#GOODREADS GIVEAWAY: Win The First PRINT Edition of ‘DREAD: A #Horror Collection’

Dread: A Horror Collection

by Shah Wharton (Goodreads Author)


A ‘deeply unsettling collection’ of British dark fiction.

“Shah Wharton is worthy of being recognized as a fantastic voice in the horror genre.” Amazon Reviewer.

Within this collection of two novellas and one short from three different dark fiction genres, the author explores the internal processes of DREAD.

The characters are so realistic that it’s chilling [..]

Such vivid imagery that it felt like I was watching a movie as I read.
I highly recommend this …”

Opens for entries on October 27, 2017

Format:Print book

Availability:1 copy available!

Giveaway dates:Oct 27 – Nov 27, 2017

Countries available:US, CA, and GB more


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dread by Shah Wharton


by Shah Wharton

Giveaway ends November 27, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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July 2017 #IWSG One valuable lesson I’ve learned since starting writing. #AmWriting


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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 5 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt,Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan! 
Firstly, please put your hands together for the brilliant administrators:

They have been working their socks off for the writing community and created Insecure Writer’s Support Group to “..be a major source of information and support for writers everywhere” and their hard work has ensured it made the Writer’s Digest 19th Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers! 


July 5 Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

I’ve learned so many lessons since I began writing, from reading good and bad books and as many craft books as I can get my grubby little grasping hands on, from making a bazillion mistakes, from hating then loving then hating my work, and so on. But if I have to choose one lesson to share here, I’ll choose this:

Beginners: Don’t publish before you’re ready!

With the growth and ease of self-publishing, the allure to do so can be great. That doesn’t mean you should! You see, with the gift of having no gatekeepers such as those in traditional publishing comes with the very real potential for humiliation.

My first book developed from a short story about a young journalist in a haunted house into a 400+ page urban fantasy monster of a project, called Finding Esta. I wrote it quickly, passionately, got a recent graduate editor friend of mine to give it a pass, paid for a fabulous cover and published it for all to see.

Why oh why oh why did I do that?



For a few months, I was proud as punch. I even publishing it for print and got a few copies to give to friends and family. But I started to consume craft books at an alarming rate. You know? Those things I should have read BEFORE I published. The more I learned the more I looked back on Finding Esta as a terrible and costly mistake.

I’d never even heard of outlining or character arcs or plotting, etc. I just sat down one day and wrote a story about a character who I couldn’t get out of my head. A few academics I’ve met lately would argue that’s what writing is all about but there must also be structure.

Soon, I decided to re-edit the book using techniques I’d learned and split it into two smaller books. I still had to finish the series with a third book, which I entitled Finding Luna, so I wrote the first draft of that one quickly too, though far less passionately because it was something which ‘had to get done.’ I was getting there, although still unconvinced it deserved to be ‘out there.’

Then, I edited the third draft during a manic phase until it became a jumble of useless words and every time I looked at the manuscript thereafter it reminded me of the manic episode and I couldn’t think straight enough to work on it. I even left it for several months, hoping that would help, but it didn’t.

All I associated my story with–my awesome protagonist–was regret.

The first two books received great reviews during this time surprisingly, and I was even offered two publishing contracts by indie publishers who wanted to re-write and relaunch the story with me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t willing to sign-up at the time, mostly because I didn’t want to let anyone down. The story had sucked the joy out writing and dented my confidence.



Because I felt awful for anyone who wanted to find out what happened to the characters, and because an unfinished series wasn’t a great advertisement for me, I had to remove it from sale.

That was the end of the Supes Series.

What I should have done in the beginning was read craft books, read and read some more, and practice writing with shorter pieces. I should have patiently approached publishing ONLY when ready, after beta readers and critique partners have scrutinised and editors have cauterised! Currently, I’m writing horror shorts which I hope to enter into competitions or anthologies (and re-editing the horror short I’ve previously published) and practising my craft.

*This is a great post: 14 Questions to Ask Before You Self Publish by Janice Hardy.

Will I write another series? Never say never. But next time I’ll do so as an informed writer who knows exactly what she’s doing. And I will not be self-publishing until the story is ready.

So writers, keep learning, reading, and making (as few as possible) mistakes. All three steer us to better writing.
And remember to publish ONLY when your work is ready to be shared.

What lesson did you learn from writing?


Liberty: Deception Vol. 1 – A Sci-fi Comic Adventure by Travis Vengroff #IWSG #KickStarter

An explosive sci-fi action-adventure comic set in the dystopian colony-planet of Atrius.


