Blog Revival Plans & Novel Update!

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Hello, my little tiddlywinks! It is I, the Blogmaster General, here to inform all and sundry that I fully intend to return to this blog with a vengeance!

I’ll be posting reviews of not just the rest of the INVISIBLE FIENDS series, but the complete SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT and DEPARTMENT 19 series, too.

Why those two particular series, I hear you ask?

Because they’re awesome.

That is all.

No, really.

Oh, alright, here’s the secret: the good and kind people at HarperCollins Children’s Books have sent me copies of both the latest DEPT 19 book (BATTLE LINES) and the SKULDUGGERY spin-off, THE MALEFICENT SEVEN. Expect a rollercoaster of reviews to come!

Now, for the novel news: I submitted the first thirty pages of THE ENIGMA FILES to Brooks Sherman back in the middle of December, 2012 (as opposed to, erm, December 2013…? Eh, you know what I meant).

He finally had the chance to read it, liked what he read, and wants to read the entire thing! I sent it off this afternoon – fingers crossed!!

That is all.

No, really this time. You’re dismissed.

Dave

PS: Are you still here? Hmm, okay then, here’s some Super Saiyan French Fries:

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Happy? You may leave now.

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PitchWars Update – It’s Good News!

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Update on the PitchWars contest:

*drumroll*

“THE ENIGMA FILES: PHANTOM THIEF” got picked by a mentor!

Woohoo!

This means the lovely Jennifer
Malone, my new writing mentor, will read over the book throughout December. Then she’ll send me the most masterful, in-depth critiqueI’m sure I’ll have ever seen.

But the fun doesn’t end there! I’ll then revise the book in answer to all her feedback, and re-present it for the final stage of the contest: so 15+ agents can read it, and request more.

I’m so excited.

Dave

What ARE The Enigma Files…?

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So, some of you may know that I’m working on the second Enigma Files book, working title ‘Cursed’. You may also recall that I’m about to send out the MS for EF 1, ‘Phantom Thief’ to several agents who expressed interest in my short twitter-pitch on such contests as #PitchMadness. Well! Another such contest, #PitchWars, is now looming on the literary horizon, I’m which mentors hook up with aspiring writers to help rhythm polish their novels ready to unleash upon the pack of slavering agents. I’m entering, with the first EF book in mind… And prospective queries were almost immediately answered by two such mentors, one of which pointed out there was no in-depth description of the book anywhere in sight. So, for Fiona McLaren, Brenda Drake and any other curious mentors/agents, allow me to give you a glimpse inside… The Enigma Files. When Mason Scott was uprooted from his home and friends in New York to join his mother in Nowhere, England (also known as Hetherby), he expected life to be boring. What he didn’t expect was that he’d soon make friends with a silver-haired, emerald-eyed super genius with a penchant for seizures, or the strange new world that the same boy would introduce him to. Because, in case you hadn’t realised it, Karl Breslin is no ordinary boy; whilst most his age are playing football and chasing after girls, Karl lives his life through the Enigma Files, an online wiki he’s created and runs to document and investigate the paranormal. There’s a thief about the school, but one unlike anyone’s ever seen – because they can’t be seen. But are they using elaborate tricks, or something more supernatural? Were they dealing with a psychokinetic mind, a poltergeist, or something else…? Karl seems to think so, and before he knows it Mason is dragged along on his investigation. Mason is happy to oblige – it gets him out of lessons for the rest of the day – but is soon targeted by the thief, who threatens his life if he doesn’t leave Karl alone. Unshaken, Mason and Karl continue the case to its startling conclusion, and a revelation neither expected. ~***~ That’s the best I can come up with on the spot. Hope it’s done its job, and piqued your curiosity! Until next time, Dave

Me No Funny…?

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For those out there who didn’t know, I submitted two stories to the ‘Greenhouse Funny Prize’, a literary competition for new and unagented writers from the UK. The shortlist was announced today, and neither entry made the cut.

Am I disappointed? Only slightly: there were over 720 entries, so competition was tough. Plus, one of my stories was a madly-redrafted second draft after my betas tore the original a new one weeks before the deadline. And the other was a fantasy that only contained comical moments, so it stupid even less of a chance. But you don’t get anywhere if you don’t put your work out there!

My best wishes to all shortlisted entries!

Does this mean the end of my attempt at a professional writing career? Well, yes and no…

It’s the end of my attempt to be a funny writer – at least for the foreseeable future. Sure, I enjoy a good laugh, and making others laugh, but in trying to actually write something funny, I’ve spent more time staring at blank pages than with any other genre. It’s HARD.

So, I’m sticking to what I know – paranormal adventure! Don’t worry, there’s no angsty vampires pining over socially stunted wretches (seriously, though, if you were nigh-immortal, and as ‘gorgeous’ as Edward is supposed to be, why in the blue hells would you wait all your life for a plain, emotionless emo? Think it through, vamps…) – no, we’re talking good, old-fashioned paranormal investigation stories. Because, let’s be honest, there’s more to paranormal than vampires and werewolves… So much more. Some more disturbingly human than you know.

More on that at another time,

Dave

Lost in the Woods – eBook Review!

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A first for this blog, an eBook review! The author, one ‘Fun London’, contacted me on Twitter. He complimented me on this site, and said if I was interested in reviewing his book ‘Lost in the Woods’ that he could email me a review copy. I said Okie-dokie, and here we are!

