Saturday, 30 April 2011

The PCReturned Review: DEATH & THE CITY by Lisa Scullard, aka Voodoo Spice :)

...Review as seen on the HarperCollins Authonomy website :)

Hi again Lisa,

Great news this is now published. My fingers are crossed that you'll sell many thousands of copies. ;)

I'm pretty sure I've read + backed this ages ago, but I'm back to peek again + comment in a transparent attempt to curry favour. ;)

I can’t really remember your book as it’s been so long since I last looked, but I’m heartened to read your list of favoured authors on your profile. With such a pedigree, I’m expecting you’ll have produced something pleasingly bonkers. ;)

I generally comment as I read since I find it the easiest way to keep track. So, without further ado, here I go. :)

Chapter 1:

Ohhhh now I remember this. There can’t be many books that start with a chick lit assassin in a Halloween costume. I’m baffled how I ever forgot this now. ;)

I like all the meandering asides of your main character. They contrast so well and so daftly with the topic in hand, killing. I’m honestly not sure if she’s a bit deranged or just v odd. Either way, it’s a fun start to read ;).

I like the description “Hollywood hitmen”. Sums it all up so well + speaks v loudly of her contemptuous attitude for those men. Is she right to be so confident, though? She’s either v good at what she does or she’s definitely more than a bit bonkers. Sounds like she doesn’t play by their old fashioned rules, though. Hmmm is that what makes her so effective? We’ll see. ;)

Her meandering thoughts on powerful women throughout the ages etc are quite telling. I think she may have a deep-buried inferiority complex and be out to prove something. When she sees her reflection, we get another hint she’s not exactly all there in the head. The complete lack of fear in her expression’s inhuman, especially considering what she’s up to!

I almost laughed aloud at the cheery image of her passing the postman in fancy dress, swinging her baseball bat. She’s just off for a merry day’s killing. Tra la la la la :).

I like the buildup while she’s waiting behind the hitman, musing away. The longer it goes on, the more my tension increases. I keep expecting him to turn around and spot her at any moment. When she finally gets around to the killing, it’s surprisingly easy and quick.1 blow. I think the instant’s all the more effective for its brevity. Hmm interesting revelation that stopping these guys is her job. It raises the question of who in hell she’s working for. It’s hardly a regular 9 to 5, is it? ;). I blinked when she shot him so casually. The action hammered home the fact she’s no amateur. Scary that death’s s easy for her. Brrr.

Surprise news comes that the postman’s the next target. Ironic they passed each other earlier in such a carefree manner. I wonder if he was having similar thoughts to her as he went by, musing about the killing to come. Darkly funny ;).

Intriguing mystery that the next target of the postman’s a student. I didn’t expect that. Why would anybody want a student dead? They tend to be so harmless.

Ah … seems like she got too close to the wrong person. That would do it. Those guys must be v jumpy about their privacy.

Wow great scene with the postman at the door. It was v chilling and effective the way she just reached out and made him shoot himself. I can really picture that scene + feel his confusion. Ah but he recognises her just at the end. Lara. This woman must have quite a reputation. No wonder, from what I’ve witnessed so far!

Strange mystery about the postman’s next target. Will we ever find out what the heavy duty thing is, I wonder? I like the following talking shop with head office. Filled with interesting details. My ears perked up when I hear she’s getting a wing man. I didn’t expect that. Lara seems like the sort to work alone.

Uh oh the upcoming partner’s somebody she knows + seems v unimpressed by. I’m sensing a lot of conflict’s coming. Wow if she thinks he’s weird, he really must be off his trolley!...

Well, what can I say? I sort of remembered the events in your book, but I’d forgotten just how bonkers and darkly funny they were ;).

Lisa makes 1 of the most unusual and interesting protagonists I’ve read on authonomy. If I knew her, I wouldn’t feel safe around her without bullet proof glass between us. She’s like a ticking time bomb. Not knowing what the hell she was going to do next kept me right on the edge of my seat for the entire time I read this.

