Out Today! 13 Steps to Evil by Sacha Black #AmWriting #PublicationDaySale

 

Today I’m spotlighting and reviewing the lovely Sacha Black’s debut non-fiction book – a masterclass in writing villains – for all you writers out there.

About the Book

dfw-sb-13ste-cover-3d-nologo.jpg
Title: 13 Steps To Evil- How To Craft Superbad Villains
Where is it published: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Tolino, Barnes and Noble, inktera
No of Pages: 222
Release Date: 30th May
Formats: Paperback and eBook
Purchase: All good retailers! Universal book link.
Publication day sale: You can snap up the e-book for just £1.99 today! Limited time only!

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

  In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover: 

  • How to develop a villain’s mindset

  • A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up

  • Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible

  • What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

 If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

Meet the Author

Original Photo.JPG

Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Contact Information

Non-fiction Website: www.sachablack.co.uk

Fiction Website: www.sachablackbooks.com

Social Media

Twitter: @sacha_Black

Facebook: Sacha Black author page

Pinterest: Pinterest profile

Instagram: Sacha Black profile

Goodreads non-fiction: Sacha Black profile

Goodreads fiction: Sacha de Black profile

Tumblr: Sacha Black profile

Google+: Sacha black profile

Linkedin: Linkedin Profile

Amazon Author Page

Excerpt

Why Writers Fudge Up Their Villains

Villains are like newborn infants. So much glorious potential. Until we writers get our grubby mitts on them and balls it up. With the careless flick of a pen, we can turn a finely sculpted baby villain into a cringe-worthy cliché because we didn’t make him bad enough, or we create something so heinously evil it’s unrealistic.

A villain might be a plot device, but he still needs a purpose and a goal, or he’s unworthy as an opponent for your hero (See STEP 3 for motives and goals).

While researching this book, writers told me all kinds of problems they encountered while creating their villains. From getting the dialogue right and avoiding clichés, to knowing how evil to make a villain, to how to reveal her motives without using blatant exposition.

Behind all these issues lie two basic barriers that are the Achilles in every writer’s villainous heel:

1. Depending on the point of view (POV) the book’s written in, the villain is usually seen through the eyes of your hero.

A solitary POV gives you a page-limited amount of time to show your villain’s best, most authentic and devilishly evil side. Page-limited to the point it makes it eye-wateringly difficult to convey her backstory effectively without information dumping. You have to be better, clearer, more tactical and more concise with your words to create superbad villains.

2. Writers are hero worshippers.

We love our heroes and protagonists more than our spouses. And as a result, we spend shameful amounts of time honing our protagonist’s muscular heroics into shape. But that relegates our villain (the plot-driving conflict-creator) to the corner of our book, complete with a nobody-loves-you-anyway hat. In other words, writers don’t pay enough attention to their villain.

Review

I’ve been following Sacha’s blog for a while now and love the energy, humour and passion that she puts into helping writers hone their craft. In 13 Steps to Evil, Sacha has put together everything she has learnt about writing and focused on how to create superbad villains – something she believes is often overlooked.

I thought this book was brilliant. Even if like me, you’re not currently writing anything and therefore not using it directly as a writing tool, it’s still a great read and one that you can apply to any kind of writing. It’s full of tips, examples, and in-depth exploration of writing bad guys (and girls).

“It will teach you to craft villains so brilliantly twisted they’ll make your readers throw themselves like sacrificial lambs between the pages of your book.”

I was especially impressed by the way the book structured with each chapter acting as a different step, exploring a different facet of writing a convincing and complex villain, and each point is backed up with an example from a well-known book or movie. I thought this was a great idea – it made it really easy to picture exactly what Sacha was explaining, and each example was totally spot on.

The end of each chapter also has a bullet-pointed summary and finishes with questions to ask yourself as you work through your own manuscript. But the best part of this book, is definitely Sacha’s wit and wisdom. Her personality (and potty mouth – which I love, obviously) really shines through, making it an enjoyable read and not something to trawl through like a lot of writing books.

“Motives are story mechanics, pillars of structural necessity. Without them, you’re fuckled, sideways…With a giant piranha covered pogo stick.”

It’s also clear that Sacha did a lot of research for this book, and I felt like I was in good hands the whole way through! If you’re struggling to create an evil character, or even if you’re just interested in the writing process, I think this book will help and entertain.

Many thanks to Sacha for providing me with a copy of the book and letting me join in the publication day partayyy! Let’s dance!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Incoming!

Don’t you just love book arrival day?

I know I keep saying how out of control my TBR pile is, BUT I had some vouchers for my birthday so it doesn’t count, right!?

I really wanted to buy these last year but didn’t get round to it. So pretty!

