Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Free Short Story Magazine: Siren's Call (Celebrating Women in Horror Month.)

CLICK HERE FOR FREE COPY
Some of you know that I have a darker side to my writing, and that at least a couple of years I make the conscious effort to take some time out of my novel writing to write a couple of good old fashioned horror shorts. One of these times is in January, with the hope of having something worthy to submit to one of my favourite publications; Siren's Call. In February, they host their Women in Horror Edition. Both last year and this year I have had the privilege of having a story included.

This year my piece is called Burial Rites, and blends my usual paranormal fantasy genre with some classic horror tropes.

It is an honour to have my story sit alongside the works of other authors that I really admire. This year, it is a bumper issue and I promise you that you'll discover some amazing new authors.

If all that wasn't brilliant enough, you also need to know that it's available for FREE PDF download!! That's right, all that awesomeness for FREE! (and being in PDF format, the file is easily transferable to your Kindle or other e-Reading device)

Issue #13 - The Second Annual Women in Horror Recognition Month Issue. Features 168 pages of Short Stories, Flash Fiction, Poetry & Photography by a Women in Horror. Feature interview by Angie Gallow, author of 'The Coven'

The following authors are included: Magenta Nero, Rivka Jacobs, Cassandra Webb, Linda Harris Sittig, Nina D'ArcangelaFoinah JamesonMiranda KateClaire RileyPaula Cappa, Andrea van Lit, Hope Schultz, Marija Electra Rodriquez, Julianne Snow, CL Raven,Laura A. RingRoh Morgon, K.Z. Morano, EF Schraeder, L.A. More, E.a. IrwinMari WellsD.m. SlateGloria BobrowiczShenoa Carroll-Bradd, Brittany Warren, Lori R. LopezEmerian RichAlee Aris, Caylee Slansen, Tabitha Stirling, Megan Stewart, Jenn Monty, Eden Royce, Rebecca J. Allred, Arriane Kerr, Shawn Arnston, Rose BlackthornGeorgina Morales, Eli Constant, Gerri Leen, Angeline Trevena, LE Jamez, Elaine Pascale,Suzie Wargo LockhartCara MichaelsLori Wolfe SafranekRebecca Besser, Marjie Myers, Candy BurkeSelena KenworthyKatie John, CA Christine VerstraeteAngie Gallow, Author

Why I've taken the plunge and Revised 'The Forest of Adventures'


Several weeks ago, JK Rowling announced that she had regrets about how she had chosen to end Harry Potter. She said (to loosely paraphrase) that she had shied away from the ending that should have been; Harry and Hermione should have ended up together.

Her admission of regret (and that she had felt that she had made a mistake)  had a profound effect on me and I want to share with you what happened.

In a nutshell, I revisited The Forest of Adventures, the first novel I wrote and published, and I reworked it. There, I’ve admitted it to the world – my debut novel needed work!  And by doing this I’m running a huge risk of distorting (maybe even destroying) the smoke and mirror illusion of confidence so crucial in the magical world of publishing.

Firstly, let me assert that I didn’t do it because The Forest of Adventures was a flop - far from it. (It has sold over 10,000 copies, been a number 1 Best Selling Fairy-Tale on Amazon, reached the giddy heights of the top 1000 paid bestsellers and has a star rating of 4 on Amazon and Goodreads) but it isn’t averaging 5 star. 

Yes, it’s had plenty of 5 star reviews (and some from some very respected bloggers and reviewers) but on average it hits a 4. On average only 78% of people think it is worth 3 or more stars – and the reason… annoying editing errors.

I knew they were there. Occasionally some grammar-typo-zealot would berate me over them (and despite “loving the concept”) still felt that those incy-wincy errors meant that the book (and the author) should be punished with a 1 or 2 star rating.

I’d read such reviews and sigh, not able to get upset, because I knew they had a point. I was so aware that they had a point that I refused to read my own book for three years!!! I just couldn’t face the humiliation of stumbling across them. So I put my head in the sand and when asked about my author-life, I found myself apologizing for my first book.

It didn't meant that I didn't learn my lesson; every subsequent book I published was professionally edited (at great and probably irrecoverable cost) but there just weren’t enough pennies in the pot when I set about my journey to afford a professional editor.

So it was with great trepidation that I breathed in deep and opened up my MS of The Forest of Adventures; one eye closed, the other only peeping, in anticipation of the horror I was certain I would  find.

I started to read, and then I read some more, and before I knew it, I was wrapped up in the world I had created; falling in love with my characters all over again. I discovered that my writing (albeit a little flawed in places) was really quite beautiful at times, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of – not for a debut novel: not for someone starting off on their journey.

And boy, have I learned A LOT on that four-year writing journey. My writing is much stronger, more crafted, less passive, less purple. It’s  tighter, sharper and more grammatically accurate then it was four years ago. It was a joy to revisit my less experienced self; to see the heart of my authorship. So I applied my newly learned craft to my novel. (Big thanks to Mr S King!)  

