Thanks to Diavolino reader Sophia Rowbotham for sending this holiday snap of my book being befriended by a lovely Portuguese spider this summer. Nice to be in good company.
Welcome to readers of the Yorkshire Ridings Magazine – and thanks to that publication for featuring my book in the August edition. Here you can find reviews of Diavolino and links to retailers of both the eBook and the paperback. If you can, come along to Waterstones York on 25th August to meet me. I’ll be there from 10am to 5pm signing copies purchased on the day.
Now, here’s a competition. Diavolino is set in Italy; part of it takes place in The Vatican and a lot happens in the Province of Perugia. Take a look at the picture below. I want to know the name of the painting, where it’s located and who painted it. Send me your answers by email to email@example.com putting PERUGIA in the subject box. On August 24th I will draw one winner at random from the corrrect entries and send them a signed copy of Diavolino.
I hadn’t realised how much time had gone by since my last Sunday Sample, so to celebrate the paperback release of Diavolino here’s another little taster. If you like it, maybe you’ll think about buying a copy in one form or another? All the links are on the right -
Alice slept in her bed, a length of knotted silk held tightly in her fist. Tom had stacked the dishwasher and tidied away with Elspeth. It was something he tried to do whenever he could. Back in London work got in the way so often. Here they would have more opportunity to share simple chores.
“We could sit outside and have a nightcap,” he said, “if it weren’t for those fucking insects.” The glass walls of the house were pebble dashed with flies drawn by the light from within. “I feel a bit of a fool, actually. I never thought there would be so many.”
“If they’re stuck to the windows trying to get in, maybe they won’t bother us if we sit outside in the dark,” said Elspeth.
“You could be right. Let’s give it a go.”
Tom took two small glasses and a bottle of grappa out onto the terrace. Elspeth nipped through behind him and slid the door shut. The outdoor furniture was still packed in bubble wrap and brown cardboard; it was easier to sit on the floor, legs dangling over the edge of the raised platform that constituted their terrace and main entrance. Tom uncorked the grappa, the heavy perfume of sour pond water clinging to the night air.
Elspeth screwed her face up. “God, it stinks. But it does taste good.”
“Darling,” said Tom, putting his arm around her hips. “Tomorrow, I really should get to grips with the job, you know, like a proper working day. You can afford to be a bit laid back for a couple of weeks or so. How about you take Alice to school in the morning and just have a poke around, see what you can find out about the place, see who you bump into?”
“You mean do the Miss Marple bit?”
“If you want to put it that way. You’re so good at it. I want to know about the history. I want to know what was so bloody terrible that Diavolino had to be erased.”
“You think it’s important?”
“I have to come up with a concept. Any historical coat hooks are welcome at this stage, you know that. If you can do some research in and around Poggio, I can ferret around the island. Apart from that, I’d just like to know. I hate unsolved mysteries.”
“OK, love. It’s fine by me. It’ll almost be like being on holiday. Oh, Tom, I’m so happy that we’re doing this. It’s only our first night here, and it already feels like home.”
“I know. Look at Alice. Most kids would be racing around completely hyper.”
“What did you make of that little outburst? You know, about the nutria?”
“Weird. She’s never been one to snap like that, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. This is all a big upheaval. And it’s been quick by any standards.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Let’s hope all’s well at school.”
“Oh, I’m sure it will be. If I’m any judge of character, that Annamaria is a first-rate headmistress.”
“Absolutely. Do you think it would be just too cheesy to invite her for lunch or something? I bet she can spill a few beans—”
Something moved across the hollow. The snapping of a dry stick pierced the air. Something was breathing, moving toward them. A vague shape was visible in the darkness. Tom leaped to his feet and peered into the gloom beyond where the house lights pooled on the ground. He could see bushes moving, left, right, and then a figure rounded the big oak tree, its swift movements speeding it on through the darkness toward the house.
I quite understand that some of you might have done a double take on the title of this post. What has a Yorkshire magazine got to do with horror? Oh, I can hear the hoots from the southerners already. Stop it and listen, or I’ll despatch a demon.
When I received my first batch of Diavolino paperbacks I sent one to Yorkshire Ridings Magazine. They’d shown interest last year when the eBook was published. YRM features lots of books because, erm, yes, we Yorkshire folk not only write books but read them too! So I was really chuffed to bits this morning to hear that they are featuring Diavolino in their August issue (out 20th July).
Yorkshire Ridings Magazine is the fastest growing county magazine in Yorkshire. Here’s the link to their website: http://yorkshireridingsmagazine.com/
If you don’t want to miss out, you could always take out a subscription! Even if you live dahn sarf.
