Thursday, 29 December 2011

Happy New Kindle

It has been a very merry Christmas in the Green household this year. We celebrated my daughter’s first Christmas, and she was thoroughly spoiled by the whole family. In fact, we had to open her presents in three different houses! I do love having a large and close-knit family. We may not live so close to each other any more, but we certainly make the most of the holidays.

Anyway, my wish was for some money to buy a Kindle this year. I told my family that it was a necessary part of my writer’s kit. I need a Kindle in order to keep on top of all the fantastic Indie authors and new books that are available. And I need to read as many books as I can within my genre, for research purposes. Strangely, they didnt believe me, but they did fulfill my wish.

Now I am the proud owner of a shiny new Kindle, and have already downloaded about 50 free books from its top 100 bestsellers. I am also adding many more to my wish list and will process these over the coming months. My reading pile has now exploded. Not only do I have about twenty old-fashioned paperbacks still waiting to be read, I also have a growing selection on my Kindle. When will I ever find time to actually write my books?

Today I am fortunate in that the weather outside is frightful (to quote a famous seasonal song), so I have no choice but to stay indoors. We don’t have snow here in South Cheshire. Oh no, that was last year. Today we have gale force winds and heavy rain showers. The poor dog will have to do without a walk, mainly because he wont actually go outside in the rain. He is a fair-weather pooch! 

Christmas with the Vampires is just 99p / 99cents on Kindle!

So if I seem distant during the coming months, please forgive me. I am either reading, or writing, or eBook shopping! Happy New Year! And look out for my Redcliffe sequel in 2012...

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!) 

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Love Hurts New Year Special Offer - Get it Now!

Hello, and Happy Holidays to you all! This time I am shamelessly promoting my novel, but when you read it I am sure you will agree that it is a wonderful story. For two weeks only you can now download your Kindle version of Love Hurts for the special offer price of £1.72 GBP. Take a look at this fabulous paranormal romance, where the sleepy Cornish seaside town of Redcliffe is not as peaceful as you may think...

Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Love Hurts - Love, Vampires and Werewolves

Love Hurts is about a young woman who runs a bookshop in Cornwall with her best friend. She falls in love with a local police detective and later discovers that he is a vampire, and that his identical twin brother is a werewolf. She is dragged into their complicated and dangerous lives, to her detriment, where secrets are told and lives are lost...

Here is a snippet from the novel, to whet your appetite:

“She is connected to the job in Scotland; they both are.” he said, “I’m sorry Jessica; it looks like we have inadvertently drawn you into our mess.  I need to find Jack and go sort this out.  Please promise me you will stay home, don’t answer the door unless you know who it is, and phone Jack or me if you get worried about anything, no matter how small or trivial.  Will you do that?”
He grabbed my shoulders, staring directly into my eyes, and I gasped, shocked at his forcefulness.  I nodded, feeling sick with nerves. 
“Yes of course.” I said, “Am I in danger?  What about Liz?” 
  He relaxed slightly and eased his grip on me.  
“Liz will be fine,” he said, “she is of no concern to them.  But they seem to have found out about you and your relationship with Jack and me.  You don’t need to be overly concerned just yet; hopefully we can settle this tonight.  Please just stay home and keep all your doors locked and your mobile phone handy, ok?” 
I nodded and Danny left, saying he would call Jack on the way. (END)

If you want to know more about Jessica Stone and Jack and Danny Mason, check out my website

On there you will find a free short story featuring the Redcliffe werewolf pack, and more details about my book.  

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

'Love Hurts' Book Signing Event at Waterstones Warrington, Cheshire, UK

Join me on Saturday 10th December at Waterstones in Warrington, Cheshire, where I will be signing copies of my debut paranormal romance novel Love Hurts.  I will be at the book shop from 11:00am - 3:00pm and I look forward to seeing you there!

Love Hurts is about a young woman who runs a bookshop in Cornwall with her best friend. She falls in love with a local police detective and later discovers that he is a vampire, and that his identical twin brother is a werewolf. She is dragged into their complicated and dangerous lives, to her detriment, where secrets are told and lives are lost...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Let's Talk About Love in Books

After a very successful broadcast back in October, I am proud to invite you to join me and my good friend, historical novellist Borislava Borissova for a webchat at Coffee Time Romance.

The talk will begin at 12:00 EST (17:00 BST) and end at around 15:00 EST (20:00 BST). We will chat about Affairs of the Heart, Love Hurts, Love Kills, and all related subjects around this most fascinating human (and not so human) emotion. We have a nice mixture of historical and paranormal interest, so there is something for everyone, and maybe even a few ideas for Christmas presents!

Join us for lively conversation, web games, novel spoilers, story telling, and a generally fun interaction.

Paranormal Book Signing at Waterstones Knutsford

Join me tomorrow (Saturday 3rd December) at Waterstones Knutsford where I will be signing copies of my paranormal romance novel Love Hurts.

This is the first in the series set  in a fictional Cornish town called Redcliffe, and the story is told by bookshop owner Jessica Stone.  She is in love with police detective Jack Mason, but there is more to him than meets the eye. When Jessica meets his identical twin brother Danny, her comfortable life descends into chaos and tragedy as the Mason brothers introduce Jessica to a whole new way of life in picturesque, coastal Redcliffe.

