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Adventures in Crowdfunding

Recently, I successfully funded the launch of my next novella through crowd-funding. I wanted to write this blog post not only to thank my Kickstarter backers, but also to share my overall Kickstarter experience.

 

While publicising the campaign for the launch of The Séance, I discovered Kick It Forward, where you receive free publicity for your campaign if you agree to pledge to make other projects successful. I had already been bitten by the bug, pledging initially to get a better understanding of how the system worked and then really thinking about what I wanted to help develop. I thought I’d give a summary of the projects I supported while my own campaign was active.

 

The most unusual thing I’ve backed, I suppose, is a film. This one is close to my heart, being a short film on the life of Nikola Tesla (http://kck.st/1kYbfB8), great inventor of the Victorian era. When one or two of the other projects I was backing didn’t come off, I increased my pledge on this one, and my name will be in the film’s credits. How mad is that?

 

I looked for some indie authors in a similar situation to myself, and showed some solidarity with them and so I am waiting for a collection of Cyberpunk stories (http://kck.st/1mtiMvB) and the first in a new series of Steampunk tales (http://kck.st/1jZbw6C), which I am very keen to get into.

 

One or two of my backers invited me to look at their projects, which I did, and I pledged on them, using my own social networking efforts to increase their visibility, too. It worked for me, right? Well, sadly, for one or two of them it didn’t. A sci-fi thriller I had pledged on won’t be coming my way now, but the author generated enough interest that he is going to be able to put the book into print, so it was a happy ending for him. A book for children to help to educate them on loss was a project I was keen to see get off the ground, but unfortunately it didn’t make it. There was also a cool little book about hidden coffee shops and cool eateries in East London, which I was looking forward to receiving and working my way through; unfortunately they didn’t make it either.

 

On a more local level, I backed a comic book project (http://kck.st/1m2wL8c) launched by some guys in Newcastle. Comics? Newcastle! How could I resist? I didn’t resist, they got funded and I now have this excellent little comic with my name in the back credits.

 

I am really pleased to have backed and supported to completion, two children’s books. One of them is called “B is For Blobfish” (http://kck.st/1qGuaZ7) and is essentially an A to Z of weird animals. I’m so looking forward to going through these with my son Archie, as the A for Apple, B for Butterfly gets a bit stale after a while. The other project was “The Tale of The Greedy Fish” (http://kck.st/1pbnrCC), in which the author was raising funds to create enough copies of this beautifully illustrated children’s book, to donate to libraries, schools, children’s groups and literacy programmes, as well as fulfilling the backer rewards. So, my son has some pretty cool, unheard-of (hopefully soon to be Children’s bestsellers!) stories coming his way for his 2nd birthday.

 

Then my inner geek got the better of me. I backed and have enjoyed a card game called “Virus!” (http://kck.st/1o68kY2) and an entry level tabletop adventure game which looks perfect to play with my 4 year old nephew (not to mention my son and 2 year old nephew, when they’re ready in a couple of years), called “Pocket Dungeon Quest” (http://kck.st/1p9VVH0).

 

In terms of Kicking it Forward, I more than kept my commitment in the spirit of the generosity shown to me by my own backers.

 

So without further ado, I’d like to give a big thank you to all of those who backed my project. The list below is not an exhaustive list of the people who made The Séance possible - I mean through pledges and in the actual creation of the book - but it represents the backers who came in with the increased pledges where they covered their rewards and more, to enable me to reach further with The Séance and go beyond the original plan of launching an e-book.

 

Special thanks to:

 

LeeAnn Day

Heather Dodd

Robert Elliott

Trish Gordon

Ben Greener

Jim Hardison

Kevin McEwan

Robert W McEwan

Mick Rollins

Mark Tudor-Williams

Lisa Wood

 

Hope we get to do it again sometime…

Review of The Cult Of Me, by Michael Brookes

The Cult of MeThe Cult of Me by Michael Brookes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In The Cult Of Me, Michael Brookes has created one of the most memorable villains I have ever read about - and he is sort of the good guy of the story.

