MISSING

J. S. Collyer:

Keep your eyes peeled, folks. Someone’s missing…and you don’t necessarily want to find her.

Tomorrow sees the launch of a collaborative effort where writers have come together in an attempt to answer one question…who is Jessica Bell.

Truth can be stranger than fiction…

Originally posted on Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante:

HAVE YOU SEEN JESSICA?

TAKE 2TAKE 1

Contact Helena or Penny via Twitter @hhbasquiat #Jessica #WhoIsJessica

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How Much Are You Willing to Believe? Truth is Stranger than Fiction

J. S. Collyer:

For this, the horror season, get ready for something new. Something scary. Something with a question…

A horror calibration edited and moulded by the inimitable Helena Hann-Basquait with contributions from myself and other members of the armies of darkness, COMING SOON

Originally posted on Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante:

Jessica Promo 3

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Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】

J. S. Collyer:

This is doing all sorts of things to my head…Micky and Minnie I’m finding slightly sinister and yet I find myself quite fancying Timone! But whatever it’s doing to my brain, the talent behind them is unbelievable and the drawings beautiful. Wonderful start to Saturday!

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

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Disney and their ever-expanding lineup of charismatic characters continue to capture the hearts of children and adults alike. The biggest hit of the year is Frozen with its double princess lineup, but even though Elsa and Anna are tremendously popular, when we think of Disney, the first image that comes to mind is still that of a certain talking mouse and his chirpy giggle.

That’s right, Mickey Mouse! And his gang of talking animal friends, of course. Although Mickey and friends wear clothes and talk and sing and dance, they are still not quite as human as they sometimes seem. Have you ever imagined what Mickey and Donald would look like as humans? Personally, I haven’t; not until now. Check out these fabulous “humanized” Disney characters drawn by Japanese illustrator Chaico!

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The House on Beaumont Grove : a true ghost story…coming soon…

J. S. Collyer:

Well…I’m already scared

Originally posted on Beyond The North Waves:

For a summer, back in the mid 1990s, I lived in a haunted house.

Really.

Some of us, in retrospect, agreed that the thing that drove three of the girls into the street in their pyjamas one morning, in tears to the local church was a poltergeist rather than an actual haunting; we were never entirely certain. None of us are, to this day.

There were things in that house that we all saw, which none of us can explain.

All of this is true.

What I saw was real and so frightening I will never, ever forget it.

I will change the names of those involved and the name of the location; apart from that, I will be as truthful to what happened as I can.

Nothing will be exaggerated in terms of what we saw that summer.

Halloween is coming.

My story is too.

Stay tuned.

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From One Retreat to Another

The sands at Grange-Over-Sands are all at once eerie, beautiful, overwhelming and inspiring

The sands are all at once eerie, beautiful, overwhelming and inspiring

Well, good evening all and greetings to my new followers. Great to have you on board! Long may we continue.

I have now returned from my Grange-Over-Sands writing retreat, and what a great retreat it was. I highly recommend it as a location for any writer. Moody, atmospheric countryside and promenades for those inspirational walks, an almost endless supply of top-quality afternoon teas, and, the most important thing a writer needs, peace and quiet.

I have returned with a great deal of progress accomplished on my current WIP and the great feeling that accompanies such an achievement.

In fact, I don’t want to jinx it…but I feel nearly done. The first draft, anyway. There is still the unchartered heights and pitfalls of the re-drafting, editing and streamlining to navigate…but I must confess, that’s the bit of writing novels I love the most so I’m just looking forward to getting to that point.

(More info on this current WIP as and when I can release it. I know, I’m a tease. But I’m hoping it will be worth the wait!)

It's always important to have a break. I went creature-spotting in the woods

It’s always important to have a break. I went creature-spotting in the woods

Further to this end, I’m taking myself off again this weekend to bury myself back in the draft and get it as fettled as possible. I’m just heading home to Shropshire this time, to a quiet corner of my parents’ living room, not far from their well-stocked kitchen (how come parents always have a loads of food? And good food, too. No Sainsbury’s own 11p noodles in sight) and a leafy park for walks to clear my head.

Here’s looking to managing another shed load more progress by this time next week.

In the meantime, so you don’t miss me too much, as well as for the seasonal proverbial and giggles, if you would like to win the chance to actually appear in my next novel, head on over to my Facebook page for a ‘like and share’ competition! Share…if you dare, mwahahaha! Because, after all, anyone who has read my debut science fiction novel Zero or my short fiction knows how I treat my characters. It’s not always with hugs and a gentle, guiding hand.

Sometimes there are machetes.

So consider yourself warned! But there’s got to be some appeal in the potential for adventure!

