Whilst working on our Blackthorn finale as well as the first book in my new Lowtown series, I’ve had some wonderfully encouraging and inspiring feedback from my readers recently.
So, to say thank you for your support, I decided to run a flash giveaway to give you the chance to win a signed Blackthorn paperback of your choice.
HOW TO ENTER
You know how I love to keep giveaways as quick and easy as possible so, inspired by some of the comments above, all you have to do to enter is tell me:
What is it about Blackthorn that keeps you coming back for more?
And, for the first time ever, you can submit an entry both here on my blog as well as on my Facebook page to double your chances of winning!
There are TWO paperbacks up for grabs – and the two winners can pick which one they want*.
Whether you want to start your Blackthorn paperback collection, fill a gap, or complete your series so far or, if your collection is already complete, win one for a family member, a friend or even as a prize for your own blog or book club, the choice is yours.
*I’m afraid advanced copies of Blood Broken are not included in this giveaway. We’ll be having a special giveaway for that nearer the time.
The giveaway is open NOW and will close at midnight GMT on Friday 24th March, so be quick!
Only two entries per person please – one here and one on my Facebook page is the max.
All entries will be assigned a number and the two winners will be selected using a random number generator.
The winners will be announced on this post as well as on the related Facebook post on Saturday 25th March.
Winners will need to check if they have won and contact me to claim their prizes by midnight Wednesday 29th March for your books to be ordered. We can sort out the finer details then.
As with all my giveaways, prizes will be posted anywhere.
Proof of postage will be retained but prizes lost once out of my hands cannot be replaced.
And as with all giveaways, I will refrain from responding to comments. If you have any queries though, feel free to email or message me.
Good luck, everyone! <3
GIVEAWAY WINNERS ANNOUNCED
HUGE congratulations to….
You have both won a signed Blackthorn paperback of your choice! Please either email me or message me via Facebook and we will sort the details.
Thank you, as always, to everyone who joined in. Your comments were incredible. I am so relieved I didn’t have to choose a winner based on those! And, of course, commiserations to anyone disappointed not to win. Rest assured, we’ll have plenty more giveaways to come.
I’ve been asked many times, over the last couple of years in particular, when I’m going to participate in a book-signing event. Well, it’s finally going to happen!
To mark the end of BLACKTHORN and the beginning of my brand new LOWTOWN series, I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be attending RARE18 at The Olympia in London on 24th February 2018. This will be my first public appearance and the first opportunity I’ve had to meet some of my readers – and I cannot wait.
If you’ve never heard of RARE (Romance Author & Reader Events), it’s an incredible event reaching increasing popularity since it began in 2014. It’s been hosted in Edinburgh and Montreal, is based in Berlin this year, and will be hosted in London and Rome in 2018. It’s your chance to meet a whole host of amazing romance authors across the full spectrum of the genre from contemporary to fantasy to suspense.
Tickets are going on sale on Saturday 4th March at 3 p.m. UK time. Don’t delay once the tickets become available as there are over 1,000 confirmed attendees already. If you’d like to find out more before then, you can join RARE 18 London‘s Facebook group where they are announcing authors who are attending. For those not on social media, I’ll update the end of this post once I have further news.
So, if you’d like the chance say hello and have your books, audiobooks, notebooks, giveaway prizes you may have won in the past, or anything else signed by me, I’d love to see you there.
My new publisher, Piatkus, is very kindly planning on providing some LOWTOWN stash and hopefully I’ll have one or two BLACKTHORN treats too. 🙂
On top of all of that, I’ve discovered that it won’t just be authors and readers attending. I jokingly put a teaser out on my Facebook page earlier in the week that I was going to be participating in a signing event and that Kane, Caleb, Jask and Eden would be joining me – but in 2D only. Now I’ve heard that some cover models really are going to attend! So, who knows, maybe* one of our Blackthorn boys will appear after all.
Form an orderly queue…
*Don’t hold me to it being one of our boys. I genuinely have no idea which models are coming!
Today is the day! Four years ago today, Blackthorn was first launched. Thank you to everyone who read and supported my anniversary post here yesterday as well as all of your wonderful comments on social media. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you missed it, you can find it here.