We begin with a man in prison who teases out information about some supernatural abilities he has by demonstrating them in the present and through revealing pieces of his past in alternating chapters. He is working to a master plan which will see him go down in a blaze of glory. You don't know whether you want him to succeed or not - he's such a brilliantly evil character, he does horrendous things and you start rooting for him (well I did!).

Then you hit the halfway point, and the character learns that there are others out there like him, some good, some even more evil and threatening than he, and he has some choices to make and opportunities to hone his abilities to new levels.

You will be guessing right up until the last page, and the ending will stay with you for a long time afterwards! Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

At my signal... Unleash Hell! A review of "Devil's Day" by Kyle Scott

Devil's Day tells the story of an American town suffering terribly at the hands of dark forces who have come to collect on an debt owed by the ancestors of the town's citizens.

Devil's Day is filled with realistic, well-drawn characters. My sympathies lay with the town's Sheriff, Mike Somerville, who has to face up to a threat he can not fully comprehend, attempting to save the townspeople while also desperate to help his own family stay safe.

The story's strength comes from its unpredictability, you don't know who is going to fall victim to the unstoppable evil, or what will be left of those who survive. There are lots of nerve-shattering scenes as the citizens of Blackhaven try to flee or hideout as the terror rolls over their town and these scenes disturb particularly when juxtaposed against the accurate portrayals of family life, lovingly sketched out only paragraphs before.

And then there's the carnage. Kyle Scott revels in the destruction wrought by not only his terrifying creatures of darkness, but by some pretty evil humans, too. You will be horrified, you will be on the edge of your seat and you will definitely keep turning the pages to see what happens next, rubbernecking as hapless victims are dismantled across the page before you.

For fans of slasher books and movies, creature features or those with a hankering for a throwback to the horror of the 80's, Devil's Day will clamp its claws around you and never let you go.

This was one of those stories that every now and then while reading it I had to come up for air, I was so drawn in. That is testament to the strength of Kyle Scott's accessible writing style, his great characters and a gripping story.

Go read it now. I dare you.

Sub-genre first reads

My fascination with Victoriana has been pretty much lifelong, but it took me a while to really appreciate some other historical genres, on film and in literature.

 

Particularly, I had written off western movies as being for old folks. Sunday afternoons at my Grandparents' sort of forged that idea and branded my brain with it.

 

It took me until I was about 19 to get into the Western movie genre, beginning with Unforgiven. It was a further 3 years before I read a Western novel, in this case a battered old paperback from my grandfather called "Hard Times and Arnie Smith". It was a great little story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Last night I reached the end of a little e-book anthology called "Whiskey and Wheelguns: Foreshadows". This is the first time I have read Weird West fiction, but I loved some of the Western ghost story movies like "Pale Rider" and "High Plains Drifter" (although when I was a boy, the TV show Bravestarr probably planted some seeds too).

 

I enjoyed this collection, it serves as a little taster to draw you into the Whiskey and Wheelguns universe. There are a few stories in there that made an impression on me and I think I'll follow them up and see what happens next.

 

The other sub-genre (although some would argue that it is a genre in its own right - and maybe they'd be right) I've taken up with, is Steampunk. I'll bang on more about that when I've finished reading "The Immersion Book of Steampunk", which I must say, I am quite enjoying.

Dark Chapter Press September Flash Fiction Competition Launched
Dark Chapter Press September Flash Fiction Competition Launched

That is a long caption. But Hell, it does the job,

 

I was pleased to be able to offer one of my novellas as a prize for one oh-so-lucky winner of Dark Chapter Press's August flash fiction competition. This month, I was invited to choose an image for the focus of the September competition.

 

I have included the image in this post. I love that image because there's so much that could stem from that or end there, or is this just where someone is sat, telling their story?

 

Being on the judging panel this month, I look forward to the entries. I have one in mind myself, but not as a true competitor, rather more as a non-combatant who just likes to play the game.

 

Here's a link to the site, too. Have a browse - they're not only running competitions at the minute, they're open for short story and novella submissions. I think they're opening for full novels soon, too.

 

Dark Chapter Press

The Seance Horror Novella - Paperback almost funded!

A little while ago I blogged about the launch of my Kickstarter campaign and it rapidly reaching the initial target. As I write I am only £4 away from reaching the stretch goal which will see me producing print copies of the novella.

