Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post: Julie Ramsey and The Wild Bone: The White Alpha of Monroe

I'd like to welcome fellow author Julie Ramsey, whose paranormal romance novella The Wild Bone: The White Alpha of Monroe is just out on Kindle for 99c.  I'll let Julie introduce herself, and give a taste of her story.

Hello, my fellow readers, reviewers and authors. My name is Julie Ramsey. My 1st Novella was just released on Feb 13th 2014.
The Wild Bone: The White Alpha of Monroe is something I had always wanted to do. I have been a reviewer for years and run a successful review site called Julies Book Review. As a reviewer, I love books of almost every genre. My soft spot has always been paranormal romance. Some of the authors that have influenced me over the years: Christine Feehan, JR Ward, Suzanne Wright, Carrie Ann Ryan, and Katie MacAlister just to name a few.
I am currently back in school working toward my BA. It was in a creative writing class that Sally and the Monroe pack came to me. I couldn't use the piece for class, but I set it aside and came back to it. The paper then became The Wild Bone: The White Alpha of Monroe
I have had lots of good reviews so far and I am excited about the possibilities this book brings. For the future I am working on book 2. I am hoping to have it out with in the next couple of months. Also I have 2 kids books that should be out this year as well under the name J.J. Ramsey.
So please let people know about The Wild Bone: The White Alpha of Monroe. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.


When Sally's mother dies, she is left with no family. Her two best friends Hector and Cathy decide to take her out to the new bar in town, The Wild Bone, to get her out of the house. The night doesn't turn out how they imagine. Sally's mother kept a secret that is about to come to light. The secret holds the trio's future. 2 men both werewolves are about to change Sally's life forever. One will be her future and bring out what has been hidden from her. One wants to steal her future to gain the power of the Monroe pack. Will Sally and her friends survive the turmoil to come? 

The night was so peaceful. The breeze was cool on my skin. I sat on the little porch and sipped my tea. I had sweats and a sleeveless t-shirt on, relaxing, looking into the stars. I almost missed the shadow by my neighbor’s house.  I kept a bat by me just in case, when I was outside for protection. I am inexperienced in relationships, but I knew how to defend myself. So I set my tea down and pick up my bat, and snuck around the house. I was going to find out who was watching me. Bat up high, I peak around the corner. I don’t see anyone. Oh, I know I saw a shadow. My bat is still held high as I walk around to the front. That is when someone taps me on the shoulder. “OH MY GOSH” I scream, and I swing the bat. I hit somebody. No way was it a person. Whatever I hit, it went down like a ton of bricks and my arms were reverberating. It felt like I hit a steel pole. I look at the ground and sure as heck, it is the tattooed man. You…..What the heck are you doing sneaking around here, I could have killed you.
 He groaned, “I doubt that, but I am going to have a heck of a headache. You know that is twice now you have hit me.” He was on the ground and smiling up at me.
Watch a video about The Wild Bone

Monday, February 17, 2014

Self-Publishing Old Works

The Blogosphere (or at least that part of it interested in writing and publishing) has lit up recently with debate about the latest "proof" that authors should forget about traditional publishing and embrace the heady fortune that's waiting for them if they self-publish.  I'm not going to discuss the issue at length, but for a sensible, moderate view I'd recommend the posts that Chuck Wendig has made over the past few days on the subject, which debunk the more ridiculous claims while appreciating the possibilities of self-publishing.  The usual disclaimer for Chuck — his arguments are incisive, but his language isn't for those of a strait-laced persuasion.

I've always been very cautious of the self-publishing boom.  Self-publishing is by no means new — Charles Dickens did it, among many others — but it used to be costly and difficult.  What's changed is that it's now fairly easy and (at least in theory) it can be done for free.  This is a good thing, of course, but its very big downside is that authors who used to have to hone their skills through the cycle of submission and rejection now have the power to sling out their first drafts on Kindle, unrevised, unedited, poorly designed and with amateurish covers.

