Thursday, 16 August 2012

Are you creative? Got what it takes to make a blockbuster?

This month we're giving you a chance to flex your creative muscles.

Taylor Street Publishing are offering an exciting opportunity to come up with a new title for one of their books.

'Casablanca - My Heart' by Hannah Warren is a spellbinding romance set against the glorious backdrop of Morroco. Kathleen Hewtson, Managing Director explains:

"Occasionally a book doesn't take off as we were expecting. In this case we feel that the title may be failing to excite the target audience and as we have such faith in the writing, we've decided to take the unusual step of re-branding and re-launching the book. We are sourcing some beautiful new artwork but we'd like some help with the most important change - the title!"

How do you enter?

"You can download the book with its current name - Casablanca-My Heart - from here for 77 pence, or for a similarly low price from your region's Amazon site. We have also put some of the reviews below, which we feel may help give a feel of the book. Simply suggest a name by commenting on the below post and on Thursday 23rd August, well announce the one we like best!! The winner will receive an acknowledgement in the front of the book, a paperback copy of the book and an Amazon gift voucher for £15."*

Fancy a go? Better get reading - you've only got a week!!

REVIEWS for 'Casablanca - My Heart'

I confess that the title of this book made me think it would be a pleasant but unedifying Mills and Boon style of story. And it is written in present tense throughout, another of my peeves. But Hannah Warren handles this style of writing so skilfully that it felt natural and not intrusive in any way. This is not her first language but, my goodness, she writes far better than many an English native. She employs simple elegant sentences, brings to life places and people, colour, atmosphere and beauty. Even the minor characters feel so real they are there before your eyes, the mark of a truly good writer.
The main character Heather, a successful writer of romance novels, is a woman torn by guilt and pain. She feels it is her fault that her beloved husband, Luuk, lies in a coma after a terrible motor accident. In an effort to get away for a while, she books a cruise to Casablanca and meets there a handsome Persian who, while appearing a bit of a playboy, is very attractive. (Yes, I see Omar Sharif too!) He in turn is determined to meet her and seems to know all about her life and loves. The mystery intrigues and terrifies her.
The characters with their complexities, their needs, their feelings are beautifully fleshed out. It's truly a story with a soul, not a mere amusing romance. In some places reminiscent of a Francoise Sagan novel.


English is not Hannah Warren's first language but this book is written to perfection. Editors play their part of course but they cannot capture the soul of a book. This comes from the author and Hannah has left her soul in this book in my humble opinion.
Just say the name Casablanca and it conjures up the feeling of romance, exotic spices, and hot nights in the Casbah.
As the story opens from Heather's perspective she looks across the dining table on board ship and is aware of Ghalib a Moroccan Prince. A modern day Omah Sharif if you will. So begins the love story.
As the story twists and turns through the years from Ghalib's prospective and then Heather's, we discover how their lives become entwined and how fate finally takes a hand in their lives.
This is not just a wonderful romantic story it has depth of soul and eventually all soul mates come together regardless of where they are in the world.
I loved every moment and was disappointed when I finally read the last page as this reader wanted more.
I thoroughly recommend this captivating story.

Suggestions below - good luck!!

In association with UK Prize Finder: The number one community for competitions<a href="" title=" - home of competitions and prize winning" target="_blank">ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions</a>

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

We're back! Check out this great interview:

After a month away for summer (or what passes as an English summer) along with the excitement of the Olympics, Kings of Kindle are back in the office and ready to uncover some serious gems for your e-reader.

We kick off with a fantastic interview with the ridiculously talented Matt Shaw….

We all remember those books from when we were younger – the adventure ones where you chose how the book went – ‘if you think that he should take the mountain path, turn to page 32.’ ‘If you think he should fight the yeti, turn to page 14.”
Matt Shaw, the prolific and bestselling author, has produced a grown up version – complete with his own personal and self-admitted brand of ‘sick’.

We got to chat with him...

So, Matt – a choose your own adventure book for grown-ups. What a brilliant idea, how did you come up with the concept?

