Killing Rumer: we’re a month in!

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Hey everybody! How was your summer?! Over here at Camp Killing Rumer it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. The campaign to get the book funded launched on 1 August, and since then loads has happened. You lovely people pledged your support in huge numbers – as it stands, the campaign’s at 59% funded with 128 (I must say, rather beautiful) readers having contributed to Rumer’s story.

To all of you I can only say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. This character means so much to me, and you’re bringing Killing Rumer closer and closer to being an Actual Genuine Book. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Had a busy month? Here are some things you may have missed…

  • The first review of Killing Rumer went live! The lovely Lynn at Book Reviews By Lynn got a very sneaky early review copy of the book, and her glowing review is up over here. In short, she said: Joshua Winning has written an intriguing crime thriller with a kick-ass heroine. I love his fast paced writing style, and the story flowed beautifully. He is one of only a handful of male authors who I have added to my favourite authors list and I can’t wait to see what he will come up with in the future.
  • Rumer joined Twitter! You can follow her here.
  • We have postcards now! You can get your hands on an extra special set of postcards (designed by the brilliant Louise Brock) when you select the ‘Awesome Extras’ pledge. (Already pledged but want the postcards? You can upgrade your pledge by logging in, at no extra cost.)
  • A few new pledge levels have been released! ‘Be Part Of The Story!’ gives you the option of having a character named after you. And with the ‘Superfan Special Collectable’, you can own a signed copy of my very first draft of Killing Rumer, complete with editorial scribbles (ooo, hello behind the scenes jiggery pokery).
  • I blogged! I wrote about the 5 women who inspired Killing RumerCheck it out over here. I also revealed a little bit about why I wrote the book in the first place – take a peek here.

There are other exciting things in the works, including a series of guest blogs around the internet, all to help get Rumer’s name out there.

So yes, you’ve all been fantastically supportive over the past month, and I’m so, so grateful. If you want to help even more, please do share this link with your book-loving friends and family members: http://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer Why not chuck them an email today?

Here’s to hitting 60% and beyond!

Pre-order your copy of Killing Rumer here!

5 reasons I wrote Vicious Rumer

 

  • Because I’m an outsider. Sure, I’m white, I’m male, I’m relatively tall (or something) in a ridiculous society that values those things, but I’m also a nerdy gay guy who grew up feeling, for the most part, misunderstood and a little bit weird. That’s why Rumer is so important to me. She’s an extreme version of me – my dark twin; the twisted sister I never had. (I actually do have a sister, and she’s nothing like Rumer.)
  • Because I wanted to write about mothers and daughters. In Killing Rumer, Rumer’s mother is dead, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t write about their relationship. In fact, the fact that her mother is dead only complicates Rumer’s relationship with her even more. How do you argue with a dead person? Or figure out who you are?
  • Because I had an idea that terrified me. That idea was: what if you could transfer all of your bad karma into your unborn child? That’s what Rumer believes happened to her, and it’s a pretty horrific thing to believe about yourself. I wanted to explore how that belief shaped her and influenced every decision Rumer’s ever made.
  • Because I wanted to write something with no easy answers. Is Rumer cursed? Why does a gangster want her dead? Is it possible to change who you are? Is something true just because you believe it? They’re all questions I chucked around while writing Killing Rumer. There may be answers, there may not, but that’s sort of up to you to decide.
  • Because it was fun! There’s tons of dark stuff going on in Killing Rumer, but it’s also a gleefully lean thriller with loads of twists, funny characters and crazy set-pieces. It was an absolute blast to write (I scribbled the first draft over a feverish eight months) and, hopefully, that also makes it a blast to read.

Pre-order your copy of Vicious Rumer here!

5 women who inspired Vicious Rumer

1. Nancy from The Craft
I had a picture of Fairuza Balk (actually, the one above this text), aka Nancy, on my desktop all the way through writing Killing Rumer. It’s not so much that Rumer is like Nancy – rather, I wanted Rumer to possess the same dark humour and edge-of-crazy personality as Nancy. They’re both outsiders, slightly unhinged and believe in something dangerous. Also, they both have black hair.

2. Stevie Nicks…
…and Crystal Visions, the compilation of her biggest hits. That album both inspired, chilled and nursed me through Killing Rumer – so much so that I, of course, HAD to make Rumer a fan. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Stevie ever since I saw a tiny indie film from 1998 called Edge Of Seventeen, and her music is perfect for Rumer; ethereal, weird, haunting. It has it all and then some.

