The Ritual

The Ritual
Horror mini-series set in Southwell. Six buxom slices of horrible deaths, cruel murders, giant monsters, mad sex demons and senseless violence - all drenched in a giant cauldron of blood. Only 77p each - and the first one, on your right, is FREE forever!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Kimono My House, Senor! Rebecca Raisin talks Billie Jones - around the Cauldron

As an author, popular Australian Rebecca Raisin wears two significantly different hats, but one hat she wears proudly is the Wizard's Green Pointy Hat she was given the last time she was here. We're glad to have her back. 

Riding high on the success of instant romance classic "The Bookshop on the Corner", mother of two Rebecca this time turns comedian and satirist with her pseudonymous creation, Billie Jones. 

The Wizard talked to Rebecca on the Wizphone about her new novel  just after dropping her two rascally boys at school. 

Here's what she had to say.

Rebecca Raisin's Original Interview with the Wizard

Rebecca, tell us about Billie Jones. Who is she? WHY is she?

Billie is my alter ego... She’s a little zanier than me, swears a lot, and likes surfing. 

Billie came about because my publisher wanted to keep my two writing styles separate. Under Rebecca I write sweet romance, and Billie writes satire. It made sense to split the genres, and use a pseudonym so you’ll know what style you’ll get under each name. 

What is Billie's latest work?

Billie’s latest is a novel called Mexican Kimono. 

Samantha knows what she wants from life – and she’s got it! 1.A loving family. OK, her Mum’s plan to marry her off to the world’s most metrosexual man might not be ideal… but it’s only because she cares!2. A great job. Or at least: a job that leaves plenty of time to update Twitter and shop for designer bargains online…3.A credit card, with a very generous limit. So generous that she’s just spent over $10,000 on an antique kimono… But suddenly Samantha’s charmed life starts to fall apart! From a hair-related fire to losing her job, Sam’s facing bad karma – and it all started when she bought that kimono… Sure, it’s ridiculous. How could a piece of silk ever bring bad luck? But it can! Because, whether Samantha likes it or not, someone wants to teach her a lesson: it’s what’s inside that counts.But will Samantha slow down long enough to listen?

Is it comedy? That's a tough genre!

Yes, a comedy! Well, I hope so! My sense of humour is a little wacky, so it could very well be I’m the only one who finds it hilarious! I find it so much easier to write this genre. It just flows so quickly, and I have a lot of fun with the dialogue. The characters verge on the extreme, and all help Sam on her way to becoming (hopefully) a better person.

Are you funny, Rebecca?

Hilarious. Oh, God, it’s terrible. So for example, I read a little bit of Mexican Kimono again the other day, and I found a few lines that just killed me. I was doubled over, crying with it all. And Ash goes to me, “What’s so funny?” I’m gasping for breath, trying to compose myself so I can read it to him. Every time I start to talk I’m in hysterics again, making it impossible to read it aloud. So he takes the story from me, and because I’ve just built it up to this ten minute belly-grabbing moment, he reads it, does an eye roll and says, “There’s something wrong with you!” Of course that only makes me laugh more because I totally agree! Ha ha! 

How much time do you spend promoting the Billie Jones brand?

I don’t spend as much as I should. There’s always so much going on with the romance side of things... But, I still spend time tweeting and face-booking for Billie. I like that I can have fun with a different personality. Billie’s a little more forthright, and of course, funny.

What are the problems with writing pseudonymously? And what are the benefits?

Well the first problem was, I couldn’t keep it a secret. I tried for a good five minutes but I wanted to explode. So there goes that angle, of this mysterious cool surfer chick from Australia. Now you know it’s me, the strange, uncool, Dolly-Parton-loving, scared-of-sharks, girl from Australia. That’s still cool, right? Everyone loves Dolly, surely?

The benefits are that I can write what I want to. Both Snake Typhoon! and Mexican Kimono were rejected at first because they didn’t suit the style of the Gingerbread Cafe books. But I pushed for them to be published because I have so much fun writing them. They’re probably not as PC as they should be, so I always duck for cover when a review comes in, and if anyone picks me up on that, well, it’s not my’s all Billie. 

You are a published author with Carina UK. Had you not been picked up, would you have self published?

