Friday, 31 May 2013

#amwriting Update and the #15KinMay Challenge

We are reaching the end of yet another month and 2013 is flying by at an alarming rate. After my rather disastrous (non) participation in Camp NaNoWriMo, I found another writing challenge that was being run via Twitter. I decided to join the #15KinMay challenge, thinking that I could easily achieve that goal. It was not to be. I think I have managed about 5k words, maybe just over. Oh well, better than nothing I suppose!

My mood is up and down at the moment. I am veering between the romantic notion of the tormented writer wallowing in self-pity, and the practical modern woman who says "I can do this, I just need to be organised." Of course, it is not easy to wallow in self pity when I have a demanding toddler to attend to, and a baby growing ever-larger in my womb. Perhaps I can allow myself a little rest time while I embrace motherhood. My novel will still be there when I can return to it, and in the meantime I have plenty of other writing projects to keep me occupied...

How is your month progressing? Are you pressing on with your work, struggling with writers'  block, or finding challenges along the way? I am eager to hear from fellow writers and their experiences.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Tormented Witch in Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) #HDH

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. I think we have missed my Redcliffe novels recently, so here is a snippet from Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel), book 3 in the series and recently released. Enjoy!

“Could she really do that to me?” I asked faintly.
I looked from Danny to Simon, and finally at Jack.  They all stared at me, and I felt horribly like an exhibit at a zoo.
“She might,” Danny said, “If you give her the strength.  You have to fight her, Jessica.  Make her see that you are in control.”
I nodded slowly.
“I’m doing my best.” I said uncertainly.
A silence fell around us, and I could feel our energies shifting in the air.  Mine was turbulent, full of anger and anxiety.  Jack’s was cold and controlling.  Danny’s power was hot, forceful and full of promise.  Simon’s was similar but with less strength.  Eventually I moved backwards, feeling the need to break the tense emotion that filled the air.
“Jack,” I said, “You should get going.  You have work to do.”
He blinked, the only movement he made.
“Yes,” he said, and then he stepped forward to give me a kiss.  It was a peck on the lips, and he hugged me briefly, “You can control her,” he said, catching my eyes with his, “And you will resolve things with Liz.”

The Redcliffe novels are available in paperback and eBook formats, from retailers including Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Waterstones. There will be more in the series, but first I have the small matter of expecting a baby to contend with…

Now, why not check out some more Hump Day Hook excerpts over on our blog? Or you can join us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Book Review: Breastfeeding Older Children by Ann Sinnott

Here is my review of the book Breastfeeding Older Children by Ann Sinnott:

I borrowed this book from a friend when we talked about my continued breastfeeding of my now 2 year-old daughter. When she was born I had no specific plan for continued breastfeeding, although I realised it was not something that is encouraged in Western society. Reading this book gave me an insight into aspects of breastfeeding that I hadn’t really considered, and I liked the positive and thorough representation throughout. There were lots of quotes from parents about their own experiences of sustained breastfeeding, although I sometimes felt there were a few too many within a chapter or section. Overall I really liked this book, and I recommend it to all parents that are either currently breastfeeding or wondering whether to breastfeed their children. It is easy to read, it gives lots of information and further reading suggestions, but it does not seek to coerce parents towards breastfeeding as opposed to bottle feeding.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Free Legal Advice Show on Mid Cheshire Radio!

Tune in today (Friday 24th May) to Mid Cheshire radio for a special show where you can receive free legal advice on family law issues, property law and employment law. Two of our top local lawyers, Jill Shields and Julia Brown will be on air to share their knowledge and expertise for people in the area. The show will air  between 12pm and 1pm GMT.

