Monday, August 24, 2015

**GIVEAWAY** Guest Post by P. J. Brackston The Brothers Grimm Mystery series

Please welcome back to the blog a frequent visiting author, Paula Brackston, who today comes to us under the guise of her new alter ego, P. J. Brackston under which she pens her new adult fantasy series staring Gretel (yes that Gretel) whose now 35, living with her older brother Hans (yes that Hans) solving crimes in her quaint Bavarian village.
Her guest post is titled "Hearing Voices" enjoy it! At the end you'll find my reviews of both her current releases, The Case of the Missing Frog Prints and Once Upon a Crime. Then stick around because Paula's publisher Pegasus Books is offering one lucky entrant a copy of both novels as a giveaway. 



Giveaway is one print copy of each
Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints
And Once Upon A Crime
Please use Rafflecopter form below to enter
Thanks Pegasus Books 
Good Luck!

Paula, I mean P J take it away!

Hearing Voices

  I wanted to talk a bit about something that I think causes a lot of soul-searching and self-doubt and possibly even panic among writers, particularly when they are starting out. This is the matter of the authors voice.

  First things first, let me tell you I never think of myself as an author, always a writer. Author sounds a little pretentious to me. It also, perhaps wrongly, makes me feel a little restricted. After all, dont we usually think of authors writing fiction, and most probably literary fiction? Somehow a writer gets more freedom - Ive written non-fiction, short stories, commercial fiction and screenplays. So, straight off, Im resisting the authorpart of the authors voice already. And dont get me started on the authorial voice! That term should be dropped right now.

  So, lets call it the writers voice instead. That makes me a bit more comfortable. And yet. Anyone who has been to a writing workshop, taken a writing course, or studied creative writing at college or university will, Im willing to bet, have had their wrists slapped at some point or another for letting the writers voice show in their work. We mustnt be able to hear the writer speaking, we are told. Bad writer, bad! Let the characters speak. Let the story do the work. If you can hear the writer speaking it is telling-not-showing and self-indulgent and preachy and ruins the illusion of the story.

  OK, so, with our own voices on mute, we go back to work and make certain we cant be detected in those lines, phrases, words. Much better.

  Buthow many times (quite possibly on those same courses) have you heard someone say Oh! That writer has really found her voice. How wonderful! ? She is declared a confident, proper writer. Good writer, good!


  Of course there are lots of contradictory demands made on the writer: come up with something new/thats never been done before people might not like it; fantasy is popular and lucrative, go with that/dont chase the market, be innovative; write sympathetic characters/sympathetic characters are too safe; give us short books/long books; write what you know/know what you write, and so on. Still, this whole voice thing seems to be at the centre of each one of these other challenges. After all, it is fundamental to the way the book sounds (and no, Im not talking audio books here). It is crucial to the way the reader hears it in her head. What could be more crucial to how your story is received?

  Well, Im here to tell you that, Im sorry, but I dont believe the writers voice exists. There, Ive said it. I dont expect everyone to agree with me, but Im being honest with you here. No Santa Claus. No Big Foot. No Tooth Fairy. No writers voice. OK, Im willing to be persuaded on the Tooth Fairy, but the writers voice? No.

  Heres how I see it.

  Writers have a style, which is a conscious choice, a manner in which they write that they have decided best puts across their ideas and stories. This style can be influenced by a number of things, genre, trends, and other writers, to name a few. So, for example, when I am writing my historical-fantasy books about witches, (The Witchs Daughter, The Silver Witch, et al) I use a style that I believe best suits those stories. Although they are all stand alone books, it is a series, and so I aim to keep the style coherent, consistent, recognisable. When I am writing my crime-fantasy-comic novels (Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints, Once Upon A Crime, etc) I employ a different style. A style that I judge best puts across the tone and setting of the tale.

  And then there are the characters. For me, every story begins with its main character. These fictional people do not feel very fictional to me at all when they pop unbidden into my head and begin to make themselves known to me. It is their voice you hear in the story, not mine. Ah-ha! I hear you cry, Thats all well and good when you are writing in the first person, but what about using the third person? Surely the narratordoesnt speak in the characters voice?
  Ill admit, it is easier, or maybe just purer, cleaner, more direct, to have things expressed through the first person viewpoint, which is why I use it a lot. But third person can be equally, well, personal. I use a close-up, subjective third person that permits access to the thoughts and feelings of the main character, so the difference in viewpoints is very slight. And if Ive done my job properly, you shouldnt even notice first person/third person. (Unless you are a writer and like to dismantle everything you read to see how it works. In which case well done you and poor you at the same time, as that is darn hard work.)

  And even if you go for a distinct narrator who is not a character in the book (and this technique is really quite rare) I still maintain that you are speaking then with the voice of the narrator, not the writer. And that narrator is in facta character.

  And if you dont think this is possible, I challenge you to take a passage from one of my witchy books and another from one of my Detective Gretel books and show me where my authors voice is? I dont think it would be possible to tell the books were even written by the same person.
  And that is such a liberating thought, isnt it? We can write different things, differently, in different ways. After all, that is, for me, one of the main attractions of being a writer: to inhabit different worlds as a different person. Why would I want to limit myself to doing it all in one way of speaking, one way of telling?

