By Joshua Winning
Haunted. Hunted. Cursed. You’ve never met anybody like Rumer Cross.
Publication date: Spring 2018
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‘Unpredictable, brutal and utterly compelling’ – A Fantastical Librarian
Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.
Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.
Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.
Set in an urban sprawl of bullet-riddled buildings, Vicious Rumer is a thriller for fans of Jessica Jones, Lisbeth Salander and films like The Craft.
Who are you?
I write things! I grew up in a tiny town in Suffolk before studying film at university and then moving to the Big Smoke. When I'm not writing for Total Film, SFX or Gay Times, I'm doing fiction-type things like this.
What the heck is Vicious Rumer?
You mean apart from my baby? It's a genre-blitzing horror thriller inspired by everything from Jessica Jones and The Maltese Falcon to the most badass '90s teenager, Nancy from The Craft. It's just about the meanest, leanest thrill-ride you'll get this side of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Have you already written it, then?
Yep! I'm on the third draft and it's ready to roll as soon as the book is funded.
So why are you crowdfunding on Unbound? Unbound has a fantastic rep in the industry and the books they publish are not only great quality, but have been long-listed for things like the Booker Prize. They are, without a doubt, the future of publishing.
What do you need money for?
All the money raised through crowdfunding goes straight into the book. It covers editing, cover design, proofing and publicity. By pledging, you're helping to make this book happen. So thank you!
What do I get?
There are all sorts of bonuses. You get a copy of the book, plus other cool rewards depending on the pledge level you choose. You also get to help this struggling writer fulfil his dream, which is sort of lovely, right?
When do I get the book?
Soon-ish, probably mid-2018. Before it's printed, it needs to go through rigorous edits, and then there's the matter of designing the cover (exciting!).
Where do I sign up?
Easy, just take a look at the pledge levels to the right and decide which one you fancy. Thank you so much for your support!
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Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for Total Film, SFX and Radio Times. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.
A geek at heart, Joshua grew up watching Labyrinth and The Neverending Story on repeat, and was raised on a steady diet of Whedon, Cameron and Lucas. His literary heroes include Robin Jarvis, Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier. As a journalist, he has interviewed some of the most exciting names in the film industry, including Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds, Charlize Theron and Christopher Lee. He dreams of getting Sigourney Weaver to yell “Goddammit!” at him one day. Joshua's dark fantasy series The Sentinel Trilogy is published by Peridot Press.
THREE DAYS BEFORE THE HAMMER
The dark wants to eat me. I’ve spent long enough in dark places to know. I’m underground, buried deep, soil cramming into my mouth. The nightmare I’ve had since I was a kid. All I have to do is choke it down, fight the clawing panic, surrender to the shadows, but that would mean giving in, and Rumer Cross is no fucking coward.
I cough but there's no soil in my throat. I'm not in the ground. I'm slumped against something that shakes me like a doll. Why can't I see? My eyes feel like they're on stalks but there's only darkness.
A horn sounds somewhere and I remember.
The man in the street asked for a light then he knocked mine out. I was outside my place and I saw the fist coming, but I didn’t move in time. He must have bundled me into the van I saw at the kerb. The engine grumbles somewhere behind me and as annoyance hollows out my gut, I spy a hairline crack of light where the rear doors must be.
My head pounds and I go to scratch fingers through my hair, but they won't move. My wrists are bound behind me.
“Guy's a pro,” I mutter.
What does he want? And why the hell didn’t I duck when he made a fist sandwich with his hand? That one I can answer; I didn’t duck because nobody ever looks twice at me. I’m used to slithering around invisibly because I’m a shadow.
And I’m only half being dramatic. I’ve learnt to get by unnoticed – not that there’s anything that noticeable about me anyway. I could be any twenty-something city chick, my jeans a little rattier, my home-cut black hair more tangled, always getting in my face, which is a sun-shy kind of pale. Kids at school called me 'Oddzilla' and 'Tumour' thinking it would hurt me. Fuck them.
That punch hurt, though. My mouth feels weird. Numb and… big. Swollen. The guy must have a serious collection of rings. I run my tongue over my teeth and taste metal. A jag of pain shoots through my gum. One of them is broken.
Forget the teeth.
I can’t remember what the guy looks like. It was raining and my hood was up, so I didn’t see him until he was right by me, and when he asked for a light, the rain got in my eyes.
He caught me at a bad time. I’d lost the guy I was shadowing and I was in a foul mood.
Is that why I’m in the van? Is this guy a disgruntled client? Somebody I followed?
Nobody’s ever caught me following them, though. That’s how good I am at melting into the background, like one of those artists who paint themselves as brick walls or bookcases.
I wish I could remember his face.
- 17th October 2019 Win a signed copy of VICIOUS RUMER!
It's been a while! How are you? I hope you're all getting into the, uh, 'spirit' of the spookiest month of the year. Thanks again for helping to get VICIOUS RUMER out there into the world, I remain in your debt. And an EXTRA-SPECIAL *THANK YOU* to everybody who has left a review on Amazon. It's the single BEST way to support the book. (If you've not done so yet, please please…1st August 2018 Happy birthday, Rumer!
