Edge of Insanity

Today will be our last day of being unpublished novelists. Soul Asylum will be released tomorrow and from that point on, we’ll be able to call ourselves published novelists. It’s been our dream for years and it still doesn’t seem real. Usually, when most people dream of having their debut novel published, they imagine that phonecall or email from a publisher, telling them how much they loved it, that they want to sign it. Fast forward 18 months/2 years and the book is finally on the shelves of bookshops. We’re not going to lie – this was our vision too.

But this isn’t how it’s going to be for us, because when we had that dream, we weren’t indie authors. We are now and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes there’s never going to be that phonecall/email and we won’t see our novel in shops, unless we want to risk making a loss, but we’ve done it our way – we’ve chosen our gorgeous cover (thanks Fireclaw Films) and we’ve been able to commission our wonderful trailer (thanks Fireclaw Films) check it out here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKUWT7rr_FU and we’ve been able to choose our own release date.

C L Raven, Soul AsylumWe also have exciting news – we’re in the Wales on Sunday today! Don’t panic, if you’re not in Wales, or the shops are shut, the article is also online – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2012/09/30/spooky-sisters-cathryn-and-linsey-davies-release-their-debut-horror-story-91466-31933312/yes, the snake IS real, he’s our beautiful corn snake, Charlie. Who is camera shy and a little stroppy because he was dragged out of bed for a photo shoot. His words were ‘Naomi Campbell wouldn’t put up with this, why should I?’ We appeased him by telling him she’d never be as beautiful, talented or special as him. Snakes – so sensitive!

So don’t forget – Soul Asylum is out tomorrow in ebook format and out in print…when it comes. We’ll let you know.

Stage Fright

The funeral march plays. The execution drums beat to the rhythm of the condemned man’s pounding heart. The bloodthirsty crowd wait for the moment the noose is placed around his neck and he plummets through the trap door into eternal darkness. Except this is not our execution. (Sorry about that). This is the one week countdown to *the execution drums beat faster* the release of Soul Asylum.

And we’re terrified.

Condemned man about to reach the gallows terrified. Our entire writing lives, (all 17 diabolical years of them) all we’ve ever wanted was to publish our novels. To hold our own books in our hands. (Maybe brain the odd burglar with them should our swords fail). The crappy bound books we used to make with childish felt pen covers don’t count. And now finally, for the first time ever, one of our dreams is actually coming true. And we’re beyond scared.

Soul Asylum was first written SEVEN YEARS ago. It’s had so many edits it’s practically unrecognisable from the terrible original. At least, we assume it’s terrible. We can’t bring ourselves to read it in its handwritten, raw form.  So seven years of work is about to be launched into the public eye and we’re not ready. We think it’s crap. It’s not dark enough, not scary enough, not well written enough,  it doesn’t do the cover justice, it’s not the novel we so desperately wanted it to be. These are the thoughts that keep us awake at night.

After all the build-up, nobody’s going to like it. We strongly suspect every writer has this crisis of confidence when release day draws near. Except we didn’t really have it for Gunning Down Romance. We were too excited. Two of the stories had already been published and well received. It was the first story, Kiss of Death we were worried about because we couldn’t get the ending right. We were more nervous about Disenchanted because everyone loved GDR, we thought we couldn’t match it.  Second album syndrome or whatever it’s called. But the few people who’ve read Disenchanted told us as much as they loved GDR, they prefer Disenchanted. But Soul Asylum is nothing like them. It’s not a collection of short, darkly humorous stories. It’s a ghost story set entirely in an asylum. The novel does not venture outside the grounds of Ravens Retreat.

We can actually feel a panic attack lurking. For those of you who know us, you know we’ve suffered them since we were 14 but they haven’t plagued us for months. Now we can feel them chasing us down like demented serial killers in the latest slasher film. The book is launched in a WEEK. We’ve been preparing for it since JULY. We formatted the ebook WEEKS ago. We prepared the print book a few weeks ago. We’ve been planning the trailer with Ryan since Disenchanted’s trailer was released in July. We’ve been thinking about it for even longer – maybe a year. And we’re not ready. We haven’t filmed the launch video. Haven’t even picked an extract to read or a location where to film it. Our desperate attempts to gain permission to film the book trailer inside an asylum have either been ignored or refused. So Ryan’s now working on the trailer using our back up plan. We still have guest blog posts to write and we have no idea what to topics to choose. We haven’t even scheduled a launch party because we’re frightened the proposed launch on Oct 1st won’t happen.

