Thursday, 12 December 2013

Day 12 of the Magical Christmas with Mark D Evans + 5 Books Giveaway

We are going to celebrate day 12 of the Magical Christmas with Mark D Evans.  Don't miss the previous giveaways!

And Booktrope is giving away 5 copies of NO SHELTER FROM DARKNESS (horror novel), for the winner of today's giveaway.  The giveaway will run till December 31st, 2013 and the winners will be announced on January 1st, 2014!  But, before that, you should seriously read his guest post, where Mark's Christmas in London!

Original Title: No Shelter from Darkness
Author: Mark D Evans
Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: May 28th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal

"Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her." London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End-a corner fairing worse than most-thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness and now the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness . . . What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can't be explained by her coming-of-age, none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who's taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth's secret . . . someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he's been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he's forced to take sides. Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from taking her humanity?

Booked up for Christmas in London

- Guest Post by Mark D Evans

It should come as no surprise that I used to work in a bookshop. It was one of the big ones, as it goes. You may know it, or rather, you may remember it. BORDERS was the name of the game, and at its inception it was to be the rebel of bookshops. It didn’t just offer books, but music and video, too. Its groundbreaking policy of allowing customers to effectively use it as a library (come in, spend hours reading what you want and then leave without buying anything) was probably a factor in its demise, but while it was alive, Borders was a favourite for many.

I used to work in London’s flagship store on Oxford Street—one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. But my job was not what you may think. I didn’t spend my days helping people pick out their next read or point them in the direction of the “better” albums. In fact, the only time I even saw a customer was on my way in to work… at ten o’clock at night.

Yes, it was the night shift. No, the store wasn’t open twenty-four hours. Yes, we got through so much stock and the store got so wrecked on a daily basis that it required a small team of us to get it into shape for the next day.

It was a great job. I got to read the blurb of every book I shelved and on lunch break (which in retrospect was more like a “midnight feast” break), I’d take a couple of those I’d shelved to read a few pages to decide whether to buy it at discount or not.

Christmas, though, was something else. Christmas was when the amount of stock we had delivered tripled… and then some. But we’d get some of the best titles purely for the purpose of gifts. We’re talking hardback books bigger than the kitchen sink about human anatomy and astronomy being sold for a fiver (hell yes, I bought them—at discount that’s, like, three quid (two dollars)), and many a humorous anecdotal book. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of shit, but there were some gems to be had.

But here’s the thing. I worked for Borders for about a year, up to the time of its closure. Thus, only one Christmas was spent on the job, and it just so happens it was my first Christmas in London.

Yes, I am LONDONBOY, but I’ve not always been. I was born near enough to the Big Smoke, but spent my life moving around until finding my way back here in 2008.

And so, Christmas 2008 was my first in London, and I have to be honest, it was rather a great one. This was helped in no small part by the city itself. To explain, let me take you through a typical workday of mine in the month leading up to the twenty-fifth of December.

I’d wake up at around six o’clock in the evening, typically. Sometimes it was earlier, others later. It kind of depended what time I got to bed. At this time of year it would be all too easy never to see daylight when working the night shift, so I invariably “stayed up” until midday. Thus, you can guarantee that when I awoke it would be pitch black outside. Then I’d make myself some breakfast/dinner (you think it sounds confusing, think how confused my stomach was), before getting ready and going to work.

I lived on Old Kent Road in those days (you may know it from the Monopoly board) and by coincidence, this was a year we actually had snow, too. So I’d step out and my feet would crunch in the newly fallen white stuff. It was a bit cold waiting for the bus, but once in I’d be treated to warming sights as I was taken into the heart of the city. With every yard the bus travelled, the city’s Christmas spirit strengthened. It was alive with lights, and every high street had its own, quaint decorations of wreaths and fairy lights draped from lampposts. And as I travelled inward the more elegant it all got. I’d finally make it over Westminster Bridge, passing on my left the orange glow of the Houses of Parliament while on my right the fantastic display of rotating colours on the London Eye danced. Then it was up toward Trafalgar Square to tip my head to the snow-covered lions who guarded Nelson’s Column, before heading up toward the bright and dazzling lights of Piccadilly Circus. With almost every building in such a small space effectively being a giant screen, the inside of the bus lit up like it was daylight, while the middle of the circus was crowded with people all wearing woolly hats and scarfs.


And then of course the real magic started. Embarking upon Regent’s Street, I was finally at one of the two big streets for Christmas lights. I alighted at Regent’s Street, just outside Hamleys, the giant toy shop.



In its windows giant Lego figures would wave, reindeers flew over piles of toys and back then Harry Potter had a whole window display of its own. You can easily just stand for a minute, marvelling at the blanket of fairy lights stretched between the two sides of the street above you. Looking up toward Oxford Circus, it was as if it was under cover, with the lights blazing over the road in such density to form a roof of light.

Oxford Circus

I’d pass Great Marlborough Street, on which is Liberty. This is another of London’s huge department stores, but housed in a building that belongs in a Charles Dickens novel.


I would walk up Regent’s Street to Oxford Circus, where even at ten thirty at night it’s bustling. And from Oxford Circus I could look down the straight-ish street and take in the glow. If I walked down a little way there’d be John Lewis and House of Fraser before reaching the world famous Selfridges, whose walls are covered in fairy lights. They followed the curves of every column and arch of the exquisite building. But I had to go the other way, to the book world of Borders. And even on those cold days there was without fail the guy busking with his paint pots. That guy was amazing, drumming out extraordinary rhythms on his collection of pots, tubs and bin lids. He was so good, in fact, that one night when I passed him some guy had actually rocked up with a saxophone and they jammed together.

Oxford Circus


Finally I’d get to work to spend the night in the huge, warm bookstore, listening to Christmas songs over the PA while setting the shop up for the next Christmas Shopping day. If I was doing the Art section I could stare through the giant shopfront windows at the snowy Christmas scene below.

And that midnight feast I mentioned earlier? Well, on our last working day before Christmas it was a feast to end all feasts, where we each brought in something. With a Christmas team of about ten people, we gorged on homemade delights, topping it all off with a cup of warm, mulled wine.

Not bad for a first Christmas in London.


Thanks for the great post, Mark, I want to see London!

Thanks to Booktrope, today, I have 5 e-copies of "No shelter from Darkness" to give away.  Just enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below and please share it to your friends.  Giveaway open INTERNATIONALLY!

Come back tomorrow for more giveaways!  And did you enter the previous giveaways?

1 comment:

  1. I love Christmas , so every Christmas holds special memories.


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