I will be at Waterstones from 11:30am until 3:30pm and I look forward to meeting you there...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

I'm a NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner - Hooray!

Well I did it! I entered NaNoWriMo for the very first time, and I succeeded, and I won. Tonight at midnight I validated my novel with 50,168 words. The best thing is, I haven't even finished yet but I am so close to the end I can taste it, and it is sweet!

It has been a long, hard month. My poor baby daughter has become very well-acquainted with her toys and the popular British children's TV channel CBeebies. I haven't cleaned the bathroom in a long time, but I did hoover the house vaguely, and I have dusted in the last two weeks, I think.

My laptop and home computer have been used and abused, and my husband barely knows who I am. I have stayed up late practically every evening, and got up early in the mornings, and neglected any number of household chores and jobs on my to-do list. But it doesn't matter, because I won something! I didn't win a specific item such as a cash prize or a gift.

I printed a beautiful certificate with my name on, and I now have an almost-complete first draft novel which will be edited during the next two months, and then despatched to various agents and publishers for approval. It will be published next year, though the time depends upon the final publisher.

Congratulations fellow NaNoWriMo winners, and to everyone who participated in the challenge. It was fun, and inspiring, and motivating, and totally worth it.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Compassion and Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel)

A fellow author has decided to focus on the theme of compassion in his novels, and also on his blog  This got me thinking, how does Love Hurts deal with this issue? Do my characters feel compassion for each other, do they have strong decisive morals, or are they completely indifferent?

My heroine Jessica Stone believes herself to be an independent and compassionate woman. She does not show prejudice, she lives a good honest, hard working life, and she is friendly to everyone that she interacts with. But when she discovers that the man she loves is a vampire, and his brother is a werewolf, her morals go out of the window. In her confusion she experiences adultery, pain, heartbreak and terror.

Following her tumultuous experience after the revelations of the people she loves, Jessica is thrown into turmoil about her own feelings. Her friends and lover have betrayed her in the worst possible way. How does she continue? Well her story is still being told as I write the sequel Love Kills. The title alone may give you some idea where this paranormal romance is heading.

Will Jessica show compassion and remain faithful to her vampire Jack Mason? Or will she share herself with his werewolf brother Danny? Or will she leave them altogether, and make a clean break and a fresh start?

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Indie Writer does NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo to everybody involved or aware of it.  This is an international competition, which has no prizes and no entry fees.  Participants are simply expected to write a novel with a word total of 50,000 during the month.  It is a wonderfully simple way of motivating yourself to finally write that story that has been festering in your head for all these months or years.

I have entered this competition.  Having published my debut paranormal romance novel, Love Hurts, in July this year, I now need to write the sequel.  Indeed I need to write the whole Redcliffe series, but this is my starting point.  I decided that NaNoWriMo would be the ideal opportunity.  It would motivate me to actually finish another piece of work, instead of procrastinating and avoiding the inevitable.

My sequel is called Love Kills and picks up the story of Cornish bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she recovers from her life threatening injuries sustained from a werewolf attack.  She is settling back into normal life, but struggling to deal with the reality of having a vampire boyfriend, and werewolf friends.  She is also working through the revelations that she is a witch, and deciding whether she wants to pursue her training and unlock her powers and abilities.

Finally, Jessica’s best friend and business partner has just given birth.  The new baby will throw up all sorts of challenges between the friends, and also between Jessica and her lover Jack Mason.  That is where my story stands at the moment.  As of today (Monday 7th November), my word total is 19,148, and I am very pleased with that.  It was easy to start my novel because the story was already in my head.  Indeed, I had begun the story while I was finishing writing Love Hurts, but I had to separate the novels out, and make time to write Love Kills. 

That is why NaNoWriMo is important to me.  I have informed all of my close friends and family about the competition, and warned them that I will become a social hermit while I get my novel finished.  My plan is to complete the 50,000 words, and hopefully even write more than that as quickly as possible.  I certainly have the story; I just need to find time to write it around my duties of motherhood and housework.  But now that I have told people, they will expect me to complete this challenge, and that is my motivation.  NaNoWriMo, I will succeed!

Friday, 28 October 2011

NaNoWriMo and all that Work

Oh my goodness is it really #NaNoWriMo next week? I have totally lost this last month in a flurry of work. I have been busy trying to finish my current WIP The Darkness of Love. It is almost complete by the way. It will be in the editing stages by December and hopefully published early 2012, publisher depending.

For NaNoWriMo I will  be working on a novel called Love Kills, the second in my Redcliffe series. It means I already have a plot in mind, and my characters are already clear, as are my locations. I won't get too smug however, because you can guarantee that my vampires, witches and werewolves will never behave themselves. They have already surprised me with random activities simply in my head!

So, my poor family will be neglected next month. I have made provisions. There will be a freezer full of prepared meals, and when they run out I will resort to the slow cooker and a variety of casseroles. My daughter will still get her weekly schedule of play groups and activities, but at home she will simply have to amuse herself while I disappear to Redcliffe!