And then I paid to have it proof read. It won’t mean it’s 100% perfect (I’m sure there will be still some pesky typo somewhere, hidden amongst the 70,000 words – even the traditionally published authors by the big 6 find out how difficult it is to reach perfection) but it’s certainly eradicated almost all of the demons, and hopefully enough of them to appease the purists.

I know that I’m never going to please every reader, but I have pleased this author. I will never again apologise for Book One of a series I love with a whole heart. I will never find myself wincing when a friend tells me they love it (and I know that are too ‘kind’ to tell me its errors).

So if you have been one of my awesome readers kind enough to purchase a copy for your Kindle, you will be able to download a FREE REVISED COPY over the weekend of 14th-17th of February.  Hopefully you will re-fall in love with Blake & Mina's story as I have.

Or

If you are a potential reader, put off by some of the reviews that suggest it needs better editing perhaps you’d also like to download a FREE copy this weekend and give it a go for yourself.

And of course, if you spot any errors please contact me at www.katiemjohn.com and I’ll reward your efforts with swag – I guess we can’t say fairer than that. 

Friday, 31 January 2014

COVER REVEAL

It is my great pleasure to host a cover reveal for debut novelist, Helen Whapshott. Her novel, 'The Glow' (which I've had the privilege and enjoyment of reading already!!) is a lovely read that will appeal to young adult readers and cross over paranormal lovers.


TITLE: THE GLOW

AUTHOR: HELEN WHAPSHOTT

RELEASE DATE: MARCH 14th 2014

AUDIENCE: YOUNG ADULT

THEME: PARANORMAL – GHOSTS, WITCHCRAFT and FRIENDSHIP




SYNOPSIS: What would you do if you saw a ghost? Would you ignore it hoping it would fade away, or would you go up to it and see if it needed your help?

When Thirteen year old Megan Webb discovers she has been gifted with The Glow, so called because it gives off a light, like a candle in a dimly lit room attracting ghosts, spirits, and others who belong to the supernatural and paranormal world, she has to learn to come to terms with seeing the world in a whole new way. 
And if this wasn’t enough to deal with during the delicate years between childhood and adolescence, her parents makes the shocking decision to move her away from everything and everyone she knows to live in a creepy hotel inherited by a late aunt.

But it isn’t just the hotel that is creepy, the whole town seems a little odd until she makes friends with a strange boy, a Witch, and a chain-smoking spirit guide who help her adjust. Life couldn’t get any more complicated … could it?

AVAILABLE FORMATS: e-Book on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and Paperback available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. (It will be available for other retailers after October 2014)

BIOGRAPHY: Helen was born in Aldershot in the year of 1980. She survived the infant, junior and senior schools of Cove. Helen started her working life in a bakery before deciding catering wasn’t really for her that she wanted to work in the care industry.

After attending Farnborough College of Technology, where she did her diploma in nursery nursing she took on a variety of roles that included being a Nursery Nurse, a Special Needs Teaching assistant, a support worker for people with special need and a care assistant in a nursing home.

She’s worked as a Health Care Assistant at a local hospital for eight years and also works as a bank carer at a children’s hospice in surrey.

She has five wonderful nephews, a lovely niece, two very understanding parents and extremely patient brother and sister.

Helen has always loved stories, ever since her Mum used to read Hans Christian Anderson and Roald Dahl to her at bedtime.  When she learnt to read by herself she couldn’t get enough of books becoming a big fan of authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as Neil Gaiman and Ben Aaronovitch.

With a love of reading came a love of creative writing. She recalls how her first hit was, “How The Kangaroo Got It’s Hop, at infant school when I was six, but I missed out on seeing my classmate’s enjoyment because I was off several weeks with the mumps; when I got back the hype had died down. A disappointment I’ve never really gotten over! Being able to share my creations this time and is a dream come true.”

REVIEW COPIES: We are delighted to offer free PDF review copies or paperback review copies under certain circumstances littlebirdpublishinghouse@Yahoo.com

INTERVIEWS and BLOG APPEARANCES: Helen is delighted to participate in interviews, spotlights and giveaways. Please contact the author directly at Helen Whapshott  ghostrat@hotmail.co.uk.




Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy 2014. Reflections and Promises.

I'm afraid I'm one of those who really loves the idea of the New Year. Like The Doctor, I've always found the idea of cyclical regeneration very appealing - long may it last!

I know that it's customary to make a whole list of New Year resolutions that you know you aught to make but the likelihood of keeping them is about as likely as the weather promising no rain! So I'm not going to create a list as such, but I am going to share with you some of my reflections and hopes for next year.

2013 has been incredibly kind to my little family. (Thank you, Fates) I am aware that for many of my friends (and I include all my long distance Twitter and FB friends here) 2013 has not been so kindly. I have watched some of you struggle with the most tragic personal situations and my heart feels keenly. However, despite the most challenging of circumstances,  my friends have demonstrated the most amazing strength, humour and kindness. I am blessed to know these people and they inspire me to become a better person.