I would also like to say a massive thank you to Tracey Rogers, Wopsywoobookblog and Passionate About Books who have all celebrated with their own special anniversary posts on their blogs today, including recalling how they discovered Blackthorn. Thank you to HelCeesBanginBooks for giving my series such a big shout out on her FB page too. I really appreciate it, ladies. <3
Thank you as well too to everyone who supported my interview with My Bookworm Blogger yesterday. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a signed paperback of Blood Bound together with a signed postcard, you still have time. Just click on this link.
And talking of giveaways…
IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!
Last week I had three 24-four flash giveaways on Facebook to win stickers and limited edition postcards. Today, I’m giving ONE entrant the chance to WIN THE ENTIRE BUNDLE of prizes.
The bundle includes:
One signed limited edition ‘4-year Anniversary’ large postcard
One signed limited edition ‘Readers’ Quotes’ large postcard
One signed ‘Blackthorn Heroes’ large postcard
One set of ‘Blackthorn Heroes’ stickers, including 1 Kane sticker, 1 #TeamKane sticker, 1 Caleb Sticker, 1 #TeamCaleb sticker, 1 Jask sticker, 1 #TeamJask sticker, 1 Eden sticker and 1 #TeamEden sticker. That’s 8 stickers in total.
One Blackthorn Logo sticker
But exclusive to this website giveaway, I’m including a SIGNED A3 POSTER of the Blackthorn book cover of YOUR CHOICE in the prize bundle!
HOW TO ENTER
As today marks the release of Blood Shadows, all you have to do to enter is:
SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE KANE OR CAITLIN QUOTE OR MOMENT FROM THE SERIES SO FAR
(*BE WARNED THERE COULD BE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS GIVEAWAY*)
Tomorrow marks four years since Blackthorn was launched. Blood Shadows was officially released on 27th November 2012. Since then Blackthorn has sold in six figures, reached readers in several countries and obtained numerous number ones in both the Gothic and the PNR charts on Amazon as well as having reached the Top 50 on Amazon.com’s main kindle charts too. Blood Shadows was even optioned by Hollywood movie giants Relativity Media! It’s been quite the four years. And next year it’ll all be coming to an end with the series finale.
To mark the occasion, and to keep to the theme of 8 Blackthorn books, I thought I’d share… 8 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT MY CREATION OF BLACKTHORN. Oh, and look out for details of a giveaway at the end!
1) BLACKTHORN IS TWENTY YEARS OLD THIS YEAR!
Although tomorrow marks four years since Blackthorn was first published, it’s actually twenty years old this year!
2) IT STARTED ONE DARK AND STORMY NIGHT…
Okay, so it wasn’t exactly stormy but it did all begin one night. I’d moved to a city over 300 miles away from home to begin my first teaching job. After an evening out with my new colleagues, I managed to get lost on my way home. With no one at home to expect me and with 1996 hardly being the era of mobile phones, I had no option but to try and navigate my way alone through the empty city streets. It wasn’t long before I became increasingly lost as well as deeper into unfamiliar territory. So, during that time, I did what every self-respecting scared-out-of-their-wits author does and made up stories to keep calm and distract myself – and Blackthorn was born.
3) BLACKTHORN BEGAN AS A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES
From then on Blackthorn became a labour of love. I never intended it to be published, instead it was one of many simultaneous projects I had underway. Some went by the wayside but Blackthorn was one idea I simply couldn’t walk away from.
Once I had the concept behind Blackthorn, I wrote short stories to get to know the world. The stories were set in various districts across the locale, from Blackthorn to Summerton. Once the idea behind the overarching plot – the downfall of this oppressive society – took hold, the key contenders were already clear. Kane and Caitlin, Caleb and Leila, and Jessie and Eden all evolved from those short stories into what Blackthorn is today. The only exceptions were Jask and Phia.
4) THE UNDEAD DON’T EXIST IN BLACKTHORN
I’ve caused much confusion amongst some readers and reviewers by bending the mythological rules. For one thing, only lycans have fangs whereas vampires have an extra set of feeding incisors instead. None of my “third species” as I call them are immortal, nor are they cursed or contaminated, and they most certainly aren’t the undead! Why? Because apart from rare occasions when these “creatures” were constituted as deities, they have almost always been associated with evil origins. This was further enforced by the introduction of Christian ideologies, with vampires in particular not only deemed as a risk to our physical self but our spiritual self too. Then there’s the influences of literature and films in the mix. I wanted to come from the angle that just because we don’t understand something doesn’t automatically make it evil – one of the fundamental themes behind Blackthorn.