I was going to at one point until I had to apply for that tax number thingy, or whatever that number thing is...eyes glazed over, fell asleep on the laptop. I hate waiting. So nope. Formatting? What is that? It all seemed way too time consuming and technical. I suck at things like that. I’d rather write, and let someone else do all if the snore boring stuff.

In a hundred and fifty words, describe a day in the life of a busy romance author in Australia

She wakes up, a little after noon... oh wait, that’s Billie. 

I wake up, and I DO NOT immediately check my rankings...

Ha ha ha...

...only weirdos would do that before they’ve even had coffee. I’m usually roughly awoken at 5am by a six year old asking for chocolate. To buy time I give him my mobile, which he smashes roughly once a month. After a morning of GET DRESSED, WE ARE SO LATE! And a few I am going to put all this Lego in the bin! I drop them at school and count how many hours until it’s WINE time. Sad that it’s like eight hours away, I write. I ignore the house work, because really, it’s never going to get done. And I write about fictional people who I fall in love with. Or about girls who are brave enough to say the things I only think. 

You write short books. Is this deliberate?

I just write the story in my mind. Snake Typhoon is only 10K, Mexican Kimono is 55K. 

I don’t want to pad out a story for the sake of word count. It is what is it, and that’s one plus being published with Carina UK, they accept all lengths, so I have a lot of freedom with how I write. 

You reached a shortlist for Best Short Romance Novel just lately. How did you fare?

I am the bridesmaid, yet again. I’m sure it was a very close decision but I didn’t win ;). I’m not saying we should do a recount or anything... So, third time’s a charm, right? 

Alan Moore talks about One Million Word Novel, Jerusalem

Ulysses by James Joyce is a bestseller each year. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace sold over 2 million copies and it is 300,000 words. Genius Alan Moore has just written a 1 million word novel.  Are big books coming back. And do you have plans for a big book?

I’ve heard it’s not the size that counts, but how you use it... I mean, like word count ;)

A million word novel would have to be endlessly gripping, not sure I could commit to reading it! It’s almost like a marriage, that many words. Nope. Novellas are in, or short novels, if you ask me. And as you can see by my earlier Dolly Parton reference, I’m a huge follower of what’s on-trend. 

What have you been a) listening to b) watching and c) reading just lately?

I’m listening to Babel by Mumford and Sons. 

I love those folky, bearded, angsty guys! I like Broken Crown, it’s all dark, and weird, and angry  

Watching... fine. Big Brother. Only because MKR isn’t on! 

I’m reading Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd and Aussie writer. It’s brilliant. 

And finally, what's next for Billie Jones - and Rebecca Raisin?

For Billie I’d love to write another story with Kez from Snake Typhoon! I did leave it open for Tarantula Quake...until that very same week I had two spiders in my bed (while I was in it!) on two separate occasions, and one trying to attack me under my dressing gown. I don’t know, it kind of felt like a warning...

For Rebecca I’m writing a story set at a derelict maple syrup farm. A broody main character with a past he’s trying to escape... It’s set in the same town as the Gingerbread Cafe books, so while it’s a stand alone, you’ll see glimpses of the people from the other stories. 

One of Carina's top-selling
books - sequel coming soon

Rebecca, its been a pleasure having you around the Cauldron and I am sure that Wizardwatchers will join me in wishing you all the best of luck with Mexican Kimono and all your books!

Wiz, it's been an absolute pleasure! Thank you for having me back.

Buy Rebecca's books - including Mexican Kimono - here:

Amazon Aust

#FOLLOW Rebecca on Twitter:

FOLLOW Rebecca on Facebook

Follow Rebecca Raisin on Wordpress:

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Rising star faction author Brenda Perlin confesses all...around the Cauldron!

Brenda Perlin is a huge friend of the Wizard's Cauldron and is currently in a prolific phase of her authorial life.  She seems to be publishing a book a week! 

If you don't know Brenda, you are in for a treat. A native of opulent, affluent, Orange County in California, she lives an enviable existence and writes about her life, warts and all, in a genre called faction, real stories transformed into works of fiction. 

I love her stuff and Brenda and I have become big pals from seven and a half thousand miles away. 