Yes, as soon as the Jubilee weekend was over, Diavolino in paperback finally appeared officially on Amazon.co.uk
It says ‘not currently in stock’ but I’ll bet you that will change quickly. Why? Because thanks to you they’ve already been processing orders. When I last looked, Diavolino was at number 29 in Fantasy Horror, and that’s within hours of the site being open for orders. It would be really great if that continued (hint).
Thanks to all of you. I’ll come up with some competition/freeby shortly so watch this space (*competition is HERE)
Once again, the buy link in full: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diavolino-Steve-Emmett/dp/1936751941/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
You all know my conversion to e-Books. And I know that you’re not all queueing up behind me! So, for those of you still in the print book world, I’m pleased to announce the arrival of Diavolino in trade paperback. Right now it’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, and many more. So, if you’ve been waiting for this moment, I hope you enjoy the book. Once I get my own stock in I will be arranging some events (UK only for personal appearances, but we’ll see if we can manage some sort of happenings for the large numbers overseas – oh, and if you have any ideas or requests do let me know). If you’re a reviewer without an e-reader, now’s your chance – just email me).
Today I have author Susan Roebuck with me. Sue sprang to fame over a year ago with the publication of Perfect Score. Now she’s joined the Etopia Press stable with her latest book, Hewhay Hall, which was published today.
Steve: Welcome, Sue, and thank you for fitting me in to your busy schedule. I guess with a new book coming out you are worked off your feet?
Sue: Hi Steve. Thank you so much for letting me visit you again. Yes, a book launch, as you know, is hard work, just trying to get the word out without being a pain in the you-know-what.
Steve: Hewhay Hall is something quite different to Perfect Score, isn’t it? Can you first of all tell us what drove you to write a gay love story for your first novel?
Sue: Well, I think I can answer both questions at the same time. I don’t think the basics of either book are all that different. That’s probably going to sound strange when you think that Perfect Score is a story of two gay men and set in the States in the 1960s, while Hewhay Hall is not a romance (it’s a dark thriller/horror) and it’s set in contemporary England. However, in both books, I maintain my writing voice; both have the elements of suspense, and I hope I convey the same depth of character that I had in Perfect Score. To show you what I mean, this is what reviewer Lena Grey from QMO books said(http://www.qmobooks.com/index.php/component/content/article/7169-perfect-score) about one of the protagonists of Perfect Score: “Sam influenced me the most. Life knocked him down so much that anyone of lesser moral quality would have given up, but not Sam. Not only did he overcome disparity, he rose like the Phoenix from the ashes. Sam was an amazing combination of strength, intelligence, gentleness and forthrightness; in the face of injustice, whether for a person or an animal, Sam was there… ready to do battle.”
Not only did she reach the core of Sam’s character but she also identified the theme: “The weak are far stronger than is apparent”.
And I think both these aspects show up in both my books.
Steve: And you weren’t tempted to carry on in the same genre, then? Will Perfect Score be your first and last gay story?
Sue: No. I never set out to be an m/m writer. I’m a bit of a chameleon and I think I might be able to write in all kinds of genres. I also read an awful lot of different genres so that probably helps. But I don’t say I’ll never write another m/m. I have a little niggle to write one set in Victorian London. So that might be a future book.
Steve: So, Hewhay Hall. Tell us something about it.
Sue: It’s all about the plight of the unsung hero. Those people behind the scenes who fight for what they believe to be right but never get any recognition for their brave acts. Until they die. And then they go to heaven. Right? Right. Except they don’t in “Hewhay Hall” because something is stopping them half-way along in their journey. Something evil. Something certain people call, The Prince of Envy. And the question is, can Jude Elliot, a below-the-knee amputee, release thousands of weakened and feeble – albeit feisty and courageous – inmates from Slater’s house of horrors?
Slater being the Prince of Envy.
Steve: Did you have it all in your head or did you have to research?
Sue: I had to research the fireman’s part – finding out the main character’s routine, the firemen’s hierarchy, the procedure they have to go through when there’s a bomb explosion. That kind of thing. I hope I’ve researched enough to represent the service, but the rest comes from pure imagination (and nightmares).
Steve: I love the cover. Who did that and how did it come about, you must have had some input?
Sue: Etopia Press produce the most amazing covers. And they’re so ready to listen to the authors. I described exactly what I wanted and what I didn’t want. Then wonderful Annie Melton and artist, Amanda Kelsey, produced the most perfect cover I could have imagined.
Steve: I know I’m dying to read Hewhay Hall (I’ve already bought it) but maybe my followers need convincing. They are hardened horror fans, so what can you say to persuade them?
