Category Archives: Writer Wednesday

Lycans, vampires and serryns – oh my! Review Time: Blood Torn by Lindsay J Pryor

So this review has been a long time coming!

And when I say a long time, I mean eight months to be exact, a fact that I feel quite ashamed of as there really was no excuse not to shout this book from the rooftops as soon as I finished reading it. But as usual, I was distracted by life in general and this review is now LONG overdue, so I hope Lindsay will forgive me.

I’m a huge fan of the Blackthorn series, I just happen to be terrible at writing reviews so I’m just glad to be finally getting around to reviewing Blood Torn, the third book in the series and the one I was probably most eagerly anticipating, which is a little strange seeing as I’m not a huge fan of Lycan books. I’m a vampire girl and with the exception of Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series, I’ve never really delved into the world of the fictional Lycan.

But this is Blackthorn, after all, so Lindsay could probably throw me a B-movie zombie and I’d be happy, plus of course, there was the teeny tiny matter of the main character Jask having been inspired by my favourite Followill, Kings of Leon’s Caleb, so for me this was always going to be a no brainer.

We start out where Blood Roses left off, with Sophia, the AWOL sister of Leila and Alisha, who also happens to be a member of The Alliance, the human vigilant group intent on destroying the third-species underworld rule of Blackthorn, captured by Jask, leader of the Blackthorn Lycans and having to explain just why she’s been found with two dead vampires at her feet.
With Leila’s serryn powers switching over to her sister when she fell in love with the vampire Caleb, Sophia now finds herself prisoner of the hot-tempered, fierce Lycan who just so happens to be one of the very underworld figures she should be hunting.

Taken back to the Lycan compound with its fifty-foot barb-wire topped fences, Sophia decides to use her incarceration to her advantage, learning what she can about the Lycans and about the mysterious Jask himself. What she learns is far more than she ever bargained for: a leader fighting to keep his pack alive, despite imminent threats from the Lycan Control Unit and the Third Species Control Division, a leader fiercely loyal to his pack and yet strong enough to punish those who step out of line and a Lycan who she can’t help but be fascinated by, despite the fact as she is a member of The Alliance, Jask is the one person she shouldn’t be interested in. What ensues is a battle of wills between the feisty, strong-willed serryn and the tough Lycan, with both trying to second guess the other and both vying to be the one who ends up on top.

As always in Blackthorn, the twists and turns will have you eagerly turning each page in anxious anticipation and Lindsay’s canny ability to have you guessing right up until the end is very much evident in Blood Torn. Lycans might be the minor third-species in the dark, grimy streets of Blackthorn, but Lindsay makes them stand out, worthy to sit side by side with the vampires in a way that makes them completely believable, utterly engaging and always intriguing. For me, the vampire girl, I fell completely in love with the Lycans struggle, their intra-pack relationships, their fight against those who would wipe them out and let me tell you, it definitely surprised me, because as much as I knew I would love the book, I never thought I would love the Lycans.

So am I converted? Yes okay, I admit, I’m a Lycan-lover. Just don’t tell Caleb Dehain or Kane Malloy that I said that, okay?

Five stars for this wonderful third Blackthorn instalment!

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Blackthorn Does It Again!

Sequels so rarely hit the mark. I remember reading books two and three in the Blackthorn series and wondering how on earth Lindsay had managed to successfully pull it off. But to reach book four Blood Deep and to find it is even better (if that’s possible?!) than the first three? Surely it can’t be done?

But yes, I’m VERY pleased to say that Blood Deep is very much the crowning glory of the series so far. Before now, we’ve seen Lindsay weave the threads of her plot very expertly throughout the first three books, although she always maintained each could be read as a standalone and not necessarily in order (although I’d urge you to ignore that and go for the sequence read!) and now, in book four, it still amazes me how she can still surprise with each new turn of event, each new twist, whilst also adding into the mix completely new characters who keep the reader hooked from the word go.

