Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Release & eBook Giveaway! Sweet Tooth by Philip Ellis

One of our new releases in December is the fabulous collection of short fiction written by Philip Ellis. 'Sweet Tooth' is Philip's debut anthology which consists of 16 spellbinding stories. Each short fictional tale is just as brilliantly crafted as the next and leaves you itching to turn the page.

"Everybody wants to be loved; it is the nature of the beast."
Sweet Tooth dives under the skin of the twenty-first century animal to bring you tales of love, loss, desire and revenge. An unearthed diary yields terrible secrets; a lonely young man tells a lie that spirals out of control; a trip to Italy goes horribly wrong for two lovers, and a little girl hears screams from the house next door...

At times funny and poignant, at others chilling and provocative, 'Sweet Tooth' becomes as addictive as crack and each new story brings yet another fix.

Word Count: Approximately 26,000
Warnings: Contains offensive language, violence and references to m/m sexual encounters.

About the Author
Philip Ellis is an award-winning British fiction writer. After graduating from Aberystwyth University with an English and French degree, Philip travelled to Canada where he worked as a teacher, before returning home to England. Philip now works as an SEO content writer for a multi-site online retailer but hopes to become a full time author in the near furture.

Follow Philip on twitter - @Philip_Ellis

As a brand new indie ebook publisher who is just starting out and beginning to attract new talent, it is tough to find the authors who truly support our ideals. We were incredibly lucky to find Philip and rumour has it that there will be more from him in 2011!

Independent Review
This book is well worth the read. After every story I was keen to read the next, personal favourite 'The Girlfriend'. I found this book addictive as I wanted to know what the next story was going to be like in comparison to the last. A definite must read. Looking forward to reading more by this talented author.
- Rachael Morris
Where to buy 'Sweet Tooth' - Available in PDF format only
Smashwords - Available for Kindle (.mobi), ePub, PDF, LRF (Sony Reader) and PDB (for Palm Reading Devices)

Sweet Tooth Giveaway
Now for the fun part! Philip has generously agreed to giveaway a FREE copy of 'Sweet Tooth' to one lucky person. Here's how to enter;

1 - Follow this blog
2 - Follow us on twitter @e_Quills
3 - Comment on this post giving us the title and author of your favourite short story of 2010 and tell us why you love it.
4 - Don't forget to let us know how we can contact you - twitter or the web address of your blog

That's it! The winner will be selected at random and contacted on Friday 7th January. If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours then another will be chosen.

Good luck!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

More Guilty Pleasure Reads!

Guilty Pleasures Button

Share your Guilty Pleasures...

Chloe, an essayist and book-lover, shares her choice in guilty pleasure reading.

As an English Masters Graduate, my reading inventory has become a cacophony of varied, diverse and at times, frankly impressive reads.  The University of Birmingham forced my hand (and eye) to the likes of James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis and Henry James.  Whilst I cannot deny the air of arrogance that I enjoy at the odd pub quiz as the obligatory literary question arises, I must reveal my reprehensible, embarrassing and exceedingly guilty pleasure that is Stephanie Plum.

Plum is the creation of Janet Evanovich, a 40-something from Jersey. The all-American Heroine is based in Evanovich’s own hometown (a short subway trip and yet a far cry from its neighbour, the cultural melting pot of New York).  If Stephanie Plum is intended as at all autobiographical, then I would very much like to buy Evanovich a drink (purely for the swoon worthy sexual exploits of our protagonist).  I believe the Plum series has now reached the dizzying heights of its sixteenth edition under the positively cringe-worthy title of Sizzling Sixteen, the original, entitled One for the Money having been published in 1994.

I myself did not come across the novels for some six years later at the age of thirteen. One for the Money was recommended to me by what I can now assume to be a randy fifty-year old with a penchant for cheap crime thrillers with a generous helping of racy encounters. We first meet Plum as a young divorcee: jobless, helpless and somewhat pathetic. Through sheer bribery (and absolute suspension of disbelief), Stephanie secures the position of Bounty Hunter at her cousin’s Bail Bonds company (we don’t have these in Britain, but they sound like a lot of fun). The result of such a career move is actually not a bad string of crime thrillers.  The plots are admittedly somewhat repetitive and perhaps a tad simplistic, but they provide enough stimulation to suffice on a day when your brain has actually turned to mush.

Now for the important bit: Stephanie’s on-again-off-again relationships (that’s right, plural) with Jersey cop, Morelli (for the movie, think a Latino Brad Pitt) and fellow Bounty Hunter, Ranger (that bloke who plays Strider in the Lord of the Rings films).  Evanovich keeps Stephanie’s availability, morals (and legs) open throughout the entire series as we are continually kept guessing; who will she choose???

