Great day on Friday (the second day of the week-long blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources). Two bloggers reviewed Crimson Siege and gave it a huge thumbs up.
Jess at Jess Bookish Life wrote:
“With Crimson Siege, Jay Raven gives us a book full of excitement, action, horror, vampires and crazy moments that I can’t even describe because the book was so good.
It was so different from all the other vampire books I have read, and that made it refreshing to me. It’s that Gothic vibe that I quite enjoy in a vampire book with that touch or horror that just makes it scary and unexpected.And it made me remember the first time I read Dracula, and how wowed I was about it.”
As well as her kind words, she shot this marvellous picture. I love it.
Meanwhile, on Birdie’s Bibliotheca, Birdie wrote a very considered appraisal:
“This book was slow for me to get into. I think it was just me, though, because as I got into the meat of it…I fell in love. Vampire books are pretty common, but rarely do I find one where there is no clear good guy/bad guy. Vampires are either good guys (ethically taking blood without death) or bad guys (psychopathic killers). Jay Raven manages to make all the characters in his book human. NOBODY is perfect and everybody has a history.”
She goes on: ” The whole thing reads as literature and not popular fiction, delving deep and depending on personal conflict to move the story along. The tone is reminiscent of some of my favorite Russians.”
The other great thing that happened yesterday – although not directly linked to the blog tour – was that I featured in a fun, fast paced, Meet The Author slot on the Black Books Blog site. Many thanks to Simon for organising this.
Check it out HERE to find out why I’d love to have dinner with Mrs Beeton, where I get inspiration for my chilling historical horror novels, and what surprising career I’d be following if I couldn’t be an author.
I promised I’d give you snippets of what the book bloggers who are taking part in the week-long Crimson Siege blog tour said. Thursday got the tour off to a great start with an amazing review from Jenni on the Odd Socks and Lollipops blog site. She wrote:
“I really loved Jay’s take on vampire lore and their psychic links to one another and I can’t wait to explore this in future books.
There were a lot of vivid and well developed characters, and I loved that there where enough twists and turns that you didn’t know who was going to be alive at the end of the book, nor what your favourite character might do next, each character was unique and flawed. I found Anton, Quintz, Kristina and Irina particularly interesting. I loved that Crimson Siege really makes is clear that it is not just vampires who have the capacity to be monstrous but humans as well.”
I was really pleased to read this as it’s exactly what I was trying to achieve – a story packed with individuals who were capable of great goodness but also amazing cruelty. My idea was to have no good guys and bad guys but just opposing forces, all willing to commit terrible atrocities in their struggle for dominance and survival.
And that’s a theme I intend to expand in the next instalment of the Blood Riders series.
To read the review in its entirety, click HEREto be taken to the Odd Socks and Lollipops website.
There’s a big seven days coming up for me and I’m inviting you to share in the excitement and the tension. Starting tomorrow (Thursday August 16) Crimson Siege – my Gothic horror novel of blood, vengeance and treachery – is being showcased on a 21-stop tour of top book blogging websites.
Every day for a week, three bloggers will be putting the first Blood Riders supernatural thriller under the microscope and sharing their opinions with their readers. And I’m hoping they’re going to love it.
And you’ll be able to find out what they think because each day I’ll be putting excerpts from the previous day’s reviews on this blog so you can get a flavour of what the bloggers are saying – and how kindly or cruelly! And I’ll include links to their websites so you can read the critiques in full.
The idea of the mass reviewing event is to give my work more visibility – bringing it to the attention of horror fans who might (surprising!) not have heard of me yet. So please feel free to share the reviews on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
The tour is being organised by Rachel’s Random Resources and I’m hugely grateful for all the work that’s gone into organising it – and for this special tour banner below.
Don’t forget, pop over here every day to see the latest verdicts. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it’s a 5-star triumph.
Want to read the very best in Gothic horror and historical chillers – and not have it cost you a single penny?
I’m currently recruiting additional members to bolster my wonderful Advance Review Copy team. Could it be you? You’ll be able to download my latest books for free – weeks before they are released. All I ask in exchange is that you leave an honest online review.
Whether it’s vampire thrillers, tales of sorcery or terrifying werewolf novels, you’ll know you’ll be one of the first to enjoy it and that your review will be helping make the launch a success.
Being an ARC member is fun and there’s no pressure. You won’t be rushed – you’ll have plenty of time to read the book before publication (or the date of any special promotion for already published titles).
And you can be as candid as you like in your review. It’s your true opinion I want you to share with my fans. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel a title deserves 5-stars. Amazon decides on how much visibility and promotion to give a new title based on how many reviews it garners, not how many plaudits.
Plus, the great news is that a review can be as short as a couple of sentences. It doesn’t have to take long to write.
All that sound good? Great. If you want to be part of the team, click HERE, fill in the simple form and I’ll get back to you.
Learn how Tyrion Lannister almost wrecked my vampire novel, why Christopher Lee missed out on a top James Bond role and discover why fellow horror author David F Gray wants to be Doctor Who. It’s all in my monthly newsletter. To receive it, simply join my fun,free Readers Club by clicking HERE.
Really excited. The launch of my historical sorcery themed book To Snare a Witchis only six days away. This coming Tuesday, July 17th, it’ll be going live.
It’s set in the 17th century, in the reign of Charles 1st and not long before the outbreak of the English Civil War, and follows the torments of beautiful Elizabeth Fiennes when she becomes the object of lust of Sir Henry Cruttendon, the 3rd Earl of Banbury, and the country’s most evil nobleman.
