RSS Feed

Tag Archives: author

Shrike – Joe Donnelly #BookRecommendation #Horror

Blurb

When old spiritualist Marta Herkik gathers together a group of lost souls, each hopes for a change of luck that will help them. But during the séance, the old woman taps into something dark, something with a hunger.

Policeman Jack Fallon, investigating a series of killings, can find no logical reason behind the violence that has visited his town. The killer seems to like high, dark places, but it leaves no clues. The investigation leads him to Lorna Breck, a young highland woman who is gifted, or cursed, with a kind of second sight. She seems to know what is happening, and often knows before it even happens. Only she can unlock the mystery, and only she can lead Jack Fallon to the Shrike.

But the thing brought into the world in a séance gone wrong, is waiting for them.


Joe Donnelly is the author of eight horror chillers and the Jack Flint trilogy for young readers.  Joe was born in Glasgow, in Scotland, close to the River Clyde, but at a very young age he came to live in Dumbarton, which is some miles from the city and close to Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond and the Scottish Highlands. At the age of 18, he decided to become a journalist and found a job in the Helensburgh Advertiser, a local paper in a neighbouring town where he learned the first essential of writing: how to type. Quickly.

During his career he won several awards for newspaper work including Reporter of the Year, Campaigning Journalist and Consumer Journalist. It was while working in newspapers that he wrote his first novel, Bane, an adult chiller, which was followed by eight other novels, mostly set in and around the West of Scotland and loosely based on Celtic Mythology.

Recently he completed the Jack Flint trilogy for children, although he says his books are aimed at “young people of all ages…those with some adventure in their soul.”

Advertisements

#NaNoWriMo Progress: Week 1

This is going to be a short one because I have to get back to all the writing. No tips. No advice. No words of encouragement beyond “Do the best that you can, and more.”

This is really more about how important the Prep I did before NaNo has helped me sit down and churn out 2K words in a two hours. Not an impressive Word Per Minute (it’s 16wpm) but in the end I was able to flow. My characters had been defined. The world had been built. The overall arc considered. It was just a matter of waiting for NaNo to come around so I can put words down and start working on the story.

The Difficulty of Starting

I struggled to start. I mean really struggled. Not in terms of word count, but in terms of how I wanted the story to go. I have these two main characters, the Innocent-yet-Tainted character and the Tainted-Seeking-Innocence character. Either one had a really good premise and backstory but I couldn’t decide which one to go with. So I did both. Hated both. Then I started a third draft right in the middle of each of their personal conflicts, guiding the story forward from each of their perspectives.

As it stands, between those three drafts I am on (13,289 ) words, though I don’t want to include the first two drafts into the word count. I feel like its cheating.

What idiot wrote this oh I did.

The Novel in Your Head

Once I started writing I could feel my characters come alive in my head. Their thoughts becoming my own, their emotions thrumming through me. The decisions they were making also mine to make. There are two experiences I want to share you with you:

The Diverging Path

As I was writing a particular scene, my character was on the way to doing something that would change their current situation. Only that change had two diverging paths and each leading to a different end for the scene. I knew this as I was writing, fingers too slow to catch up to the mind, the mind conjuring up new futures where the character could go and I had to choose one as I was writing. The words I was typing at that moment to alter the destiny of my character.

I have never felt so torn about the future of a fictional character. Seeing these two timelines stretching outwards and me choosing which one I think is best. Oh the thrill of writing.

 

The Movie Feeling

During my 2k writing sprint, I was writing a particularly emotional scene where the character makes quite an important decision. I was there with them through every moment, living vicariously through each word my fingers were typing to reflect this character I had become. And it was when I wrote the final scene and took my break that I realised I was emotionally invested into this character and wanted to know more. Like I had paused a scene in a movie and could press play to continue watching.

It’s a feeling I haven’t felt in my writing for a long while, and its both disturbing and exciting.