About the Series

Forgotten by the rest of humanity and encompassed by planet-wide desert, the colony of Atrius endures. Over the centuries resource scarcity led to schisms in the population and now the vast city is split between a police state and the vast but fractured population of anarchists, who live in what is referred to as the Fringe. The Fringe is a place where gangs run everything, where cannibalism is the norm, and it is there that exiled war-hero Tertulius Justus must recruit a rag-tag brigade of untrustworthy prisoners to escape certain death.

Here’s what the creator says:

I’m Travis Vengroff and I’ve written a sci-fi adventure I hope will blow you away! Driven by a love of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic fiction, I’ve been working with a team of artists from around the world to create a full-color comic book series. I’ve been developing the world of Liberty for years, creating a Tolkien-esque depth of history and a unique landscape to set exciting stories. My background is in film and audio-drama storytelling, and Liberty: Deception is my third creative venture into the comic book world. I’m joined by a core artistic team hailing from a number of well known comics and we’re very excited to share our story! The team consists of:

Travis Vengroff– Writer, Creator, Producer (Random Encounter, Careless Juja)

Raymund Bermudez – Interior Sketches and Inks (Justice League, X-Men)

Joana Lafuente – Interior Color (GI Joe, X-Files, Transformers)

James Cartwright – Co-Creator, Storyboards, Concepts

Eirich Olson – Cover Art, Concepts (White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast)

Eduardo Camacho – Lettering

Casey Bailey – Concepts, Short Sequential Stories, & Continuity

Why do we need money?

In short: Print & Distribution Costs. Even with quality art and a strong world/story, as an independent comic book series there are many hurdles that stand between us and even marginal success. [Here’s a well written article on the topic.] The chart below illustrates how little money comic book creators make off the sale of each comic (~12% of the retail price of $3.99), and why it’s vital to plan ahead!

Since we can only expect to see ~12% of our sales, we need to sell a lot of comic books to break even and be self sustained! For that to happen we need our series to be sold nationally, and to figure out ways to cut costs without reducing the quality of our book.

For all the details, including Rewards, schedule and the rest, go here KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN  For a quick route to the donation page, go here BACK THIS CAMPAIGN, and enjoy!


Also, while I’m here, and because Insecure Writers Support Group day is tomorrow, I’m posting today to save posting twice in as many days. Here’s what they say:

IWSG BUTTONPurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

**Twitter hashtag is #IWSG **

The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG will be Megan Morgan, Chris Votey, Viola Fury, Christine Rains, Madeline Mora-Summonte, L.G. Keltner, Rachna Chhabria, and Patricia Lynne!

My writing struggles have been my lack of concentration due to medication and mental health barriers. I did write a flash fiction story for a little challenge, just to keep my toe in the water, but it wasn’t as much fun when enthusiasm wanes. I’ll post that here once the challenge ends, to get some feedback. It’s only 500 words. 🙂

My next insecurity is marketing. Flip me if I don’t feel utterly drained by it all. I wouldn’t mind but I don’t do much. Certainly less than I need to do. I’ve recently released another (my second) romance novella under a pseudonym which is as stagnant as the first. They badly need promo and reviews, but I just don’t have the humph to do any. And so they flounder. The issue is I have done lots in the past and get so little out of it, and at this time, when my health isn’t great, I’ve become apathetic for things like marketing and book promo. What’s the point in making all that effort if it yields very little (or Amazon removes the reviews because we’re friends on social media… grr!) *Sigh.

So, what are your marketing techniques? Do you get fatigued by all the seemingly useless attempts at book promo? Do you have any other insecurities you would like to share ?



21 Lovely Links About Writing & Publishing #amwriting #amediting

Celebrate badge

Lexa Cain is the wonderful host of this meme, so start there. Go HERE to sign up and find the other hoppers.  Then each Friday, post on your blog something you wish to celebrate achieving / doing that week.

Here’s what I’ve celebrating…

Happy April Fool’s Day! No fools around her though.

Celebrating finding our new home (and hoping for a swift end to this massive stressor): We did get the house!!!

Yes, this we have been here before and the last one turned out to have subsidence so we had to back out. And yes, we have to go through the process of surveyors and finance again, and all that legal stuff before we actually get in it. But hey… I’m trying to stay positive and believe that this one will indeed be ours in the end.


But first, we must move out of this house on 5th April, and into Hubby’s folk’s house. *Groan.

I’m NOT looking forward to living with the in-laws.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re lovely. I’m just a very private person and need my own space or it makes me ill.  Literally. It’s like people suck the life out of me. My hubs is the only person I EVER met who doesn’t have that effect, which is why I married him! *Grin.