 

This would be a great time to back your first project - you receive e-books from £2 pledges, with great rewards at all pledge tiers above that too. As Kickstarter is all or nothing crowd funding and the initial target was hit it means the e-book is definitely happening.

 

Check out the campaign for me, and see if you or someone you know might like to get involved.

 

The link: http://kck.st/1pclEKR

Kickstarter success - new stretch goal: Let's make a paperback!

I am pleased to announce that 'The Seance' kickstarter campaign has been a success and with 22 days still to run, it's only natural that a stretch goal goes in.

Now we're aiming to raise £350.00 and from this, to launch the novella as a paperback as well as the originally planned e-book.

What a great response I've had to this campaign, where only 12 backers have funded the £200 goal between them, with so much time still on the clock.

Many people liked the 'buy into a character idea' and many like that the future projects link back to the Dr Blessing series, which will return next year.

The biggest selling point, however has been the basic premise - you don't have to pledge loads to get something. You are essentially pre-ordering the novella for £2, helping me to put together a marketing budget for my back catalogue.

There's still time to get involved; this is a unique opportunity to make a great little horror story into something big and personal for you. How many paperbacks do you have on your shelf with your name in the special thanks section?

Help to Kickstart an e-book

I decided a little while ago, that I wanted to do something a little different with the launch of "The Seance". I have created a Kickstarter campaign so that across 31 days, backers could read a sample of the story, and order a pre-release copy of the story in the .mobi, .epub or pdf format. Although backers have the option to pledge only £1 to support the project, a pledge of only £2 will land you a copy of the story.

 

My hope is that these pre-release copies will generate (hopefully very positive!) reviews for when the story is released officially on Amazon, and that those reviews will appear on Goodreads, Shelfari and Booklikes. The funds raised will go towards paying for advertisements on Facebook and Goodreads, as well as print-on-demand copies of my previous work which I will send to bloggers and put up as competition prizes.

 

I have offered a range of rewards to my backers, including e-book copies of my back catalogue and several opportunities to have their name appear in some of my future releases (related to my popular Dr Blessing series).

 

These character-based rewards have been hugely popular and have contributed to the vast majority of the 69% of target achieved.

 

Anyone else interested, you are welcome to come and pledge using the link in this blog. What could bring your closer to a story, than being one of the people who helps to launch it?

My Character Blog Tour by Jack Rollins

 

A short time ago I was approached by fellow author Stuart Keane, to take part in the Character Blog Tour. Before I jump into the insights into a new character of mine, here is a bit of information about Stuart:

 

Stuart Keane fell in love with the written word at aged 7, when he discovered his first Richard Laymon novel, Flesh. Since then, his horror education has formed and crafted, and after several years, he became a published author in 2014, with his novella, The Customer Is Always…

 

Stuart's first feature length novel, All or Nothing, is due for release in 2014. The book is currently being read by a potential publisher. He also has several short stories included in several horror anthologies in 2014 including Terror Train, Dead Harvest – A Collection of Dark Tales, Axes of Evil II and Journals of Horror: Found Fiction. He is currently working on several future novels including The Vector Series.

 

Stuart’s links: Website/Blog, Facebook page, Twitter, Goodreads

 

Now that you know all about Stuart, it is time for me to introduce you to someone else I’ve been getting to know over the last few months. I should say, for those new to this blog tour, that each author taking part is asked 7 questions about a character they have been working on. I have several projects in motion at present, but one of them, The Séance, is due for release in the coming weeks so I thought I’d let you get to know the main character a little better.

 

1)      What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

 

Albert Kench is a fictional character and the lead in The Séance.

2) When and where is the story set? 

 

The story is set in London in the 1870s, a time when Spiritualism clashed with new medicine, technology and science. There were those who wanted to believe in spirits and life after death, those who wanted to show them evidence that they were right to believe (for a price), and those who wanted to prove that mediums were charlatans and fraudsters by revealing their tricks to the world.

3) What should we know about him/her? 

 

Albert is a man of science, a man of rational thought, who has lived his childhood under a tyrannical father only to have his eyes opened when he joined his uncle in Australia. In the colonies, he has seen the march of progress trample the culture of the indigenous population and, although this had given him some moral concerns, he has become certain that there is no room for religion anymore. Having learned a few lessons in survival on his voyages, he has returned to London to investigate the physical and mental collapse of a sister he left behind.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? 