Onward to week #2

As well as this story is going, I feel like its not moving at the pace I expected it to. There are too many transitional scenes which attribute to character growth, and world building etc. And I know not every scene is going to be a horror-fest. I just have to plug away, knowing that after NaNo I’ll be free to edit, change, and chop as I see fit. Until then, I continue.

Grey Magic by JT Lawrence – Review

Title: Grey Magic

Author: J.T. Lawrence

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Book procurement: Received a copy from the author for an honest review. Currently available on Amazon.

Synopsis:

No one appreciates the irony of her situation more than Raven Kane: she’s a burnt-out witch. Raven is a hip, hexing-and-texting sorceress – or at least, she used to be.

Now her ancient timber house is falling down around her, and the bank wants to repossess it. Nothing would make her cantankerous neighbour happier than seeing Raven and her messy menagerie out on the street. To add to her stress, the reckless Wicked Witches are causing mischief and it’s her job to reign them in. Worst of all is that her magic seems to be fading.

Just as everything seems to be too much to handle, there’s a knock on the (splintering) door. A not-unattractive man appears in her life: not to save her, as a fairytale would have you believe, but to arrest her for the murder of one of her clients. It wouldn’t be that bad for Raven, except that she knows she’s guilty.

Review:

First Thoughts

First and foremost, I thought this was a great book. It’s a fresh take on the whole “magic” and “witches” perspective. Grounds it in a natural and almost believable setting of earthly charms. Very apt for a South African novel considering the African cultural perspective on magic.

The entire story kept its center around the idea of “Grey Magic”, this idea that intention has nothing to do with consequence. Where something with the best of intentions can spiral towards a dark consequence.

There were a few inconsistencies or perhaps better to call them irregularities in the story, but they weren’t so major as to derail the story. They did break my sense of suspended disbelief though and it took a while to reign myself back in.

Writing

The writing flows well from beginning to end. It’s clear there was a good deal of research invested into the novel. Not only in execution of  the magic and spells, but the descriptions that captured places and events not rooted in our current age.

The clever use of technology and social media was also well written. If one can communicate with someone from across the world through Twitter, why not tweet spells and magical advice too. Perhaps we need more tech savvy-witches.

Raven, the main character, remains true to herself throughout the novel. Even as the story starts with Raven displaying sarcasm and wit, it’s all just building towards her self-discovery. The rest of the characters were also well captured. From detective Kruger, to Father Stephen Bishop, and the coven of witches with well-meaning agendas. I’d love to break each character down but then… I’d spoil the book for you. Some clever twists there.

I did feel as though their roles were to set Raven up as the main character. Thankfully their individual personalities made up for that.

Final Thoughts

Overall the novel is great. I really enjoyed the interconnected symbols appearing through the course of the novel. Ravens, fire, Fenrir and more. It was a beautiful amalgamation of fate, destiny and karma swirling about.

I was a bit disconcerted by the modern pitchfork wielding mob and the whole mob mentality, especially considering our time frame. Also the types of people who had shown up don’t seem like mob-mentality people, unless that’s just my ignorance speaking.

The criticism of the Christian ethos made me roll my eyes, as though every Christian is an ignorant fundamentalist with no concept of the bible (or God) they read. Picking and choosing context for their purposes. It’s not something I’ll get into now but it did annoy a bit.

Nonetheless it culminated perfectly, aligning all of the obstacles that had plagued Raven in the beginning to a perfect conclusion of karma, and the Grey Magic that spilled through lifetimes.

Rating: An enjoyable 3 out of 5


JT Lawrence

JT Lawrence is an author, playwright and bookdealer based in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. She is the mother of two small boys and lives in a house with a red front door.

She has written various plays for SAFM including ‘The Shelter’, ‘Unspilling the Milk’, ‘Every Breath You Take’, and serials, the most recent being the crime drama ‘Jigsaw’. Her short story collection ‘Sticky Fingers’ was broadcast in the last quarter of 2015, and will be available as a paperback and ebook in 2016.

