Monday, 15 December 2014

New Year Writer Resolutions

In light of the whole Facebook / Amazon craziness that has been going on over the last six months, I am making some New Year writer resolutions. Primarily, they involve going back to old school. Here are my sketchy plans, 

1) to free myself from the dominance of Amazon by freeing myself of all KDP select ties. The promotions have not reaped the harvest they promised; not at theprice of exclusivity.

2) to revisit, grow and nurture my Smashwords account - this was an amazingly good platform for me in the early days; I used it to experiment with shorts of different genres, keep my writing fresh and feed readers kindles with freebies and newbies. Going to learn to format my books according to the guide - which is a bit of a shitter.

3) To ensure that I have exploited as many digital platforms as possible, using Draft2digital to make it easier in first instance.

4) I am going to be bold enough to ask for book signings in my local bookstores.

5) I am going to spend more time writing and a lot less time promoting.

6) I am going to totally cull my Twitter account because somewhere amongst the madness I have lost my true circle of friends and fans - my timeline is so cluttered with strangers (lovely though I'm sure they are)

7) I am going to keep my blog full of lovely spotlights and intros of some of the great people I meet on here; I am going to nurture a supportive, cross promotional relationship. I am going to buy your books, review them and cheerlead.

There will be more - but in essence, I'm going to look back to move forwards. 2015 is going to be amazing. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Review of The Hobbit #3: The Battle of The Five Armies

Last night I attended, as a red (or should I say green) carpet guest, the worldwide premier of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. Wow- what an amazing and phenomenal event. I cannot communicate in words the awesome (word used in its original form) atmosphere, the energy or the pure insanity of the occasion.



Fans had been queuing for days just to be allowed into the cordoned off viewing area, and boy, had some of them made an effort; from elves, to dwarves, to Gandalf himself. Flanked by 50ft screens showing dramatic highlights, and surrounded by the most incredible music, the stars of the show (and us mere mortals) spent a good hour just hanging on the green carpet and taking in the spectacle. As I got to meander between celebrity after celebrity, it felt like I was walking through Madam Taussauds only everyone was alive. However, I did manage, despite being totally overwhelmed and starstruck, not to make a complete idiot of myself by asking for selfies with the gorgeous Orlando Bloom (yes, he is still that beautiful close up) or by asking for a snog with the handsome Benedict Cumberbatch (As hubby was there, might have ended up in a 'bit' of a scene' LOL)

Taking our seats, we got ridiculously excited about the host box of goodies, all with a Hobbit theme, which was really cute. I especially enjoyed the Chilli rice crackers, amusingly called 'Smaugeon Firecrackers'

With the stars of the show seated, our 3D glasses on, the film literally exploded (almost uncomfortably) into life with scenes of the monstrous incarnation of greed and evil, Smaug, the dragon obliterating the town of Laketown and displacing its inhabitants in what is almost biblical in its sense of exodus. As buildings crashed around us, and numerous extras struck the 'I'm scared witless' poses direct to camera, the hero soon emerges, Bard the bowman, played by Luke Evans is both an incarnation of rugged hyper-masculinity and new-age fatherhood.

With a strong moral about the love of gold and its ability to corrupt even the most good of heart, The Battle of The Five Armies relies more on an intricate tapestry of morals, fables and allegories than good old fashioned narrative. Yes there is a plot - a small one, extended out miraculously into over two hours worth of film, but it is pretty basic, with an element of love interest, which felt as if it had been sort of thrown in there just for something to actually be happening other than battle scenes (which I suppose given the title, is a legitimate major concern for the film.)

There are some strange moments in this film, which can only be likened to having eaten some kind of Middle-Earth mushrooms and going on some crazy trip. On at least two occasions we are lurched forward into some weird, sliding, blurring film moments (made somewhat more sea-sickening by the 3D glasses) in which, quite honestly, I wasn't entirely sure what in Middle Earth was going on! As best I could work in my slightly over-stimulated mind, was that some ethereal equivalent of FBI squad turned up to busted the incarcerated Gandalf free from his bleak and dreary incarceration.

