Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Fool's short story surprise: Day three!

If you missed it on Sunday and Monday: There will be a new Monkey Queen short story coming Wednesday! This is not an April Fool's prank, it's for real. However, there is a catch: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I'll be giving you summaries of three short stories. Two of those are things I just made up for this. The third is the actual short story. Can you guess which is which?

Today's summary: It's a brutally hot day, and Beth, Michiko and Robyn need to cool off. There's a can of pineapple in the fridge, cold and yummy. Now, they just need to get the can open... Can they do it, or do they can the can? Find out in "Three Women In A Stew (To Say Nothing Of The Guinea Pig)"!

So, your challenge: Which of these is the actual short story? Leave a comment with your guess, and we'll find out on Wednesday!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Drive Thru Fiction Deal Of The Day!

We just found out that the first Monkey Queen book, Of Introductions And Abductions, is the Deal of the Day on Drive Thru Fiction! Get it for $1.20 today (well, until 7:00 AM Pacific time/10:00 AM Eastern/1700 CET on Tuesday)! Available in .epub and PDF! http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/138984/Of-Introductions-And-Abductions-Monkey-Queen-Book-1

April Fools short story surprise: Day two!

If you missed it on Sunday: There will be a new Monkey Queen short story coming Wednesday! This is not an April Fool's prank, it's for real. However, there is a catch: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I'll be giving you summaries of three short stories. Two of those are things I just made up for this. The third is the actual short story. Can you guess which is which?

Today's summary: The monstrous niens, Terrible Tang and Frightful Fu, have misplaced their little dog. When Michiko and Beth join the hunt for Doggie, they have to deal with a new family of enigmatic faerie Emigres. What is their connection to Doggie? Can the Monkey Queen solve the mystery of "The Hound Of The D'Ubervilles"?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

but the porpoise is blogging, goodbye, goodbye

Sunday catch-up! First and most important, this announcement: There will be a new Monkey Queen short story coming Wednesday! This is not an April Fool's prank, it's for real. However, there is a catch: Today, tomorrow and Tuesday, I'll be giving you summaries of three short stories. Two of those are things I just made up for this. The third is the actual short story. Can you guess which is which?

Today's summary: Every Emigre knows that the Wonderland Diner also has the best coffee and pastries around. But when an ambitious pixie with a sweet tooth sets up a coffee cart nearby, a delicious - and dangerous - rivalry is born. Michiko and Beth try to keep the peace, but will anyone survive..."A Game Of Scones"?

Reminders after the cut!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hello again, or an interview with myself

We're starting Saturday off with two time-sensitive things. First, remember you only have until tomorrow to sign up for Willow's latest Facebook giveaway! Follow her instructions and you could win one of three gorgeous prints featuring her original character Anya! https://www.facebook.com/willousan/photos/a.155286711270898.33948.155266807939555/641217202677844

And the YA Spring Fling continues through April 3! You could win e-books and swag aplenty, including ten copies of the first Monkey Queen e-book and one set of three signed Monkey Queen paperbacks along with a signed and personalized Michiko and Beth notecard! http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!the-books/cait

After the cut: I am interviewed...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

time for timelords, and foxes too!

A quick Thursday Willow update: Willow has sprung a new Facebook contest on us! Head over there to see how you can win one of three prints featuring her original character Anya (who seems to like foxes)! The deadline is this Sunday, so don't dilly-dally! Get over there! https://www.facebook.com/willousan/photos/a.155286711270898.33948.155266807939555/641217202677844

And ten years ago today, with a sentence that ended with the words, "Basically...run", Doctor Who returned with a bang, and things have been so much timier-wimier ever since. Grab your fez and celebrate!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Flinging Princesses!

The YA Spring Fling is still in full swing! Over 70 authors, over 100 books! Head over to the web site now to enter to win free e-books and all sorts of cool stuff! 10 lucky readers will win e-book copies of the first Monkey Queen book, Of Introductions And Abductions, and one very lucky reader will win a signed set of all three Monkey Queen paperbacks AND a signed and personalized Michiko and Beth notecard! http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!the-books/cait

And there's just a little over a day left as I write this to jump on the Kickstarter for The Princess Who Saved Herself, a children's book based on the song by Jonathan Coulton. You should, because the message is awesome and the art is gorgeous. Take a look here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gregpak/the-princess-who-saved-herself

Sunday, March 22, 2015

YA Spring Fling: Meet Sarah Dalton!

As part of the YA Spring Fling Interview Blog Hop, we here at Monkey Queen Books are pleased to be hosting an interview with Sarah Dalton, author of the White Hart fantasy series, the Blemished sci-fi dystopia series, and the Mary Hades Gothic horror series! Get to know Sarah better after the cut!

What’s your favourite thing about spring?