Sue: This is maniacal demonic possession at its most cruel because the victims are fully aware of what’s going on. The Prince of Envy delights in torturing courageous souls because they suffer more keenly and their fear is so much tastier than mere ordinary mortals’. He (or she because it’s sometimes difficult to know) reels them in using their sexual fantasies (yes, even unsung heroes have them) as bait for eternity.
Steve: I know you are a very caring person. Are there any messages or themes in the story?
Sue: Thank you! I hope I am – caring, that is. The themes in my books do seem to run along the same old lines: stand by what you believe to be right and don’t let the “Big Boys” get you. Because they will if they can. In Perfect Score, it was the giant pharmaceutical company; in Hewhay Hall it’s a powerful demon straight out of hell; and in my next novel, it’ll be the greed of the super-powers. And greed makes people cruel.
Steve: So, after two quite different books, what’s next in the pipeline?
Sue: It’s called (at the moment), When the Moon Fails and it’s about fishermen. One is a feisty girl from Norfolk UK; another is a hunky but traumatised crab fisherman from Alaska USA. They converge on Portugal for their own reasons. It’s not a romance because they never meet up (I haven’t finished the novel yet, so jury’s still out on that aspect). Although they don’t realize they’re doing it together, they fight for the rights of the population of a unique Portuguese fishing village that is in danger of being used as a “cover” for a rather nasty joint US/UK project.
Steve: Can we have a little excerpt from Hewhay Hall? And please tell us where we can buy it.
Sue: Thank you! Here’s an excerpt:
Jude stared down the hill at the glint on the water and then across to the fields baked hard by weeks of sun. He’d followed the directions to the letter, so this was the right place. But where was Hewhay Hall?
A row of swallows balanced on a wire stretching overhead, each facing the same way as Jude, who rested against a five-bar gate. They too seemed to be eyeing the fallen tree trunks that littered the overgrown path down the rocky hillside. They were lucky—they could fly, but Jude had to hobble.
The air moved on the other side of the marshland. He didn’t imagine it. A definite ripple, the kind that alters your vision when a migraine’s about to start. Although the shift was fleeting, he had the idea something was down there after all, very faint and hard to describe. The outline of a building? Or maybe just heat haze. Whatever, he’d come this far—he’d go and investigate.
The latch and hinges on the gate were so rusted, Jude couldn’t open it. Nothing for it, then, but to climb over. He propped his crutches against the wooden bars, placed his hands on the top, and hauled himself up so his right leg got a footing on a lower rung. Now he could sit on the top. He bent down, picked up what was left of his other leg, and maneuvered it over until he straddled the gate. It creaked under his weight. As he swung his right leg over, he teetered, tried to grab the top bar but lost his balance and fell headlong into a bramble patch.
Prickles stabbed him as he lay on his back, his whirling gaze locked on a wiggly jet trail in the cloudless sky. Once the world righted itself, he pushed himself up on his elbows and extracted some of the more painful brambles before rolling onto his right knee. His bum in the air, he hoped no one was looking and that he retained a shred of dignity as he balanced on his right leg and wobbled his way upright. As he tried to stand, his knee locked. He was a second away from landing back on the ground but he grabbed an oak tree trunk for support.
Bloody hell. Wasn’t it about time they gave him a prosthesis? He bent to rub his stump, still raw after all this time. Why wasn’t he healing?
Steve: Thanks again, Sue. And good luck. Before you go, just remind everyone where they can find you.
Sue: Thank you Steve! You can find me on my blog: www.susanroebuck.com
Buy Hewhay Hall on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hewhay-Hall-ebook/dp/B007VLAR40
Author Julia Kavan roped me in – sorry, tagged me – to this and thus it would be more than my life is worth to ignore her. She has been known to unleash demons. The instructions are:
Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
Go to line 7
Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences exactly as they are (no cheating)
Press gang – sorry, tag – 7 other authors to do the same
Well, this is something new to me because I never, ever reveal anything of a work in progress. Here goes. Page 7…
“How much does it cost to exorcise a demon? Tell me, I’m interested.”
Father Ryan’s face went pale, his lips clamped tight together in a line. “Well,” he said after a pause, “we don’t…um…charge as such. If we succeed and the person is able, we hope they might make a donation.”
I held his gaze and leaned against the centre armrest. “Don’t be coy, Father. What’s the going rate to rid someone of a minor demon? Fifty bucks? A hundred? A thousand?”
He leaned back towards the fuselage, putting what distance he could between us.
(that is 7 lines in the manuscript!)
