Category Archives: DIARY
All things us.
Down Memory Lane…
Hey peeps! I was just going through some old files and stumbled across the first interview we ever had with the Pack! Do you remember? For those of you who have just started reading he Crimson Series here it is, the first interview we ever had with the pack…
This interview took place just before we began writing Crimson Midnight. We thought it would be a good idea to meet the pack, to get to know them a little and allow them to get to know us. We were invited to The Whisper after closing. Apparently, as Damon explained, The Whisper is one of the many pack properties in London. What started as an interview turned into a free for all and…well, why don’t you read on and see for yourself?
Amos: Thanks for agreeing to this, we appreciate how busy you are.
Harold: Not like we had a choice.
(Raven shoots Harold a warning look and Harold ducks his head).
Raven: It’s a pleasure. Besides we were curious about the two authors wanting to write about us.
Roman: Yeah, what kind of stuff do you need to know, ‘cos I’m a wealth of info, I’m a snuggler (he winks in Cassidy’s direction causing her to blush)
Raven: (in a warning tone) Roman.
Roman: Sorry, boss, just getting acquainted. You know I can’t resist a pretty face.
Amos: Um…anyway, I thought we could go round the table and each of you could tell us a little about yourselves.
Kris: (groans) Okay, now I feel like I’m back at school.
Raven: I’ll go first. I’m Raven Stonewall, the pack Beta. I’m a Psychology student and part-time professor-
Roman: Youngest ever!
Raven (shakes his head, an amused look on his face) – and in my spare time I enjoy listening to music, reading and watching movies (looks at Harold).
Harold: (sighs) Fine. I’m Harold, I like-
Roman: Tanning lotion!
Harold: Shut it squirt!
Harold: (huffs) I like keeping fit (flexes his arms for Cassidy’s benefit), love sport and enjoy the ladies (he winks at Cassidy who rolls her eyes).
Roman: My turn (turns toward Cassidy). My name’s Roman, I’m a Capricorn and I love long walks on the beach followed by a nice steak, followed by a hot woman on a large bed.
Cassidy: I think I’ll go next. My name’s Debbie Cassidy, I enjoy reading, writing, love a man who can pull his head out of his arse long enough to hold a proper conversation, and enjoy my sugary snacks. Oh, and I like my men on the other side of thirty (she winks).
Harold: She told you, squirt! Get your baby face out of her face.
Raven: Damon, why don’t you go next.
Damon: I’m Damon, as you already know. I love art, fashion and cooking. I would be happy to show you around the art museums this weekend if you would like an escort.
Amos: We’d love that. Thank you, Damon.
Kris: I’m Kris, the youngest, and I love anything to do with extreme sport, although Raven won’t allow me to participate (throws Raven a hopeful look which is ignored). I love listening to live bands and socialising.
Cassidy: (nudges Amos)
Amos: Oh, yes. Richard Amos and I love music, art, travelling, chocolate, reading, writing, Jensen Ackles… Mmmm, Jensen…Jensen…Jensen…Jensen…
Cassidy: (ignores Amos as he slips into an obvious erotic daydream) So can you tell me a little about the pack dynamic. We understand that you have an Alpha, who isn’t with you on patrols and stuff, so how does that work? Does he just hand down orders and leave it to you, Raven, to make sure they’re executed?
Harold: (snorts derisively)
Raven: (pointedly ignores him and smiles at Cassidy) It’s slightly more involved then that. A pack is connected, we’re bonded to each other in that we can sense each other’s emotions. In wolf form we can even communicate telepathically. The Alpha is the main cog that connects us all, he is also the only one that can deliberately cut off or add to the pack. To answer your question, yes the Alpha does not usually run with us on standard patrol, but he is always with us. As the most important cog in the machine that is the pack, the Alpha must be protected at all times.
Amos: So what you’re saying is that only an Alpha has the energy to keep the pack under control…to keep the bond working?
Raven: (cocks his head in thought then nods) Yes.
Cassidy: Okay, so that answers that question.
Roman: Why don’t you ask us something else?
Cassidy: You obviously want to tell us something so please, don’t let me stop you.
