Tuesday, 3 April 2018

K.I.A. by Alexander Charalambides



Title: K.I.A.
Author: Alexander Charalambides
Genre: Thriller/NA


Hildegard lives in a real-life dollhouse, surrounded by prop houses and actors who play friends, teachers and foster parents. Only one man ever seemed real, and after his disappearance, she’s had enough playing along. As Hildegard makes her final preparations to run away from home, a swarm of black clad soldiers appear, controlling the police and swarming across her home town. She can evade them for now, but after learning their mission, she decides to play along one last time, following them to Truman Academy, a lonely building on a freezing aleutian island. Hildegard knows it for what it is: just another prop, but not everyone feels the same way. Through the hell of endless drills and marching, Hildegard befriends the stealthy Grace and bloodthirsty David, and enlists them in an effort to unravel the plan of the man called G and his monstrous menagerie of inhuman soldiers.



Excerpt:

Kneeling against the open door, I can hear voices, but not clearly enough to tell what they’re saying.

The garage is crowded, though; too many footsteps.

From here, I can see about half the room. The ramp leading down to the ambulance, the open gate, and some piles of stretchers and medical supplies. It’s completely dark, apart from the distant rays of street lights filtering in past the ambulance. Somewhere on the wall I can’t see is a light source, and since I hear but don’t see people, I’m going to assume that’s where they’re standing.

I test the floor; it changes from plastic tile to concrete at the threshold. Not really ideal. I lay flat on the ground, and try to crawl, as slowly as possible, on elbows and knees. The railings on the ramp to the ambulance, combined with the darkness, should keep me hidden, as long as the people in here keep talking, I might even be able to listen in.

It feels as if my heart should be beating out of my chest, whatever that means, but to be honest, I think I’d prefer that. What it actually feels like, as the ambulance inches closer, is freezing to death in a blizzard. Each time my heart beats, there’s a second of suspense as I wait for the next one.

I can’t stand up. It’s too low, they’ll see me. I’ll have to crawl all the way.

“All teams, reporting in for the fifth sweep.”

“And?”

“Still nothing.”

I want to turn on my side, watch them, but I can see enough in my peripheral vision. Five men, standing in a group, one holds a small light, strapped to the forest of pouches and armor on his chest. The others peer into a variety of equipment, propped up on black plastic legs or resting on piles of bags and boxes.

The ambulance’s tire is by my hand. The back of my neck hasn’t stopped itching.

It’s getting worse, in fact.

“It may be time to consider the possibility we were misinformed. Should’ve brought dogs.”

“Sir?”

I’m under the ambulance now. Five feet to go. I turn on my side, to watch them.

“She’s not here. How is she not here?”

Leaning against the far rail is a man with the proportions of a spider monkey, equipment hanging off him like autumn leaves on a tree. He’s looking right at me.


Author Bio:

Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire in the UK.
He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.

As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.

In 2008 he moved to the USA and now lives in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains with his family and two dogs, Gwynne and Gimli.



Guest Post by Alexander Charalambides:

The Art of Writing a Book Blurb

I write all my own blurbs, and I recommend you do the same.

You might be asking why? Are blurbs really that important?

Simply put, yes, extremely!

After the cover, the blurb is the thing that will sell your book, and since you, as the author, know most about your book, you’re perfectly suited to writing it.

Since you’re the one who knows your work best, you know how a blurb should compliment your cover and story. Do you want your blurb to be serious and dramatic, light-hearted and funny, or mysterious and intriguing? Mirror the tone of your book in your blurb. Nothing annoys readers more than when you confound their expectations. If your book is funny it needs a matching blurb, but a light hearted blurb with a deep, emotional drama? Not such as good idea.

Now you’ve set the tone, give your readers some information they can use. Most will read the blurb again before they start on the book so it can help to include important information like character names, some information about the setting, maybe clear up any confusing concepts, but don’t give too much away. If you’re feeling really spicy, you might even use your blurb to set up a big twist late in the book. Try to intrigue your reader, make them want to find out more. Sales experts will also tell you to include keywords in your blurb to improve amazon sales, but that is a truly specialized area.

Okay, those are all good reasons to write your own blurb you say, but how do you actually go about it?

The key is to use what we’ve been over above: think about the best way to compliment your book. Take your preferred tone, the things you think a potential reader needs to know in order to make their buying decision, keep it concise, and you’re done!

I usually work on a draft until it conveys all those points, then I put it away for a few days and work on it again. The most difficult aspect of writing your own blurb is ‘punching it up’. Add some adjectives. It’s a novel, but what will readers get from it? Is it emotional? Fast paced? Sometimes turning to others can help; it wouldn’t have occurred to me to describe my book as ‘intricately plotted’, that description came from a reader.

Remember your blurb is a sales pitch. Don’t create something that reads like a checklist, or have it written by someone who doesn’t know the book and hasn’t read it.

Are there any pitfalls or common mistakes? Absolutely! Try to avoid distracting gimmicks like first person blurbs or excerpts from the book.

The best way to avoid these issues is to treat your hypothetical reader with respect. Cards, cheat-sheets or listicles might offer you shortcuts or gimmicks, but the only way to be successful as an author is to attract readers, and the best way to do that is with a genuine, intriguing blurb.



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6 comments :

  1. I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour, I hope it is a fun one for you, and thanks for the chance to win :)

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  2. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

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  3. Thank you for the chance to win

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  4. Hi everyone! I'm around all day if anyone has any questions about the book, or anything else, so ask away! Or don't.

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