At times, I find myself reading Evanovich’s novels purely for the titillating Morelli-Ranger encounters and thanks to the anonymous covers, unlike a Jilly Cooper novel I can read them on the train without feeling like a raging pervert. Indeed, the Stephanie Plum novels may be my very very very guilty pleasure, but regardless, I return to them time and time again when my head hurts too much to tackle Ulysses. Definitely one to recommend (with a degree of subtlety, of course). 

Monday, 20 December 2010

Share your Guilty Pleasures - December 2010

Share your Guilty Pleasures!
1. Grab the Guilty Pleasures button from up top, and post it to your blog (in Edit HTML view).
2. Share your guilty pleasure reads for the month with your readers - even the ones you enjoyed reading and knew you shouldn't! Come on, we all have them...
3. Add yourself to the Linky, and share the love!
4. Hop on to other Guilty Pleasure readers blogs and leave your comments.
5. A new Guilty Pleasures post will be added by e-Quills every month - follow for updates!

e-Quills Guilty Pleasures for December

Anita & Me:
A note on the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels by Laurell K. Hamilton (posted by J. Hudson)

I first came across this series of saucy supernatural novels when I was in my teens, fresh off my Buffy fandom and ready for another dose of bloodlust.  Laurell K. Hamilton hooked me on her world of the fearless, zombie-raising minx Anita who questions the newly animated dead by day, and hunts vampires by night.  For the young, rambunctious me, it was the perfect mix of hardboiled prose, supernatural intrigue and tittilating Gothic seduction.  The series is now twenty novels strong, and the character of Anita has evolved from a good Christian girl with a crucifix and a handgun to a headstrong leader with a harem of vampires and shapeshifters at her beck and call, not to mention a host of rather erotic powers.  But how did this transformation take place?

In the first instalment, the aptly titled Guilty Pleasures, Anita has her first foray into the vampire politics of St. Louis, becoming involved with vampire master Jean-Claude.  The second novel, The Laughing Corpse, sees her embrace her necromancer powers to do battle with a voodoo queen, and the third, Circus of the Damned, forms a love triangle between Anita, Jean-Claude, and Richard, a clean-living werewolf trying to eke out a normal existence as a schoolteacher.  At the very start of her adventures, Anita states "I don't date vampires, I kill them", but her love life soon becomes the axis around which all of her blood-spattered exploits revolve.

Over the next few years, and next several books, I would revisit Anita - in The Lunatic Cafe she investigated snuff porn, in Burnt Offerings a firestarter, and in Obsidian Butterfly she stepped away from the men in her life to solve a series of gruesome murders.  There were fantastic plots that involved serial killers, witches, ancient vampire vendettas and the complex mating rituals of were-leopards.  There are hunks and harlots aplenty.  This fictional world is an addictive one - if somebody isn't trying to kill our heroine, they are trying to bed her.  Sometimes these two options aren't mutually exclusive.

I gave up on Anita around about book eleven, Cerulean Sins, by which point her connection with the creatures of the night had resulted in her possessing a succubus-like power known as the ardeur - she could literally feed on the sexual energy of others.  Sadly, this became a plot device that overtook the previously mystery-based format of the stories.  Laurell K. Hamilton is soon releasing the twentieth instalment of Anita's adventures, and from what I hear on the fan-vine, it is more of the same - black lace erotica.  I'm a huge fan of porn.  But I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed that a series with such imagination and potential, certainly the predecessor of Charlaine Harris's True Blood novels, has become wet dream material for Goths.

Still, I might give Anita another go, just for old times' sake.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question comes from Angela who blogs at Library Girl Reads:
 "What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs?  Is it the reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?"

Here at e-Quills, we love everything about book blogs. We're fairly new to the blogosphere but it's fair to say that we're utterly addicted! Whilst we're still learning the ropes, it's been fabulous to read other book blogs and follow some inspiring bloggers. There are some amazing reviews out there which will help to grow our own book collections by enormous quantities!

We'll be hopping through some of your blogs so please do feel free to pop back and say "hi".

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

2010 in Books: Philip Ellis

The year is coming to a close, and what a year it's been.  Facebook got its own movie, Lady Gaga took over the world, Sarah Palin tried to take over the world, somebody took a huge WikiLeak, two BBC radio presenters said the C word on air (on the same day), Wills and Kate are getting hitched, and snow has brought our country to a standstill once again.

But I'm not interested in any of that.  What I want to know is - what have people been reading this year? 

My personal choices for 2010 have consisted mostly of horror.  Here are a few of the best.