Maybe we’re better delaying its release ‘til we’re ready. Next year perhaps. But no, ‘cos our aim was to have a novel published before we were 30. That deadline runs out in February. If only we had more time to do just one more edit…

But right now we feel like running into the asylum and locking ourselves away until the launch is over. Because if this book is as awful as our minds are telling us it is, then our dreams will burn like the patients who haunt Ravens Retreat.

Tax Avoidance

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letters I R S and the number of times we’ve had to phone them. Those of you who follow us on Twitter or are friends with us on Facebook, will know of the battle we’ve been having with obtaining an ITIN or an EIN from the IRS. Forget Jason’s quest for the golden fleece, forget Perseus’ battle with Medusa and don’t even think about Hercules’ labours. Our battle outranks them all. And we didn’t have an endless jug of Red Bull to keep us going, unlike Jason, the cheat.

You’ve heard the tagline ‘tax doesn’t have to be taxing.’ Whoever wrote that clearly hasn’t dealt with the IRS. Anyhoo, for those of you who are starting out as indie authors, there’s one process that’s more terrifying than facing Medusa with seriously bad PMS – American. Tax. This only applies if you’re not American. Basically, America is like Scrooge with its tax and will withhold 30% of your earnings. Why? Because you’re an alien. Seriously, this is the term they used when referring to foreigners. We are non-resident aliens with a foreign entity. Sounds painful. However, several countries, the UK being one of them, has a tax treaty with America, meaning, they have to give us that 30%. BUT (and this is the annoying part) they don’t just say “Hey, our bad, we forgot about the treaty, here’s your 30%” No. They make you BEG for it. If they could get away with forcing you to do in an embarrassing costume, they would.

As indie authors, if you’re an individual, you need an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) and can apply for it using Form W-7. This is where we hit a snag – we’re not an individual, we’re a team. So we figured we probably needed an EIN (Employer Identification Number) instead, which is for partnerships, companies, etc. So to make sure we were applying for the correct tax number, we scoured their website. For DAYS. We were lost in the land of confuzzlement and couldn’t find the ladder to escape back in the faraway tree. The website is about as helpful as blank map. The only example of a partnership it gave, was a husband and wife team and that didn’t really relate to us.

So we figured the best thing to do, was to ring them. We got the number for the US Embassy in London and rang. It took us through all the options (we needed option 5) then it just rang. And rang. And rang. For half an hour. We hung up and tried again. It rang. And rang. And rang. Now, we hate using the phone. If we can avoid it, we will. For years, during our darkest time, we couldn’t even answer the phone, let alone ring someone. So having to ring the US Embassy to discuss tax was a huge thing for us. Did we mention we’re terrible at maths? In school, our exam marks averaged at 20%.

But none of that mattered because they didn’t answer the phone. At all. All day. By this point we were so fed up, we put the phone on speaker and left it lying around ringing, just so the constantly ringing phone would annoy them as much  as they were annoying us. Go Team Revenge! Naturally they’re closed on weekends and being a US Embassy, they not only observe British holidays, but American ones too. They don’t need more time off – on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays they only work 9-12! And of course, Monday was Labour Day. So we rang on Tuesday at 9. It rang. And rang. And rang. They didn’t answer the phone at all. We were due to go to Cornwall on the Thursday and wanted this sorted before then, because Createspace won’t let your book go live unless you have this friggin’ number. And really we should’ve done this in February when Gunning Down Romance was published, but we’ve been putting it off. Plus we figured they won’t bother holding back 30% of nothing.

On Wednesday, we were so irate, we rang the IRS in America. We know from our American friends on Facebook and Twitter, that sometimes they have trouble understanding us. Part of it is the accent, part of it is because we excel at mumbling. So we were sorely tempted to speak to the IRS using the strongest Welsh accents we could muster. With added mumbling. Maybe with some choice Welsh phrases thrown in for good measure. Dwi ddim yn hoffi treth.