It’s a skill to keep readers interested when you get them invested in characters, just to then switch characters in the next book, but somehow, magically, Lindsay manages to do this and quickly you find yourself torn over which ones are your favourite – personally my loyalties lie with Jask AND Eden, and I just ADORE Jessie. She’s another fabulous female character to bring the men to their knees – as do ALL of Blackthorns’s leading ladies – feisty, strong, courageous and with the right amount of vulnerability to make them believable and real.

It’s never easy to work out just where Lindsay will take us in Blackthorn – more supernatural creatures, new villains, wonderful twists and harsh revelations (not to mention the uber sexy scenes!) but I am more excited than ever to read the next book – bring on Blood Dark 2015!

Well done Mrs Blackthorn – five stars!!

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The Rules of Write Club

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Okay, so the first rule of Write Club is……

You’re waiting for the list, right? Hmm. The problem is, I don’t have one. I’ve never had one. I probably never will.

You see the things is, I’m one of these weird writers that simply hates to follow rules. I’ve never understood it. All those ‘How To Write A Novel’ guides. All those ‘Do’s’ and ‘Do Not’s’. There’s something about all those instruction manuals that just scream at me to run in the opposite direction.

When I first started writing (which wasn’t that long ago, as contrary to popular belief, not all writers pen their first novel when they’re barely out of nappies) it was a fairly insular affair. Prompted to do something during the early stages of post-natal depression, I started writing and randomly ended up writing something that resembled a novel. I had an idea I wanted to work on, something which held my interest, and I sat down each day for about an hour and just wrote. I didn’t make notes. I didn’t plot. I didn’t write endless character outlines. I just did it. And that’s pretty much how I still work today.

During that time, I also began to dip my toes into social media more than I ever had. I connected with other writers on Twitter and on blogs and of course, came across the inevitable ‘How to Write’ guides. They’re everywhere, you can’t miss them. Give me a writer, and there are ten more out there telling everyone how to do it. “You want to be a writer? Then buy my book and I’ll tell you how it must be done.” “You want to write a best selling novel? Here’s the guide that you must follow or be cast into the pit of penniless failed writers.”

Okay, I’m being ever so slightly flippant, I know. But, if truth be told, I just don’t get it. And don’t get me wrong, I’m always keen on hearing advice from my fellow writers who have made it in the trad publishing or indie publishing world. That’s important. Crucial, even, because you’re talking to people who can give you a wealth of valuable information. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the people who claim there are hard and fast rules on how to write.

And again, I’m not talking about rules on grammar, sentence structure etc. That is something you should never stop educating yourself about. But I am talking about those who will say: You must do this. You must do that. Look, I’m not saying these people don’t have good advice, in fact, I’m sure some of them have great advice. But you have to remember that what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for the other. You have to find your own way as a writer and if you catch onto a method that another writer uses and you find that works for you too, then great. But, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong.

I’m prompted to write this following a recent conversation with a friend of mine who expressed an interest in joining Wattpad. She wants to start posting her work online, but she’s understandably anxious. Of course, it’s bloody nerve-wracking posting your work on a public forum for the first time. Will people like it? Will people even read it? However, in my friend’s case, her fears have been doubled and why might this be?

She’s currently finishing a creative writing module at college.

Now I studied a creative writing module at university too. Well, actually it was a women in literature poetry module with creative writing elements and yeah, it was scary as hell having to write poetry and read it out loud to the class, but I was fortunate in that we had a very supportive tutor. My friend, however, doesn’t seem to have been blessed with the same. In fact, her tutor sounds exactly like the type of tutor NO creative writing student needs because she’s a ‘it’s my way or the highway’ kind of person. The result? My friend now doubts herself and her abilities. And that just makes my blood boil. Advise. Educate. Support. But don’t damn someone because they don’t want to do things your way.

Another friend of mine, a successful writer who I admire greatly, once told me that she was astounded to learn that I never really plot. But she wasn’t saying that in a negative way, she was merely surprised, because she always plots. It’s her thing. She didn’t berate me at all for not plotting, because she understood clearly that everyone follows their own rules. Again, I reiterate: what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.

