligia, patron saint of pointless journeys and voles dawns and Morven finds herself inundated with pilgrims.  Demonica, daughter of the ruler of distant Darkness and Despair, is bored and looking to cause some hellish Havoc. Can Morven assemble a team to stop her?

“The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire” is one of the funniest books I have read recently. Its gentle satiric humour and stunning writing remind me of Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett. Suitable for adults and older teenagers, this is one book  that I highly recommend you buy!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unwise-Woman-Fuggis-Mire/dp/B003UNKZZ4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1302518412&sr=8-3