Check out the website for more details at Mid Cheshire Radio, or find Jill and Julia on Twitter to interact directly.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Vampire of Blackpool #HDH

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. Well, things are developing very quickly indeed all of a sudden, and today I share with you another excerpt from my rough first draft of The Vampire of Blackpool that was written for NaNoWriMo 2012. The manuscript has been requested for consideration by a publisher I contacted for a different project. So, who knows, there could be a few new releases this year…

“Meredith!” she called, hurrying over to me, “You came!”
She held a glass of wine in one hand and a small clutch bag tucked under her other arm.  I stood still as she approached, careful to keep my expression blank.  She faltered a little as she realised I was not so excited about her presence.
“Are you alright?” she asked uncertainly, “You look pale.”
I had to smile at her sweet naivety, and she tried not to gasp as she saw my fangs exposed.
“I am hungry,” I replied, “I have not yet found suitable food.”
“Oh,” she said quietly, glancing around her, “Where do you usually, um, find food?”
I simply stared at her, allowing my eyes to glow silver.  She caught her breath, momentarily struggling with her desire to appease me, and her as yet stronger urge to repel me using her magic.  I sensed the landlord approaching us before he spoke.
“You know the rules, Meredith,” Paul said levelly, “No feeding in my pub.  Take it outside.”

This was a snippet of conversation between the vampire protagonist Meredith Hanson, and her new friend and potential lover Samantha Morris. Now, why not check out some more Hump Day Hook excerpts over on our blog? Or you can join us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

*Image courtesy of Pinterest

Monday, 20 May 2013

A Snow Tiger Animal Familiar? Only in Redcliffe!

I am very proud of my adult paranormal romance series the Redcliffe novels, and that pride is compounded by the wonderful support and positive feedback I am receiving from friends and family who read my books. Of course, I want the books to reach people all over the world, but since I am an Indie author, I do what I can with a minimal advertising campaign and a busy domestic life to juggle.

One of my friends recently shared an image on my Facebook fan page that has made me smile, and also left me a little in awe. I did not want to share too much information about a character who makes her first appearance in the second novel, Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel). She is a complete character, but she is not totally physical, which makes her something of an enigma I suppose. Her name is Suri, and she is the animal familiar, or power animal spirit, of our protagonist Jessica Stone.

I had never planned to include an animal familiar in the Redcliffe novels. Actually, I was not aware that Jessica was a witch until the story began to unfold at my fingertips. The whole process of writing the first three novels has been a wild and exhilarating ride, and I cannot give up the seaside town of Redcliffe just yet. There will certainly be a book 4 in the series, but I admit I have not yet begun to write it.

I have a few distractions (like being heavily pregnant) at the moment. No matter, I will get the job done, and I will not leave my adoring fans waiting for too long. They care about Redcliffe just as much as me, and for that I am eternally grateful and very very happy!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A New Writing Challenge #15kinMay

I am still battling with the manuscript for my vampire hunter novel, although a quick glance back through my recent chapters suggests it might not be as bad as I thought. I have decided to use a very loose approach to writing this story, and am simply sitting down whenever I have time, and writing a chapter here and there. I have no idea what comes next, and I still don't know how this story will end, but it will end and I will succeed!

It helps me to read the blogs of fellow writers for advice and support. One of these is Alison Wells, author of Housewife with a Half-Life. She recently wrote a very inspiring post about how we are always intent on hurrying and speeding towards culmination of our projects. Society has evolved in such a way that we continually feel the need to better ourselves, to be successful, and to prove our worth in some physical (and usually fiscal) way. At my time in life this is more difficult to achieve, since I am currently in the young parent stage. I have a toddler for whom I am the main carer while my husband works outside the home, and I am pregnant with our second child. Naturally, there are many distractions on my time and attention.

As it turns out, Alison mentioned the #15kinMay writing challenge currently trending on Twitter. The idea for this one is that we set ourselves a target to write 15,000 words in May, and we can tweet our progress each day and support each other as we go. I admit, I haven't really participated on-line just yet, but I have decided to use it as another tool for motivation. Surely I can manage to write 15,000 words between now and the end of the month? Well, truthfully my challenge is under-way  so I probably only need to write another 10,000 words which is easily achievable.

