Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Our novels in paperback!

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We are very excited to announce that Vamplit publishing is releasing our novels in paperback!

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Nicole’s novel, Release, is to be available imminently, and Marissa’s novel, Alone, will be available in paperback format this Autumn!

All of Vamplit titles are now going to be published in eBook and paperback, so the most choice is available for readers.  While some people swear by their eBooks readers, it is only natural for others to prefer to hold the actual book in their hands.

Also, as a writer, there is something more ‘real’ about seeing your work in print on paper.  To actually have your novel sitting on your shelf, amongst all of the other authors you have collected over the years is a dream finally realised.

Watch this space for our release dates!

Alone to go to paperback this Autumn!

I’m very excited to announce that my publisher has confirmed that Alone will be available in paperback format this Autumn!

All of Vamplit titles are now going to be published in eBook and paperback, so the most choice is available for readers.  While some people swear by their eBooks readers, it is only natural for others to prefer to hold the actual book in their hands.  I, for one, am one of the latter.  I like to read in the bath, so taking anything electrical in there generally isn’t a good idea. 

Also, as a writer, there is something more ‘real’ about seeing your work in print on paper.  I can’t wait to actually be able to put my book on a shelf and pick it up whenever I want to (which I am sure will be often!)

So for everyone who has been asking me when it will be available as a paperback, now you know!  When it is released I’m sure you’ll all be rushing out to add it to your TBR list, and if anyone wants their copies signed, just let me know!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Crop Circles…beautiful mysteries or just plain vandalism?

This weekend crop circle enthusiasts from all over the world have been heading to Somerset for the annual Glastonbury Symposium.  It has now been running for twenty years, and the three-day conference features lectures investigating mysteries, including UFOs. The Symposium is also the longest-running annual gathering of crop circle experts.

The formation of crop circles have long been synonymous with that of aliens.  Many believe they are they created by spaceship’s landing or even created as a tracking system for alien space-ships to land?  Of course these strange creations have (sadly) now been explained away by hoaxer’s with wooden boards and wire, but it would be nice to think that there was still some romance and mystery in these beautiful shapes.  Of course the farmers have a different point of view after whoever creates the circles does so by destroying their hard grown crops.

crop (Left) The site of the circle at White Sheet Hill is just a few miles from Warminster, which is the "UFO capital" of Britain. This stunning circular 300 foot design appeared in June 2010 and was believed to represent the passage of the moon and sun. It contained six key circles with a seventh in the centre, each surrounded by 24 smaller circles and 18 other circles providing an outer ring.  It is supposed to be the most complex crop circle created this year.

(Right) One of the most intriguing crop circles ever seen in Britain appeared in a barley field in Oxfordshire, on 2nd June cropcircles2009. The 250m (600ft) design in the shape of a jellyfish, which turned up in a field near Ashbury, is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

The owners of the land said whoever created the design caused about £600 of damage!  Though the farmers admitted that they thought it was beautiful, they then went on to give information about the people they believed had created the circle.

(Below) This circle appeared in a field near Barbury Castle, an iron-age hill fort above Wroughton, Wilts, and has been described by astrophysicists as "mind-boggling". The formation, measuring 150ft in diameter, is apparently a coded image representing the first 10 digits, 3.141592654, of pi.crop404_679706c  Very strange.

The shapes are beautiful and have become as much a part of our mysterious countryside as Stonehenge.  Yet I can’t help feeling sorry for the farmers who wake up to find hundred’s of pounds worth of crops destroyed. 

A movie which depicts the use of crop circles is Signs (2002). Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Pheonix; written and directed by M. Night. Shyamalan. It follows a family who find crop circles in their corn and then try to survive when an alien invasion ensues. It’s a decent movie if this post has suddenly inspired you to watch something about crop circles!

Below is a clip of the alien sighting in the movie. It makes me jump every time!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Gratuitous excuse to post lots of hot vamp pictures…YouGov Survey!

Now, I may be wrong in thinking this, but while I am a huge vampire fan (obviously) and am happy to hear of all things that promote the undead, I was amazed and a little mystified to see that Yougov had done a survey to find out who our favourite vampires are!  But there you go…

angel So who were our favourites?  Surprisingly enough Robert Pattison was not on the top of the list - hurrah!  Instead this position fell to David Boreanaz's, Angel.  Coming in second place was Brad Pitt playing Louis in Interview with the Vampire, and then Edward Cullen came in third.louis

Finally, proof that the general public do have a brain (or maybe it was  just that all of the women who edward filled in the survey were over thirty!).

