Normal Service Interrupted: Or, Holidays!

You’ve no doubt noticed that my post is late this week. You’ve almost certainly been hankering for the golden words and deliciously witty phraseology that are usually to be found on The WR(ite) Blog weekly. The light has gone out of your life, the glitter from the internet, the sparkle from your-

Okay, I’m probably laying it on just a bit too thick.

If you did happen to notice that my blog post was a little (okay, a LOT) late, the reason is as follows: I’M ON HOLIDAY! That’s right, I’m on holiday in the land of the Hobbit, aka, New Zealand. I have not thus far seen a hobbit (must remember to complain to management about that) but I have seen an awful lot of utterly gorgeous scenery that could have come from anywhere in Middle Earth. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a place as quickly as this. I would move here if I had the money. Heck, I’d probably move without it.

We’ve spent our first two days at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland: a lovely experience that has honestly thrown me a little. This is mainly because I’ve never stayed at a place with room service and concierge parking and a little man who offers politely but firmly to carry your baggage and does indeed carry your baggage for you because YOU ARE A GUEST, MA’AM. It’s delightful and rather terrifying. The room itself is quite lovely, too: large enough to be comfortable and elegant, and small enough not to lose ourselves in.

Ostensibly, this trip is because the Hubby and I have been married for eight years. It’s our anniversary today (which both of us remembered this year – hooray!) and aside from quarreling in the car and driving the poor SatNav lady burko, we’ve been doing an immense amount of driving. We were both very surprised to find that once we left Auckland (in fact, immediately upon leaving Auckland) we were in Middle Earth. I’m not even kidding. Rolling green hills, beautiful scrub land, country fences that you could see Samwise and Frodo clambering over in their quest for the ring. All equally wonderful and accessible. The problem was knowing when to turn around and head back, because we didn’t want to stop driving.

We’ve also done a fair bit of walking around Auckland, which has a thriving nightlife and some really very interesting drunks. The stores are all open to ridiculously late hours, so we never felt unsafe, and almost everything was well lit. There are roughly 50 places we could choose to eat tonight, all within a block or two radius of this hotel. In fact, the hotel even has it’s own restaurant. So where do you think we’re eating tonight? Give you three guesses (HINT: it’s room service).

Tomorrow we’ll head off toward Hobbiton (or at least the Northern half of it) for a tour, and from thence to Rotorua, where we’ll spend two days hiking and mud-bathing and driving out to explore the Taupo National Forest. I’m determined to end up with a hobbit sword. Okay, maybe all I can afford is a pint of something at the Green Dragon. BUT I’LL STILL BE IN HOBBITON, SO THERE.

So far, the only thing I haven’t done is write. I have not written a word of Blackfoot, my new WIP.

Shame on me. Shame on my goat. Shame on the corners of my house.

SIGH.

I guess I better get some words down before room service comes along with my scotch fillet. I’m thinking of trying a slightly different approach with this WIP (more planning, scary!) a la Patricia Wrede’s Post It Notes Method. Wish me luck!

And if you don’t hear from me so much on the Twitter and the Facebook, it’s not cos I don’t love you, it’s cos I love New Zealand more. Posts should be more or less regular as of next week, for those who really were pining (sorry, mum!).

Summer/Winter Reading Recommendations

I had an email from Booklikes a day or two ago, asking for a couple of book recommendations for a summer reading list. Well, it’s winter here, but I have lots of books to recommend anyway. So I guess you’re all just lucky.

I’m going to stick with just two for a couple of reasons. Reason #1 is that I’ve been pretty sick the last few days and I literally do not have the energy required for a huge blog post. Reason #2 is that I have too much proof-reading that should have been done yesterday and is still not done. Fortunately enough, I now have 5 consecutive days off to rest, recuperate, and proof-read.

So without more ado, here are my summer/winter (heck, read ’em all year round!) reading recommendations!

#1) The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey

The Franchise AffairThe Franchise Affair is the story of Marion Sharpe and her mother, and at first indirectly, that of Robert Blair. Robert Blair is a local solicitor, who is called in when Marion and her mother are rudely knocked out of their quiet country lives by the accusations of Betty Kane, who claims that the women kidnapped her, beat her, and treated her as a maid. She has intimate details of the house and the bruises and cuts to prove her story.

I first read this book when I was about 15- I found it in an opshop as I did most of my books in those days. It was the first of Josephine Tey’s books that I read to boot, and I’m so glad I started with this one (the others are all awesome, too, but The Franchise Affair holds a special place in my heart). It’s quiet, thoughtful, and entirely addictive. Trust me on this: The Franchise Affair is a book you’ll be thinking about long after you finish it.