The idea of a story based on a woman killing hitmen’s fascinating too. She’s the ultimate badass. Given the job she’s doing + her mental state, I don’t know if she’s the hero, the antihero, or some unholy mix of both. All I know is your story’s a lot of fun and I’d happily read all of it if I had enough time. :)

Despite the fact you’re now published and no longer need ratings, I’ve given you 6 stars. In my opinion, your book deserves it. Please let me know if this does well on kindle. I’d love to hear that great news. ;)

Best wishes,

Pete x

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Voodoo Preview: Death & The City

Paperbacks (& Hardcover/Dustjacket 2-in-1 exclusive to will be available in May 2011.

(Free Sample available to view Online)


Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Voodoo Review: No More Idols by CHASE AND STATUS

...Dat's what I call some Voodoo beats... Well, it must be lack of chocolate or something, having opted for Jelly Belly beans instead of an Easter Egg when shopping this week, for some reason I'm feeling on a bit of a downer this evening. All my latest stuff is edited and waiting for proofreading copies in paperback format, so all I have to do at the moment is twiddle my thumbs, or open a half-finished project and invent some new Zombies for Dorothy to munch on. I think it was moving some of the books on my coffee table, and unwittingly opening Teach Yourself: Managing Stress on page 179, about relationships. About how critical they are, to adult development and health. Well, I've still not had one, and I'll be 40 this summer - and having it rubbed in by well-meaning Psychology-lite books that I know less about intimacy than a Celica brake disc lifespan (especially when driving with the music too loud to hear the pads drop out as it gets trashed), doesn't do a lot for my self-image and confidence. I can probably still fool a psychiatric department, like I did a few years ago that I'm normal for my age, but that's only I reckon because I saw my paperwork afterwards and they'd got my date of birth wrong and had me down as 24 :) Must be my great DNA :)

Editing "Death & The City" brought back a lot of those memories too. It's about an unlikely hitman's nemesis, single mum Lara Leatherstone (not her real name - she chose it off an online Porn Star Name Generator), who has developed a highly-self-monitoring way of controlling her own psychotic personality disorders, which keeps her off medication and out of hospitals while throwing snipers off rooftops and shooting them from motorway bridges, when not on shift working in nightclub security. All good so far. But to make it a story, it became the tale of what happens when she's set up with another 'Deathrunner' work colleague, and along came the romance angle.

I didn't have any experience of romance to write from, so I used my imagination. As well as exploring all the everyday romantic delusional states that my former workmates and friends were experiencing as I saw them, to develop the scenery of surrounding characters in the book's setting of the nightlife hospitality industry.

Along came film producer Sophie Neville (in real life, not the story - IMDb profile here), and she wanted to have a read. So quite willingly I let her check out my first unedited proofs. Not only did she come back with tips on proofreading annotation and shorthand to help speed up my editing, she emailed asking me to ring, which I did one afternoon before heading to the day job - and she couldn't say more glowingly how great the romance parts of the story are, and how amazing and original they are. Humble thanks was all I managed on the phone, before having to make my excuses and go to work, but have been in a state of shock about ever since.

Either I over-compensated with my imagination for lack of experience, or I don't have the self-censorship of having real romantic events or intimacy to hide in my past, or to keep private. But I go from feeling vaguely fraudulent, to feeling shame that perhaps I've unleashed something that will raise single women's expectations beyond realistic achievement in real life if they go looking for it, to basic curiosity about what I'm missing out on - if a worldly, experienced and accomplished professional in the Media world can identify with and praise the kind of stories that come out of my own inexperienced head. At one point I even thought I had writer's block, trying to keep the scenario running. But I cracked it in my own way - I just can't believe that an antisocial hermit like me can come out with something in that scheme of things, that a fully-grown reader can find so appealing.

To find out about it, you'll just have to check out DEATH & THE CITY: Book One (and Two, which follows on directly, as they were too big for a single paperback volume) on Kindle now - and in paperback next month.

Anyway, enough about my noisy insecurities and depressingly lifelong singledom. (I don't drink, so don't tell me to go to bars or parties *bleck* - saw too much of that sort of thing scraping them off the dancefloor when I was an SIA bouncer).

Instead of taking my car out for a thrash tonight and running in my new brake discs with a bit of Fear Factory's Remanufacture or the latest Pendulum CD, I downloaded CHASE AND STATUS: "No More Idols" from Amazon MP3. Now, that's what I call therapy :) Can't wait to get my hoop out tomorrow and hula my way through the tracklist.

