Julia Hughes - writing thrilling adventures - time after time after time.
Great excitement in our little corner of London this Halloween: Randall Peterson's "Death Train" is published on Amazon, and I can't think of a more fitting story for the spookiest night of the year.
If you enjoy a good old fashioned horror story, packed full of memorable odd ball characters (some a lot odder than others!) this is for you!
Set in the Swinging Sixties, "Death Train" is certain to be a run away success – particularly enjoyable are the classic cars and drag races. There's also ancient native Americans who cast spells, not to mention ghosts a plenty, and the scariest sub-plot ever: The town's undertaker has ambitions to take over the world by creating a new race of zombie hybrids! Woven throughout is the tale of two youngsters growing up in a small town. The two best friends' high spirits lead them into adventure after adventure. But even when they come face to face with death, Kurt and Jesse keep smiling through – the question is – will they keep breathing? The answer will surprise you!
Randall is a prolific tweeter, tweeting under the handle of @itsonlymeandyou, and also the creator of "Micro Fiction" – a whole new way of reading. Randall also keeps Twitter-land amused with hysterical "Floating Cows" – the annoying typos that only show up once a book is published! So if you already know Randall via twitter, you'll know you're in for an extra-ordinary read with "Death Train."
As an additional "Halloween Treat" there's an special bonus: A spell from Cloverdale's resident witch, Melania. It's a magical potion known as "Melania's Extra Delight Love Tea," which if followed correctly, will make any mortal irresistible to your charms.
I'm pretty certain Randall's tried this spell out a few times, his charm certainly is irresistible, for certain his imagination is boundless. If you want a flavour of "Death Train" there are short stories galore to read for free over at Randall's site; and of course you can always download a sample of "Death Train" for free from Amazon.com, or Amazon.co.uk. Happy Halloween!
Many thanks to Doreen (Dody) Cox, for inviting me to take part in the "Look" Challenge. The idea being for authors to post a passage from one of their stories containing the word "Look." I've tagged fellow indie author Stephen Spencer; I can promise his excerpt will give you a great "Look" at the Paul Mallory Adventures - if you haven't yet discovered this thrilling series, you're in for a treat!
Dody's post can be view on her site at "Treasured Encounters," and contains paragraphs from her touching memoir "Adventures in Mother-sitting" which should be required reading for anyone who is caring for, or who has ever cared for, another person. I can highly recommend Dody's site for anyone who enjoys short stories, poetry, and not forgetting some outstanding wildlife photography. Dody can also be found on Twitter @Mothersitting.
The following excerpt is from a work in progress, provisionally titled "Griffin Calling" and takes place in a school playground, as related by Frankie Shaunessy, an ordinary school-girl with an extra-ordinary talent.
Still smiling, the professor replaced the smart phone in his pocket, and with a pleasant nod towards our English teacher, Miss Gerraty, held out his hand.
'Good afternoon, Miss Gerraty. I'm Professor Chown, I'm overseeing this young lady's dear brother's rehabilitation.' His eyes darted towards me, as he and Miss Gerraty shook hands. 'It appears Francesca has a special gift, I want her to use it, just the once …'
'…You dirty old man – Miss Gerraty – call the police now!' Chelsi actually barred her teeth at the professor, pulling me closer to her side.
'Please Chelsi!' Miss Gerraty and I spoke as one.
'My dear, you completely misunderstand me, while your concern for your friend does you credit, I can assure you that Francesca can help me fulfil a lifelong ambition – she has the ability to call for a griffin. She is in fact, a "Griffin Cryer".'
Chelsi's lip curled, and she regarded Chown as another person would regard a particularly loathsome insect. 'What on earth is a griffin anyway?'
I responded automatically: 'They're supposed to be a mythical beast – but they're not mythical – they look like dragons, only they're a lot easier to train, and they don't breath fire.'
The hungry look returned to Professor Chown's face, and I could have bitten my tongue out. Everyone stared at me, and I hung my head quickly, to hide my flaming cheeks.
End of excerpt, thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed this "Look"!
I'm passing the baton onto fellow indie author Stephen Spencer, catch up with him over at his site: Stephen C. Spencer, or find Stephen on twitter @StephenCSpencer - over to you Stephen!
It's pretty unusual in our house for me to have the remote control, which is probably why I know so much about the internal combustion engine, and J Clarkson Esquire's likes and dislikes. One evening last week though, as the telly channels were being zipped through at a rate of knots, I caught the word "Griffin" and after the compulsory wrestling match (best of three) settled down to watch Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters presented by Tom Holland.
This programme explored our ancestors' fascination with the giant fossils and petrified footprints left behind by creatures that continue to excite our imagination – and probably always will. Dinosaurs! Eons before the first man walked upright on this planet, they became extinct. But once Homo-sapiens got their act together – roof over the family's head, rabbit in the stew pot, a refreshing liquid chilling in the ice box – they turned their mind to higher matters. The Greeks were the first of the European tribes to get their act together; in addition to producing some mind bending equations that vex school children even today; it seems Spielberg's great great grandparent to the power of pi was also around to weave the storyteller's spell. Then as now, our ancient fore fathers took a smidgeon of fact, and ran with it – from the bones of dinosaurs grew all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. Favourite amongst these are dragons – imagined as colossal flying reptiles with fire breathing tendencies, and griffins: Chimera imagined as half eagle (king of the skies) and half lion (king of beasts).