Okay so I’m not going to sit here and say that first novel I wrote would win any awards, far from it, and I’m not here to say ‘hey look at me writing a novel and NOT following the rules, you should do that too.’

I’m saying, make your own rules. Take what you think will work for you. Mix and match rules if you need to. Or don’t. It’s up to you.

It’s your Write Club.

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Review Time! Bleeder by Monica Kuebler

Hello bloggers, writers, friends and readers,

As you know I’ve been pretty much engrossed in the world of Wattpad for some time now, much to the chagrin of my poor neglected WordPress blog and so recently I decided that the best way to combat this was to combine the two. Why not bring some of the wonders of Wattpad over here and review some of my favourite stories?

I’ve lost count recently of how many times I’ve been told by my readers that they had become disillusioned with vampire fiction, mostly due to those sparkly fangsters and the subsequent saturation of the market that followed with writers churning out glossy vamp slush in a bid to emulate Meyer’s success. Many readers have said how refreshing it has been to finally read vamp stories that have a bit of bite about them (sorry, couldn’t resist). But I have to admit, this leaves me feeling slightly dismayed, because when you start to say how refreshing you find stories that focus on the original idea of vampires as dark works of horror, you realise that maybe something has gone very awry with people’s perception of vampire fiction.

Readers are expecting glitter, romance and a touch of piano-playing. They’re no longing anticipating blood, gore and a touch of the heebie-jeebies.

Well, in answer to that, I give you Bleeder, the first novel in the Blood Magic Saga by Canadian author Monica Keubler. Monica, by day the managing editor of horror magazine Rue Morgue and by night the mighty dark goddess of the pen, knows a thing or two about blood, gore and the heebie-jeebies. In fact, she’s an expert on all three and what’s more is that she’s definitely not scared to prove that horror does have a place in the Young Adult market. Yeah, teens like horror, who knew? And whether you’re a teen or an adult who loves YA, I will guarantee that Bleeder will restore your faith in vampire fiction.

Readers, meet Mildred Millhattan. Or Mills to her friend, of which she doesn’t have many admittedly. Mills is a slightly awkward, almost-sixteen year old, who might be invisible to most of her classmates, but actually turns out to be part of an underground world that isn’t just invisible to her peers, it’s unbelievable too. It’s a world of myth, fantasy, sorcery and the supernatural and Mills is about to be thrown right into the middle of it in spectacular and bloodied fashion.

Pulled out of school abruptly by her parents one day during an algebra exam, Mills is taken to a remote cabin in the Nevada desert and discovers that not only have they lied to her about this spontaneous road trip, but they’ve been lying to her for her whole life. Heartbroken and lost, Mills is struggling to deal with her world crashing down around her ears when strangers descend on the cabin and life suddenly gets a hell of a lot darker.

Now is is where it gets really interesting. Forget what you think you know about vampires in YA novels. Think unrelentingly cruel. Think brutality to the point you will grimace. Think monsters with long nails, sunken cheekbones and an insatiable desire for blood. Think about the stuff of nightmares who keep their victims shackled in caged cells so they can feed on them…again and again and again. And we haven’t even touched on the King of the Nosferatu himself yet. Over seven feet tall, burning red eyes and draped in a cape decorated with human bones, YA hasn’t ever seen the like of this type of monster before, trust me.

Locked up in her torture chamber, Mills discovers that not only is her blood – the blood of a sorcerer – a much-desired delicacy, she is about to become a bleeder to the King himself. And if you thought the vampires were unrelenting, then Monica herself is (thankfully) unrelenting in her description of Mills’ torment as she is fed upon by the King until she’s nothing but a glorified pin-cushion who is starting to give up the fight. It’s beautifully gruesome, horribly cruel and wonderfully captivating because she dares to go where others who write YA often fear to tread.

