Guest post: When is a clever dog not a clever dog? When it’s a werewolf!

Last year I had the pleasure of reading Heide Goody and Iain Grant’s humorous and quirky A Spell in the Country as part of a blog tour and now they are back with a new book. I am pleased to have them here today to talk about clever dogs and a character Pickles in A Heart in the Right Place.

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When is a clever dog not a clever dog? When it’s a werewolf!

Iain and I try not to tell the same joke or use the same idea across multiple books. Iain noticed, a few books ago, that we had introduced a clever dog into our work more than once.

This was partly based on the insistence of my husband, whose yardstick for an engaging book is Dean Koontz’s book Watchers. He declared that any book worth reading must contain a clever dog, so a super-smart border collie called Jessie was introduced in Heide and Iain’s second book, Pigeonwings, where an ancient plot is unravelled, partly by Clovenhoof, (Satan sent to live on earth), but Jessie plays an important part in solving the mystery.

Disenchanted gave us another dog called Buster, who wasn’t exactly super-smart, but who certainly livened things up when he teamed up with the unhelpful dwarfs who were tasked with keeping the fairytale on track, by fair means or foul (mostly foul).

Beelzebelle, another book in the Clovenhoof universe, featured a demonic Hellhound, created in a laboratory. Transformed into a miniature Yorkshire terrier, the Hellhound lives on in tamer form as a regular character after its reign of terror in this novel.

Iain had spotted a pattern. “No more clever dogs.”

This was a new informal rule.

When we came to write A Heart in the Right Place, somehow we broke the rule again. The dog that Nick christens Pickles is an unplanned passenger on the road trip that Nick takes with his father. Nick wants this trip to be perfect, hoping that it will patch up the slightly remote relationship between the two of them. Nick’s over-zealous approach leads to some unintended consequences like a body in the boot and that awful smell that isn’t discussed for many miles. Pickles, meanwhile is not the last of the dog-like creatures in this story, because somehow, Nick and his father have got involved with assassins, boars and werewolves. Will Pickles be a help or a hindrance? Almost certainly both! Is this the last time that Heide and Iain will write about a clever dog. Yes, almost definitely yes…

Here is a brief excerpt from A Heart in the Right Place, where it becomes clear that the dog is going on the road trip with Nick and Tony.

“Tony gave him a sceptical look but stepped up to the rear door. “And why’s there a dog in your car?”

Nick cursed his own stupidity. How could he have forgotten about the dog? “Yeah. Funny that. I’ve, um, got a dog. It was a fairly recent thing. Just fell in love with him.”

“Great stuff!” said Tony, reaching in to fuss the dog. “Joining us for the ride, huh? What’s your name then, pooch?”

“Pickles,” said Nick instantly. “He’s called Pickles.”

“Really? Well unless I’m very much mistaken, this is a bitch.”

“Yes,” said Nick. “And her name is Pickles. It can be a girl’s name.”

“But you called her he. Is this one of those gender things I hear them going on about?”

“Probably that. Exactly that,” said Nick. “I don’t want to put labels on things. He. She. Pickles can be what she wants to be.””

 

a heart kindle cover

A Heart in the Right Place

 

Title: A Heart in the Right Place

Author: Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Genre: fiction

Release date: 30th November 2018

Blurb

All Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.

However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries, or some very hungry boars, or a werewolf.

A Heart in the Right Place – a horror comedy about setting out with the very best intentions and then messing everything up.

Purchase Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K4CCR74

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K4CCR74

Author Biography

 

a heart -iain and heide by pete c b+w

Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of over a dozen books.

The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Clovenhoof-Books-285544508177333/

Website: http://www.pigeonparkpress.com/

Twitter: @HeideGoody and @IainMGrant

Giveaway – Win a gorgeous Moleskine Passion Traveller’s Journal (Open Internationally)

“The Moleskine Traveller’s Journal is a structured before and after record of every journey you make, from weekends away to life-changing trips and everything in between. Note down your travel plans before you leave and list all the things you hope to see and do, then add maps, photos, tickets and keepsakes when you r#eturn. The Traveller’s Journal is a place to dream, get practical and create a unique and lasting paper archive of your travels that you’ll want to revisit again and again.

a heart - giveaway prize - moleskin travel journal

  • premium box with themed graphics related to your passion
  • hard cover with themed debossing, rounded corners, elastic closure
  • 2 ribbon bookmarks
  • double expandable inner pocket
  • front endpaper with ‘in case of loss’ notice
  • ivory-coloured 70 g/m² acid-free paper
  • tabbed sections to guide your note-taking
  • themed introductory pages
  • 400 pages
  • themed stickers to customize your journal
  • Moleskine S.r.l. creates and sells FSC®-certified products”

Click here to enter

Thank you Heide and Iain for popping over. I agree with Heide’s husband a clever dog is always good in a book.

