Goodbye 2016

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

In just a couple days 2016 will be over. It’s been an interesting year on a global scale. Brexit, Trump, The Grimm Reaper taking the rich and famous, friends and family. It’s been a stressful year to say the least. And I have to say, I’m glad it’s over. Lets just hope that 2017 is less of a killer.

There have also been some good things in 2016 and they’re what I’m going to try and focus on and take with me and grow in 2017.

I managed to publish two new books! I’m fucking proud of myself for that. I also got all the rights back for my other books and managed to republish them and go completely indie in a matter of days. Another accomplishment that I’m fucking proud of.

I may not be a bestselling author – yet, but I’m working on it. That’s where my focus is going to be in the new year. I’m focusing on building my audience and writing new stories. The rest will take care of itself.

I’m not going to make any hard and fast New Years resolutions. None of that new year, new me crap. I’m still going to be the dark, twisted, and sarcastic bitch I’ve always been. The coffee and wine are still going to flow in 2017.

With the close of 2016 I’d like to ask you to take a moment to think of the books you’ve read and enjoyed this year. Think of the writers who’ve worked to craft those words that have taken you on unexpected journeys. The words that have made you cry, or laugh, or scared you shitless.

If you appreciate those words that were so cleverly strung together leave a little review, doesn’t have to be a long one, on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever you got it. Tell your friends about the book. Tell them about the author. Spread the words.
And in 2017 try expanding your reading horizons. Try an author you’ve never read before. Give the little guy a shot. Don’t just stick within your usual safe zone. You never know, you might stumble onto your new favourite author and then tell your friends about them.

And just to make sure the new year starts off with a bang, I’ll be making Shadows FREE until the end of January. Most ebook stores have already caught up with the change in price but it may take Amazon a few days to catch up. Just click on the Universal buy link and choose your favourite store. Go download it and tell your friends about it.

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I hope 2017 brings you all joy, prosperity, and good books. See you all in the new year.

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The Race: Excerpt

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

The Race is almost ready to be unleashed on the world, so I thought I’d give you a sneak peek.

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I wasn’t wearing my own clothes.

A headache pulsated through my brain, reminding me of the time that bastard, Jake Stanton, roofied my drink at a club a couple of years ago. The unpleasant memory of waking up in my car in the middle of an empty parking garage, naked and alone, made an unwelcome appearance. Jake had left a note saying: “Thanks for the memories,” stuck to my bare breast.

I found him a few nights later trying to pull the same shit on another girl. I guess I could have called the cops, but then I, and my past mistakes and issues with authority, would have been put on trial, not Jake. My way was so much better, and far more satisfying.

I made him drink the girl’s drugged wine with my flick knife pressed against his crotch. I waited for the drug to take effect and then had my fun. He woke up naked, tied to a tree, and with a big, pink, plastic dildo shoved up his arse. Apparently he had difficulty walking for a week or so, but he never drugged another girl after that. The girl I helped didn’t even bother to say thank you. Gratitude seems to be something that not many people feel anymore. I wasn’t expecting her to name her first kid after me, but a simple thank you would have been nice.

But this time was different, and more confusing. I woke up in a cell with twenty other women, wearing a baby-pink tracksuit with a zip-up top and hoody, and running shoes that didn’t belong to me. They fitted well enough and they smelt new, but there was no way in hell I would ever willingly wear pink anything. My cell phone, car keys, wallet, and flick knife were all gone.

Bastards!

The distinct briny smell of the sea drifted up my nostrils, which was impossible since I didn’t live anywhere near the ocean. In fact the nearest ocean was about a day’s drive from my home—if I drove really fast. The walls of the cell were slightly damp and had that salty smell you only get when you’re at the coast. My tongue was also thick from dehydration and whatever drugs they’d given me.

Some other women, locked in another cell, looked as though they’d escaped from a Xena convention. They looked like body builders, with those fake dark tans that were supposed to show off their over developed muscles. From the looks of them and the way they flexed their muscles they’d had a few too many testosterone injections.

The rest of the women in my cell were dressed in similar tracksuits to mine, they also looked as confused as I felt. The fear on their faces made me a whole lot more nervous than I’m used to being.