3. Holly Hunter in Top Of The Lake
Shocking revelation – I’ve only seen the first episode of this (ducks). I know I know. BUT the thing that really made me sit up in that first episode was Holly Hunter and her ghostly silver hair. Without her, I wouldn’t have created one of the main characters in Killing Rumer – the image of Holly’s wise-but-wary loner stuck with me throughout writing and I couldn’t be more grateful.

4. Daphne du Maurier
Nobody writes women like Daphne du Maurier. Strike that, nobody WRITES like Daphne du Maurier, and I’d be an idiot to try to, but she’s been a literary hero of mine ever since I devoured Rebecca as a teenager. Killing Rumer is nothing like that book (I mean, what is?), but it certainly inspired me to tackle writing in the first person, something I’ve never attempted before. If I failed, I blame Daphne.

5. Joan Jett
Alright, maybe not quite as ‘kooky cool’ as Stevie Nicks, but her song ‘Bad Reputation’ is anthemic for a reason (and not just because it’s the Freaks And Geeks theme tune). Those lyrics and that guitar really helped get me into ‘angry teenager’ mode for the book’s all-important flashbacks. Without them, Rumer wouldn’t be half as badass.

Pre-order your copy of Vicious Rumer here!

Killing Rumer is 25% funded!

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Newsflash from the Killing Rumer campaign – we’re 25% funded! Yes, we’re a QUARTER of the way there! Slow-mo high fives and tears all round.

Thank you so much to everybody who has supported the campaign so far, whether pre-ordering a copy, sharing on social platforms, or lending words of advice/comfort (delete as applicable) when my nerves wobbled. I’m overwhelmed and grateful.

So, yes, we’re at 25% and it feels good (music cue: James Brown), but there’s still 75% left to go. Want to help with spreading the Rumer? Here are some handy tips:

  1. Share share share! If you have the time to email or message one person who likes quirky crime thrillers and kick-ass heroines to ask them to support the book, that would help HUGELY. One-on-one messages are the best way to tell people about the campaign, and be sure to include this link: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer
  2. Tweet/Facebook/socialise to your heart’s content. Use the hashtag #KillingRumer and @ any of your book-loving buds. If you can share this banner, you might catch a few eyes (in a non-violent way): https://www.dropbox.com/s/dkoo0uxa3fldugq/Logo.gif?dl=0
  3. Upgrade your pledge. If you ordered the ebook but you’ve decided you really want a paperback as well, that doesn’t mean pledging twice. To upgrade your pledge, simply click on the new reward you want, and rather than being charged twice, you’ll only pay the difference for the new pledge: https://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer

Once again, from me and Rumer, thank you thank you thank you!

Pre-order your copy of Killing Rumer here!

Help get my new book Killing Rumer published with Unbound!

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For the past few years I’ve been beavering away at a secret book project – and today I’m dragging it kicking and screaming out of the closet!

Killing Rumer is a quirky thriller about a teenage girl tipped into a world of gangsters and the occult. It’s dark, weird and (hopefully) funny. It’s about belonging and friendship and loneliness. It mixes The Craft with The Maltese Falcon, Jessica Jones and Final Destination. (See. Weird.)

So here’s the thing. Today, we’ve launched the Killing Rumer campaign over at Unbound. If you’re not familiar with Unbound, here’s the deal: it’s a UK publisher in which authors help to raise the funds to publish their book. We spearhead a campaign and ask fellow readers, friends, family and coven members to help get the book published by pre-ordering a copy – and perhaps signing up for some of the awesome bonuses that go with helping an author fulfil their dream.

I’ll be honest, I have no fingernails left and I’m comfort eating chocolate until I’m sick but that’s OK because WE’RE LIVE. This is not a drill! Klaxon and loud fireworks ahoy!

But yes, I need your help. Want to support Killing Rumer and bold new fiction? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Share this link: http://unbound.com/books/killing-rumer
  2. Post this logo (and a link to Unbound) on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dkoo0uxa3fldugq/Logo.gif?dl=0
  3. Email/text friends who love reading, kick-ass heroines, twisty mysteries and even twistier narratives.
  4. Pre-order! If Killing Rumer sounds like your sort of book, you’ll be helping to get it published by pre-ordering your very own copy. There are loads of cool bonuses, including naming a character, having your own name appear in the book (as a thank you) and you can even choose to let me loose on your manuscript. Be afraid.
  5. Write about Rumer! If you have a blog, please feel free to post about the Killing Rumer campaign. I’m happy to answer Q&As and write for you, just get in touch via https://joshuawinning.com/contact/

So that’s it. We’re off. Rumer’s ready to take her first steps into the world. Here’s hoping she makes it to the finishing line. My fingernails really can’t take any more.

