Monday, January 22, 2018

Other Worlds: Rose Montague - Magic, Mayhem and a Kindle Countdown offer #LGBT #YA #heroine #UrbanFantasy

I'm going to be totally up front here. I've not yet read any of Rose Montague's books, but I'm going to be rectifying that very soon, and I'll tell you why.

What you're getting is my first impression of an author who is new to me, of whom I know nothing. No interview, no review tapping; I'm going in cold.

Before I go any further, I should mention that one of Rose's books is on a Kindle Countdown deal, and it's available at $0.99/£0.99 until 27th January, 2018.

For the impatient who aren't interested in reading on, here are the links:
Teaser:
A presidential election. A witch with a target on her back and a magical arrow. A shadowy government agency made up of witches with unusual abilities. A game called Witch Pong. The Mighty Thor?

See how it all comes together in a school you will never forget.

Blurb:
Jewel has a problem. She's in a witch school and can't get the most basic spells to work. Her true magical talents must remain hidden. That might be hard to do with a killer on the loose. Murder, mayhem, and magic with a little romance along the way.

Now that's done, let me backtrack to earlier today...

[cue flashback effect]

I'd seen the series title on Twitter, but I hadn't seen the cover or the blurb...
Norma Jean's School of Witchery

And I thought...Harry Potter.

Turns out I was a tiny bit wrong. All right, I was very wrong, because guess what!

Rose's tagline:
Urban Fantasy/YA featuring strong heroines, non-stop action, over-the-top humor and FUN
Heroines.

Heroines!

How good it that?

And there's more!
More books...

Rose advises:
The chronological order is Jade, Jane, and Jill followed by the Norma Jean’s School of Witchery series, Jewel and Ghost School. Jill bridges the gap between the Three J’Amigos and Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. The way I have written these books you can however, start with Jewel and Ghost School and then read the Three J’amigos series to get the back story on Jewel’s adoptive parents, Jade and Jane as well as her Godmother, Jill.

Well, what do you know!

✔ Heroines
✔ LGBT
✔ Fantasy
✔ Young Adult
✔ Humour
✔ Series

That'll do nicely, thank you. 🙂

Here's the montage of all five books to date (all images copyright Rose Montague):


And here are those links for Jewel again:
Lastly, here's where you can find Rose Montague: https://fantasyfunreads.blogspot.co.uk


Thanks for reading,
Deb

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - The Black Charade #amwriting #lgbtqia


WIPpet numbers for 17th January, 2018:
(18-17) + 1 = 2 paragraphs from Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past—and also still playing around with the cover to see if I can increase the readability of the title. I might get it to something I’m happy with before December…

This is another snippet of Jay. It comes a few paragraphs after last week’s, so again, there is passing reference to self-harm.

Here’s the blurb for further context:
Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

That day, eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one of them is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Worse still, it’s Christmas—happy joy joy everywhere! Yay. >.<
* * * * *
And here’s the snippet:
When Jay got caught out, they—the all-seeing, all-knowing, ‘because we care’ do-gooders—said they understood he was in pain, but he needed to find safer ways to address it. Take a cold shower, squeeze ice cubes in his fists, hit the wall with a pillow, and sometimes those things did work—for a little while. When they’d found out he was still doing it, they’d decided he was like all the others, doing it for attention. A few surface scratches—oh, look, I rolled my sleeves up without thinking, quick, push them back down, check if anyone saw… But attention was the very last thing he’d wanted.

Krissi knew. She never actually came out and said so, but Jay could tell from the stuff she did and said. She’d once told him, ‘I really admire you. I became a goth, to be like you,’ which was mental. She was so confident and liked it when people noticed her, while he’d always wanted to shrink away out of sight. Of course, being the only kid in school who wore black—well, until The Black Charade came along—made him stand out even more. He was different, and there was no point pretending he wasn’t. If the bullies didn’t pick on him for how he looked and his musical interests, they got him for something else—his epilepsy, being crap at sport, not having a girlfriend, or whatever. In the end it didn’t matter why.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday musings...a whole load of waffle

Honestly, this is a lot of waffle. You'd be as well to go and read something else.

I've half-written two blog posts today—it being Monday and all (my nominated blogging day). One was a rant, the other was stream of consciousness.

I guess, ultimately, I have nothing much to say. However, I read an article about Facebook algorithms yesterday, which told me nothing I didn't already know, but it did serve as a timely reminder that as an author, keeping on top of my online presence on other platforms is important. So, a waffle post it is. :D

Facebook claim they are tightening up on posts that are little more than click bait and—allegedly—prioritising more of the family/friends type posts. The action they're taking is—they claim—in response to user feedback. Short version: people are sick of all the ads. And yet I'd lay good money on the outcome being more sponsored posts at the expense of family/friends updates and posts from pages/groups we enjoy.