Her first novel, ‘The Memory of Water’ (2011), is about a writer who would do anything for a story. Her 2015 offering, ‘Why You Were Taken’is a pre-dystopian sci-fi thriller starring a synaesthete, and takes place is a futuristic Jo’burg burdened by infertility and a water crisis. It was optioned by the national broadcaster, SABC, for a radio adaption.

She is currently working on her new novel, ‘Grey Magic’, slated for December 2016, about an eccentric modern-day witch, accused of murder, who must explore her past lives in order to keep her freedom — and find her way back to magic.

Website: Pulpbooks

Amazon: J.T. Lawrence

Twitter: @pulpbooks

Facebook: facebook.com/JanitaTLawrence

Instagram: pulp_junkie


Have you read anything interesting lately?

Remember to sign up to my SPAM-free Newsletter here: Nthato Morakabi.com.

Author Interview: JD Woodson – A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception

interview

I had the awesome privileged of speaking to J.D Woodson, author of A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception. You can read my book review here. This what he had to say.

Q: An enchanting tale combining a number of interesting characters and pertinent questions. What inspired you to write A Space Between Worlds: Conception?

A: Loss, regret, self-loathing, the lack of identity, introspection and comprehension: those ideas would suffice in the reasoning of the creation of the A Space Between Worlds: Conception. All of those things, I’ve experienced and were deeply seeded into my heart ever since I was young. Not until I grew older, I had the inkling of tackling such questions. Terrifying and painful, liberating and refreshing. I wasn’t singular in facing such concepts. Those around me, people I knew and who I didn’t, struggled with the very same. I wrote the story, not only to soothe myself but others as well. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to face ourselves; it’s almost as if we refuse to. Many of us don’t know who we are. I knew someone who had the thorough understanding of those ideas but unbeknownst to me, I hadn’t an inkling of her suffering. After she departed from this world, that was the spark for me to compose this story. After three years of writing this story, it changed drastically from draft to draft, however, what I needed to express had to be pulled out of me by my own hands.

Q: Are the questions and concepts your characters work through something you consider deeply? Do you question the truths of life and death as deeply?

Inner worlds, reincarnation, cycles both broken and whole? Yes, I ponder those concepts with care. They are depthless and without shape. And because of this, there isn’t a universal answer. Some characters in the story have their own interpretations while others are trying to find their answers. I’m still seeking mine too.

Yes. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t’ve been write a story like this. I questioned life and death starting very young. The reason for that was the departure of my eldest brother not long after I was born. For some reason, I thought I wasn’t meant to be alive. I thought I stole my brother’s life. So because of that I wore a mask that wasn’t mine in order to keep my brother’s presence here, I suppose. I didn’t have an identity and I was constricted by regret. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I removed that mask and since then, I’ve been piecing together my identity. I started my life at death instead of the other way around. But this enabled me to question what those things meant to me. I can’t say I have any answers yet, much like my characters. Shanti is on one side of the cycle and Reno is on the other, but neither of them can see beyond what they do and don’t know. My true feelings on the matter are expressed through the story.

Q: This is only volume one. I am assuming you’ve got a series in the works? Will they all be related?

A: Yes, I can confirm there will be more volumes to come. Though I originally intended for A Space Between Worlds to be a duology; the change came about during the outlining of the next book, I noticed there was more of the story wanting to be told and if I confined those ideas into one last book, the execution would’ve been sloppy and what was to be covered wouldn’t be fully realized. I’m currently writing volume two and there are plans for future books. While volume one and volume two will be directly related, the others will be a separate arc in a sense. With that being said, you can expect majority of the characters to return in the next one. I wonder how they will change?

Q: Your writing style is flowery. Poetic. I know you gained a love for poetry but is this how you have always written or has there been something or someone who influenced you?