I was chatting with some friends (yes, I do actually have some.... well, okay... it was a ‘friend’ but regardless, I was still chatting to them) about the books we used to read as a kid. The Choose Your Own range came into the conversation and, the more we were fondly recalling our experiences with them (I used to cheat) the more I thought it would be sweet to do a version for adults. Chatting with some of readers on my author page, some of them hadn’t even heard of this style of book but were still well up for having a blast with one.

It helps the E-Reader platform lends itself to the gimmick really well too. You don’t need page numbers, you don’t need chapters. Just sentences at the end of each ‘segment’ giving you a choice of what you want the main character to do next. All you need to do is click on the hyperlink (even more fun if you have a touch screen!) and you’re magically whisked away to the next part of the story. And it makes it really, really hard for the cheating gits out there who try and go backwards if they’ve made a mistake.

The book is not for the faint of heart. Are you particularly fond of horror as a genre?

I actually like comedy books best of all (one of my favourite books, I wrote, is ‘The Vampire’s Treaty) but I’ve found they don’t sell as well as ‘horror’. Early on, I found people liked the horror stories I did write so I’ve kind of gone on from there - following the market but I’ll never ignore the ‘funnies’ which is why there’s always a hint of comedy in my darker books. Yes the situations are particularly nasty (kidnap, murder etc) but, because I write through the first person perspective, it allows me to drop in the odd throw-away line or jokey comment. I think humour, even in horror, is important.  

I was criticised for this in a recent review. Apparently the ‘humour’ stops my books from being truly horrifying but I believe sometimes it helps make the horror even worse when it does rear it’s ugly head.

The Happy Ever After’ series of books are extremely dark but people loved the main character, Peter, because of his many quirks and witty, little thoughts he has through-out the story. I think, if you take those away, what you’re left with is just another tale of kidnap...zzzzzzzzzzzz

There seems to be a certain amount of glee in pushing boundaries and seeing how far you can take things. Would you agree with that and does that come out in your other writings or creative activities?

I was worried about this interactive story, ‘A Christmas to Remember’, because I thought I had pushed a scene too far. I don’t want to give it away but it involves a severed head. I sent the book to various people, so they could test it for me, and it came back with a mixed reaction. They all agreed it was shocking but seventy percent of them reckon they had seen worse so.... yeah... it stayed in the book.

Sometimes I have really dark ideas, for stories, but then I bottle them because I know it would turn so many people off my writing that it’s just not worth it. There is a fine line. Just comes down to being able to recognise where it is before you’ve crossed it. You only need to push as close as you can possibly get without falling over it.

If you’re not willing to push boundaries and take things as far as they can possibly go (before they turn ‘ridiculous’ or ‘extremely offensive’) then how are you ever going to write something which stands out from the rest of the published words out there?!

You are an astonishingly prolific author with over 25 titles currently available on Amazon. What is the secret to churning out so many novels and do you have any tips for aspiring writers who lack the self-motivation?

If you lack self-motivation give up now. That’s not me being harsh either. There’s just very little point in going for a career in writing if you can’t even be dedicated enough to sit at a computer and bash away at the keyboard. I’d even tell them to give up if they only have a little motivation too. You have to be one hundred percent dedicated to it or the slightest little upset will cause you to stop writing (bad review, bad feedback from a friend.... something good on the telly). Sometimes I’d like nothing more than to sit on my arse with a Playstation controller but I don’t dare. It’s taken me years to build up a readership and I fret that, as soon as I stop writing, they’ll stop following...

As for what I write: I used to write, about, a book a month. About. Roughly. That was whilst I was holding down a full-time job in Hell (not really Hell but... if Hell existed... it would have been that office). I gave that up a few months ago and now all I do is write. I have to as I have bills that need to be paid (and sometimes they aren’t!)

