Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmas with the Vampires #amreading

To compliment my new novel The Darkness of Love, I have released a special edition Christmas short story called Christmas with the Vampires. I succumbed to the charms of my favourite mischievous vampire Marcus Scott, and here is the result... Enjoy!

With his blond hair, ice blue eyes and sculpted physique, Marcus Scott immediately turns the heads of everyone he encounters upon his arrival in London at Christmas time. Unbeknownst to all the women and men who fall under his spell with just one glance, Marcus is a vampire with a desperate need to feed from the young and the beautiful. When he unexpectedly encounters the Lady Amelia Richmond, the vampire instrumental in his own transition, the two begin to plan a holiday feast to satisfy their deep hunger. 

You can download the story at Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Not So Triumphant #NaNoWriMo

This is quite difficult to admit, but I am not going to win the #NaNoWriMo challenge this year. I didn't honestly believe I would get very far with the project, since I have a 3 month-old baby and a 3 year-old toddler to contend with. But somewhere in the back of my mind was the little voice  that said 'we can do this!' Well, actually, I am not superwoman. There, I said it! And I'm OK with that.

Yes, we still have a few days left of our precious National Novel Writing Month. But I have no chance of writing upwards of 30,000 words in that time. Not unless I were to completely abandon my family and not sleep for a week while I furiously bashed the keys of my computer. No, that would just end up in a scenario reminiscent of The Shining, and we really don't want that to happen. Instead I will take pride in what I have achieved and take it from there.

You see, for me #NaNoWriMo is about motivation. Without the contest I would still be talking about writing my fourth Redcliffe novel, but I wouldn't have actually written any of it. I am too busy being distracted by my family, and the upcoming Christmas festivities, and ooh, was that something shiny over there... Ha ha! No, I used #NaNoWriMo as a method to get me started and to call out my Muse from wherever she has been hiding these past six months. She seemed to disappear when I was pregnant, and now I have an abandoned manuscript for a separate novel that will be revisited in 2014.

So ultimately I feel that my #NaNoWriMo was a success, and will be a success, because I got started. Now my story is in progress, my Muse knows that she is wanted again, and the ideas are beginning to flow. The story must be written, and it will be written. I also intend to have the first draft finished by 1st January 2014, with the intention to use the early months of next year as a time for editing and submitting three manuscripts for publication. I have a plan. Thank you #NaNoWriMo!

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Importance of #Hashtags for Social Media Networking

Following on from my previous post, Explorations in Social Media, I would like to explain my perception of the importance of using hashtags, and I will suggest some networking groups that I have found as a result of my studies. It has taken me a good few years to even begin to comprehend how to use social media in a professional and useful manner. I joined Facebook when it became the Next Big Thing, and I subsequently joined Twitter when I began to explore the possibility of becoming a 'serious career writer.' The other networks sort of followed on naturally as I was introduced to them, and now I have settled on those that seem most suitable. My current regular platforms are Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Facebook.

All four of these social media websites now offer the use of hashtags to correlate information and bring people together. To my knowledge it was Twitter that first started this trend (although please correct me if I am wrong). Somebody, somewhere, came up with the idea to put a hashtag in front of a word and voilà! Other people picked it up, liked the idea, and began sharing it around the internet. Personally I think hashtags are great, especially on Twitter. My news feed tends to be clogged up with tweets that mainly tell me to buy one person's book or another (I know, I am one of them!). Now I can narrow down my searches more easily by asking Twitter to show me the tweets I want to see. Then I can interact with different people about different things, and I don't need to open several different Twitter accounts and confuse myself even more.

On Twitter I am only just beginning to explore a lot of hashtag groups that I recently discovered. It seems that one leads on to another, and while this all very exciting, it can also become very time consuming. I have to be interactive as much as possible, but I fit it around my family life, and my children will always come first. Anyway, a couple of hashtag groups that I am active in are #bizitalk and #PurpleBiz. In fact, just recently I was a #PurpleBiz Business of the Day, which gave me a huge confidence boost, not to mention a lot of new followers that will eventually translate into more book sales. I just have to keep up the good work.

My next task is to explore some other hashtag Twitter groups. These include #TwitterSisters, #ConnectFriday and #PinHitsHour among others. I love meeting all of the diverse small businesses and fabulous people that meet in these groups, and now I am also finding myself added to various Twitter lists (something I am still learning about so more to follow on that later). If you are exploring Twitter for the first time, or you are unsure about hashtags and what they can do for your business, just try them out. Put them in your Twitter search or click on them in messages on your news feed, and you never know where they might take you...

My novels are adult paranormal with equal amounts of dark romance and contemporary English Gothic. Sign up now for special offers and book release news.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Explorations in Social Media #bizitalk

I am currently experimenting with social media networks as a method to sell books and build my author platform. Truthfully I wish I had spent more time researching how the industry works before I went ahead and got my books published. The common knowledge is that anyone can publish a book these days, but only a select few (or rather a lucky few) gain the fame and fortune that we all seek. Yes, I know, there are lots of authors who say they only write for the pleasure and joy of creativity. This is true for me, but I also want to earn a living from my writing, and after a very long moral battle, I accept that there is no shame in this desire.