Now, I'm not going to go and give any more details about the actual events of the film - because I don't want to issue spoilers, but what I will say is the following;

This is epic cinema at its most epic. It is completely consuming, and with the 3d element it makes you feel (in a way I have yet to with any other 3d film), completely part of the action. The sheer scale of this film and its cinematography is almost utterly overwhelming and the boundaries between reality and fantasy are completely erased.

It's not much of a plot to sustain a 2 hour film on, so if you're looking for an intricate plotl ine with twists and turns, it's going to disappoint on a level - but what is lacking in narrative structure, is more than made up for in the incredible sense of action and excitement. It is captivating, purely for its sense of scale, and is a fitting finale for what has been an incredible artistic endeavour. Jackson is likely to collect a whole armful of Oscar nominations for his efforts, of which he rightly deserves.

There is no doubt having listened first hand to Steven and his actors, that the LOTR team have been a dedicated and passionate bunch. The translation of Tolkein's epic fantasy was certainly a challenge, especially when being made for such a fan base.

Would I watch it again? I'm glad that I have. It was definitely worth the viewing - and I can't recommend strongly enough to go and see this is the cinema (it needs the scale and the surround sound) but for me personally, there just wasn't enough actual 'story'. I tire easily of fight scenes, impressive as these are. However, for many viewers, I imagine that this is the very thing that will make it a great and much loved film.

Overall, I would rate The Hobbit: Battle of The Five Armies 4 stars out of 5, but I would offer a standing ovation and a whole universe for Jackson and his tenacious pursuit in completing an 'impossible' challenge. Bravo, Jackson. Bravo!



Thursday, 6 November 2014

'Dust' by Sarah Daltry


I am so excited to announce that my author friend, Sarah Daltry has her new YA Fantasy book coming out today. I've had a sneak preview and I love it. As you know by now, I never send out negativity, but if I don't like something, I just keep quiet - so you know that if I'm posting this, I really love it. 
'Dust' was a refreshing read for me because I don't 'normally' read pure epic style fantasy (aside from my recent dalliance with the 'Game of Thrones' series, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect - what I got was a really captivating escape into a world I could completely believe in. I'm no expert in fantasy genre, but I get the sense that this is going to appeal to a much wider audience; there are elements of dark fairytale, quest and also paranormal romance but without the paranormal - LOL. 
It's a great opening to a whole new genre, and after reading 'Dust' I am going to be far more adventurous in my choices.

Sarah's storytelling is also delightful. The narrative flows easily, and her world and character building are really skilled. I highly recommend this novel, and I am really looking forward to reading more of Sarah's YA focused books. 

It's out TODAY on launch promo price for just $2.99  (a positive bargain for a rainy weekend read)

AMAZON UK LINK
AMAZON USA LINK


     BLURB for ‘Dust’


"I was once the type of person who was impressed by starlight; the type of person who would dance beneath glass ceilings and let the world swim in its loveliness. The sky reminds me of the parties we used to throw – parties like the one last night. The memories bring back the trill of harps and endless ripples of satisfied laughter. Now, though, when I try to recall what I felt, all I hear is screaming.” 

In a world ravaged by war and oppressive forces of evil, a princess must fight to claim her bloodright and save her people.
 When the princess, Alondra falls for the beautiful, blue eyes of a hooded stranger, it awakens in her a taste for freedom and an escape from her duty.
 But her parents have other plans; they have a Kingdom to protect and Alondra must marry to ensure the peace between nations. Only what happens when your parents choose a cold-hearted assassin as your betrothed?
As lies, illusions and long hidden vendettas surface, the princess has to confront a very secret history. One that makes her realize that she not only risks losing her liberty, but of everything she has known and loved. 

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY.

Sarah Daltry is a varied author, known best for the contemporary New Adult series, ‘Flowering’, a six-title series that explores the complexities of relationships, including how we survive the damage from our pasts with the support of those who love us.  

As a former English teacher and YA librarian, Sarah has always loved Young Adult literature and 'Dust', an epic fantasy novel where romance blends with the blood and grit of war, is her second official foray into YA, following the gamer geek romantic comedy, 'Backward Compatible'. Most of Sarah's work is about teens and college students, as it's what she knows well. 

Sarah’s passion in life is writing; weaving tales of magic and beauty. The modern and vast social networking world is an alternative universe that she makes infrequent trips too, but when she does, readers will find her attentive, friendly and happy to discuss the magic of stories and reading. Stop by and say hi @SarahDaltry.