If you would like to read more on this writing duo and reviews for A Heart in the Right Place why not pop over to the other blogs on this tour.

Good luck in the giveaway and happy reading!

Love

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Blog tour dates

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Guest post: Real History versus Fantasy History; or, the Dangers of Pushing Research Too Far by M.K Wiseman

I am pleased to introduce M.K Wiseman, as part of a blog tour to celebrate her book, The Kithseeker.  Welcome Duvet Dwellers Books and over to you.

Duvet Dwellers

Real History versus Fantasy History; or, the Dangers of Pushing Research Too Far

I almost went back to change the title of this post. In hindsight it comes across as quite menacing. But then, considering the topic at hand, I think I’ll keep it as typed. For you see, my writing jam is historical fantasy and sometimes real history just … *shiver

Have you ever heard of Hew Draper? I ran across his name while putting together a few fun table props for a convention I attended in August. ExpectoCon in Madison, Wisconsin is a new immersive wizards and witches weekend brought to you by the same mind that created the series of TeslaCon immersive steampunk conventions. As such, I needed a few really nifty outfits and a set of cool new props.

I decided to be so bold as to do a cheeky mild cosplay of one of my own characters. Well, more a nod than a true character cosplay. I fashioned Nagarath’s cinnabar staff and tried to have at least one of my weekend outfits resemble something akin to what I believe a 17th century Croatian wizard would wear. And I made reference books.

And to do so, I did (admittedly shoddy) research so that I could have with me the means to discuss, at length, various magickal histories. Books. Wizards. Strange facts (e.g. the history of the wand is quite fascinating). These filled my little note books in the hope that I could fill strangers’ ears with impromptu in-character lectures. To some extent, I was successful in this attempt and had a blast doing so. But to another extent this exercise mainly served to scare me.

Nicholas Flamel—made more recently famous through J. K. Rowling’s having dropped his history into the Harry Potter series—proved an interesting if non-threatening maybe-maybe-not wizard. I mention Hew Draper above. He managed something potentially more exciting. I say potentially for, no record exists of his having escaped the Salt Tower of the Tower of London on May 30, 1561 … but neither does there exist proof that he did not, in fact, conjure himself away after making the cryptic astrological carving on the wall of his cell.

And then there’s La Voisin. Catherine Monvoisin, French poisoner for hire for the aristocracy in the seventeenth century. Her fate we know. She was publicly executed in Paris on February 22, 1680. Charge of witchcraft (amongst other things.) I stopped researching when I found out how she was performing “black masses” and I figured I no longer wanted to know anything of real wizards from history.

I guess I’ll stick to fantasy for now?

 

The Kithseeker

The Kithseeker-front-cover

Title: The Kithseeker

Author: M.K Wiseman

Genre: Historical fantasy

Release date: 21st August 2018

Blurb

France, 1680

Liara’s defense of the Wizard Nagarath has rendered Anisthe incantate–bereft of magick–but even this cannot guarantee her safety. Because the death of her father-in-magick would seal the girl’s fate, necessity demands she and her wizard maintain a watchful eye on the war mage, while protecting her from his dark designs.

Anisthe has embarked on a journey across Europe, aided by his half-fey manservant with an agenda all his own. They search for a legendary mirror that contains the world’s most powerful magick. Although the stuff of fairytales, the possibility of its existence compels Nagarath and Liara to seek the artifact themselves. Both know that should Anisthe lay claim to that power, Liara would be at his mercy and not even Nagarath could save her.

Thus, the pair find themselves at Versailles, surrounded by agents who ferret out magick users and destroy them. Uncertain who is friend and who is foe, with their rival on their heels, they must discover the mirror before Anisthe releases its evil, or worse, it lays claim to Liara’s magick and brings doom upon them all.

Purchase Links
https://smile.amazon.com/Kithseeker-Bookminder-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07FMSMHW8/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kithseeker-Bookminder-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07FMSMHW8/

Author Bio

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M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Cedarburg home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.