Funny, effervescent, incredibly hard working and a massive supporter of Indies, I caught up with Brenda on the Wizphone as she picked ripened olives from the vines surrounding her boulevard Hacienda, and that. Here's what she had to say...

Brenda's previous chats with Wiz Green can be found HERE, on the Wizard's Cauldron Index

Brenda, tell us about your new novel, Fractured Vows.

Fractured Vows is the first book in the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles told from Bo’s point of view. Getting a guys perspective paints a bit more of the picture. This book is a love story to Brooklyn but it’s also Bo’s coming-of-age story and all the obstacles he survived to get to this point. It was not an easy course as it was filled with attorneys and on going fighting with his soon to be ex-wife Ruth.

What does Bo think about the book?

“Bo” (not his real name) is very excited about this publication. He acts as if HE wrote the book. Haha. He is very invested in “his story” especially. He also doesn’t mind that his high school graduation photo is on the cover. ;-)

Can you share an extract with us?

Here you go.

“I have had a real-life indoctrination into the legal system of family law after filing for divorce from Ruth. I was on my second attorney and had spent well over one hundred thousand dollars, having to pay numerous experts to prove my case. There have been forensic accountants, prenuptial agreement experts, real estate specialists, and the list goes on. What a fraud the legal system can be! It is set up solely for lawyers by lawyers. Everything has to be followed by the letter of the law, which often gets a bit off point.”

Listen to Brenda Perlin as she discusses her work with Phil Naessens on The Writers Show 

What's been the reaction to your work overall so far? Are you pleased with it?*

I am surprised how many people have related to this series and have not been ashamed to say so. I mean, it’s all out there in the open. I honestly expected people to be more judgmental of a story based on adultery because I didn’t hold back. 

People say I am brave. I don’t see it that way. I had a story to tell. It happened so why not share? Plus, what do I have to lose? Most of my people are gone though. I wish they were here to see all that I have accomplished. 

I feel very good about how my books are reading. Our friend Mary Ann Bernal took out the red pen and boy was she bold!!! Haha. Good thing I could take it. She found so many repetitive words and phrases it could give you a headache but I am glad to say those are a thing of the past and the books sparkle in my humble opinion. Did I tell you I was humble? Maybe not humble but I am honest. I want these stories to read as well as they can. I feel good about these three. Now I can go ride into the sunset with my honey. Well, not by horseback. I am not built for that but you get my point. I am pleased. :-)

*In the US, Brenda has 100 5* reviews for Ty The Bull and 68 5* for Shattered Reality, her first published novel.

Follow Brenda Perlin on Twitter - Twitter

I understand you were once assaulted in a supermarket by Bo's ex-wife for something you wrote. 

Actually, Mark, it was at the gym. I wrote about that assault in all three books but her insults have continued. Just the other day Bo got a scorching email because she was not pleased being the STAR (as she calls herself) of my books. 

My feeling is, she started it. Had she not gone after me in such a profound way I would have let it go. She gave me the reason to write this saga. 

"By the way, I do have a restraining order because with her you just don’t know what her frame of mind is going to be from one day to the next".

What do the characters you write about think about your work? 

Well, obviously Ruth (the STAR) is not too pleased. My best friend was insulted by something I wrote though it was written with love. My ex-husband is hiding quietly behind the scenes. Knowing him, he is waiting for the perfect time to attack. He is not one to just let things go. He will seek his revenge. In the meantime, we can sit back and enjoy the moment of calm.

What next for the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles? Are you planning more work or is Fractured Vows the end? 

Even though I have more material accumulating as Ruth feeds into my story, I am happy to let it ride. I accomplished enough in these three books. I love having my coming-of-age story out there in the public. I think there are plenty of things girls can relate to. 

I like that my life is on paper even though there were far too many twists and turns that I would have preferred to have done without. It feels like a good place to end. Now I can write about my other passions like I have with Ty the Bull, a children’s short story on bullies and divorce and my latest Alex the Mutt, another short story for the love of my dog. 

The bigger picture is for the love of dogs. There are too many wonderful animals sitting at shelters who need to be rescued. People should know they don’t have to go to a breeder or buy a dog at a pet store. They can find their favorite breeds at a shelter instead and make a great difference in a dogs life.

