Congratulations to Glen Mehn, winner of last week’s prize The Ravenglass Eye, and many thanks to my Aunt for offering to act as a random number generator (while ironing, yet – the Aunt is nothing but game), saving me from having to run around in a frozen Norfolk field whilst suffering from laryngitis. This week’s offering from Jo Fletcher Books is The Snowmelt River by Frank P. Ryan, a book for lovers of Irish mythology, as well as classic fantasy adventure:
On the summit of the fabled mountain Slievenamon in Ireland there is a doorway to an ancient land of terrible power. The gate of Feimhin has lain closed for centuries, the secret of its opening long lost. But now four orphans drawn together by Fate must pass through the portal to face their destinies. What they find beyond is the enchanted but war-ravaged world of Tír, a strange land peopled by beings of magic. Here death waits at every corner and they must learn to fight if they are to survive. And they’d better learn quickly, because their enemy, the Tyrant of the Wastelands, is growing in power.
To win, please leave a comment below, telling me what your prefered portal to another world would look like. Would it be some kind of door or hole or natural passageway? Where would it be located? The winner will be chosen at random next Thursday at midnight: I will thrust the appropriate number of unarmed Teddy Bears into a wardrobe full of winged demons, open the door a crack a minute later, gingerly reach in, and grab the first ragged paw or other Teddy remnant that flies to hand . . . JUST KIDDING. I will probably draw a number out of a hat, while standing on the threshold of my flat. Whatever method of selection springs to mind next week, no Teddy Bears will be harmed in the course of this competition, I promise!
February gets short shrift in most people’s books – and in everyone’s calendars, even in Leap Years. But it’s always been one of my favourite months – okay, possibly because it contains my birthday, but also because of snowdrops, the subtle phonics of an ‘f’ and semi-silent ‘r’, and the way the lengthening grey days begrudgingly promise spring but still insist we stay curled up at home with a good book. This year, February’s even more auspicious for me: I don’t change decades, but the last day of the month marks the publication of my first novel, cyberthriller Seoul Survivors. To celebrate, courtesy of my fabulous publisher, Jo Fletcher Books, I’m running a weekly book-giveaway competition up until the 28th. (Yes, I know, four Fridays and a Thursday – February can never be a just plain regular month, can it!).
Each week I’ll be giving away a different JFB book, culminating in a copy of Seoul Survivors. As her loyal fans well know, Jo Fletcher has built an international reputation by publishing the finest in Horror, SF and Fantasy. If you’ve lost touch with these imaginative genres, winning a free book wouldn’t be a bad way to get reacquainted. So please, folks of all literary persuasions, pile in.
To enter, just leave a comment on the post, answering that week’s question. On the following Thursday, I will choose a winner at random. (Rules Freaks, rest assured the process will be entirely anonymous: I will give each entry a number, carve the numbers into standing stones and then drink a vat of mead and race around the circle until I fall down. Wherever my left big toe is pointing will ascertain the lucky winner.) Citizens of all nations are welcome. You may enter each comp once and only once, and nothing but the alchemical laws of Foylean mead-guzzling will prevent you from winning all five books.
This week’s prize is Tom Fletcher‘s thoughtful horror offering, The Ravenglass Eye, in which a series of sinister events around a small West Cumbrian pub presages the release of a malevolent supernatural force. Having read the book myself, I should warn you that the animal sacrifice scene makes the horsemeat scandal look like a wilted cucumber sarnie fight . . .
To be in with a chance to win, just let me know your favorite bird, or if you’re a birdophobe, your least fave feathered friend . . .
[To post a comment click on the link below - it is tiny, but it is there!]
PS: And yes, there will be a launch of Seoul Survivors: dates and venues TBA, and invites forthcoming. In the meantime, Brighton folk, please pencil in Feb 28th.
For a poet, used to fretting over lines and images for months, writing a novel in a year is a fascinating, not to say teeny-tiny bit terrifying challenge. I am enjoying it, though, and starting to really trust the process – there’s something immensely reassuring about the way the words flow onto the page, and one chapter springboards into another. Though I do need lots of wiggle breaks, and online research time to answer questions like ‘what is artificial meat grown in?’*, ‘are otters endangered in Anatolia?’** and ‘can renewables really provide for global energy needs?’*** I’m certainly in awe of those who write a novel in a weekend!
It was also reassuring to find a good foster home for an early chapter of the book. Subsequent drafts have already wrought changes in this growing girl, but if you’re curious about Astra, and can’t wait until 2014, she makes her debut this month here in MaMSIE: Studies in the Maternal, a journal from Birkbeck College. Many thanks to the editors for selecting the excerpt ‘Or Daughter’, and to Jo Fletcher Books for permission to print. Astra’s in some wonderful company, including unsettling fiction by Véronique Olmi and a study of primal imagery in women’s art by Pamela Turton-Turner. Check out ‘Baby’ by Rona Pondick, made from milk bottles, booties and something that looks remarkably like shit. I have to say that the intense ambivalence many mothers feel toward their children is one of the reasons I prefer birthing the fictional variety . . .
**No and yes. The European otter is a Not Threatened (NT) species in Turkey, but this is not as good as it sounds. NT means the species does not meet any of the criteria that would categorise it as risking extinction but it is likely to do so in the future.
***More on that next post.