Question Time

As a special request from the wonderfully nutty Rebecca Fisk, we’ve agreed to answer her questions from the Liebster Award. We love a bit of rule breaking 😉

1. If you were a Superhero, what would your Nemesis’ power be?

The ability to produce a Red Bull can by blinking. We would be defeated by constantly falling for this dastardly prank.

2. Take three sentences from three of your favorite songs and make a paragraph that may or may not make sense.

Welcome to a new kind of tension, all across the alien nation where everything isn’t meant to be ok. Will you defeat them, your demons? It ain’t about all the friends you make but the graffiti they write on your grave.

3. What do you wished you had been named?

We’ve always liked our names and never wanted to be named anything else (thanks mum for insisting our names had unusual spellings, we love that) but we do like the names Roxy and Savannah.
4. What is a book/song/movie you wish you’ve never read/heard/watched and why?

Oh god so many. So, so many. Book – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Booker prize winner that everyone banged on about so we went against our better judgement and read it. Nearly cried with boredom. Song – anything by the Beatles. We know this won’t be popular but we hate their music. There, we said it. We hate the Beatles. *sits back and waits to be shot*. Movie – can’t think of one in particular, but we have watched  a lot of bad ones.

5. Let’s pretend the Zombie Apocalypse is actually going to happen. How are you going to survive it?

By drinking lots of Red Bull and wielding our swords at anyone suspicious. Yes we own swords. Also we plan to take over Cardiff castle, lure the zombies to the Millennium Stadium and bomb them. The castle’s huge, has air raid tunnels and a Keep and is in the centre of town so the zombies will have hundreds of bait to keep them occupied while we seize the castle. Haven’t really given it much thought 😉

6. Would you rather be raised by wolves or penguins?

oooh we love penguins! And sitting on a penguin’s feet and being in the penguin huddle is appealing but wolves are badass. Nobody would mess with our pack. Then we could howl at the moon and nobody would question it. They’d be like ‘they were raised by wolves’. Then we could tell people we’re the modern day Romulus and Remus! Yeah. Wolves.

7. If your life was a song, what would the title be?

‘Life’s a bitch and then you die’. Something cheery like that.

8. Do you wake up, or open your eyes first?

Hate waking up. We lie there willing the morning to bugger off. It takes about five minutes after getting out of bed til our eyes open. Which isn’t easy when you’re stumbling around at 4am trying to feed black cats.

9. Magic wand or Lightsaber?

ooh cutting people up with a light saber would be fun but being able to cast spells has so much more potential for mischief. Magic wand. We’d give witches a bad name. MWAHAHAHAHAHA.

10. What is the speed of dark? What is the square root of purple?

The speed of dark is the speed of light subtracted by the light switch and with added boogeymen. The square root of purple is red.

11. If YOU had to have a hilarious, cartoon-style death, what would it be?

We have no road safety sense and regularly narrowly miss being hit by cars but that’s so passe. We don’t want to end up in a speed warning advert. We’ll go for having dynamite blow up on us as we’re trying to use it for nefarious gain. Our history with fire stands us in good stead for this. KABOOM!

Award winning

We’re very honoured because Kristy Wyatt has nominated us for the Liebster Award!

Liebster blog awardThar be rules to receive the booty:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs and let them know they’ve been nominated
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your blog!
  • paste the award picture into your blog. We stole ours off Google

And here are our questions from Kristy:

  1. What is your most embarrassing story?

We’re only allowed to pick one? We have so many to choose from! Our lives are just one long embarrassing story after another. We’ll go with the time we were looking after our neighbour’s cats and accidentally locked them in the house with the house key. We then spent an hour and a half trying to break in. Worst burglars ever! Though we did invent a really cool burglary tool involving a metal coat hanger, a physio band and a toasting fork.

2. What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?

We don’t anything eat gross. Though other people disagree so we’ll say chips dipped in Slush Puppie. It’s divine.

3. If you’re an author, who is your favorite character you’ve written about? Why?

Oh this is a hard one. We love all the characters we write about. Scott the Zombie is a great character. He’s completely insane and we laugh every time we work on his book. The Collector in the unpublished Majesty of Darkness is also brilliant to write. He’a an amoral grim reaper skeleton who steals from his victims and stalks celebrities. In the novel we’re writing now, Bleeding Empire, Demi, our Famine character is a lot of fun because she’s a total bitch and it’s refreshing to unleash a bitchy side without hurting anyone’s feelings.

4. What is your favorite book series?

Hmm. The Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong. Or the Succubus series by Richelle Mead.

5. Do you prefer salty or sweet?

Sweet all the way!

6. e-book or printed book?

Printed. Though we like ebooks more than we thought we would.

7. Name one person on your elevator list… ;-)

Not really sure what an elevator list is.But we’ll presume it’s something like a celebrity lover’s list and as there’s two of us, we’re picking two people. Wentworth Miller and Johnny Depp.

8. What is your all time favorite movie?

The Nightmare before Christmas

9. Who is your favorite artist/band?

My Chemical Romance!

10. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

Bollocks to that. We hate shopping at the best of times. Plus we don’t do Christmas 🙂

11. What is your favorite type of hero to write/read about?

We love writing heroes who are both good and evil. Where the line isn’t so clearly defined – like Marsden, our War character in Bleeding Empire, is technically a good guy. Well, he’s the best of a bad bunch, but he loves slaughtering people – the bloodier the better. As for female characters, we like them tough, sassy and cool.

11 random facts about ourselves-

1. Lynx is 33 minutes older than Cat

2. We’ve never moved house (despite our mum’s best efforts)

3. We passed our driving tests on the same day, in the same car (Peugeot 106 Graduate XN called Perky), with the same instructor

4. When we were younger we wanted to be professional show jumpers

5. We eat ice cream every day, even in the winter

6. We can’t speak Welsh

7. We had to stop watching Crimewatch because we  became convinced we’d be murdered in our own home (we were very paranoid teenagers)

8. Have done performance poetry

9. We once went to our local lake, dressed as pirates to hire a boat. The boats weren’t out. Then a voice behind us asked “is it fancy dress?” we turned to see Welsh International rugby star, Jamie Roberts. We had our photo taken with him.

10. When we paint our nails, we usually do black and a colour on alternate nails

11. Have been caught on CCTV molesting mannequins in Littledean Jail. No we’re not sorry.

here our nominees for this award – L K Jay, Lacie Dearie, Anya Breton, Ryan Burt, Elaine Allen, Rebecca Fisk, Gena Mantz, Deborah Dalton, Andrew Patterson, Ben Ditmars and Ryan Ashcroft

and your questions are –

1. What is your superhero name, power and costume?

2. Who would you go gay with to save the world?

3. Who would play you in a film of your life?

4. Name 5 albums on your death row disc list.

5. What’s your karaoke song?

6. If you had to have a hilarious, cartoon-style death, what would it be?

7. What book/film/song do you wish you’d written?

8. If you could be made into a wax work couple, who would your other half be?

9. What would be your Kryptonite?

10. If you ruled the world, what is the first law you’d make?

11. And who would be the first person you’d execute?

To be Free or not to be Free

Last week (12th -18th November) was National Short Story Week so to celebrate, we decided to make our short horror collection, Gunning Down Romance, free. There are certain advantages to making your book free, the most important one being finding new readers, who don’t want to risk 77p/99c on an unknown author. All those people download your book and it catapults you up Amazon’s rankings, usually to the top spot, if not number one then certainly in the top 10. It doesn’t matter if your book isn’t very good, the point is, it’s FREE. Whilst your book is rubbing shoulders with Stephen King and E L James, other people who are browsing, sees your book and thinks ‘wow, that unknown author is number one? They must be great!’ So they also download your book. It’s all psychological, see. You don’t need to be Derren Brown to use mind control on people. All you have to do is make your book free.

We’d been thinking of making GDR free for a while but wanted to tie it to something. National Short Story Week seemed like a great tie-in. So we made it free on Smashwords with little effort. The problem was Amazon. Amazon is basically like a sulky mafia member who as long as you’re paying up, they will keep those  pesky vandals off your property. The problem comes when you don’t want to play their game. The game being KDP Select.

KDP Select is basically Amazon’s library. You put your book in there and people can borrow it. There’s a pot of money $600,000 that is shared out between the authors. Except as more authors join, the money DOESN’T go up. So your share of the pot goes down. Whilst in Select, your book is made free across Amazon at certain times. You can choose when. Correct us if we’re wrong on this. However, when we published GDR, we opted out of Select. We’d read up on it and a lot of authors who had enrolled their cheap books, didn’t find any benefit to being in Select – people didn’t think they were getting much of a bargain. But our biggest reason for not joining, was that Amazon demand you make your book exclusive to them for 3 months.

We don’t think so.

To us, this is like that kid at school who ‘allowed’ you to be their friend, only if you ditched your less cool friends. It feels a lot like peer pressure – ‘join us! All the cool authors are in Select. You don’t want to be the only ones NOT in it, do you?’ Sorry Amazon, but one thing we’ve always excelled at, is resisting peer pressure. We don’t WANT to join the masses. And we are the most stubbornest people ever. So your offer of money won’t work on us. We don’t like being told to do, especially by a faceless corporation. At the time GDR was published, the only way a UK author could get their book onto Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Kobo, was through Smashwords. This has changed slightly now the Nook and Kobo have arrived in the UK. So giving up Smashwords for 3 months and missing out on their vast distribution, seemed stupid. Plus the royalties on Smashwords for a 99c book, was higher than Amazon’s ‘generous’ 35%

So this was the downfall of our plan. Because we wouldn’t play Amazon’s game, they refused to play ours. You can’t make your book free unless you’re in Select. The only thing you can do, is tell them your book is free elsewhere and hope they price match. But this is Amazon. They’re not going to let a couple of nobodies tell them when to put the price down. THEY decide if and when they lower the price and THEY decide when they put it back up. So they refused. And our plan to shoot up the rankings failed. We didn’t receive thousands of downloads, we didn’t get to number one and we didn’t knock Stephen King off his podium and take a screen shot of the glorious moment.

