Saturday, 29 August 2015

BAD ALPHA Blog Tour - A Quick Q&A

I'm delighted to be part of the BAD ALPHA anthology (under my Amber Morgan pen name), and equally delighted to be welcoming three of the awesome authors here today for a Q&A session! And I'm even more delighted to say there's a GIVEAWAY going on, so make sure you read right to the end to get involved! Take it away, ladies...

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Wednesday Snippet! (Not recommended if you don't like spiders)

I missed last week because I was working on Amber Morgan stuff, but I'm back in the saddle! Read on to see Tristesse presenting Lola with a gift she really doesn't want.

Monday, 17 August 2015

How To Be Ill

joannawnuk at
So I've been off work since last Thursday afternoon with probable food poisoning. We can only hope this isn't related to me having to cook for myself. I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself, and to make matters worse, Netflix went down on me, leaving me without Ghost Hunters and Ancient Aliens for three whole days.

So I'm ill. Netflix isn't talking to me. And because my food choices are limited to dry toast or buttered toast at the moment, my usual method of being ill (which involves curling up under a blanket eating chocolate and watching TV) hasn't been an option. Luckily I have Plan B: many, many podcasts.

For the part of me that's a skeptic who wants to believe, there's Monster Talk and The Conspiracy Skeptic. Monster Talk features a lot of scientists talking about Big Foot, Atlantis, vampires, the Bell Witch, and more Big Foot, and is perfect if you want a look at the facts and possible reasons behind a lot of urban legends and folklore. The Conspiracy Skeptic features guests discussing their favourite conspiracy theories (like the Denver Airport or the Freemasons) and debunking a lot of the hysteria around the topics. I'm really enjoying this one at the moment since one of the new characters I've introduced in Oath Breaker is a hardcore conspiracy theorist.

Speaking of hardcore, I've recently discovered Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. This is an amazing podcast - some of the best episodes are free on iTunes - and I've spent a lot of my sick time listening to his Wrath of the Khans series. Even if you're not a history buff, Carlin has a really engaging style and covers events in a way that really brings them to life. Totally recommend his Prophets of Doom episode if you have five hours spare...

For the part of me that likes science but doesn't understand a lot of it, there's Caustic Soda, which bills itself as "hard science by soft people," but actually covers everything from pirates to sexism to Ivan the Terrible, as well as black holes.

Probably my favourite podcast at the moment is Mysterious Universe, partly because it mashes together elements of all the others - there's weird science, New Age stuff, aliens, near-death experiences, and tons more, all presented by two Australian dudes who don't take themselves or the subject matter too seriously. Honestly, whatever your feelings on "woo," this one is worth a listen.

Last, we have Welcome to Nightvale. I have to admit, I'm not as in love with this one as I used to be. I'll still re-listen to the early episodes quite happily, but I'm not as keen on the newer stuff. But it appeals to the Lovecraft fangirl in me and there's something incredibly charming about the weirdness of it all.

And while you're listening to those podcasts, since chocolate is off the menu, tea is essential. My picks? Beastly Beverages and Nothing But Tea (especially the Mayan Gold, which is practically liquid chocolate).

Oh, and of course I've been writing...come back on Wednesday for proof!

Monday, 10 August 2015

How To Be Alone

So my best beloved is off to Bolton tomorrow for work, leaving me and Fergus to fend for ourselves. (And the snakes too, I guess, but they're much more low maintenance than Fergus and don't need much more than the occasional mouse and a romp around the kitchen table to be happy). Now, this isn't necessarily a negative thing for me. I'm a typical battery-operated introvert and alone time is something I really need. Kyle is a solar-powered extrovert and I'm lucky that he appreciates that some days I just have to sit in the dark by myself and shun the race of man.

So I am actually looking forward to the next four days of solitude (especially as Kyle is hosting a LAN party when he gets back and my house will be full of boys and computers all weekend)! I've got my agenda all worked out.


Kyle has been re-watching NCIS for the past two weeks and I am heartily sick of it. I hate them all and I hope they die. Over the next few days I'll be treating myself to a steady, wholesome diet of Ghost Adventures:


Ancient Aliens:

And whatever other ridiculous conspiracy-theory-ridden documentaries I can find on Netflix and Youtube, which should nicely wipe out the effects of a fortnight of NCIS, where everyone is a terrorist and you are also a terrorist. Instead I'll watch Zach Baggins try to fight a ghost and men with weird hair insist that just because they don't know how to build a pyramid, aliens must have done it. Bliss.

Long, Hot Baths

It's not that I can't take long hot baths when Kyle is at home, it's just that there is something so much more indulgent about doing it when I'm home alone.

Pictured: not my bath tub

Imagine run your bath, you fill it with whatever random bath bombs you have lurking around, you put on the most dramatic 8Tracks playlist you can find, and you slide into a mountain of bubbles with that battered old copy of August Derlath's "The Trail of Cthulhu" you've been saving for just such an occasion.


There's nobody hammering on the door wanting to know how long you'll be (unless you count Fergus, who does sit outside the bathroom and cry when I'm in the bath), and nobody to ask what the hell you have on your face (honey and cinnamon makes a great natural face mask, fyi). Perfection.


Admittedly, I am at a disadvantage here as Kyle is an amazing cook. And I'm not bad, but I am lazy. When I get home from work, I want to stop working, you know? Anything that involves peeling, chopping, sauteing, etc, definitely counts as work. But I have a plan, which is basically to make lots of amazing salads. Crayfish and mango, fig and feta, steak and...whatever, mostly just steak...Win!


Again, it's not like I can't game when Kyle is home, but there's something that feels extra special about having the house to myself and settling in for a few hours running around Tyria with my necromancer. It feels like a present to myself, since I don't have a lot of time for gaming these days. But I'm probably not going to be on Guild Wars 2 this week, as I recently re-discovered Shadows Over Riva, a much, much older game...

Much, much older

...Which is actually the RPG that got me into gaming way back in the 90s. It's high fantasy, there are ghost dwarves, shapeshifting wizards, sewer monsters, and I love it, and I don't care how bad the graphics are. It's like comfort food for me.


An evening of uninterrupted alchemy, where I don't have to worry about someone else wanting to use the kitchen for irrelevant things like "cooking dinner" or "having a drink"...ugh, yes. Give it to me. I basically want to cover every spare surface in the house with essential oils and wax. I've got a list of perfumes a mile long to make and a shop that can never be too full. And since Autumn is officially on its way (shut up, I know it's only the 10th of August but to me that's practically Halloween), I'm ready to start making cosy, spicy, gourmand, seasonal scents!


I mean, yes, obviously. I've got three projects on the go at the moment - Oath Breaker (Blood Canticles 2), Wolf's Hunt (an Amber Morgan story), and a short story that's tapping into my passion for the Southern Gothic aesthetic. I'm trying to give equal time to all three, but some days my mood is just more inclined towards one than the other, so...We'll see.

And if I don't fit all this into the next few days, well...Kyle is off to Slovakia for two weeks at the end of August, so there's still time.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Wednesdays is Cocktails and Cabaret Night...

Every good witch knows when to break for Cosmos, and Rowan is a very good witch...This snippet is a bit spoilery, so if you haven't read BLOOD WITCH, you may want to skip it!