I sit at the computer early in the morning and stay there until late at night. If I’m not writing a story, I’m pushing my books on different book groups on Facebook or chatting with people who are members of my author page. Facebook being the only real place I actively utilise. I’m a member of Goodreads but.... only so I can keep an eye on what people are saying about my work! If I’m not at the computer, I’ll be on the settee with my notebook - scribbling down ideas from the dark recesses of my damaged imagination (some of which go onto become books, some of which just sit there until the ink fades on the page). Basically, I’m always ‘thinking’ stories. To give you an idea of how long I am at the computer for - I have to change my keyboard batteries once a month, if not more.

But there’s other little factors too which help me knock out the books quickly too...

I never do ‘re-writes’. If a book I’m working on isn’t working out. I jump ship and start something else. Once I’ve finished writing the book, I pass it onto someone else to edit (NEVER edit your own work). They pass it back, I give it a once over.... and release.

I keep them short and sweet. My books are usually around 90-150 pages in length. Novellas. I like them like this because they’re what I call ‘quick reads’. Sometimes people don’t have time to sit in a book for days in and days out and they want something quick they can read. A story they can start and finish - without ageing another year in the process. The length of my work is reflected in the price - I don’t charge over £3 for a book. Some of my books are even as little as 77p. See, I think it’s important to keep prices low to encourage people to give you a go (another reason why I’m always offering free book promotions and giving books away on my author page.... I want people to give me a go!)

I once had a lady send me a book (please don’t do this) about werewolves. Now, I know I’m no Stephen King but, honestly, this was proper bollocks. It was poorly written, dull, flat characters.... she was adamant she wanted to release it so I talked her through the process and told her she’d be best off keeping the price low if she wanted to sell any copies as people are reluctant to fork out big money on Kindle.

“No way!” she said. “My work is worth at least £9.99...”

Last I heard, she sold one copy. To her mum.

Just realised that has nothing to do with this. Let’s move on....

(Goes off to get some toast, whilst contemplating moving on....)

You once had a column in NUTS Magazine, and are a cartoonist. With your irreverent sense of humour you are not the normal image people have of an author. What did you want to be when you were at school and what do your friends from that period think of your success these days?

My friends thought I’d grow up to be a serial killer or some kind of psycho. Seems apt that I write about those kinds of characters, really.

I always wanted to be on stage, in films or writing screenplays. I only turned to writing books because people used to love my stories and I figured I’d have more chance selling a novel compared to a screenplay. When self-publishing came about, I didn’t think twice - especially having wasted so much time sending off to publishers and agents.... people who wouldn’t even LOOK at my work.

As for the ‘success’ of selling books at the moment - I’m happy with where things are headed (could always be better) but my friends don’t know. Don’t talk to them anymore. Not since I killed them.

Which authors work do you most enjoy and what, if any, genres do you dislike?

You know, I rarely read. How bad is that? I’m more of a cartoon kind of bloke. Love the work of Gary Larson (‘Far Side’) and, of course, Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes). If I read a book it’s normally one of mine because they’re THAT amazing. Cough. Not really, I like autobiographies - like ‘My Booky Wook’ by Russell Brand (follow-up was wank, though). And if you haven’t read ‘Billy’ by Pamela Stephenson, you really need to!

If I’m in the mood for stories, I always look for the darker stuff of Roald Dahl. His short stories are just about long enough to hold my attention and are awesome! I love the way he throws a twist at the end. He inspires me (or did anyway, he’s dead now ever since that train accident.....) Guess that’s why I like writing short stories and novellas too with a nice twist in the end!

Finally, Matt – as a writer what are the feelings that you are trying to provoke in your readers when they close the final pages (e-close, naturally) on one of your books?

Goosebumps. To me the ending is the most important aspect of the book. The opening gets their attention. The ending makes them buy another. Can’t remember who said that (might have been my Nan) but... ‘tis very true.

I had a message, the other day, via a psychic medium (not really, was on Facebook). Some nice lady, on my author page, who said she was sat in the car reading ‘9 Months - Book One’ when she suddenly screamed at the ending. Apparently the driver nearly crashed. Obviously I don’t want my readers to crash in horrific accidents but, if they scream.... I’m good with that.

One review (I read them all) has mentioned how the ending has haunted them for days after they finished the book. I call that a result.