Has Amazon made us see the error of our ways and convinced us to join the cool authors in Select? Yeah, right. What they’ve shown us is that Smashwords is more author friendly. We’ve never given in to society’s pressure to conform and we’re not about to start now. In future, all our promotions will be on Smashwords. So we’ll never shoot up the rankings, see our books at the number one spot and be able to showboat at Stephen King.

But we’re cool with that.

You see, Amazon is like this big puppet master, dangling authors off its fingertips because it knows we all need it. However, that doesn’t mean we’re going to play by its rules. So sorry, Amazon – you can pull our strings but you’ll never make us dance.

War of Words

NaNoWriMoIt’s November and after we’ve dried our tears because we won’t see Halloween for another year, it’s time to once again, take part in NaNoWriMo. Last year we wrote Field of Screams, which was based on our short story of the same title, which won Writing Magazine’s ghost story competition in 2010. Yes, we’re still living on that past glory. It was a comedy, so it was easy to write. This year, we’re doing something completely different. It’s called Bleeding Empire and is a horror/urban fantasy based on the 4 horsemen coming to earth and wreaking havoc. Except in our case, there are 5 of them and 2 are women. If you left it up to men to destroy the world, they’d screw it up. Or forget something 😀

Last year we didn’t have any real plans, but we were excited to see if we could do the challenge. We were pretty confident we could, because we usually write a novel in 6 weeks. Our challenge though, was to hit the 50k in 17 days, because we were going on that ill-fated trip to North Wales on the 18th for our ghost tour. We filmed that disastrous trip and you can see it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2mJK8JWw0g Watch out for the bit where Travelodge hides from us in its own car park. Our cheeks still glow with shame every time we think about it.

Anyhoo, by the end of the 30 days, we’d hit 80, 300 words. This year, we want to beat that. Except we have no plans and are writing each chapter completely blind. It’s not easy like Field of Screams was. And we almost feel forced into it. By our own choosing, of course. If it wasn’t for NaNo, we’d have no intention of writing a novel, even though it’s been a year since we wrote one. We were redrafting Scott the Zombie and finished five days before November, then we were distracted with Halloween. So NaNo was bearing down on us like a demented snowball.

We’re not going to fight the snowball, we’re going to let it sweep us up in its icy embrace and drag us all the way to the finish. We’ve managed to write 15K already, which isn’t bad considering the night before NaNo started, we were still trying to figure out Death’s character. Should he be male? Female? Male and female twins? So you can see how prepared we were for this. In fact, the only preparation we did, was to choose the font for the chapter headings & future front cover. We hadn’t even picked the font we were going to type in. Fun fact – each novel gets assigned its own font, which is matched to the novel and the first draft and any future ones are printed out in that font. We’ve always done it this way and always will.

Writing a novel with absolutely no plans may cause panic for a lot of writers. We love the freedom it gives us and it’s worked for us so far. So we’re going to hand the reins over to War, Famine, Pestilence and Death and let them steer this carriage of creativity to the end. We just hope one of them knows where they’re going.

Our friend Kris, has challenged us to recite this dedication on our blog. We will confess, we haven’t memorised it, we copied and pasted it 🙂

DEDICATION TO THE GODS WHO INSPIRE
O Goddesses of Olympus, Musai

O Apollon, father of the lyre

This work I do in your name

This work I do for your glory

Shine your inspiration upon me

That my efforts might honor you better

O Hermes, the silver-quick and clever

O Mercury, messenger and guide

This work I do by your discretion

This work I do by your tools

Stand beside me always

That my words might be bright and clear

O Dionysus, cause and surcease of madness

O Zagreus, embodiment of ecstasy

This work I do as your servant

This work I do as your messenger

Be within me as I write

That I might be without myself and range more widely

Hai Musai!

Io Memnosune, Titan Muse and memory incarnate!

Io Caliope, mistress of the epic!

Io Clio, keeper of history!

Io Erato, voice of lust!

Io Euterpe, mistress of song!

Io Terpischore, inspiration of dance!

Io Melpomene, bringer of tears!

Io Thalia, who causes laughter!

Io Polymnia, source of all hymns!

Io Urania, who keeps the secrets of the stars!

Io Apollon!

Io Phoibos, lord of the sun!

You who slew the serpent Pytho

and who inspire the prophesies of Delos!

Bright son of Metis and mighty Zeus!

You in whose name I issue prophesy!

Bringer and healer of plague!

Io Hermes!

Io Dolios, divine trickster who, new-born, fooled Apollo and Zeus alike!

Slayer of watchful Argos

Great messenger of the gods!

You Of the Gateway,

Guide of both the living and the dead!

Io Ram-bearer! Io Champion!

Io Dionysos!

Io Bacchos! Yourself, your Mask, and your worshiper: one!

Bringer of madness and ecstasy!

Lord of the vine and instructor in fermentation!

Twice-born, Twice-died, Thrice-lived!

You of the Mysteries!

In whose name I pour all libations!