I hear on the grapevine you are writing a book about romance in the OC? Is this true?

Haha. Now I know you are playing with me, Mark!!! Even though I watch those silly shows as they are entertaining they are what is wrong with society. What have the Kardashian’s ever done for world? Vapid!!! It’s embarrassing but as long as we watch them, they will continue to make their millions on their reality shows.

Just down the road from Brenda and "Bo". The real housewives of OC.

What music do you listen to when you write? Are you still into the eighties?

I love so many kinds of music. I used to mix my own CD’s. Everything from Stevie Wonder to Creed and then a bit of George Winston. I like most music. Not a big fan of country even though it keeps getting more popular. I am passionate about my music and a good song inspires me.

Do you still go to the gym? Or are you too busy writing.

It is getting harder and harder these days to make it to the gym. There is never enough hours in the day with social media and such but my workouts are a priority. Don’t want to get fat over these books. Now that would make me miserable! 

The consequences of too much writing
and not enough bicep curls.

And finally, what next for Brenda Perlin, the author?

Well, let’s hope nothing strikes a chord with me or it could end up in print. You just never know.

 Actually, I am pretty happy with my latest work and when something strikes me again I might have a sit down and write about it. In the meantime, I am happy with my life. I have great friends like you and Mary Ann and we have travel plans! I am ready to see what’s next. 

Super editor and noted historical
fictionist, Mary "Concordia" Ann Bernal

Mark, you are always so kind and know how to make me laugh! I hope one day to be venturing off to your side of the world. We could have a spot of tea, mate!! ;-)

Here's my favourite, in Trafalgar Square. My mate Alf makes
a stonking pot of tea, Bren. :)

Ha ha can't wait! Brenda, it is, once again, a massive pleasure to have you around the Cauldron and all the Wizardwatchers  and I wish you all the best with Fractured Vows.

Ha ha. Thank you for always being so supportive Mark - I love being around the Cauldron. 

Fractured Vows (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book Three)

Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author. Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book, Burnt Promises, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfillment.
Ever since Brenda was a child she has been fascinated with writing. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume. This sparked a passion in Brenda to pursue personal expression through writing. Once she was old enough to go to coffee shops alone, Brenda recalls losing herself in the world of writing, all while documenting her ideas on paper napkins.

"There is really no creative process, I just write," - Brenda Perlin


Blossoming Press Website

Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles
Blossoming Press

Buy Link

Alf's legendary fried breakfast 
to help wash down the tea, Bren

Little known James M Cain potboiler

Amazing beautiful people show, 
feelgood playground at "The OC".

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Wizard's Cauldron 100th interview special edition: Star US chickliterati, Katie Oliver

For followers of the Wizard's Cauldron, Katie Oliver needs no introduction. Most people's odds-on favourite for global romance superstardom, Katie has been writing stories ever since she was old enough to hold a pencil.  

With her star currently shining brightly in our corner of the literary firmament, I thought of no-one more appropriate than Katie to be our 100th interview.

A big fan of the old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers romances and later, the Stephen Curtis chickflicks "Four Weddings" and "Notting Hill", Katie is known for her light touch, effervescent humour and gentle observations of the "battle of the sexes". 

As a prolific writer, Katie also is fond of long term character development, so you really get a sense of the creation of a literary world. 

I'm a big fan of the way she does business and am wishing her to the top. I picked up the Wizphone and caught up with Katie in her garden somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard.  Here's what she had to say to me.

Click HERE for Katie's First Appearance Around the Wizard's Cauldron

For the record, who is Katie Oliver?

Hmm…that’s a good question.  She’s an American author who writes romantic comedy with a distinctly British twist.  

What’s been happening in Katieoliverworld since we last spoke?

Quite a lot of stuff has happened, actually.  After over fifteen years of working, I’ve finally left my day job so I can concentrate on writing full time.  That’s something I’ve dreamed of doing for…well, for over fifteen years!

Yayyy!! How has everything gone in the last year or so?

It’s been a tumultuous year. Back in August of last year I learned that UK Carina, a digital publisher, bought three of my books; shortly afterwards, my mother died after several mini-strokes, which was stressful and totally unexpected; there were story revisions and copy edits to complete and deadlines to meet; then, beginning in January of this year, my ebooks were published in three consecutive months – all of this while I was still working full-time.  