Pre-order your copy of Killing Rumer here!

The Last Stand (2013)

The Last StandArnold Schwarzenegger’s just hurtled through a café door and landed in a heap. “How are you, sheriff?” asks the owner, peering over the counter. “Old,” huffs Arnie as he creaks into frame. No kidding. Nigh on a decade after his last lead role (in Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines), the Austrian Oak’s finally lumbered back into cinemas. He’s older. He’s bigger. His hair’s somewhat thinner. But, really, it’s like he’s never been away.

Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is whiling out his twilight years in sleepy farm town Sommerton Junction. As we meet him, sock-free and noticeably scruffy, he’s about to take a much-needed few days off. “Should be a quiet weekend,” Arnie muses, somehow unaware that he’s in a movie starring himself, which means quiet is the last thing on the menu.

Sure enough, Sommerton Junction turns out to be the meeting place of escaped con Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) and his gun-loving gang, which is headed by slithering mercenary Burrell (Peter Stormare). Cortez is roaring towards the Mexican border in a swish Corvette ZR1, and his gang are preparing safe passage for him through Owens’ town into Mexico. Meanwhile, FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is on Cortez’s trail – but can he reach him in time?

This first hour of The Last Stand is easily its weakest. Short on laughs, low on Arnie, it’s too busy introducing characters we have no interest in to give us what we really want – Schwarzenegger. Any Schwarzenegger will do, especially after the teasing likes of the Expendables movies, which only featured him as a supporting player. But despite mildly diverting thrills in an impressive (if implausible) jail bust and numerous car-related action kicks, director Kim Jee-woon’s first English-language film feels as weary as Arnie often looks.

Thankfully, that all changes once our favourite Austrian is let off the leash, and around the hour mark, The Last Stand transforms on a dime into something unexpectedly, uproariously entertaining. When Burrell and his men storm Sommerton Junction, they’re surprised to find it’s not only ready for them, but armed to the hilt. The ensuing orgy of mayhem delivers hilariously gory deaths, bloodshed aplenty and just a few of those patented Arnie one-liners.

We’re not kidding ourselves, though. Arnie’s heyday came and went with the 1980s, and it’s unlikely he’ll ever reach the thrilling heights of that muscle-busting run again. After seven years playing California Governor, though, Arnie still knows how to deliver a good time (there’s even a moment of shiver-inducing acting from the guy as he mourns a dead colleague), and he looks thoroughly comfortable back up there on the big screen. “This is my home,” he says near The Last Stand’s close. Welcome home, Arnie. 3/5

Via Grolsch Film Works

Premium Rush (2012)

David Koepp has been the brains behind some of Hollywood’s smartest action thrillers, having scripted everything from Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible to Spider-Man and Panic Room. Premium Rush is the scribe’s fifth directing gig and a departure from his brainiest tension-ekers – as the film’s title suggests, Rush is less about the grey matter and more about the intoxicating adrenaline kick.

Set entirely on the streets of New York, Rush follows bike messenger Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he takes on a job delivering a package for Nima (Jamie Chung). When he’s accosted by Bobby (Michael Shannon), Wilee begins to suspect he’s carrying something very important – a suspicion that’s confirmed when Bobby turns out to be a crooked cop who’ll stop at nothing to get his hands on Wilee’s package (so to speak).

Zipping through the Big Apple on his two-wheeler, Gordon-Levitt is a likeably unconventional action hero. It’s not the kind of role JGL’s best known for, but the one-time Third Rock From The Sun actor has star quality to spare, and he turns the wattage up considerably for a role that’s as lean as the film itself.

Behind the camera, Koepp generally knows what he’s doing, too. The visuals are sleek and inventive, with tongue-in-cheek ‘hazard prediction’ sequences recalling Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films. Taking its cue from other NY-lover /Spider-Man/, Rush looks gorgeous and its sun-soaked streets vibrate with a fist-pumping soundtrack that includes The Who and My Chemical Romance.

You’ll want to leave your brain at the door, though – Rush’s attempts at a city-wide conspiracy are ambitious at best, convoluted at worst. When it comes to humour and breathless action, though, it generally delivers the goods. Fittingly, Koepp’s film is not unlike a sugar rush – it’s fun while it lasts, but it’s pretty forgettable once it’s over.  3/5

Via Out In The City