2013 has also been a year full of creative triumphs and disappointments in our artist / writer  community - thankfully the triumphs have outweighed! The world of the indie artist is mercurial; Creativity is a cruel but bewitching mistress. Every time I see one of my fellow indies succeed I feel like it's another step forward in a cultural shift that must be encouraged. Independence of expression and thought are the most precious aspects of our humanity. Just five years ago, the indie writing world was a cruelly disparaged and disrespected community - look at us now! Go forth my fellow authors and write the best that you can, publish to the highest standards that you can, and go get those number one spots! (This is a war-cry to myself as much as to others.)

So 2014 - how excited I am to see you. Welcome! This year I am determined to focus on goals and productivity. I am determined not to let my creativity be weighed down by time wasting activities and negative thoughts. I will love more, laugh more and cry more, because that is what feeds the human soul. I promise to cherish the people I love and dispose (metaphorically of course) of those that try to bring me down and channel their crap onto me. I am going to build and not demolish, move forwards and not be held back by past chains.

SO WHAT'S COMING...

In March the first of The Meadowsweet Chronicles comes out. It's a significant thing, to psychologically move on from The Knight Trilogy. It's exciting but it's also terrifying. I thought this feeling would change after having now published four books (but it hasn't). I have plotted out seven books in this series. Book One is now with Beta readers and Book Two needs to be started! The idea was meant to be that I wrote and published two a year *laughs*. Well, it was ambitious. There have been several setbacks on the way; like finding the topic you're writing about has sudde
nly become 'the' topic of the moment, which sounds good in theory but in reality you want to be writing about 'the' topic of the next moment; especially when you're such a slow writer.

In May, the indie press house, Little Bird Publishing (of which I am a co-founder) is publishing Helen Whapshott's debut novel, 'The Glow.' I can't tell you how excited we are about this project. It's the first full representation LBPH has undertaken and it's such an exciting time for everybody. It will be hotly followed by the publication of two other authors this year. (Names to be announced soon) From little acorns grow great oaks.

In June, I will be releasing the second volume of the anthology Dark Heart, part of the Dark Heart & Night Shade project I run as part of my involvement widarkheartandnightshade.blogspot.co.uk October will see the release of the second volume of Night Shade (The older, creepier sister anthology)
th LBPH. It's a chance to work with some really talented indie writers and to pull together an anthology of work that forms a showcase. Submissions are now open and more about the project can be found at

June will also see the official release of 'When Sorrows Come' in paperback and e-book form. It was written las part of NaNoWriMo2012 and has been on Wattpad since and clocked up over a thousand reads. It's time to let that baby fly. It's a story I am very attached to.

After that ... who knows. Hopefully towards the late autumn the second book of The Meadowsweet Chronicles will be out.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Coffin Hop Winners.

Morning everybody. Here are the winners of the Coffin Hop 2013 giveaways.

Lori Joyce Parker +Lori Parker BookwormPOV has got a paperback copy of 'Beautiful Freaks' heading her way.

Julianne Snow @cdnzmbiRyfr has got a paperback copy of Dark Heart Volume One coming her way.

Ash Krafton @AshKrafton has won the e-book edition of the 2013 Official Coffin Hop Anthology 'Death by Drive In.'

The winners have been tweeted, announced on the blogs and on Facebook Coffin Hop page.

Thanks to everybody who swung by and made 2013 Coffin Hop totally the best one yet. Thanks to Axel Howerton for the massive administrative task of pulling all of us creatives into some sort of order.

Kindness,
Katie x

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Night Shade Anthology


As part of my work with Little Bird Publishing House (LBPH) I run an anthology project called Dark Heart & Night Shade. The aim of the project is to release two anthologies a year that bring together some of the best emerging talent in the indie scene.

Dark Heart Volume One was published earlier this year in February and brought together a collection of highly talented writers of YA Paranormal Romance, Dark Fairy Tales and Horror.

Night Shade Volume One (It’s older sister) was released on October 31st of this year and includes some really spooky, sinister little old-school horror stories and poetry from authors across the globe.

The anthologies are a non-profit making project (the small amount that they do make from Amazon – because we unfortunately can’t give it away free – goes to a charity agreed by the contributors.) The primary aim of the project is to connect readers with new writers and vice-versa.
Night Shade Volume One is packed with some really creepy little stories, from traditional haunted landmarks, to poltergeist witches, to possessed possessions. More can be found out about the authors and the anthologies at the official Dark Heart & Night Shade blog http://darkheartandnightshade.blogspot.co.uk/

Submission gates have just opened for Volume 2 of Dark Heart, and I’m really trying to encourage first time writers and young writers to submit their stories. (It was lovely to see ‘Wicked Games’ written by the incredibly talented 16 year old Tamara Basic in Volume One of Dark Heart become such a favourite of the reviewers) Submission details can be found at the blog.



Dark Heart Volume One is available in paperback and e-Book from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com for just $0.99c / £0.79p

Night Shade Volume One is available in paperback and e-Book from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com for just $0.99c / £0.79p

Book Trailer