The house will just have to collect dust for a month, and our clothes will be washed when absolutely necessary. I still have to walk the dog, but he will provide a welcome distraction and chance for a  break every day. We do need fresh air and exercise, I appreciate that. I have forewarned my close friends and family that they will not hear from me, except for a couple of pre-arranged social events. They understand.

My husband barely sees me at the moment anyway, but then he has his own activities. The only thing is, it is his birthday in November. And not just any birthday. He hits the big 30, so we must celebrate (or commiserate) somehow. We will make up our lack of time together over Christmas. This year has been a hectic and chaotic one anyway, so we really do need to catch our breath at some point. In  the meantime, let the ferocious writing commence. NaNoWriMo, bring it on. I am ready for you!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Writing a Victorian Vampire Novel

This is just a brief update on my work in progress this week. I have done quite well and have almost finished writing my first draft of The Darkness of Love. I started out on this particular project about 14 months ago. There was a lull in my writing while I had a baby, but now I am back in full swing. I enjoy writing, but I must admit I am anxious to leave this manuscript, and move on to writing my sequel to Love Hurts. But I am determined to see this through to the end, because the story needs to be told.

The Darkness of Love is set in Victorian England. It tells the story of the vampire Marcus Scott, and how he came to be the man we see in Redcliffe (Love Hurts) today. Marcus was originally supposed to be one of my 'bad guy' characters, but he has actually proved to be more complex than I first thought, which is why he gets his own novel. It won't be a massive tome, but I am sure people will be pleasantly surprised with it. There is intrigue, passion, beautiful English scenery, and a fit, strong, impulsive young man. What more could a girl want?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Open Mike at Coffee Time Romance

Today I will be co-hosting a live webchat on Coffee Time Romance with fellow independent author  Borislava Borissova. We will chat about our new books, our experiences as authors, our love of romance (no pun intended!) and whatever else our audience requests.

Join us at 4:00pm BST / 11:00am EST

This is a great place for fellow authors, readers and reviewers of romance to interact. It covers all aspects of the genre, not just the 'soft stuff.' We enjoy discussions about paranormal romance,  historical, fantasy, even some of the erotic persuasion.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Thinking in #Hashtags (and the horror of no Blackberry services)

I have been driven insane by the current technical problems experienced by RIM for Blackberry. Tuesday night is my TV night. I watch a whole schedule of programmes, and tweet my reactions as we go along. This week I watched Gok’s Clothes Roadshow on Channel 4, followed by a new series of Vampire Diaries on ITV 2, followed by Mary, Queen of Frocks (on Channel 4 +1), and finally, the latest series of True Blood on Channel 4 real time.

Usually during the adverts (or commercial breaks) I grab my Blackberry and get tweet happy. I usually update my Facebook status while I’m at it. Sometimes I tweet and post every half hour or so. But this week my phone was not playing. I would pick it up in the vain hope that the magic Blackberry fairies had fixed it, only to be disappointed. I wanted to surf eBay and I couldn’t. Facebook and Twitter were stuck 12 hours behind. I was fed up of reading the same posts. My emails were coming through on a 5 or 6-hour delay. Shock! Horror!

It comes to something when I spend my days thinking in hash-tags. I do something, visit somewhere, see something, and feel a desperate need to broadcast it to the world. “Just had #breakfast nice and early for once.” “My #baby clapped her hands!” “Now arriving at the #shops.” These are some hypothetical nonsensical tweets I may have posted, had my Blackberry actually been working during the last 3 days. Of course, I do have a tendency to forget my inspirational tweets, or get distracted by chores, baby or dog. It’s probably just as well.

Two years ago I barely knew what Twitter was. Now it is the first thing I see in the morning, and the last thing I check at night. I check, and tweet at regular intervals: while feeding my baby, walking the dog, even whilst walking from room to room and up and down the stairs at home. My hand feels naked without the Blackberry glued to it. I am starting to worry about my sanity.

And today, once again, I have no Twitter. No Facebook. No apps at all. My Blackberry has remained silent for most of the day, tucked into my pocket so I could check it frequently, just in case the problem had been fixed. While I was out with a friend it randomly came to life, bleeping a serious of quick alerts to inform me that my emails were arriving. They were only about 10 hours behind schedule. I think we can safely say I missed the web chats that I was interested in joining to network my recent novel and experiences as a writer.

How shocking, a mobile phone that only actions telephone calls and text messages. What has the world come to? No Twitter, no Facebook, no eBay, no emails. Since I was away from home I couldn’t even fire up our home computer or jump on the laptop. However did we manage in the good old days before social networks went mobile?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Modern Paranormal Romance

When people hear the words paranormal romance today they will most probably associate it with the popular Twilight franchise, and maybe even the HBO television series True Blood. It is strange to think that the original horror novel Dracula was actually a romance of sorts, although it was grotesque and evil to reflect Victorian values.
It is no longer acceptable to have a truly evil vampire who preys on innocent humans. We have evolved in our society to a point where we realise our arrogance in the face of such stereotypical views. In contemporary paranormal romance novels, vampires, shape shifters, and other non-human creatures are often treated as another race, a group of people that should not be discriminated against, but that are reviled for their supernatural abilities and nature.

I have recently finished reading Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris. It is the latest of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and I really enjoyed it. There was a clever mix of supernatural activity, and everyday ‘normal human life. The heroine, Sookie, spends her evenings fighting manipulative and unpleasant vampires and shape shifters, and her day time hours are filled with household chores and paid employment. She struggles to fit in her human friends, and their baby showers and weddings, and all of the standard rites of passage that humans live by, and that are safe, happy events.

My novel Love Hurts follows this pattern, or at least that is what I intended. My heroine is a human (or so she believes), who runs a small business with her close friend. She is dating a vampire, and once she discovers his hidden secret (because in my Britain, supernatural creatures still remain hidden from society), she then struggles to merge her human life with her supernatural one.

This is where I am drawn in with the genre. I love the idea that mundane life can be livened up with a different cultural perspective, especially an apparently violent and volatile one. It makes life interesting. We need an escape from our daily household routine, and our regular pattern of work and play. That is what paranormal romance offers, and I love discovering new and exciting authors who weave their own perspective and experiences into their tales.

I hope that other people will read Love Hurts and will feel the same excitement and enjoyment that I did when I wrote it. And that those same people will follow my heroine Jessica Stone, as she stumbles through a relationship with a vampire and his identical twin werewolf brother, while supporting her human best friend with a new baby. Oh, and she has a gay best friend who is a werewolf too, just because I can!

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Indie Author Book Signing Event

Last weekend I attended my second book signing event to promote my paranormal romance novel Love Hurts. The event took place at Waterstones Bookseller in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. This was my home town so I was very excited. I have spent many years wandering around this book shop, dreaming about the day when I might see my own work on the shelves. And now that day has come!

The lovely staff welcomed me to their store, gave me a mug of coffee, and showed me to my special table in the centre of the ground floor retail space. I was facing the main entrance, in a nice open place, with the tills adjacent. The perfect location to see all the customers and for them to see me.

I had actually been sat for a few minutes before I even saw the large display stand full of my books next to the table! My heart gave a little leap of excitement, and I peered round to have a better look. Yes, there they were. A whole collection of books, above which hung a large banner announcing that local author Catherine Green was in store to sign copies of her new book.

The staff had printed some leaflets and had distributed them amongst customers for a few weeks before my event. I found this very touching, and a lovely gesture, since I hadn’t actually been able to get some leaflets produced myself. I am still learning the ropes, so to speak. I had gotten some mentions in local newspapers and magazines, so I was hoping this would help. And of course, I had plastered my event all over the social networks for weeks in advance, and told people as I went along.

As it was, the shop was almost empty all day long. On this day, the 1st October 2011, the sun shone on the UK. We had some of the hottest temperatures on record, and people were not in the mood to shop. I was most annoyed. Where is the rain when you need it? We should be wearing jeans and jumpers now, not shorts and t-shirts!

There was nothing else for it. I had to pluck up some courage, approach people, and coerce them into buying my book. The Paranormal Romance and Dark Fantasy sections were located near the main entrance, so I practically wore a path in the carpet every time somebody walked in and paused there. I would hurry over to them, trying not to look like a bird of prey swooping in for the kill. Fortunately most people were very polite, and agreed to take a look at my book.

By the end of my four-hour attendance, I had sold seven books. Not an impressive number, but very satisfactory under the circumstances. Aside from this I had spoken to a book reviewer for the local influential newspaper, and he said he will feature my book shortly. This just goes to show that you never know what contacts you might make if you creep out of your dark writer’s space, and mingle in the wider world, even for a short time.

Now, who shall I visit next? I shall consult the list given to me by the manager of the Hanley store. Watch this space for more events…

Friday, 30 September 2011

Book Signing Event at Waterstones, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent

I am preparing to attend my second book signing event. Tomorrow (Saturday 1st October) I will be at Waterstones Bookseller's in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. I will be there from 11:00am until around 3:00pm depending on how busy we get. I do have to be home fairly early however, because my husband has a gig, he needs the car, and I'm having the baby for the night. So, if you are interested in attending and are not sure of the location, here are the details: Waterstones, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

I am promoting my debut paranormal romance novel Love Hurts. The story is about a woman who falls in love with a police detective, only to discover that he is a vampire and his identical twin brother is a werewolf. They inadvertently draw her into their complicated and dangerous lives, with tragic consequences. This story is the first in a series set in the fictional Cornish seaside resort of Redcliffe.

The book is receiving very good feedback so far. Just this morning I received a message from a former university housemate, telling me she had read the book in a very short space of time, and she loves it. I am receiving positive responses from people who I actually wouldn't have thought would be interested in this kind of thing. For example, I tend to assess the kind of genres people might read based on how I perceive them, from their personalities and social interests. Now I am learning not to do this, and that I must tell anybody and everybody about my book, because actually, most people really want to read it!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stories in my Head

I am struggling at the moment, to find time to sit down and write all of the stories in my head.  I have a young baby, a family, and all the associated housework to deal with before I can focus on my writing.  Unfortunately the writing has to be a sideline to my role as Mother. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. 
Anyway, just because I can’t physically write up the stories, does not mean they don’t exist.  For example, I am currently attempting to write the sequel to my recently published paranormal romance novel Love Hurts.  I have actually written a rough draft of about the first five chapters of Love Kills.  In my head, I am probably on about chapter twelve, or possibly even further along.  It gets a little confusing.

My stories are a good source of escapism while I am stood before the kitchen sink, or cleaning out the turtle tank, or ironing, or hoovering, or any number of other boring household tasks.  I even formulate the stories while in the shower, or in bed, out walking, or even when I am out in the car.  My characters take on their own lives, and draw me in as a spectator.  It is my job to remember what they tell me, and commit it to paper (or computer) as soon as possible.

Sometimes it can be embarrassing, like the time I headbutted a neighbour’s hanging basket because I was engrossed in my personal fictional dialogue.  Other times people can be talking to me and I simply don’t hear them.  I sort of snap out of a daydream, and have to wake up to the reality around me.  I am sure this is not an isolated situation.  I must be one of a million writers in a similar position.

Maybe I should invest in a Dictaphone, and dictate my stories while I work.  Perhaps then I can at least have something to write up at a later date.  I find sometimes that when I actually get to the physical writing stage, my stories fly off on a tangent, totally different from what I had originally imagined.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not.  I must be away to bed soon as the night is moving on.  Who knows which story I will dip into, and where I will travel before sleep takes over…

Sunday, 18 September 2011

My First Book Signing Event

I recently attended my very first book-signing event. It took place at Waterstones bookseller in Crewe, Cheshire in the North of England. I did not know what to expect so I was faintly nervous but approached it with an open mind. I would surely sell some books, even if no one came specifically to see me. I had been publicizing it widely in local newspapers and on the Internet so I was hopeful.

As it was, I sold 6 books. This may not sound like a lot, but for an unknown author with a new book, it was pretty damn good! I am very pleased with the result, and with the whole experience in general. It has filled me with renewed vigor and hope for my second book-signing event in two weeks. The people that I met were very supportive and the bookshop staff was really helpful and accommodating.

Although I didn’t really expect my friends and family to drop everything and come and see me on their precious weekend day off, I must admit it was a little disappointing to see no familiar faces. Well, my father-in-law did turn up and he took some professional photographs (he is a photographer by trade, very useful!) to use on my websites. I did have a wonderful surprise when a great-Uncle and Aunt came to see me. I was really touched that even though they haven’t see me since I was a child, they took the time to come and show some support, and more importantly, bought some books.

When I first arrived there was a customer waiting for me, a lovely woman who supports local authors and wanted to read my book especially because of its Cornish setting. It was very amusing that every time I stood up to stretch my legs, customers would approach me to ask for assistance in the shop. Even though I wasn’t in uniform and had no name badge, apparently I looked like a member of staff! I suppose once you work in retail and customer service, you never really lose that professional, helpful stance and persona.

It was a useful learning experience. I had recently read a lot of negative stories in the media, saying that bookshops are in decline and people are no longer interested. Even in this small retail center, there were enough customers coming and going to fill me with confidence that the industry is still strong, and is still worth pursuing as a viable career. There were a lot of parents with young children, and many teenagers buying books. Not everyone has defected to the digital revolution just yet.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

My First Booksigning Event is Imminent

It is a very exciting time for me. I will be visiting the Waterstones book store in Crewe, Cheshire this coming Saturday (17th September) to do a book signing event for my debut novel. I have no idea what to expect. The manager says that I will be given a table in the fantasy section, and from there I can greet my visitors (and hopefully I will receive direct visitors), and I can talk to new customers and try to sell them my book.

I am still struggling to decide what to wear. I know, I am such a girl! But it is very important. No matter how much we would like to believe differently, humans will always judge on first appearances. I want to appear professional, friendly, but I want to stand out from the crowd at the same time. I wondered whether to wear my favourite blue velvet tie-dyed dress, but decided against it since I might come across as a 'bit of a hippy.' I don't want to wear formal office wear because that just isn't natural to me. I do want to enjoy the opportunity to dress in something other than jeans and t-shirts for once. Oh well, I will ransack my wardrobe and see what there is.

Vanity aside, this will be a very interesting day. I have featured in several local newspapers recently, so hopefully people will show some support and come see me. I would like to find someone who has read my book (besides my close friends and family), and get a review from them. Which reminds me, I must assemble my personal file. I have decided to take a folder with me, displaying newspaper cuttings, book reviews, and relevant information about me as an author. Sort of like a portfolio of my work I suppose. Better check the ink levels on my printer.

I will report back next week, once the event is over. Hopefully I will be full of beans, bouncing with delight, and looking forward eagerly to my second book signing event in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on 1st October. If the day proves to be quiet and uneventfull, it will at least be a permanent milestone on my journey as an author.

Love Hurts - Booksigning Event - Waterstones Bookseller

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Authors that shaped my Writing

A question that has popped up lately is that of the writers that have influenced me in my work. Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) is a paranormal romance novel. Immediately I imagine many people will associate it with the recent Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I dont mind this association because I expect the readers of this series to move on and read my own Redcliffe novels series.

