World Goth Day

Soul Asylum C L RavenIn case you don’t know, today is World Goth Day! */* and time to appreciate all things dark and Gothic. What could be more Gothic than a haunted asylum? Soul Asylum has plenty of the Gothic elements – a spooky location, madness, ghosts, despair, etc, so to celebrate, Soul Asylum is FREE on Amazon until Friday. But in order to make it free on Amazon, we had to pull it off the other retailers. We weren’t happy about this, as it means people who don’t have Kindles would miss out. So we’ve decided that to keep things fair, anyone who doesn’t have a Kindle, let us know and we’ll email Soul Asylum to you in a different format.

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 is Ravens Retreat’s dark heart that’s exposed as it awakens to claim the lives of those who dare to enter its brutal past.

Some things should never be disturbed.

If that hasn’t convinced you to download it, why not watch the trailer  Fireclaw Films made for us?

We have also created a newsletter where you’ll be the first to know of new releases and we’ll have some exclusive content in there. If you’d like sign up, click here. We promise we won’t spam you, or share your email with anyone else 🙂

If that’s not enough ghosts for you, L K Jay‘s fabulous novel, The Ghost Hunters Club will be free on Friday. We’d love to go ghost hunting with Anna, Karen and Linda, so download the book to find out why.

The Evening News

This is basically a news report and we feel each announcement should come with gong, but we don’t have one, so we’ll have to write it in. It might lessen the impact, but it’s the best we’ve got.

GONG! We are now on Authorgraph! Thanks to the fabulous author Margaret James, we signed our books up, so if you have a ebook version of our books, you can now request an autograph here. We’ll handwrite them using a graphics tablet so they’ll look like the ones in our printed books. Well, not quite the same. The last time we used the tablet it looked like we’d handed the pen to one of our cats. But we’ll practise until it looks like our handwriting and we’ll personalise each one, just like we do with the printed books.

GONG! In other news, we’ve made a start on a new collection of short stories based on nursery rhymes. The stories behind nursery rhymes are sometimes pretty creepy, but we won’t be using their stories, we’ll be inventing our own. We’ve already written the Mary, Mary story (untitled at the moment) and we’ve drafted Lizzie Rose to do the cover for us, as it’s in the same vein as Disenchanted. Check out her work here. We were inspired when Matty Baker from the fantastic band She Loves Seven sent us a link to horror figurines based on fairytales and nursery rhymes, so thanks Matty! We owe you.

GONG! Our final story of the night is to remind you that our debut novel Soul Asylum will be FREE one week from today. Yes, from May 20th – 24th, it will be free on Amazon to celebrate World Goth Day, which is on May 22nd. We’d like to say we’ve got a whole load of fun events and promos planned, but that would be a lie. We’re writing a Trauma Llama post for Anya Breton, but that’s about it.

Back to you in the studio 😉

No Surrender

Last Sunday, after an amazing week in Edinburgh, we crashed. We don’t mean a car crash but a crash that will be recognised by everyone who’s ever suffered from a mental illness. One moment you’re euphoric, happier than you’ve ever been, the next you’re locking yourself away, ranting, screaming and sobbing until your eyes swell up and you resemble a hideous creature only found in the depths of Lovecraft’s imagination.

The day before leaving for Edinburgh we’d received 2 rejections. One was for a ghost story set in an asylum and one was our take on The Slender Man. The Slender Man one hurt more because the editor had emailed us asking if we’d be interested in writing a story for the anthology, so for it to then be rejected…it wasn’t just a kick in the teeth, it was being strapped to a rack and having each nerve shredded with a cheese grater. But then we went to Edinburgh and forgot about it. Until we came home and checked sales figures. 1 book in 4 days. And that’s good for us. Amazon don’t like you disclosing sales figures but the likelihood of them reading this blog post are slim, so screw it. They didn’t read the one where we likened them to a protection racket, so we think we’re safe. We sold 5 books in March. April wasn’t much better. We made £160 in our first year of Indie writing and that gets split between us. We probably spend more than that on Red Bull alone. Everything we submit gets rejected. We can go for weeks without selling a single book and we have 4 out there. We’re failing. And we don’t like failing. Especially when we’re failing at the only thing we’ve ever truly loved, the only thing we’ve ever wanted to do. The only thing that dragged us through the dark times and gave us a reason for living when we couldn’t face it any more.

These crashes we call The Darkshines. They’re pretty normal for us and 99% of the time we hide them. No one but us knows when they’ve pounced. After a while you get good at putting on a mask. On Sunday we got sick of fighting them and unleashed that ugliness that dwells inside us. *Note to selves – NEVER let anyone see that inner ugliness. Just because you have to live with it, doesn’t mean others should.* Basically, we spent all of Sunday in tears and seriously considered the possibility of quitting. We know what some people are thinking ‘why don’t you then?’ At least 90% of writing is rejection. Most of time we can deal with it. We shrug, remove the smiley face from the short story list and look for somewhere else to submit. But quitting writing would be like quitting breathing.

So a couple of days later, after the demons were captured and shackled back in the dungeons of our minds, we got productive. Last time this happened, we signed up for library readings. (Considering only friends and family came to the Cathays one, that was a failure. We’ll probably cancel the Roath one.) We set up a website for formatting ebook and print books – Pink Cow Formatting. We can’t make money from writing but we might from formatting; we enlisted our books on Indie Book Bargains and we enrolled Soul Asylum into KDP Select.

We’ve never enrolled our books into KDP Select – Gunning Down Romance and Bad Romance were too cheap. People aren’t going to borrow books that only cost 77p. Mind you, they don’t buy them either. Plus we don’t like the way Amazon forces you to be exclusive to them for three months. So even thinking about it felt like we were selling our souls. But the main incentive was being able to make it free on Amazon. When we’ve done free promos before, Smashwords let us make it free but Amazon won’t. People tell tales of having thousands of downloads when their book was free, propelling them up the Amazon rankings to the coveted #1 slot, regardless of how good their book is. The point is, when it’s up there, people see it. Our books are currently languishing so far down they’re on the Pity Graph. But Amazon wouldn’t play ball with our promo. GDR had 25 downloads in a week of being on Smashwords. That’s terrible. Soul Asylum had 14 on the one day it was free. That’s a little better.

May 22nd is World Goth Day and we thought we could make Soul Asylum free to celebrate. What could be better than spending World Goth Day with a gothic novel in a haunted asylum? But for this to truly work, it had to be free on Amazon. And there’s only one way that will happen.

KDP Select.

So from May 20th-24th, Soul Asylum will be FREE. Hell, we can’t sell it, we might as well give it away. Though people don’t usually want our free books either…If you want signed print copies, we still have loads left. Yes we ship worldwide. They make great door stops, coasters, draught excluders and can also be used to brain burglars. Failing that, they’ll keep your fire going in winter.

So come May 20th, we’ll be opening the doors to Ravens Retreat and releasing the ghosts of the patients and staff still trapped inside. If you listen carefully, you might just hear them scream…