Guest Post: Jay Robin on ‘The Taste of Her’

Today, I have something rather special lined up for you, my dear readers (all five of you!) Instead of me blathering on at you, somebody else is going to do it. That’s right, it’s a guest post! *gasp*

This super special awesome guest writer is Jay Robin, whose debut story The Taste of Her was released today as part of LT3’s Proud to Be a Vampire collection. So now I shall hand you all over to her (:

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‘I expect you’ve read all the Anne Rice books,’ someone at work said to me the other day.

‘No,’ I answered, ‘I’m not really that interested in vampires.’

This isn’t technically true. To me, saying, ‘I’m interested in vampires’ is like saying, ‘I’m really into food right now,’ or ‘mammals are just great’. The vampire has been subjected to so many interpretations that it’s difficult to get excited about them all. You’ve got your classic Nosferatu, your contemporary sparkling vampires, your daywalkers, your psychic vampires. Up until a few years ago I was sure that the vampire genre had been exhausted, that there was no longer any way to invent an original vampire concept. Then I read Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and then Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. The vampire genre is sharp, seductive and, against all the odds, very much alive.

I am very picky about my vampires, and the delectable, exotic vampire buffet laid out before me seems to encourage this.

For my own vampire story I decided not to mess with the mythology too much. I wanted to think more about classic vampires and why we as readers find them so seductive. Vampirism in The Taste of Her is an escape from humanity, from tradition, from life. For the heroine Iris, that’s a good thing. She’s unable to feel human until she becomes something more than human. It would have been easy to make The Taste of Her a cautionary tale, but it was more fun to have Iris give into temptation and moral ambiguity.

The most difficult thing to research about The Taste of Her was the ship, which I named the Wet Witch. I fretted about nautical terminology, the feasibility of a tea clipper knocking around at that point in history, and so on. I phoned a marine biologist friend of mine, remembering him spending a lot of time on boats when we were students together.

‘So, if I said, “she descended the companionway,” would that sound alright?’

‘I don’t know,’ he said, ‘we just called it “the stairs”.’

I really wanted the Wet Witch to be a clipper because of the captain’s association with opium and the Victorian era, but sailing ships were an anachronism by the time WWII broke out. I worried about this a bit. The crew of the Wet Witch were supposed to be inconspicuous, after all. Luckily, I discovered that the Cutty Sark, Britain’s most famous tea clipper, remained useful until 1954, so the Wet Witch stayed. The more I wrote about the Wet Witch and her crew the fonder I became of them. To celebrate the release of this story I bought a tiny silver clipper for my charm bracelet. I hope it’s the first of many.

World War II is over and Iris Cole is betrothed to a handsome Captain—but the future is hard to enjoy when she still secretly mourns her lost lover, Lillian. At a military base in Germany she meets the mysterious Beth and becomes something other than human, swept up in Beth’s grim cause, and determined to learn what Beth has to do with Lillian.

If you would like to purchase The Taste of Her, then you can do so here.

If you’d like to hear more from Jay Robin, you can follow her on twitter and goodreads.

Guest Post: Jay Robin on ‘The Taste of Her’

The Lightning Moon

So far this year I’ve been sadly lacking in productivity when it comes to writing. The one thing I have written, however, was accepted back in March and I’ve just been sent the cover for it, which makes me very happy. It’s so dark and moody ^_^ Also it gives me a good excuse to chat a little about the story itself.

The Lightning Moon is a story about a lonely widower who spends his days doing household tasks and working in a little shop that caters exclusively for witches. His life is uneventful, perhaps even a little boring, but he’s been trying to hold together the pieces after the death of his husband.

When his brother Michael shows up with his new fiancée, however, the settled life Quinn has been living is thoroughly shaken up, especially when a certain dark-haired stranger shows up hot on their heels.

Lightning Moon

The Lightning Moon is set in a universe close to our own where magic abounds and suspicion and fear follow close behind it.

This is my first non-anthology or collected story, and will be available in e-book format sometime in January. I’m sure you will be hearing more about it here closer to the release date (:

The Lightning Moon

The Way to My Heart (Blog Hop!)

Less Than Three Press is turning 4 this month ^^ In celebration, they’ve arranged this blog hop, where LT3 authors talk about the things they love in life.

I have had two real obsessions in my life—the first was Harry Potter along with about half the country (I swear in school this was probably the only book a lot of people read voluntarily). I still love Harry Potter, and it’s something I hold close to my heart. It captured my imagination more than any other book and I can remember a bunch of us all sitting around my friend’s computer reading fanfiction, all at different paces and sniping at each other to hurry up / slow down. It was also where I first discovered slash, although I wouldn’t read or write it until some years later.