It's dark and beckoning and gives as much attitude as a pack of Komodo Dragons in a cemetery full of shallow graves. Some of the tracks are truly cosmic, including "Blind Faith" featuring Liam Bailey, and "Time" featuring Delilah, and pack that proper big-style anthemic sound that you really need to get you out of that gyroscopic introspection when it's really eating away at you.

Plus the lyrics pack a punch that ring true as well. If you're advanced enough in your self-repair processes to handle a bit of "Fool Yourself", having it mashed in your ears is a good reminder that you're not alone :) Awesome stuff.

If you are finding that you have more internal questions than answers these days, I recommend "Head Case" by Dr. Pamela Stephenson Connolly, and if you can get hold of them, the self-help books by Dr. Raj Persaud that put psychoanalysis and mental health on daytime TV. The research was valid - even if the credits/referencing were vague ;)

For more background info on surgical psychosis, check out my case study on the homepage of

In the meantime, download No More Idols by Chase And Status, and dance off some of that troublesome adrenaline and dopamine clogging up your system...


Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Voodoo Interview: Ist Das Mich, Auf Kindle?

Lisa Scullard on Kindle (also and

...Please be aware that the extent of my German in the exams at school, writing a sample letter for the imagined purposes of 'hiring home help', only goes as far as "Wir haben keine Kellar, wir kannst alles machen eine Kellar" which is very bad taste (and terrible grammar, an even greater crime in the language classroom). But in my defence was written many many years ago, before I even wrote Living Hell. In which more of my questionable approach to YA satirical literature can be found - especially considering I was a teenager myself at the time I wrote it. Wilkommen, Freunden! If I just called everybody Freudian, I do apologise. I should probably stick to writing what I know - particularly in a language that I know.

If I slip into the language of MS-DOS, please feel free to initiate a PC scan. Although this, of course, will only reassure you that the stuff it reveals was already there.

Anyway - this is me. Well, on a good day, or possibly night. Not currently the version of me sitting here typing, wearing a Tesco's Royal Wedding "Marry Me Instead!" t-shirt, eating Nik-Naks and wondering why my cup of tea is nearly cold already. Especially considering the temperature outdoors this afternoon. That's my real hair. Occasionally it tries to choke me in bed, if I don't tie it back. This is not as much fun as some people would believe. Particularly when there are no witnesses, and it gives you thoughts about being strangled by an invisible poltergeist.

I've recently taken up hula-hooping. This is definitely as much fun as anyone would believe! I hooped all the way through "Ultimate Santana" on the patio a couple of days ago, when I got my first custom hoop. Only the cat was annoyed, as it meant he couldn't get to his bowl without nearly being lasso'd, but he got over it. Pretty much as soon as the music stopped, the miaowing for food started.

...Also, according to my stats, and Google, this blog is a match for the search 'X-Rated Muppet Pics' :) Who's looking for x-rated Muppet pics? Shame on you! LMAO :)

But back to the subject. In the last month, I've edited and published three books onto Kindle - Living Hell (as mentioned), Death & The City: Book One, and Death & The City: Book Two. All three will be available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble in May 2011 as well. That's a grand total of 350,000 words proof-read and edited. My eyes are now squarer than the front of a Hummer. Hopefully, most of them can now be read by a sane person... I try not to discriminate against the mentally able - they have so much to give to society.

Also, exclusive to eBook format (because it's chuffing MASSIVE) is the 2-in-1-plus-1 "DEATH & THE CITY: HEAVY DUTY EDITION" which contains both books in the start of the Tales Of The Deathrunners series, and bonus material - the original feature film script "Heavy Duty" written in 1990. Later inspiring me to redevelop it as the background story of a character in a novel, leading to Death & The City.

I got the idea to include this version in Kindle format, after speaking to Jason Kingsley (Rebellion) at The London Book Fair last week. He was panelling a discussion on Transmedia, and the potential for eBooks to be more than the sum of their chapters, which has been explored by a few authors already. An eBook doesn't have to be just the electronic version of a print book anymore. The potential for reference books to have external material added is already huge. But the skill, in fiction, is going to be in holding the reader's attention to the end.

So you never know...

...Unless you try.


Friday, 1 April 2011