 

Social Media Links 
https://twitter.com/FaublesFables
https://www.facebook.com/FaublesFables/
https://www.instagram.com/faublesfables/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073540.M_K_Wiseman
http://mkwisemanauthor.com

Thank you for visiting M.K Wiseman and I love the idea of cosplay and hope you took lots of photos. I am also tempted to read more of the real wizards you researched.

For book reviews on her book The Kithseeker, why not pop in to other blogs in the tour. Details are below.

The Kithseeker Banner

 

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Witches in Fiction by Heide Goody and Iain Grant

A Spell in the Country is a book about witches, magic, and mayhem and to celebrate its release, I am pleased to welcome its authors, Heide Goody and Iain Grant as guests on Duvet Dwellers Books to talk about Witches in Fiction.  There is also a chance to win some witch inspired goodies – what a great start to the week!

 

A Spell In The Country - Iain and Heide by Pete C b+w

Heide Goody and Iain Grant

 

Witches in Fiction

This February sees the publication of A Spell in the Country, the latest comedy fantasy book by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. It is their tenth novel and introduces a whole new world of magic, adventure, and silliness. Here, Iain explains how witches from fiction and film have influenced him. (Heide had something to add, so she has elbowed her way in as well).

Heide and I have written books about devils and angels and monsters and people coming face to face with the magical unknown and poking it with a big stick. However, A Spell in the Country is our first book to explicitly feature witches and, in writing it, I was forced to think about what fictional witches were my favourites. Here’s just five, roughly in the order I encountered them.

Madam Mim

The Sword in the Stone

Iain: Witches are frightening and I do remember being frightened by Madam Mim, a Disney witch dressed in pink with a shock of purple hair. I never read the TE White books the film was based on and I believe she was edited out of the final version anyway. As a child, what I found so captivating about the Disney version of Madam Mim was that she was clearly bonkers. Hair-tuggingly, eye-rollingly bonkers. Like the good old fairy tale witch, Mim lives in a tumbledown cottage far from anywhere else and seems quite happy to be bonkers all by herself in the woods. It’s only when Wart (the future King Arthur) falls down her chimney that he finds himself trapped in a witch’s lair. He has invaded her space and she’s angry. She becomes all the more frightening when she enters a shapeshifting battle with Merlin who has come to rescue Wart and she becomes a succession of scary creatures from which Merlin cannot escape. I’ll save you from having to watch the film (it’s not very good by modern standards) and reveal that Merlin eventually defeats her by turning into a germ and infects her with a non-specific spotty disease.

Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid

Heide: Another Disney film but this one based on a Hans Christian Andersen story. Our house echoed to screams of terror brought on by The Little Mermaid back in the early part of this century. Ursula the Sea Witch made such an impression on a younger member of the Goody family that if a nightmare caused a sleepless night it could usually be laid (directly or indirectly) at her door. I have deliberately not googled her to refresh my memory because my recollection of her is that she was a Lovecraftian horror with the face of a pantomime dame without much of a character arc in the film. I include her simply for the visual impression that she made on a tiny child.

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

Iain: Let’s stick with Hans Christian Andersen for a minute. As a child, I read the fairy tale of Gerda’s mission to rescue Kay from the Snow Queen. I think I might have found it boring beyond all reason. I don’t recall. But then, when my eldest daughter was about three or four, she inexplicably fell in love with the story. She had an audio tape version, we had one of those CD-ROM point and click games that were popular towards the end of the last century. We went to see not one, not two but three theatre adaptations of the story, one of them performed in a conference room during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in which an office chair played a major role as the Snow Queen’s sleigh. That level of exposure got a certain dad thinking about this particular witch. I even bought a 1919 first edition of the book with beautiful illustrations by Margaret Tarrant. I came to the conclusion that the Snow Queen isn’t evil. She’s not the villain of the story. She simply exists, a passive creature that thinks it wants to love the boy, Kai, but is simply incapable. She is a tragic and isolated figure. If you wish to see her reinterpreted as a villain, read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If you wish to see her reinterpreted as a heroine, you have of course only to watch Disney’s Frozen.

