Thursday, 31 January 2013

ABNA Buddies

The absolute best thing about ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) is without doubt the sheer quantity of wonderful creative people you meet on the pitch thread. Every entrant has up to 300 words to sell their story and this is way harder than writing the actual book. So Sir Thomas and his band of trusty pitch doctors help all the newbies to better their chances by helping them to improve their voice, structure, hook and clincher.
If you want to read more about this, Sir Thomas' excellent blogs do it way better than I ever could. Check them out: part1 and part2.

 Who is this paragon? I hear you cry. Why none other than the awesome Thomas A Knight - author of some of the most original and exciting science fantasy I have ever read. Don't just take my word for it, other reviewers say The Time Weaver is "entertaining, gruesome and a whole lot of fun," "an online game brought into a volume"  and that "I couldn't find a good place to put it down." 
Do yourself a favour. Click and buy.

Don Falloon is the class clown, brightening up the thread with his witty remarks and capturing hearts with his tales of kilt-clad, pirate re-enactments. His writing has humour, wit and pathos in equal measure - in short - it rocks like a Journey concert. To me, Heart of Ezdar combines elements of sci-fi and film noir in a deliciously irreverent "chase"-style book. The hero wakes up in hospital to find that something important  has been attached to his heart. The doctor (with weird tentacles for fingers) now wants it back and he doesn't care whose memory he wipes to achieve his goal.
Don't just sit there, get your copy now.

If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, Paradise and now Mr Selfridge, this is the book for you. Filled with beautifully drawn characters and well-researched, plausible situations, A Tale of the South follows one man's struggles to survive extreme suffering and degradation when his rival in love consigns him to a life of slavery.
Adina is in turn charming and compassionate, fun and feisty, and capable of extreme naughtiness when goaded (which I do often). Her writing gives a "wonderful feel for the era," she has an "engaging storytelling style," and she warns about "content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under." 
Mmmm, sounds spicy - why not find out for yourself?

My first comment on reading this was that Eli's writing style fits my preferred reading style like a hand in a glove. Dead Trees reads like Terminator meets Resident Evil with an action heroine who would put Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver through their paces. Elise describes herself as a "bipolar, beastie-killing, off-my-rocker mommy". The story oozes an edgy, graveyard humour that lightens the white-knuckle tension and has credibly flawed, likeable characters. Others say it’s a “direct and pinpoint focused thriller,” a “well thought out and delivered piece of writing” and a “multidimensional tale with shades of SF.” Highly recommended - a five star read.

Buzz Malone's way with words is enough to turn a happily married woman's head. Charm, wit and style are such tiny words to describe this man's literary accomplishments, both on the thread and in his books. I could wax lyrical forever about this book. Oh look, I have.  Silence of Centreville
I'll let a few others get a word in: "a well written, insightful look at the joys and agonies of being different in 1950s small town Iowa"  with  "heartbreakingly sympathetic characters" and  "sensuous, well written descriptions- a book that makes you "laugh and cry and just sigh."
Go on, treat yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

It's all about me.

I’m hoping for a few sneaky peeks from the ABNA threads, so I thought I’d take the opportunity for some self-praise. Even though I’m not really comfortable on planet “Look-at-me” (yeah, right!), here’s some stuff you can check out.

             The book trailer for Archer                    Me chatting about Archer           Me chatting about Rory              My alter-ego Jo Green
                                                                                                and the premise                                  and the series                  (This piccy was taken when
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I re-wrote it back in 2001)
  Hey that’s amazing. I was looking for the link to my romantic thriller (Subterfuge) - published as Jo Green.
Ammy UK stores it as Crime, Thrillers & Mystery -> Thrillers.
Ammy US stores it as Literature -> Erotica. Mmmm – I didn’t think it was that sexy.
Maybe I should take a pitch for 50 Shards of Gray? 50 Swords of Gray? – darnit, there are no swords in this one, just bare-knuckle fighting and the threat of guns. But my real name is Jacky Gray, so I’ll keep working on it.

These are some of my other alter-egos – I do love dress-up.

ABNA stole my January

What can I say? After last year's experience of getting slaughtered in the second round by a reviewer who doesn't spell Brit, I wasn't going to enter this year. To her certain knowlege, the English don't spell defence instead of defense or practising instead of practicing and "it's nothing a spell check wouldn't have picked up." Only if it's set to English (United States)
Bitter, moi? As if.

But I don't need much encouragement to stay up until 4am every night (except a couple) for three weeks solid, grandly imagining I can correct/improve any other writer's words while having the best possible fun it's possible for a girl to have without spending a dime. The pitch doctors on Sir Thomas' amazing thread are the wittiest, sharpest people I have the pleasure of dealing with - their company is addictive. If you want a gigle, check it out.

So, we now wait with bated breath for Feb 13th when we find out who progressed to the next phase. Here's my pitch - any comments gratefully received:
Archer doesn't belong. Edlyn and his gang go to any lengths to ensure he never will. They jump him in the woods, tie him to a tree and try to teach him some respect. The midnight flogging fails to break Archer’s spirit; instead he gains loyal friends while his adversary loses support.

The Beltane competition to find the May King pitches Archer against his best friend in a close-fought joust. He needs a huge dose of honour and integrity to prevail when Edlyn sabotages his chances by cheating at archery and calling a foul in the sword fight. Archer's portrayal of Robin Hood in the historical character round attracts plenty of female admiration, but Edlyn rigs a vote to reach the final round.

Archer apprenticed with Oxford's master bowman who rewarded him with a magnificent yew stave. As he carves it, drops of his blood awaken a powerful spirit. This enchantress helps him design a unique bow while concealing a darker agenda resulting from Edlyn's wanton mutilation of the tree she once was. The Beltane bonfire provides an opportunity for revenge and she lures him into the fire. Archer faces the ultimate dilemma - whether to defy her and risk his life to save his nemesis, or simply walk away.

Despite the distinctly medieval feel, ARCHER is set in a modern-day, alternate England where teenagers enjoy archery and jousting instead of football and Facebook. This 52,000 word story follows the adventures of a boy with a man's courage.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Awesome Book Trailer

Anthony has worked his magic - this is the finished article. Hope you like it.
Look out for the sword - this is my very own Acorn, looking splendid!
P.S. Happy New Year - hope you had a great rest/celebration/family get-together.