Friday, November 26, 2010

Merlignant Enterprises Competition

Merlignant Enterprises, something of a spin-off of Evil UnLtd, in that I just made them up, are offering 5 copies of The Nightmare Begins, my most recent novelisation for BBC's Merlin series. Which, if nothing else, has a picture of the lovely Morgana on the cover :-)

It may seem an oddly unrelated 'prize', but we can't really sign Evil UnLtd, what with it being an ebook, so our best alternative is to scrawl our moniker across a page of another of our works.

Anyway, we're offering two ways to win one of these books. (I'll only ever be signing these five so they are in that sense, a limited edition :) )

1) Write and post a review of Evil UnLtd Vol 1: A Root Of All Evil on (only $2.50) or (only £1.99!). You're under no obligation to be glowing either - just your fair and honest opinion will do. Email me the link to your review along with your Amazon invoice no. for the purchase of the ebook.

2) Email as many of your friends and contacts as possible telling them about Evil UnLtd - link to the FREE E-Shirt post on the Evil blog, or to the ebooks themselves on Amazon.Com, Amazon.Co.Uk or Smashwords if you like. BCC me in the email and whoever has sent word to the most contacts will win.

Note: my email address is available via my website, under Contact. And don't forget, even if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the software for FREE for reading on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android. And the Smashwords Special Edition is offered for a variety of ereader formats. And remember to let me know in your emails who you'd like the autograph made out to! (Perhaps you're parents of young Merlin fans, for instance, who might like a signed copy.)

Since reviewing will take longer and involves a purchase and a spot of critiquing, we'll be holding back three of the books for reviewers, while two will go to the top email marketers.

Closing Date 31st Dec 2010 for email marketers. 31st Jan 2011 for reviewers. Names of winners will be posted to this blog and I'll be happy to post links to their blogs or websites here, as a bonus.

Good luck and I'll be practicing my handwriting to make sure my autograph won't be too much of a scribble. :)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kindle In The Wind

Goodbye paperbacks
Though I've got a load of you at home
You pose a minor bulk problem
When I'm reading on the roam
They have this neat new gadget
And it's lighter than my brain
All the books are virtual
Though the price is oft the same


And it seems to me that what we need
Is a Kindle in the wind
Never turning pages over
When the breeze blows in
And I would have liked to have one
When I was just a kid
I had so many schoolbooks in my desk
I could never close the lid

Reading books was tough
When they were on computer screens
Amazon created a super toy
About a ton was the price you paid
Though it seems a lot
Oh it's really small potatoes next
To the paper you could save
And you can get a cover or keep it nude

And it seems to me that what we need
Is a Kindle in the wind
Never turning pages over
When the breeze blows in
And I would have liked to have one
When I was just sixteen
Easier for reading with one hand
Some virtual magazines

Goodbye paperbacks
Now I'm really running out of shelves
I've had to go and get this toy
Made by Amazon's little elves
Goodbye paperbacks
From the young man who loved all his books so
It's really quite something - but not sexual
More just sort of biblical, you know

And it seems to me that what we need
Is a Kindle in the wind
Never turning pages over
When the breeze blows in
And now I'm out to sell an ebook
Evil UnLimited
It's really something special
For just under two quid


Evil UnLtd is also available at and a Special Edition (with all sorts of extras) can be found (in different e-formats) at Smashwords. Remember if you don't have a Kindle you can download the software for FREE to enjoy the read on your PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Cuddly Panda.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ode To Katie The Wastrel

The song Katie should have sung in the X Factor Beatles Week:

What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you still call and vote in for me
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

What do I do when my fans fail to vote
To be always in the bottom two
I sit on my butt and say sod it then
And trust the judges to still put me through

Yeah, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

I just need everybody
I need them all to love me
Oh please just anybody
Someone to love little me

Would you believe that I'm still in the show
When so many don't like what they see
I just change my disguise, wear feathers in my eyes
Then tell them this is the real me

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

I just need everybody
I need them all to love me
Oh please just anybody
Someone to love little me

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Yes, despite weekly audience trends
Mm, on Cowell and Walsh I depend
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Psi Fi

We Are Not Alone, said the tag line for Close Encounters. Since I've met other indie authors over the internet, the encounters may not be counted as close, but it's good to know that the tag line still applies.

Continuing our showcase of other authors, today we feature Debra L Martin, a sci-fi fantasy author who braved the world of Kindle and indie publishing before me.

Can you tell us about your novels?

My co-author, David W Small, and I have two full-length novels in our RULE OF OTHARIA series, Quest for Nobility and The Crystal Facade. The books revolve around royal Otharian twins, Darius and Dyla Telkur and their struggle to maintain control of the throne of Telkur. The reader will delve into a world of PSI powers [telepathy, empathy, telekinesis], betrayal, intrigue and murder. There is an evil mastermind bent on eliminating the twins and, of course, there is a deliciously evil telekinetic assassin. There is also a connection back to Earth which Darius and Dyla uncover. To unravel the mystery, they must shift through the clues from the Arthurian legends of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake.

We also have two novelettes in our DARK FUTURE series, Path to War and The Right Path. The stories are set in a bleak post-apocalyptic world where only the strongest survive. Food and water are scarce and gangs roam the streets preying on the weak. System cops try to keep the peace any way they can but it’s not always pretty.

You write with a collaborator. What is your process?

We both live on opposite coasts and our writing process has evolved over the past four years. With email, Instant Messenger and Skype we are able to keep in touch to plot out the next scene, chapter, or action sequence. We’ve found through trial and error that what works the best for us is to do edits/additions in real time. We send chapters/scenes back and forth to each other for comments. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see what kind of twist Dave has put on a chapter especially when I thought I knew what was going to happen. That keeps our writing exciting.