Personally, at the moment, my vote would have to go to Eric in ericTrue Blood played by Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd.  Hubba-hubba!  I’ve just finished watching season two of True Blood and every time he comes on screen I have to stop myself saying something very  inappropriate (as my husband is sitting right next to me).  If you want to know more about what I thought of season two, head on over to the Something Wicked blog.

True Blood; Season Two

sookie-stackhouse-3 Finally I have finished watching season two of True Blood and I loved it just as much as the first one!  I was so pleased it was good, cause there is nothing worse than loving one series of a show, only for the second one to be lacking something.  This definitely not the case with True Blood.

I watched the DVD, so I pretty much watched all twelve episodes back to back. I think this is the best way of watching a decent series as you never miss one, or have to wait a whole week to find out what happens.  It’s a bit like watching a really long movie.  It has to be said that this is the one show where I never fast-forward through the opening credits – I love the Jace Everett song, Bad Things!

So season two has quite a few storylines running through it.

Sookie and Bill go to Dallas to find Eric’s maker, Godric.  They take with them Jessica, the newly turned vampire, who is not only a vampire, but also a teenage girl.  There is a tru really sweet storyline with her finding her first love, but also that she will forever be a virgin!

Jason Stackhouse, after his girlfriend dying, has turned to the Fellowship of the Sun church – an anti-vampire establishment who intend to use God to wage a war against the vampires.

trueblood But the main storyline is that of Maryann, a woman who has ‘be-friended’ Tara.  She takes over Sookie’s house (while she is away in Dallas) and the town all go to her parties which turn into violent orgies.  Maryann possesses most of the population of Bon Temps and they all have completely black ‘bug’ eyes. Maryann then uses them to catch Sam as she wants to sacrifice Sam so that her ‘god’ will come to her.  All just another day in Bon Temps!

There is lots of sex – LOTS of sex – in this season, even more so than the first, so if you are easily offended you probably won’t enjoy the show too much.  There is a good eric2 amount of humour in the show as well, mainly brought by Jason Stackhouse and Andy Belfleur.  All of the characters are fun (with the exception of Bill!). Lafayette, the short-order cook  and Tara’s cousin, is a brilliant character, and the queen of Louisiana vampire,  who is introduced towards the end of the show, is very funny.  I absolutely love any scenes with Eric in.  He has the sexy, bad-vampire thing down perfectly and I have to consciously keep my mouth shut to stop from drooling all over the floor.

My only problem was that I kept comparing the storyline’s to the books, trying to recognise what happens, and piece all of the different books together, but it didn’t really affect how I felt about the season.

I’m not sure I can wait for season three, so if any of my lovely friends State-side would like to pick me up a copy and post it over…;-)

Something Wicked 9/10.  A must see!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Another great review for Alone!

Alone_2_copy[1] Just a quickie to say that Shellie, from the fantastic site, Layers of Thought, has done a review for Alone … and she loved it!  Yay!

Here is a snippet of her review;

‘This is a romantic, mildly horrific, urban fantasy – with some important real life aspects and concerns…Marissa Farrar does a fine job of showing the reader her character’s complexities in a easy and readable and page-turning manner.’

And you can find the rest of it here!

Thank you Shellie!

The Review You've All Been Waiting For: Eclipse (as seen by Nicole!)!!

So last weekend I got to finally see Eclipse with my friend Julie -- who was lucky enough to snap this pic of Ashley Greene -- IN FREAKING PERSON!!!!  Jules went on vacation to FL for 4th of July, and guess what -- Ms. Greene originally hails from the Sunshine State and was there to promote her movie!  So Jules got a pic AND an autograph, and I got to watch the movie with Julie, so it's almost like I met Ashley Greene too, right??? ;-)


Okay, so Eclipse, the movie:  Meh.  Now look, I LOVED Twilight, the book, and the movie was awesome because it was a decent length, they did a great job of weaving the bad vamp plot in earlier with the storyline (in the book it shows up like 3/4 of the way through).  Plus the best part about the movie -- all the screaming teenage girls in the audience!  It reminded me of when I was in college and we used to watch all the cute guys walk into the cafeteria, the thrill we got, the stories we'd make about them, how we thought they were looking at us, the flirting....  ah, the good ole days of early dating and first love.