#2) The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie PopeThe Perilous Gard

For lovers of the Tam Lin/True Thomas/Fairy Queen stories, The Perilous Gard is the story of Kate Sutton, who through her sister’s mistakes (read ‘treason through stupidity) is exiled by Mary Tudor to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard. There she meets Christopher Heron, and there she is swept up in an underground world peopled by the Fairy Folk- whose customs are even older than the Druids’, and involve human sacrifice…

I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about this hidden gem. Again, it was a book I only discovered because I found it in an opshop. The characters are wonderful, the adventure eerie and atmospheric, and the conclusion utterly satisfying. The whole world is immersive, and the main antagonist is at the same time thoroughly chilling and delightfully compelling. GO OUT AND BUY THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW.

That’s it for me. I’m off to watch more of the A-Team and bully the much-to-be-pitied Hubby into making me more tea. What recommendations do you guys have for me? Share and share alike, guys!

A Week Of Ups And Downs

WARNING!! THIS POST CONTAINS MULTIPLE GRATUITOUS LINKS.

Last week was a bit of a wild week. Wolfskin was on blog tour, I started a new WIP (Blackfoot), and Spindle started a month-long stint in Netgalley (not, it has to be said, with particularly glowing reviews). Then, toward the end of the week, Angst! and Drama! But more about that later.

Wolfskin got some really lovely reviews from C.J. Anaya, Jax of Bea’s Book Nook, Sage of Coffee & All Things Random, Maghon of Happy Tails & Tales, Mariela of Just Us Books, and Ashley of Book Nerd’s Paradise. I was given more than a few delightful comments upon the beautiful cover (thanks Joleene!) and overall Wolfskin‘s reception was very positive.WOLFSKIN - 2000

Meanwhile, over on Goodreads and Netgalley, I was discovering just how tough of a crowd Netgalley reviewers are. From them, I learned that a reviewer can love a book and its characters, and want to read the others in the series, and still rate the book at three stars. Whew! That’s when I knew I was in for it 😀 From them I also received my first one-star review! I’m not quite sure whether to be happy I’ve got it now and don’t need to be always dreading it, or whether to be shattered that it’s on my newest book, Spindle. Regardless, the not-so-wonderful reviews have somehow managed to rid me of (most of) my fear of the review process. Some people are just not going to like my book. Some people will rate low. It’s something I don’t need to be afraid of. And the reviews have my no means been all bad: the three-star reviews have been thoughtful and well-written, and there were four stars in there as well.

Back at Wolfskin‘s blog tour, I was being interviewed on not one, not two, but four blogs! Basically, if there is anything you want to know about me and my books (from favourite books to thoughts on fairytales to preference for chocolate or icecream) you can find it out on any of these lovely websites: A.F.E. Smith’s Reflections of Reality, Sandra Fairbrother’s Blog, Kimber Leigh Writes, and Jess Watkins’ A Book Addict’s Bookshelves.

I was also fortunate enough to have a guest post on Mythical Books (From Fantasy to Fairytales) and another on Bookwyrming Thoughts (Villains I’d like to know more about).

Over on Netgalley, Spindle was still jostling for position with Terry Pratchett’s World of Poo on page 11 of Most Requested in Science Fiction/Fantasy.

And then #Plot Twist I got An Email.

It said something like: “Hi. I thought you might like to know that someone is suggesting that you buy reviews” and included a link to an author’s Goodreads blog.

Well. Naturally, I followed the link. And found that the author of the blog had posted a letter they received after doing what I had done earlier- approaching some of Amazon’s Top 100 Reviewers for reviews. This letter purported to be from one of the same reviewers I had approached, and in the plainest of terms, it told the author that he would be glad to review his/her work- for a price. Namely 1 review for $XX, 2 for $XXX, etc. All apparently for his charity of choice.

Cue me feeling physically sick to my stomach. You see, the email I received from the same reviewer had said that he would be glad to review me. It was only after that, that he said he had a charity he would love donations for, and would I mind checking it out. He stated in no uncertain terms that it would not affect his review. I checked out the charity, found it to be for a good cause (library for kids) and trusting that Amazon wouldn’t allow dodgy business under their aegis, I donated (as I do to many other causes).

It was VERY different from the email this other author had received. And that’s when things became rather nasty. This other author then listed ALL THE AUTHORS who had been reviewed by the Top 100 reviewer (myself included) with the very broad suggestion that we had all paid for our reviews, and that the Top 100 reviewer had a reason to make sure we all succeeded.

Cue me throwing up in the bathroom.

One author, playing judge, jury, and executioner with my writing career. Thanks for that, mate. I appreciate it.

I don’t know whether this reviewer is taking money for reviews. I know I didn’t pay for any of my reviews. I left a message on the blog post, but by morning the whole thing had vanished from Goodreads. I still don’t know whether this reviewer was running a scam (it looks AWFULLY like it) but I do know that I was left feeling as though I’d been made a fool of. More, that I’d been tarred with a brush that I didn’t deserve, and that could kill my career before it even started.

I can’t even get the reviews removed, which means I’ll always be connected to it. Please, please guys- be careful what you say about your fellow authors. You don’t know that it’s true, and you don’t know the damage you can do.

