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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Connie Straker: Character Interview

Well SmallI wanted to write something about my eTreasures Publishing release, ‘The Well’.  Instead of the standard blurb and the like I thought I’d have a bit of fun and interview the book’s main character.

I find Constance Straker in her college dormitory. Although she’s alone at the moment, as soon as I step through the door I’m struck by the plethora of empty mugs and pictures of her with friends. She finishes stirring two coffees, and I take the opportunity to look around. Everything provides an indication of a popular young woman. Connie is easily the most attractive woman – stunning, even – in any of the photos, with her classic blond hair and blue eyes.

“They’re a decent bunch,” she says as she looks down at the group picture I had picked up.

I put the photo down. “You’ve got a lot of friends.”

“Yeah.” Connie hands me a mug and sits on a settee. She waves me toward an armchair on the far side of the coffee table and clasps something in her other fist. “If they’re genuine friends, of course.”

“Money,” I say.

“Yeah.” Connie blows on her drink and takes a tentative sip. “With dad bein’ loaded, you never can tell who is a genuine friend. I’ve met some real goddam freeloaders out there.” She unclasps her fist, and holds up a key ring. It’s in the shape of an Indian woman. “Pocahontas,” she says.

“Ah.”

She avoids my eyes. “My best friend.”

I take a sip and lean back in the chair while I wait for her to explain.

She takes a deep breath and a long sip of coffee. Two clear blue eyes regard me all the time, and I think she’s trying to think if something that sounds sensible. “My family went through an upheaval when I was six or seven. We moved a couple of times, and mum was findin’ it a struggle making friends while dad was always away buildin’ up the business. We all got a bit lonely.” Her eyes soften as she looks down at the Indian. “We went out to the mall one day, and I guess I just fell in love with this little lady. I treated her like the friends I couldn’t make when we were movin’ around. I guess even all these years later I never stopped thinkin’ of her as my best friend. Ain’t you, Pocca?”

The Indian didn’t reply.

“Pocca can be a bit quiet. But at least she doesn’t answer back.”

“Ah,” I say. “I see. But I suppose the upheavals were worth if for your family – financially, I mean.” I grin. “And I suppose you get to eat burgers whenever you want one!”

“And I don’t even like goddam StrakerBurgers! I’d never tell dad, after all the years he’s spent buildin’ up his business and now bein’ worth millions, but I’d prefer a Big Mac any day!” She bit a lip. “Do you think that’s wrong of me?”

I shrug.

“I mean, dad’s a multi millionaire big shot, and I can’t stand the stuff that made his fortunes. He even named a goddam burger after me!”

“I like ConnieBurgers.”

“I don’t.” She pokes a finger into her mouth and gives a mock gag. “I don’t like ConnieBurgers, or any of the burgers in the StrakerBurger range. And I can’t stand StrakerShakes.” She manages to keep the anger under control, and her grin is genuine. A shake of her head tosses a stray strand of blond hair back over a shoulder. “I guess I won’t be growin’ up to run the family business.”

I put my coffee on the table so I can spread my arms. “So, what will you do?”

Connie gives a deep sigh, and those blue eyes regard me. “I don’t know. But I’ve always said I won’t rely on dad’s millions. I reckon I can make my own way in the world. But I don’t know whether I can cope with getting’ an ordinary, low paid job.” She touches her ear studs and laughs, then looks down at her key ring. “I’m too fond of diamonds and designer clothes, ain’t I, Pocca? Maybe I’ll be one of those spoiled rich kids who says the money ain’t important and then squeals if it dries up.”

“So what will you do, if you’re not going to run StrakerBurgers?”

“At the moment I don’t have any ambition other than getting’ my degree, and havin’ a bit of fun in the process. And to be brave enough to run naked through campus, but I reckon I’ll need a whole lot of bourbon inside me before I pluck up the courage.” She shrugs, and nearly spills her coffee in the process. “My main ambition is to stand on my own two feet. And to be bought flowers.”

“Eh?”

She looks away. “They say I’m decent lookin’, but I ain’t never been bought flowers.”

My brows rise.

“And I don’t want you buyin’ me a bunch of roses out of sympathy.”

“I won’t. I promise.”

“Why won’t you buy me flowers? D’you think I’m ugly?”

I withdraw from the verbal sparring by laughing. “No, you’re not ugly. You’re blessed with looks. As I should think you well know.”