Thank you very much for agreeing to be interviewed by us today, Matt.

No. Thank you.

For the record, the toast I mentioned earlier - I burnt.

So, there you have it. A gruesome, grotesque Choose Your Own Adventure book. No doubt your interest is piqued so, will you:

  1. Buy it immediately from here
  2. Check out Matt’s other titles on Amazon.
  3. Check out Matt's Facebook Page
You decide!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Drum roll.... drrrr.... drrr... drrr - And The Winner Is:

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition to win an entire Kindle library - One HUNDRED books!

All the names were printed out, torn into tiny little pieces and then we scattered them on the floor and gave the job of choosing a winner to our office cat - Patrick. He looked for a while like he might just lie down, but then suddenly, he had a rare moment of activity and quite clearly put his big fat tabby paw on the following folded piece of paper..... once we had wrestled it off  him, we were able to unfold it and announce that... the winner is:

Congratulatons Elisha - you have 100 Kindle books coming to you soon.

Let us know your email address please, and we'll sort everything out.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who got involved - we have another sexy little competition coming to you soon - and yes, it's sexy. The Fifty Shades Trilogy, plus assorted extras.

Ready yourselves, gentlemen.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

A Zombie With More Brains Than He Can Eat...

This week we're just going bonkers for 'I've Been Deader' by Adam Sifre, a comedy zombie novel that was launched earlier this week by Taylor Street Publishing.

Not only is his book very funny, but we've discovered Adam is handsome AND a lawyer. We envisage a plethora of Zombielevers swooning outside bookshops near you somtime soon.

Lillian Kendrick, the lucky, lucky lady, got to interview him...

What made you start writing in the first place? I don’t even know what made me start eating raisin bread for breakfast. It’s just something I started doing. People liked what they read, my ego grew and demanded that more people like me, so I kept on writing. Then, just when I thought my ego could not possibly get any bigger, I wrote “I’ve Been Deader.”
Where and when do you usually write?
I usually write in the early morning and late evening. Sometimes I’ll write in the afternoons or early evenings; sometimes a little after dusk or if it’s raining. I write when I’m stressed and want to do something I’m good at.

Which writers have inspired you?
Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Adam Sifre (his early stuff).
How do you handle Writer’s Block?

I find that bitching about it for several days often helps. Then I sit down and write something that I think is terrible. Then I wait another few weeks and try again.

Are any of your characters based on real people?

Fred is loosely based on me. People think that zombies are fictional, but believe me, there are plenty of us shambling from place to place with vacant stares and not a functional thought in our heads. You can find us at shopping malls, the motor vehicle department, office parties, blind dates – we are legion.

There are a few gloriously ‘yucky’ scenes in “I’ve Been Deader” – where do you get your ideas from? (The drag queens, "Dead Divas", spring to mind!)
Usually when I’m driving. I’m always thinking about weird and funny situations. I do very little outlining before I write. I just wait for an interesting thought to make itself known, write it down, and start tweaking it. The idea for the “Dead Divas” for example, occurred to me when I passed some prostitutes outside the Lincoln tunnel in New York City. The thought of paying a stranger for sex terrified me. I mean, who knows what someone will do to you if they get close enough?
What has been the most encouraging comment you have received in the process of bringing “I’ve Been Deader” to the attention of horror and comedy fans around the world?
I know that I have a tendency to come off as a bit egotistical, but in all honesty, I’ve received comments from hundreds of readers telling me how much they loved the book (and not just from writers looking for return compliments – the jackals). My memory is worse than Charlie Sheen’s, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten many great ones. So I’ll just post one comment that I picked at random, sent to me last year from a reader on “I’m not a fan of the horror genre. You can watch your undead movie while I watch Angeline Jolie. But you’ve got something. Perhaps it’s the perfect comedy timing. Perhaps it’s because you somehow manage to make us identify with rotten old Fred.”

Comments like that make it all worthwhile. Well, impressive sales figures will really make it all worthwhile, but until that happens I’m stuck with comments and good wishes.