The second, more recent obsession is, of course, Supernatural. I caught the pilot late one night on ITV, was sceptical for about the first ten minutes and then quickly fell in love. It was that bit where Sam mentions the pentacle being a symbol of protection—that was when I knew the show would be good and not just more cheesy watchable horror. I didn’t know I’d still be watching it eight years later, of course—back then I don’t think I’d ever liked a show that hadn’t ended or been axed after two or three series.

I watched it with my brother for the first couple of years, encouraging him to stay up past 11 even though he was about ten at the time. Then I went off to uni, streamed it on my laptop, and fell into Dean/Castiel fanfiction early in series 5.

I’m sure loads of you are entirely aware of how amazing a fandom like that can be, and I had so much fun in mine. It taught me (in part) to write, and helped distract me from all those pesky essays. I went to cons, got involved in GISHWHES (part I and the rhino prequel) and inflicted it on spread the joy to most of my friends. I owe a lot to fandom (including my now-short hair … Damn you, GISHWHES!)

My excitement for the show waned somewhere after series 6, and I got a bit bored with 7, but 8 has brought me back and I’m remembering just how amazing this show really is, and why I keep watching it week after week.

Really, there is little I love more in life than a good angst-filled story I can get my teeth into. Especially if there’s magic or monsters involved.

Tell me about the things you love in life, and you can win an e-book copy of The Dog in the Mist (I know, I’ve given this one away before, but I only have two books so far!) Just make sure you leave a valid e-mail address if you want to win. The giveaway will be open through to the end of the blog hop on the 14th. (edit: this giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who took part!)

You can also click here or on the button at the top of the side-bar to see which other authors are blog hopping. See what makes them happy, and some of them might have more prizes for you to win (:

The Way to My Heart (Blog Hop!)

Something Happened!

Today Something Happened on the Way to Heaven was finally released as an e-book anthology!

There are 10 stories all told and because they’re all a little bit different, there’s something for everyone. They’re definitely worth checking out, and I’m looking forward to finishing Watch as My World Ends by Kayla Bain-Vrba, which I started reading in serial but never finished, not because it wasn’t good—it was amazing, but because I’m terrible with finishing my reading if I don’t do it all in one go.

My story, One for Sorrow, is F/F, and centres around Suriel, a reaping angel, and Corrine, who has just lost her brother and isn’t quite ready to let him go.

Here is a short extract from the story:

Suriel has been around death for a long time. Reaping souls has never been an easy job, but it’s all Suriel has ever known. There have been times when her purpose has been brought into question, when she has looked at a mother with her face raised to the clouded sky, begging for her child’s life, and Suriel hasn’t wanted to have to take that soul away; but she never relents, because death is eternal and every living being, including herself, belongs to it.

There are others like her, angels of death, reapers and ferrymen, working across the world. Suriel has her favorite haunts and this place is one of them. The church itself is old, first built in the 1540s, burned down in 1658 and rebuilt from the ruins a hundred years later. The graveyard is older than the church. When they dug the foundations, they found the bodies of sacrifices to ancient gods. Suriel doesn’t know what happened to the souls of those people; perhaps another angel took them or perhaps they belonged to someone else, some other god that demanded blood in payment for his favor. Suriel knows little of such mysteries.

She watches from the trees as a little girl in a blue dress, hair uncombed and pulled back in a messy ponytail, lays down a bunch of sunflowers on her mother’s grave. Her father watches her with reddened, deeply shadowed eyes. Suriel knows the look well. The small baby in his arms starts to wail and he looks lost, stares down at it as though he doesn’t even know what it is, let alone what to do with it. The girl takes the baby from him and bounces him gently in her arms, looking as though she’s had as little sleep as her father.

The baby goes quiet and the girl sits down with him in a sunny spot, while her father kneels beside the grave. For a moment, Suriel’s heart goes out to the girl and she wishes things were different for her. The girl turns to look into the trees and seems to stare right at her for several moments, until her gaze passes over her and she turns back to the baby in her arms.

Suriel sees the girl a few times between her parents’ deaths, as she waits in the trees for dark to fall, so she can reap souls unseen and unheard. The girl, Corrine, often sits in the graveyard, scribbling furiously in a brown leather notebook. It’s as peaceful a place for her as it is for Suriel; unlike most people Suriel sees in graveyards, she seems almost happy here.

Fifteen years after her mother’s death, Suriel watches Corrine bury her father, the baby, Alec, now grown and standing beside her. They take comfort in one another and Suriel almost feels as if she knows them. She held their mother’s soul as a part of herself once and she knows their names, knows Corrine’s love of books and animals and pretty clothes. Corrine is beautiful, and her heart is pure and full of love. Suriel doesn’t need to hold her soul to know that; she can see it in the way she cares for her brother, in the way she moves, in the way she speaks. For Suriel, it is only a small spark of feeling, but it is enough to make her wish that things were different.

You can buy Something Happened on the Way to Heaven here, as well as read a couple of excerpts from stories by other authors, and the goodreads page is here, for those of you who like to rate the books you read or see ratings before you buy.