Roman: (grins) Well, a little fact about werewolves – we have tons of stamina (winks) Cassidy: (stares blankly at him, biting back a smile).
Roman: (leans forward) If you know what I mean.
Harold: I think she gets the picture (rolls his eyes). Sorry about him. What he is trying to say is that we, as wolves, have an extremely high sex drive.
Kris: (clears his throat) We also have high metabolic rates, which means that we have to eat a lot and often.
Raven: Which reminds me. Would you like to join us for something to eat?
Cassidy: (glances at her watch) Now?
Roman: Hey, there is always time for food!
Amos: (looks at Cassidy and shrugs) I could eat.
Roman: (slaps Amos on the back) That’s my man!
Cassidy: Um…okay. What are we having?
Raven: (glances at Damon who pulls out his mobile and flips it open)
Damon: Pizza. So what does everyone want?
Raven: Large meatfeast.
Harold: Ham and pineapple for me. Large.
Kris: Pepperoni passion…large of course (he grins)
Damon: (looks enquiringly at Amos and Cassidy)
Amos: Um…Cassidy, you want to split a veggie pizza?
Cassidy: (nods and turns to Damon) A large vegetable supreme please.
Damon: (flips open his phone, hits speed dial and places the order adding his own vegetable supreme and five lots of cheesy garlic bread and three bottle’s of Coke.)
Damon: So you guys are vegetarians?
Amos: I am. But Cassidy’s not.
Roman: Cool…okay…so no burgers, steaks, ribs…nothing?
Amos: (shakes his head)
Roman: Wow…that takes will power.
Amos: Not really. I don’t really like the taste of meat, so it’s no real hardship, besides I do eat fish.
Kris: Tuna! Yum! (shoots Harold a mischievous look).
Harold: (glares back looking a little green.)
Cassidy: Why do I get the impression that I’m missing something?
Roman: (laughs) It’s just that there was this one time that Harold went on this health kick and ate nothing but tuna and pasta for a whole two weeks. Man, his breath stunk! And he developed this real bad wind problem where –
Harold: Shut the hell up! (turns his attention to Amos and Cassidy). And you should know about the time that Roman decided to try out every position in the Kama Sutra and almost broke his –
Roman: Whoa! Too much info, orange boy (holds up his hands and turns to Cassidy). Honestly that’s not his natural colour, so if you were wondering if he had some kind of disease or genetic condition, then rest easy. I think I already mentioned…tanning lotion! Yes, our macho Harold fake tans! (Places a hand to his chest and widens his eyes in mock horror).
Amos: (stifles a laugh)
Harold: (lunges across the table at Roman.)
Raven: (clears his throat and Harold pulls back into his seat looking put out)
Roman: (winks cheekily at Harold)
Amos: Anyway, before the food gets here, I would like to ask a couple more questions.
Roman: Best get that out of the way before the pizza arrives.
Amos: (chuckles) Okay, I was wondering how a werewolf was chosen to be part of a pack?
Raven: It’s the Alpha’s pick, based on dominance level and general strength and intelligence.
Amos: So it doesn’t run in families then?
Raven: It can do. I mean, the Alphas usually produce other Alphas. There is no magic formula though.
Cassidy: What about females? Can they join the pack?
Cassidy: No? (Looks irritated). Why not?
Roman: (nudges Raven) I think she thinks the system is sexist.
Raven: (looks shocked) Oh. Of course not. Females can’t be part of the pack because female werewolves can’t shift.
Raven: Well, that wasn’t always true, or so legend has it.
Raven: Legend tells us that a long time ago, way before our race became urbanised, when we lived in the forests and the mountains in close knit communities, all wolves could shift. The females however would stop shifting during pregnancy. We believed it was nature’s way of ensuring the pregnancy wasn’t compromised. Shifting, although it looks effortless, is just that, it is a magical physiological change. Anyway, for the female, it would become impossible to shift when they were pregnant. And this was how things were. Until-
Damon: Oh, yes I remember this story – Akasha, was her name wasn’t it?
Raven: (nods) Yes, until Akasha.