The competition closes at midnight on the 31st October so get clicking! And get that imagination whirling. You can even choose what sort of character you would like to be!

And, since it is that time of year, also…I think I feel a new ghost story coming on…

It's also important that it not be all work and no play. Here's a hard-earned break with an even harder-earned traditional cream tea whilst looking out over the sands. Jolly good, too.

It’s also important that it not be all work and no play. Here’s a hard-earned break with an even harder-earned traditional cream tea whilst looking out over the sands. Jolly good, too.

Will get one sorted for a Halloween posting for your reading pleasure…or pain mwahaha.

If you have any challenges for a Halloween short story, hit me up!

I do likes a challenge.

In the meantime, keep it real chums! Don’t forget my space-pirate romp Zero is out now on Amazon in paperbook and for kindle. You can also keep track of me on Facebook and Twitter for updates and more, but either way, I’ll see you on the other side of this draft!

Bon soir!

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Hello from The Pit and Book Review of ‘Convergence’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

Hello there and greetings to all, both to new followers and old faithfuls. Sorry if I’m echoing, but these greetings are coming to you from the depths of the Writing Pit.

I am currently pretty much a permanent resident of said Pit. As I hinted at in my last post I have one of those things: a deadline. So this Pit comes complete with a Pendulum.

Tell me you didn’t see that one coming.

As I always say, however, progress is steady. Which is genuinely is if you make the time to write and keep yourself engaged with your draft.

Thus, I soldier on and you will be the first to know whenever I get a chance to come up for air.

Further to this aim, I am off on a writing retreat this weekend. I am really excited. I can honestly say nothing compares to the productivity you achieve when you go away somewhere and concentrate on nothing but writing. Fingers crossed for reaching of heady new heights of production and engagement this weekend.

Grange Over Sands, the chocolate box town

Grange Over Sands, the chocolate box town

My usual haunt, Gladstone’s Residential Library in Cheshire was, unfortunately, fully booked so I am instead taking full advantage of the wonderful countryside that is just on my doorstep and staying in a hotel in Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria. Horror writer M. J. Wesolowski of The Black Land has used this location as a retreat in the past and his description of the remote location and chocolate-box town has won me over.

Magical Spirited Away Train

Magical Spirited Away Train

I scouted it out last weekend and it is like a fairy tale town. The train goes over an estuary, complete with egrets, and the station is right on the water. If anyone has ever seen Spirited Away, it’s just like the train ride Chihiro takes across the water. Inspirational or what?

So I will no doubt check in from there, for sanity’s sake if nothing else.

In the meantime, I simply couldn’t wait any longer to give you my review of this SciFi novel I read last month by Michael Patrick Hicks: the unparalleled Convergence.

Enjoy the review, stay tuned and, if you’re looking for action, drama and adventure in your Autumn night reading, head to Amazon for a copy of Convergence!

(If you’re after two of a kind, my debut SciFi Space Pirate romp, Zero, is also out on Amazon in paperback & ebook form and still receiving consistently positive reviews ^_^)

Convergence‘: Michael Patrick Hicks

A SciFi adventure with action, emotion and drama. available on Amazon

A SciFi adventure with action, emotion and drama. available on Amazon

Convergence is the first of Michael Patrick Hicks, SciFi writer’s books that I’ve read. And, boy, was it an action-packed blast of a novel.

It’s set in a post-revolutionary America where the oppressive establishment has rounded up those who have so far survived the take-over into refugee camps little better than internment camps. There’s security checks, poor rations, poor living conditions. Crammed into these camps are what once were the ordinary people of modern day America, suddenly without jobs, homes or stability. Families have been split up or destroyed and every semblance of their lives overturned.

The main character, Jonah Everitt, has tried desperately to find a way to scrape by with his sanity in tact, whilst trying to keep his daughter alive and manage an ever-increasing need to experience other people’s memories.

Surgically implanted computer ports in the brain are the norm for people of this generation, allowing them to upload and download the memories and thoughts of themselves and others, meaning they can relive moments of intense emotion whenever they choose. But in this war-torn world, what began as a recreational and commercial activity is now at once a commodity and weapon. Information is power and with people’s thoughts and memories recorded and stored and accessible by others, literally everyone’s information is up for grabs.

It’s when there’s information that more than one person is, with power, weapons and influence, is after it that the problems really start to escalate.

Convergence is fast-paced, full of action and a thrilling ride from start to finish. Everitt struggles even more than he perhaps realises to cope with the hand that’s been dealt him, and sometimes makes questionable decisions in his fight for survival. But you’re right there with him and want him to succeed, however he goes about it. You ache for his redemption, or even just a crumb of comfort or stability, right along with him.