We soon gave up on that when they answered the phone and spoke so slowly we were nearly asleep by the time they finished giving their ID number. So then we started jabbering on about our problem and they soon quickened their speech. Eventually, after confusing the poor guy on the phone, we learned we did need an EIN. So had to phone back to apply by phone. You can apply by mail, by that takes 4 weeks, whereas if you apply by phone, it takes about 15 minutes.

We then had the joy of having to spell out every single word, even Cardiff. But the guy on the other end, couldn’t even understand our spelling. We had to revert to the phonetic alphabet. Somehow, he mistook ‘Raven’ for ‘Ladytown’. C L Ladytown would be writing in a whole different genre, pal. Even after spelling out some stuff he said ‘it doesn’t look right.’ No, it’s Welsh and trust us, Llanishen is the English spelling. Llanisien looks even worse. Eventually, we got the form filled out and hung up, both parties relieved. Us because we had an EIN and it was relatively painless in the end, and him because he could escape for a lie down with a wheatgerm pack and some Ibruprofen.

We quickly filled out the W8-BEN form, (which basically tells the IRS to get their grubby little mitts off our 30%) and we sent it to Amazon. So now we can bring Disenchanted and Soul Asylum out in print and hopefully will never have to deal with the IRS again. Unless of course, they contact us to tell us that they’re sorry for the way the Embassy behaved and would like to compensate us for our time wasted. Cheque please!

Cover Story

Last week we proudly revealed the cover for Soul Asylum. We loved it and didn’t think it could get any better. We were wrong. Ryan Ashcroft from Fireclaw Films http://fireclawfilms.com/ has now completed the print version of the cover. We would tell you how amazing it is, how it’s the best cover we’ve ever seen (along with Disenchanted’s of course) but you should probably see for yourself. And if you like this, Fireclaw Films have an offer of 30% off book covers http://fireclawfilms.com/2012/09/15/30-off-book-cover-packages/ so get one before the offer ends!

We now present you with Soul Asylum! Due out October 2012.

Soul Asylum C L Raven Fireclaw Films Ryan Ashcroft

The Next Big Thing

We’ve been tagged by the lovely Lacey Dearie to do this blog post and we’re really looking forwards to it. Basically, we answer ten questions about our current work in progress, and then tag five other writers who will tell you all about their current WIPs. Or they’ll have to do a forfeit. Ok, we made the forfeit bit up, but had you sweating there for a minute, didn’t we? 😉 Technically we’re cheating a bit as Soul Asylum’s actually ready for release but the only other things we’re working on are editing short stories as as we’re preparing Soul Asylum for it’s debut, we’re counting it as our WIP.

What is the working title of your book?
 Soul Asylum. Actually it’s been Soul Asylum since the start and we refuse to change it. It’s perfect.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

Honestly can’t remember. We’re terrible at these sorts of questions. Uh…we’ll go with…we put 20p into a gumball style machines, a little ball popped out and inside was the idea for the book.

What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal Horror
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Shame Johnny Depp’s too old for Phineas. He’d be perfect! Sod it, he can pass for 23 can’t he? He’s hired! Would like to use unknowns ‘cos we don’t picture actors when we write. We’re probably alone in this.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Mason Strider arrives at Ravens Retreat to expose the ghost tours as a con. Instead he exposes the asylum’s twisted heart.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Self published. Indie all the way!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

started it 31st Jan 2005, finished it 13th Sept 2005.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Aw this is where we look all uneducated by staring blankly. *Guiltily admitting to not having read many ghost novels. Any ghost novels.*

 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

We can barely remember what happened last week, let alone what was inspiring us seven years ago! Pixies. If in doubt, blame the pixies.

 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The asylum is based on Denbigh asylum, the very one we were kicked out of when we tried to get inside 😀 Here’s the blurb –

The blood wanted to prick a conscience that couldn’t bleed.

Poe could keep his telltale heart.

I couldn’t hear it beating.

Ravens Retreat harbours a sinister secret. Inside its blackened heart lurk the ghosts of patients and staff who died when the asylum was burned down in 1904. Over a hundred years later, the West wing survives and now the patients want revenge.

