Paranormal anyone?

I asked Shani Struthers, fellow Crooked Cat author, what drew her to her favourite genre and this is what she said ~

Shani PicFor as long as I can remember the paranormal has fascinated me. Even as a child I preferred darker stories and devoured Ruth Manning-Saunders’ twisted fairytales. I also had a strong stomach for horror films and loved nothing more than cosying up with my family to watch a scary movie on the TV – it was seen as something fun in our house! Although I kick-started my writing career in the romance genre, I quickly switched to paranormal as it’s where my heart truly lies. I’ve also had a lot of knowledge passed down to me from my mother who has a life-long intellectual interest in the Occult, so in a way I’ve grown up with the paranormal all around me. It simply makes sense to me that there’s a spiritual world as well as a material one. Regarding fellow paranormal authors, I’m inspired by Shirley Jackson, Susan Hill, Stephen King and Dean Koontz – all writers I aspire to rank alongside one day!

Shani’s latest book, Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street, comes out on Friday, 27th May.YES2-2

“We all have to face our demons at some point.”

Psychic Surveys – specialists in domestic spiritual clearance – have never been busier. Although exhausted, Ruby is pleased. Her track record as well as her down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach inspires faith in the haunted, who willingly call on her high street consultancy when the supernatural takes hold.

But that’s all about to change.

Two cases prove trying: 44 Gilmore Street, home to a particularly violent spirit, and the reincarnation case of Elisha Grey. When Gilmore Street attracts press attention, matters quickly deteriorate. Dubbed the ‘New Enfield’, the ‘Ghost of Gilmore Street’ inflames public imagination, but as Ruby and the team fail repeatedly to evict the entity, faith in them wavers.

Dealing with negative press, the strangeness surrounding Elisha, and a spirit that’s becoming increasingly territorial, Ruby’s at breaking point. So much is pushing her towards the abyss, not least her own past. It seems some demons just won’t let go…

Gilmore multi


I write ghost stories – vampires, werewolves and shape shifters need not apply! Influences include the great Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I’m also a mum of three children, and live in the funky city of Brighton with them, my husband and four mad cats. I’ve always loved reading and writing but occasionally I venture outdoors on sunny days and walk in the stunning green downs that surround us. Other pastimes include hanging out with friends and just having fun – life’s too short not to.

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Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street



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Revolution Inspiration

I’m delighted to welcome my friend, TE Taylor, author of two brilliant books, Zeus of Ithome and T E TaylorRevolution Day.

Hi Kimm, it’s a great pleasure to visit your blog today. I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about what inspired me to write my latest novel, Revolution Day.

I’d had in my head for some time a vague idea of writing a novel about an old man who has had great power but is starting to lose his grip. Originally I envisaged him as a king, with flowing robes and long white hair, but the idea never really got any further and I thought that, like most ideas, it would never come to anything.

Muammar_al-Gaddafi_at_the_AU_summitThen, in 2011 and 2012 a string of autocratic leaders fell one after the other during the ‘Arab Spring’, beginning with Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and including such notorious figures as Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi, who had once seemed unassailable. It occurred to me that my old man losing his grip on power could be a dictator instead of a king, giving my vague idea a context and making it relevant to the present day.

Augusto_Pinochet  Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional.

Augusto_Pinochet Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional.

One idea quickly led to another, and another. I was interested not so much in the specific context of the Arab Spring, but in the timeless issues it raises about the effects of power and its ultimate fragility. Other dictators, such as Pinochet and Ceaucescu, also came to mind. My dictator would not be based upon any particular individual. I would avoid the stereotypes: he would not be a monster or brutal strongman but an ordinary person, initially idealistic and genuinely wanting to do good, but forced by circumstances to compromise on his ideals and gradually desensitised to repression as he clings on to power in the delusion that he alone can be trusted to wield it.

As the ideas started to coalesce, I realised I needed a way to give the long view of my dictator’s rise to power and his descent into autocracy as well as telling a real-time story in the present day. I decided that his estranged wife would be writing a memoir, which could be interleaved with the main narrative. Perhaps she could be a former colleague too, with an insider’s understanding of the regime? That suggested Latin America (with its long history of dictators) rather than the middle east. And I needed an antagonist – someone with a more straightforward desire for power unencumbered by idealism. Another colleague, who resents the dictator’s pre-eminence and is eager to exploit his weakness. Not strong enough simply to seize power by force, he will have to pursue it by more devious means, manipulating the perceptions of the dictator and those around him to undermine his position. Thus my central characters, Carlos, Juanita and Manuel, were born.
Revolution DayOne day, during a writing exercise at Holmfirth Writers Group, I wrote what would become the opening scene of Revolution Day, and simply carried on from there. The rest is – well, not history, exactly, but undoubtedly inspired by it, however indirectly.

Revolution Day can be purchased from Amazon by following this link : Revolution Day 

Or from Smashwords via this link: Revolution Day smash words

Crooked Cat’s Christmas Sale Now On!


Crooked Cat Book Sale!