What are you working on at the moment? Do you have writers block or struggle with your WIP? Share your news and let us support each other.

Did you enjoy this article? 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, 14 May 2013

The Vampire Hunter #HDH

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. I have decided to share an excerpt from my current work in progress, a novel with a very vague title at the moment. In fact, the whole story is quite vague. For some strange reason my Muse has deserted me, but I am determined not to give up on this one! Here is a sample from the beginning of the novel, and the protagonist of this story is Dr Jennifer Worthington, The Vampire Hunter.

           Her history professor, Dr Kate Morrigan, had tried to warn Jennifer.  She had managed to accidentally disturb the young couple many times before their fateful first kiss.  Of course, she failed in her attempts.  Jennifer had pursued Matthew with a vigour that frightened her.  She had never chased a boy before.  Then again, she had never met a boy like Matthew.  He was romantic, passionate, and he seemed to know a lot about the Tudor family that she was so fascinated by.  Sometimes he spoke as though he knew them personally, telling stories of life at court as though they were memories.  When Jennifer finally found out that he was a vampire, it all fell into place.  He had known the Tudors.  He was ancient.  Matthew Ancory was a very old man in a very young body, and he had tried to turn Jennifer into a vampire to be with him.  Fortunately for her, Dr Morrigan had intervened at the right time, armed with a crossbow and wooden stakes.  The vampire had escaped, but Jennifer’s life changed forever. 

If you enjoyed this one, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and peruse some new and exciting authors. 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! 

*Vampire hunter image courtesy of Pinterest 

More Business Networking and Book Launch News!

Phew! It has been another crazy weekend and a running start to the week. Yesterday I attended a local business networking event which proved extremely fruitful. I met some new people, caught up with some that I had met previously, and sampled the coffee at our new local Starbucks cafe, delicious! Anyway, this update will be short and sweet because I am dashing out in a minute to attend Rhymetime at our local library with my daughter, a weekly social gathering that we enjoy immensely.

My book launch news is that I have been offered space at another business networking event that takes place on 28th June in Nantwich, Cheshire. I will be at the event, one month before the due date for my baby,  and I will officially introduce the Redcliffe novels complete trilogy to an eager audience. If you are in the area why not come along and say hello? There will be lots of exciting people to meet, and also an exhibition of jewellery from the fabulous Stella and Dot. See you there!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The 'Love Kills' Radio Show on Cauldron FM

I am a little bit behind here, but have only just found time to sit and listen to the Love Kills radio show on Cauldron FM. Oops! In my defence I have been busy writing, caring for my toddler, and nurturing a growing baby in my belly…

Merlin was kind enough to feature my second Redcliffe novel on his show, and he also included an interesting feature about the nature of animal familiars and witchcraft in history and folklore. Check it out!

Don’t forget I have since released the third Redcliffe novel, Love Redeems, and if you read the series, you will begin to understand why witchcraft and the witch’s familiar are so important…

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Business of Professional Writing

Looking through the window I can see a dark, overcast day in May. Typical British weather! You can barely see through the glass because it is obscured with fat, glistening raindrops. Every so often the sun will appear as if by magic, temporarily transforming the raindrops into brilliant kaleidoscopes of colour. Just as suddenly, it disappears, to be replaced by black clouds that proceed to pour forth more heavy moisture onto the soaking pavements and sodden gardens in our town.

My attention returns to the room in which I sit. I am an observer. The people in this room are far too important to notice me, perched high up on the wall. I found a comfortable seat on top of a picture. It is a standard office decoration, a framed certificate for some obscure qualification received by the company. What do they do again? Ah, yes, they offer professional writing services to the UK and beyond. From this office building the bosses spin a web all around the world, via the Internet, gathering together a top team of freelance writers to provide high quality content for their clients. The energy is fast paced, making the most of an emerging market primed for development.