Well - you've got our backing, Adam. You can find I've Been Deader here and also on our fancy carrousel over to the right.

Win books and join the Zombie Apocalypse!

Our fabulous competition to win a whole library of books for your e-reader comes to a close at midnight tomorrow. Get those entries in here and be entered into the draw for this brilliant prize. 100 books! It's a reader's dream!

In more news, we'll be taking a look later today at a new Kindle book on the block, Adam Sifre's 'I've Been Deader' - a comedy zombie novel with a difference. Zombies have never been hotter (in a cold, dead way) and we're leaping on the bandwagon - arms outstretched and moaning 'braaaaains'.

Get those entries in, winner will be announced on Saturday. In the meantime, here's a little preview of our latest favourite read:

Being a zombie is no picnic and it's one hell of a handicap in the romance department when you fall in love with a 'breather':

Aleta is a breather with short blonde hair and brown eyes - two of them! - and the whitest smile Fred has ever seen. Every day at a certain time she sits at her window, and every day he stands in the rubble across the street among a crowd of zombies waiting to break through the fence and eat her.

'You are beautiful, like an angel', he thinks, but all he can moan is, “Braaaiiinss."

Still, as zombies go, Fred's quite a catch. Underneath all the gangrene and rot, Fred is different. This girl will probably turn out to be yet another dead end, an infatuation, someone whose image he cannot get out of his mind and whose taste he cannot get out of his mouth, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

For breathers, it is always only a matter of time, however beautiful they are and whatever the government is assuring people.

Which makes Fred sad because he has a beautiful 11 year old son called Timmy, and Timmy may still be alive.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Party with us! Follow Party, Friday 22nd June 6pm

We're having a party!

True to form we'll be having a right royal shindig on Friday 22nd June at 6pm.... the only catch, is that it's online.

Do you have a blog? Would you like more followers?

The number of followers you have on your blog can be a visible indication to potential readers, PR professionals and marketers that your blog is worthy of their interest.

Join us next Friday for our very first Follow Party. To join, simply visit this facebook page:

Leave us a link to your blog and we'll add you to the Guest List!

Come back to the Facebook page next Friday. An hour before the party starts, the full list of attendees will be posted up on the event page. Each guest then visits and follows every blog on the list - which should only take around half an hour, dependent on the length of the guest list, and should result in a substantial increase in your own followers.

This is not a private event - feel free to invite any bloggers that you know. Remember, the more guests we have, the better for your followship numbers.

Oh, one last thing... bring a bottle!

See you there,


PS: Please note that we will be holding a similar event for those in parts of the world for whom this time is inconvenient. It would be helpful to know what the demand for a second event would be, so if you like the sound of this, but don't want to get up at 3am, let us know below.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Fifty Shades of.... pink?!

With the Shades of Grey trilogy dominating the book charts at the moment, we sent our Fifty Shades Virgin (as in, she hasn’t read the books) on a quest to find out why these saucy books are just so sellable. Charlotte Castle reports.

I have a friend who is an Ann Summers Rep.  She makes a bit of pocket money and has a monthly giggle selling crotch-less knickers and Rampant Rabbits to tipsy women at hen parties. Recently though, she’s noticed a new trend. “No sooner than I’ve got my first edible bra out of my product bag and they’re all asking me about Shades of Grey – and enquiring whether I stock feathers and whips.”

It’s what the sex industry is calling ‘The Grey Effect’ and its sweeping through society from an unusual starting point – the 30 – 40 year old female reader.

The first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, follows Ana, a virginal literature student and her growing relationship with the handsome but troubled Billionaire, Christian Grey, who educates her in the ways of love and passion in his Red Room of Pain – a bondage dungeon in his apartment.

But come on. Surely this is just porn? The written version of 1970’s porn films - which also boasted a flimsy plot (“Oh! Derek! I didn’t realise you were cleaning the windows. Oh! And look! My sister has just arrived! Well since you’re all here….”) surely any pretence at literature is a farce?

