Samples

One drawback to a pre-order campaign is that readers don’t get samples from Amazon. So, I decided to post a couple of snippets of Letters To The Damned to tease potential readers!

From Chapter One:

Cris drifted between waking and sleeping, his dream images of his wife, Shannon, already lost in half remembered impressions and the haze of another dream world involving a strange, English village, like the ones on Shannon’s favorite calendar. The foreign imagery faded and Cris felt consciousness begin to win the struggle. He rolled over to the edge of his comfortable double bed to reach towards the floor where he had heard scuffling noises. He expected to feel his fingers stroking the soft fur of his little tortoiseshell cat, Mocha, but instead a strange hand clasped his own in an iron grip.

He instinctively pulled back, but the hand wouldn’t let go. Cris tried to force open his eyes, to reach full consciousness, but his eyelids would not respond. He heard his own sharp, gasping breaths in the darkness. His mind tried to make sense of the thought that a hand had come from the floor, perhaps someone under the bed? Cris struggled with rising terror and a feeling of vulnerability when his body failed to respond to his conscious commands to open his eyes. He wanted to scream, but his voice would not respond.

Chapter Three:

“A freshly disturbed soul might not be amenable to performing supernatural tasks.” The dowdy teashop owner with a lazy, northern English accent looked at Cris as if he had used the wrong spoon to stir his Earl Grey tea.

Suddenly he regretted having told her about his wife’s accident. Cris hadn’t come to England to try to raise the dead, after all. He had only wanted to get away for a while, to forget the bustle of Los Angeles and spend a few days somewhere quiet where he might collect his thoughts. He watched the unpretentious swishing of the teashop owner’s faded flowered dress as she walked back behind the counter to make his sandwich and reflected on how the conversation had turned suddenly to the thoughts he had refused to voice to himself.

Later:

He glanced up at the picture over the desk, the ship out in a stormy sea, and he wondered why someone would paint a ship in such difficult circumstances when they might have shown it at full sail on a pleasant day. If they had wanted to capture the wildness of the sea during a storm, they could have painted a stormy seascape with waves crashing onto a rocky coast.

Cris’ gaze wandered over the picture and he began to feel a sense of swaying, which he dismissed as an effect of the movement of his eyes from an odd angle to the painting. He began to appreciate the realism of the artist and could almost feel the salt spray as waves crashed over the side of the ship. He could hear men shouting orders and feel the burn of a rope held tightly by a man balanced precariously on the main mast yardarm.

The swell of the next wave tipped the boat to a forty-five degree angle and he felt his feet slipping from the yardarm, the rope tearing skin in bloody patches on the palms of his hands, then falling, falling…

So just a few teasers for you. I don’t want to give away the best parts. The introductory price won’t last more than a day or two after the October 1st release so get your pre-order in at Amazon now!

And Paperback Too!

Several people have written to me to ask if Letters To The Damned will be available in paperback.

YES!!!

Front300The paperback version will be submitted to coincide with the ebook release. In theory, both should become available simultaneously on Amazon. The system for submitting paperback can throw the timing off by a day or so, but I’m going to try to make it happen on the same day.

Remember, pre-orders before 1st October can get the Kindle book at the introductory price of 0.99 instead of the regular price of 3.99. The price of the paperback hasn’t been determined yet, but I’ll try to keep it as low as possible.

 

So order your Kindle copy today to take advantage of the introductory price!

Amazon.com or Amazon UK, or equivalent currencies at any of the Amazon online stores.

Special pre-order price!

Letters To The Damned has been scheduled for release on 1st October, 2016. As an introductory, the pre-order price in set at .99 for Amazon.com and Amazon UK, plus equivalent on all other Amazon sites. This price will go up on October 2nd, so be sure to get your order in early!

As the Look Inside feature isn’t in operation during the pre-sale period, I’ll drop a few teasers here on the blog over the next few weeks.

Just a small one to start:

Front300He stood up and put his mouth as close to the letter slot as he was able, then intoned the notes from the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The idea was to create an echo effect, if the metal box was empty. He quickly spun his head and pressed his ear against the opening, listening for subtle resonances from his voice echo.