New Moon:  couldn't really read past the part where, well, you know -- that big part that leaves Bella in a stupor for months on end.  I went to the movie with my inner teenage girl channeled, and I enjoyed the flick.  It was a bit long, but the parts with Jacob were done well, the other scenes weren't too gut-wrenching, and Taylor Lautner did a great job getting his upper body into shape for the role so it was worth it.  ;-)

Okay, now, Eclipse.  My friends told me that they loved the movie, it was the best one of the 3 -- but Eclipse was also their favorite book.  For me, Eclipse was my least favorite novel in the Twilight saga.  Why?  Well, in the novel itself, there is talk of Wuthering Heights, and I never liked that book (sorry!!).  I'm into character-driven novels, and the only character in Wuthering Heights I liked for a brief moment was Isabella when she left Heathcliff.  Everyone else -- couldn't get into them.



Same thing with Eclipse (the novel).  Edward was controlling (when a guy takes apart your car to prevent you from going somewhere because he can't "protect" you -- that's not love).  Jacob is very truculent -- angry because he wants Bella, and wants to try to win her over, Bella is stuck in the middle and can't make up her mind, so she rebels this way and that, Rosalie tells us she only ever wanted a family and kids and she can't have that now she's a vampire, which is why she's jealous of Bella (which just shows every terrible female trait possible -- jealousy, cattiness, the idea that the ultimate goal for a woman is to be a wife and mother), and oh yeah --Victoria from the first novel is raising a vampire army to try to kill Bella.

Whew!  As if bizzarre love triangles weren't enough, there are newly-formed, bloodthirsty fledgling vampires loose in Forks!!  Run for your lives!!!  Fortunately, the Wolf Pack (hey -- they've got a female leader, Leah -- wohoo for the girls!!!) forms a truce with the Cullens and they agree to band together to attempt to fight off the threat, and along the way there's some very uneasy scenes (for me!) where Jacob and Edward trade barbs over who is best for Bella (didn't like reading it in the book, didn't like seeing it in the movie).

Now, before this review just gets all negative, I will say that the fight scenes are REALLY GOOD, the soundtrack actually sounded good too, Bryce Dallas Howard was very good as Victoria (nice to see someone who can actually act in these movies!), and Ashley Greene was her usual stellar self as Alice, though she's not in this one that much.



What didn't I like about it?  I don't know -- I think it's just me -- I loved the 'chase' scenes in Twilight, New Moon had a new relationship, but Eclipse -- the plot just didn't do it for me; watching Bella hang out with Jacob and he tries to kiss her, Edward being too controlling, oh, and he gives Bella an engagement ring, too, which she puts on but then wants to become a vampire (that whole "make me a vampire, Edward!" "No Bella! You're better off as a human!!" is getting tedious by now).  Like I said, the plot in this movie just didn't do it for me.

Other than that -- the movie is very pretty, visually, and if you do like Wuthering Heights, star-crossed lovers, watching people in love do crazy things to win the affections of someone, then this movie is for you (if you're like me -- wait, rent it, and skip forward to the fight scenes!! ;-)

Something Wicked -- 3/5

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Writing the one page synopsis…

Hi everyone,

I am blogging over at Write in the Shadows today about writing the one page synopsis.

Check it out to get my top ten tips!  Hope to see you there!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Shutter Island (2010) - Review

***Warning – this review contains spoilers***

shutter I don’t normally like to put spoilers in my reviews, but I came to the decision that this movie would be all but impossible to review without giving away some of what happens. I have tried to keep them to a minimum, and won’t give away the complete ending.  First of all, let me just say that Shutter Island was a completely different film to what I thought it was going to be, or even what I feel the trailer makes it out to be.  I was expecting a more of a horror, but it is really a psychological thriller.

Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a US marshal.  He has a dark past. He was an army officer who rescued Jews from concentration camps, and his wife died in a fire two years earlier.  He is haunted by his past and the feeling that he should have saved more people. He has been called to Shutter Island, with his brand new partner, because a patient has escaped from a mental institute for the criminally insane which is on the island (think Alcatraz).  When he gets there he is told that the patient escaped from a locked room, and that she made it past a room full of orderly’s without being seen. It is as though she simply vanished from the room.  While searching the room Teddy finds a piece of paper where the missing patient has written that there are 67 prisoners in the institute, though according to the records there are only actually 66. We then find out that Teddy took the case to be on the island, because he believes the man who set the fire that killed his wife is patient 67.