It certainly can be done properly, and most of the much-touted success stories are authors who knew what they were doing (often from experience of traditional publishing) and were willing to put a significant amount of time, effort and (often) money into preparing the book and then promoting it.  These, though, aren't always easy to spot in the midst of an avalanche of poorly prepared work

In spite of my reservations, I've just taken my first plunge into self-publishing by issuing a second edition of my novel At An Uncertain Hour.  This was originally published by the American house StoneGarden, which unfortunately closed down last year due to the owner's need to rearrange the priorities in his life.  I'd like to emphasise that my experiences with StoneGarden were all positive, from submission to their honest handling of the closure and reversion of rights, and I wish Kris all the best.

This was somewhat different from the average self-publication in various ways.  For one thing, this was a book that someone had considered worth investing his own money to publish, and for another I'd been through a rigorous editorial process with StoneGarden (four edits and then the galleys, if I remember rightly).  That didn't stop me giving it another once-over, but it did mean that I didn't feel the need to hire a professional editor.  That would have been beyond my means at the moment, but I'd be very reluctant to put out a "raw" novel without it.

There was still the cover to get right.  I have little confidence in my artistic abilities, but I was lucky to get a design from the excellent A. Carson without the high fee her skills really deserve.

I published the print and EPUB editions through Lulu, and the Kindle version (obviously) through Amazon, and it was definitely a steep learning curve.  Especially as I was simultaneously doing the same for the anthology Light of the Last Day.  I learnt about how their systems work, and everything from the assignment of ISBNs to allowance for "bleed" to how to make a table of contents in Word — something I'd never had the need to do before.

There were definitely hair-tearing moments, but I'm delighted by the results, and this made me think.  Ebooks, at least, don't need to be of novel length — I have several ebooks out from various publishing of novelette/short novella length — and many of my stories have been published in magazines or webzines that are no longer available.  The rights have reverted to me, so why shouldn't I make these available again?

The pros and cons are much the same as for At An Uncertain Hour.  Although none of these works have undergone the same intensity of editing, they've been accepted and tidied up by respected editors, and shouldn't require extra professional editing.   And, like the novel, these stories have been deemed good enough for publication.

This leaves the cover, which is going to be the main sticking point.  Maybe I'll be able to get another favour, or perhaps my finances will improve to the extent that I can afford professional rates.  Or, perhaps, I can overcome my doubts and try to do it myself — though I'll certainly ask for feedback from people who'll be honest with me before I use any of my own efforts.

I have a list of suitable stories, but for now there are three priorities.  The City of Ferrid, a fantasy thriller set in an industrial revolution society (though not really steampunk) was published as both a chapbook and an ebook by Crystal Codices, a publisher sadly no longer with us.  Steal Away and Rainy Season were both published in the webzine Golden Visions, also now defunct.  I'm particularly eager to get these back into print, since they're the first two stories in my series about the... shall we say enthusiastic teenage sorcerers Karaghr and Failiu.  The third story, The Temple of Taak-Resh, is currently available from Darwin's Evolutions, and I should soon be ready to start shopping the novella The Dweller in the Crack to publishers.  It would be good to have the earlier part of the series republished.

Is any of this going to work?  I've no idea, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to get suitable covers, but I think it's worth trying.  If these do turn out successfully, I have more out-of-print stories to come.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Light of the Last Day - new fantasy anthology

Light of the Last Day
Edited by Nyki Blatchley & Natalie Millman
Cover art & design by Mette Pesonen
(also available on Kindle from other regional Amazons)
I've just completed editing, with Canadian fantasy author Natalie Millman, a new anthology of stories and poems by thirteen authors from all across the globe, spanning a broad range of styles and approaches to fantasy. All belong to the writers' peer critique group, and some are widely published authors.
The title refers to the theme we began with, combined with a selection of unrelated pieces, to write a story involving the phrase Waking to the light of the last day. Just that: it could be the last day of the world, the last day of an old life, or even the last day of a sporting season. We left it entirely up to each author to decide what to make of the phrase, and we had an enormous variety in their responses.
Let me introduce you to the contributing authors and their stories:
William Moon: Questions of the Creator is a brief tale about the end of a universe that's been a disappointment to its creator. But is that really all?
Leslianne Wilder: The Once and Future Kiss is a contemporary piece chronicling a relationship that doesn't proceed in the right order. And who is the mysterious seducer?
Mette Pesonen: besides providing the beautiful cover art and interior decorations, Mette contributes two lighthearted stories. Looking for Trouble is about a Hero at a loose end, while The Forming of Draakoa tells a legend from her wonderful realm of Hypnosia, governed by the Cliche Laws.