His family’s incredibly ‘social’ (shall we say) so trying to get alone-time will ultimately make me feel guilty/anti-social/ungrateful. For this reason, it’s easier not to expose me to them, or them to me, for to long. Especially while my husband isn’t going to be there (remember my hubs works away for two weeks of every month).

So, we plan a week in a cottage by the sea, somewhere we can take Bobby. It’ll get us out of there house and be our first holiday with the pooch! 🙂 Then I’ll go to Spain to see my mum for a couple of weeks while Hubs is at work. We’re hoping (beyond hope) that we can move into our new home on our return.

So please cross your fingers for a very quick purchase process 🙂

The people we’re buying from are moving into an empty house, so it’s possible. The house is lovely … we’re going to be happy there. 🙂

I’m also celebrating my mental health getting some way back to normal: If you stopped by last week, you may recall I said I’d been quite ill with my bipolar moods recently for the first time in a while. New anxiety meds and various other stressors (like the house buying/selling) have played a large part.

Well, I’m glad to say, I’m feeling a little improved.

Not all better just yet, but still … better than I was. I’ve increased my mood stabilizer from 50 ml to 200 ml per day and stopped taking one of the anti-anxiety meds which left me flat and restless. Now, if I could just stop my frozen shoulders from keeping me a wake, I see a rainbow ahead.

Celebrating great content (and sharing it): I collect links. Lots of them. Mostly because I NEVER get enough time to read all those blogs I subscribe to at the time they’re published (especially over the past few minths when I’ve been poorly), so I reserve them for a later date. Here are some I’ve read recently which I think deserve a share with you. Do yourselves a favour and stop by those which take your fancy, learn something awesome, and share them again.

  1. Want some tips about how to shed word-weight? Check out these two post by K.M. Weiland 5 (More) Ways to Trim Your Book’s Word Count, Pt. 2 of 2 & (Part One)
  2. Want another awesome collection of posts? 35 Posts To Help Writers Elevate Their Craft And Marketing Skills from WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™
  3. Need help with marketing? Creating Promotional Copy That Works: Tag Lines by Janice Hardy
  4. Do you write romance, or genre fiction with romantic elements? 80 + Barriers to Love: A List of Ideas to Keep Romantic Tension High by Colleen Houck
  5. Do you love to write (very) shorts? 9 Secrets of Publishing Your Flash Fiction, in 1,000 Words or Less | The Review Review
  6. Are you a freelancer? How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates by Brian Scott
  7. Want to know …. Ten Ways to Build Mystery and Suspense in Your Writing By UncommonYA
  8. Want to know …. How to Write Funny by PJ Reece
  9. In need of inspiration? 20 Fantasy Story Ideas by Ruthanne Reid
  10. Newbies go here: Under Development: Writing That First Novel By Janice Hardy
  11. This is another interesting post by K.M. Weiland: Why Cool Character Traits (Just for the Sake of Cool) Are Not Cool
  12. How to … Hack Your Readers’ Brains by Describing the Five Senses by Helping Writers Become Authors.
  13. “A heavily updated look at understanding and using point of view.” View to a Skill: Understanding Point of View by Fiction University
  14. “If your story feels more like loosely linked vignettes rather than a flow of events caused by and causing other events, you may be writing episodes rather than a fully integrated story.” Making Plot Less Episodic—A Reader’s Question by Fiction Editor Beth Hill
  15. Learn from other’s success: How I Do It: Indie Authors Share the Secrets of Their Success – This Week: Marie Force
  16. Want to practice/Inspiration? 20 Mystery Story Ideas
  17. Jami Gold makes the compelling case for …  Self-Care for Writers &
  18. How to Weave Story Elements and Avoid Info Dumps
  19. Huge List of Books For Writers from Blots & Plots
  20. How to Storyboard Your Novel on Pinterest from Blots & Plots
  21. Emily from The Write Practice share 5 Steps to Take Before You Start Your Next Story


Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend. What are you celebrating?


Meet This Month’s Mental Muse: #Horror Author, Neil Bursnoll #mentalillness #depression

What's Mental Muse all about?

Today, meet the latest brave and bold Mental Muse – horror and dark fantasy author, Neil Burnsoll. He’ll share with us a piece about depression from his blog, part one of a series: Augustus Baltazar, and his experiences of living with depression as an author.

51uQPLV+SZL._UX250_Welcome Horror/Fantasy Author Neil Bursnoll

I’ve been writing fiction since I was six years old and I wrote my first novel at age 13. I have a keen interest in horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially those with a paranormal/supernatural tone. I have a lifelong interest in ghosts and the unexplained.

I live in Oxfordshire and am married with two beautiful children.


 The Mental Muse Questionnaire

  1. What is your mental health issue?

I suffer with low mood and depression.