After all, one of the greatest freedoms of being a writer of fantasy is the ability to be selective about which aspects of mythology to apply. The creation of my third species is as much about characterisation and plot as fitting in logically into the Blackthorn world I’ve created.
5) I ONCE DESTROYED BLACKTHORN BEFORE REBUILDING IT
After I’d finished putting Blackthorn together, I stuck my head above the parapet to try and work out its potential for publication. But what had begun during a time when PNR was rarely found on the shelves was then faced with a market overwhelmed with vampiric heroes and fantastical urban underworlds, let alone well-established names globally dominating the genre.
Despite the knock of confidence, I started to look for publishing opportunities – only to find that, for those who accepted unagented submissions, Blackthorn didn’t meet their guidelines. Not only were my books too long, the preference seemed to be for standalones (especially from debut novelists unable to prove they could sustain a complex series). Most of all, my heroes didn’t conform to readers’ expectations. All in all, Blackthorn looked like it would be too high a risk to pursue.
So without even attempting to submit anywhere, I tucked Blackthorn away in my bottom drawer as I focused on a different genre.
It was only when my dad passed away in 2007 that I returned to Blackthorn, determined to pursue my dream of getting it published one day. To try and up my chances, I pulled out all of the overarching plot threads to the series and started turning Blackthorn into stand-alones.
The biggest clincher for signing with my current publisher was when they read Blood Shadows and Blood Roses and suggested that maybe Blackthorn could extend beyond three books. More than that, they asked if maybe I saw potential for an overarching plot to tie all the books together. I couldn’t pull all of my original notebooks out of my bottom draw quick enough!
6) BLACKTHORN USED TO LOOK VERY DIFFERENT
Those who supported Blackthorn from the beginning will know that the covers of Blood Shadows and Blood Roses once looked very different. They were designed by Henry Steadman and had a much more traditional Gothic feel. They also incorporated red, white and black. According to folklore, these are the three colours associated with the Blackthorn plant. (If you’d like to know why I called the series ‘Blackthorn’, you can read about it here.)
Before Blood Torn’s release in February 2014, Bookouture decided to give the series a brand new look with a contemporary urban edge.
7) JASK AND HIS PACK WEREN’T GOING TO HAVE A STARRING ROLE
Up until the point I was offered a publishing contract, there were only six books in the series (seven if I split the finale into two). I’d initially been signed for three. When it came to discussions for the third book, I was ready to move on to Jessie and Eden’s story. However, my editor at the time as well as author Michele Hauf (who was my mentor during the writing competition through which I was discovered) both felt Jask Tao deserved a story of his own.
I already knew the role Jask and Phia played in the overarching Blackthorn story (no spoilers for anyone who hasn’t got that far!), but I never intended a romance between them, nor to explore the lycans’ plight in Blackthorn in any great detail. Instead I’d planned to keep the focus on the vampires in the story. In addition to that I have a deep-rooted fear of lycanthropy so didn’t think I’d be able to write Jask as an appealing enough hero!
Since then, Jask has gone on to become one of Blackthorn’s most popular heroes – and it’s all thanks to my wonderful first editor and the fantastic Michele Hauf.
8) I WAS STILL TEACHING WHEN I WROTE THE FIRST FOUR BOOKS
Like the vast majority of published authors, writing wasn’t my only job when Blackthorn was launched. It’s a myth that once you get a publishing deal, you give up the day job and spend all of your days writing books. In fact, for the first four Blackthorn books I was still holding down a teaching job. I’d be teaching lessons to teenagers one day and then immersed in Blackthorn the next, swapping lesson planning and reports with book edits and fan mail. It wasn’t until January 2015 that I started writing full time. By that time, I’d waited almost 30 years to get to that point. If you love something enough, I guess you hold on for as long as it takes.
So that’s it – 8 facts you may or may not have known. And as you can see, Blackthorn had been on quite the journey even before it reached your shelf/device!
I’ll be back tomorrow to mark the official day with a GIVEAWAY BUNDLE for one lucky winner.
