Apocalyptic guest post

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You might have heard of Abomination, I’ve possibly mentioned it once or twice, so you’ve probably got the message that it’s about the end of the world, or rather the hellish limbo between when the balloon goes up and when the last one to leave turns off the lights.

You might be less clear about what the rest of the series is about, and why. Finch Books have asked me to write a little something to explain the idea behind The Pathfinders series, and how the story and the characters develop over the course of the three books. Here it is.

https://www.finch-books.com/blog/guest-post-Jane-Dougherty

 

Promotion: The Pathfinders

I’ve been so bogged down in a million other things, I almost missed posting this.

Get this PROMOTION!

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ALL Finch Books are 25% off to celebrate 10 years of publishing. If you haven’t read The Pathfinders series yet, now’s the time to start

Get your promotion priced copy here

And while you’re in the mood, why not browse round the Finch Books website and see if something else takes your fancy.

Author interview: Rebecca Piercey

Rebecca Piercey is a Finch author, and her first book was published in March. Since we Finches have to flock together, I have invited Rebecca to be my first guest in what might become a regular spot. Rebecca is a student, flying between the US and Japan at the moment, and I’m surprised she finds the time to give interviews never mind write novels.

 

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Jane: I’m not going to ask you why you decided you wanted to be a writer, because I’m not sure it’s a question of a decision—you either are a writer or you’re not. But I will ask you about the theme of your book which sounds pretty macabre from the title. Is it about vampires?

Rebecca: Actually, it isn’t about vampires! A lot of people think that though, so I’m happy to clear it up. My protagonist, Laura, is a highly skilled assassin and also a princess. That’s where the “Blood Princess” title comes from. I chose to write about Laura as an assassin because I’ve always loved fantasy books, and I wanted to have a main character who wasn’t necessarily a great person. Laura has done a lot of bad things, and I wanted the story to focus on the weight of her decisions.

Jane: Your book, Blood Princess, is classed as young adult. Did you set out to write for a specific age group, or did you just write what you enjoy reading? I ask because you are still a college student and not long out of that age category yourself!

Rececca: I definitely just wrote what I love to read! I think my love for YA stems from the fact that I am still so young. Another factor is that YA was a big comfort to me when I was in high school. I kind of wanted to recreate that escape for others with Blood Princess.

Jane: What do you see as the major differences between a book for young adults and one for ‘old’ adults?

Rebecca: The main factor is the age, of course. Most YA protagonists are between 15-18. I don’t read a ton of adult fiction, so I’m not really sure about the other elements.

Jane: Will your next book have a similar theme, or will you experiment with something different?

Rebecca: My next book will be a sequel to Blood Princess, so it will be a continuation of the story introduced in the first book. At the end of Blood Princess, Laura makes a very difficult decision, and book two focuses on the consequences of that decision.

 Jane: I think it’s at this point that you ought to tell us what Blood Princess is about.

Rebecca: Blood Princess focuses on Laura White, the princess of Karkonia who also happens to be a highly trained assassin. She’s always killed for her father without question, and when he orders her to murder her older sister, she feels no differently. Laura hates Alicia for betraying their family and joining a rebellion set on usurping their father, the Emperor. Before Laura gets the chance to end her sister’s life, she is dragged into the mess of the rebellion by her bodyguard, Shane Kagae. As Laura and Shane uncover secrets that her father has been keeping for years, they realize that Alicia and the rebels may have been right about the Emperor all along. A very conflicted Laura must decide what is right for her country: remaining loyal to her father, or leaving everything she loves behind to help the rebellion usurp him.

Jane: Is there a story behind this book? Something in particular that inspired it?

Rebecca: I’ve actually been carrying this story around in my head since I was in the seventh grade. It’s definitely evolved since then- at that time, Laura was twelve and now she’s seventeen- and the plot is almost unrecognisable, but that’s where Blood Princess came from. The seventh grade version of the story was probably inspired by a lot of different animes, because I was (and still am) a big nerd.

Jane: Blood Princess is the first volume of a trilogy. Are the sequels written? If not, are they planned out, or are you one of those writers who let the story go its own sweet way and surprise you?

Rebecca: The sequel’s aren’t written, but they’re definitely outlined thoroughly. It’s kind of funny, because with everything else I do I’m a very go with the flow kind of person. I’ve found that I struggle to finish things if I don’t have an outline written, so now I write them for all of my stories just to encourage myself to get things done in a more timely fashion.

Jane: Do you have a favourite character?