 

Albert feels a terrible guilt over his sister’s condition, having left her behind those years ago, and is driven to investigate her downfall. He learns that his sister attended a séance with friends and that events on that day defy everything he has come to expect from the physical world.


5) What is the personal goal of the character? 

 

Spurred on by this guilt, Albert wants answers, wants revenge and wants to prove that there is no otherworldly evil out there, just the evil of man.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 

 

The Séance is complete and being prepared for launch later this year. Details will follow very soon through my Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook pages, so I do hope you will join me for the build up to the release. In the coming weeks I will be revealing how you can get involved, not only in obtaining a pre-release copy of The Séance, but how you might be able to become even more involved in a future project of mine…

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

 

I am hoping for end of Summer, early Autumn, but like I say, come and join me (links below) so that you can follow the build up and get involved.

 

Jack Rollins can be reached on Twitter Facebook and Goodreads

 

Check out the teaser trailer for The Séance

 

Now it’s time for me to nominate the authors who will follow on from me. You can expect to see their blogs, hopefully in around a week from now.

 

My first nominee is my old partner in crime, David Basnett another writer from the North of England. David’s excellent De Omori stories revolve around an organisation of vampire hunters and a trilogy of stories aimed at adults and young adults (which I am privileged to be reading pre-release) is about to be followed by a brutal, adults-only addition to the canon. I strongly advise you get up to speed with David’s work, and those familiar with my own, might just see where his world and mine collide.

 

My second nominee is a more recent acquaintance of mine, Kyle Scott. Prolific blogger, politically charged (I might need a passport by the time I get to go have a pint with him) and a thoroughly nice chap, this Glaswegian’s horror collection Consumed: Volume 1 is a stunning set of 4 nerve-shattering stories, and also features the added bonus of a preview of his forthcoming full-length novel, Devil’s Day. I highly recommend his work; wipe away the gore and see the utterly scathing social commentary and tar-black humour beneath.

 

Which brings me to my third nomination, C. A. McGroarty. I have been drawn into C. A’s “Harley Basil Chronicles” and can’t wait to really get into this series as he prepares the next instalment. A man after my own heart in terms of his fascination with dark Victorian adventure, his series promises to be an epic, globe-trotting spectacle of insanity, murder and mayhem.

 

Over to you, gentlemen!

My upcoming novella The Seance gets a teaser trailer

I have experimented to create a teaser trailer for The Seance, my forthcoming novella.

 

If the maudlin tone of the trailer and a glimpse at my currently available titles sparks your curiosity, please join me through my Twitter and Facebook pages as in the coming weeks I am going to reveal how you can make a pre-release order, get the Jack Rollins back-catalogue, and potentially see your name in a future story by yours truly!

 

Twitter: @JackRollins9280

 

www.facebook.com/doctorblessing

Dr Blessing's Curse featured on Cult Of Me

It's an exciting day for me, as a sample of Dr. Blessing's Curse, or, The Baby In the Bell Jar has been featured on blog page The Cult of Me. Check it out and leave a comment to show your support. Have a trawl over the blog while you're there - you might discover some new favourites!

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/

This on the back of a great weekend giveaway of this title, which saw 4 new 5 star ratings and/reviews pop up on Amazon and Goodreads.

Last Night

So last night I met up with my old pal and fellow horror writer David Basnett. By now, those of you who have at least read as far as Dr Blessing's Rapture will have picked up on the presence of an organisation called De Omori, and those who read the copyright info will know that this was created by David.

Our latest meeting was long overdue and we wasted no time, Quick little chat about how the kids are doing, then down to business.

I am pleased to say that David and I thrashed out some ideas which will help me to ensure that one of my works in progress will sit solidly and properly as both a continuation of the Dr Blessing series, and as a De Omori story in its own right.

Ok, it's all a long way from completion, and I'll want David's seal of approval at every step of the way, but this story, when it is ready is going to be one of the most ambitious projects I have ever written.