The language is clipped and bold, which is what you want for this kind of story. It keeps the prose active and doesn’t tell you what to think. You come away with your own ideas about the situations and the characters but cannot entirely argue that you wouldn’t be doing the same things were you in their shoes, be they friend or enemy.

The plot is many-layered and intricately woven. The narrative stays tight, focusing on Everitt’s journey, but you learn of the vast reality that’s the backdrop to his experiences. This is how I love to explore fictional worlds rife with intrigue, strife and wide-reaching ramifications: through the eyes of one or two characters only. It makes you feel like you’re living in it with them. Disturbing as this can be at times, it makes the narrative real, which is what I like in my escapism. I want to believe. And with Hicks, I do.

There is violence, depth of feeling, explosions, car chases and tenderness. The book has everything and is perfect for those who like their SciFi gritty, edgy and realistic.

May there be many more.

Pick up a copy of Convergence from Amazon today, and/or find out more on Goodreads!

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Zero: action-adventure in near-earth orbit

J. S. Collyer:

A great and honest review for Zero. Really great hearing this perspective and some great stuff for me to work with, but also a really good summary of the plot. Thanks so much, Rowena!

Originally posted on MurderMayhem&More:

Zero CollyerThis is an ambitious first novel, one which creates a sprawling and credible near-future, a tense and turbulent political situation, and then throws a rogue crew of space pirates into the mix. We’re a long way from old-school ‘hard’ sci-fi which tried as hard to be technically accurate as it did to tell a good story. Nope, think instead of George Lucas’ intention to put cowboys and indians in space – an aim which became the genre-defining institution that is Star Wars and which (arguably…) spawned the later Star Trek series, Stargate, Firefly, Farscape and all. Zero certainly aims high.

The hero, Hugo Kaleb, is a Service stalwart who is publically disgraced for disobeying orders. He’s cashiered and shunned – even by his own parents – and in secret takes charge of the Zero, a black-op privateer ship run in secret as a deniable asset of the Service. So Hugo…

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Greetings, Catching up, Shiny News

Greetings folks of the WordPress realm!

What do you mean, ‘Who’s that?’

It’s me! *waves*

I know, I’m sorry. I have been AWOL. This is simply because ‘busy’ doesn’t begin to cover it. Being productive and proactive I have found is the best, if not only, way to get anywhere with anything you care about and so last few weeks I have just not stopped.

Exploring Ronda, Andalucia. I could get used to this

Exploring Ronda, Andalucia. I could get used to this

Ok…so I did spend a week in Spain. My bad. But it was beyond glorious and there’s nothing like a trip away to refresh and brighten creativity. It also gave me the chance to get plenty of reading done. A writer needs to read. This is an indelible truth and although I do read every day, I rarely have time devour mulitple novels like chorizo.

In the week I was away, I got through Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, Longbourn by Jo Baker and have also nearly finished Convergence by Michael Hicks. I discussed these, my ‘holiday reads’ in a previous post, so do check that out if you want more details.  Proper reviews of the books to follow in the near future but for now, let’s just say it was great to get into such varied but enjoyable stories.

The day after landing back in the UK I was off a trip to Nottingham to meet my publisher (oh yes, feels good to get to say that) to go over a few things, not least getting the last of the signed and inscribed copies of Zero sorted for all the wonderful people who ordered one through the crowdfunding campaign. Anyone still waiting on their copies should be keeping their eyes on their letter boxes!

Ye Olde Salutation Inn, Nottingham. Both sides of the civil war recruited from this building and there are man-made caves dating back to Anglo Saxon times underneath

Ye Olde Salutation Inn, Nottingham. Both sides of the civil war recruited from this building and there are man-made caves dating back to Anglo Saxon times underneath

Nottingham was great and, although it was only a flying visit, I saw enough to convince me that I want to go back for a thorough explore. Pubs dating back to the crusades, medieval castle walls and Anglo Saxon caves were just a few of the things I got to see, as well as getting the chance to avail myself of a couple of the many, many wonderful places to eat and drink.

I find that trips away are like bio-grow for creativity and inspiration, not only giving you ideas but also helping you gain life experience to ground your writing. One of my priorities when writing fiction, be it SciFi like Zero or twisted fairy tales or ghost stories, is to make it real, human, believable. No matter how out-of-this-world the setting, I like my fiction character-driven, and I like it to feel like it could actually happen…even if it’s about ghouls that you keep in the basement that grant wishes in exchange for your soul, it has to feel real.

Therefore, I do like to help myself to a slice of reality now and then, even if  only to inform my writing rather than dominate it.