In other news, my spider bite is slowly going away. Today I can lean on my arm without wanting to throw up, so that's progress. Here's what it looked like the day after I was bitten, and how it looks today (12 days later):



As for the posts I half-wrote…

Rant: I wish people would stop slashing my favourite characters. I mean, sure, if you must, go and do it on whatever fanfic site you favour, but I don't want it shoved in my face. Specifically, Jesus/Hitler was so absurd it was funny; Dean/Castiel is ridiculous; Dean/Sam appals me; Harvey/Mike, nuh-uh. Of course, if we had more LGBT+ heroes on our TVs, you probably wouldn't be tempted to do this, and no, I don't think Supernatural is queer-baiting. There is some in Suits, but it ain't Harvey and Mike.

Stream of Consciousness: Isn't it awesome how we know what our animals are telling us? Nature/nurture, evolution, selective breeding, why dogs and cats not sheep and goats? etc.

Both posts were  long, and the former was contentious to say the least. I may yet say more about why I dislike slash fiction so intensely, but for now I'll just settle for having written it out of my system without getting into too much hot water.

Of course, I could've blogged about what I've been studying (social construction theory) or how my writing is going (quite well! 77k of Goth of Christmas Past under my belt, about four chapters to go!), but I didn't.

Anyway, I'm done, apparently. Now I must tend my wet cat, who is between me and my keyboard, like seau:


Thanks for reading (it was worth it, yes?) ;)
Deb x

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - The Goth Thing #amwriting #lgbtqia

The Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet numbers for 10th January, 2018:
10 sentences from Goth of Christmas Past


Sorry…again…to my fellow WIPpeteers for my tardiness. I had a spider-related mishap last Wednesday, so I’ve been, well, dopey, mostly. Antihistamines…ugh.

WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past—this is another snippet of Jay. It falls a little after last week’s snippet, and I realised, while trying to select a suitable excerpt, that this story will need content warnings.

I think people who have read my work before know I don’t write about mental health and illness for shock value. I write about what I know from personal and professional experience, but I try to tell the stories that aren’t usually told.

There’s a kind of amusing anecdote that follows on from that. When I was working as a high school teacher, the headteacher at that time called me to her office and asked if I would be willing to mentor a group of Year Eleven pupils (age 15–16). I agreed without hesitation, even before she said, “They’ve excluded themselves, really, and I thought—” she glanced over my attire of black blazer, t-shirt, bootcut black pants and Doc Martens “—if anyone can connect with them, you can.”

Yep. She wanted me to build bridges with the ‘goths’—not because I was an awesomely cool teacher (which I was ;) ), but because…I was a ‘goth’.

Or a 'goff' as the pupils would have it.
“Miss, are you a goff or an emo?”

Except my gothness began here:


And their gothness leaned more towards emo (but what do the powers-that-be know?) and was somewhere around here:


Anyway, that was the best part of being a teacher—supporting/guiding students who’d already been labelled as trouble or misfits or…emos. *sigh* Whatever the label, the system had no idea what to do with them beyond acknowledging that many of them were facing some major emotional challenges.

The content warning, then, is for reference to self-harm. There are no graphic details. I’ll issue the full set of warnings in the blurb when I release the book.

Here’s the blurb for further context:
Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

That day, eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one of them is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Worse still, it’s Christmas—happy joy joy everywhere! Yay. >.<
* * * * *
And here’s the snippet:
It was better than it used to be. He was better. Not fixed—he didn’t think he ever would be—but since he’d opened Black Hole, he’d felt less at odds with the world. His dad, eventually, when they started speaking again, told him he was proud of how Jay had coped, although he hadn’t coped at first, because it was a sh*tload of money. But becoming a millionaire overnight didn’t make him feel any more of a freak than he was already.

‘The goth thing’ wasn’t just a fashion statement for him; it was a state of mind, a way of life, his identity. Like Krissi, a lot of those people who’d mocked him at school had gone through a ‘goth’ phase, which was hilarious and ironic—trendy kids kicking off when their school banned military drummer jackets—the establishment is crushing our right to self-expression. Yeah, not really. They were trying to stop kids cutting themselves because it was ‘cool’. They had no idea.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 08, 2018

Monday Moan #amwriting ...sort of

Sheet Weaver (Money) Spider's Web
It's not really going to be a moan, but I liked the alliteration, and I am starting off with a grumble.

Seriously, who gets bitten by a spider in England? Me, apparently, so said the nurse at the Minor Injuries unit in our local hospital. I'm on the mend, with the help of antihistamines and, subsequently, more sleep than I've had in months.

I didn't see what got me, but there are only a few bitey spiders in the UK, one of which is a tiny thing we call the money spider, also called the sheet weaver spider (the photo shows why). There's an old wives' tale in the UK that if a money spider runs across your palm, you'll come into money, but the little buggers stick with you. They'll abseil on a strand of web, which you think you've successfully attached to something else only to find you're still carrying a miniature passenger.

*Image credit: Sheet Weaver (Money) Spider's WebWatchduck (aka Tilman Piesk)

For the above reasons (bite+drowsiness), this is a very short post—an update on what I'm working on and where you can find me online.