 Granny Weatherwax

Equal Rites (and others) by Terry Pratchett

Iain: Possibly the greatest witch to ever step out of the pages of fiction. I love Granny Weatherwax and maybe part of that is because, in Josh Kirby’s illustrations of her, she looked a bit like my own grandma. And Granny Weatherwax certainly has the no nonsense attitude of women of a certain generation. She lives up in the Ramtop Mountains and, while by no means a high class witch, Granny Weatherwax is very ‘proper’. She’s sharp, frequently cruel to be kind and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Her prudishness is never more apparent than when she shows disgust at nakedness and informs her friends that she is never naked. Questioned about bathing, she makes it clear that each bit of her body gets washed ‘as and when it become available’. But the most wonderful and revealing part of her character comes in Witches Abroad when she has to confront her sister Lillith, an evil witch. There’s bad blood between them and we discover that much of it was because when Lillith turned evil, narrative convention meant that Granny Weatherwax was forced to become ‘the good one’ and she didn’t want to.

Vianne Rocher from Chocolat

Heide: If witches fulfill a wish-fulfillment role for women of demonstrating a certain set of powers that we all wish we had, then Vianne Rocher is the perfect example. She is sexy, smart and expert at reading people. She uses food as a significant part of her magic so those dull tasks that reek of mundane domesticity are imbued with delicious ritual and possibility. It is interesting that the film of Chocolat captures the sensuality of the book, but completely skirts any mention of magic or witchcraft.

Mary Poppins

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

Iain: Another witch who is very different in film and prose. Like most people, I met Mary Poppins through the Disney film, not the books by PL Travers. Poppins in the books is a darker character than Julie Andrews’ version. She certainly doesn’t burst into song. Is she a witch? Of course, she is. She does magic. She flies. She enchants people. Mary Poppins is a witch and not necessarily a nice one. What is especially interesting about Mary Poppins is that we see no limit to her powers whatsoever. This was brought home to me when reading Moore and O’Neill’s comic book take on twentieth and twenty-first century literary heroes. In a tale featuring Dracula’s Mina Harker chasing down Voldemort with the assistance of ‘M’ from James Bond, we encounter Mary Poppins as the all-powerful being who saves the day. The prospect of entering a chalk picture has never been so chilling.

Hermione Granger

The Philosopher’s Stone (and others) by JK Rowling.

Iain: Let’s wrap up with one of the most famous witches in modern media. Like a lot of people, I have a fondness for the Harry Potter stories. I’m of the opinion that as the books became fatter and more bloated and less exciting, the films got better and better. Emma Watson IS Hermione Granger. Just as she out-acts her male co-stars from the first film to the last, Hermione out-thinks them and everyone else on every occasion. She is one of the greatest young protagonists in fiction, at least she would be if Harry wasn’t hogging the limelight. And she shows true virtues: hard work versus Harry’s good fortune, thoughtfulness versus Harry’s impulsiveness. Granny Weatherwax would have taken her for an apprentice and shown young Mr Potter the door. Nuff said.

Mad, sharp-tongued, icy, heroic, powerful. Heide and I have included all these influences in our book of witches on holiday in the countryside. And if you can see a little Hermione shining through here or a snippet of Granny Weatherwax poking out there, I hope you forgive us.

Thank you, Heide and Iain for sharing your favourite witches and good luck with your new book.

There are many witches out there it is hard to pick out a favourite who is yours? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Author Biographies

Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of seven novels, two short story collections and a novella.

The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company. Their latest novel, Oddjobs 2: this time it’s personnel, was published in August 2017.

Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Clovenhoof-Books-285544508177333/

Website: http://www.pigeonparkpress.com/

Twitter: @HeideGoody and @IainMGrant

A Spell in the Country master cover - smaller

 

If you would like to learn more about A Spell in the Country and my thoughts click here

Purchase Links

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078NRFL93/

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078NRFL93/

 

Giveaway

 

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Witch inspired goodies

 

As promised. here is a chance to win a Witch’s Pamper Package 

The package, worth over £100 contains…

  • A lacy gothic bracelet
  • A witch’s hat fascinator
  • A pair of green and black stripy tights
  • A Yankee candle in “Forbidden Apple”
  • A set of wand-shaped makeup brushes
  • A gothic notebook (for spells!)
  • A bookmark featuring a squashed witch (with just the legs sticking out!)
  • A gemstone ring
  • A gorgeous coffin-shaped vegan eyeshadow palette from Lunatick Cosmetic labs (with a bat-shaped mirror!)

To enter follow the link below.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949467/

Good luck and happy reading!

Also, thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour.

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