It makes me appreciate all the wonderful authors out there that support and help one another (and me!) Toward the end of the week I had the lovely surprise of finding that the talented and much-celebrated A.F.E. Smith had been so kind as to mention my murder-mystery fairytale Masque in her list of Top 5 books containing Fantasy & Murder. A.F.E. has been on her own blog tour with her newly-released Fantasy Novel Darkhaven, and has been busily promoting other SFF authors in her blog tour like the delightful lady she is. Cheers, A.F.E!

A big thanks to all the others out there who have encouraged and shared and cheered, too. Thanks especially to: Kate Stradling, Ingrid Seymour, CJ Anaya, J. Ellen Ross, J.J. Sherwood, and Karataratacus. You guys have been fun and encouraging and so generous with your shares! I appreciate you all!

And thanks to everyone who shared this week of ups and downs with me (especially Sis and the Hubby, who put up with all the whining and pouting and upchuck). It’s been a somehow wonderful week. Also thanks for putting up with a 1000 word blog post 😀

A Brief Reminder

Just a brief reminder, gentle readers, that those of you who join my mailing list from now until August 1st will receive a Smashwords Coupon for 100% off my first book, Masque. The coupon expires August 4th, so you have until then to sign up and download your free copy!

Join W.R. Gingell’s Mailing List!

To those already signed and (hopefully!) enjoying Masque– you’re fantastic! This is just the first of many freebies, sneak-peaks, and/or brilliant stuff from my brilliant (and oh-so-modest) mind. I look forward to sending that monthly newsletter to each and every one of you!

* * *

Beauty met the Beast, and there was . . . bloody murder?

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated.

MASQUE - 2000In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse.

In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman.

And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman. The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain. Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger.  Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him. . .

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

Obsessive-Compulsive, Thin-Skinned and Delusional (Aka, Writer)

It’s been a whirlwind week. One one hand, I’ve been madly prepping for Wolfskins book blog tour next week (sending off completed interviews and guest posts, making sure my Upcoming Tours/Event Page is updated sufficiently). On the other, I’ve been madly sending out review copies of Spindle and obsessively clicking on the refresh button at Netgalley to see where it sits in the ‘most requested’ Sci-Fi/Fantasy group. (It’s slowly climbing from page to page, FYI. This does nothing to help my compulsion to keep checking). Also Netgalley has little ‘thumbs up’ and little ‘thumbs down’ icons for the cover. At last peek there were 26 ‘thumbs up’, and 3 ‘thumbs down’. You know what I thought?

WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE WHY WOULD YOU THUMBS DOWN MY BOOK COVER IT IS A WORK OF ART AND COMPLETELY GLORIOUS AND YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO TASTE.

C'mmon, it's GORGEOUS!

C’mmon, it’s GORGEOUS!

Really, it just showcased what my first 3-star review showcased. I’m thin-skinned. Which is bad, because who can make it as an author with a skin that thin? So I’m trying to be more TUFF. Well, I’ve got to be. I’ve heard that the Netgalley people pull no punches. And that’s okay, because the reviews aren’t for me. I may not even read them. (I’m lying, I’ll definitely read them all, probably weeping).

I’ve also been involved in A.F.E. Smith’s Darkhaven Release Day party, which is still going on here, (with lots of giveaways and interviews and fun stuff!). And tonight at 11pm (if you’re in Australia)/1pm(British Summer Time)/8amish(American time) I’ll be one of the authors being interviewed! So that’s been fun and frantic and a little bit terrifying.

And while all this has been happening, my Meniere’s Disease has been acting up, which means I’ve been woefully chuck-uppy and have lost about 25% of my hearing for the week. Most of my conversation, in fact, has consisted of ‘What?’ and ‘Huh?’ Hopefully my hearing will go back to normal when I get better. In the meantime, I’ve been learning a lot about lip-reading (just call me Sue Thomas, FBEye).

Oh, and my power just fizzled.

So all in all, things are starting to get interesting. If I manage not to end up as a quivering heap on my livingroom floor, I think I’ll be doing quite well, thank you.

Catch up with me tonight/tomorrow/midday on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out Wolfskin’s Tour Schedule (posted below for your convenience). I’ll see ya on the road!

Wolfskin Tour Dates/Locations (Will be updated with post links as they come):

July 6th

A British Bookworm’s Blog>> Excerpt

-Books and Ashes>> Review

Girls With Books>> Excerpt

Author & Book Spotlights>> Review

July 7th

Book Nerd’s Paradise>> Review

A Book Addict’s Bookshelves>> Interview

Happy Tails and Tales>> Review

July 8th

Coffee & All Things Random>> Review

CBY Book Club>> Excerpt

Bea’s Book Nook>> Review

July 9th

Reflections Of Reality, A.F.E. Smith>> Interview

Bookwyrming Thoughts>> Guest Post

Kimber Leigh Writes>> Interview

Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books>> Review

Sandra Fairbrother’s Blog>> Interview

July 10th

-Mandy’s Books & Beauty>> Review

Blog for readers, writers and bloggers by Daniela Ark>> Excerpt

Just Us Book Blog>> Review

Mythical Books>> Guest Post