Saturday, August 25, 2012

Character Spotlight: Sam Blaize from J.C. Martin's ORACLE

As part of her Oracle blog tour, J.C. Martin is spotlighting one of her characters here today :-)

Fact file: 

Name: Sam Siobhan Blaize

Age: 30

D.O.B.: August 31st

Likes: Kick-boxing, chocolate, rom-coms (shh … it’s a secret!)

Dislikes: Chauvinism, sexism, the name ‘Samantha’, describing redheads as ‘ginger’

Bio: Detective Sergeant Sam Blaize is more than your typical fiery Irish redhead. Sure, she’s a five-foot-four-inch pocket dynamite, a kick-butt amateur kickboxing champion, and she has a quick temper and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but behind her fiercely independent front hides a vulnerable woman who still enjoys a cuddle now and again, and who gets soppy watching romantic comedies (but don’t let her know I told you that!). Though there is clear chemistry between Blaize and her partner, Detective Lancer, she is unwilling to start a relationship with a work colleague, especially one who has recently lost his wife. As they work frenetically to catch the murderer in Oracle before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, Blaize battles with a personal problem of her own, one she fears could rob her of her womanhood.

~ ~ ~

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn't need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they've got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter's disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer's only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

About the Author
J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children.

After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant.

Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.

Contact: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wedding DIY: Invitations & Bridesmaids' Dresses

When I wrote this Masquerade post at the beginning of the month saying I'd be taking a break from publishing Creepy Hollow stories for a while, I thought my life would become less stressful. *Sigh* Did I really honestly think that?! I'm feeling more and more overwhelmed by school work, wedding preparation (why is there something wedding-related to do EVERY SINGLE DAY?!) and my newest writing opportunity (short stories for Gr 8 and 9 English FAL textbooks - very cool ;-) ) - and there are still blog comments from WEEEEEKS ago sitting in my inbox that I haven't got to yet!

Anyway, here are a few things I've been up to lately...

Invitation DIY

I love craft projects, so I never even considered getting someone else to make our invitations. Problem is, measuring and cutting out so many pieces of cardboard, paper, lace and ribbon (not to mention the folding and sticking together part) can take quite a while!
(Have I ever mentioned before that I have a possibly unnatural love of lace and ribbons? Well, I'm saying it now. Lace and ribbon rock.)

Bridesmaid dress DIY

We couldn't find ready-made dresses that we liked for the bridesmaids, so we went pattern and fabric hunting. Actually, that's the royal "we". I didn't do any hunting. I went to school while my fantabulous mother did all the hunting and presented her findings to me for a yay or nay :-) We're having satin with a floaty layer of chiffon over it, and a pretty sparkly layer covering the bodice. Length: above the knee.

Gift registry shopping!
And yesterday we went gift registry shopping!

Me: Ooh, take a photo of me scanning something! Wait. This is something coffee-related. I don't want to scan this.
Fiance:Yes! Coffee! We have to scan that.
Me: Fine, I'll just pretend. *Cheeeeese!*
Fiance: [click]
Me: How is it? Do I look like a freak?
Fiance: Hmmm. More like an insect.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Magazine Famous!

Click to enlarge.

Yip! That's me! My first magazine "appearance", sharing space with a hair ad.
And I totally always write on the couch outside with my laptop on my lap.
(Um, not!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

That White Dress, and an Antique Cafe

I found a wedding dress!

[If this kinda thing bores you, skip down the photos of the Antique Cafe at Churchill House!]

I finally got to go wedding dress shopping this past weekend. My sister flew here specially for the Big Shopping Event (she goes to university in a different province) and I had made appointments at three different bridal shops. And here are my thoughts ...


I thought I'd found The One at shop #1, but it was kinda over the budget (sigh...). At shop #2 we were trying to convince ourselves we'd found The One, and we paid the holding fee to keep it there for a week, and I went away thinking we'd probably get that one, even though it wasn't as amazing as over-the-budget-dress. But at shop #3 the awesomely lovely lady who was helping me into dresses was busy telling me about the "wow" moment. She said, "I can't really describe it, but I know it happens, and when you find the right dress you'll just go ... wow." And as she finished saying that and finished lacing up the back of the dress I was currently in, I said, "Yeah, um, I think this is the wow dress!" And as I walked out and looked in the long mirror, I actually started getting teary, and then so did my sister, and my mom! And we all knew ... this is the wow dress :-)

Teeheee! Now we need to find a venue (as our original plan has sadly fallen through ...).

In between the shops of the Big Shopping Event, my mom organized for us to go to this little antique place for lunch - The Antique Cafe at Churchill House. Everything is old and nothing matches and it's just plain awesome!!

Don't you love it? :-)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

MASQUERADE (CREEPY HOLLOW, #4) Waltzes Into Kindle Stores

After tripping over a few feet, MASQUERADE has finally found itself dancing amongst the other ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords! If you've been looking forward to reading this one after the cliffhanger TRAITOR left you on, then I do hope you enjoy :-)

Taking A Break

At the end of GUARDIAN, LABYRINTH and TRAITOR, I included a "look out for the next installment" page, along with the cover of the next story. I haven't done that this time. Why? Because I don't know when the next one will be ready! This year has been really busy so far with teaching and writing and publishing, and now I have to plan a wedding (yes, engaged 3 months ago, getting married in 4,5 months time, and we've done pretty much NO planning yet!). So I'm taking a bit of a writing break. Well, I'll still be writing, but without fixed (self-imposed) deadlines hanging over my head. I've already got parts of the next few installments written, but I don't know exactly when they'll be finished for everyone else to read.
I look forward to being less stressed out and interacting with all you guys online more :-)

Counting Words

If you're interested, here are the word counts for the first four stories already out. MASQUERADE took me a few more words than expected ;-)

GUARDIAN:   13,700 words

LABYRINTH:   18,000 words

TRAITOR:   15,200 words

MASQUERADE:   24,700 words

A Thank You

And thank you to everyone who downloaded and spread the word on Wednesday when GUARDIAN and LABYRINTH were free. It was a great way to end off my time with KDP Select :-)


Amazon, are you going to lose my book EVERY time?

Does this happen to anyone else, because this is now the THIRD time it's happened to me (well, fourth, since I uploaded two separate versions of LABYRINTH and they both got "lost"). The only one of my books that uploaded without hitches was GUARDIAN.

This is how the problem goes:

I get the congratulatory email from KDP ...

Then I click on the link and get taken to the following page ...

Uh, yeah I'm looking for something!!!

So then in the past I've sent messages to Amazon asking them what's going on and can they please find my book, and by the time they get around to replying to me, the book has sorted itself out and appeared on Amazon, and the response I get from an Amazon person is something along the lines of, "I've checked for the book you asked about and it is live, so ... I'm not really sure what the problem is."

So this time I'm just going to wait.
Sorry you have to wait too!