Sarah has moved back and forth between independent and traditional publishing. Her first novel, 'Bitter Fruits', is with Escape, an imprint of Harlequin Australia, and she signed with Little Bird Publishing in the spring of 2014.

Publisher: Little Bird Publishing http://www.thelittlebirdbookstore.com
Author’s website: http://sarahdaltry.com
Author’s Twitter handle: @SarahDaltry

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

COFFIN HOP 2014


WELCOME COFFIN HOPPERS...

COFFIN HOP GIVEAWAY: WIN a Katie M John Randoms pack
This year for Coffin Hop, I have decided to do a little scroll of micro-blog posts on this one blog page. It's a chance to share with you my love of Coffin Hop and writing horror. It's also a chance for some of you to catch up with what's been happening over the last 12 months - like a sort of Halloween round robin ... only he's wearing a comical arrow through his chest and a lot of fake blood.

PSST... There's a funky giveaway at the end of the scroll for a chance to win a Katie M John randoms pack, which includes a signed paperback copy of 'Beautiful Freaks', a Tibetan silver & Semi-precious stone book charm, and a set of groovy plastic skull string lights
 :D

WHY I LOVE COFFIN HOP

1) It's the one time of year that I actually check in with some amazing writer / author peeps who I admire and respect - and like every true friendship, it doesn't seem to matter that a whole year (where the hell did that go?) has passed since we last talked properly, we just go on and hook right back up where we left of.

2) I get to check out a brilliant array of fringe horror - by that I mean, Horror stories that are not afraid to play around with expectations, tropes and boundaries. Many of the Coffin Hoppers are independent authors and with their work comes an amazing authenticity of voice that personally, I feel is a little lost in the mainstream horror market.

3) It's great fun and I get to have a go at bagging lots of funky swag - some serious and some that is just darned right ludicrous. (In this vein, check out my cheesy Coffin Hop prize this year - tasteful, I'm sure you'll agree.)


2014 saw the launch of WITCHCRAFT (Book One Of The Meadowsweet Chronicles) 

I've just launched book one of The Meadowsweet Chronicles, called 'Witchcraft'. It is the first book of a seven book series that explores and blends together The American Gothic and traditional English folklore and Pagan mythology.

I cut my teeth on works like James Herbert's 'The Magic Cottage' and films like 'The Wicker Man'. When I was a teenager, I fell in love with retro 70's road trip movies that inevitably ended up with some poor blonde virgin being stuck on an altar - and of course, their was Poe and Lovecraft. In a way, The Meadowsweet Chronicles are a very selfish indulgence - it is a project for my own entertainment; blending every trope and feature of such cultural cache. Be sure to have your trope bingo board ready.
You can find out more about 'Witchcraft' at US Link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NG5CLTE and UK Link http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NG5CLTE

As part of the launch celebration for 'Witchcraft' I am running an epic giveaway, which includes a Samhain Blessings Chest - whilst you're here take the opportunity to enter at http://www.katiemjohn.com 

NaNoWriMo - A chance to indulge the dark-side

This year I shall be using NaNoWriMo to attempt the completion of my adult classic style horror novel called 'The Crow Man'. I have been wanting to dedicate the time to finally writing my first full length adult horror novel for years - only I've come to realise that I don't have the luxury of time. I did my first NaNoWriMo back in 2012, and with spirited newbie enthusiasm I completed it - almost to the word. In 2013, life became a little more demanding for all kinds of reasons and I Failed miserably, only completing just 4,000 words of 'The Crow Man' manuscript. Not this year! This year I am going to do it. Especially as I have kind of challenged my fabulously talented friend Belinda Frisch to the finish line.


BECOMING A FULL TIME WRITER: Why Teaching and ; Writing Aren't Always an Easy Marriage. 

In Spring of this year I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life, I quit my day-job. Only my day job was a job I loved; it was teaching English in a London secondary comprehensive school (High School for my U.S friends) After 13 years of passionate teaching service, I came to the heartfelt decision that I needed to take a sabbatical from the profession. The main reasons for this were, firstly, my children - who may as well have been in boarding school for five days of the week, and secondly, my other baby, my writing. I was becoming intolerable to live with - a frustrated writer with too many stories and characters in their head with too little time to let them free.