… Don’t you all feel more edumacated? You’re welcome.

On to the review!

The story starts, and revolves, around 12 year old Jack Barton. He’s your average adventurous type, and loves climbing trees. After a fallout with his mother, Jack climbs a tall tree. A really tall tree. We’re talking the ‘endless corridor’ of trees, here, so it’s pretty tall.

But eternally tall or not, all trees abide by nature sooner or later, and it’s not long before Jack falls foul of weak branches and, erm… Falls.

(I’m so utterly brilliant at synonyms, me…)

Fortunately for Jack, a thick branch breaks his descent (hah, see? I didn’t say ‘fall’ – dammit!). With cautious steps, he sets foot on solid ground. Only, it’s not any ground he’s familiar with… And the tree he came down from wasn’t the one he climbed up…and is that squirrel talking to him?

… Yes, yes it is. Wait, wait! I know what you’re thinking; talking animals have had their day, and shouldn’t be heard unless they’re satirising the communist movement in a barn. That’s right, Dave has read ‘ANIMAL FARM’ – but that’s not important!

What is important is that Fun London does talking animals well. Each creature Jack meets on his journey home had a different, unique voice. And not all of them actually spoke to get their voice across. And not all of them are friendly… But instead of having random enemies, Fun London (in case you’re wondering, that is his pen name – I’m not referring to him by his Twitter name to confuse you all) makes sure that any and all foes have a personal and, more importantly, believable reason why they’re going after Jack.

But it’s a forest-wide disaster that brings everyone together, friend and foe alike, in a bid to save their home. And maybe – just…just maybe – Jack learns something about himself along the way…

‘LOST IN THE WOODS’ is a brilliant, old-school fantasy story that will entertain and delight children of all ages. If I had one complaint, it’s a tiny one; Allen (the squirrel) says “And so forth and so on” a few too many times for my liking. But, like I said, tiny – a slight characterisation hitch isn’t enough to get in the way of this wonderful tale.

Rating: 4/5

For those wondering (that’s probably just a few of you), I will be reviewing the rest of Barry Hutchison’s ‘INVISIBLE FIENDS’ books very, very soon.

Until then!

Dave

Judgment is Coming…

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Saw this poster upon stepping outside New Cross Gate train station…
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At first, I thought it was some sort of ‘End of the World’ notice. I thought it was nice they wanted to remind us ahead of time, but the Mayan’s predicted date was still a way’s off. Then, upon closer inspection (ie. spotting a release date and the Lionsgate logo), I quickly realised that this was a teaser poster for the upcoming ‘DREDD’, and that it was pretty spiffy, for more than one reason…

Firstly, it LOOKS GOOD, and draws your attention and curiosity. Judgement? Whut now? There is a city in the midst of fiery devastation, and surely that means this judgement is either a) the cause of said destruction, and not good, or b) the answer to this ruined city’s problems, in which case huzzah! It can’t come around quick enough!

Secondly, could have just shown a picture of Dredd himself, but then – other than to take in the costume – you wouldn’t give it a second glance. They purposefully left him out, along with any other glaringly obvious iconography from the movie or comics. Doing so is a very clever marketing strategy, if you think about it… Instead of thinking ‘If we don’t make it obvious this is advertising DREDD, how is anyone going to know?’ They instead went with ‘Hey, if we just have the ominous statement “JUDGMENT IS COMING”, it will confuse a lot if people, but in a good way – instead of shrugging it off, they’ll hopefully look into it online, and find out more about the movie!’

And they’re not the only ones to take this approach. Only recently I saw an advertisement on the tube for ‘Rekall memory services’. This was easier for me to place, as I’m a huge fan of the original TOTAL RECALL, but it struck me nonetheless as an ingenious marketing campaign – involve your audience, bring them into the world of your story, and they feel more affinity towards it.

And I’m sure it’s not just movies utilising this strategy – the card game ‘Magic: The Gathering’ did a similar postal campaign for their recent horror-influenced ‘Innistrad’ set, mailing postcards done in the olde English style of posters, declaring everything from witch hunts to monsters stealing children. They were odd and disturbing, and set the mood perfectly when the new range of cards came out.

I’m sure books can use similar approaches, if they haven’t already. I’m already in the planning stages of a HUGE publicity angle for the series I’m writing, but I can’t be alone…

What do YOU think? Are there any unique publicity/advertising campaigns for books I’d should know about? Maybe you have plans for the future, or would like to share a past success? Leave a comment!

Until next time,

Dave

Day 16 – More on Writing

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So, I’ve been writing short stories and Novellas around my children’s novels, so I always have something to write even if in not in the mood to work on my novels. The more deeply I get into the latter, the less this happens, but I still have quite a folder of delightful tales that have yet to be shared.

I’m currently in the process of negotiating the showcasing of some of my Novellas as eBooks on a comic site (more on that in a later blog) for a flat yearly fee (to me, not from me – I have a bit of an issue against the current state of online writing that we, as the writers, are expected to pay, especially if we’re trying to get a comic out there. But, again, more on that in another blog). But, other than the comic deal, I’ve yet to experience any success in the freelance writing market. The only short stories I’ve ever had published online was on Neopets, and that was for no money. Grateful though I am for the experience, I’m still trying to break into the paying writing market.

I know it’s possible – just gotta keep at it!

Til tomorrow!

Dave