The Work-In-Progress Blog Tour

My lovely and talented author friend D.M. Cain nominated me for this work-in-progress blog challenge. The idea is that we reveal something about our work-in-progress, link back to the person who nominated us and in turn nominate a further four people to continue the chain.

D.M. Cain is the author of The Phoenix Project and the upcoming A Chronicle of Chaos. I wrote the following about The Phoenix Project:

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The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain has caught me by surprise. While one might argue there are elements in the book not unknown to us and may remind the reader of The Hunger Games or a really depressing episode of Prison Break, The Phoenix Project brings us political and religious views that are new and refreshing.

We follow Raven as he deals with life in prison, the dreadful Phoenix Project. He lives in a society where religion is outlawed and criminals are put away in a prison to fight to the death, fights that are broadcasted live, for all our nation to see. Raven is filled with self-loathing and you can’t help but wonder what it is that got him landed there in the first place. He wants to die, but doesn’t feel he deserves to, either. Whether or not Raven gets his secret wish, you’ll just have to wait and see.

What interested me most though, is that Cain is able to create a world where you actually understand how it got this far. Our Big Brother society, combined with our ‘hunger’ for reality-tv garbage could potentially lead us to a scenario, so vividly brought to life by Cain. A not-so-gentle reminder to check our own morals, our beliefs and our system of justice. To repeatedly ask ourselves, am I okay with what I see in the mirror?

As for my work-in-progress, I am currently writing part two of The Fire Trilogy, The Empath. Release date will be early next year or maybe, maybe just before Christmas if everything goes smoothly. The Empath is basically the same storyline as The Elemental, only from Tristan’s and Alan’s point of view instead of Catherine’s. It has a much darker feel as we learn more about the mysterious The Company Tristan works for.

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Below, I have included the first part of chapters 1 – 3 of The Empath.

PROLOGUE

It was deadly quiet in the corridors of the mental hospital. A woman walked purposefully towards her destination, room 6.12. Sixth floor, sixth door on her left. Two men were walking behind her, keeping a respectful distance.

A MONTH LATER

Tristan looked out of his window. He was back in London, Shoreditch to be exact. He didn’t mind, he actually liked London. It was the reason why he was here he didn’t like.

SUNDAY

Tristan woke up with a start. After a few seconds of disorientation he remembered where he was and heard sounds coming from the kitchen and the smell of eggs and bacon. He had had a weird dream about the people in the coffin-like tubes at The Company.

These are my nominees to carry the challenge onwards:

Mark Shaw, author, The Keeper of the Wind
Holly Martin, best selling author, The Guestbook, One Hundred Proposals, The Sentinel
Mikey Campling, author, The Darkening Stone saga, Changes
Jack Croxall, best selling author, The Tethers Trilogy, X

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The A-Z YA book tag tour

The talented and rather cute Jack Croxall invited me to take part in this epic YA book tag! The idea is that you answer all 26 questions (each starting with a different letter of the alphabet) and then get some fellow bookworms to do the same. So, without further ado, here are my answers as well as some info on who I tagged!

A book you wish you owned?
A first edition of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, I own two copies as it is, but a first edition, sigh. One can only dream.

Best YA book cover?

The Elite by Kiera Cass. Haven’t had a chance to actually read it yet, but I love the cover.

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Could you ever see yourself with any of your favourite characters?

Yes, rather easily if I’m completely honest. I’m quite a nutter 😉

Do you ever wish you could live in a fictional world?

Almost on a daily basis. I would love to live at Hogwarts and there are other places as well I’d like to go to.

Epic battle or love story?

Love story, I think. Having said that, they’ll only be together after the epic battle is won, of course 😉

Favourite YA title you have read so far?

Tethers trilogy by Jack Croxall, it’s freakin’ amazing!

Ghosts or aliens?

I can appreciate a good alien every now and then, but it would have to be ghosts for me. I think they’re more fascinating. Also, they give me the creeps.

How do you choose which books to buy?

My best friend is a complete bookworm and I trust her judgement, because she knows what I like. And I also trust quite a few of my author friends, so besides reading their books, I also read whatever they recommend.

If you could be a fictional character for a day, who would you choose?

Albus Dumbledore.

Judge books by their covers?

Guilty as charged. Absolutely. I’m a sucker for good covers.

Killing characters in YA books – should it be allowed?

Hell, yes! Love a good kill. Even for main characters, if it’s done properly.

Least favourite YA book you’ve read?

I really wouldn’t know. So far I really like what I’ve read.

Male protagonist or female protagonist?

Hmmm, difficult. They have such different energies, But if I really have to choose, female.