My own personal influences came from other writers, and many of them not even in the paranormal genre. When I was a young child I read Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Any serious child reader has to experience the joys of these authors. They are amazing! I was a huge fan of the Mallory Towers series and The Famous Five. I also read a few Secret Seven books but these were never quite as magical. But they all fired up my imagination.

And then there was Matilda, The BFG and the Witches. These were my favourite Roald Dahl books, closely followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. My husband has recently started reading Matilda to our daughter for her bedtime story, and once again I sit transfixed by the story. I adore the use of language, and Quentin Blake’s illustrations just finish the book brilliantly.

As I grew older I did find my way to the paranormal genre. It started with some Penguin classic ghost stories, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and a couple of anthologies of vampire short stories. Then I discovered LJ Smith. I read the Nightworld series, and I was hooked. The books described pretty much exactly what was happening inside my head, but from an American perspective.

It was Nightworld that really fired up my imagination and put the first stirrings of Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) in my head. Back then I would invent the story of a man who was a vampire, and a human woman who discovered his secret. Sometimes the heroine was the vampire. Eventually I discovered the Mason brothers and Jessica Stone, and the rest is history. In fact, I am very surprised at the way my story evolved over the years. It is as though the characters wrote it themselves and I translated.

Finally I discovered Anne Rice and her Vampire Chronicles. These books showed me that I could be controversial, and that it was acceptable to write about what was really important to me. I didn’t have to disguise my vampires behind senseless violence just so they would be accepted. And now, during the last decade, I have been reading the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton

All of these amazing authors leave me with a lot to be desired. But hey, eventually they must retire, and maybe by that time I will be experienced and decent enough to take the reins in the paranormal world. A girl can dream

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!) 

Friday, 2 September 2011

Rare Eye Condition and a Writing Career

I would like to share with you a little personal insight. I am generally a very healthy person. I don’t really exercise beyond walking the dog, but I do watch what I eat and am conscious about taking care of my body. Especially so now while I am breastfeeding my baby daughter.

There is one (or several) conditions I suffer from regarding my eyes. I hope that by talking about this condition I might help reach out to other younger people suffering with the same thing. I have Lymphodoema Distichiasis. Simply put, I have two rows of eyelashes in both eyes, and the second row turn in and scratch my corneas. This condition has been present since birth, but as it generally only affects older people, it took a while to get a proper diagnosis. Indeed without my mother's insistence to the doctors, the situation could have been much worse.

As it is I have severe scars on both eyes, worse in my left. This is where the lashes have turned in and scratched me repeatedly. Remember how painful it is when you get a speck of dust or a hair in your eye? That is how I feel every day. In an attempt to ease the symptoms I underwent many surgical operations as a child, where the eyelashes were removed using laser treatment to freeze and burn them off alternately. They kept growing back.

As I grew older the symptoms seemed to ease, until I reached the age of seventeen. Then they returned with a vengeance and I am still undergoing regular hospital treatment and taking daily eye drops and ointment now, at the age of 29. It will never be cured. Three years ago I had more surgical procedures to rotate my eyelashes in an attempt to ease the pain. I also remove the eyelashes myself using tweezers when they grow in. I am pleased to report an improvement since all of this, but I still struggle.

Alongside the ingrowing eyelashes I suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome. My eyes cannot produce enough tears to lubricate my eyes and protect them from foreign bodies. I am still undergoing exploratory treatment for this. And just last week I was diagnosed with excess keratin and papillarys in both eyes. Apparently I have raised bumps under the skin of my eyelids, and the rough skin at the back of my eyes extends forwards, both of which rub the corneas and give me that familiar foreign body sensation.

So how do I continue to write, and how the heck did I manage to produce a novel while suffering all of this pain and discomfort? I gritted my teeth, tried to ignore it, and vowed not to be beaten by my stupid freakish eyes. I am far better off than many people who suffer far more life-altering conditions. At least I have learnt how to handle it, and can work through the pain. All I have to do is admit defeat on some days, leave the computer switched off, and give my eyes some time to heal.

For more information on Lymphodoema Distichiasis and Dry Eye Syndrome please see the following article: Dry Eye Syndrome and Associated Eye Pain

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Love Hurts Surprise Book Reviews

I have been speaking to various people about my novel Love Hurts. Being a paranormal romance, it was more than likely going to fall into the category of Young Adult for audience appeal, but that was not my original intention. Indeed, the story content is very adult and I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 18. I had intended the book for an adult market aged roughly between 18-35, although of course I would not begrudge anyone reading it.

I was greatly surprised to find that several older people have read and thoroughly enjoyed my book. Here is a classic example of my cultural and social conditioning rearing its face. I automatically assumed that any people over the age of 50 that read my book would think it far-fetched and probably ridiculous. This was not the case according to some recent word of mouth reviews I have received.

Two people in particular stand out. The first is my paternal grandfather. I have never known him to read a book that didn’t include photographs of classic cars and engines. He reads newspapers but that’s about it, and my grandmother agreed that she too had never seen him read a novel before. But he read mine, I thought just because I was his granddaughter. Actually he told me that it was really interesting, very descriptive, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that he read it within about two days!