Nyki Blatchley: I also have two stories. In Lari's People, a ritual outcasting from a village proves not to be what it seems, while Dayglow illustrates the problems when a kind-hearted giant adopts a human baby.

Lindsey Duncan: The Scientific Method has a sorcerer trying to put right the catastrophe caused by his last experiment, while The Laughing Eye is a haunting poem.

Lee Kirk: Obsession is a time-travel story, but time-travel for something far more useful than killing your grandfather or stepping on a butterfly. Lee also contributes two short pieces: a chilling poem called Madness and a melancholy vignette called Tears.

Carl J. Snyder: Hair Apparent is the tale of a magic student that everyone picks on - until he's able to take revenge on his tormentors.

Erika Wilson: Ain't No Sunshine is a disaster story with a difference, as a group of survivors find non-human help and danger when Yellowstone erupts.

Natalie Walker Millman: Gaia gives a heartbreaking picture of just how far we've turned away from Mother Earth, while The Story Tree is a chilling fable of crime and punishment.

L. M. Price: Peter and the Monster is a children's fairy-tale of an unlikely symbiotic relationship and what happens when it's disrupted.

Lydia Kurnia: Eishenan tells of a boy caught up in a cosmic war between the Sun and the Moon. He's trained to be a heartless killer, but can he really be changed that much?

Jens Hieber: In Drops of Peace, a messenger of the gods comes to offer a rebel goddess redemption or punishment. Which will she choose?

Julie St. Thomas: Milla is a deceptively simple tale of a father's concern when he has to leave his young daughter home alone. But all is not quite as it seems.

So those are the authors and the stories. I hope you enjoy Light of the Last Day.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Lady of the House in Plasma Frequency

Plasma Frequency Issue 10
February/March 2014
Cover art by Ron Sanders
Fiction By: Gary Cuba, Eric Cline, Davian Aw, Gary D. Goodson, Nyki Blatchley, Tim Talpas, Jarod K. Anderson, Cassandra A. Clarke, George S. Walker, Wendy Hammer and Anna Zumbro
Buy it in print, Kindle, EPUB or PDF
This edition features my story The Lady of the House. The Traveller, immortal wanderer, has never been anywhere near the ruined house in the forest before. Or has he? The strange woman who lives there alone is positive that she knows him.

At An Uncertain Hour is back in print

At An Uncertain Hour
by Nyki Blatchley
Cover art & design by A. Carson
Second Edition
Editions Available:
Print edition £11.99
EPUB edition £2.99
Kindle edition from $3.99

As two armies stand poised for the final battle of a millennium-long war, the immortal, charismatic leader known only as the Traveller reflects on what led him, long ago, to begin this war of liberation. Amid the alarms and encounters of a sleepless night, he thinks back over three thousand years of life: the loves and hates, the victories and disasters, the moral dilemmas - and the lost love he still mourns. As battle is joined, the tale has a few more twists to throw at the Traveller.

"This is an elegant novel, poetically written, with just the right mix of pathos and humour, and the Traveller's ability to mock himself ensures it never spills over into mawkish sentiment...The supporting cast of characters are well-drawn, but the Traveller rightfully dominates the story." - Joanne Hall,

"The Traveller and the people he's known are all very interesting and the way their stories interlock kept me turning pages until long past bedtime...Blatchley's pacing is good and how he plays different time periods in the Traveller's life as he tells his own story is great." - K. A. Severson on