Shameless Self Promotion

3 Feb

I’ve made some general comments about my ideas on writing fiction in an earlier post ‘Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads in Them’.

I’ve also had some more specific comments to make about vampires, zombies and werewolves in a few other posts, notably ‘Vampires, What Can You Do With Them’, ‘The Sociology of Vampirism’,  ‘On the Natural History and Lifestyles of Werewolves’ and ‘Implications of the Geometric Progression for the Undead’.

This may have led a discerning reader to suspect that I sometimes write stories.

This is, of course, quite true.

I do write stories. And I’ve written quite a lot of stories over the years that no one’s ever going to read because they’re really not very good.

I was advised a few decades ago, that there’s a long apprenticeship to be served before one becomes a writer and  nothing that’s happened over the intervening years has led me to disagree with that assessment.

I like to think that I’ve learned something in the process of producing badly written stories, however, and now I feel pretty confident about my writing and since the general idea of writing stories (for me at least) is for other people to read them, I think it’s about time I stopped keeping the whole thing such a big secret.

I’ve had the usual frustrations with publishers and agents, so after a while I decided to self publish on Amazon. This doesn’t cost anything (unlike conventional self publishing which takes a fair wad of money and probably isn’t a very good idea unless a/you know what you’re doing b/ you have some savings that you can afford to lose and c/you have a real passion for self  promotion and marketing. None of these happy circumstances apply to me, which is why I went with Amazon).

So I now have two novels published as e-books on Amazon which can be downloaded if you have the requisite gadget.

If you’re interested and you have one of these gadgets then you’re in luck because from 12 noon (or thereabouts) on Friday 3rd February until 11.59 on Tuesday 7th February you won’t even have to pay for the privilege. (You can also download them as loans from the Kindle Library for a longer period, roughly three months, although this might be extended, I haven’t decided on that just yet).

Even if you miss this promotional period, don’t worry about it, you’d only be looking at paying $1.20 or its equivalents in euros or sterling. (ie not a fortune, I don’t expect to get rich from this so it’ll be  a while before I can give up this sordid life of vice and crime).

If you go to my profile page you’ll find a link to my author’s page on Amazon and also a link to my first novel, The Familiar.

You’ll also find a link to my Facebook page, but I’m not sure that would repay the trouble of a visit, at the time of writing, that’s still a work in progress.

So why would you be interested in my writing?

(This is where I make my sales pitch, I suppose and, as you may have noticed, it’s really not something I’m very comfortable with).

Well, I like to think I’ve found a new angle on vampire fiction, although all it really boils down to is combining vampire fiction with another genre (No, not another ‘dark romance’ I don’t do love stories, but I do like thrillers). So what I’ve ended up with is a sort of spy story, but with rather a lot more vampires and zombies than you might expect to find in a John le Carre, or Ian Fleming novel.

As I’ve explained in previous posts, I think that if you’re going to write anything with a strong fantasy element then you really need to ground it in real things, places or people.

So what I’ve decided to do is to ground my story in real locations in Glasgow (The city I know best).  I’ve also decided to avoid swirling capes, crucifixes and sleeping in coffins. (Only one of my vampires sleeps in a coffin, but he’s a traditionalist and a poseur and his coffin has been custom-made for comfort and security).

I have retained some of the traditional attributes attributed to vampires, ie no reflections, aversion to silver, garlic and sunlight, but otherwise they’re very fast, very strong and very, very hard to kill.

I have modelled my vampires on Apex predators from the natural world in that they are charismatic, powerful, confident (even arrogant), ruthless and, in general, they take a real pleasure in hunting. They’re also vain as cats and they don’t like being called vampires, they prefer to be known (where they’re known at all) as The Elect.

In terms of their social organisation, my vampires have modelled themselves on the Mafia.(ie close-knit, territorial groups with a disciplined, hierarchical structure). They live in cities, because that’s where their prey are to be found and that’s where it’s easiest for them to hide themselves and their activities.

I’ve adopted the idea of vampires being served and protected by ‘familiars’ ie those half way between being human and ‘fully made’ vampires. (This idea is implied in Salem’s Lot where Straker is described at one point as being a ‘half vampire’, but I’ve developed the basic idea a bit further for my own purposes and no blame should be attributed to Stephen King for the results).

So that’s the basic set up.

Now all I needed was something to stir up the action.

In The Familiar, the action kicks of in the outskirts of Paris where a new breed of assassin is turned loose by his controllers in order to test his abilities. This test run is observed by Alex, who is The Familiar of the title and who is employed in order to tidy up potential breaches in vampire security.

Alex abducts the assassin with a view to finding out where he comes from and how he came to be a Familiar, just like her. Except that he isn’t really a Familiar just like her, he’s in the process of losing his mind and turning into a flesh-eating monster.

The trail leads Alex to Glasgow where she forms an uneasy alliance with Roseanne Ellis, her human opposite number based in Scotland. It becomes apparent that tracking down the source of this rogue Familiar is the key to stopping the spread of a malignant prion which is turning people into the same kind of brain damaged cannibal that the assassin from Paris was becoming.

This task is made more complex due to the plots and rivalries of the local vampire community.

If you’re interested, follow the link below, you can read more blurb and have a look at the free sample chapters or you can just download the e-book for free.

If you like The Elect, then the story continues in Mistress of the City, but I don’t want to say too much about that, except that it’s got werewolves. (Spoilers).

 
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5 Responses to “Shameless Self Promotion”

  1. Colin 06/02/2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Excellent typo in the 4th last paragraph. I love the idea of a “bran damaged cannibal”. There HAS to be a story there somewhere. 🙂

    I can actually recommend The Familiar. I thought it was a refreshing take on the genre, as it all seems to be going down the “vampire romance” route. So well done.

    • fekesh 06/02/2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Obviously it would be a story about a cereal killer.

  2. Lucille Hunter 07/02/2012 at 4:05 am #

    I really want to read a vampire story set in Glasgow. I’ve set um, three books in Glasgow (it’s just a great city to set stories in) and I would love to read about vampires in my Favourite Ever City.

    I don’t own a Kindle though. And refuse to get one. I have this fetish for books, like, physical books, with pages I can turn. So here’s the deal, you print off the first one, mail it to me, and I’ll mail you back some money. Sound good? 😛

    (Alternatively, if there’s ever a legitimate way to get my hands on a non-Kindle-requiring copy of a book of yours, let me know!)

    • fekesh 10/02/2012 at 10:09 pm #

      I’m not sure if you got my e-mail. Basically I can send you an e-mail attachment, (no kindle required). Or I could send you a hard copy.
      I wouldn’t think of asking you for payment, but I would be interested in any feedback you might want to offer and if you really like it you could always stick a review on Amazon for me. (I think that would be legit. even if you didn’t buy from them).
      I should add that, as I understand it, neither of these options would constitute publishing an e-book under Amazon’s terms and conditions so I should get away with it.
      If you want me to post you a hard copy, you might want to send me your address using my e-mail address (it’s on my profile page) I wouldn’t suggest you post it here, it’s a bit public. (Well, not very public, I suppose, I don’t get that many readers on this blog, but I’m sure you know what I mean).

      • Lucille Hunter 10/02/2012 at 11:41 pm #

        Well, I have my more public email address which I’m not too bothered about sharing anywhere. So if you want to send it to lucilleinfurs@hotmail.co.uk, I would be a very happy bunny.

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