The warrior women flexed their muscles some more, did push-ups, or gave intimidating stares to the scared women in tracksuits. They seemed to be pumping themselves up for something. The Xena wannabes also had swords of varying types. I wondered if they’d been at some costume party, except the swords looked a little too real and a little too sharp for cosplay.

No one spoke.

I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d managed to get myself locked up in the local drunk tank. Except the last time I’d been locked up there, the place looked and smelled different. The local drunk tank usually had a hint of piss and puke in the air, not the ocean. Then there was the small problem that I didn’t remember getting drunk. I tried to come up with a logical explanation, but failed. The drug idea was the only plausible explanation, until men with machine guns showed up and dragged us, quite literally, out of the cells to a ship docked outside. The ship hadn’t seen a coat of paint since the Second World War. My Grandfather might have sailed on it.

We joined more women on the ship. I counted a hundred of us, all from different parts of the world—from the looks of things. About twenty per cent were dressed in warrior costumes, and could give the Williams sisters a run for their money in the muscle department. They looked determined. I, on the other hand, was scared shitless.

The ship’s engine sputtered to life, jerked under my feet, and messed with the delicate balance maintained by my inner-ear. Soon, we headed out into the open ocean. The waves smacked into the ship’s hull, causing the motion sickness that affected my balance to grip my sensitive stomach. A few other women in tracksuits threw up over the side of the ship. That was it. I lost my lunch or dinner. I didn’t remember when my last meal had been. All I tasted was bile and seawater. To make matters worse I was now completely dehydrated and it didn’t look like we’d be getting anything to drink soon.

The men with machine guns prowled the decks and the warrior women eyed each other suspiciously, while the rest of us cowered. It was the most surreal experience of my life. I kept expecting a fight to break out between the testosterone-soaked women, or to be shot by a machine gun wielding goon. Perhaps I’d taken some weird drug and this was all just an elaborate hallucination, but I didn’t remember chewing any shrooms, so that theory didn’t fit either. Not being able to come up with any kind of reasonable explanation for my current predicament was annoying, to say the least. I knew I’d been drugged, but I sure as shit hadn’t done it to myself. The pink tracksuit was testament to that.

One of the Xena lookalikes appeared next to me, smoking a cigarette. The blade of her sword looked like it had seen some action. Small nicks peppered the shining edge. The leather on the hilt was sweat stained and worn.

“Why are we here?” I asked her.

She looked me up and down. Sizing me up, deciding whether or not to kill me right then and there.

“We are warriors,” she said in heavily accented English. I couldn’t place the accent, but she looked Spanish or Portuguese.

“I’m not a warrior. I’m a fucking bartender,” I said, trying not to screech.

“It would seem they disagree,” she said, gesturing towards the cabins above us, and then she was gone, swallowed by the rolling mist that enveloped the ship.

It was the icy breath of an unquiet sea. It matched the fear mounting inside me.

The ship jolted and came to a sudden stop. I slipped, landed hard on my arse. It took a few attempts before I managed to get back onto unsteady feet. My butt ached. One of the guards tried not to laugh. Relief at the thought of his humanity flooded through me; I almost cried. Almost, but not quite. His laughter disappeared as quickly as it had started. He probably realised he wasn’t supposed to be a human being, that he was supposed to be a killing machine. The barrel of his machine gun pointed at me. But I’d gotten a glimpse of his humanity, and that knowledge could come in handy later.

I heard a thump coming from the port side of the ship, followed by women screaming. Running feet approached, fast. Using his machine gun, the guard gestured for me to follow the direction of the screams. My stomach churned and my scalp tingled. Hysteria started to curl itself around my spine, taking a firm grasp.

They herded us down the gangplank. Angry shouts mingled with screams which dwindled down to incessant sobbing.

The mist cleared once we were off the ship.

I found myself standing on a white, sandy beach. If it weren’t for the guards with machine guns and women with swords, it would have been pretty idyllic.

The mist closed around the ship again, making it simply disappear. Thoughts of the Bermuda triangle and the Island of Doctor Moreau surfaced on my fear fogged mind.

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The Race: Cover Reveal

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Today I’m really excited to show you the cover for my upcoming release – The Race.