Name a YA book you are desperate to read.

Torn, the final book in the Tethers trilogy. If it were up to me, I would lock Croxall up in a room until he’s finished.

One YA book you want everyone to read?

Rather predictable by now, but Tethers. Go read it, you’ll fall in love with it, garanteed.

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Pick three fictional characters you’d want on your side in an apocalypse.

Albus Dumbledore would come in handy anywhere, I think. Bella Cullen, a vampire who doesn’t burn to death in the sun and that protective shield of hers is quite a nifty gift. Last, but not least, Sherlock Holmes. He would annoy the crap out of me, but he might think of a way out of this mess.

Quick read or long read?

Not too long. Is has to be bloody amazing if it’s a long read.

Reading is essential to a happy life – agree?

Absolutely!

Series or standalone?

Coming from a trilogy writer this is going to sound a bit weird, but usually standalone.

Tell us the most recent book you’ve read

I just finished Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed and I’m almost done with The Phoenix Project by DM Cain.

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Under the duvet – scariest book you’ve read?

IT by Stephen King. I still hate clowns. I blame King.

Vanquish which YA series with a magic wand?

Like I mentioned before, what I’ve read so far, I liked. So nothing. And just because I don’t like a series, doesn’t mean somebody else won’t like it.

What do you love most about YA fiction?

The thrill. The characters go through so many developments and we’re along for the ride. I love that.

X marks the spot. Where is your favourite reading spot?

Anywhere in nature or in my favourite coffeehouse, Barista Café.

Your house is on fire. Which three books would you save?

Three books? Are you nuts!? I would throw complete shelves out of the window and just hope they survive. But just to name three, my early edition of Pride & Prejudice, illustrated version of Lord of the Rings and my signed copy of Druid Mysteries by Philip Carr Gomm, because I can’t replace those.

Zombies or vampires?

Vampires. Bad ones, good ones, funny ones, handsome ones, I like them all!

Up next, Natasha Ahmed, author of Butterfly Season and Michelle Diana Lowe author of Dangerous Calculations. Looking forward to your answers ladies!

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The Elemental food and drinks tour!

Maybe you live in London or you’ve just planned a trip and you want to try something different. Today I’ll take you to Kate’s favourite places and of course the restaurant Tristan takes her to, Hakkasan.

Albion

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Kate usually starts her day at Albion for a nice granola or a yummy muffin. But it’s also perfect for a glass of wine and some olives, which she does with Tristan when they meet again in the apartment building. Albion is a caff and small shop, with an in-house bakery and cake counter, where the vast majority of the food and drink products are British. Albion is open from 8am until late evening, seven days per week. Everybody is welcome. Call in for a glass of wine or a cup of tea while meeting a friend, or enjoy a hearty breakfast, lunch or supper.

The Boundary

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It does happen, however, that Kate ends up upstairs, on the lovely Boundary rooftop terrace. Especially when the Sun is shining! Enjoy a relaxed morning on the rooftop with newspapers and good coffee, while you look out over the rooftops and spires of Shoreditch. If the weather is good you can enjoy the garden and the new weatherproof bar and dining area is available when it is inclement. The morning menu includes a selection of breakfast pastries, toast, jams, marmalade, fruit, granola, juices, smoothies and the like. The (new) rooftop space includes a weatherproof pergola allowing the bar and dining area to remain open every day and all year – whatever the weather. Also, there is a new garden design that includes a canopy of grape producing vines, together with a subtle garrigue and wild herb theme, plus a working kitchen garden and a few other horticultural enhancements. When the weather is particularly good, the space is doubled and provides an unrivalled location.

5th View

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Kate and the girls frequently visit Waterstones’s Fifth View on Piccadilly. Kate’s favourite dish is their Platter. They have a fish, meat and vegetarian option and she thinks they’re all to die for! The views of London’s rooftops are some of the most spectacular in London from an art deco building which has a unique character and place in Londoners’ hearts. Also, very nice Chardonnay!

Claridges

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There are plenty of places to have a high tea or afternoon tea in London, but Kate still holds a special place in her heart for Claridges. The centerpiece of afternoon tea is, of course, the drink itself. Their wonderful tea connoisseur, Henrietta Lovell, has scoured the world to bring you delicious tea from small, little known producers from the four corners of the world. Working hand in hand with their Executive Chef, Martyn Nail, they have carefully selected teas that will complement your food perfectly. Set in the splendour of Thierry Despont’s magnificent Foyer, inspired by the 1930s’ heyday of art deco, Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s is truly a magical experience.