One year ago today, the campaign launched to get Rumer into print. Thanks to all of you gorgeous book lovers, that dream became a very exciting reality in May!
It’s now been three months since Vicious Rumer was released. My, time flies when you're having to fight gangsters to stay alive. Have you met Rumer yet? Did you enjoy her story? If so, leaving a quick review on Amazon is the best way…18th May 2018 Vicious Rumer is an Amazon bestseller!
I hope you've all had a great week. It's been 16 DAYS since Vicious Rumer was unleashed on the world and, on top of making a book happen, you also helped make a #1 Amazon bestseller!
Because, yes, last week Vicious Rumer was the #1 young adult horror novel on Amazon, and she's consistently been #1 in the 'Scary Stories' chart, too. How amazing is that?!
Hopefully by now…2nd May 2018 The Rumer is out!
Yes, you read that right... THE RUMER IS OUT!
It’s publication day for Vicious Rumer. Honestly, it’s a bit surreal. Rumer has been growling away in my head for years and it now weirdly feels like we’re breaking up. She’s going off on her own adventure. But think of all the amazing people she’s going to meet!
Thanks so much for your support, and for literally helping to…2nd April 2018 Vicious Rumer blog tour – and exclusive audiobook!
I hope you've survived the arctic chills and the easter egg spills of the past few weeks. Over here at Camp Rumer, a lot has been happening. First up, WE HAVE A COVER! The wonderful Mark Ecob designed this beautiful, hot pink frightmare, and I couldn't be happier with it (especially the spider). It's just as, uh, eye-catching as I'd hoped it would be.
And if you're so inclined…6th February 2018 Can we get a title chaaaange?
Hey everybody! It's me, that writer you supported a few months ago. Yes, I'm alive! (And yes, I'm still grateful.)
Now that the dust has settled on 2017, and that depressing first month of 2018 is toast, I thought I'd give you a quick update on all things Rumer.
First, the big stuff. As you may have guessed from the subject line, we have a new title! After recent movie masterpieces like …1st November 2017 Happy (belated) Halloween from Rumer
Hey everybody! It’s been exactly a week since Killing Rumer hit 100% funding on Unbound. I still can’t quite believe I get to write those words. This book has been skulking in the shadows for over a year, so to know that it’s going to be published – and not only published but read by lovely people like you who pre-ordered a copy – is both surreal and unbelievably exciting. So thank you. This only…20th October 2017 Music for your ears!
Hey everybody! It's been a little while since my last update but now that we've hit 93% (THANK YOU!) with just £250 left to raise, I thought I'd share something fun with you.
See, it's sort of strange talking about Killing Rumer knowing that pretty much nobody has read it. It's even stranger asking people to pre-order a copy of the book while trying to explain its weird, happy-sad tone.…2nd October 2017 Some questions I've been asked over the past two months...
Guys and gals, we're almost at 80%! Thanks so much for your support/shares/pre-orders; you're wonderful people and you're making this writer feel very, very loved.
There are just 28 DAYS LEFT to get fully funded, which is totally doable right? Please help any way you can: here's a handy tip sheet for spreading the Rumer.
Innyway, in a non-pluggy capacity, I thought I'd share some of the…18th September 2017 Spread the Rumer! How to support the Killing Rumer campaign
Hey all! Your support for the Killing Rumer campaign has been truly overwhelming. Between your pledges, shares and lovely words, my shrivelled little heart has been warmed and renewed over the past few months.
A lot of you are asking just HOW you can support the campaign if you're unable to pledge, so here's a handy post to give you an idea of what you can do... And THANK YOU!
Email your buddies…14th September 2017 Blogs! Blogs everywhere!
Hey all! Thought it was probably time I wrote another update because (huzzah!) we've hit the two thirds mark! Thanks so much to the 146 people who have supported Killing Rumer over the past month, and continue to be calm, kind voices in the dark wilderness of crowdfunding. You're amazing. I owe you all hugs and pubs.
Innway, yes, we're at 66%! We're 44 days in to the campaign, which means I have…2nd September 2017 We're a month in!
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…23rd August 2017 5 reasons I wrote Killing Rumer
Oh my, look! We've hit 50%! We're HALFWAY THERE. I really can't thank everybody who's supported this campaign enough. You've been kind, patient and unbelievably generous in helping this struggling writer edge closer to his dream – which is having Rumer's story out there in the world, ready to thrill and scare in equal measure.
While I've got you, why not chuck this link at a friend who loves…18th August 2017 5 women who inspired Killing Rumer
Rumer has it we're doing pretty well this week! Not only does Rumer now have her own Twitter account (check it out here if you dare) but today we hit the not unimpressive figure of 98 backers, which has taken us up to a rather magnificent 40%. Just look at it. That's a gorgeous percentage, no?
That means we're over two thirds of the way to being fully funded! Talk about a nifty way to start a sunny…9th August 2017 So we're doing OK! Yay!
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…1st August 2017 And we're off!
So today's the day. We've launched the Killing Rumer campaign here at Unbound. 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!
I'm pleased to report that, outside the cyclone that is my fraught mind, things are shiny. People have been ridiculously supportive (hi people…
These people are helping to fund Vicious Rumer.
Rhel ná DecVandé
Katie Khan Wood