I'm always intrigued by stories behind stories, and watched spellbound. I particularly enjoyed Mr Holland's style of presenting – he didn't mock, neither did he employ an over enthusiastic "gee whiz isn't this amazing" breathlessness*. Instead, he explored humankind's obsession with the need to explain the world and its mysteries, in a sympathetic yet methodical manner – when experts spoke, he listened quietly, and encouraged them to expand on their theories with intelligent remarks and questions. And so the viewer became a willing companion as he investigated myths about dragons, griffins and other chimera and their possible origins. Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters is still available to watch on line, and recommended viewing for anyone who's ever been enchanted by stories of fantastical creatures. The "special effects" with two toy dinosaurs fighting is worth the entrance fee alone!
*Other presenters please take note – there's only room for one David Attenborough and he is already pretty good at being David Attenborough – you on the other hand fail.
Cover design: Laura Wright LaRoche of llpix.com
What is the working title of your book?
Griffin Calling. Until the work is finished, titles are only vague ideas. As you can see from the book cover, a "Reader Contest" is planned to decide on the final title. I'm sitting on my hands here, desperate not to reveal my own personal favourite, and can't wait to discover if others agree with me.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
A fascination as to what might be lurking in the twilight mists, and a very real dread of calling out anyone's name within earshot of a graveyard.
What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy, young adult - or rather, young at heart adult.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Definitely Karen Gillan who plays Amy Pond in Dr Who. In my view, she'd be perfect for the lead role of Francesca Shaunessy. The griffin might be a little difficult to cast …
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young girl accidentally summons a griffin from another dimension.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self published. I much prefer the freedom of being "indie". I do believe in the importance of a good editor; and I'm extremely lucky to have two brilliant beta readers.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wasn't really keeping count, but looking back, the first draft took the best part of a year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is a difficult question to answer. I very much admire the fantasy "A Wrinkle in Time," and you can appreciate that I'm hesitant to compare my work in progress with the great Madeleine L'Engle. But at the heart of my story, is the message that love is all powerful, and no-one, no matter how damaged is beyond redemption.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
A friend rolled his car, and has been in another world for the past two years. He is slowly coming back to us, but for the first eight months he was comatose, and completely unresponsive. The faith and hope demonstrated by his family and those who love him are inspirational.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I've enjoyed the "Dragonriders of Perth" series as much as any other reader, but wanted to move away from complete fantasy. The main character is an ordinary teenager, with a difficult family background. At one point she does give up, but friends encourage her to at least try to get into college, in order to achieve her dreams. The griffin rider acts as a catalyst, and ultimately a conduit to helping Frankie communicate with her brother, who is also lost in another world.
Thank you, to Jess Sturman-Coombs (@JessSturman) who nominated me for She Writes "Next Big Thing" and I'm passing the baton onto:
L K Jay: (@fenlandgirll)
Monica La Porta (@Momilp)
Jan Romes (@JanRomes)
and Louise Sorensen (@Louise3anne)
So please make a note in your diaries to drop by and discover "The Next Big Thing" these very talented authoresses are working on!
The Bridle Path's free promotion is now over, I've said this before a few times, but I'm very humbled and grateful to everyone who spared some of their valuable time to help spread the word; thank you my friends.
Grateful thanks also to everyone who downloaded this little romance; it's brilliant to see so many positive tweets from those who've already finished Matilda's story. If you're one of the many who enjoyed the read, and you find yourself with a few seconds to spare, I would be so grateful if you would be kind enough to post a review on The Bridle Path's Amazon Customer's Review Page. Amazon have some high tech wizardly at work, and your feedback will help other readers discover good books to download.
Sebby and Winny will return for their own adventure in a special Christmas Short Story to be featured on this site, and hopefully also available to download free from Smashwords, and I'd love your company again for another canter along the Bridle Path.
Free promo for The Bridle Path – update AND how you can win a free
Day two of a five day freebie promotion, and already "The Bridle Path" has broken its own record for downloads.*
A massive thank-you to everyone who has snapped up this offer, and thank you too for all the facebook mentions, tweets and messages of support. As a way of saying "Thank-you" a £10 (approx $16) gift card from Amazon is up for grabs. All you have to do is enter your name and email in the box below, and then in the "Comments" tell all about the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to you.
Couldn't be simpler and the winner will be picked at random and announced here, on facebook and twitter. So come on and share the love, and spill the beans!
PS: If you haven't grabbed your copy yet, click on Amazon.com or for UK readers: Amazon.co.uk. If any of your reading buddies enjoy a romantic story, please let them know "The Bridle Path" is up for grabs!
*This is mainly thanks to the promotional advice generously shared by Sean and Dan Campbell on their blog: 90daysnovel
Wren Prenderson; "A Ripple in Time" best hero.
"The Griffin Cryer" best Urban Fantasy. Thank you to the hard working judges and everyone who voted at the eFestival of Words, organised by Julie Dawson, of Bards & Sages.
A Raucous Time, A Ripple in Time, and The Griffin Cryer. Thank you to Julie and her hard working panel of judges and reviewers.
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