Their eternal repose is disturbed by a malevolent poltergeist and the ghost tours led by the asylum’s resident, Phineas Soul, which attract the attention of journalist Mason Strider. His attempts to expose Phineas as a fraud have catastrophic consequences when it’s Ravens Retreat’s dark heart that’s exposed as it awakens to claim the lives of those who dare to enter its brutal past.

Their sanity begins to erode as the ghostly East wing returns to haunt them. And when Ravens Retreat rises from its ashes, all that will remain are the patients’ dying screams.

Some things should never be disturbed.

Soul Asylum is released October 2012 and will also be available in paperback. Once we sort out our sodding tax.
Now to tag our victims!
Anya Breton
Elaine Allen
Gena Mantz
Rebecca Fisk
Andrew Patterson

Jamaica Inn

 Jamaica InnDay three started early with a spooky trip to Tesco for more ice bags. Actually it wasn’t spooky but as our ghost hunting holiday hadn’t turned up anything paranormal, we were trying to crank up the creep factor. No, wait a minute, day three really started with us discovering if we jumped from the bed settee onto the settee mattress, it was springy enough to propel us onto the bed. Rumours of us turning 30 in Feb have been greatly exaggerated.

Then began our hunt for the Beast of Bodmin. Ryan refused to don a ridiculous costume for our hoax video, much to our disgust. He was almost kicked out of the team for that one. We assured him we would avenge his untimely demise should a local farmer shoot him but he wasn’t appeased by this. With the worst hoax in the history of hoaxes in tatters, we drove through the Moors, finding only some sheep, and they weren’t in the least bit panther shaped.Bodmin Moor

We found Jamaica Inn and drove into the car park only to drive straight back out again. No we weren’t chased out by pirates. We figured 10:30 was a bit early for a drink so we decided to do some more beast hunting. As we toured the Moors, we came across Dozmary Pool, where King Arthur’s sword was apparently thrown after his death. The sign pointed left so we went left. Only to end up driving down a potholed dirt track. There was a bit of a thunk from Mickey and we questioned whether we were supposed to be driving down there. But we’d gone too far to turn back. Also turning back would be like admitting we weren’t supposed to be driving down there. We parked by a gate in some mud and got out to look at the lake, Mickey’s fan loudly protesting. Mini Coopers clearly don’t like being forced to go off road.

We did a bit more beastie hunting before the lure of Jamaica Inn was too hard to resist. We considered driving to the coast, wrecking some ships and stashing the booty in Jamaica Inn so our mum could retire. (Who wouldn’t want a chest full of gold as a holiday souvenir?) But there was no way we’d get a treasure chest in Mickey with all our stuff inside so we returned to the Inn bootyless. Sorry mum. We were so excited at finally being at one of the most haunted places in Britain it was all we could do to stop ourselves borrowing some local horses and charging over the cobbles shouting ‘pieces of eight’ and ‘give us yer gold ye scurvy sons of biscuit eaters.’ But we suspected the elderly clientele wouldn’t engage in an energetic sword fight with us.Jamaica Inn

We first toured the Daphne du Maurier and smugglers museum, taking a photo of L K Jay’s copy of Jamaica Inn near du Maurier’s writing desk. Then we headed for the Inn itself, all hyped up on pirates, ghosts and treasure. Only for One Direction’s ‘Beautiful’ to be playing as we walked in. Mood. Killed. Even worse, the barman was singing to it, not reaching for his shotgun and threatening us with the hangman’s noose. We unashamedly explored the Inn, taking photos and posing behind the original bar, which was Joss’ bar in the book. Unfortunately the K2 was silent. We were desperate for it to be really spooky and haunted but had we not known the significance of the Inn, it was just like any other pub of that age. With added mannequins.

We absolutely loved it and wished we could’ve afforded to stay the night so we could experience how spooky it was on the lonely Moors after the sun had died. We were reluctant to leave, even after we’d been there a couple of hours but it was our last day and we had a beast to find. We got lost on the Moors and stopped for an impromptu interview. With a sheep. He stopped grazing but seemed reluctant to answer our questions. None of the others wanted to talk to us. In fact, every time Ryan called out “the beast is coming!” they all got up and ran off. We thought maybe the first sheep was a bit skittish but this happened every time he warned them. Clearly the beast is much more than a Cornish legend. The sheep’s behaviour hinted the beast is very real.