Duma Key by Stephen King
(Read in Gran Canaria, 1st-8th March)

I was dubious about taking this one on holiday with me, as it clocks up over 600 pages and the other most recent King epic that I'd read had been the largely overwritten, dragging Lisey's Story.  But I wasn't disappointed with this one.  Drawing on his own personal experience of surviving a car accident, King creates a hugely sympathetic character in his protagonist, Edgar Freemantle.  A huge chunk of the novel's plot comes from Edgar's recovery after losing an arm, a process which leads him to convalesce in a handsome beachfront property in the Florida Keys.  This house, like so many in King's works, has a rather colourful history, as does the entire island.  Edgar soon meets Jerome Wireman, a neighbouring resident who is the carer for Elizabeth, an elderly woman with the island's many secrets buried deeply within her fragile mind. 
There are so many elements in this book that contribute to the vivid and compelling plot; Edgar's newfound artistic talents that transform him into a local virtuoso, the complicated relationship he shares with his ex-wife, the menacing ghost ship that keeps appearing on the horizon, and the increasingly frequent flashbacks that ultimately reveal Duma Key's tragic legacy.

I don't want to give away much more, for fear of ruining the story for anybody yet to read this book.  It was a pleasure to read, a welcome return to form for Stephen King in my opinion.

Tokyo Cancelled by Rana Dasgupta
(Read on the train over a weekend in June)

Referred to by many as a novel, this book of connected tales has more in common with the storytelling tradition of the Decameron and Canterbury Tales.  Dasgupta has taken this concept and updated it, transforming Chaucer's pilgrims into stranded airline passengers, grounded by a blizzard.  To pass the time, each traveller tells a story.  The highlights for me were:

The Billionaire's Sleep, a fairy tale set in modern Delhi, which features insomnia, cloning, and trees that come to life.
The House of the Frankfurt Map Maker, a 21st Century 'Bluebeard' with telepathy and monkeys.
The Doll, a sinister and beguiling love story about a Japanese businessman and his artificial mistress.

Horns by Joe Hill
(Read at home over Easter weekend)

I thoroughly enjoyed the first of Joe Hill's novels, Heart Shaped Box, without realising he is the son of Stephen King.  This fact has no bearing on my opinion of him as a writer - he is bloody good, with a very different style to his famous dad.

Horns opens with the main character, Iggy, waking up with one hell of a hangover, and a pair of devil horns sprouting from his forehead.  The odd thing is, nobody seems to notice them.  The even odder thing is, the horns have an incredible power; they compel people to confess their darkest sins to Iggy, who has become a figure of hatred in his hometown since most people believe him to be responsible for the murder of his girlfriend, Merrin. 
The novel follows Iggy as he sets out on two quests: to find out where the horns came from, and to use their power to catch Merrin's real killer. 
Horns is full of dark humour, great writing and numerous rock'n'roll references.  I am already looking forward to Hill's next offering.

Let The Right One In by John Aljvide Lindqvist
(Read on a beach in Bulgaria, July)

For those who don't know, Let The Right One In follows young Oskar, a bullied adolescent in a Swedish suburb, whose new neighbour is the furtive and mysterious girl Eli.  Sick, slick and incredibly well written, I don't really know what can be said about this book that hasn't already been said in so many reviews, its film adaptation and subsequent American remake.  Just read it, alright?

On my reading list for next year: A Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, A Clockwork Orange, The Handmaid's Tale and Apartment 16, to name a few. 

What about everyone else?  What are you reading?  And what, if anything, are you writing?

Philip Ellis (author of Sweet Tooth)

Friday, 3 December 2010

Author Intro: Orin Drake

Hello there internet, writers and readers! My name would happen to be Orin Drake, and I would happen to be the author of DarkHorse Vendetta (Part One is currently available through e-Quills), pleased to make your acquaintance.

I've always held to the assumption that every author is allowed a space opera, and this is mine. In this particular book, we follow the adventures of a former corporate assassin named Jack. Her amusement/companion is Julian, a recent academy graduate and complete newbie when it comes to disappointed idealism and the sarcastic humor that goes along with it. We've got philosophy, horror, space battles and liberal use of four-letter words. Something for everyone! And, I hope, an intriguing (and hopefully not too long) snippet of... intrigue:

They located the nearest hatch easily--by having accidentally tripped over it while wandering back from where they'd come from. At least that part was easy. Finding the panel that contained controls for the hatch, emergency lights and flashlights was easy as well. It was opening said panel that took some doing. It seemed that there were certain parts of the ship that weren't as looked after as they should have been. The necessary panel was included in that classification, being sealed shut with rust. Jack carefully ran the blade of her Spectre over it again and again, trying hard not to cut any important wires that might be right below the surface. After a while, though, their patience ran out. A few good, swift kicks from both got it opening.