Here things start to get a bit strange.  Teddy is suffering from headaches and starts having terrible dreams and even hallucinations of his dead wife and a dead girl from the concentration camps. We are made to believe that the government are actually testing psychotropic drugs on the patients and lobotomising them.  They intend for Teddy to become another patient and the government have invented the missing patient simply to get him onto the island.

The patient is then miraculously found, despite a terrible storm that is raging around the island. 

The rest of the movie is basically about Teddy’s increasing paranoia, trying to find the man who killed his wife, and then trying to get off of the island.

I seem to be watching a lot of movies recently where you don’t know if the whole thing is simply in the head of the protagonist, or if it is actually happening.  I can’t help feeling a little disappointed with this movie. While the acting was great and the look and feel of the movie was like a fifties gangster film (Martin Scorsese directs), I felt the twist had been done before and it simply wasn’t original.  When it’s ‘all the the head of the main character’ I feel a bit cheated. In some ways it is no better than watching a movie only for them to wake up at the end and announce ‘'it was all just a bad dream’ .  The ending was also pretty depressing, and while I wasn’t expecting a feel good film,it was about as miserable as it is possible to get.

Saying all of that, in essence it was an entertaining film. Leonardo DiCaprio is a fantastic actor and has long ago left behind his ‘pretty-boy’ days of Titanic.  I think this was another situation of me expecting too much, and when you have been looking forward to something that could have been so much better, it’s always disappointing. If they had simply kept to the storyline of missing patients and drug testing, instead of trying to twist it all round, I think it would have made for a better movie.

Trying to be too clever, but still a watchable film.  6.5/10

Sunday, 11 July 2010

One reason a vampire is better than a man…

I have been watching season two of True Blood after a friend gave it to me on DVD, and I just had to share this clip of Bill’s apology to Sookie.

I am lucky if I get a mumbled ‘sorry’ and brought a cup of tea! (Though I always appreciate a decent cup of tea…)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Interview With Cat Winters (a.k.a Catherine Karp)!!

Hey gang -- if you're a fan of the Suburban Vampire blog, you should stop by Write In the Shadows today, where I interview the mastermind behind Suburban Vampire -- Catherine Karp, a.k.a. Cat Winters, who is working on her debut YA novel, Blackbirds.  Please stop by and check it out!  http://writeintheshadows.com/2010/07/08/new-kid-on-the-block-introducing-cat-winters/

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Strain

Hey Guys, hope you all had a fabulous holiday (though for us in the UK, life just carried on as normal!).

I’ve just realised that I had promised to post my review of The Strain here, but, due to a Swiss-cheese brain caused by lack of sleep, I totally forgot and posted it on my personal site.  Sorry!  If you’re still interested in having a look, go to Marissa Farrar's Blogspot and you can see what I thought…

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Strain I was first introduced to Guillermo del Toro through the medium of film – namely the amazing movie ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, which he wrote and directed.  I had no idea he also wrote novels until, after reviewing Pan’s Labyrinth, I was recommended this novel by Taliesin meets the vampires.

A plane touches down on JFK runway, and within moments it goes dead; all of the lights go out and the engines stop running.  The blinds have all been pulled down and no one comes out.

Dr Ephraim Goodweather from the Centre for Disease Control is called to the scene.  Separated from his wife, he has a son he rarely gets to see.  He is also a recovering alcoholic and works too much.

Almost everyone on board is dead.  The few survivors are close to death, but then they seem to miraculously recover. They remember nothing about what happened.  The hundreds of body’s that are recovered from the plane do not decompose, and an autopsy reveals extraordinary changes to their insides.  On the plane a huge box is found filled with dirt, but it quickly disappears.

Across town an old man, Abraham Setrakian, a Jew who survived the concentration camps has discovered that an old foe is back.

Ephraim and Abraham find it falls upon them to try to save the world from this ‘disease’ and find the vampire at the heart of it all – the Master.

This was a refreshing read from all of the nice, educated vampires that are around lately.  In The Strain the vampires are created by a type of ‘blood-worm’, and it is essentially a disease.  Once they have turned the vampires have almost no real thought themselves, except to return home and turn those they loved.  They are pretty scary, but do resemble zombies that drink blood, more than real vampires (though sunlight will kill them, as does silver).  I really enjoyed the parts of the book where they followed the survivors of the plane and their transformations – this was probably the best part of the novel.  I also enjoyed the start of the book after the plane had landed, before anyone had boarded it to find out what happened.  It was really creepy and just the smallest things that were happening around the aircraft led to the tension – a blind opening, a door standing ajar.