Daffodils, longer evenings and the mildness creeping in. Spring is very variable in England, it can rain, snow, be sunny – and that’s just in one week. This year it’s quite cold and grey, but we have days of bright sunshine combined with a wintery nip.

Do you have a least favourite thing about spring?

Probably April showers. The rain can be really bad in April, which feels very tedious after a long winter!

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The freedom of expression and creating something from scratch. Then, of course, the reaction by readers. Making someone feel emotion is one of the loveliest aspects of it all.

What’s the worst thing about being a writer?

The feeling of being ‘stuck’, of reaching a part in your story that makes you unsure about how to proceed. Sometimes it can feel quite pressurised and I’ve never been able to work well under pressure.

Tell us more about your books.

They are all quite different. The Blemished series is all about fighting back against oppression. White Hart is a coming of age fantasy story about a complicated girl living in a difficult, but enchanting, world. The Mary Hades series is dark and more mature. It’s about mortality, ghosts, and the things that give us nightmares.

Tell us more about yourself.

I’m from Derbyshire, which is central England and probably the furthest you can get from the sea in the UK. As a result, the coast makes me slightly nervous. I love being by the sea, but places with very high cliffs always make me afraid I’m going to trip, fall, and just roll over the edge!

I went to a tiny village primary school and a pretty small secondary school which I think helped me become more creative. The people there were also pretty creative and interesting.

I’m a bit of a TV addict and I just bought my first house with my other half, yay!

Congratulations! Coffee or Tea?

Tea of course. Did I mention that I’m English?

Are there any books involved in the YA Spring Fling that you’re secretly lusting after?

So many of them sound really good. I’ve had the privilege of working with the covers and blurbs to organise the giveaway, and I have to say, there wasn’t a single one I wouldn’t at least ‘look inside’. When I get a spare moment I’m definitely going to try out lots of these books.

What was the last YA book you read?

Well, I’m part way through Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It has really caught my attention. The world building is very imaginative.

Why do you write YA?

I’m interested in the issues that teens and young adult people face, and I feel that my style of writing suits YA. I love prose, I love drama, and I love the ‘firsts’ in life, which is a good recipe for writing YA, I think.

Were there any books that you read when you were younger that made you want to become a writer?

I don’t think I ever had that moment where I looked up from a book and thought “hey, I want to do this, I want to be a writer”, but as a very quiet person with a lot to say, writing was a good way to express myself. I think it was inevitable for me to begin writing novels at some point in my life. Actually I used to write stories when very little but I got so much attention from it that I shied away and stopped doing it for a long time.

You're the organizer and driving force behind the YA Spring Fling. (And you have our thanks for it!) Why did you want to take on all this work?

Hmm, good question! Why did I do that? Haha! Really, it’s one of those things that benefits everyone. Readers find new books and new authors, the authors find a few more fans. I get to work with lots of great people, and the giveaway is on my website so it helps me get my name out there, too.

What will you be giving away during the YA Spring Fling?

You know, I think I’m giving away pretty much my entire back catalogue. The only book I’m not giving away is Red Palace, book two in the White Hart series. The complete Blemished series is in there, which is a pulse pounding YA dystopia, and everything in the Mary Hades series so far, which is a spooktastic YA Gothic horror.

What are your top tips for surviving a bad review?

Give yourself a moment to privately vent, and then realise that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that there isn’t a single book out there not hated by at least one person.

What are your top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse?

I would be AWFUL in a zombie apocalypse. Terrible. I’d be the one in the group that gets everyone else killed because I’m so useless. My advice would probably be “hide the hell out of sight and wait for all this to blow over”.

What inspires you?

Inspiration is something tricky to pin down. A lot of the time I’m inspired by books and television. Sometimes it’s just the mood of the book/TV show/film. When I get that feeling I often track down the music for the TV show or film and listen to it when I’m writing.

Was there any specific source of inspiration that you had for your White Hart series?

I kept seeing stag inspired art everywhere. For some reason, antlers are very trendy, and I had this idea about a young girl growing up with a stag. I grew up around horses and there is a special bond between human and steed. You become a partnership who look after each other. I really wanted to write that, and White Hart grew from there.

When will the third White Hart book be coming out? (Soon, we hope!)

Soon! I hope too. I’m almost half way through the first draft. It’s always a slog writing the last book in a series. The first is a breeze, the second is a little harder, but the last is the worst and I always have a bit of trouble with it. There is going to be a lot happening in Black Crown, and I want to get it right, so it might be a few months yet!

Do you have any advice for people who want to take the big step and become writers, tell their own stories?

So much advice! Firstly, don’t share your work until you are ready to hear criticism. Write for yourself, write a few different things, leave your work at least a couple of weeks before re-reading. You’ll probably spot a lot that you need to improve. When you’re ready, go out and seek a critique. It could be at a writer group, on a writer forum, or from someone you trust to give an honest opinion. Then just keep writing until you really believe your story is ready to be published.