“It’s a love story” says Christina Glynn, a 30 year old Health Care Assistant from London, with the passionately defensive tones I’ve come to expect from fans of the series. “I suppose on the surface the sexual content, could be used for a cheap thrill, if that was the case then the reader isn't really following the story. The sex scenes are about trust - both characters breaking down their own barriers and discovering love for the first time. The story deals with the characters battling with their own emotions and feelings, and discovering firsts together - albeit on different levels. It is by the far the most graphic and passionate book I have encountered, but truthfully that’s just at surface level.”

Yet just as Christina was beginning to sell it for me, the best-selling author Matt Shaw added his views. “Filthy, yes. Dull, absolutely.  The author needs to learn new adjectives to describe feelings. There are only so many times a person can look at someone through their lashes and blush."


Antonia Hopkins, 31 of Windsor added, “The filth side gets a bit boring in all honesty, I found myself skipping through the parts where they have sex after the first few times! I did feel compelled to finish them all though [the books] as I had to find out what happened.”


It seems that the Shades of Grey series, just like sex and love, have an intensely personal and individual effect on each person. I think the only thing I can do is download it and read it. You never know - my next purchase just might be a riding crop.

Fifty Shades of Grey is available to download for e-readers from Amazon, here.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


That's right, we're giving away an entire ONE HUNDRED titles to just one reader - that's 100 novels and memoirs, all published between 2008 and 2012. An entire library, straight to your Kindle or e-reader!

In order to be in with a chance to win this amazing prize, you will need to:

1.  Follow this blog - (see to the right.)

2.  Share this link on Facebook:

3.  And Tweet a link to the following TWO blog posts:

4.  Finally, comment below to let us know that you have entered.

The lucky winner will be drawn at random on 7th July 2012. Two runners up will each receive an e-copy of Hooking Up by Jessica Degarmo and Division of the Damned by Richard Jones.

Get networking and good luck!!

Terms & Conditions
Winners will be picked at random from entrants who have commented below this post. Kings of Kindle will message the winners via the Kings of Kindle blog and reserve the right to check that the above requirements have been carried out in order to validate the claim. Likewise the two runners-up. The prize will be delivered within 14 days of the winner being announced. The winner agrees to have their name posted on the blog - photograph is optional. Kings of Kindle and their associates Taylor Street Publishing and That Right Publishing reserve the right to withold the prize from claimants who are unable to prove that they have fulfilled the necessary requirements as outlined in points 1-4 above. Staff and relations of Taylor Street and That Right Publishing and writers, moderators and relations are unable to enter this competition. No cash alternative will be offered and the books must be delivered in e-format. The titles given as a prize are non-transferable or negotiable. The accompanying photograph is used for illustrative purposes only and does not include titles that are involved in this promotion.

This promotion is in conjunction with Taylor Street Publishing and That Right Publishing.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Can Free Ever be Faaabulous?

Like many people, we at Kindle Castle are feeling the pinch. It seems nobody has any spare cash these days and buying books has become a bit of a luxury – whereas before, for avaricious readers like ourselves, a weekly book was as normal and as essential as washing up liquid.

There is, of course, the library – and certainly those institutions need supporting as much as possible. But here in England it’s raining… and hey, we own a Kindle!

One of the main complaints against e-readers, perpetuated by the bigger, older, traditional publishing houses, is that due to the ‘free-for-all’ ease of publishing, the quality of books are un-policed, meaning that Amazon has become a quagmire of sub-standard writing and illiterate ranting in which the ‘good’ books (ie the ones that the big publishers want to sell for £8 or £9 in electronic format) sink and are lost.

We see their point. But looking through the Top One Hundred in the UK Kindle downloads today, it was interesting to see a number of entirely free books making it into the charts. Furthermore, they all have excellent star ratings and their reviews suggest that they are as highly regarded by their fans as books by the big hitters.

So. It’s raining, we’re skint and we have a virtual library of free books in the palm of our hands. We don’t even have to take them back! We downloaded the following, and will give our thoughts next week. In the meantime, if you’ve checked out these titles and have anything to say about them, let us know - and if you know of any juicy little freebies we should be shouting about, get in touch.