Cassidy: What was so different about Akasha.
Raven: (smiles ruefully) Akasha was in line to take over as pack leader. Both her and her twin brother were in line for the alpha-hood; both natural Alphas. Their father, unable to make a fair decision about who should step up and take the reins, decided to hold a sparring match between the two. Whomever should win would become Alpha. The fight would take place on the next full moon and it was ordered that they would fight in wolf form, because it was the wolf that was being tested. Akasha had recently become betrothed to her childhood sweetheart so alongside the wedding preparations she also commenced her training. It was on one of these sessions a week before the match that she found herself unable to shift (Raven pauses). She was pregnant. Although initially overjoyed she quickly realised what her predicament meant. She would have to forfeit the match; she would lose the change to be Alpha. Akasha was an ambitious female, strong and determined and in her determination she made a choice. A choice that would condemn all female wolves for the rest of time.
Cassidy: (sits forward eagerly) What choice?
Raven: There was an old seer woman, a witch, who lived not too far from the wolves’ village. Akasha paid her a visit and begged her to help. The legend is unclear on what exactly the witch did but the outcome was that Akasha was able to shift, just once for the match.
Amos: And did she win?
Raven: Oh, yes, she won. But she also lost.
Cassidy: The baby!
Raven: Yes. That night there was a terrible storm which ripped the village apart and killed many. The Alpha was one of the casualties. The pack was devastated but hot on that devastation came another. One by one the females of the pack lost their ability to shift. They called it a curse. A curse which spread like wild fire until every female then, and every female since, has been born without the ability to shift.
Amos: (nods) And without this they can’t be part of the pack because they can’t connect with their pack mates’ telepathically.
Raven: Yes. And a woman could not take on the role of Alpha as she would not be able to emotionally connect with her pack.
Kris: How come I don’t know this story?
Roman: Hey, don’t feel bad, this is the first time I’m hearing this too.
There is a knock at the door and as Roman gets up to answer it we realise that the interview proper is now over. The smell of freshly baked pizza wafts into the room and all further thoughts of making notes and asking questions go out the window. The rest of the evening, or early morning, was spent eating pizza and gossiping.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our first contact with the pack. Reading over this now we are both overcome with nostalgia for the way things used to be, for the way the pack used to be. So much has happened…so much has still to happen…
Reflections on The Festival of Writing 2014… And some handy tips!
Reflections on The Festival of Writing, York, September 2014
(And some handy tips! :-D)
As many of you may know, we attended the The Festival of Writing last year. We packed up and headed to York for the weekend, making sure we had plenty of nibbles to hand for the train journey north. We hardly slept a wink the night before, worrying about our manuscript, our pitch, the journey. We desperately wanted it to be a success. Naively, we guess, we hoped that we would return with a literary agent in our pocket and that would be the end of that.
What happened was that we made some fab author friends, got to ask a bunch of burning questions to people who worked in the industry and attended a load of workshops that opened our eyes to several errors we were making – not only in our writing, but in our approach to traditional publishing.
We had our one-to-one sessions with agents and received some very positive feedback. By the end of the stay we had received four requests for full manuscripts.
We have since learned that an agent requesting a full manuscript does not guarantee an offer of representation. Having done some research, we found that on average an agent could request 100 – 200 full manuscripts a year. Out of this number maybe 5-10 will be selected for representation. Smaller agencies will have smaller numbers. So, as you can imagine, any manuscript would have to not only be exceptionally written, but also excite the agent on a personal level.
We have yet to receive that call. Until then, we continue to write. We know it will happen one day. We have learned so much over the past 6 months and we would like to share a few tips with you.
- Don’t just write for the market – The market is ever changing; even the publishers don’t know what will be hot next. You need to write what excites you. If you struggle to get into the story then how do you expect your readers to feel?