David had also told me about his work in progress, a long-gestating, adult fiction sequel to the Eve Evans De Omori trilogy. I was fortunate enough to learn of some of David's plans for this next story and excited to find the first draft in my inbox this morning!

A very productive evening and I do hope we'll be doing this more often.

Writing Blog Hop

 

 

Following on from my previous blog post, I have been asked to take part in my first Writing Blog Hop. For those who don’t know, this is a bit like a relay between authors, where each writer answers a set of questions, then signposts to other author blogs. They do the same and on it goes.

 

The author who tagged me is Stuart Keane, writer of “The Cusomer is Always…” and “All or Nothing” (which is currently being eyed for mainstream publication). You can find out more about Stuart and his work at his website http://www.stuartkeane.com or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8122585.Stuart_Keane

 

Now on to my bit.

 

1. What Am I Working On?

 

Several projects at once, in fact. The closest to release is a novella called The Séance which I aim to make available as an e-book this summer. The story is set in Victorian London, but is separate from the Dr Blessing series. Simultaneously, I am working on 2 stories connected to Dr Blessing. I don’t want to give anything away for those who haven’t read the first 3 parts, but I’ll give away a couple of hints: London between the Rapture and Christmas… And we have to go right to the beginning before we can get to the end…

 

2. How Does My Work Differ From Other’s In Its Genre?

 

The Dr Blessing stories are based in the horror genre, but, particularly with Dr Blessing’s Rapture (the second part of the series) I wanted to play with things a bit and add more of a sense of Victorian adventure, or thriller, along with some traditional horror aspects.

                As the series has a blood-drinking monster at its core, it would be too easy to peddle out just another vampire story, but even vampire fiction has changed over the years. I have avoided the erotic, romantic, “vampires can live among us and be our boyfriends” stuff, by sticking to a simple principle: the creature in my stories is a malevolent, heartless being who will (literally) chew up anyone in its way. No romance. No sparkling in the sunlight. The creature is evil and out for survival by any means.

                I think the creepy, gas-lit, foggy London setting helps to take the reader away from the familiar, and takes horror back to basics. Beyond that, I try not to simply throw gore at my readers, although there is naturally some bloodshed; I try to serve something more disturbing, something lingering, something that will make you wonder about it later and hopefully, something you will read again and find all of the little set-ups and connections that were there all along…

 

3. Why Do I Write What I Do?

 

I wouldn't say that I will always write horror; I follow specific ideas as they come. I think, for example, I have at least one contemporary thriller and three westerns in me, if I turn my attention to them. If a good sci-fi idea occurred to me, I would follow it up, but there is not a strong desire in me to concoct a sci-fi story. I have steam-punk niggling away in the back of my mind as something I might try one day.

                My current and recent works stem from my fascination with Victorian life and there is something classic about horror stories set in that time that really gets my imagination going. I have a contemporary story/series that has been gestating for a long time and while I think of it as horror, it could be considered a supernatural thriller, urban fantasy or dark fantasy. Essentially I write what I believe and hope will be a good, entertaining story no matter what the genre. It’s difficult to explain… I just get an idea, follow it and build upon it, and it just sort of… writes itself.

 

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

 

It all depends on the project. I have consciously tried to work in different ways over time. For example, there are stories I have written straight through from start to finish with very little planning, and there are others I have planned meticulously, act by act, chapter by chapter. Some parts of the story I will type directly, and other parts are notes, then handwritten sections, and then these join the typed material when ready. There are times that I have focussed on set-pieces first and then connected the dots and there are whole projects that have ground to a halt as I tried to find the time to get some research done… Then comes the re-reading and rewriting and the tuning up. I try to leave each draft for about a month if I can and around draft 3 or 4, I have to let go of the story and prep it for launch.

 

Well, that concludes the questions, and so I have to hand over to my nominated author (I hope he's still up for doing this!). Beneath my nomination I have have posted some additional info, including some promo information for those who are yet to get into the Dr Blessing series and who might like to give it a try as well as all the other ways to get involved.

 

 

My nominated authors are:
Terry M. West and David Basnett.

Terry is a well known and prolific author, filmmaker, actor and artist. He has written several books in the young adult field (most notably the graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire) and he has also written several horror short stories as well as the horror/thriller novel, Dreg. 