A: Wow. Flowery, huh? The majority of authors in this day and age would cringe at hearing that term affixed to their writing, indeed. As for I, I find it to be flattering. Flowers are pleasant, fragrant, and comforting. But an overabundance of flowers can be overwhelming to the senses, no? Since poetry was my background, my first love, my style transitioned into my storytelling. There was a time were my storytelling was as pungent as a perfume section of a department store when I was first starting out but I would like to think I found a proper balance and flow of what is considered flowery.  My style was influenced by Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks in terms of poetry. As for storytelling, Haruki Murakami would probably be my deepest influence in the way of storytelling and Carl Jung, Frederick Nietzsche, and Indian Philosophy as whole are some of my philosophical influences.

Q: Do you have works of poetry out there (or in your drafts folder) that we can look forward to?

A: Now that you mentioned it; I do desire to publish a collection of poetry. I’ve put all of my focus on A Space Between Worlds for the last few years so I can’t say I’ve written any poetry outside of the ones within the story. Integrating my first love into my second, I’ll continue to do that but maybe one day soon I’ll write a traditional poetry collection.

Q: I infer from your style that you are an emotive writer. Do your feelings and emotions always guide your writing? How do you manage when you’re not feeling any particular way?

A: Naturally, I’m a sensitive person. In everything I do, I go by feeling. For myself, there isn’t any other way to live but to go by what my heart tells me and that carries into my writing. If I can’t express myself without clarity, I abstain from writing until I’m enraptured by the emotion I’m trying to convey. If what I am writing doesn’t have meaning, there isn’t any reason why they should be written.

Q: Do you have any favourite authors? Music that inspires you as you write?

A: Haruki Murakami, Franz Kafka, Ray Bradbury, Natsume Soseki, and Yu Godai are some of my favourite authors of fiction.

Nobuhiro Watsuki, Masamune Shirow, Hiroyuki Takei, and Tetsuo Hara are my favourite manga-ka (authors of manga).

Yoko Shinomura, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yuki Kajiura, Shoji Meguro, Masashi Hamauzu, and Uyama Hiroto are the composers I listen to thoroughly. Symphonic, Jazz, Rock and Synth, interesting combination, huh?

Q: What does your writing process look and feel like?

A: To keep it simple, it’s a lot like gardening. Peaceful and relaxing, meticulous and intensive. I adore writing, but it can be painful. I’m mentally and physically exhausted after it’s all said and done.

Q: Who is J.D. Woodson? To the world and to yourself?

Obtaining those answers are the very reason I write.

Q: Where to from here?

A: If I had every map devised, it’ll leave nothing for me to discover. I can only continue to live and express myself moment by moment. Whatever is in store, I’ll accept and move only by what my heart tells me. All I know for certain, I’ll never cease to write.


giveaway

Click here or visit Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page to enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of A Space Between Worlds Vol.1: Conception by J.D. Woodson.

The Writing Process

A guide to Pantsing_Edited

The last two days have been quite interesting, between reading Thr3e and recovering from sickness, I was also suffering a sort of writer’s block. You’d think coming up with ten horror stories would be easy but it’s not. Limiting my short stories to 3000 words is also an issue, either there’s too many words and the story is short, or there’s not enough words and I have to cut the story short by removing “unnecessary” sections. It’s actually quite frustrating.

The Processor

So how do I come up with stories? Well first I have to find a topic that scares me and guess what? I have plenty. Spiders spilling out of a spider bite in my arm and crawling over my skin. *shivers* Waking up to find a faceless figure staring down at me then proceeding to erase my features while they slowly appear on his own face. Playfully checking under the bed for monsters and actually find one. The shadow on the wall starts to move.

shadow

I take these and, as an author, have to draw up the scenarios that would make them plausible. I process the idea and it’s facets to gain a clearer picture of the story I’m trying to tell. The spider bite is plausible on it’s own so what’s the story behind the bite, how did it happen, what was I doing while it festered etc etc. Maybe the horror is not in the fact that spiders are spilling down my arm but that I let them fester in the first place for some nefarious reason.