I was asked some of the most insightful Blackthorn-related questions I’ve ever had, so please do head over and take a look. Stephanie’s also giving away a SIGNED PAPERBACK of my latest release BLOOD BOUND as well as an exclusive SIGNED Blackthorn POSTCARD!
Have a wonderful evening and ‘see’ you tomorrow! <3
Blackthorn was launched four years ago this month. I can barely believe it. If you were supporting me this time last year, you might remember we had a big anniversary giveaway to mark the occasion. I’m not sure where those twelve months have gone.
Since then two more Blackthorn books have been released, and now there’s only one more to go.
The reality is really starting to sink in – and not only for me by the sounds of it! I know some of you have been supporting my series from the outset. Some joined Blackthorn as recently as a couple of weeks ago. Either way, I know the prospect of the end being in sight is creating mixed feelings. But, for now, let’s refuse to linger in the word ‘final’. We still have one more big adventure to come and what I hope will be a fun year ahead once the countdown officially begins. 😀
*This is not the actual cover. It’s just a teaser.*
I can’t give you any indication as yet as to when Blood Broken will be out (and bribery will make no difference 😉 ). But please rest assured I’m already underway with the first draft and I won’t keep you waiting a moment longer than I have to.
And even though I’m not doing a big giveaway this time around (because I’m saving that for the finale), I’m still marking the occasion across Twitter and Facebook over the next month, reminiscing with some quotes and Bites from the last four years. If you don’t follow me on either of those, you can peruse some of them here.
This was just a quick post for now. I’m going to be back here on the weekend of the 26th and 27th of this month (the official four-year anniversary of Blood Shadows) with my proper anniversary posts. I’ll hopefully ‘see’ you then!
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing support. <3
I love getting suggestions from my readers as to what they’d like to appear on this blog. A while ago I posted a list of all our key Blackthorn characters to date and to whom they’re connected. A big thank you to Melanie who emailed me to ask if I would repost this list again to help refresh her memory. Except this time I’ve gone one better…
Not only do we have pics of our heroes and heroines included, the list below is now interactive too! You can search for a name as well as being able to search by species. Hopefully that will cut down your time scrolling through.
To mark the occasion as well as to celebrate a great week for Blood Instinct (still at #1 in the Gothic Romance chart, #1 in ‘Hot New Releases’ in Gothic Romance, and now the #1 ‘Most Wished For’ Gothic Romance too on Amazon UK!), there’s no better time to post another giveaway.
Here’s what you could win:
A LIMITED-EDITION BLOOD INSTINCT MUG
I have TWO available for this giveaway. These commemorative mugs feature the cover of Blood Instinct on one side, an enlarged image of Jask on the other and, in the centre, the release date and affectionately-named #JaskFest.
BLOOD INSTINCT POSTCARDS – SIGNED
I have TWO Blood Instinct cover postcards.
TWO limited-edition commemorative postcards.
And ONE prize consisting of both postcards.
A PAPERBACK OF BLOOD TORN – SIGNED
Paperbacks of Blood Instinct won’t be available until release day, but to mark the return of Jask and Phia I have ONE signed paperback of their previous adventure – Blood Torn – to give away.
BLOOD TORN AUDIOBOOK – SIGNED
Courtesy of Bookouture, I have TWO unabridged audiobooks of Blood Torn available. The audiobook consists of twelve discs (14.5 hours) narrated by British award-winning actress Anne Flosnik. You can receive your audio CD signed or sealed.
That means TEN prizes are available!
HOW TO ENTER
I love simple and fun giveaways, so all you have to do to enter is:
PICK A SONG FOR THE BLACKTHORN SOUNDTRACK
It can be a song that makes you think about one of the characters, one of our couples’ relationships, a particular scene or even the Blackthorn location.
(Disclaimer: We don’t really have a Blackthorn album, but there’s nothing wrong with making our own compilation. For those who remember, we did the last one over two years ago, so we’re definitely in need of an update!)
You only need to enter one song to be in with a chance of winning. However, if you’d like to increase your chances of winning, you can pick a maximum of THREE songs per entry. Enter one song, your name goes in the hat once. Enter two songs, your name goes in twice etc…
The giveaway is open NOW and will close Tuesday 3rd May at midnight (UK time).