How do you research the science in your science fiction?

My coauthor, David W Small, and I like to have the science we use in our books grounded in reality. For example, in our Otharia books, we use crystals to enhance PSI power. We wanted these "crystals" to be something that people would recognize easily and so we chose to use diamonds as the model. Anyone who has purchased a diamond knows that diamonds are rated by 4Cs - cut, clarity, color, and carat. We enhanced the 4C rule and had the Otharians discover another intrinsic “C” within the nature of diamond: conductivity, the 5thC. This fifth C is what fuels their PSI abilities and the largest 10K crystals open their portals for interplanetary travel.

What will your readers like about your work?

I think readers will enjoy our novels because my co-author and I create fast moving action-packed stories. We strive to keep the reader turning the pages through tension, challenges and the conflicts our characters face.

What inspires your stories?

I get inspiration from many things from catching snippets of conversations during the day to reader comments on my blog and forums. It’s amazing how you can spin a story from one seemingly innocent comment.

Why did you go indie?

It was very discouraging hearing from a number of agents that they liked our book and thought it had commercial potential, but they just didn’t love it enough to offer representation. When Amazon offered the chance for authors to self-publish their works, it was the perfect solution for us.

Where can we find your novels?

In the US, my author page at Amazon is:
Debra L Martin, Amazon.Com
In the UK, my author page at Amazon is:
Debra L Martin, Amazon.Co.Uk

I also try to visible as much as possible on the internet and frequently comment on forums such as You can also find me here:

Facebook: Debra.L.Martin.Author
Twitter: dlmartin6

What is your current WIP?
Dave and I are actually working on two manuscripts at the moment. One is a new fantasy involving assassins, witches and an ancient prophesy. We hope to finish this in 2011. The second project is another novelette in the DARK FUTURE series tentatively titled, Zia’s Path.

Thanks Simon for hosting me!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Pulp Fiction

For those of you who thought this blog was all me-me-me, today we offer something completely different. First in a series of guest spots, showcasing the talents and thoughts of other authors. Since, as writers, we're all in this together.

I'm still very much a newcomer to the world of Kindle and independent publishing and when finding your way through the fog, you can encounter all sorts of strangers. Luckily, most of them are friendly - not a monster among them. One such fellow is William Meikle, who coincidentally knows quite a bit about strangers, monsters and fog.

William Meikle - Why I write pulp

I choose to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it.

My pat answer as to why has always been the same. "I like monsters."

But it goes deeper than that.

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland housing estate in a town where you were either unemployed or working in the steelworks, and sometimes both. Many of the townspeople led hard, miserable lifes of quiet, and sometimes not so quiet desperation. I was relatively lucky in that both my parents worked, but I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparent's house.

My Granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E Howard, Louis D’Amour, Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean and Dennis Wheatley.

When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

Pulp is all about the struggle of the dark against the light. The time and place, and the way it plays out is in some ways secondary to that. When you're dealing with archetypes, there's only so many to go around, and it's not surprising that the same concepts of death and betrayal, love and loss, turn up wherever, and whenever, the story is placed, whether it be in crime, fantasy or horror.

I also have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I love what is widely known as “weird sh**”. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.

So, there’s that, and the fact that I was grew up with the sixties explosion of popular culture embracing the supernatural and the weird. Doctor Who, Gerry Anderson series, The Avengers and Adam Adamant on TV, then Hammer horror movies got me, and led me back to the Universal originals. My early reading somehow all tended to gravitate in similar directions, with DC comics leading me into pulp and to finding Tarzan.

Mix all that lot together, add a dash of ZULU, a hefty slug of heroic fantasy from Howard, Leiber and Moorcock, a sprinkle of fast moving Scottish thrillers from John Buchan and Alistair MacLean, and a final pinch of piratical swashbuckling. Leave to marinate for fifty years and what do you get? A psyche with the urge to beat up monsters.

When I was at school books and my guitar were all that kept me sane in a town that was going downhill fast. The steelworks shut and employment got worse. I -could- have started writing about that, but why bother? All I had to do was walk outside and I'd get it slapped in my face. That horror was all too real.

So I took up my pen and wrote. At first it was song lyrics, designed (mostly unsuccessfully) to get me closer to girls.

I tried my hand at a few short stories but had no confidence in them and hid them away. And that was that for many years.

I didn't get the urge again until I was past thirty and trapped in a very boring job. My home town had continued to stagnate and, unless I wanted to spend my whole life drinking (something I was actively considering at the time), returning there wasn't an option.

As I said before, I write to escape.

My brain needed something, and writing gave it what was required. That point, back nearly twenty years ago, was like switching on an engine, one that has been running steadily ever since.

And most of the time, the things that engine chooses to give me to write are very pulpy.

I've also been criticised for it by people who don't get it. Willie Meikle is..."the author of the most cliched, derivative drivel imaginable...the critical acclaim he receives from his peers is virtually non-existent." is only one of the responses I've had.

Now, I don't write for the critical acclaim of my peers. I couldn't give a toss what other writers think of me. I'm writing for two reasons... myself and a readership. Posterity, if there is one, can decide on whether it's any good or not. Besides, the harder I work at it making my writing accessible, the more readers I get, so I'm doing something right.

But that's still not why I do it.

I think you have to have grown up with pulp to -get- it. A lot of writers have been told that pulp=bad plotting and that you have to have deep psychological insight in your work for it to be valid. They've also been told that pulp=bad writing, and they believe it. Whereas I remember the joy I got from early Moorcock, from Mickey Spillane and further back, A E Merritt and H Rider Haggard. I'd love to have a chance to write a Dracula, Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer, Dr Who, Quatermass or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

I write to escape.

I haven't managed it yet, but I'm working on it.


You can check out William Meikle's impressive catalogue of books at or