Friday, 18 July 2014

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Witchblood author Emma Mills is back with Flying With Fire

Hello Hayley here! Today the lovely Emma Mills author of the Witchblood series joins us here at Dark Readers. Her new novel Flying With Fire is out now go check out Amazon. As some of you may remember I well and truly adored Witchblood, so I am pleased to say Emma is back with something new and very different but it sounds awesome all the same.

Nobody who enters Ravenwood school will ever be the same again.

Fifteen year old Brooke has been in care all her life. Now she finally has an adoptive family who don’t want to send her back to The Home; but their solution for her problems is much more dangerous.
A secret boarding school for possessed children. A boarding school where any unnatural behaviour will be stamped out. A boarding school with no escape; where witchcraft is punished and vampires are murdered in the sunlight.

Brooke is the only one with the power to escape the security wards, yet she must find a way to help them all before it is too late.

A while ago I asked Emma if she would talk us through her average working day so here she is...

My Writing Day
I began writing WitchBlood, my first novel, once my youngest child started nursery. With a three year old and a five year old it took two years before I finally published! Now my life as a writer is simpler, thankfully, as both children are at school.
We moved both house and county last October, moving two hundred miles south to Somerset, so now I have my own study. As I enjoy a variety of crafty hobbies as well I usually share my desk with a sewing machine and other clutter, but I love it! I have a cork board on the wall behind my laptop to pin images that represent my current characters or storyline. I am a visual person so I find it really helps to be able to ‘see’ the characters right in front of me. 
My usual working day consists of me taking the children to school, coming back and having a large mug of tea and a croissant… or hot buttered crumpet, and wasting time on my iPad, flicking through Facebook, twitter, emails… and (whispers) Minecraft!! By 9:45 I have usually dragged myself upstairs and booted up the laptop. I prefer to work all morning and, if I am in the middle of writing a book, will usually sit there and write until I have done at least 1000 words, which I can do in an hour if it is flowing… two if not! Then I make myself another mug of tea before getting back to it.
I try to write about 2000 words a day. When I start a project I usually have a couple of dates in my head: a first draft date and a publishing date. When I get within two weeks of the first date my daily word count usually increases. The most I have managed to write in one day is 4500 words, which gave me intense brain strain!  I prefer to keep it under 2500.
The last hour or so before school pickup is usually taken up with mundane housework and odd jobs. When I’m not writing I am usually arranging blog tours and writing the posts for those… like this one, or trying to do the DIY around our house and garden!
I love writing. It was the best decision I made and is the perfect career for a mum that wants to stay at home. 3pm till 8pm is taken up with the children and family, and only very occasionally do I login in the evening, usually if my husband is working away, and then I’ll try and get ahead a little.
So that’s my writing day!

Emma has kindly offered to do a giveaway for us so see below and GOOD LUCK!!!
Thank you for joining us today Emma I look forward to reading Flying With Fire.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Rain By Virginia Bergin Blog Tour: THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE RAIN

Hey guys Casey here. Today with have the author Virginia Bergin on the blog talking about her amazing book called Rain. The blog tour is called THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE RAIN 
We all remember learning about the water cycle at school don’t we? How the sun heats the water, and the water evaporates and… blah blah blah. The Water Cycle was never a topic that set our school books on fire BUT maybe if Ruby Morris had paid more attention to her Geography teacher then she’d know exactly which clouds might kill her! So we’re here to educate you, because don’t forget, just one drop could kill you. From the writing process to publication, join us for a blog tour with a difference, as we learn about a FAR more interesting cycle – The Life Cycle of The Rain by Virginia Bergin.
 1. The sun heats the ocean i.e. Virginia Bergin gets an excellent idea 
2. Prevailing winds pick up the manuscript and deliver it to the Agent Louise Lamont 
3. Pressure (also known as excitement) begins to build within the publishing cloud of Macmillan with Editor Rachel Petty 
4. Virginia Bergin is as high as a cirrocumulus cloud as her book begins to form 
5. Storm clouds gather over Frankfurt and Bologna – Rights
 6. A downpour of marketing and publicity support 
7. Take shelter in your local bookshop – Totnes Bookshop

The Sea of Ideas
My head is swimming with them . . . your head is swimming with them . . . everyone in the whole world has a head swimming with ideas . . . question is:

Unlike other ideas I have – like, ‘I’m sure I’d be brilliant at surfing if I tried it’ – The Rain was an idea I acted on, and this is the mini-story of how that happened:
One summer afternoon, a 15-year old girl gave me a copy of The Hunger Games.
‘It’s brilliant,’ she said. ‘You should read this.’
‘OK,’ I said . . . and, lying paralysed by a bad ‘writer’s’ back in their garden, I did.
The next day, still lying in the garden, I finished it.
‘It IS brilliant,’ I told the dog and the two guinea pigs I had been left to look after.
They stared at me, not unhelpfully . . . and a weird idea bubbled up from the bottom of the ocean . . .
You’ve got a scary story, the idea said. TELL IT.
‘Oh, you mean -’

Ideas, they can get so tetchy . . . and, as long as they don’t involve hurting anyone else, I think the more tetchy an idea gets, the more you need to act on it.
I did have a story; way back in 2007 I wrote a film script called H2O, about a killer alien virus in the rain. The idea had probably come from an article in a magazine called New Scientist. A friend of mine gives me his old copies, and if you want to write any kind of sci-fi, I would highly recommend it; every issue is packed with amazing ideas. But my script lacked heart. No one liked it much, not even me - but, like all ideas you instinctively know are good, it never quite went away. It just got tetchier. So I scrapped the script and wrote THE RAIN. With all of my heart.
And all of my money. I had enough cash to survive on for three months, and only a skeleton of a plot, so it was going to be a desperate race to write. Luckily for me, Ruby showed up in the very first line. I never looked at that skeleton plot again; it would have been pointless because my main character told that story all by herself – and she had her own ideas about how it should go. All I could do was show up at the desk and let Ruby get on with it – and she did, fast; in exactly the same sort of frenzy as she would have written it in the book. 10 weeks later I had a first draft.
I was a bit shocked, to be honest. I was also exhausted.
I love Ruby so much. Not just because ‘she’ pulled it off, but because, to me, she represents a lot of thoughts and feelings I have about what it can be like to be a teenager. Some of what she says and does IS meant to be funny (I find teens are often brilliantly funny; they say and do some pretty original things!), but it’s all mixed in with times when she is annoying or unpleasant or selfish – or lovely. I think Ruby has a very good heart. I feel . . . so protective of her, but also very angry for her; ‘growing up’ can be hard enough without an apocalypse happening in the middle of it. I think Ruby was at a stage in her life when she was just beginning to work some things out – and now she has lost everything. She is frightened, shocked, vulnerable and confused – in a situation that you’d hope no teen would ever find themselves. I feel awful for her, so I’m very understanding when she takes a detour to try on a dress, for example. It’s bitter sweet; a clinging for comfort to a past that has gone forever. My poor, lovely girl!
But it would be wrong to think of Ruby as some kind of mish-mash of what I think about teenagers; she is definitely HER OWN person! (That’s another thing I love about her.) So when I looked over that first draft I didn’t feel there was much I could or should change about it. It was Ruby’s story, and I’d run out of time and money anyway. If no one liked THE RAIN now, they never would, that’s what I decided. In my next blog post, I’ll explain why this was not, in fact, a great decision . . .

I did what Ruby would call ‘a stupid thing’. I sent the draft out.

Head over to Reading away the days for the next stop of the blog tour!