- Do not underestimate the importance of a solid covering letter – This is your first impression. If you are sloppy here then the agent will assume that your submission is sloppy. A lot of submissions are simply rejected because of a sloppy or untidy covering letter. Agents get hundreds of submissions; make sure you follow the guidelines so you don’t get added to the trash. Remember to address your letter to the agent personally and tell them why you have chosen them. Don’t go on and on about yourself unless the information is relevant to what you have written. For example, if you have written a Psychological Suspense and are a psychiatrist or have a MA in Psychology then by all means let them know. Otherwise, there is no need to go into detail. At this stage the agent simply wants to know about your novel and any writing history – publication in journals, magazines etc…
- Make your manuscript sparkle – Ideally you should stick your first draft in a drawer for a few weeks and come back to it. Go over it with a critical eye, self-editing it as you go. If you are unsure about grammar and punctuation there are loads of books and online tools on how to get to grips with it. Also, you can get it professionally edited. Otherwise, you can get it proof-read. Beta readers are always a good idea, they will look for plot holes and inconsistencies. A great resource of information is the ‘Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Guide to Getting Published by Harry Bingham’
- Do your research – Agents are people too, they have likes and dislikes, they are not generic representation machines. What excites one agent may put another to sleep. Read their bio’s, do a little Twitter stalking and check out Writer’s Digest online. All invaluable in helping you make the decision about which agents to approach. Remember that an agent-author relationship is just that, a relationship, and it won’t work if you don’t have anything in common.
- Do make multiple submissions – You can submit to more than one agency at a time, but check their submission requirements as some like to be informed if you are doing this.
- Be patient – It can take on average up to 8 weeks to get a response to a submission, and if they request a full manuscript then there is another wait, anything from 1 month to 3. Every agency has their own guidelines as to times and acknowledgements, which is why submitting to more than one agent is a good idea.
- Never give up – Keep going. If you want to write then write and keep on doing it. We know what it’s like to feel down at times, but we can’t stop. Writing is in our blood. Never try and shut down that feeling of the love of telling a story as it will never go away. Embrace it and soldier on!
There are plenty of online resources with tips on how to formulate that perfect covering letter and how to format your completed manuscript. You are not alone. Having done a ton of research ourselves, we are happy to answer any questions you may have on the subject.
Writing Festivals and workshops are fantastic for making connections with like-minded people, picking up tips and expanding your mind. If you are serious about traditional publishing, and can afford to go, then we would highly recommend attending one.
So what’s happening now?
We’ve been a little on the quiet side recently so we apologise for that but hope you will forgive us once we tell you the silence has been due to the fact that we are working hard on two novels. Yep you heard us! Two books at the same time. Now, we’ve never attempted this before as we usually only have the focus for one project at a time but in this instance we were torn. There were two stories that needed to be told and we dithered. We pondered and we discussed and in the end we decided that we could and would work on both. So, what books are we working on? Well, you all must surely be familiar with The Rain and Jake’s story by now and we are working on the second installment of his tale. It will be scary and creepy and exciting and…well you get the picture. The second project is hush hush as it is something that we have never tried before so we are going to keep that one quiet just for now. Promise to tell you more soon though!
Okay, ‘me’ time is over now and I have to dash – kids to feed and toddlers to run after – but will be back soon with more updates and news from the Amos Cassidy realm.
Keep reading peeps!