Suki

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When it comes to dinner, Kate is a sucker for Asian food. She loves strolling through Chinatown and often ends up at Suki. A melting pot of the best in Cantonese, dim sum, Thai and Japanese, Suki has a truly pan-Asian offering. Set over three floors and decorated in a modern Japanese style, the top floor of the restaurant is dedicated to Shabu Shabu – a special Japanese hotpot. Hotplates built into the tables keep your broth simmering at all times while you cook the food at your own table. Choose your hotpot ingredients from the a la carte menu and make sure you try the tender beef – undeniably the star of the Shabu Shabu show!

Hakkasan

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Tristan takes Kate to Hakkasan Hanway Place. As soon as she passes the threshold, she knows Tristan has chosen something really well and to her taste. Hakkasan Hanway Place is the original restaurant of Hakkasan that opened in 2001 in London. Designed by famed designer Christian Liaigre, the space embodies the Hakkasan design ethos of the modern ethnic now found in Hakkasan restaurants around the world. Wooden screens and latticing made of dark English oak is the same luxuriant material used for the 16-metre bar, and the Ling Ling dining area evokes old school Chinoiserie decadence, punctuated by black and gold traditionally drawn panels. An open-plan kitchen is visible from the restaurant, making the activity in the kitchen part of the restaurant’s theatre. A dim sum, dessert and lunch menu are also available, as is Hakkasan’s award-winning wine list and signature cocktails. In 2003 the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, which it has retained to this day, continuing to place Hakkasan at the forefront of modern Chinese cuisine.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I was so proud and humbled to be invited by the talented Jack Croxall to participate in a blog tour concerning writing process. The idea is that you answer a few questions and then tag some other authors to do the same. So the Blog Tour will get bigger and bigger every week. I love the whole blogging process, so I almost screamed ‘yes’ when asked! Below are my answers as well as a bit of info on the excellent authors I tagged.

The questions:

1) What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the second part of The Fire Trilogy, The Empath. It is basically the same timeline as The Elemental, but from Tristan’s point of view. So we learn a lot more about his motives and The Company he works for. It also creates a larger world than The Elemental. There are new people and people you already know, like Alan, Charles and Roy. It has a different ending though, but you’ll just have to wait and see.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, that’s a bit of a problem to begin with. I’m still not sure where to put The Elemental on a bookshelf. My first instinct would be Paranormal, but it is fiction, not non-fiction. Most of the books I see on the shelf, if they even have a Paranormal section, are non-fiction. It’s certainly not fantasy either, nor is it horror or mystery. I guess you could say it’s Sex and the City meets Charmed. So what kind of genre would that be? If you know, do get in touch! Because I’d love to know as well.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Write about what you know, was one of the first pieces of advice I got from fellow authors. So that’s what I’m doing. My life isn’t nearly as exciting as Catherine’s, but I do know a thing or two about what she and her friends are going through. I guess I just love to write about women and men who are not afraid to use their gifts to do some good in our world. I tried to make them as normal as possible though, because to me, they are. Normal people who just happen to have a gift.

4) How does my writing process work?

Writing process? One should have an actual process? Oh dear.
No, I do have a process of course, but it’s going out the window on a very regular basis. Sometimes with my iPad attached. I’m a Fire person, so I’ve been known to get a tad agitated when I’m experiencing a writers block. Usually I have the outline of the book in my head. Everything is clear to me, except for little details. However, during the writing process characters do tend to run away with me. Sometimes I add stuff, sometimes things get scratched from the book. On a good day though, I go to my favourite coffeehouse, Barista Café and write for several hours. They are actually my failsafe, as they’re constantly nagging me about deadlines. Gotta love them.

I’ve decided to tag two authors who both get my blood pumping while reading their books, Mikey Campling, author of the Darkeningstone saga, and Michelle Diana Lowe, author of Heaven Calls for an Angel.

Mikey Campling was born in Scarborough which, frankly, is not where he would’ve chosen. He was, he says, given very little say in the matter. Although he grew up in Yorkshire, he resists all attempts to classify him by Northern stereotypes, which is just the sort of bloody-minded attitude you’d expect from a Yorkshireman. He now lives in Devon, on the edge of the wilds of Dartmoor, with his wife, two children, a black Labrador and a fish called Bernard.
On the subject of writing, he says: “I love the savage business of writing – it’s edgy, exciting and much harder work than everyone thinks.”

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Michelle Diana Lowe is an author who writes about real life, real people, real experiences. She loves to write from the heart, capturing emotions on a deep and true level. Her characters are all an extension of her, in some way. Her motto is: “I live to write, rather than write to live.”
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Check out their beautiful covers, and be sure to click on them for more info!

Mikey Campling
Michelle Diana Lowe