Phew. I'm exhausted just reading that!

Looking back, I honestly don’t know how I did it all, ha ha. I got up at 4:30 AM in order to get ready for work and to Tweet with my transatlantic followers.  There were a couple of days at work when I locked myself in the bathroom and cried.  But I kept (mostly) calm and carried on…as one does.

It's all paid off, hon. I hear you've received some great news lately? 

Yes! I’m excited to announce that I’m under contract to write three more “Dating Mr Darcy” ebooks for Carina UK.  Two of the books are finished and submitted to my editor; the third is half finished and is due by early December.  

Two of the stories feature Natalie and Rhys, which I hope will make my readers very happy.

How did you originally get your job with Carina UK? 

My agent, Nikki Terpilowski, submitted my work to an editor at Carina UK who read my manuscripts and loved them…all three of them!  She offered me a contract and made me a very happy girl!  Nikki Tweeted me to say, ‘Check your email! Great news!” and sure enough, her email stated Carina UK wanted to buy all three manuscripts.  That’s the moment that writers dream about.

Your stories are set in the UK.  Has that helped or hindered your US sales?

Funnily enough, it’s helped.  My US sales ratio is about two-to-one to the UK’s.  I honestly thought it would be the reverse, with more British readers buying my books than Americans.  While I have a strong fan base in England, Scotland, and Wales, I think the fact that many readers (including myself) are hungry for British chicklit and romantic comedies has helped sell books in my own country as well.

You write full time. How does that feel? Is it like jumping off a cliff? Do you feel any differently than you did when you worked to support your writing?

It feels absolutely wonderful.  I love waking up, knowing that I can spend all morning or afternoon (or sometimes both) doing nothing but writing.  It’s certainly helped with my output.  I’m averaging five chapters a week – and I couldn’t be happier.

Of course, it’s a little scary, too.  Deadlines have to be met and so I have to get the story down on paper (or on screen), regardless of what else is going on in my own life.  I have to limit distractions like social media (not always easy to do!) and keep myself focused. Luckily, my husband and family get it – they’ve put up with my writing for so many years now, they’re used to it.

So yes, writing at home full time feels different – it’s wonderful, but I also expect more of myself. I don’t have the excuse of “I’m working, I don’t have time” any more. I have to deliver.

You are a prodigious marketeer. Any advice to new authors on the subject? What is your favourite platform?

Wow, thanks.  I’ve never been called a “prodigious marketeer” before!  I like it! 

You're welcome. I sometimes think you live in Twitter.

Ha ha ha. As far as platform, I love Twitter. I can chat with readers, bloggers, reviewers, and other writers; I can Tweet book links and promos; I can Tweet jokes or silly comments or just talk to people about the things they want to talk about (in 140 characters or less, of course).

My advice to new authors? Even if you’re not yet published, even if your book isn’t finished, start building your platform now.  Create a Twitter account.  Create a Facebook author page. Create a website and/or a blog.  There are plenty of free sites available; or if you want to own your content, you can run a self-hosted site.  I’ve had a self-hosted site on for nearly three years, since before I was published.

I would strongly recommend you blog as often as you can, preferably at least once a week.  Why?  Blogging gives your readers a sense of your writing style.  It helps to build your following.  And it will help your name come up in search engines more often, ensuring that new readers find you. 

Knowing what you know now, if Carina UK had never happened, would you self-publish?

Possibly...although I now know first-hand what a lot of work it is to put a quality ebook together, even with a publisher and a team behind me.  There’s marketing, cover design, editorial revisions, copyediting, formatting, online placement, promotions…it’s head-spinning. I have deep respect for anyone who self-publishes, because it takes a lot of effort to produce a great book.  And when you self-publish, you do most of it yourself.

It's a nightmare, Katie. But at least it's your own nightmare. I hear on the grapevine that you caused uproar with a certain word which has a different meaning in the US than it does in the UK? Care to share that with us.

LOL!  That darned Rebecca Raisin, always spilling my secrets…

She's a rascal alright...