Rebecca: As much as I love Laura, I’m gonna have to go with her bodyguard and my second narrator, Shane. Shane is a very honest person. Laura is very closed off to others sometimes and is never honest about her emotions and fears because she views them as a weakness. Shane doesn’t care about all that. If he loves you, you’ll know. If he’s afraid, you’ll know. He isn’t ashamed of his feelings. His willingness to be vulnerable with others is what makes him my favourite character.

Jane: Which do you prefer writing, good guys or bad guys? Can you give us some examples?

Rebecca: Good guys with a lot of flaws. Laura’s not a typical good guy. She does all kinds of terrible things and makes a lot of mistakes. She has a lot of flaws and a lot of regrets. But she does everything she does for her country, trying to protect her people. You could consider her both a bad guy and a good guy.

Jane: We’re all influenced by what we have read, knowingly or unconsciously. Is there a writer or a book that you would say has contributed to your love of writing and helped shape the way you write?

Rebecca: Katie McGarry, hands down. My books are not very similar to hers, as she writes contemporary YA, but she’s just a wonderful person. I’ve sent her fan e-mails more than once, and every time she has responded with a kind and thorough answer that truly answered whatever question I asked. She really does care about her readers, and I admire that about her. Her books are always awesome, too. They are always sure to show that everyone has value and that it’s important to take the time to get to know those around you.

Thanks, Rebecca for letting us into the way you and your books work. I wish you all the best in your writing career. Below are the links if you’d like to catch up with Rebecca, and of course the purchase links if you like the sound of Blood Princess.

Goodreads

Blog

Facebook author page

Amazon.com

Finch Books

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Snippets of The Pathfinders

I’m over at Adventures in YA publishing today, talking about writing for young adults, if you’d like to take a look. And if you can bear any more, I’m also answering Sacha Black’s open call for self-publicity with a short excerpt from my current WIP which is the third volume of The Pathfinders series, winding up the adventures of Carla and Tully in wonderland.

So, this is a bit from Revelation.  Sacha asked for 150 words. This is an excerpt approaching 150 words, but I’m not saying from which direction.

 

Tully stopped humming and held his head on one side, listening. His eyes glittered with amazement.

“Can you hear?” he whispered.

Carla stood quite still and held her breath. The silence of the night sky was broken. Like ripples on a stream, faint music made by unearthly voices came to her over the waves of darkness. She looked at Tully, her eyes wide.

“It’s the stars,” he breathed, “the planets. They’re singing.”

“What does it mean?”

Tully beamed at her. “It means we’re in heaven.”

Carla grinned. “Seriously.”

“The possibilities here are endless. Nothing is beyond us if we try hard enough. You can see why Nisroc wants to protect his world.”

Carla frowned slightly as if a cloud had passed over the moon, and the music faded. “Yeah. I s’ppose.”

Tully took her hand and led her into a fiery nest of stardust. “You worry too much,” he said gently and pulled her down beside him. “Time for dreaming.”

Carla snuggled into his arms, loosening his shirt from his trousers, nuzzling into his neck, her senses filling with his unmistakeable Tully smell.

“I wonder if the Grigori dream too,” she murmured.

“Erelah said they all do.”

“Erelah?” Carla sat up sharply. “You mean we might bump into her up here?”

Tully pulled her back down to him. “What have you got against Erelah, anyway? She’s a good laugh, when you get to know her.”

“And you have?”

“Yeah, a bit.”

Carla fought to keep her ground in what felt like shifting sands. She held Tully tighter, finding the buckle on his belt. She bit his ear and whispered, “Like this?”

Tully kissed her hard on the mouth. “You ask the silliest questions.”

“Indulge me.”

Tully kissed her again. And again. “Of course not.”

His hands were on her skin beneath her shirt. His mouth was on hers. The stars were singing. Carla let the unpleasant thoughts slip into the gentle darkness between the planets and returned Tully’s kiss with the same passion as in the old days.

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If you haven’t read the first part, Abomination, you can get it here.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Abomination: excerpt

Tomorrow is launch day for my publisher, Finch Books, and Abomination will be available for purchase from the Finch Books website. This is the last excerpt before the big day.

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“On that pallet over there. A few big cans of beans left. Bring one.”

“Have you all forgotten how to speak, as well as how to wash?” Carla snapped.

“Mostly. Yes.”

Carla staggered over with the ten-kilo can of white navy beans to where Kat was opening a much smaller can of frankfurters. She opened the beans and together they tipped the contents into a stew pot of dubious cleanliness. The sausages followed.

“How many is this for?” Carla asked. She had seen at least a dozen men and boys and nearly twice as many women.

“All of us.”

“Then those sausages won’t go very far.”

“Just for the men.”