Dagda Publishing treated me to tea and cake at The White Rabbit Tearooms. Yes, it was as good as it looks

Dagda Publishing treated me to tea and cake at The White Rabbit Tearooms. Yes, it was as good as it looks

As you can probably guess…I don’t like too much reality in my fiction. I do like a dab of laser fire, a pinch of haunting or smattering of sword fighting, so I don’t go mad on the whole reality thing, but life experience is still invaluable for a writer.

So these trips have been great, but along with the new experiences I have also gained a deadline. Oh yes. One of those: that which we hate and love, that date circled on the calendar that makes you shake at the knees but also make you get stuff done.

Mine’s the 1st of November 2014…though I can’t tell you what it is for yet, (I know, what a tease!) but I will tell you I’m trying not to think too hard about that fact that that’s only 7 weeks away.

When I picked myself up off the floor after being given this date, made myself a cup of tea and collected myself, I did all I could do…I got stuck into it. The drafting ship is launched again.

I shall have to continue getting stuck into it if there’s any chance in all seven hells this is going to get done, so I may be intermittent on WordPress in the meantime. I shall still be posting through my Facebook page and Twitter account, to let off drafting steam if nothing else, so do feel free to get in touch/sympathise/offer advice.

Seriously…I may need it!

More details about this deadline as soon as physically possible.

Oh! And Zero is selling well on Amazon and I have completely sold out of the copies the publisher provided me with for my launch and book signings. This first novel in the Orbit series really is blasting off and racking up the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

'Zero' - out now on Amazon for SciFi Fans everywhere!

‘Zero’ – out now on Amazon for SciFi Fans everywhere!

This makes me more happy than I can say and thank you so much to everyone who has signed up to join the crew of the Zero on their adventure so far. For me, it is enough to know my story is out there being read, but if those who have done so would take a minute or two to leave an honest rating and review on Amazon, this would be pure wonder dynamite as this gives the publisher more whack for advertising and the chance to reach more people.

So many thanks, many loves and I will be around, so don’t stray! There will be a point where I go drafting-crazy and need an outlet, so do stay tuned for amusement’s sake alone. Also, I have booked my next writing retreat at The Lymehurst in Grange Over Sands in October (my usual haunt of Gladstone’s Library was unfortunately full) so I will no doubt be reporting from there over that weekend.

I believe we are all due some new flash fiction, so this will also happen before too long. See my Flash Fiction and Short Fiction pages in the mean time should you wish to dip into some other worlds before I create some new ones.

Adios, amigos. Hasta luego!

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Oh My God, Super Writer Fan Girl Overload *Explode*

J. S. Collyer:

Thank you, Andrea :)

Originally posted on The Torn Page - A K Hinchey's Writing Blog:

Evening lovely readers :)

Well today has been a great day I have to say. As quite a few of you will know the fabulous J. S. Collyer launched her début novel at Fantasticon last weekend in Hull. ‘Zero‘ is a fantastic slice of space pirate rompage mixed with intrigue and adventure, tears and happiness… Suffice it to say Fantasticon went very well and J. S. sold quite a few of her copies, signed of course, while enjoying so many other things. She had her own Q and A session as well as a reading from the stellar novel, a scene from Star Wars to be snapped in, all encompassing VR and oh so very much more :) Here she is below with her Zero table among fellow authors;

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Well today I was thrilled to be able to attend her book signing in our home town of Lancaster…

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Starships and Crumpets – Book Signing at the Novel Cafe, Lancaster tomorrow, 23.8.14!

'Zero' - out now for SciFi Fans everywhere!

‘Zero’ – out now for SciFi Fans everywhere!

Greetings all!

I am still on a huge high from the amazing event that was Fantasticon last weekend. I had a table at this great Elite: Dangerous fiction event from which I launched Zero into the stratosphere!

See my last post for pics and more details of this great day!

But, as anyone who has been following me for any time will know, laurels are not something I choose to rest on. Tomorrow, Sat 23rd Aug, I have another booksigning session in my home town, Lancaster in the Novel Cafe on New Street!

Facebook Event Here!

I’ll be there from 10am until the supply of paperbacks (or cakes!) run out. If you’re in the area, do stop by and say hello! The Novel Cafe is a great little second hand book shop/cafe that supports local and national talent and a great lunch menu as well as a counter groaning under a myriad of homemade cakes.

They will frankly be lucky if I ever leave.

Stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook for updates and pics from the event, as well as reports on brownies and toasties.

Zero is now available on Amazon in paperback (£8.99) and Kindle ebook (£2.99), so if you can’t make the signing, you can still make space pirates a part of your life!

Will check in tomorrow, folks! Pleasant evenings to all!

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