Oh and read a lot! Learn how to format your document properly. Follow your instincts when it comes to choosing which advice to take. Listen to everything and learn as much as you can. Becoming a writer can take a lot of time and practice.

Where can readers find your books?

All over the place. Check out my website for more info: http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/

Thank you for your time! Best of luck with your future books!

Thanks to Sarah for letting me ask her some follow-up questions, coming up with and organizing the Spring Fling, and being kind to a certain author who kept noticing the extra "e" in his last name. Don't forget that you can sign up for the YA Spring Fling at http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!ya-spring-fling/ciql through April 3!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Here at the Monkey Queen Books blog, I would normally do a Sunday catch-up post, but this week we're hosting an interview with author Sarah Dalton. I would usually do those catch-up posts on Saturday, but since we're getting new visitors thanks to LibraryThing and the YA Spring Fling giveaway, I thought that instead I'd take some time to tell all of you newcomers who I am and why I'm here. Read on...after the cut.

Friday, March 20, 2015

YA Spring Fling: It's On!

The YA Spring Fling has begun! Head over to the website to see what you can win! http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!the-books/cait We're giving away ten copies of the e-book of Of Introductions And Abductions, the first Monkey Queen book, and one entrant will win a set of signed paperbacks of the first three books and a Michiko and Beth notecard signed and personalized by yours truly! There's lot of other cool books and neat giveaways too!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

YA Spring Fling: We Are Interviewed!

The YA Spring Fling starts tomorrow! As a part of the fling, you can see an interview with me on the blog of YA romance and mystery writer Tracy Marchini! Find out what inspires me and why penguins are better than ducks! http://tracymarchini.com/2015/03/19/ya-spring-fling-giveaway-guest-post-robert-dahlen/

And a reminder - if you sign up today for the mailing list, you'll be guaranteed at least one free e-book! http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!ya-spring-fling/ciql The giveaway starts Friday, and among the many cool prizes you can win is a signed set of all three Monkey Queen paperbacks, and a signed and personalized Michiko and Beth note card!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Author, The Archer, And The King Of Magpies - an excerpt from A Tiding Of Magpies

As promised, here is the excerpt from the upcoming fourth Monkey Queen book, A Tiding Of Magpies. I've included the lines from before and after this story within a story, for context, but the story itself should stand on its own. I hope you like it. Here, after the cut, is “The Author, The Archer, And The King Of Magpies”.

Monday, March 16, 2015

an unofficial announcement

Two years ago today, I was digging through a pile of papers searching for a cleaner copy of a manuscript for a half-finished novel that I could scan and edit. Instead, I found a synopsis and two completed scripts for a comic book series I had tried to sell, but abandoned when I couldn't find an artist. I read what I had written many years ago and realized that I could easily turn this into a series of books. The next night, I sat on the edge of my bed and typed on my tablet, “It was another crappy Friday for Beth McGill,” and the adventures of the Monkey Queen began.

In the time since, I've completed and published three books and two short stories. Including works in progress, I estimate I've written over 200,000 words about Michiko, Beth and their friends. And I can't think of anything I've done in my life that's brought me more joy and satisfaction.

Since I'm a sucker for anniversaries, I'm using today for an unofficial announcement. The official one will come later, when there's a cover and a blurb and a confirmed publication date. But I'm happy to announce, unofficially, that the fourth Monkey Queen book will be coming, if everything works out okay, in late May. The title is A Tiding Of Magpies. And Willow will be doing the cover (YAY!).

Tomorrow, to mark the day I actually rediscovered my storytelling muse, I'll put up a special advance peek at the new book. It's a story within a story, my take on an ancient folktale, and it does have some connections to the main story. What might they be? Sorry, but you'll have to wait until May to find them.

But today is a day to be grateful I found that old synopsis. And it's a day to, again, give thanks to everyone who's helped in the last two years, in any way, to get the Monkey Queen stories done and published. I'm a writer, and I'm so glad I get to do this, and I will always be grateful and thankful that I'm telling stories again. Thank you, one and all, and be sure to come back tomorrow to read about “The Author, The Archer, And The King Of Magpies”.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tell us we can live without her, now that we have listened to the blog

It's going to be a busy week here on the blog, so be warned. We'll have special posts Monday and Tuesday, then we'll be reminding you about the YA Spring Fling later in the week. Check back early and often. You won't want to miss Monday's and Tuesday's posts!

Much more after the cut.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

YA Spring Fling: getting closer!