My only negatives would be that I felt the female characters were all very weak.  The men all had unusual names, the women very ordinary names.  I don’t know if this was a subconscious thing, but all the men were fairly extraordinary (even the local rat killer) and the women basically just had to look after the kids (even the one who is a world class epidemiologist ends up babysitting!).  I thought this was a shame.  It was as though the writers couldn’t be bothered developing any interesting female characters – too much testosterone involved I think!  There was also a bit of a side-line story about a very rich man getting eternal life from the vampire Master, but I didn’t really get this bit and thought it unnecessary.

Overall this is one of the best horror novels I have read for a long time.  It was fast-paced and sometimes shocking, and the few negatives I had to say about it were only minor.  It is the first of a trilogy so I will definitely be getting the next two.  If you are a vampire fan it is a must-read.

This review is part of the frightening fiction review blog hop!

frighteningfictionreview

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Happy Fourth of July!!! Yay for American Independence!!!!








Or not -- we here at Something Wicked pondered how to celebrate the Fourth of July -- a holiday for the American, Nicole, and for Brit Marissa it brings back memories of travelling as she spent the 4th July in Sacramento many years ago.

So here's what we're doing -- Nicole is listing the four things she misses/-is glad to be without with regards to the UK, while Marissa is listing the four things she loves, and loves to hate, about America.

Nicole:

Oh United Kingdom, how do I love thee, let me count the ways:

1) Tea -- coffee just doesn't do it for me, Tea is the ultimate beverage, hot or cold, Oolong or Earl Grey -- the colors, the smell, the flavors -- the British are really on to something there!

2) Shakespeare -- his plays are timeless, they apply today as much as they did way back when. And he wrote them in iambic pentameter -- good grief! I struggle with regular English!

3) Sexy British accents on men -- my girlfriends and I went on a girls' weekend to the beach last year and we changed the Tom Tom's voice to be a male British accent. Way!

4) Last, but certainly not least -- Dracula. Probably the best account of the modern-day vampire tale, and the reason why Marissa and I have entered the literary field.

And now, four reasons I'm glad that I don't live in the UK:

1) Spelling -- what's with all the extra 'u's in words? Favourite? Colour? And 's's instead of 'z's?? It's apologizzzzzze, gang. Oh, and it's z, just plain z - - not 'zed'!

2) The crime rate -- I mean, they certainly have enough detectives on the case, but who wants to live in those quaint English villages where the neighbors are always offing each other through poison and such? And sometimes even Scotland Yard is clueless and you've got to rely on elderly spinsters to solve the crimes!

3) Daleks -- thank goodness they only seem to land on the British Isles!

4) Rain -- although I can see that the Brits do make good use of all that water -- putting it into beer, which is the color of the sunshine, ... sort of!

Marissa. Okay, here goes.

Things I love about America:


1.) The food! Oh my God - you guys have some of the most amazing food. You can literally get whatever the hell you want and the portions are HUGE! Southern cooking is my favourite.

2.) The Southern accent on men (can you see a theme going here?). I think the guy from Lost is responsible for this little fetish, but then TrueBlood has just brought it all back again. I love accents - they make people sound so much more interesting than they actually are!

3.) Halloween! I love Halloween, but we Brits just don't know how to do it properly. The most we can manage is a couple of old pumpkins and then everyone pretends not to be in when you go trick or treating. America goes the whole hog and I love that!


4.) Obama. Whatever people think of his politics I think it says a huge amount about the leaps and bounds America has taken in their views to elect a black president.


Things I love to hate about America.



1.) American 'end-the-world movies'. Why-oh-why is it always only America who saves the world from destruction by impending alien attack/asteroid/global warming? The rest of us might get a very brief mention somewhere along the line, but then we just get forgotten about and America saves the day... cue, waving flags and the American anthem.


2.) Lollipop head girls with small dogs wearing clothes. I don't think I need to explain this one. The poor dogs must be thinking 'My cousin is a wolf - how the hell did I end up in a Gucci handbag with a bow on my head?'


3.) Very long scary roads through the desert. These empty roads are just destined to have psychopathic rednecks waiting to pick up unsuspecting travellers in camper vans for them to torture. My husband wants to do an American road trip one day, but this will be the one thing that will put me off (well, that and my over-active imagination).


4.) The spelling! Hey, Nicole - we invented the stuff. After all, it's called the English language! It's colour, not color, and it's only your accent that turns all the 's's into z's!



Happy 4th of July everybody!