We got out to explore the Moors but didn’t find any sign of this beastie that had the sheep so worried. We finally convinced Ryan to do a bit of beastie dancing, only for a military looking Jeep to speed along the track. Had the beast been spotted? Did they believe our rumours that Ryan was in fact the beast and had come to take him to a secure unit for ‘examination’? Or were they just heading for the nearby military museum? We might never know. But for now, the beast remains just a legend.C L Raven at Jamaica Inn

Just when we thought we’d be lost on the Moors forever, with tales of a hot orange Mini Cooper haunting the locals, we found our way to Bude. We’d been looking forwards to chips and ice cream at a vegan friendly cafe. It was closed. Annoyed, we kicked some locals before buying pasties for our family. We left Bude at 5 to return home. Only to get lost. Well, not lost, we knew exactly where we were. Right along the coast at the top of Devon. Miles out of our way. We should’ve gone east but instead went north. Very north. We decided to stick with the coastal route and we’re so glad we did. It was stunning. We got to drive through country lanes, see the sun setting over cliffs and beaches and drive through the beautiful Exmoor forest. Not exactly ghost hunting scenery. There was a car parked at the top of one of the cliffs we’d stopped to photograph and a check confirmed it was empty. Where was the driver? There was nowhere to walk – we were on a cliff edge. Had the beast strayed into Devon and had a human sized snack? We’ll never know.

We were very reluctant to leave as Cornwall is stunning. Wish we could’ve stayed longer. In fact we’re planning a return trip. But when we hit the M5, we could smell Wales and suddenly we were desperate to get home. First thing we did when arriving back at 10pm was hunt down the cats for kisses. Warlock’s hunger strike lasted a day. Kyler, the iguana was more committed. His hunger strike lasted 2 days. Warlock has barely left our sides since we got back, so while we can’t wait to return to Cornwall, it’ll be a while before we venture off again. It’s nice to be missed.

And if anyone sees the beast, tell him we’re looking for him.Calamityville Horror at Jamaica Inn

Get out of Jail Free

Day two of Calamityville Horror Roadtrip started reasonably well. None of us got a great night’s sleep – our intermittent insomnia means we find it difficult sleeping anywhere other than our own beds. Ryan’s restlessness might have had something to do with the incontinence mattress he was sleeping on. We’re not kidding. It was covered in a plastic coating with towelling on top. Every time he moved, it crunched, earning him the nickname Crinkles. Perhaps Travelodge believe that whoever sleeps on the pull out bed has bladder problems. Maybe they should invest in a nappy dispenser.

St. Ives

As we were going to St. Ives

Our first port of call was St. Ives. We used to go to St. Ives and Mevagissy all the time when we were kids. And everytime we went, we always visited Fat Willy’s surf shack. Today was no exception. We had a bit of a nightmare trying to park and ended up driving all the way through the town before finding a car park above a beach. Cat got into another argument with the pay and display machine when she found out it didn’t give change. She couldn’t return to the car, because there was a queue forming behind her and she couldn’t signal to Lynx and Ryan in the car, because she was out of sight. She marched away from the machine, furious. And ten pence poorer.

We headed straight for the harbour and a postcard shop to get a postcard for our niece. She started nursery on Wednesday and has found it hard, so as she loves getting postcards, we figured it’d cheer her up. We didn’t get her a cute postcard, we got her one with smugglers. She loves pirates as much as we do. Though unfortunately we haven’t met any. We were hoping to get enough treasure for our mum to retire. Who wouldn’t want smugglers’ gold as a holiday souvenir?