Scary Mary - by S.A Hunter.

This looks like something of a cross between 'Ghost Whisperer' and the Stephen King's 'Carrie'. So far, not very original, but it has four and a half stars and many satisfied customers shouting about it. And it's free. Did we mention it's free? We'll let you know what we think about Mary as soon as we've all met her.

Never Buried - Edie Claire

Despite the slightly Nancy Drew feel to the cover, this again had mostly good reviews. Personally we're feeling a little bit dubious about this, as for a crime novel to work the plot needs to be really tight - but hey, that's what we're here for. Selflessly testing out books so that if they're bad, you don't have to. You never know, could be the next PD James. As ever, we'll let you know.

That's it, for now. We've got reading to do....

Friday, 1 June 2012

SEX WITHOUT STRINGS? Jess Degarmo talks dirty with us.

Big treat for us at Kings of Kindle today. We got in contact with Jess Degarmo, author of 'Hooking Up' and 'How to Meet a Guy at the Supermarket' and we were royally chuffed when she agreed to be interviewed.

Hey, Jess! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed today.

You're welcome!

Your second novel, ‘Hooking Up’ is out now and quickly gathering great reviews. Tell us a bit about it.

Well, in a nutshell, it’s about a young woman, Caitlin, who has just been left by her boyfriend of ten years. She goes out to a bar with her best friends to take her mind off of things, and one of her friends suggests that what she needs is a one-night stand to help get over her ex. At first, Caitlin scoffs at the idea. After all, who wants sex without emotion? But eventually, overcome with loneliness, she follows through with it. There’s just one problem: how did Caitlin end up with the only guy in town who wants more than a one-night stand?

Hmm... your first novel, ‘How to Meet a Guy at the Supermarket’ was also about the dating game – albeit in an unorthadox way…….. how’s your love life!?

Pretty darn good, and I didn’t have to go to a supermarket to find him! My husband and I met at school fifteen years ago. We’ll celebrate our fourteenth wedding anniversary this September. I get questions from people all the time asking whether my husband minds that I’ve written about meeting a guy at the supermarket, but honestly, it’s mostly fiction. There may be some parts that are true, but I’m not telling!

Okay - we won't force you. Clearly woman have far more sexual freedom than they did pre the 1960’s. Do you feel it’s a level playing field for men and women now, or are women still treated differently to a man for having, say, a one-night-stand?

I think it’s more of a level playing field than it was, but I also think there are still some double-standards.  I think TV shows like Sex in the City have glamorized casual sex a bit, but I’m thinking that guys have more of a problem with us having it than women do. Of course, I could be completely wrong. I’ve been off the shelf for a long time!

So, tell us about your worst ever date!

Uh, that would have to be when I met my date at the bowling alley and assured me that his parole officer said it was fine to stay out a bit past curfew, just this once. I was so glad I brought my own car!

Priceless. And the best?

It would have to be when my husband and I went to the Outer Banks for the first time in 2008. We went to this little pub that was tucked behind a shopping plaza and had the best burgers and crab legs ever. No kids, no obligations, just time with each other. It was amazing.

Ah yes, kids. You’re a busy mum, author, country music DJ and lead singer of a classic rock band. How on earth do you fit it all in and do your kids think you are the coolest mother ever?

Well, I don’t do housework, for starters! No, actually, I just carve the time out. I actually have more time now than I have in a while. While I wrote my first three books, I was also in college part-time and holding a full-time job as well. It was pretty crazy, but it’s amazing what people can accomplish if they set their mind to it. I didn’t have a lot of free time, and the writing was wherever, whenever I could manage it. There were a lot of long, sleepless nights when I’d be frantically typing. As far as my kids go, no, I’m just Mom. I’m the same Mom as always--the one who makes them clean their rooms, brush their teeth, eat their vegetables. But we’re close, and I hope we’ll always stay that way.

(Pehaps Jess's next book should be about how to train your husband to do housework - we'd be fascinated how she managed to do that!)What would be your advice to any aspiring novelists out there?