I posted a comment to Rebecca on my Facebook page a few days ago, and I mentioned ‘getting off my fanny’ to do something I really needed to get done.  Rebecca messaged me a few minutes later, laughing hysterically.  Mystified, I 
asked what was so funny.  

She explained that in Australia (and in England too, evidently), ‘fanny’ means ‘lady bits,’ and so ‘getting off my fanny’ had a very…different meaning and…oh, crap, I’m blushing again…

Needless to say, I updated my status to explain the two very DIFFERENT meanings of ‘fanny’, and got a gazillion likes and comments.  My American friends got a real laugh out of it.

Ha ha ha. Highly amusing and bang on too. What are you reading, watching religiously, and listening to at the moment?

Right now I’m reading a hilarious book by Lisette Brody, “Molly Hacker is Too Picky,” and I absolutely love it! 

Lisette has nailed Molly’s character…she’s a smart, sassy young woman who’s not about to settle for the first guy who comes along, no matter how many people – friends and family included - try to ‘fix her up’ with Mr Right.

I’ve been watching the final episodes of “Master Chef” here in the USA and I’m riveted.  

Who will win the title of Master Chef this year?  Only 5 contestants remain. Who will emerge triumphant from the final Mystery Box and Elimination challenges dished out by Gordon Ramsey, Joe Bastianich, and Graham Elliot?

On my iPod I’ve been listening to “California Love” by Tupac and “Vogue” by Madonna, and lots of Fleetwood Mac.  

I like music that gets my fanny – erm, I mean my rear end! – to move on the treadmill.  “Love Shack,” “Groove is in the Heart,” “Life During Wartime,” anything by Talking Heads or Salt-n-Pepa or the Rolling Stones – good music always gets my heart rate up!

When are you coming over to Great Britain?  

I have tentative plans to cross the pond this coming spring and meet up with Rebecca and a few of the other lovely Carina UK writers in London.  I’d love to meet you, too.

Love to. I'll bring my Wizard's pointy hat and magic wand. Will you be eating local delicacy mushy peas when you do?

I most definitely will!  I want to try mushy peas, and fish and chips (I’ve heard the English version is far superior to the American), steak and kidney pie – all of that classic British fare.  

And I’ll want lots and lots of Hobnobs and Jaffa Cakes and Cadbury’s chocolate too, of course.

My Uncle Sid works for Cadbury. I'll bring a bucket. Katie, what are your plans for the future? When can we expect to see a new ebook?

The Dating Mr Darcy trilogy has arrived!  So if any of your readers haven’t yet met Natalie or Rhys or Dominic and Gemma, they can get all three books in one lovely package.

I’m also very excited to be featured as an Apple iBook of the Week on iTunes through 1 September.  Readers can grab Prada and Prejudice for free, and the other two books in the series are on offer at an attractive price.

Right now I’m in waiting mode.  My fourth book, Prada and Plaid, has been revised and returned and is in my editor’s capable hands.  Once the copy edits are done, I imagine this next instalment, featuring Natalie and Rhys and set in the Scottish Highlands, will appear sometime before or around Christmas, or perhaps just after.  I’ll keep everyone posted.

A second book is in the wings as well, this one featuring British rocker Dominic Heath and his tempestuous girlfriend, Gemma.  

There are a couple of new characters that I hope readers will like as much as I do, as well as plenty of action and adventure, and a really devious villain.

And finally, the book I’m writing now stars Natalie and Rhys once again, this time in Manhattan.  Rhys is opening the first Dashwood & James store in America. There are misunderstandings and stolen jewels and…well, it promises to be a lot of fun.

I'm sure it will be. Katie, it's been an absolute pleasure once again and I am sure Wizardwatchers around the world will join me in wishing you the best of luck.

Thank you so much for your wonderful support, Wiz. You’re terrific.



Book Links:

Dating Mr Darcy Trilogy – Amazon US

Amazon UK

Prada and Prejudice–

Love & Liability-

Mansfield Lark –

 Dating Mr Darcy Trilogy-

The perfect trilogy for Austen-and-shopping-mad fans! Give in to your love of scandal and Prada in this glamorous collection of the Dating Mr Darcy trilogy!

Here's to love and all its complications...