“Alright then, people,” announces a man dressed in black suit trousers and a grey pinstripe dress shirt with no tie. He looks fairly young, maybe around 35, and he has black hair and dark eyes, with a complexion that is tanned, suggesting that he has been either on a tropical holiday recently, or he enjoys tanning salons in his spare time.

“Let’s get down to business,” says the man, sitting down at the head of a highly polished wooden table. He sets down a white mug of coffee just collected from the pot on a side table near the door. The rich aroma wafts around the boardroom, warm and comforting. There are three other people in the room with him; two women and one man. They all look of a similar age, mid to late thirties, all dressed in a kind of contemporary office uniform: not quite formal but still smart and well presented. The table is strewn with notepads, Ipads, mobile phones and a couple of folders containing documents necessary for the meeting.

“We need a tagline,” the boss informs his staff members, “Something edgy, sharp, and effective that will tell people exactly what we are about here at Wait.”

Everyone nods and murmurs their agreement. Apparently they already have some ideas to present. One of the women clears her throat and begins the discussion.

“How about this?” she says, “We offer quick, concise and top quality content writing for your website, business documents and professional portfolio.”

The man pulls a face while the other occupants of the room nod and wait for his reaction. He nods his head very slightly, not quite ready to offer praise, but not totally disappointed with the woman’s efforts.

“Good,” he says, “But I’m sure we can do better. What do we stand for as a company? What is it that we present to our clients? Quality, yes. Professionalism. Swift, reliable and efficient return on projects. Close attention to detail, and a deep knowledge of SEO, web content writing and copy editing for all business needs. Now, what else have you got?”

They all begin talking together, throwing around random phrases and trying out words that might sound sharp when read out from a computer. I grow bored of listening. I am hungry. Spreading my wings, I leap off the picture frame and move toward the plate of pastries sitting beside the coffee pot. I impact with a clear glass dome, rebound backwards with a start, and sit for a moment on the table, stunned. Then I shakily take flight, seeking an exit from this now oppressive room. I leave the business executives to their meeting. I have other priorities to attend to.

*Image courtesy of Pinterest

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Hump Day Hook #HDH Victorian Vampire Novel #amwriting

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. Today I have some exciting news to share. My editor has confirmed that Mirador will publish my Redcliffe spin-off novel, The Darkness of Love. I just need to polish the manuscript up and then send it away for them to work their magic, fabulous! So, to celebrate, here is an excerpt from the Victorian vampire story that tells us more about the charming and devilish Marcus Scott.

Marcus was also deep in thought as he held Violet’s soft, supple body against his.  He was thinking about Lady Sarah, he just couldn’t help himself.  She was so beautiful and so delicate.  He couldn’t help but feel that she needed help of some kind, although he didn’t know what.  She seemed happy enough with her husband, and of course Lord Stockton was always very courteous and caring towards her in front of the servants.  But he was a mysterious man, and Marcus had a strange sense of dread mixed in with excitement for his new job.  He couldn’t help but feel that he was walking into a trap, and that Lord Stockton had other plans for him.  Of course this was ridiculous.  Why would such a rich and important man waste time playing games with a servant?  Marcus was simply trying to create adventure where there was none; he knew that.  He should just accept his good fortune and appreciate it for what it was.

There we go! Marcus was always a deep thinker, and this follows through into his present day incarnation as the millionaire businessman in the Redcliffe novels. I am very happy to finally be able to publish his story, and to demonstrate my observations on Victorian historical fiction. Now, why not check out some more Hump Day Hook excerpts over on our blog? Or you can join us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

*Vampire image courtesy of Tumblr

Monday, 6 May 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo Was Not as Planned #amwriting

Well, I did not succeed with my endeavours in Camp NaNoWriMo this year. Oops! I am not upset about it. This was my first attempt in the camp, and I chose to do it at a time when I was busy with other commitments. They included the April A-Z blogging challenge (which I completed successfully), and the fact that I am currently 6 months pregnant with my second child and I have a toddler at home.

The manuscript that is causing me so much stress and has sent my Muse into exile is still only progressing very slowly, but it is at least progressing. Yes, I only managed to write about 6000 words on it last month, but I still wrote around 1000 words per day keeping up with my blogs and other projects. I am happy enough with that.

I also have some excellent news to share! My editor at Mirador just confirmed she will publish my spin-off Redcliffe novel The Darkness of Love. This is a Victorian vampire story telling the tale of Marcus Scott who appears in my Redcliffe Novels series. I am very fond of Marcus, and he was insistent on me telling his story.  Now I just have to do some more edits on the manuscript and get it proofed for publication. Watch this space for a release date...

Saturday, 4 May 2013

We Love Werewolves!

I have just finished listening to a radio show on Red Shift Radio entitled Werewolves with Hannah Kate on the Tim Previtt Show. The title caught my attention, so I decided to listen to the show when I had sufficient time. Hannah Kate is an academic from Manchester, UK, who has a particular fascination with werewolves in popular culture. She sounds like a very interesting lady, and one I will have to become acquainted with in the course of my professional career.

What is it about werewolves that we love so much? I have always been a self-confessed vampire lover, but more recently I am falling more in love with my werewolf characters in the Redcliffe novels. It was never intended. They just have this way of charming me, with their rugged appeal, raw sexual overtones, and playful behaviour. Werewolves in fiction are becoming much more popular, although I don’t think they ever really went away from the social conscience.

When I think back over the horror films I have watched and the books I have read over the years, werewolves were always horrific creatures with snarling jaws and sharp claws. They would transform from mild-mannered human beings into crazed beasts that literally ripped through anything in their path, and we were supposed to be terrified of them. Werewolves are a blatant representation of the human condition. How many of us bottle up our feelings, pretend everything is normal and happy, when really it isn’t? I think we all have a wolf lurking within us, the same as we all have a shadowy vampire hiding in the dark recesses of our human psyche…

I would also like to share details about a new anthology seeking submissions, for all writers of ghost stories. Check out the link for submission requirements.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Hump Day Hook #HDH Giveaway! – Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel)

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. This week we are feeling generous, perhaps with the true beginning of summer as we head into the beautiful month of May. Anyway, our Hump Day Hook bloggers are offering giveaways today! For my part I am offering a signed paperback copy of my newly released third book in the series, Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel). Here is an excerpt, to give you a taster of what to expect from my adult paranormal romance series:

      Jack was silent beside me, concentrating on the road ahead.  His energy was still strong and the atmosphere inside the car was cool and angry.  He was angry with me; I knew that.  He was also confused about my powers and he was wondering just how strong and dangerous I would prove to be.  Jack couldn’t help but worry that I had hidden my true abilities from him and Danny in order to carry out some elaborate plan to assassinate them.  He hadn’t said as much, but I knew the truth.  My mother, Lillian, had visited me during the day, speaking inside my mind.  She had told me what I needed to know.  The Mason brothers lived in a state of perpetual alert for enemies.  They trusted very few people, and now I was teetering between the list of people they trusted, and people they were wary of.  Sighing again, I roused myself and shook my head, breathing slowly in and out to try and ease the pressure I felt in my chest. 

 Now for the competition rules. All I ask is for you to comment on this post and tell me why it is that Jessica (our heroine) might prove to be a threat to the safety of the Mason brothers. You can check out the details about the Redcliffe novels on the pages at the top of my blog, or on their dedicated website. You can also read the first book, Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) free on Wattpad for a limited time only. Tell me why Jessica is dangerous, and I will award a free signed copy of Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) to the winner. If there are several correct answers, I will choose one at random. Good luck!

If you enjoyed this excerpt, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and get yourself some more freebies? 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!