Just when we start to think Mills has lost all hope, she acquires a new visitor to her cell, a vampire unlike all the others she has had the misfortune to meet so far.

Keel is the skinny teenage son of the King, who is yet to go through his transformation into Nosferatu but who is still a vampire nevertheless. Drawn to Mills’ cell out of boyish curiosity, Keel begins to secretly visit Mills and the two form an uneasy relationship, and surprisingly the vampire prince becomes Mills’ only chink of light in an unfathomable darkness.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Keel is about to become your archetypal YA hero. When we first meet Keel, there’s a touch of immaturity and arrogance about him (well he is destined to be King one day) and he definitely doesn’t know the meaning of personal space, in fact his matter-of-fact insistence on feeding from Mills borders on downright sinister. But as the story progress we get to see his rebellious nature and his strength and we come to realise that while he is undoubtedly a vampire, there’s far more to Keel than we are first led to believe.

Together they discover that their growing bond has less to do with two natural enemies who happen to harbour a strange fascination for each other, but something far deeper than either of them could ever imagine, something that will change both their worlds forever and set them apart from their own kind in a way that leaves them struggling to work out where they do really belong.

All in all, Monica gives us a captivating discourse on friendship, loneliness and trust, all set against the most wickedly dark backdrop. It’s a world painted vividly in all its gruesome splendour, with characters who constantly surprise the reader and leave us wondering just who can be counted on and who cannot. The history between the Nosferatu and the sorcerers is detailed and interesting which allows for a really fresh take on the vampire myth, while sticking to the more traditional roots of the vampire as the monster. The relationship between our main protagonists is addictive and it’s very hard not to root for these two fabulously intriguing characters.

Bleeder is truly a compelling read and whether you’re a teen looking for something a little darker, a little grittier and a little bloodier than the norm, or you’re an adult who loves reading YA but prefers a horror twist, then this is absolutely the book for you.

Five out of five blood-splattered stars!

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Please do go check out Bleeder here on Wattpad:

http://www.wattpad.com/story/856099-bleeder-blood-magic-book-1

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Rock stars, Hashtags and Fanfiction

Hey WordPress,

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I decide to post for the first time in ages and find that the WordPress app has completely changed and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing but hey, what’s new?

Anyway, my first post of the year (yes I’m aware it’s February) is all about my new short story The Fan.

I don’t often write short stories but they tend to come in handy when I’m stuck writing the full-length novels. It’s just a great way to break free by focusing on something completely different for a change and tends to motivate me to dig myself out of the writer’s block oubliette.

This story was something that had been floating around in my head for a while, inspired by Misery by Stephen King and also by Channel 4’s fabulous ‘what-if’ drama Blackout.

I think I’ve said before how much I love writing horror, particularly psychological horror and so to see The Fan already hit #12 in the horror charts on Wattpad probably makes me prouder than seeing Playing Dead hit the #1 spot on the vampire chart. Not that there is anything wrong with the vampire chart you understand *coughs*. It’s just great to hit the charts in a genre very close to my twisted old heart.

Please do go along and give The Fan a read and maybe give it a little vote and comment if you love it.

http://www.wattpad.com/story/12686127-the-fan

Thanks
Linz x

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Review Time! Blood Roses by Lindsay J. Pryor

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Afternoon bloggers, writers, friends and weirdo’s,

You may recall, a couple of months ago I blogged about the release of Lindsay J. Pryor’s new book, Blood Roses, second novel of the fabulous Blackthorn series. I also promised a review but in true Cinnamon style, I left everyone hanging as usual but in my defence I had a good reason or a half-baked excuse, whichever way you like to look at it. Work was crazy stressful and I also knew I had to put what little time I had into finishing Blood Wars, book three in my Dark Sanctuary series.

But as you know, Blood Wars has reached it’s grand finale very recently and so I can now get back to back-flipping, cartwheeling and body popping around the room in honour of an amazing writer and her wonderful book.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Lindsay and her Blackthorn series. In a world where everyone wants their vampires to sparkle and be, well, just howdy-doody piano playing perfection, the Blackthorn series grabs hold of contemporary vampire portrayal by the balls, rips out its throat and hangs it from the highest building. So let that be a lesson to you all, okay?