A faceless man? Why is he faceless? Why is he trying to steal my face? Did someone steal his face or is it actually revenge as I had stolen his face initially? The zombie apocalypse erased people’s faces? It’s a government experiment to infiltrate secure locations gone wrong and their rogue Experiment X is stealing faces? What is the story?!

The Pantser

Most of the time, a word or phrase or image catches my attention and I’m flying through the story without processing anything. It’s a convoluted mess and sometimes I actually step outside for a breath of fresh air and to think through the story. Instead I just stare into the sun, blink haphazardly and go back without any processing or insight to the story I’m writing because my brain is just buzz, buzz, buzzing. Characters, scenarios and all the horrors just sweeping in on a magic carpet like,

*Sings

“I can show you your mind. Shining, shimmering, scarrrry!”

top_5_disney_songs_-_a_whole_new_world

I don’t have the depth that Ted Dekker has when he writes his books. I mean, wow, after reading Thr3e for my Wednesday Book Review, I’m starting to wonder if I’m just a shallow writer missing the profundity that sets Ted Dekker apart from many other authors. I mean, sure, you can write a book with a great story and fantastic characters and people are all la di da about it, but I think my goal is make people pull their hair out, write journals and life-long blog entries deciphering the twisted, mindblowing story I have written. Not because they are confused, but because the story was nothing they were expecting – it was just that amazing. I can dream though.


 

Horror Writing and Alex Grecian

A guide to Pantsing_Edited

It’s been a fantastic journey so far working through my horror short stories. I must admit that it takes a special kind of mindset to write horror more than it takes to read it. Reading allows you to experience the horror from a receptive perspective. Writing puts you not only in the killers mind as the contributor, but also the victim’s body as the recipient and through each affected body part as the subject of the pain. As a visual person, my mind doesn’t just spew out the experiences of my writing without some reaction, but it affects my actual body parts – not literally of course but it sure feels that way.

The amazing thing about the writing, is how the writing has been intuitive rather than guided. It’s pantsing at its best. Discovery writing into oblivion. However, unlike a lot of my previous work when I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants, each of my stories seem like well thought out works. There’s barely any plot holes and everything just makes sense. I love it!

Looking forward to writing the remaining 8 short stories left. Who knows what the mind will come up with? Here is an interesting interview of Monday’s Book recommendation author – Alex Grecian:

 

Exit Sign

red-exit-sign

Jump before it all comes tumbling down.

Swim before you’re engulfed to drown.

Don’t follow the yellow brick road,

winding towards the great wizard

who is nothing but a false crown.

*

Climb to the top before you tumble.

Find your footing before you stumble.

Don’t get caught in the great avalanche,

sweeping over you in pangs and regrets

that cause your soul to grumble.

*

You see the signs clear as day.

You kneel before the Lord and pray.

And yet you blindly follow your heart

when the heart is deceitful and wicked,

and leads you astray.

*

Follow the Exit Sign.


Tis life. We live and learn and grow. What do you do in times of great sadness?

Camp Nano / Patreon Update

camp-2016

You know, when I attended the NaNoWrimo write-ins last year, I found out I could write quite a lot of words in 20 minutes if the words are just flowing. And they have been flowing. The story is just so alive in my head it’s amazing.

Camp NaNo Update

My word counts have been as follows:

Day 1: 0

Day 2: 3590

Day 3: 535

Day 4: 4612

Day 5: 189 (power outage)

Day 6: 5476

Today: Who knows!?

Total: 14402

My goal was to get to 15000 this Saturday, but I’m now thinking of setting my word count higher and aiming for 25000 this weekend. That would be half a “novel” in a week. Imagine how many books I could write in a year! :O

*Starts preparing*

Patreon Update

I wasn’t going to announce this Patreon thing for quite a long while, perhaps beginning of 2017, but Carin Marais my dear friend (with the evil laugh) decided to speed that process up with my first official pledge. I’m working on a short-story (1000 – 3000 words) with her request: The Last Robot on Earth.