He is determined to make her his mistress, even if it means framing her for witchcraft. But his plans go awry and soon both he and Elizabeth are plunged into a nightmare of wickedness and vengeance – where no one is quite what they seem and even the innocent aren’t safe.
The book is the first in a chilling witchcraft series which proves that once you’ve started down a corrupt, supernatural path, there is no way to escape, no redemption without pain, loss and eternal damnation.
The question is, will Elizabeth be prepared to pay that price?
The buzz is already building and this opening volume is scheduled for a 9-day blog tour from this Monday. But don’t worry – if you act quickly you can still grab To Snare A Witchat the pre-order price of 99p/99c by clicking HERE.
These days I’m a very confused lad. I haven’t got a clue who I should be – or at least, I haven’t a clue about how I should project myself to readers. I’m bemused about how to speak, what to wear and, most importantly, how to behave. And it’s driving me nuts.
It all began about six months ago when I clinched a three-book deal to write Gothic horror and dark fantasy novels and had to put my previous writing career as a humorist to one side to concentrate full-time on creating monsters and supernatural mayhem.
From a keyboard angle it wasn’t much of a switch, merely going for gore instead of gags, screams of fear rather than screams of laughter. But from the PR and author brand point of view it wasn’t so straight-forward.
I assumed that I’d present myself as a dark, eerie, mysterious figure in black, scowling at the camera and hanging around in graveyards for inspiration. I’d look like I’d just emerged from sleeping in a coffin in a crypt in Whitby, part Goth, part mystic.
And for a while that’s what I plumped for. All my publicity pictures made me look more like a vampire than the ones I wrote about. I managed to avoid becoming a Victorian dandy in leather and lace, but I certainly didn’t come across as approachable or someone you’d trust to look after your cat. In fact, some friends said I looked like a third rate stage hypnotist and quizzed me on whether I was going to grow a ridiculous goatee beard and go around with fake stage blood around my lips.
But two things quickly suggested a rethink was in order. The first was the realisation that I was falling into the trap of going for a stereotypically hackneyed image of what I thought people would assume horror writers looked like. It only took a fairly fleeting glance at my fellow dark fantasy authors to note that they weren’t going in for the cheap theatricals. They looked normal, friendly, happy and, dare I say it, – nice! And indeed, the more I conversed with them, this proved to be the case. And it didn’t seem to harm their sales that they appeared like the boy or girl next door and not a deranged undertaker.
The second thing that made me think was the fact that I started doing podcasts, Meet the Author slots and Facebook lives and couldn’t keep up the spooky Vincent Price act. I naturally like to joke, smile, laugh and mess about. And the disjoint between real me and scary fantasy me was growing too wide to bridge.
So I’ve arrived at a bit of an impasse. And I need advice. Do I abandon ALL the Halloween hi-jinks If so, how do I convince people that this gormless, grinning gagster in jean and t-shirt is capable of turning out genuinely scary historical horror books? Or do I try to achieve some sort of happy medium? Perhaps looking like an happy medium, if not an amused clairvoyant.
Please tell me, because I’m genuinely baffled – and the Hammer Horror outfit has to be back at the costume shop by this time next week or they’re going to charge me double.
I’ve always wanted to write a chilling nosferatu series, pitting mankind against the most alluring, mysterious and deadly monsters to ever walk the Earth. I’ve been obsessed by vampires since sneaking out of school to watch Hammer Horror films at my local fleapit.
But when it came to actually planning the first of my Blood Riders books I came to a startling realisation. Vampires had been – if you’ll pardon the pun – done to death. A tidal wave of self-published horror novels had flooded the market with fang-filled fiends, so many that the bloodsuckers seemed hackneyed and dull.
Added to that, there was huge confusion about what a vampire was. Depending on who you spoke to, they wore tight leather cat suits and fired machine guns, acted like consumptive Victorian poets – all lace shirts and languor – or hung around with teenagers and twinkled.
My mission was to make these creatures of the night genuinely scary again – and original, offering elements and twists that would surprise and intrigue. So I tackled the problem from two directions. Firstly, a back to basics make-over.
My monsters were going to be… well, monstrous – vicious, cold, amoral predators with supernatural speed, strength and intelligence. They’d view humans as playthings to satisfy ALL their appetites. And to up the ante, they’d be able to communicate telepathically over short distances.
These would not be the kind of creatures to give you a playful nip on the neck, they’d rip your entire throat out in a single visceral gulp and go on to devour half your face.
Secondly, I wanted them to have a new context, a new environment in which to hunt and slay, so I made my 19th century Transylvania a mirror of the American wild west – lawless, violent, desolate and unpredictable. A decade on from a war between mortals and monsters, the vanquished aristocratic vampire families are holed up on reservations. To stray from their safe havens makes them fair game for bounty hunters.
Crimson Siege charts the horrifying consequences when the favourite son of the feared Modjeski vampire house is kidnapped and held in a small town jail. His kin invade the town but rescuing their leader leads to death, terror and destruction for both sides, as the small community is defended by the only man vampire-kind has good reason to fear…
I hope I’ve injected a dose of newness and awe into the genre. My fingers are crossed horror fans will think so too.
This post originally appeared on the Books ‘n’ All website as part of the launch blog tour.
Less than 24 hours to go the launch of my Gothic horror vampire chiller CRIMSON SIEGE – Blood Riders Book One and I’m beside myself with excitement. It’s my first full-length novel so I’m anxious to see what the reaction of readers will be.
I set out to write the kind of book I’d want to read, fast paced and packed with twists and surprises – as well as a number of sub-plots and mysteries. Plus, of course, loads of vampire hunting action…