And the 7 authors I curse are:
And the best of luck
You know how time flies and you lose track of things, then for some reason you decide out of the blue to go and poke around in some of those forgotten corners? In the midst of writing my new novel (horror, yes, but I’m saying no more for now) I just upped and went over to Goodreads to have a look at Diavolino. I had to smile and feel a little bit chuffed because it has 34 ratings with an average of 4.47 (out of 5). That’s good – so if you haven’t read it yet, maybe you should?
Here’s the link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10392526-diavolino
Still not sure? Just for tomorrow (the Ides of March) I have made my short horror, KID, free on Amazon. You surely can’t turn down a free book?
All I ask is, if you like Kid, take a look at Diavolino. No ereader? Don’t worry – the paperbacks are coming. Watch this space.
My first guest this month is author Ralph Hartman. Ralph’s latest book, The Loosening, is published by Etopia Press.
Steve: Tell us a bit about Ralph Hartman.
Ralph: Well… it’s 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I’m still in pajamas. Just came in from walking our three Golden Retrievers in the snow. My wife and I live on a little piece of land in Central Alberta, Canada; our closest neighbors are a half-mile away, which is good ‘cause I don’t think they’d get the whole walking your dogs in pajamas thing. I’ve built trails through the trees; sometimes I walk and think – sometimes I just walk and let the dogs do all the thinking.
S: Most of my followers are horror fans; tell us what you write and why.
R: Horror happens on so many different levels. What I truly enjoy is exploring the making of those things we fear most, material or spectral, of the world or of the mind, where and how our worst terrors originate and the way we grow and nurture then into palpable reality. Fun huh?
S: Well, I think so! Now, have you always wanted to write?
S: And how was the road from starter to first publishing contract for you?
R: I started many years ago, then pushed it aside as things like building a career and a home shouldered to the forefront. Pushed aside but never pushed away. A few years ago I got to looking through all the bits and scraps and manuscripts and thought…maybe? Write, polish, query,submit…manage the rejection…learn…repeat. Eventually my third novel was accepted by a small Canadian publisher. Oh joy! Now, I’m hooked – I have a plausible reason to do something I love.
S: So tell us about your latest books. Tempt my horror fans to go and buy them.
R: THE LOOSENING is my latest, a horror with Etopia Press. I got to wondering one day…about the physical manifestation of evil. If a benevolent entity needs faithful believers to exist then it carries an evil entity would gain strength and substance from the same. A twisted sort of devotion, if you will; a coven of witches work to bind a curse in a tiny Oregon community and indoing so empower and embolden a potent evil. Take a couple of interesting themes from history; the weave and the snake and a hunter druid and mix it alltogether. What if, despite their well-meaning efforts, it’s the witches that enable the evil to achieve physical form? Thus the tag line: “Witches! Above all else –do ye no harm…”
EVER SINCE is also a recent work. It’s a YA dark literary (didn’t know that until an editor told me) about a kid with an inexplicable sensitivity to the macro. He experiences a challenging childhood, is diagnosed as a dissociative, becomes involved in a subculture faith, and grows up misunderstanding and being misunderstood. There’s a sinister undertone to this story, an honest questioning about social morality and accepted normalcies. It’s a tragedy. “It’s not about getting fixed – it’s knowing you aren’t broken.”
S: I think my TBR pile may just have grown! And listening to you talk about The Loosening, you might like my novel, Diavolino. So, where did you find the inspiration, the one flashing idea, for your stories?
R: I daydream. A lot.
S: What plans do you have for the future? What can we expect?
R: I’ve got a YA paranormal, RAT ROD, coming out this fall with Musa Publishing. It’s a ghost story. About a young man, just starting to get it all put together, the ghosts he brings with him and the ones he finds on his way, and the hell that happens because of them.
I’ve been shopping two manuscripts, been experimenting with shorts, and working on a couple of fresh novels. And loving it…
S: What’s your position on e-books? Do you like them? Do you believe they are the future, or do you think print books will prove to be unassailable in the long term?
R: Ouch. This is tough… If it wasn’t for e-books my stuff would still be sitting in towering New York slush piles or be rubber-banded and forgotten in a cardboard box. I am thrilled to see my stories out there, and hope e-publishing will tighten up and continue as a desirable consumer option,but I doubt if print will ever fade away. A good book is something substantial,a prized item you can put on a shelf and flip through as a physical connection to thoughts and ideas and words that touch and affect. When I go to my bookshelf I get a feeling different than when I boot up my e-reader.
S: How would you like to be remembered?
R: I’d like to be remembered by not being forgotten. Huh?
S: Ralph, thanks for dropping by and the best of luck with the books. Maybe you’ll come back one day in the not too distant future and let us know how you’re getting on? Before you go, where can people find you?
R: Thanks, Steve. Here are my main haunts: