Wednesday, 29 January 2014

New Year, New Hump Day Hook Style! #HDH

We’re back, hooray! Hump Day Hook was hanging in the balance at the end of 2013, but we simply could not let it go. Instead, our wonderful organiser, Kerrianne Coombes, has revised the format and today I present an ‘Action’ sequence from my debut novel Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel).

Suddenly he was on his feet, so fast I didn’t see.  He lunged at me and I screamed, jumping back as he grabbed for my neck.  He fell to the floor and I backed up, finding myself pressed against the wall, staring at him in horror.  He had tried to bite me!  He wasn’t human.  I couldn’t move; my body was frozen in fear as I watched Jack gather himself and stand up slowly.  It wasn’t Jack that looked at me from those beautiful blue eyes.  It was the monster from my dreams and I screamed as he lunged at me again. I called his name, trying desperately to bring him back.
Suddenly in a blur of movement someone pushed me away from Jack and put himself between us.  It was Marcus.  His eyes were glowing silver, his face white, and then he turned to Jack, restraining him, whispering to him.  Jack went still in his arms and Marcus turned his head to me, looking very human again.  
“Are you alright, Jessica?” he asked gently.

If you enjoyed this one, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and see what my fellow authors have to offer. We write about romance, love, science fiction, fantasy, erotica and everything in-between, so you are sure to find something that delights the senses. You can also find us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Feeding Your Imagination on Instagram

This year I plan to take a more focused route when it comes to social media networking. For the past three years I have concentrated my efforts on Twitter and Facebook, which in the beginning seemed a good idea. I tried a little paid advertising, but with a reduced budget I had to pause that for a while. I joined several Facebook groups for authors who post re-tweets on Twitter for each other as a way of cross-promoting. This also worked for a while, until late last year I realised that I spent a large portion of my week posting tweets for other people and I was simply not seeing any benefit for myself. So I stopped.

One fairly new social network caught my attention in 2013; Pinterest. It was originally suggested by a friend who uses it to research recipes and home décor ideas for her family. I explored it one afternoon and quickly became hooked. I now have a whole collection of boards where I pin photos, links to blogs, ideas for stories and all sorts of random fun and quirky aspects of my personality. If you don't already know it, take a look, but be warned, it is highly addictive! If you are already a seasoned Pinterest follower, join me if you like...

Finally, I was introduced to another popular new social network; Instagram. A friend uses it to feed her addiction to knitting crafts, home cooking and general pretty pictures, and now she has drawn me into the fold so to speak. Indeed, when I upgraded my mobile phone last summer I was determined to switch from Blackberry to Android so that I could specifically download the Instagram app and get started. And I am so glad I did! I find photographs, quotes and infographs very useful for fuelling my imagination when I need a little help.

How about you? Do you use Instagram or Pinterest? Are there any other social networks I need to explore? I am always open to suggestions...

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Playground for the Imagination #amwriting

There is inspiration for stories everywhere. I know this is an oft-repeated phrase and many struggling writers are probably fed up of hearing it. But I think it really is the truth. Every day I am bombarded with snippets of inspiration, little sentences and scenarios that could be transcribed into detailed stories. It could be anything from watching my children interacting and wondering what goes through their minds, to taking a walk and seeing the world around me.

 One day I took my children to a local playground when I collected my eldest daughter from pre-school. The day was very average, with nondescript weather and no special occasions or events. We visited the playground and my daughter spent some time running around and enjoying the swings, slide and climbing frame. I stood watching and felt compelled to take these photos.

Looking at the empty rocking animals and the swings blowing gently in a faint breeze, I was struck by how atmospheric the playground had suddenly become. Was it simply my overactive imagination and the fact that I am a writer constantly seeking inspiration? Or was it a genuine mood in the area? I don't know, but I found my mind coming alive with possibilities for ghost stories, horror stories, and all sorts of macabre creations centred around this innocent children's playground.

Do you see the possibilities too?

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Female of the Species is Deadly

It occurs to me that I haven't shared any excerpts from my novels for a while, so in the spirit of the new year and my current feisty mood, here is a seductive snippet from my latest novel The Darkness of Love...