Teaching and writing are not exactly easy bed fellows - they both demand your whole soul. But more than that, when writing I was always conscious of my social role and position in society. I write primarily fiction for Young Adults and so there are of course 'normal' boundaries in place when writing for such an audience, however, any deviation, challenge or subversion of such structures put me in a really vulnerable position. And yes, I could have written under a nom de plume - but somehow it didn't feel right - somehow that made it feel even more dishonest and unacceptable.

This was especially the case when it came to writing horror. No matter how carefully crafted and tailored the pieces were, I always lived with that fear that someone, somewhere would take offence and even more so because I was a teacher with the responsibility of young innocent *coughs* teens in her care. It's not that I want to go out there and write torture porn or extreme gore (casting no value judgement, just not my thing) but I do want to write books that explore the nature of 'evil' both in a traditional sense and a contemporary one - and sometimes the findings of those explorations don't fit neatly with the twin-set and pearl image of a high school English teacher.



Phantasmagoria

Heart sorrow full, followed by pale phantoms
He winds his way through darkened avenues.
Far in the distance, the echo-yap of
A hell hound’s bark splinters the silence. 
This citadel of restless, walking dead,
Holds not the warmth of a beating human heart; 
Save one. 
The fading heart of Lillibet. 

Suddenly, the fear of being alone,
Is outweighed by fears of duplicate shadows
There is blood on the moon, cries from the ground, 
For in this place only the dead are found. 


A STORY

Last year for Coffin Hop, I wrote a short flash story called 'Burial Rites'

Here is the opening ...


Ever since the sixteen year old Lillian Gladstone had been the unfortunate child to have been locked in the play chest as a playful prank, her worst fear was being buried alive; the thought of suffocating on her own screams plagued her dreams for years. 
 In an attempt to know her enemy better, Lillian had become obsessed with all things death – it was an obsession that both her parents and her peers thought too weird to be loveable, and so death ironically both her dearest companion and her most fearful foe.

To read more, head over to Wattpad on this link http://www.wattpad.com/story/9337711-burial-rites-a-coffin-hop-treat  I would love to hear your comments and feedback.


That's all folks - oh except for the giveaway. 

So to be in with a chance of winning these fabulous skull head lights, a handmade 'Witchcraft' book mark made from real semi-precious stones and Tibetan silver, a signed paperback copy of 'Beautiful Freaks' - call it a pack of Katie M John Randoms, all you've got to do is leave a comment in the box below.



HEAD BACK TO THE COFFIN HOP and HAVE LOTS MORE FUN HOPPING AROUND. CLICK http:/www.coffinhop.com TO GO.

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to leave your comment.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Summer Holiday Reviews I. Scary Mary by S.A Hunter



Scary Mary by S.A Hunter

Product Description
Mary has always been different. She’d like to be normal, but being able to hear ghosts means she’ll never be like everyone else. She starts her junior year of high school hoping to be left alone, but Cyrus Asher is new and doesn’t know or seem to care that she’s an outcast. They start hanging out and all is well until she goes over to his house. Cy’s house is haunted, and not by Caspar, the friendly ghost.

But it’s not the ghost that ruins the evening. That honor belongs to Vicky “The Hickey” Nelson with her borrowed Ouija board and stuck-up friends. They make her so angry that she uses the ghost to freak out everybody. Cy orders her out and Mary thinks she’s lost whatever chance she had with him. But there’s still the ghost to deal with. He’s mean, nasty, and possibly homicidal. She has to get rid of him or Cy and his family could be hurt. Or worse.


I downloaded this Indie on a Freebie whim. The slightly amateur cover  (which has since been updated to this lovely one above) hides a real gem. I can’t get over how much I really enjoyed this story. I consumed it quickly and was loathed to put it down – it’s a fast paced tale with characters that immediately click.  I can’t wait to read the sequels to this! It's an entertaining piece of story telling with good characterization, an absorbing story line and a sense of world building that is both believable and a good place to hang out.

There is a delightful sense of humour and lightness of touch that runs through the story. Can’t recommend this highly enough for readers of teen paranormal romance and ghost stories – and even better still, it’s still currently on free download.

5 STARS (Well deserved) 

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

Book Trailer