Joanna Parypinski is drugged, kidnapped, and forced to fight for survival, for the entertainment of the world’s rich and depraved, as well as the chance to win her weight in gold.

In the race for her life, glory, and gold, Joanna must kill or be killed.

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So … what do you think?

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Remember to hit that subscribe button to keep up with all the news, reviews, and interviews. And feel free to leave a comment or three. It’s always nice to hear from you guys.

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale 2016

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

The Smashwords Summer/Winter sale kicks off today and I’ll be offering Fury at a 50% discount until the 31st of July.

For more information on Fury checkout my Smashwords profile and also have a look at the promotional catalog for other great deals.

Go on! Go get it. You know you want to.

 

Book Bloggers – The New Gate Keepers

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Rejection sucks, but it’s unfortunately something we all have to deal with in normal life. It’s something we as writers have to deal with in our personal lives as well as our professional ones. It used to be that you only had to deal with rejection when you submitted a story or novel to an agent or a publisher, but thanks to self-publishing that’s no longer as big a deal as it used to be.

Back in the day if a string of agents or publishers said no then the chances of your writing career being over before it had even begun was a huge possibility. The endless rejection letters were enough to kill off most writers dreams, but now that is no longer the case. Those rejection letters are no longer the death knell to your writing career, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t have to deal with rejection that stings.

Now we deal with the rejection from book bloggers, reviewers, readers, and any other form of rejection in publishing can take. Now if you don’t get enough reviews your book will simply languish in obscurity. The only tried and true method of selling books is via word of mouth and reviews and the only way to get that is through book bloggers since most traditional media outlets no longer have a book review section.

Book bloggers have become the gate keepers of the publishing world. There are thousands of book bloggers out there all receiving books from big publishers, small presses, and indie authors in a myriad of genres and sub-genres. In fact they’re inundated with review requests from thousands of authors all over the world and they can’t always keep up with the demand.

There are now so many authors peddling their books that many book reviewers and book bloggers can now simply reject an author’s books without even a second thought. Gone are the days when bloggers were the ones begging authors for a free book to read. Authors are the ones who go cap in hand begging for a review.

Apparently for a book to get any kind of traction you need at least 50 reviews on Amazon. Over the last couple weeks since I released Fury I’ve sent out 50 review requests and still have quite a few more bloggers to contact. Out of those 50, I’ve so far sent 21 of them review copies (many of them may never even be read), of those I’ve received 7 reviews so far, a whole bunch haven’t even bothered to reply to my request, one refused to read an ebook copy (and I can’t afford to send him a paperback copy), two demanded I pay for the review in the form of advertising (needless to say I said thanks but no thanks), and so far 4 of them weren’t even remotely interested. I’m expecting a few more of those ‘I’m not interested’ emails in the not so distant future.

But those 7 reviews have been pretty awesome! Those 7 reviews more than make up for any rejection or lack of interest. All I can do is be grateful for the time those bloggers put into reading and reviewing my book. They took the time out of their hectic schedule to share my book with their audience, which is something they didn’t have to do. They chose to read my book out of millions.

And now, in between working on my new book, I have to tackle yet another list of bloggers and send them a very polite request to get them to read my book, because without them I’m pretty much screwed and my book will die slowly in the bowels of Amazon and every other retail outlet.

So … Thank you book bloggers, I’d starve without you!

New Interview and Reviews

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the highly amusing Tattooed Mummy. I had a great deal of fun answering her questions.

If you would like to check out the interview have a lookie here.

There have also been a couple new amazing reviews out, one for Fury and one for Requiem in E Sharp. These gave me the warm and fuzzies.

And Fury is now also available from Barnes and Noble in paperback for $9.99 and for your Nook for $2.99.

So … lots of things happening over here. I shall endeavour to keep you up to date with any new developments.

Let me know what you think.

Books on Sale

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

For the month of May all my books will be on sale for £1.00 over at SpaceWitch.com. They have all ebook formats available.

With the current conversion rates it works out to be about R18.00, or $1.5 USD, or 1.3 Euro. So anyway you slice it, that’s a damn good deal.

So … if you want to pick up a dirt cheap copy of my books now’s the time to do it.

What are you waiting for? Head over to SpaceWitch now.

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