What I'm Working On:

Waiting In The Wings:
  • No Filter (Hiding Out #2)
  • Precious (HBTC novella)
  • Checking Him Out At Home (CHO #3.1)
  • Spread Your Wings (sequel to Champagne)

Might Never See The Light Of Day:
  • Meredith's Dagger: written for NaNoWriMo in 2011; this is a historical/contemporary novel with supernatural elements. Alas, I dislike one of the main characters so intensely I barely get three chapters into reworking this before I give up.
  • The Pastor's Last Drop: historical supernatural thriller-ish novel that is proving impossible to write (read on Wattpad).
  • Love's Folly: an abandoned attempt at Mills & Boon style romance. I made a cover for it, so I guess I ought to finish it at some point.


Where To Find Me:

Website:
debbiemcgowan.co.uk • hidingbehindthecouch.com • beatentrackpublishing.com

Newsletter:
http://eepurl.com/b8emHL

Blog:
http://deb248211.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook:
ProfileAuthor PageFiction is TherapyHiding Behind The CouchChecking Him Out • Publisher Page

Twitter:
Author Profile (@writerdebmcg)Publisher Profile (@b10track)

Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/b10track

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/deb248211

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/DebbieMcGowan

I'm also on Instagram, LinkedIn and Tumblr, but less frequently.


Thanks for reading. :)
Deb x

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - To Be a BFE #amwriting #lgbtqia



WIPpet numbers for 3rd January, 2018:
3 paragraphs from Chapter 3 (which happens on 1st December) from Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past which is finally taking shape.

This week, I’m switching from Krissi to Jay—the other main character. They’re the two people pictured on the cover (the magificent work of Emma Pickering). Here’s the blurb for further context:
Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

That day, eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one of them is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Worse still, it’s Christmas—happy joy joy everywhere! Yay. >.<
* * * * *
And here’s the snippet:
The year they’d turned twenty-one, Jay had been away at uni. It was only when he’d come home for Krissi’s birthday party that he’d discovered she’d done what she’d been threatening to do for five years. She’d finally asked about her biological father. Her mum had always been up front and said she didn’t know who he was, but she’d given Krissi her blessing—that was overstating it a bit—to try to hunt him down. The fallout had been epic, and regardless of what he said to Krissi’s face, Jay thought it probably had caused the breakdown of her parents’ marriage.

He’d known them almost as long as he’d known Krissi, and he liked them. They were good people, totally in love—the kind of couple he’d always imagined being together forever, and when one died, the other would throw themselves down on their grave and pine to death or take poison so they could reunite in the afterlife. When Krissi told Jay they were separating, it had come as a serious shock, and he was secretly devastated. If Mr. and Mrs. Johansson couldn’t make it work, there was no hope for anyone else.

So he understood why Krissi had taken it so hard, but he also got why she’d needed to know who her ‘real’ dad was. It was one of the many confidences they’d shared when they first became friends, and one of the few things they had in common. Not that Jay had known about his parents back then, but he’d always felt something was off, like a piece of his life was locked in a trunk, waiting until he came of age, though he doubted his parents would have willingly told him if it hadn’t been for that stupidly massive inheritance.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 01, 2018

Last Words of 2017 #amwriting


Well, I planned to hit a milestone before the end of 2017, and I thought I’d missed it (damn you, Deb, and your rubbish record-keeping), but in the process of writing this blog post, I discovered I didn’t miss it at all. Hurrah!

What am I talking about?

This…

3,003,924

…is how many words I’ve clocked up since I started writing ‘for real’.

Which is rather good, as I was aiming to hit three million, and I did.
However…my annual word count has dwindled over the past four years:
  • 2001: 105,342
  • 2003: 8,600
  • 2005: 1,062
  • 2007: 111,813
  • 2008: 122,414
  • 2009: 66,735
  • 2010: 52,771
  • 2011: 101,820
  • 2012: 183,373
  • 2013: 515,840
  • 2014: 486,425
  • 2015: 474,692
  • 2016: 399,912
  • 2017: 373,125
😞

New Year, New Me? Hahahahaha. No.
If I was the kind of person to make New Year resolutions (which I’m not—you can set a goal any time you like. Pretty radical, huh?), I’d be setting one to hit 400k words in 2018.


Last Words of Last Year…
Anyway, here were the last words I wrote in 2017, because it’s Monday, and I needed to post something. :) This excerpt is from Goth of Christmas Past:


It was only a couple of minutes later when the door opened, and a voice called, “Are you all sitting down?”

“We are,” Kris confirmed. Krissi clenched her hands in her lap and watched the door, expecting a boisterous crazy thing to come bounding through it at any second. Instead, a kennel assistant stepped into view, followed by a quiet, shy and completely gorgeous yellow Labrador.

“Here’s your new family, Duke.”

With head bowed, the dog advanced on each of them in turn, his tail wagging low and slow the whole time.

“He’ll be a bit wary of you at first,” the kennel assistant said. “As you know, he’s already been to two new homes. He’s good with basic obedience, and he’s house-trained, but he’s only young and likes to chew.”

As for those titles up there? My MSc tutor’s fault, and my editor’s, for being amused the last time I did it, but I think they might help. *shrugs*

Thanks…always…for reading. Have an awesome 2018. :)
Deb x