He detected a dull ghost of the final note for a fraction of a second, too brief to be sure of what he might have heard, but it was immediately followed by something else. Cris pressed his ear harder to try to hear what sounded like a slightly deeper tone, sort of like a vibration right on the edge of detectable sound. To his surprise, it grew slowly louder and was joined by what sounded like a second voice in the higher pitch of the female range, harmonizing with the deeper tone.

Cris jerked his head back, astonished at what he was hearing. The tones grew louder so that he could hear them clearly a few inches from the slot. They were joined by more voices and swelled into a chorus of disharmony, like a sound effect in a Horror movie that depicted the lost souls of Hell in torment. He backed away slowly, but the voices increased in volume, keeping pace with him. Cris wondered if he turned and ran back to the bed and breakfast, would the voices continue to follow him, increasing their hideous modulations until the blasting sound woke the villagers and drew them out into the night to discover what he had done?

Story Space

It occurred to me over the last couple of chapters of my current work in progress that I’ve given myself a close limit of space within which to make the story play out. This is nothing new. My previous book, A Christmas Tale, happens almost completely within the house of one of the characters.

For similar reasons, Letters To The Damned takes place within a small area. It is set in a small English village, surrounded by farmland. While this gives me possibilities for some variety of movement, most of the action must necessarily take place withing the small village square. As my protagonist is an American who has never been in an English village before, there is some room for exploration and quirky local characters, but with a little thought I can take him a little further afield.

Literally, I’ve just had him out in a field on what the English call a “public right of way”, which amounts to a path across a farm that is otherwise private property, but the path itself is public land. They have some strange laws over there and they make for interesting situations for a writer.

The rest of the village is just rows of houses down country roads. So, what can I do with this? Well, my character might make friends with a local or two and get invited into a cottage for tea. How exciting. /droll

I’ve set myself a deadline to have this book finished, including editing, for an October event. I don’t expect it to be a 500 page tome. I would, however, like to take it to a reasonable novel length. This will be an interesting challenge for my imagination. Not only must I find variety of action within a confined space, but I have to keep up a constant feeling of tension, or at least a series of tense events that will keep the Horror aspects of the story.

My future writing plans will be in very different spaces. I have a Dystopian series planned that will at least let me have a large city as my working space, though there may be chapters that happen in more confined areas. So, these first stories working entirely within small space limitations are good practice.

I want this one to be good though. Letters To The Damned is the book that will test whether I have it in me to be a Horror writer.

Title Change

Just a heads up to my readers, because of a rule at Amazon about superimposing text, I’ve changed the title of A Halloween Tale to A Christmas Tale. So, there’s a slight change in the cover and the metadata.

Front300

Since that isn’t confusing enough, before next October, I plan to write a new story and call it a Halloween Tale, but it will be specifically set around that holiday. Why not? The metadata is already in place.

If you got a copy of the original cover, especially on a paperback, it could become a collector’s item if I ever get famous. You never know.

Getting Those First Reviews

I’ve sent copies of A Halloween Tale to several reviewers. So far one of them has posted 4 stars on Goodreads, but the review itself won’t be displayed until 22 December.

Front100That’s a good start! A 4 star review is very encouraging and I’m dying to see the actual comments.

The question is, what’s the best road to getting more reviews? The book will be on sale for $0.99 11-16 December, but free review copies are still available. I wonder if some of the others I’ve sent it too will eventually read and review? One person said she was saving it for a Christmas read, which is fair enough as it’s a Christmas story.

If you’ve read the book and have an opinion, just a few words on Amazon would be very appreciated. Many advertising sites require a minimum number of reviews before they will take a listing, and we want the world to know if it’s good, right? (Cue puppy dog eyes)

Discount price for pre-orders

A Halloween Tale is now available for Kindle pre-orders at .99. The book is to be released on 13th October. Regular price will be 2.99 from 14th October.

amazon.comamazon.co.uk / amazon.ca / amazon.com.au

Paperback will also be available on Amazon from 13th October.

Front200Few Christmas stories hold as much fascination as the story, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Inspired by the classic tale, three young women decide to hold a séance to raise the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future. They don’t expect a result, considering that the ghosts are fictional, but what they call out of the aethyr gives them a creepy holiday they will never forget, if they live to tell the tale!