Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Time Flies When You Are Writing Books

A couple of days ago I decided to clear out a rather large accumulation of paperwork from our coffee table. This piece of furniture has proven very useful in a small house, because it is a decent size, with two storage shelves underneath, which are invariably used as a dumping ground for mail, books, newspapers, magazines, and now my daughter's toys and colouring pencils.

 As I dragged out a pile of newspapers and magazines that had been languishing in the dusty recesses, I discovered the North Staffordshire magazine October 2011 edition, which featured me on the front page and gave me a lovely two-page spread promoting my book Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel). See, there's me, "Love bites for Cheadle author." I was so proud!

I am originally from the small market town of Cheadle in North Staffordshire, probably best known as the nearest large town to the Alton Towers theme park in the wilds of the Staffordshire Moorlands. Now I live in South Cheshire, less than fifty miles away but still quite a change.

You might wonder why I chose Cornwall in South West England as the setting for my paranormal romance novels. It simply fits the story.  I used to holiday in a town called Looe on the south coast, near to the Devon border, and it was this place that inspired my fictional town of Redcliffe. I also used a little of the tiny fishing village of Polperro for its traditional setting and general Cornish ambiance.

So there we have it. A simple act of household chores gave me renewed vigour for my work, and reminded me just how far I have come in the short time of twelve months. To all fellow Indie authors, never give up!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Unfinished Business, Short Stories and New Novels

I have been looking through my files of short stories, searching for something to post on my blog. It occurred to me that I have several short stories, but about three of them are variations of the same theme, as yet unfinished. I have a few more still in progress, and the completed ones have already been shared. I have also finished writing a couple of novels and started another one. Oops! I tend to start something, then get distracted, and return to it at a later date. I think it might be time for some file organizing and spring cleaning, so I can figure out where I stand with works in progress.

In the meantime, you can view my edited short stories at Wattpad and a Redcliffe werewolf story on my author website or in the young adult anthology The Mirador Fantasmagoria. You can also find a vampire short story published under my maiden name Catherine Hargreaves in Devils, Demons and Werewolves.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Beauty of Library Books

Much has been discussed recently about the nature of public libraries and their place in a society that is increasingly reliant on computers, tablets and mobile phones for daily activity. We are now able to downlaod digital books for free from hundreds of websites, and can read them on our phones while we are out and about. There is no more need to carry around a heavy hardbacked book, or shove a battered paperback in your pocket or handbag. But I don't believe we have seen the end of real books.

Personally I adore my local library, always have done. It is the place I would find sanctuary as a child, it broadened my horizons as a teenager, it aided my studies as a university student, and now I frequent our library with my young daughter. They hold a weekly toddler and baby group where we sing nursery rhymes and read  books. When we attended yesterday my daughter was far more interested in selecting books to peruse than she was in actually socializing. That's my girl!

The question has been asked recently. Will our libraries survive the digital revolution? My answer to that is most definitely yes they will. I have a Kindle. I read books in PDF format on my computer, but I am far happier curled up on the sofa or stretched out in bed with a real, solid book in my hands. Despite having a TBR list of personal books that will probably take a good 5 years to get through, yesterday I picked up yet another library book that caught my attention. It is a hard-backed novel, called Whitby Vampyrrhic. I never heard of it before, but I spied it while I was gathering my daughter at the end of our library visit. Now I must be going. I have reading to do!

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Redcliffe Novels - *Preview* - Love Redeems

Set in Cornwall, England, the Redcliffe novels follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she unwittingly falls in love with a vampire, becomes entangled with his identical twin brother's werewolf pack, and then discovers she is a witch. Find out more on my website.

My third book in the series is complete and in pre-publication stages. I will update you on a release date once it is confirmed, but I expect it to be early in 2013. More details to follow...

Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) – Book 3

Life has changed forever in Redcliffe, Cornwall. Jessica Stone used to be a normal, happy human. Now she is an angry, conflicted and confused witch. It all happened when she met Detective Jack Mason and his identical twin brother Danny. Jessica almost died twice, fell into a love triangle, and she became a murderer. Now she faces the ultimate challenge as she continues the fight to save the man she loves, while simultaneously struggling with her lust for his werewolf brother and their vampire friend. Can she survive, or will love finally end her life completely?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bookshops - Do you buy new or secondhand?

I made a little observation recently while I was sitting in a corner of a Waterstones book store desperately hoping to sell some books, or at the very least entice someone to speak with me for a minute or two. Looking around at the neatly organized shelves, I saw the bright, shiny, clean covers of new books fresh from the printing press. I love the smell of a new book. I love the texture, and the way you can smooth your hand over the covers knowing that it holds treasures and adventures yet to be discovered.

 Independent bookshops are a dying breed on the British high street these days, so whenever I do come across such a place on my travels, I have to step inside just to experience the cornucopia of pleasure that it contains. I have to inhale the smell of new books, admire the artwork on the covers, hold a paperback and a hardback in my hands one after the other, and simply worship the magnificent tome, whatever its subject matter.

High street bookshops are all very well in their place. I enjoy visiting Waterstones, and I appreciate what they do for the industry. But my heart will always be in the old days. By that I mean I absolutely adore secondhand bookshops. They sit nestled in fabulous old buildings, usually medieval or eighteenth century. I step over the threshold into a dimly lit interior, and the smell of old books hits me like the welcome aroma of hot chocolate on a cold day. One thing I notice is that although these bookshops are dimly lit, you can always see all of the books with amazing clarity!

Then there are those crazy, obscure places that match the ethos of eccentric Britain. This is my territory! Only in Britain can you find a bookshop literally in the gardens of an ancient castle. This one is at Hay-on-Wye in Wales, just over the border from Herefordshire in England. Hay-on-Wye is known as 'the book town' and it is wonderful! Here you have a mixture of bookshops for old and new, but my favourite has to be the castle bookshop...

Do you have a favourite bookshop? Indeed, do you even bother with good old-fashioned books anymore, or are you an advocate for the e-reader? Please share your thoughts and observations...