All entrants will be given a number per song. Numbers will be entered into a random number generator. The winners will be announced here and on my Facebook page on Blood Instinct Eve: Wednesday 4th May.
Winners will need to claim their prizes within fourteen days of the announcement, so please check back to see if you have won.
As with all Blackthorn giveaways, prizes will be posted anywhere. Proof of sending will be retained and prizes cannot be replaced if lost in transit.
We’re edging closer, everyone! My Blood Instinct structural edits are done. So, with only a couple more rounds of edits to go over the forthcoming weeks, Bookouture will shortly be discussing release dates. I’ll keep you updated as and when I can. 🙂
Also, I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning that it’s a rather special one for Jask. Two years ago today, he (and Phia, of course!) was officially unleashed into your hands (his cameo in Blood Shadows aside). To mark the occasion, I thought I’d share a sample of the ‘Bites’ from back then for anyone who might have missed them the first time around.
Have a great week and I hope to have more news for you soon. xxx
I can’t quite believe 2015 is nearly over! This time last year, after almost twenty years in the profession, I’d stepped out of my teaching career and taken the leap into writing full-time. At the start of 2015, I was finally able to give Blackthorn my full attention.
Much of this year has been spent writing Blood Dark with my head simultaneously in my old notebooks making sure I’m still on track with my plans for the finale. (As most of you will know by now, I never have my head on only one book at a time – not when it comes to Blackthorn!) Since Blood Dark’s release, the last ten weeks have been all about the first draft of Blood Instinct. I’ll share some news on that soon.
Until then, I can’t say farewell to another year without first saying a massive thank you to all my incredible readers who have been a part of it. Whether you support me here, via social media, email, or simply by rating and reviewing my books, you make a difference to me and to my series. Thank you for being there to back Blackthorn and for rooting for our heroes and heroines as we edge ever closer to the finale. 2015 has been such a stand out year for me when it comes to fun and interaction with my readers (I do solemnly swear never to pose the T-shirt question ever again), and I am so lucky to have you! Involvement in the giveaways this year has been the best ever and your support of Blood Dark’s release was simply immense. I hope you’ll be just as excited about Jask and Phia’s return in Blood Instinct!
I know it’s been far from all fun and laughter out in the wider world this year though, so thank goodness for whatever escapism we can find in books. Here’s just one of many emails I received this year that reminds me how important books are in so many of our lives:
“I am from Romania and I just wanted to say that your books have made my world such a better place … Your characters and plot of the story has taken me on a wonderful journey. Thank you.”
Is there any better reason to share stories?
Here’s wishing you all a fantastic Christmas and health, peace and happiness in the year ahead. I’ll be back in January with those Blood Instinct updates as well as my plans for Blackthorn in 2016. Whatever you do between now and then, take care. I have soooo much more escapism planned for you! 🙂
By now, most of you will know I don’t need much of an excuse to be celebrating something Blackthorn related, but this truly is a special day for me. Three years ago today, Blood Shadows, the first book in my Blackthorn series, was published.
Someone asked me earlier how I was feeling three years ago today. The honest answer? A nervous wreck! But it was also an incredible day. Believe it or not, Blackthorn was actually sixteen years old by that point – it had been a labour of love whilst I held down a teaching job and worked on other books in the years that passed. At the time, I had no intention of attempting to get it published. Instead, I wrote it for the love of writing it – and I just couldn’t stop.
Blackthorn has come a very long way since then – and my readers have been a HUGE part of making that happen. So, to say a big thank you for all your support, I ran a giveaway this week both here and on Facebook. Thank you for the amazing response and to everyone who entered – whether via email, this blog, or Facebook. Congratulations to everyone who has won and, for anyone left disappointed, giveaways happen throughout the year so keep a look out! I’m already plotting my Jask-related giveaway for Blood Instinct next year. 😉
And the winners are (you’ve won the prize above your name)…
WINNERS – PLEASE EMAIL ME with your postal address. For those of you who have won signed prizes, don’t forget to let me know if you’d like them signed personally to you! And congrats again! 😀
And to finish, for those of you who have never seen it, I thought I’d share the book trailer that launched not only Blood Shadows but my Blackthorn series. The soundtrack Bookouture chose is called ‘Superhero’ by Tim McMorris. (Oh, and don’t be thrown by the original cover!)