20140119-135914.jpg

The Immortal Rules was £1 in my local supermarket so I couldn’t resist and the other three were all gifts for Christmas or my birthday.

20140119-135934.jpg

Too many books, so little time.

I’m especially excited about Zombies Vs Unicorns!

zom

It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Stupid Question!!

Dragon fan? Book Promo: The Long Way by Michael Corbin Ray & Therese Vannier

LONG
Title: The Long Way
Author: Michael Corbin Ray & Therese Vannier
Details: Paperback, E-Book 262 pages
Publication Date: October 2nd 2013 by Baaa! Press
Genre: Fantasy/ Historical Fiction

Synopsis:
Take flight to China’s Opium Wars of the mid-nineteenth century in this epic historical fantasy. Young orphan Leung Chi-Yen, born into the seedy world of Canton brothels, finds an opportunity to escape her fate during the chaos of British attacks on her country. Along with an unreliable monk from the fallen Temple of Seven Dragons, she journeys to North America at the time of the gold rush, the Indian wars, and the taming of the Wild West. Can she forge a new life for herself in this strange, dangerous world? And what about that mysterious Chinese dragon that has followed her so far from home?

What People are saying about The Long Way:

A fine historical fantasy tale featuring a memorable, tenacious protagonist.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“I don’t think there’s a summary in the world that could have done The Long Way justice.”
– Hollie, Goodreads

“The only thing missing from this book is a sequel, as I was very sad to see it end.”
– Debby, Goodreads

Meet the Authors:


long1long2

Michael Corbin Ray and Therese Vannier have been friends since the mid-’90s, when they worked together at a series of imploding newspapers. After the death of journalism, they founded and ran a small marketing business for a number of years before falling for the siren call of Hollywood and screenwriting. Their first project was inspired by a bad dream, which should have been a warning to them.

While they share a love of stories, they come at it from different angles. Therese was raised on a diet of schlocky horror and martial arts movies from the ’70s, while Michael served time as an English major and occasionally aspires to commit literature. Their writing process often devolves into an argument over how much blood is too much blood.

They also share a fascination with the sciences, biology in particular. Therese studied marine biology and spends as much time in the water as possible. Michael has a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, but prefers to keep his feet dry. They find common ground in birds.

After many years educating themselves on the long odds of ever getting a screenplay produced (anybody have a few spare tens of millions of dollars lying around?) they decided to switch to books. They now have a big backlog of stories to tell in this newfangled format. The Long Way is their debut.

Get Your Hands on a Free Copy!

NetGalley members can read The Long Way right now here.

Or you can enter the Goodreads giveaway here.

Blog Admin Update & Currently Reading

A few more changes/updates to the blog:

I finally added a Review Policy & Contact page (and got a new gmail account solely for blogging purposes) and updated my TBR page. Hurrah! I’m getting there.

There are more changes I want to make to my sidebar but at least the important things are done, so I’m feeling pretty smug with myself.

I’m off work sick today (having a nightmare with my Wisdom teeth!) so I’m trying to cheer myself up with this beautiful picture book I just got approved for from NetGalley. It’s so cute!

cover38691-medium

It’s Christmas, and two tree decorations – cardboard prince Rudolph and clothes peg fairy Rosalind – are discarded for being too shabby. Christmas Eve magic brings the toys in the cupboard to life, and when they discover their two friends are not on the tree, they search for them. However, while they are away, a Fouly – the exact opposite of a Christmas Fairy – sneaks in and hides. Unaware of the evil creature’s presence, the toys return with Rudolph and Rosalind, who have also been transformed, and they all help prepare a festive feast. During this the Fouly steals Rosalind’s wand and uses it to kidnap Father Christmas… Rudolph and Rosalind go to rescue him, but they must first seek out Santa Lucia for the one thing Foulies hate the most: the Lucia Light.

Their mission takes them to the Fouly Castle, but they are captured and confronted by Malicia the Fouly Queen. Using the Light, they defeat Malicia, free Father Christmas and return home. But the Fouly follows, seeking revenge, and – backed by a fierce Holly Army – the battle for Christmas begins… Will the Fouly be defeated? Will Rudolph and Rosalind be thrown away, or will the gratitude of Father Christmas help them regain their places at the top of the tree?

The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly is a charming adventure story which combines all the elements of a traditional Christmas tale with a variety of characters and situations that highlight the battle between good and evil.

Resplendent with beautiful black and white illustrations, it’s the perfect bedtime story for children aged 7+ in the run-up to Christmas, and an ideal stocking filler. Its large format and presentation make the book ideal for emergent readers.

Title: The Prince, The Fairy and The Fouly
Author: Jim Fitzsimmons
Details: E-book
Publication Date: November 4th 2013 by Troubador Publishing Ltd.

Coming Up: Winter Vs Summer

I have two very different books coming up. Watch this space.