LastOnEarth

I’ve had a few ideas already, but I need something different from the Dystopian, Sci-Fi kind theme that seems to be overdone. At the moment, I only have $1 pledges which qualify for:

Pledge $1 or more per Per story

  • A Patreon-only short story (between 1000 and 3000 words) of your making. You tell me what you want and I will give it to you
  • Insight into the making of the story, including sources, first drafts, revisions etc.

If you would like to pledge and get your own Patreon-only short story (I will not publish or sell it anywhere – unless you want me to or something.), then please feel free to do so:

Patreon.com/NthatoMorakabi

 

January 2016: Intentions

Reading

2016 started off on an interesting note and it looks like it will only get more interesting. So in order to balance all of these new things happening, here are my intentions for January, something I will be doing each month so you have a heads up about whats coming up on the blog.

Reading:

You will note that I have a Goodsreads 2016 Reading Challenge widget on my blog. So will start off January with the following books:

  1. The Well by Catherine Chanter
  2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  3. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  4. The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett

Writing:

  1. A couple of us NaNoWriMo writers from Joburg are compiling an anthology of short stories so I will be writing those.
  2. Looking to enter as many Writing Competitions as possible.
  3. Contributing to Flash Fiction blogs and posting those here.
  4. Continue working on the various novels on my plate.

Do you have any plans for the month or the year?


Check out Rachel Poli and her January Goals here: http://rachelpoli.com/2016/01/04/january-2016-goals/

Hello 2014 – Goodbye Procrastination

Work_in_progressGreetings to you all. This is just an official Welcome to 2014 post with a quick update of what’s happening on my blog, with me and just life in general.

Currently Running

First, if you haven’t noticed already, I’m working on a series called Villainous Villainy where I explore villains and the various facets they come in, their motives for being who they are and what generally drives them. I cover these in a series of short stories that I try to keep at at least 1000 words.

Pokemon Fan Fic

I’ve added more to the Pokemon Fan Fic with a second part of the fan fic The Chase. If you’ve been checking back and it hasn’t been updated, that’s because December was practically non-existent when it came to writing but you can expect a bit more now and in the coming months.

Junk Yard Angel

A continuous work in progress. I actually haven’t touched this story since I failed NaNoWriMo. I think I wrote a bit for two days afterwards but in the end I stopped. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing, I’m just taking a break as I focus on other things that are taking quite a bit of time now.

Auburn

Auburn is almost done! That’s right, the tale of our unfortunate hooded fellow, the red haired lady our grey haired security guard and the antagonist Mr Sinister is drawing to a conclusion and as it stands it will have a February conclusion. We also planning some cool stuff relating to Auburn and my fellow writer Tyron Armstrong might branch off on a Auburn spin-off. Exciting stuff.

2014

So last year was quite a productive year of writing and this year seems to be continuing along in the same trend. I’m still going strong writing for Gamecca and Gladget as well as a side personal project that is consuming hours. There is much to look forward to this year and I hope you tag along and enjoy the journey with me.

xolisilesite

Personal blog

The Parisshian Legacy... And other things

Anything my little heart desires

Young Author

With new Ink.

A.A. Frias

Author of fantasy and young adult fiction

Write for the King

The writings of a Christian college student and her publishing journey

The Ruon Chronicles

Website of fantasy author Carin Marais

Trebles On My Mind

A blog about crochet, knitting, and other stuff

Danger Kit

- Poetry -

Thoughts of a Bored Writer

My writing. Mostly.

lou rasmus

DEAD RED FISH - debut novel on Amazon

Melody Chen

Word-Experimentalist

Life

Literature & Lifestyle

The tears of chained words

The words left unsaid, pouring out as poetry.

The Official Blog of Horror and Fantasy Writer Lionel Ray Green

"Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order."

The girl and death

exploring the deep thoughts of my mind

the retrograde blog

a different kind of evolution