AMOS’S ALBUM PLAYLIST VOLUME 4
AMOS’S ALBUM PLAYLIST VOL 4
Peep Show by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Some Girls by The Rolling Stones
Hello Nasty by The Beastie Boys
A Kiss in the Dreamhouse by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Mantaray by Siouxsie
To The Five Boroughs by The Beastie Boys
Electric by The Pet Shop Boys
Heroes by David Bowie
Land by Patti Smith
Coming Up by Suede
Mothership by Led Zeppelin
Amos’s Album Playlist Volume 3…
And here is volume 3…
- Protection by Massive Attack
- Bending the Dark by The Imagined Village
- Biophillia by Bjork
- The Sensual Word by Kate Bush
- Hat Full of Stars by Cyndi Lauper
- In a Lifetime: The Best of Clannad by Clannad
- The Promise by Bruce Springsteen
See you next week! 🙂
Amos’s Album Playlist – Volume 2
Bit late posting this, but here it is – the second musical volume 🙂
The Album Playlist – Vol 2:
- Low by David Bowie
- MDNA by Madonna
- Station to Station by David Bowie
- Heroes by David Bowie
- Confessions on a Dancefloor by Madonna
- The Next Day by David Bowie
- The Hawk is Howling by Mogwai
Stay tuned for volume 3 at the weekend! 🙂
Bye for now! 🙂
Amos’s Album Playlist – Volume 1
Hello! Amos here 🙂
When I work, do the housework or chill out, I love having music on. It relaxes me, inspires me and gets me busting moves around the house 🙂 So, for fun, I thought I’d share what albums I’ve been listening to every week – posting every Saturday on here, calling each week’s album playlist a Volume rather than writing down dates etc. Welcome to Volume 1 🙂 Okay, on to this week’s Playlist/Volume… 🙂
Amos’s Album Playlist – Volume 1:
- Pre-Millennium Tension by Tricky
- Blue Lines by Massive Attack
- Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
- False Idols by Tricky
- Not Your Kind of People by Garbage
- Nearly God by Tricky
- Blowback by Tricky
- Sun by Cat Power
See you next week! 🙂
And here is a message from Cassidy…
Okay, so I’ve been AWOL for some time now, leaving Amos to hold the fort while I got rounder, more pregnant and more irritable. But thank goodness the pregnancy is now over and I have been blessed with a lovely baby boy 🙂
The worst thing about being pregnant was that I completely lost my writing and reading mojo 😦 I remember thinking that I would never get it back and that Book Three was doomed to remain a dream, but thank goodness I was wrong. A day after giving birth, and despite the exhaustion from lack of sleep, I could not stop thinking about Book Three in the Crimson Series. My fingers are itching to get back to the keyboard and back into the story; and my brain is teeming with ideas 🙂
So here I am, back from my sabbatical, ready to ease myself back into writing. It’s going to be a challenge, after all I have a new baby and five-year-old to take care of, but I am determined to do it.
Thank you, Amos, for keeping things ticking in my absence and thanks in advance for all the help and support I know you will be giving me; after all, you are the now a Godfather 😉
Signing off for now,
Amos: YAY! 🙂 Welcome back, Cassidy. And, in advance, you’re very welcome, luv 😉 Thanks so much for choosing me to be Godfather. Yay! And MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to you again 🙂 xxxx
ROLL ON CRIMSON 3!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Most Eagerly Anticipated Books 2013
So here we are, a new year and that means new books coming out. YAY! 🙂 Below is a list of the books we are eagerly anticipating this year – we are VERY excited about these! And this is just books we are aware of at present. When we hear of more to salivate over, we will update our list 🙂
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Lover At Last by J.R Ward
Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Omens by Kelley Armstrong
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Tempest Reborn by Nicole Peeler
What are your most eagerly anticipated books of 2013?
Amos and Cassidy xxx
RESIDENT EVIL 6 EXPERIENCE – PART 2
Here comes part 2 in our Resident Evil 6 Experience. This isn’t a review or anything like that – although we busted out the gold stars because gold stars are cool. It is simply a series of thoughts/a brief summary 🙂
Amos played as Leon. S. Kennedy.
Cassidy played as Helena Harper.
So we’ve finished the Leon and Helena. Woo Hoo! Holy s**t that was some crazy zombie fun! And bloody hard in places with more puzzle-based action woven in. It was also very creepy in some parts.
Cadbury’s Fabulous Chocolate Fingers saw us through to the end, aiding us in the epic battle. We highly recommend them 🙂
As before, we had a great time playing it – minus a certain rope climbing section! Gameplay, graphics and all that good stuff were as fabulous as always. But its the story that’s blowing us away. We’re partial to a rockin’ story line, and this game has one spilling out like zombie juice after taking a bullet to the head. Its brilliant! More was revealed, more of what is going on opened up and caused lots of “AH” “AHA!” “OH!” “BLIMEY!”
5 glorious GOLD stars from us!
One last thing – Leon is very yummy indeed. He’s hot, hot, HOT! 🙂
Okay, now we move on to Jake and Sherry’s campaign. YAY! Love this game!
Bye for now!
Amos and Cassidy 🙂