We then made our way to Fat Willy’s. The shop has changed a bit from when we were kids, but the jukebox is still there. And although they now do their t-shirts in different colours, we bought our niece a black one, like the ones we had as kids. We even made Ryan take a photo of us holding the t-shirt outside the shop. Purely to make our sister jealous 😀

Ryan taunted us by having an ice cream as we wandered the streets. As Travelodge don’t have freezers in the rooms, or even fridges, we’ve been unable to bring our vegan ice cream. Those of you who follow us on Twitter or are friends with us on Facebook, will know how much we love ice cream. We eat a massive bowl of it every day. Even when it’s freezing outside. So him eating his in front of us was beyond cruel. As tempting as it was to trip him so he could watch the seagulls enjoy his tasty treat, we left him and his ice cream cone unmolested. Karma rewarded our self-control with an ice cream shop, Willy Wallers, which sold vegan sorbet. We ordered a chocolate one each. It was delicious! It’s been fifteen years since we’ve eaten ice cream out of a tub with a small spoon and we enjoyed every mouthful.

We decided to head for Bodmin, but first made a detour to Penzance to buy some ice from Tesco’s. We brought a cool box that we packed with two bags of ice to keep our many Red Bulls and soya milk ice cold. It works wonderfully, but unfortunately, it turns to water by morning and will therefore make a great wake up alarm if Ryan tries to have a lie in. We also had an ulterior motive for going to Penzance – the route between Penzance and Hayle has a village called Cockwells. We missed our photo opportunity when we went on the ghost walk and we couldn’t let the sign go unphotographed. Ryan refused to get out and stand by it in his Fat Willy’s t-shirt. Some people have no appreciation for the arts.

Bodmin JailWe then went to the place we’ve been most looking forwards to – Bodmin Jail. We didn’t get lost! This is becoming a nasty habit. Particularly as we didn’t print out many route planners so we relying on our map reading skills and sign posts. It’s £6.50 to get in but it’s so worth it. http://www.bodminjail.org/ It was boiling outside so we took our jumpers off. Only for the jail to be 12 degrees C. Yes, we used our new toy for the first time – our temperature gun. The jail is everything a jail should be – dark and creepy. There were many levels to explore and we spent three hours there.

Bodmin JailWeirdly, when we were exploring one of the lower levels, we were setting up a shot when this family approached us. Turns out, they recognised us from Oxford Castle. In fact, they were on the same tour as us! What are the chances? They’re from the Berkshire paranormal group, so we compared notes on Oxford and Hell Fire Caves. For some reason, these mad coincidences never happen with us and Johnny Depp. We’ve never managed to be in the same room as him.

Bodmin JailAfter exploring the jail, we wandered around the back to get some outside shots. There we stumbled across another wing of the jail. We saw it from one of the levels in the main jail and were desperate to get inside. All the cells were still there, but there were no walkways so we couldn’t explore it all. Sadly, the gift shop wasn’t open. We were gutted. Apparently it closed at three, but we were there at two and it was already closed, which is a bit strange, as the jail is open ‘til dusk, so they’re missing out on a lot of potential custom.

It had been our intention to visit Bodmin Moor and Jamaica Inn on the same day as the jail, but we decided to save them for Saturday. Our second Travelodge was in Wadebridge so we began driving towards it. Only to realise we were heading in completely the wrong direction. We had to turn around and retrace our steps ALL the way back to the jail. Turns out, instead of going left out of the jail, we should’ve gone right.

We found Wadebridge with no further mishaps. Except we couldn’t find our Travelodge. We swear they hide them from us. There is no way we can miss FOUR Travelodges. There MUST be a conspiracy involved. Ryan chastised us for not getting the postcode, but then his iPhone died, rendering any postcode useless. We drove through Wadebridge one way, failed to find the Travelodge, so turned around and headed another way through Wadebridge. We drove out the other end, looking for somewhere to turn around. And drove straight past our Travelodge. We did a quick u-turn in Tesco’s then parked up.

This Travelodge has a big disadvantage to the one in Hayle – Ryan’s pull out bed doesn’t have an incontinence mattress. Looks like he’ll have to get up to use the toilet this time.

