Monday was surprisingly quiet in the Raven household – which gave me the chance to catch up on the last two episodes of the latest series of the excellent crime drama Unforgotten. I’d taped it and wanted to find out who the killer was before people started blabbing it all over social media.
Things, however, were much livelier on the Crimson Siege blog tour trail and I was lucky enough to receive two great reviews.
For the Love of Books! said the following:
“The action starts from the very first page and doesn’t let up until the end. It sucks you in from the start and is a real page turner. It’s full of twists and turns, people betraying each other and lots of blood. Excellent read and i‘m looking forward to reading the next book.”
“The pacing was really well done, the build up to the final chapters was done in a way that kept you anticipating what would happen but didn’t drag so you found yourself bored. I really enjoyed this book and the entire storyline. Jay has done a brilliant job with not only creating a convincing and entertaining plot but also fantastic characters.”
Now, I’ve been keeping score and by yesterday my Gothic horror debut novel had attracted 20 reviews on Goodreads – 14 of them 5-star dazzlers! So please forgive me if I’m looking just a tad pleased with myself.
If you want to read a sample chapter of Crimson Siege to judge for yourself, drop me an email and I’ll send you a pdf.
Normally I wouldn’t mention a “shout-out” – that’s where a book blogger doesn’t have the time to read a book and leave a review, so simply gives it a showcase instead. But yesterday, as part of the Crimson Siege tour, the Beardy Book Blogger did such a marvellous spotlight – filled with cartoons, vampire jokes, bloodsucker photos and film references – that it had me in stitches. And I really recommend you check it out. You’ll love it.
Simply click on the cartoon banner.
He did say he didn’t like the novel’s cover, which I found a tad surprising as no-one else has expressed anything but delight with it. But it’s interesting to get the feedback, and is something to mull over.
On the review front, Sean at Seansbookreviews wrote: “Having been a huge fan of vampire books I can say that I was getting tired of the same old style and that they just weren’t cutting it for me. This book was anything but the boring old routine of vampires. It’s set in Transylvania, which for a book with vampires is a bit cliche, but it worked.”
He adds: “This won’t be for everyone, especially if you are used to sparkly vampires who charm everyone they meet and are vegetarian. Sorry this isn’t that type of book and shows vampires for what they truly are. Soulless, merciless and completely devoid of the compassion towards anyone other than those they sired.”
And what an amazing day Saturday was. I received one of the most uplifting compliments I’ve had since the publication of Crimson Siege – and I’m still grinning about it 24 hours later!
Blogger Jessica Rachow has declared my historical vampire thriller one of her favourite reads of the year. Yeah!
She wrote: This is one action packed novel, that sucks (pun intended) you in from the beginning and keeps you until the very end. I could not put it down, and read it in one day. I loved the Gothic, historical writing style of Jay Raven. I loved the twists and turns, and I loved the creepy factor that stayed with me through the entire novel. I absolutely love when a horror novel is actually scary.”
My word! It doesn’t get much better than that…
If you want to read Jessica’s review in full click HERE.
AND IN OTHER NEWS
It’s my turn to guest on Junction Publishing’s in-house newsletter. In it, I reveal what truly terrifies me – and it won’t be what you think!
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.
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. Grab To Snare A Witch by clicking HERE.
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.