  1. How long have you been writing fiction? Tell us about your career so far.

I’ve been writing since childhood, but didn’t publish until 2013. I had a long fear of rejection and it prevented me from achieving my goal. I also managed to release a handful of short stories in that time as well. Getting my debut novel out helped spur me to write and release a follow-up a year later, but my depression manifested in the worst way possible afterwards, and it’s been a struggle to write consistently since.

  1. How has mental ill health helped your writing? 

Writing is my superpower, and it’s one of the only things I truly feel that I’m good at. I’ve written sporadically in the last year, but seeing and hearing positive feedback is helpful, albeit providing only brief satisfaction.

  1. And how has it not? 

Writing with depression has mostly been hard. I’ve recently started to feel better about myself and begin to believe again, and my plan is to project my experiences and state of mind onto the protagonist of my next novel. I feel it will help me overcome my darkest times and provide catharsis.

  1. What advice do you have for other writers with mental health issues. 

My advice is to keep believing, and to document what you go through. It’s a horrible and lonely place to be at times, but if you can do one thing, keep writing.

Augustus Baltazar

Augustus Baltazar

Mark. Enforcer. Just plain old Stu. Augustus Baltazar is a Paranormal Investigator with more skeletons than space in the cupboard. He only has best friend Mike to depend on, until beautiful brunette Jenny threatens to rattle his bones. DI Joe Merrick is on his last life with the Police force, caught between a case he is struggling to solve and a DS with a different opinion. Out of all this, what piece of the puzzle does Mike’s girlfriend Sera hold? And just what are the sinister shadow and the man on fire that haunt them all?

Inspired by a lifelong interest in comic books and superheroes, Augustus Baltazar took six years to complete, and was originally conceived as a series of short stories that would have formed one big compendium.

Contains extreme violence, frequent bad language and scenes of a sexual nature.

Reviewers have so far said:


Neil Bursnoll writes really well. He definitely knows how to string a story together, and a lot of times I was impressed that a debut novel was so well written.


A few things really stick out for me; the characters and the pacing. Both are great. All of the characters have their own distinct personalities, no matter how major or minor they may be. There are no cardboard characters or fillers and the diverse relationships are well written.


I loved the narrative style of this novel – descriptive prose always works best when you are reading a story of this type – it allows you to see things from a birds eye point of view and take in the whole scenario with each chapter. Moving along at a great pace with some real humour along the way, its an interesting world to live in for a while to be sure. Dark at times with a lovely little mystery at its heart, your mind will constantly turn over the possibilities whilst reading.

Available online at the following retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks UK | iBooks US | OmniLit

A Frightful Encounter


This short story, A Frightful Encounter, is now free across all digital platforms.

The story is available through ….

AmazonBarnes & NobleGoogle PlayiBooks and Kobo.

Click to read 'Fiction: I Am Depressed'

I fucked up at work today. Well, I actually fucked up two weeks ago, but it was only spotted today. I’d pasted something into the wrong account and I hadn’t realised. It was pointed out to me today and fixed. No-one died. No-one was horribly maimed. No-one lost their job. It was simple human error. I accepted it as one of those things and moved on. I at least tried to.

I am depressed.

The feeling gnawed at me. The idea that I’d fucked up when all I am is human. I’m not perfect. I’ve worked there nearly 12 years. I can fuck up once in a while. But the sensation wouldn’t cease, no matter how much I reassured myself. I knew I was above it. I’m only human. I can make mistakes.

I am depressed.

The knot was constricting me. It was getting tighter. I could feel it clouding my judgement. It wanted to win. I had the higher ground, I had the advantage. But I was letting my opponent win at a game I was ahead in. I knew I was on the verge of throwing away an unassailable lead.

I am not depressed.

I took as many breaths as I needed. I shut out the world. I closed all the open doors. I shut my eyes a few times. I exhaled deep breaths. No-one noticed what I was doing. I needed the time to control it, as I had been trained to. It probably lasted a minute. It felt like five. I had won the battle.

The war is a different monster.

I am depressed.

If you are an author/writer who experiences mental health issues who would like to share how this impacts you professionally/personally, then please click the following link to download The Mental Muse questions and instructions. Then, get your answers back to me using MENTAL MUSE ANSWERS as the email subject header. I’ll be in touch.

* This meme will continue monthly so long as I get enough participants, so please help me to spread the word, and please support this meme by taking the button to your sidebar! Here’s the smaller version:

Want to discuss an issue anonymously with a forum community of other’s in the same boat?


Thank you Neil, for being this month’s brave & bold mental muse!

And thanks to all readers for your continued support.

*Join us in our fight against stigma.*