“Blessed? If you could see some of the goddam jerks I get letchin’ at me, you’d not call it a blessin’.”

Her shudder is genuine, and its intensity surprises me. She tightens her grip on her key ring.

“Tell me about it.”

Her face hardens. “There was this one guy at school, in the year below. The college nerd. I can’t remember his name, but everyone called him ‘Spongehead’ on account of his thick curly hair. He were always lookin’ through his glasses at me, and followin’ me through the school, and hangin’ out in the corridors he knew I’d have to pass through.” She shudders again. “There’s somethin’ wrong with the lad. He was real creepy.”

This Spongehead character obviously unnerved her, so I don’t press the point. “I’m sorry,” I say after a difficult silence. “I didn’t mean to push it.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve left him behind. Now the only things that give me the creeps are enclosed spaces and heights.” She shudders again. “Ugh. I can’t think of anyithn’ worse than a big, black drop into nuthin’ness.” Two eyes fix me. “Unless it’s a big black drop into nuthin’ness with Spongehead letchin’ at me.”

You can find out more about Connie, Spongehead and Pocahontas in ‘The Well’.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Andraste’s Blade

Blade SmallI’ve been given notice by Dark Realm Press that the publisher will be cancelling our contract for ‘Andraste’s Blade’ at the end of February. 

The book was published in 2005, and given that publishers come and go and like to concentrate on newer books – which is where the sales lie – I think I’ve been lucky Dark Realm Press have chosen to keep it available for so long.

‘Andraste’s Blade’ was the first novel I had published.  I’d like to put on record my thanks to Ann Velentin for taking a chance on a first novel by an unknown author, and then helping me through the editing and publication processes. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Wild Child Publishing

Contracts have been signed and exchanged, so I can announce that Wild Child Publishing will be publishing ‘Dana’s Children’. 

I’d like to thank WCP for taking the story on, and I’m excited about being a Wild Child author.  I look forward to seeing ‘Dana’s Children’ listed among the publisher’s impressive horror titles.

I don’t have a release date yet, but as soon as I know more I’ll announce it here.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Writing Update

I’ve tried to keep this blog updated regularly over the last few months, and I think I’ve generally succeeded.  However, I don’t think recent posts have provided an update on what I’m doing.  So, here goes:
  • Art Class’ and ‘The Well’ were both published last year.  eTreasures Publishing are going to be making ‘The Well’ available for Kindle, so I assume it’ll turn up on Amazon soon.
  • Dana’s Children’ was accepted for publication in January.  It’s a violent horror based around Irish invasion myths.  Contracts still haven’t been signed and I’m reluctant to name the publisher until they are, just in case something goes wrong.  I have sent back the cover art form, though.
  • I’ve written what isn’t quite a sequel to ‘Art Class’, although it does feature the same main characters.  It’s very nearly ready to submit.
  • A Celtic fantasy will go through Critters this week.  It’s got a similar sort of feel to ‘The Doe and the Dragon’ and is a story I’m very fond of.  I hope Critters – and in due course a publisher - are as keen!  And a mention to Phil who read an early draft and gave loads of advice, and in particular encouragement when the going got tough.
  • I’ve started another horror novel, based again around Celtic myth.  I’ve only drafted a handful of chapters and I’m not fully convinced it’ll be a strong one, although it’s likely to be fun to write.  It’s got very much a 1960s/1970s Hammer feel.
  • I’m putting the final touches to a horror novella about Scottish witch trials.
  • I’ve reviewed a 150,000-word novel on Critters in around two weeks(!).  It was fun, and I have to admit gave me something writing-related to focus on during a period of writer's block, so the timing was perfect.
  • I’ve written a short, called ‘Stones’.  I don’t do many shorts because I don’t think they suit my style, so it’s a bit of a milestone.  (To be honest I wrote ‘Stones’ years ago but I’m quite pleased with it so I’ve revived and polished it.)  It’s about a honeymoon couple who come across a stone circle.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Coffee Time Romance

Thank you to Gianna Bruno for inviting me to join Gianna on her Coffee Time Romance forum this Saturday, along with erotic romance author Alice Gaines .
Gianna's writing is usually romantic, often wicked, sometimes mainstream, and always experimental.
Alice writes historical erotic and erotic romance.
I nominated Gianna for The Next Big Thing a while ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing her answers to the questions.
There’ll be general chatting and some giveaways.