Something Happened!

Giveaway: The Dog in the Mist

I’m finally ready to host my first ever giveaway! ^_^ I will be giving an e-book copy of The Dog in the Mist to one lucky commenter (maybe two lucky commenters if I’m feeling generous and get enough comments).


Dorian has been favored by tragedy for what seems like his entire life. He’s lost his parents, his best friend, and now he’s lost his gran as well. As if that’s not enough, he is stalked by a black dog too large to be just an ordinary dog, and which seems to bring death in its wake. To save himself, he will have to return to beliefs that he cast away long ago …

Please remember to leave some sort of detail so I can contact you, either an e-mail address or a twitter account where I can get hold of you.

To make it a bite more interesting and get some kind of discussion going, tell me, what is YOUR favourite mythological creature/being?

Please note: This giveaway is now closed.

Giveaway: The Dog in the Mist

The Dog is Out!

Well, today’s the day. The Dog in the Mist is finally out and available for purchase.

The story follows Dorian as he struggles to deal with the loss of his best friend and the death of his last parental figure—his gran. At the same time, he’s followed by a mysterious black dog. It’s just a dog, but it sends a chill through Dorian whenever he catches sight of it, and as it follows him, death seems to follow it.

It’s set in the little moorland town of Okehampton, a setting for which I have to thank my old housemate for providing, and for showing me around the place. There are a lot of really cool myths and legends surrounding Dartmoor, and it can look pretty creepy on cold days when the mist rolls in. My university house was right on the end of the row and from my bedroom window you could see the moors on clear days, and you could tell when the night would be misty because you couldn’t see the moors at all.

Anyway, enough waffling. I’m off to the shops to buy cheap booze in celebration (:

You can buy the individual e-book here or the whole volume 2 bundle here.

If you read it, and you want to, you can rate the book on Goodreads. I like to read reviews, because then I know what works for people and what doesn’t, and if I can learn from any mistakes I made.

Just to sign off, here’s a picture of Okehampton castle, (taken from the English Heritage site, because all my photographs suck).

Happy reading!

The Dog is Out!

Excerpt: The Dog in the Mist

The good people over at Less Than Three Press now have Bestiary excerpts up on their Coming Soon page.

You can read the excerpt for The Dog in the Mist here, so you can see if you hate it and would rather save your money for something else (although obviously I’m hoping for the opposite reaction). The excerpt covers the first couple of pages from the book.

There are also excerpts for a bunch of the other stories that you should check out, because some of those are amazing ^^

And now that the word ‘excerpt’ has lost all meaning to me, I bid you adieu until I have some more noteworthy information for you.

Excerpt: The Dog in the Mist

The Bestiary, Coming Soon

I have a publication date for The Dog in the Mist! It’s part of LT3’s The Bestiary collection, and will be released on the 14th of November, both as a single e-book and as part of a bundle. There will be four bundles available, released weekly, and the whole collection will be available once all the bundles have been released. They will also be available in four volumes in paperback later on.

I absolutely love the cover art for these. Check out the others in the collection, because they’re all really cool.

I also have the official blurb, which has changed a bit from the rough draft I posted last month.

Dorian has been favored by tragedy for what seems like his entire life. He’s lost his parents, his best friend, and now he’s lost his gran as well. As if that’s not enough, he is stalked by a black dog too large to be just an ordinary dog, and which seems to bring death in its wake. To save himself, he will have to return to beliefs that he cast away long ago …

The Dog in the Mist is now listed over on GoodReads, so you can add it to your to-read shelves. Most of the other Bestiary stories are also up on GoodReads now, so you can check those out as well. They all look so good and I can’t wait to read them =D

The Bestiary, Coming Soon

Watch This Space

Some good news (: My story The Dog in the Mist has been accepted for Less Than Three Press’ upcoming The Bestiary collection.

The story is approximately 32,000 words, and it’s set in Okehampton and the surrounding Dartmoor area, incorporating a few different English and Devonshire myths.

Image
A shot of Dartmoor, near Okehampton

The Dog in the Mist should be available as an individual e-book or as part of a bundle, and later as part of a paperback anthology. No idea on the release date yet, but I’ll update when I have more information.

I don’t have an official summary yet, so this will probably change a bit, but for now, here’s my draft summary:

Dorian is unlucky. He’s lost his parents, his best friend, and now he’s lost his gran as well. And to top it all off, he’s being stalked by a dog—a dog that’s bigger than a dog has any right to be, a dog that brings death in its wake. Soon, Dorian will learn that all the things he pushed from his mind, all the stories he was told as a kid about faeries and ghosts and monsters, are real. And maybe, just maybe, they can help him reclaim some of what he’s lost.

I’m quite fond of these boys. I think I’ll miss writing them.

Watch This Space