Bodmin Jail

Hang ’em High

Bewitched

Tintagel castle cliffs3 people, 2 suitcases, food and other essentials on a ghost hunting tour of Cornwall for 3 days. In a Mini Cooper Convertible. It sounds like the start to a bad joke or at least a comedy show. It’s Calamityville Horror Roadtrip. So yeah, the start to a bad joke or a comedy show 😀

After weeks of crappy weather, we’ve had nothing but hot sunshine on our holiday. Our pasty skin blinded passers-by, who donned their sunglasses and hissed at the rare sight. We made good time and didn’t nearly die once. It was looking good. Except our big black cat, Warlock spent the day on a hunger strike in protest of us leaving. Temptations swiftly ended it. Our first destination was the witchcraft museum in Boscastle. the museum of witchcraft, BoscastleWe didn’t even know of its existence until we were circling places on our map and discovered it by accident. We’re so glad we did. We initially drove out of Boscastle so pulled into a petrol station to ask for directions. Only for a lorry to pull in behind us and jam us in. We thought it was getting diesel. No. It was unloading supplies for the shop. It was hot in the car so we ate some lunch while we waited to be freed, our patience melting with our skin. Then Cat hit a low point by arguing with the pay and display machine because it swallowed her 5p, until Ryan told her to press the coin return. That worked but the relationship remained frosty.

The museum was fantastic. We were speaking to the owner at the start and he told us he’d seen the beast of Bodmin Moor – 3 years ago! He even let us interview him. We’d only just arrived and already we had an interview for this sinking ship that is Calamityville. He was certain we would love the museum and he was right. There was everything related to witchcraft including poppets, wands, Mandrake root, herbs, Ouija boards, swords and skulls. And even entire board relating to penis amulets. We even bought an iron Athame. Yes people, we now have our very own wand. Ryan is now a little scared of the power we wield. The witchcraft museum, BoscastleWe even used a Tarot machine for the first time. Basically, you put a coin in, the needle spins and lands on a card. Ryan tutted at us for paying 2p as he slotted £1 in. If writing paid better, we’d be less stingy. His tarot card was Judgement. Lynx’s landed smack between The Fool and Justice. Cat got The Devil. Throughout the museum were signs warning people not to lean across the displays as they were alarmed. While we were loitering by the magic mirror (if you see a face, it’s the person you’ll marry. Wentworth Miller didn’t appear) an alarm blared around the museum and a guilty looking Ryan stepped back from the display.

We then headed to Tintagel castle. It was basically ruins but it was right on top of a cliff and was the birth place of King Arthur. Merlin’s Caves were underneath. The views were stunning. Unfortunately Cat’s bad knee had been playing up all week and the steep cliff steps finished it off but she ignored the pain and we climbed another cliff to more ruins. Luckily she packed her ice pack and crutches. Tintagel castleAfter that we headed for Hayle and our Travelodge. For those who know our tales of woe when trying to find our Travelodges in North Wales, you won’t be surprised to discover we couldn’t find this one. Turned out in wasn’t actually IN Hayle. Travelodge name them after the nearest town, not the actual destination. We were directed to a garage and pulled in to the car park, only to discover it was Premier Inn. As we toured the car park, we spied Travelodge lurking behind a Shell petrol station, spying on us. And it had just caught us flirting with another motel. We scurried over and assured Travelodge that it wasn’t what it looked like, we were just LOOKING at Premier Inn and it meant nothing to us.

Penzance ghost walkWe had just enough time to unpack and have a quick snack before leaving for Penzance. Mum told us to leave at half seven for the half eight ghost walk. We left at 7:55 – we had to wait for Ryan’s equipment to recharge. We got there on time and were even allowed to film. The walk lasted til 10:15 and it was brilliant. The guide, Ian Addicoat, was really entertaining and clearly knew a lot about the area. There were 15-20 of us on the walk yet we were the only ones who had a light. In the pitch black cemetery, Lynx kindly lit the steps for the elderly people in the group so no one broke a hip. That would really sour the spooky atmosphere. We kept getting left behind as we skulked in the dark taking photos like perverts. Iain told us of the legends of black dogs and how people die soon after seeing these spectral creatures. Ryan was then paranoid about meeting them. We planned to tell him we couldn’t see any black dogs if he spotted one.Penzance ghost walk

We found our way back to our Travelodge no problem, which surprised us all. A whole day in Cornwall and we didn’t get lost once. In other news, Jupiter has melted.