Well, the dented panel cover was of no use, so they simply left it on the ground where it had fallen. A couple of switches later and the below deck generator audibly fired up to light the passages underneath them. The flashlights worked well, so they took those--but they decided to leave the ration packs. It seemed frighteningly suspicious to find rations there. Worrisome, to say the least.

"Ladies first," Julian insisted.

Jack smirked. "Considering there are none of those around here, I suppose I'll go first." That got a chuckle out of him as she descended carefully, testing each metal wrung before putting her full weight on them. The solid metal floor was quite a bit further than she'd pictured it, but she reached it safely all the same. Taking a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting, she carefully inspected the area before calling up, "Alright. Get your ass down here."

"Yes sir!" came the sarcastic reply. Even though she had tested every individual foothold, he found himself taking just as careful steps.

"Don't trust me?" she teased, flipping on her flashlight to take another sweep of the area. From there, there was only one tunnel, so that was obviously where they were headed.

"I don't trust any ship that has rations next to flashlights," he responded seriously, taking her lead and illuminating the other side of the small chamber. While the smoky, reflective metal walls were supposed to bounce the small and far-spaced dim emergency lights back and forth, they really did nothing more than make them feel creeped out. They didn't enhance the light so much as just reflected where the lights were located. Not very helpful, clearly.

At least they had flashlights. Jack took a deep breath, finding herself taking the front position. "Pistol ready?"

"And trigger happy," he assured.

"Then maybe you ought to be leading," she joked distractedly, noting a few interesting little scratch marks to the right. "I'm afraid we're probably on the right track."

Softly, Julian pulled his pistol once again from its hiding place. Just in case, at least one of them should have a weapon drawn as they were walking. Continuing down the increasingly claustrophobic tunnel, they spotted yet more small scratching marks in the metal, but nothing else. No blood, no remains of any sort; just seemingly random scratches. Regardless, those scratches got increasingly deeper. This fucker had claws. At least that probably meant it hadn't gone beyond it's third pod stage and developed acid venom it was capable of spitting thirty feet.

A "T" fork in the tunnel forced them to stop and take stock of the situation. On either side and in both tunnels were wide, deep scratches. Jack got a chill and prayed that the little monster wasn't actually intelligent, just desperate. Had it actually planned for confusion so it could attack from behind... she forced herself to stop thinking about it.

"Flip a coin?" Julian whispered behind her, the same thought having nearly strangled him.

A chitter. A sudden, unique chitter that sounded like little more than someone tapping their fingernails only once in another room--but it was enough. It had come from the right tunnel. Be it a trap or a mistake, there was something to the right. Jack flashed the light down the tunnel and noticed that it curved too much to be able to look all the way down it. Her chest tightened. "Ready?"

He didn't really feel like lying, so he didn't say anything. Instead, he clicked his safety off and drew one step closer.

Taking that as as much of an answer as he could give, she led the way. Each step made her muscles ache with adrenaline, her heart trying its best not to explode with every slight turn of the enclosed tunnel. The feeling of being trapped, of being buried in a little metal tube was jutting into the back of her thoughts, trying to slash through to the forefront--but she would not let it. If she did, then it was all over. If she let that happen, then it was--

"Oh fuck." Her mouth moved, her breath rushed--but the words didn't really come out. Three fire orange eyes stared back at her from around the next curve, the flashlight beam making the pupils almost invisible. Then she saw the thing's feelers extend from its mouth... it was enough to send just about anyone screaming in the other direction.

Julian, having paused only long enough to remind himself that pausing would get them both killed, aimed for the head--but it had seen the movement. Instead of dashing away as just about any normal animal might, it darted toward him on eight thick, almost arachnid-like legs. The sheer speed of its movement was a distraction, Jack unable to find it with the light for just a split second in time.

That was too long, though. Julian fired twice, both bullets missing their mark. The thing leapt like an insect, extending the long reptilian toes that had previously been pointed as leg extensions. At the end of each toe was a claw, and that fact was all too clearly realized.

Enticed yet?

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

New Blog \o/

So, here we are... e-Quills have joined the blogosphere and we're on the hunt. The hunt for incredible talent! We are accepting submissions from talented indie authors who are able to offer something different and want to help us spread the word for unpublished works of genius. We accept manuscripts of any length and genre, but hold firm our belief in opening doors for less conventional writers with an alternative approach or writing style.

Got something to share? Then share it with us! Email your submissions to