  Dyou see? Dyou see how this might actually be true? And might you, the new writer, feel hugely relieved to discover that you dont have to hide/find your writers voice? You just have to write in keeping with your story. Stay true to the style you have chosen, make your characters voice authentic and consistent and distinct, and the illusion of your story, of the fictional world you have created, will be maintained.

  And you wont have to tie yourself in knots about hearing or not hearing voices. Now thats something for a writer to shout about, dont you think?

Here is Paula's image of Gretel

Connect with PJ - Website - Facebook - Pinterest- Goodreads

Paula Brackston (aka PJ Brackston)is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter, The Winter Witch, and The Midnight Witch(2014). 
Paula has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was short listed for the Mind Book Award, and she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.
Paula lives in Wales with her partner and their two children.

My Reviews
The Case of The Missing Frog Prints

P.J. Brackstons new Brothers Grimm Mystery series debut novel is a Cozy-Noir, comical and fanciful tale starring some of our childhood fairytale heroes and heroines only all grown up. Using humor plus a playful, sarcastic and witty narrative readers are treated to her one of a kind brilliant storytelling style which brings to life this fantastical story that showcases her charming, offbeat and often whimsical characters and her fantastic fairytale-fitting backdrops. Her amazing imaginary world construction and the dynamics between her siblings, plus introducing the world to the next great woman PI is phenomenal. Ive loved all of Paula Brackstons works and will continue to and now Ill be anxiously awaiting more from her evil twin P.J. Brackston too!

In Eighteenth Century Bavaria in a town called Gesternstadt, thankfully surviving her near fatal brush with a witch in a gingerbread house as a small girl, lives the accomplished, self-aggrandized unconventional private detective Gretel. Shes been summoned to Nuremberg by Herr Duruer the Much, Much younger to assist in locating precious works of art that have been stolen from his apartment. Unfortunately the messenger dies in her house so Gretel must use the assistance of her older doltish brother Hansel, also a survivor of the witch incident to get them out of town and away from
s town cop, Kapitan Strudel who upon learning of yet another untimely death will no doubt want Gretel behind bars, not sleuthing, and Gretel loving the finer things needs this case to stock her coffers. Hansel is all too happy to help when he realizes their visit coincides with Nurembergs Uber Weisswurstfest and hell not only get to taste great food but also be able to reconnect with his school chum, Wolfie.
Knee deep in danger and hot on the trail of the thief, Gretel with the help of some highly unusual assistants plus Hansel and Wolfie is hopeful that she will solve this puzzling mystery

Once Upon A Crime 

Once Upon A Crime is the second in P J Brackstons new dark comedic crime drama series, a prequel to book one, Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints. Her twisting, turning, nail-biting storyline is once again a mix of ribald and gallows humor that features idyllic fairytale settings with a definite sinister side, interspersed with a melding of Sherlock and Pink Panther crime solving. Her stars, the irrepressible, über-curvaceous, self-serving Gretel and her humble, addled big brother sidekick rule every page as do her amazing townsfolk and fantastical co-stars.
I have enjoyed all the writings of Paula Brackston and am loving her new incarnation as P.J. where with her unique imagination she once again leaves me in awe.

Once upon a time in Bavaria, Gretel (yes that Gretel) lived in a village called Gesternstadt earning her keep as a private detective with her brother Hansel (yes that Hansel) as her befuddled assistant. Her current case of the missing kitties has gotten her once again on the wrong side of the law. Shes trying to avoid all the kingsmen, and the machinations of the royals, all the while hoping to keep her considerable self out of trouble so she can solve the case and fill her quickly emptying coffers. While executing her superior (to her anyway) method of sleuthing she encounters murder and mayhem leaving her with more questions than answers and she must do some quick thinking to keep herself and Hans out of the clutches of the good guys and the bad guys so she can find and return the absconded felines to their grieving owner.

Today's Gonereading item(s):
Novel inspired coffee mugs
Click HERE for the buy page

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This is completely new to me so thanks so much for putting it on my radar!

  2. Loved this info on writing and found it really interesting. While I don't normally read YA, these two books sound like they would be fun, and the titles are totally catchy! Hugs...Ro

    1. Ro thanks for stopping by and these are not YA they are adult, in fact they're more noir than cozy and at time dark reads.

  3. I haven't read Paula as PJ, but I love the premise! Thanks for the heads up about these mysteries and the chance to win!

  4. I can't wait to read these new books. I have read The Witch's Daughter and I lobed it.

    1. Hi Candace, you know The Witch's Daughter is the only Paula Brackston book I haven't read. Thanks for stopping by, if I'm not mistaken you're a first time visitor.

  5. Great points! I think that's why a lot of indie writers have succeeded in recent years because people have tired of the "formula" and enjoyed books that just felt sincere and transcended the pages.

  6. I love that these are a little darker than cozy..right up my alley!

    1. I know Kim, I was happily surprised by it when I read the first one. And what really surprised me was how unique her well I can't say voice was, LOL but her storytelling style from her other witchy novels. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. This author is talented and creative. I read and enjoyed The Witch;s Daughter. Thanks for this great feature and wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi traveler, glad you've enjoyed Paula in the past. Good Luck!