Pop over to Amazon to see all the Crooked Cat Books on sale for this week only. They have a brilliant selection across a wide range of genres ~ something for everyone, including Once Removed. Just follow this link: ORcoverpb

Crooked Cat Easter Sale



‘I’ll never buy a Kindle’

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

And I kept saying it for quite a while. I had all the usual complaints.

‘I like to feel a book in my hands, not a piece of plastic.’

‘What about the bookshops and libraries?’

‘It’ll never catch on.’

As a self-publisher with my own publishing company, I realised that it was getting harder and harder to self-publish as the printing costs were increasing and I couldn’t keep up with big firm’s special ‘2 for 1’ offers and low budget books. Something had to give.

‘Make your books as ebooks’, a friend suggested. I looked at her as if she’d suggested a trip to the moon. Eventually I was worn down, after having decided that I’d published my last book. (Weaving Through the Years, 2012).41pgIKxVNML._AA160_

‘You’ll need a Kindle so that you can check them as the text sometimes get corrupted when files are converted to PDF format,’ another friend said.

So I bought one. And the sky didn’t fall down, Chicken Licken.

‘Why don’t you upload all your books to Amazon?’ my nephew Richard suggested. (He’s the technical part of my publishing company; the ‘Ric’ of Linric).

‘How do I do that?’ I asked nervously.

51IS+kK8zUL._AA160_‘I’ll do it,’ he offered. Phew! What a relief. And half an hour later, that’s what he’d done. All eight of them! And no need to change the format either – they all went in Word format.

It was very nice to see them on Amazon, available as downloads, but really, I thought, not much point, as no one will buy them, even though I had some good reviews.

I was wrong. The first and second month I only sold one download each month. So then I forgot about it. I didn’t know how to access my sales reports anyway at that time. But next time the nephew looked for me, I’d sold 16 downloads each month in the third and fourth book. And two of the sales were from America.

No books to be printed and stored in my house.

Pure profit!

Well, apart from Amazon’s cut of course. And I’ve just had notification that Amazon is making first payment this week. Momentous!41a9WbhVKNL._AA160_

So if you are in the same boat as I was, my suggestion is to just go for it! Or have a techy-savvy nephew handy if you can’t do it yourself. You never know ‘til you try?

And my Kindle? Well, it’s a bit dusty. I still don’t like it and prefer a book, except of course, when I go on holiday. Then it gets dusted off and is an important part of my luggage. The only problem I have now is that I want to download my own books on to my Kindle. But it’s ‘not possible at the present time’ according to Kindle Direct Publishing, without paying for them. Pay for my own books? Humph! 

If you search for Linda Sawley on Amazon you’ll find paper & ‘e’ versions of all her books.

Imagine…a writers journey

Joff Gainey shares his journey today ~

Imagine a world where you are being watched over by people who live in the clouds.

Imagine a world where every black cloud has danger within.

Imagine what happens next…

Throughout my career, as a primary teacher, I encouraged children to read anything and everything. I used my own short stories and passion for writing to stimulate their imagination and hopefully inspire them to write for themselves. It was after being made redundant that I decided to practise what I had been preaching to the children for so long. The idea for my first novel had hovered around my head since my own school days. With much encouragement from my wife and children, it was time to put pen to paper.

After six months of writing and a further four months of re-reading, editing and asking friends and colleagues to digest every word, it was ready for publishing.

Sleeping on a Cloud is part one of a trilogy, aimed at teenagers and young adults. The central characters are a teenage boy and girl, who are Silver Liners. They live and travel in the clouds. The Dark Walkers, from a distant planet, are attempting to take over the earth. However the Silver Liners, who have never approved of such belligerent tactics, have spent many years trying to thwart the Dark Walkers plans. Prophecy has told of the twins and their powers. It is one of those powers, a secret power, which is capable of destroying the Dark Walkers. Unfortunately for the twins and the human race they don’t know what that power is… yet.

For the past couple of months I have been writing to publishers and agents in the hope that someone out there will be interested in my novel. I have had half of those approached reply with ‘like it but not for us’ or ‘its got potential but in the present market we are being selective’. The other half have yet to respond. So while I have been waiting for the yes vote, I sketched an idea for a front cover and then my brother-in-law designed and drew the result here.

I have had no further replies from publishers or agents. So with this in mind I have spent the last couple of weeks preparing my book for publishing as an ebook. Many of my friends, including those on Facebook, have supplied valuable advice and encouragement on how to do this. Also a book that I found very useful and easy to follow was ‘Kindle Publishing Made Easy’ by Ashley Kalym. It was recommended and thankfully so as the step by step instructions guide you, easily, through the process of formatting and uploading an ebook.

I have finally uploaded Book One of the Silver Liners adventures to Kindle and as a paperback.

More recently I’ve begun thinking of ways to market my book, other than social networking sites. I decided to approach some local schools and offer them each a copy for their libraries. While at the same time offering to come in to the school to give a talk about the book and its journey to fruition. This week I have sent a copy to Ron Howard‘s film company, Imagine, and a copy to Chris Evans at BBC Radio…nothing ventured nothing gained!

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