There’s no doubt the Blackthorn vampires are sexy, but they’re eternally dark, often cruel and more dangerous than a pit full of angry vipers. You think you’d survive a night in the polluted, sweat-drenched, vampire infested Blackthorn? Leila, Lindsay’s new feisty flame-haired heroine, knows the dangers of Blackthorn only too well and also knows that the likelihood of getting out of there alive is no mean feat, but with her beloved sister Alisha apparently in the clutches of some vamps, Leila has no choice but to venture into the one place she knows she shouldn’t go.

Leila is no ordinary Summerton gal, in fact shes’s not even an ordinary witch, she’s a serryn and that makes her potentially as dangerous to vampires as they are to her, so it’s no wonder that Caleb Dehain isn’t about to let her leave town anytime soon.

Discovered and captured by one very dangerous, dark and most-certainly brooding vampire, Leila soon finds herself embroiled in the midst of Prophecy and in a fight to prove to Caleb that she isn’t the killer he believes her to be. A growing and unwanted attraction to her captor soon means Leila is fighting for so much more than her very precious soul; she’s fighting to keep hold of her heart too and it’s not a battle that she seems likely to win.

One thing that struck me about Blood Roses is that whilst most of the book is set in the confines of Caleb’s lair, rather than restrict the action, this works wonders in building up the hot and heavy sexual tension between our two main protagonists as there really is nowhere for Leila to run to. As the reader, you can almost feel the panic and desperation growing within Leila every minute she is forced to remain in Caleb’s company, not to mention the burning attraction they are both feeling. I could literally feel the hairs on my neck prickling throughout as the fear, panic and tension emanates from each page, until the point where I was almost climbing the walls with them.

Secondly, and what I’m starting to see is one of Lindsay’s great skills as a writer, is that there is nothing predictable about Blood Roses, unlike some contemporary vampire novels where you can guess the plot way before you’ve reached the end. You’re never quite sure who to trust, who to believe in, whether good will out, or whether the characters will force the plot down some dark path. It’s always suspenseful, always exciting and always keeps you guessing right up until the very end and to me, that’s what’s so very special about the Blackthorn series.

There’s always that concern with the second book that it might not match up to the success of the first, but there’s no worries about that with Blood Roses. Lindsay introduces us to new characters, throws us into a new adventure, and gets the reader enthralled in a new story that keeps us just as hooked as Blood Shadows did.

Feisty heroines, dark and sexy anti-heroes and a world we just can’t help getting lost in, Blood Roses has it all. Five out of five!!!

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Release Day!! Blood Roses by Lindsay J Pryor

Happy Friday dear bloggers, readers, writers and friends.

Yes it’s Friday at last and not only is it Friday, but it’s Friday 26th April and this means it’s finally release day for Lindsay J Pryor’s eagerly anticipated second Blackthorn novel, Blood Roses. 

Regular readers of my blog would have seen my previous review of Lindsay’s first novel Blood Shadows and if you haven’t read the review, or the book, please do go read both.

If the exhilarating ride of a read that was Kane and Caitlin’s story wasn’t enough to keep us going for quite some time, the second novel set in the deliciously dark world of Blackthorn is back with the tale of Caleb and Leila and it looks to be just as thrilling as the first book.

As a devoted fan of the Blackthorn series and of Lindsay (well she is a Kings of Leon fan too), I’ve been fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of all the brilliant Blackthorn Bites and artwork created for Blood Roses and I’ve got to say it’s just stunning and has whipped me up into even more of a frenzy.

And so to celebrate the occasion and give you all a taste of how wonderful this series is, here is the first of many Blackthorn Bites and  I’ll be posting a few more over the next week or so and there will be a review coming up hopefully over the next few days.

Blood Roses is available to buy from today via iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon.

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