“I might have guessed,” Carla sighed. “I suppose we ought to be grateful to get a few beans.”

The girl heaved a world-weary sigh. “If they leave any.”

Carla was about to ask why they let themselves be pushed about by a bunch of macho brutes who thought they were living in the Middle Ages when she took a good look at the girl. Carla had taken her for a skinny kid, but a closer inspection revealed the bony shoulders, scrawny breasts and haggard look of a woman, but under-developed and emaciated. Like Tully, Carla was beginning to put together a picture of their new environment.

“There’s not much to eat, is there?”

Kat just looked around. The warehouse was three-quarters empty. “You see much?”

“Can’t you get food somewhere else? Find another supermarket, I mean.”

Kat sighed. “This is Flay territory. Other places like this are in some other tribe’s territory. Not enough warriors left to fight over food.”

“What about hunting?”

Kat forced a wry smile. “Hunt what? Rats? Crows? Drax?”

“Drax?”

“Big dogs.”

“Why not, if that’s all there is?”

“Rats and crows eat corpses, drink poisoned water. Drax eat rats and crows and corpses. They are all sick, rotten. If we eat them, we become like drax. Drax used to be dogs.”

This was the longest speech Carla had heard from Kat. It had been a real physical effort for her, as if she had to drag the words from her memory, as if they were so rarely used they had almost been forgotten. Carla asked one last question, though she dreaded the reply.

“So, what will happen when the food runs out?”

Kat’s expression was dull and hopeless and she did not reply. She didn’t need to.

Carla bit her lip, trying to hang onto the strange, obscene ideas that darted like cockroaches in and out of the shadowy places in her mind.

New series begins

I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ve waited so long already and the launch is practically upon us! The first volume of my YA series about wormholes, the apocalypse and a pair of young lovers is about to be released. January 26th to be precise. Here’s the cover for starters.

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Here’s the Finch Books holding page while the website clunks into action

https://www.finch-books.com/

and here’s a short excerpt from the opening chapters of Abomination.

 

Carla screamed, and the pile of dining chairs tottered and collapsed into an impossible tangle. Tully‘s face hit the floor, as the whole cellar seemed to rise and fall back with a deafening crash. From the floors above came an ominous rumbling and the cascading shriek of breaking glass.

He shoved backward, hard. A table skittered sideways, shedding its load of baskets and boxes over his back, and he was free. Carla was crouched by the door, pointing the flashlight down the corridor. She turned as Tully blundered to join her.

“I couldn’t hold him!” Her eyes were distraught. “He ran off behind the boiler.”

Tully’s annoyance dissolved instantly. Carla was almost at the end of her rope.

“Let’s go get him then,” he said, with what he hoped was a jaunty air, “before the whole bloody building falls down.”

They ran to the end of the corridor, Tully wondering if he was completely mad, playing hide and seek with a spoilt moggy in the middle of an earthquake.

“Come on, Tattoo. Time to get in your basket,” Carla cajoled. A stripy tail flicked in and out of sight in the shadows behind the boiler.

“Here. Try this.” Tully fished a squashed piece of focaccia out of his jacket pocket. “I was saving it for later,” he explained apologetically. Tattoo poked his nose out and sniffed. “Get ready.” One paw crept forward then another, nose and whiskers twitched with interest, as Tully placed the oil-scented bread on the floor just out of the cat’s reach. He flexed his hands and braced himself, ready to lose a couple of fingers.

Suddenly the cat froze, whiskers trembling in agitation, ears flicked back against his skull, and fur standing on end. Tully lunged and the cat backed away spitting, backing away not from Tully’s hands but from a round hole in the wall. It was a hole the size of a manhole cover, a hole that contained a blackness darker than any blackness Tully had ever seen, a blackness that vibrated and whined and moved like ink spreading through a glass of black water. Intrigued, Tully reached out a questing hand to the hole, the vibrating emptiness, whatever it was.

 

Carla shouted a warning, No! and grabbed his other hand to pull him away as the ground shifted and buckled again. As they staggered, falling, floundering, the hole appeared to tip toward them, growing in size, reaching out to enclose them both. Above their heads the building shook itself apart, and they plunged into the humming darkness.

Fabulous news!

Two things worth shouting about:

The gremlin in the machine has been tracked down and eliminated. I can receive notifications again! Thanks to Dustin, the Happiness Engineer. If you have any glitches with WordPress, Dustin is your man.

Second news, I have just signed the contract with Finch Books, new YA imprint of the Totally Entwined Group and rising stars of digital publishing. I’m thrilled to be signed up for the ride! So, it’s nose to the grindstone from now on, getting the rest of the Wormholes series written.

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