         Gregory nodded, keeping his cool silver gaze fixed on her black eyes.  He tried so hard to ignore his Mistress’ advances, but he could never refuse her.  He belonged to her, and he was not strong enough to break free.
“Yes,” he said, “I am sure he will be compliant, for he is a man with vigorous appetites, or so I hear from the villagers.  He has a reputation among the workers’ daughters.”
Amelia smiled and nodded, her eyes glowing with excitement.  She licked her lips, and her eyes showed a glimmer of fire, deep in the pupils.  She was a contradiction of everything the vampires knew about themselves.  She burned with both fire and ice, and no-one could escape her trap when she set it. 
“I will not disappoint my oldest friend.” she said simply.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Inspiration for a Bestseller #ReadMe

Earlier today I was walking into town to collect my daughter from pre-school when a very insignificant event gave me a flash of inspiration that set my imagination alight. Hooray! Finally I have that million-dollar idea for a bestselling literary novel. I'm not even joking. The idea might not sound like a bestseller to a lot of people but I can see its potential. I won't give too many details, suffice to say it involves a doppelgänger and everyday situations.

Since I have several works in progress at the moment I won't drop everything to write this one. Besides, I feel it needs time to manifest in my mind and for me to collect more life experience to include in the novel. It will be written for a female audience and include themes of motherhood, the work/life balance, and ideas about what makes for an exciting life in 21st century Britain. I might even need a little more genre-specific academic training so that I can produce a fine manuscript to attract an agent, but I will decide that in due course.

I love being a writer!

*Image courtesy of Artsyville

Monday, 13 January 2014

Being a Writer vs Being a Mother

I am really struggling to write anything at the moment. It is such a strange feeling, because in the space of three years I wrote and published 4 novels and 3 short stories. My Muse was shouting at me constantly so that I always had some form of dialogue or story running circles in my mind, until it was written down. I have notebooks full of scribbled excerpts, blog ideas, story ideas, and even prompts to help me out on occasions like this. Yet with all of this material, I have nothing to say.

What  is this bizarre affliction? Is it writers' block? Is it laziness? Or is it something much more simple; children? Ha ha, that made you stop. Yes, I blame the children. Not that they have done anything wrong, you understand. My biological clock was ticking and so while I was frantically writing my masterpieces of literary fiction (or rather, commercial paranormal fiction), I was also incubating and birthing children. I now have a very active 3 year old daughter, and a very demanding but totally adorable 5 month old daughter.

During the Christmas holiday I took time to rest and recuperate after a very hectic year in 2013. I spent some time thinking about my situation and mulling over my options. Where could I fit in time to write and continue to develop my professional career? Ultimately I decided that it is not feasible right now. Technically I am still on maternity leave, and I have the luxury of a husband whose job pays the bills, so for now I will focus on my family and leave my notebooks alone. I will still write. I intend to develop my blogs more and update them regularly throughout the year. I will also return to my manuscripts and story prompts as and when I find the time and energy. I am still a writer, but I am also a mother, and that is my priority right now.

Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Year, New Start

Many people are beginning 2014 with plans to give up drinking alcohol, to get back in the gym and lose weight, to eat healthily and any number of other physical efforts to improve themselves and their lives. I have never actually tried to do the traditional New Year's Resolutions. I was always very smug and said that I didn't need to. Well actually, there are some new resolutions that I should be trying, and here they are:

  • Play more. I spent so much time in 2013 just trying to push my book sales that I forgot to take time out. My books are out there. I can let them do their job now.
  • Be kinder to myself. I have become a martyr to my situation. I only realised at the very end of 2013 that I have become the very thing I dreaded: a downtrodden housewife. Actually I am nothing of the sort. It is all in my mind and my attitude. That will change.
  • Live my life for me. I suppose this one sort of relates to the other points above, but ultimately we all have to take responsibility for ourselves as individuals. I wanted to have children, and I love being a mother, but I also need a break every so often. That is not a bad thing. I can be myself and I can be mother, wife and author. I just have to give myself time, space and understanding.
One of the ways in which I can reclaim some time and energy is to stop wasting so much time on social media. Yes, I enjoy interacting with people, but in 2014 I want to do it genuinely, rather than always thinking about what kind of result my efforts will bring. Our culture is so focused on bringing immediate results to our efforts that we feel like failures if something takes longer than 24 hours to improve. 

This year I want to be a genuine networker. I will not simply pay lip service to several social networks because I feel like that's what I should be doing. I would love for more people to comment on my blogs, even to offer suggestions of where I can make improvements, or to compliment me when I write something of particular interest or importance. 

2014 is the year for ME. How about you make it the year for YOU too? Happy New Year!