The second surprise positive review came from the grandmother of my brother’s girlfriend. This was a review from someone who doesn’t know me, and I was really happy to be told that this lady thought my novel was really exciting. Apparently she enjoyed it, and is keen to see the sequel when I finally complete it.

After these, and several other positive word of mouth reviews, I am filled with renewed vigour for my writing. Now I have established that there is actually a whole new older audience, I cannot wait for them to read some more of my work. And my lesson for the week is to never underestimate what people are prepared to read.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Getting Down to Business

As mentioned previously, I have been so involved with networking and promoting my book recently that I have been rather lacking in actual writing. So tonight, after another busy day with the baby and various jobs, I forced myself to sit at the computer and not jump straight onto the internet.

I have actually managed to write another chapter of The Darkness of Love, and at the moment this book is drawing me back in. Marcus Scott is a hot character, I have to say, and this story is all about classic Victorian vampires. It is sultry, sexy and alive, despite the undead characters!

There is still a lot of work to do with this. Firstly I must persevere until all of the chapters are written in rough. The story has been buzzing round my head for months now, and I have to stop suppressing it. Then I can start at the beginning, read through, and amend the chapters as necessary.

Once that is completed, I will need to format it and find a publisher. Easy! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Work in Progress

It is time to stand back for a moment, take a breath, and remember the true reason for my online presence and all the social networking. I am a writer. I write stories. Currently I am trying hard to access a wider audience for my newly published debut novel. But there are other works in the pipeline, and indeed I have two more novels in progress as we speak.

The first of these is naturally a sequel to Love Hurts. Tentatively entitled Love Kills, the story picks up when Jessica is recovering from her injuries and Elizabeth is about to give birth. This story will delve deeper into my characters' emotions and moral standing. It will challenge the reader to decide who are the 'good guys' and who are the 'bad guys.' Personally I believe that everyone has their flaws and we make our own judgements. I enjoy seeing the reactions of other people.

My second work in progress is a spin-off novel called The Darkness of Love. This is the story of how my Redcliffe character Marcus Scott came to be a vampire. He surprised me in Love Hurts, so I decided to give him his own novel. I think he deserves it because he is quite a forceful character, and I am most definitly attracted to him! The Darkness of Love was originally entered into a competition but was unsuccessful. I am determined to see it through, although I seem to blow hot and cold with this one. Some days I like it, some days I don't, but mostly I do.

And that is a brief update because it is late, I am tired, and I am determined to be in bed before midnight for once. Goodnight!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Highway to Hell by Alex Laybourne

Heaven and Hell, Angel and Demons, these things were once considered opposites, but now you will see that they are neighbors, allies…. friends.
Marcus, Becky, Richard, Helen, Sammy and Graham. All complete strangers, different ages, backgrounds and even countries, but they all have one major thing in common…They all must DIE.
Sentenced to offer their penance in the many chambers of Hell, their lives are nothing but a torturous experience. They are brought face to face with their past, their mistakes and the implications that had for others. Until one by one they are rescued and thrown together. Waking in a dying world, they are introduced to their rescuers who do anything but conform to their angelic stereotype.
Together, bonded by an unknown destiny the group is set on their quest; to find one individual buried deep within the many Hell worlds. Not only does the fate of their world rest on their shoulders, but that of existence itself.

Writing In A Foreign Language by Alex Laybourne

I moved to the Netherlands in 2006. It wasnt really a big adjustment for me as I had always wanted to leave England, or certainly the area I lived in, and with my mother being Dutch, and me moving to the same town she grew up in that is another story entirely you could say I really was moving to a home away from home.

Now, almost five years down the road I am married, with three wonderful children and have never regretted making the move. However, I have learned that being a writer in a different country certainly comes with some limitations. Lets face it, if we boil it down, I am writing in a foreign language. Sure almost everyone in Holland speaks the language, but there is a difference between speaking and being able to read a full length novel and understand it well enough to at least feign enjoyment.

Thanks to the Internet this problem has never hindered me, and now with Kindles and e-readers galore stocking the shelves, getting my hands on an English book is not a problem. Writing and promoting one on the other hand is a different kettle of fish; from writing circles, critiques, friends to bounce ideas around with, beta readers. Ok the last one is probably stemming from my somewhat Luddite lifestyle.

It goes without saying that a large percentage of Indie author promotion is done online, hanging around the social media scene, dropping links and making your presence known on sites such as Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Wattpad, but there is still a lot to be said about face to face interaction and sales. Approaching local Indie bookshops and even larger stores (I have read several people saying that they approached their local Barnes and Noble for book signing sessions and have been given a place on the shelves in that particular store) and requesting some of their time and pitching a sale the old fashioned way.

Dont get me wrong, I knew what I was getting myself into, and I accept that the majority of my sales will be via the online promotion work that I am doing. I am not afraid of hard work and am looking forward to the adventure that self-promotion is proving to be. I am not the first writer that is trying this, and I will not be the last. All Indie writers face an uphill battle for promotion, regardless of where we live.