Dead Giveaway

Today we are handing over the keys to Sean and Dan Campbell, the brilliant brothers behind 90 Days Novel. We were honoured to have them in Ravens Retreat back in May when their debut novel, Dead On Demand was published and now we’re thrilled that they’ve accepted our invitation for a return visit. Well, they didn’t really have a choice. We accidentally locked them in on their last visit and they’ve been rapidly running out of food. But happily the sniffer dogs managed to find them and they’re back with a triple giveaway! So we’ll leave you in their safe hands and we’ll try to remember to show them where the exit is this time. Enjoy!

Dead on DemandSibling Author Giveaway: Everyone wins (twice!)

Hello!

We’re Sean and Dan, and this is our second time venturing into Raven’s Retreat. Last time we told you all a little about our book Dead on Demand which is a crime thriller wrote in 90 days to prove we could.

Since then we’ve been for sale exclusively on Amazon and in the three months since launch we’ve had some pretty good responses to the novel. With 27 reviews between the UK and the US and a 4. something average we think the challenge has been pretty successful, but it isn’t really up to us to decide. You guys get to the judge, jury and execution for all eBooks, and rightly so.

With that in mind we’re making Dead on Demand free for 5 days running from the 4th September to the 8th of September so that you can download a free copy and let us know how you think we did.

To take advantage of this all you have to do is:

1. Go to Amazon’s website:

USA: http://www.amazon.com/​Dead-on-Demand-ebook/dp/​B0080FCR2G/

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/​Dead-on-Demand-ebook/dp/​B0080FCR2G/

2. Click buy for $0.00/ £0.00

3. Enjoy!

You can let us know how we did via email (authors at 90daysnovel.com), via a review (on Amazon or Goodreads) or simply be sticking a comment on this blog post.

As a small incentive every person who comments on this blog post (whether or not about the book) has the chance to win a $25 Amazon.com gift card (or £15 in the event of a UK winner). Comments need to be in before Sunday the 9th at midnight, and the winner will be selected by Cat and Lynx in a manner of their choosing. We seriously suggest the winner spends £2/ $3 of it picking up their awesome short story collection Disenchanted which is a modern day retelling that really does outdo the brothers Grimm.

So to make it clear, this promo is open to UK and US residents only (where allowed under local law) and the winner is responsible for any local tax payable on prizes. The gift certificate will be sent electronically within 5 working days of the closing date.

Better yet, this is an ‘Everyone wins’ competition. EVERY entrant can have a free copy of our very well received eBook marketing text ‘Can’t Sell, Won’t Sell’. Just email us asking for your copy after commenting (let us know which comment is yours) and we’ll send you over your choice of ePub or .mobi file.

That’s on top of the free copy of Dead on Demand we’re already giving you.

For more chances to win some fun goodies come find Dead on Demand at other blogs this week where we’ll be giving away signed copies, unsigned copies and other random stuff.

To recap: Grab Dead on Demand from the above links, and leave a comment on this blog post to try and win $25 AND bag yourself a guaranteed free copy of Can’t Sell Won’t Sell. No purchase required.

Double dip freebies, can’t say fairer than that!

Sean and Dan

How cool is that? Who doesn’t like free stuff? So visit them at 90daysnovel.com, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @90daysnovel

Cover up

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! Well we’ve been waiting excitedly anyway. Soul Asylum’s cover is finished! And we will be revealing it you now, LIVE! We’d played around with different effects in Gimp and decided we wanted it in negative with flames. But we couldn’t do the flames so we handed the project over to Ryan of Fireclaw Films, who did Gunning Down Romance’s stunning cover and Disenchanted’s book trailer for us. We’re so glad we did! He did several versions until we found the one we were happy with and even did our own unique text because the text we wanted to use was hard to read. We can’t wait to hold the book, stroke it, kiss it and take it to bed as we won’t be putting it down.

We’ll shut up now. Here it is! *clapping like demented seals* Ryan, we can’t thank you enough! In a show of gratitude, we promise not to put a cold can of Red Bull down your back for an ENTIRE DAY! That’s how happy we are 😀

Soul Asylum book cover by Fireclaw Films