18633458Title: A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1)
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Details: E-book, Hardback, Paperback, 496 pages
Expected Publication: January 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Emma Day and her two cousins, Gretchen and Penelope, are uninterested in their debutante lives. All the boring balls, tiresome curtsying and polite conversation leave much to be desired. Then a girl is found dead, frost clinging to her lifeless body, and the murder is traced to Emma. As their world is turned upside down, Emma discovers more about herself and her cousins, from her connection to the murders to the secrets of her family legacy. Now the girls must embrace their true Lovegrove inheritance in order to stop the chaos, even if that means risking their lives. Dangerously handsome Cormac Fairfax wants to help Emma – but, with secrets of his own to hide, can she trust him?

The first book in a deliciously dark new trilogy. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Ruth Warburton.

cover32711-medium Title: Game, Set and Murder
Author: Elizabeth Flynn
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Expected Publication: October 18th 2013 by Lion Fiction

It’s the first day of the tennis tournament at Wimbledon. And a dead body is lying on court nineteen. Newly-promoted detective inspector Angela Costello recognizes the dead man as the Croatian champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic. Double grand-slam winner, Petar was one of the best-known and best loved players of the modern era. Petar had a complicated life: an ex-wife who wanted him back; a girlfriend who didn’t want to let him go; a business partner with secrets. Then there was leading Brit Stewart Bickerstaff, not universally popular with his fellow players, whom Petar had been coaching. Little by little DI Costello, despite awkward and prickly colleagues, discerns a trail through the mass of information. Unfortunately she has no way of proving her suspicions. But a prime suspect has overlooked a vital detail …

I’m excited about both of these, even if Game, Set and Murder sounds like more of a summer read, murder at Wimbledon…I couldn’t resist!

Festive Incoming!

My first festive purchase arrived at the weekend! Can’t wait to curl up with some mulled wine and read this. That book funk seems like a distant memory! 🙂

Sept-Nov 13 132

The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

Goodreads Synopsis:

All Lydia’s ever wanted is a perfect Christmas…

So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She’s been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies – all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card.

But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year…

I’m still looking for more festive recommendations (leave a comment)!

New Find for Horror October: House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

I saw this in the review section of The Guardian this morning and thought it sounded like a pretty promising Horror novel from a British author, which is nice. Taxidermy and dolls…ugh. Also, THE COVER! Creep-tastic!

18161866 Catherine’s last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and now things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself — to catalogue the late M H Mason’s wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she’ll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting scenes from World War I. When Mason’s elderly niece invites her to stay at the Red House itself, where she maintains the collection, Catherine can’t believe her luck. Until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle’s ‘Art’. Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but M H Mason’s damaged visions raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she’d hoped had finally been erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge. And some truths seem too terrible to be real.

Title: House of Small Shadows
Author: Adam Nevill
Details: Hardcover, 320 pages. Published October 10th 2013 by Tor

Read the review here.

New Find for Horror October: The Seance by Tricia Drammeh (free on Kindle this weekend!)

This has been a weekend of giveaways and free books for me. WIN! So I thought I’d share the joy. I love the sound of this.

18216403

Ninth grade can be a nightmare when you don’t fit in at school, your crush chooses someone else, and your parents tell you they’re having a new baby. Abby was prepared for normal high school problems. She wasn’t prepared for the demon.

Abby has always been fascinated by the paranormal, but after an ill-fated séance, she discovers not all Spirits are benign. A dark entity unleashed during the summoning sets out to destroy Abby, and within days, she loses her best friend, incurs the wrath of her parents, and becomes a prisoner in her own home. With time quickly running out, she assembles an unlikely group of helpers: the most hated guy in school, a retired psychic, and the cute clerk from her favorite bookstore. Unless the demon is defeated, Abby and her new baby brother won’t stand a chance.

What people are saying about The Séance

As an avid horror fan, I tend to approach a new book with a ‘bring it on – scare me!’ attitude. The Seance did not disappoint.

Mandy White – Goodreads

I absolutely loved this book! Although this book is for young adults this old adult enjoyed the heck out of it. I couldn’t put it down.

Diana – Goodreads

Get your free copy this weekend here.

The Eagle has Landed! Shiny New Reads

Got the BEST post a few days ago. Just having trouble finding a home for them! More shelves needed!

Sept 2013 008

Sept 2013 010

Most of these are for Horror October, can’t wait!

HORROROCT2

Doctor Sleep – Stephen King

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8) Out Now!

‘A lot of people are going to hate me’ – Derek Landy.

Ahhh!! I SRSLY can’t wait to get my hands on this!

Click to view on Goodreads

Click to view on Goodreads

War has finally come.

But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long now, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.

But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

Published August 29th 2013 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks, Hardcover.