The website for the YA Spring Fling giveaway is up! You can take a peek at it and sign up for email updates here: http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!ya-spring-fling/ciql We're taking part in this, and one lucky reader will win a signed set of all three Monkey Queen paperbacks, and a signed and personalized Michiko and Beth note card! It'll open for entries March 20! You can find out which authors are taking part here: http://www.sarahdaltonbooks.com/#!participating-authors/c2235

Also, we'll be taking part in the YA Spring Fling Interview Blog Hop. I've been interviewed for it, and I'll let you know when and where it appears, but on Sunday the 22nd, I'll be hosting an interview with Sarah Dalton, who organized the Spring Fling and writes the White Hart fantasy series. If anyone has any questions for Sarah - or for me, come to think of it - leave a comment here!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett

Somewhere, either in the unknown depths of alternate dimensions or in imaginations everywhere, a world sits on the back of four elephants riding a giant turtle. Somewhere, a wizard with a misspelling on his hat runs away from peril, probably into more peril. Somewhere, a cranky old witch with a well-hidden heart of gold and a young witch with many small blue bodyguards learn from each other. Somewhere, someone eats one of Dibbler's sausages and wishes he hadn't.

Somewhere, Death has made the stop he never wanted to make.

Somewhere, Beth McGill is crying.

Here and now, I'm about to do the same.

Goodbye, Sir Terry. And many thanks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

for the hoopiest of froods

Beth nodded and tried to swallow away her nervousness. Then, her face lit up. "Forgot something!" she yelled as she ran back into her bedroom.

She came out a moment later. "A...towel?" Michiko said, eyebrow raised.

"You never know." Beth grinned as she folded the small towel up and stuffed it into a pocket.

Happy birthday, Douglas Adams.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Daydream believer and a homeblogging queen

Sunday catchup time! Willow's art contest is done, and you can see all the entries here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.624547984344766.1073741826.155266807939555&type=1 They were all very well done, and I don't envy her having to pick a winner!

Also, Willow and her stalwart companions at Collectif Pin Up have new pinback buttons for sale (along with a few old favorites)! Preorders close on March 11, so if you want to see what's available and place an order, do it fast! http://tinyurl.com/buttonspreorder I love Willow's Catbus button, and Blop's Ninth through Twelfth Doctors! She did some great work on those!

And I did want to help promote the other members of Collectif Pin Up, who are all great artists! Go check their work out on their Tumblr pages!

Blop: http://blopoooo.tumblr.com/

Pikila: http://pikipouet.tumblr.com/

Mrion (Marion LeBlanc, who did that great Michiko fan drawing a while back!): http://krwhl.tumblr.com/

And finally, can we say that the Doubleclicks have just been killing it lately? Because they have been.

Friday, March 6, 2015

YA Spring Fling: It's Coming!

We're happy to be taking part in the YA Spring Fling! You can see some of the fun stuff you can win, and among them is a signed set of paperback copies of the first three Monkey Queen books, plus a note card signed and personalized by yours truly! We're also giving away 10 ebooks! And here's a peek at some of the other books you could win.

Keep up with latest by signing up for the mailing list! http://eepurl.com/baBpFr

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A call to help

I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about reviews. If you want to skip this post, you have my permission to do so; we'll get back to plugging, random photos and/or Willow stuff next time.

The first Monkey Queen book has been out for almost six months. We've had some good word of mouth, and five ratings and two written reviews on Goodreads. However, we still don't have any reviews on Amazon as I write this.

Amazon is the 800 pound gorilla of ebook stores. Reviews there carry more weight and get seen by more people than any put up anywhere else. And without reviews, some people won't even look at the book; I know I've lost at least one sale in the past week because of this.

So, this is a call to help to all Monkey Queen fans and readers. If you've bought and read the first book, even if it wasn't purchased at Amazon, please take a few minutes to head over there and leave a review. If we can get a few up, that will help sales in the short and long term, and bring in more fans and readers, and what's we need more than anything right now.

Don't gush, unless you loved the book anyway, but mention what you liked and why. Be honest, be critical if needed, don't sugarcoat the review even if you know me well. Don't leave a review if you haven't read the book! And if you don't feel comfortable doing this, I'm okay with it, I understand.

But if you want to help, then please, take the few minutes to do so. I love these characters, I love telling their stories, and I want to get Michiko and Beth in front of as many possible readers as I can. If you feel the same, please head over to Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NAKJUG2

And thank you, thank all of you, reviewing or not. I appreciate your support, and I promise I won't ask this again. Thanks.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The blog that I knew somewhere

First off, a reminder that the 99 cents US sale on the first Monkey Queen e-book, Of Introductions And Abductions, ends today at 9:00 PM Pacific time! If you've been waiting, grab it now!

We've mentioned Willow's art contest before, and today is the last day for entries. You can take a look at them here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.624547984344766.1073741826.155266807939555&type=1 There's some real nice work there! And check out Willow's Facebook page while you're there!

More after the cut, including a few highly illogical words...