Oh, boy! That’s a loaded question! I think the key is to learn. Learn all you can about your subject matter and the writing process itself. Study up on different publishers and ways of publishing.  And network! There are a lot of great author networking sites out there, such as and, to name a couple. You’ll learn so much about the whole publishing process simply by asking people who have already been there, done that. But I think the most important thing to do is to love it. Writing is so many different things to so many people. It can be therapeutic, even cathartic, to get your innermost thoughts on paper. Go for it, and have fun!

Great - we'll check those out. And finally, what would be your advice for any woman looking for love?

Um, avoid the freezer section unless you’re wearing a padded bra?

Seriously, love is what you make it. Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially if the old things aren’t working to your satisfaction. And really, I think the key to finding love is finding yourself first. If you truly understand yourself as a woman, you’ll have a much easier time figuring out which person is the perfect fit for you.

Thanks, Jess. (And we agree, the smuggling peanuts thing is not a good look....)

Jessica’s brand new novel ‘Hooking Up’, which we enjoyed enormously, can be bought from Amazon, as can her last novel, How to Meet a Guy at the Supermarket.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

DIVISION OF THE DAMNED. (Have vampires finally lost their 'sparkle'?

It seems that the world has gone mad for vampires recently, with teenage girls swooning in their droves over the ‘sparkly’ characters from the Twilight series, and television producers rushing to cash in on the sexy, sharp-fanged craze. But true horror fans are bemoaning the loss of hardcore, blood-sucking monsters, as Reggie Jones, author of Division of the Damned explains.

“I like my vampires ripping out throats and leaving terror in their wake. Not wafting about handsomely” Jones confides with a grin. “The original Dracula, for instance – or ‘Dracul’ was a real person – Vlad the Impalor. Vlad’s preference for punishing his enemies was to impale them on a spike – entering the body through the rectum and leaving it by the mouth. The corpses – often in their thousands – would then be left as a warning to others. Whilst it’s unlikely that he was drinking people’s blood, I think we can safely say that he wasn’t the kind of glow-in-the-dark-matinee-idol that vampires are being depicted as these days!”

Jones knows his onions – or garlic in this case. He started writing Division of the Damned three years ago and recently signed a publishing contract with a San Fransisco based publishing house, Taylor Street Publishing.

“I think they were excited to discover a vampire book that was a horror story and not a romance” Jones muses. “In Division of the Damned, we have vampires, Romania and the Nazis. It’s definitely not a book for little girls.”

Does Jones think the ‘sparkly vampire craze’ is coming to an end?

“I don’t know. There has always been something sexy about vampires, probably because of the legacy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula – but there is definitely a place in literature and film for the more hard-line, evil vampires. There was nothing sexy about the creatures in Quentin Tarantino’s Dusk till Dawn, was there? No, I’m sure Twilight will live on in the hearts of its fans, but there’s definitely room for a new breed of nastier vampire to come forward” Jones laughs.

As for us at Kings of Kindle, we think it's high time vampires stopped flirting with teenage girls and started gnawing on necks again. Division of the Damned is a well-paced, gory romp through Nazi controlled Eastern Europe and we think it's definately worth a spot on your e-reader.

Robert Pattison had better watch out – it sounds like old-fashioned vampires are once again sharpening their fangs...

Division of the Damned by Reggie Jones is available now, from Amazon.

Charlotte Castle, 29th May 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

An e-reader is like crack cocaine....

... a few years ago you would never have considered having it in your life, but now it is, only death or rehab will part you from it.

Yeah, we know. You love your e-reader. You love it so much you can't stop telling other people how brilliant it is. Here at Kindle Castle we've fallen in love - hook, line and touchscreen - with our e-readers and you'd have to prise them out of our cold, dead hands, before we'd give them up.

In fact we're so obsessed with this brilliant new way of reading that we've dedicated a site to the hidden gems, the uncovered treasure that lurks amongst the sludge of e-books.

We don't do Times top Ten - you can get those in your supermarket. We only do literary feasts fit for a king - and so should you.

Let the treasure-seeking begin.