Terry's Blog, Confessions of a Darkly Disturbed Ink Slinger is here:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...


David is another horror writer based in Northumberland, like myself. He has written a young adult horror trilogy: Eve Of The Damned, Island Of The Dead and The Shadow Of Life, based on the young members of a vampire hunting organisation known as De Omori. David also happens to be a friend of mine, and some eagle-eyes readers have spotted that although his stories and mine are separated by over 100 years, they are connected.

David's website is here: http://www.david-basnett.com/

Over to you, gents.

Additional Shoutout
Another horror writer, nominated by Stuart Keane, has put up his blog hop entry too, check out Kyle Scott and his work here: http://thehorrorhotel.blogspot.co.uk/... 

More info on Jack Rollins:

 

The first part of the Dr Blessing series, “Dr Blessing’s Curse, Or, The Baby In The Bell-Jar” will be free for download as an e-book from Amazon from 4th July 2014 to 6th July 2014.

 

Alternatively all 3 parts are available in one volume, “The Cabinet of Dr Blessing” as an e-book on Amazon, and as a paperback.

 

There are lots of ways to get in touch and get involved – many of my readers and supporters already do, receiving updates and info on upcoming projects, links to other writers, promos, etc.

 

I would like you to enjoy my work, and if you do like it, please leave a review telling others about it.

 

The next best thing is for Facebook users to Like my page: https://www.facebook.com/doctorblessing where I post up to date info on all of my work.

 

Those who use Twitter, I would like you to follow me @jackrollins9280, and if you drop me a message saying you read the blog, I’ll know you are a real person and I’ll even follow you back!

 

If you use Goodreads and Shelfari, I’d love to hear from you on there too.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Out of the Shadows

Being an independent author is a lonely business. The difficulty I have always found has been in wanting to promote my work, but at the same time wanting to protect my work. I avoided adding authors on Facebook and Twitter like the plague.

 

One day, about 6 weeks ago, that all changed. A simple inquiry post on Goodreads led to a slew of responses from indie authors and bloggers who all wanted to help me. Then I realised, for the most part, we are not each other's competition. Indie authors are an industry all of our own. If one of us can convince a reader to take a chance on something not published by the mainstream publishing system, then all indie authors can benefit.

 

My facebook page, www.facebook.com/doctorblessing grew to almost double its following overnight, and in the coming weeks a sample of The Cabinet of Dr Blessing is going to feature alongside a Q&A on a blog.

 

Today I received an invitation to the writer's version of the necknominations fad, and I thought I would share it here:

 

I was tagged by Stuart Keane to take part in this:

Go to page. 7 or 77 of your current WIP.
Go to line 7.
Post on your wall the next 7 sentences or 7 lines- as they are!
Tag 7 people to do the same.

I have chosen one of several works in progress, with the working title De Omori: Dark Chapter (note I am awaiting permission from David Basnett the creator of De Omori, to run with this story). 7 sentences from page 7 as follows:

One of the labourers called, “You couldn’t take us all. A bunch of toffs and a leper!”
Some of the labourers protested against their fellow, others cheered his courage and began producing clubs, knives and razors.
The gangmaster screamed for the men to restrain themselves. “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
“No? I know what we’re all being paid is worth less than one of those silver balls there! And I reckon if these toffs aren’t going to give us our fair share, we should take whatever we think is fair!”

Now I need to nominate 7 people: Rog Archer, David Basnett, Terry M. West,Bruce J. Walker Jr.Angela CrawfordMichael Brookes, MD Rita

 

And if that little snippet got any interest from you, come and join me on facebook at that link above, and/or on Twitter where I tend to comment on films and TV shows I like etc, too: @jackrollins9280

 

It makes being an indie author a much less lonely thing to be...

Discount code for Victorian Vampire series

The paperback version of The Cabinet of Dr Blessing is available directly from Createspace with $3 off the list price using the following discount code: BYLY7K7T

 

3 connected stories make up The Cabinet and chart the fall of an ambitious doctor who discovers a mysterious blood-drinking creature. His intention is to study the creature, to find medical benefits for all mankind, but the creature has other ideas…

 

Find it here: https://www.createspace.com/4688659