Introducing Alex Laybourne Author

Horror writer Alex Laybourne was born in the UK but relocated to The Netherlands to be with his wife. Together they have three wonderful children who despite their young age are showing all the signs of following in their fathers creative footsteps. 

Alexs debut novel Highway to Hell is a 96.000 word horror novel and the first in a trilogy that will take readers on a journey not just into hell, but through it.

Highway to Hell can be found on,, and, and for all non-kindle readers via for just $2.99. You can also download a free sample of the novel at all of the above sites.

Alex is always interested in making new friends both readers and writers alike. You can find him at most hours of the waking day on Twitter under the name @vanplank or on his blog

Sharing Writer Profiles

I will shortly be posting some guest blogs from a fellow Indie author, and would like to take this opportunity to open an invitation to others. If you write within the Fantasy or Spiritual genre, both fiction and non-fiction, and would like a guest post on my blog, then please get in touch. We all need to help each other and get our names out there!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Road to Literary Fame

Here is an excellent feature article in my local regional newspaper The Sentinel (North Staffordshire and South Cheshire) - Family Holidays on Cornish Coast set scene for Ghostly Tale

It feels like I'm on a wild roller coaster at the moment, and it is fantastic! A word of advice for budding writers out there: just get out and broadcast the news about your book. You will be surprised at how many people take in interest in your work. Go get 'em!

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!) 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Local Author in Local Newspapers and Bookshops

It is all very exciting! At the weekend I had another photo shoot for a local newspaper, and my feature article will appear in The Sentinel (via on Saturday 20th August.

But before that I will feature in the Crewe Chronicle, Sandbach and Middlewich edition on Wednesday 17th August, and the Cheadle and Tean Times ( on the same day.

I have also confirmed another book signing event, this time at Waterstones Booksellers in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday 1st October from 11:00am - 3:00pm. Come along and have a chat if you are in the vicinity.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Redcliffe and Real Life

It is so hard to leave my book alone when I want to write! I could happily sit up all night typing away, but I know that I must sleep. We have a mother and baby yoga class in the morning, then a playgroup in the afternoon. Thursday is a busy play day!

I have managed to write another chapter of my spin-off novel The Darkness of Love which tells the story of how Marcus Scott came to be a vampire. This is potentially more of a steampunk novel, but we will see. It seemed to drag for a bit, but every time I return to it I am pleasantly surprised at my work, which must be a good thing!

And I have at least written another partial chapter for the sequel to Love Hurts. Jessica is struggling with her feelings for Danny, the forbidden brother, and as the novel deepens so will the intrigue. There are more secrets to be broken, more danger to encounter, and even I am not sure what the outcome will be...

Friday, 5 August 2011

Vampires, Werewolves, and a Baby

I am currently on a mission to promote Love Hurts, to build a fanbase and get the book into bookshops and the media. So far I have featured in one local newspaper, I will appear in another next week, and I have confirmed a book signing event with Waterstones, Crewe in September.

I also want to get writing the sequel, which is in progress but rather slowly. This is because I have a baby. She is six months old, the most adorable creature in the world ever (but of course I am biased), and she is, of course, my priority right now.

The sequel will follow more of a vampire theme, although the werewolves are closely interwoven in the plot, and I will push the boundaries of human relationships and morals. It is all very exciting, and it needs to come out of my head, because at the moment I am living a double life, and the fictional one is causing confusion with the reality...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Love Hurts - Supernatural Story set in Cornwall

My debut novel Love Hurts is now widely available in both eBook and paperback format.

Love Hurts (The Redcliffe Pack)

Love Hurts is about a young woman who runs a bookshop in a Cornish seaside town with her best friend. She falls in love with a local police detective and later discovers that he is a vampire, and that his identical twin brother is a werewolf. She is dragged into their complicated and dangerous lives, to her detriment, where secrets are told and lives are lost...

Love Hurts (The Redcliffe Pack)

Friday, 8 July 2011

My Debut Novel Out Now

My debut novel is finally available for download. The paperback version will follow shortly, but for all those 21st century readers, check it out! This has been a labour of love for several years but has actually been written and published fairly quickly once I put my mind to it. Enjoy!

Love Hurts (The Redcliffe Pack)

Love Hurts (The Redcliffe Pack)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

My New Master

And see My New Master in The Mirador Fantasmagoria on:

The Mirador Fantasmagoria

This is a short story about werewolves, and features characters from my debut novel Love Hurts which will be published later in the year.

The Mirador Fantasmagoria

The Teen Game

Check out my debut vampire short story The Teen Game on:

Devils, Demons and Werewolves

Devils, Demons and Werewolves

Celebrate New Beginnings

Good evening all,

As I write this I am embarking on another of a series of exciting adventures within the past year. To begin with I took a huge leap of faith and quit my full-time job, took a part-time job, and decided to use the free time to develop my professional writing. While the finances are still being worked out, I believe this is one of the best decisions I made! Since then I have had two short stories published in Young Adult anthologies, and I am working with a publisher to realise my dream of being an independent novelist. More to come on my debut novel later...

Both anthologies available on Amazon:

Devils, Demons and Werewolves (where I am listed as Catherine Hargreaves, pre-marriage!)

The Mirador Fantasmagoria