Now, I am a working mother who spends 90% of my time being the 'housewife and mother' and the remainder is spent trying to write more books and promote the ones I currently have in the marketplace. I have no money to put into an advertising campaign, but I do now have the support of a publisher as a result of my fourth novel The Darkness of Love. This is very exciting, because Chances Press have organized a Christmas blog tour for me, and they are planning another one in 2014. It makes me feel very special as an author, actually, that someone else is prepared to put in the work for me without demanding immediate repayment. They have great faith in my work, and they clearly appreciate my writing. This is a huge compliment.

Part of my networking experiment has been to explore the use of hashtags, mainly on Twitter, but also on Google+, Facebook and Pinterest. These are all my main platforms of choice, and I am spending some time on each in turn trying to speak directly with a variety of people, and reading articles and infographics that might explain how best to use these fabulous resources. Therein lies part of the problem. These networks are so vast, so complicated, and so busy, that I need to spend every spare minute of my time working on them with no guarantee that I will actually sell my books as a result of my efforts. The other issue is that they can become addictive, and I need to allocate time for writing and freelance projects alongside my self marketing.

Anyway, it is a long, slow process. I know that with social media we have become a 24/7 culture. We expect results immediately because we can send out tweets, messages, photos and web links at the touch of a button, and we all have portable media devices in the form of smart phones, tablets etc. Even if we do not have such sophisticated personal technology, we can usually find a library with free computers, or find a friend or relative with the media technology on which to work. I now have to accept that I need to become a recognised name in publishing. People need to know who I am and what the titles of my books are, and maybe then they will begin to read them, possibly review them, and better still recommend them to friends and family. Ultimately it seems word of mouth is still the best marketing tool for an author. I am just taking it global with social media... See you out there!

My novels are adult paranormal with equal amounts of dark romance and contemporary English Gothic. Sign up now for special offers and book release news.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

#NaNoWriMo – The Vampire of Blackpool - #HDH

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. In honour of National Novel Writing Month 2013, this week I share an excerpt from my ‘winning’ manuscript of NaNoWriMo 2012. Here is a snippet from The Vampire of Blackpool:

Samantha stared at me, her confidence growing.
“You didn’t answer my other question,” she said, “Why did you attack this man?”
I inclined my head.
“I already told you,” I said, “He provoked me.”
Samantha glared at me and stretched her head to one side so that I could just see the edge of a bandage covering her neck.
“Like I provoked you last night you mean?” she asked sarcastically, “I suppose I should be grateful you didn’t put me in the hospital.  I should have listened to Paul in the first place.”
I began to feel angry again.  It made me defensive.
“I did not mean to feed on you quite so violently,” I said, forcing myself to remain still, “And for that I apologize.”
She caught herself and stared at me curiously.
“You are apologizing?” she asked, “Wow.”
I stood up slowly, and she stiffened, holding up her hands.  Her power flared, and I realised she was preparing for an attack.
“I will not hurt you here,” I said, “I am fully fed and in control of my instincts.”
“Shit,” she said softly, “It was you who attacked the doctor downstairs.”
I nodded once, smiling again.
“Yes,” I replied, “He gave me what I needed to heal.”
Samantha frowned.
“What about this guy?” she asked, waving her hand at Ryan James, “What are you waiting for?”
My expression hardened.
“He is a vampire hunter,” I said quietly, “I require answers.  We battled last night after I left you.  He was hunting along the promenade, near the Pleasure Beach.  He found what he was looking for, but he was not prepared for a fight with such an old and powerful vampire.”

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 image courtesy of Deviant Art

Monday, 11 November 2013

Using #PurpleBiz to Sell Books

Today I have the honour of being the featured small business by Purple Dog on Twitter. Their extensive network of followers will RT messages about me, Spooky Mrs Green, which in turn will translate into more book sales as people begin to discover the genius that is my work. Well, that is the theory! I am very thrilled to have been chosen today, although I did work hard to obtain my position as well.

I would also like to mention LF Designs who made the cool personalised web badge. Check them out for more merchandise for yourself and your business. If you are interested in trying alternative social networking methods for your own business, be it books, multimedia or anything else, check out the hashtag #PurpleBiz on Twitter. See you there!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A Very Happy Book Launch

Last weekend saw the official launch of my fourth novel, The Darkness of Love. I didn’t have a big party, mainly because I never found time to organize it. Actually I am quite a novice in the world of book marketing, and I have no budget to cover the costs of professional PR. Everything I do is based on my own observations and what I have learned through experience and from my peers on social networks. I also glean lots of advice and information from my monthly Writing Magazine.

Anyway, the event took place in my local café, Drinks and Bites at 35. I am very grateful to the owners, Holly and Gemma, for very kindly offering me some space and time in order to promote my books. We all share the same vision for getting  out in the community together, but my priority at the moment has to be providing for my family and doing what I can to supplement my husband’s income. Ah, the joys of money!

I was very pleased to see some old friends who managed to come and visit, and I appreciate the support of everyone that came to see me. I know some people were unable to attend but I received lots of supportive messages, and it all helps. Being a writer can be a very lonely existence, even when I am surrounded by demanding children. Sometimes I just need someone to recognise me for my talent, not for my genetic legacy. I know there are lots of mothers out there who are nodding in agreement right now.

Well, the event was a success. I sold some books, I talked to some people, I gave out leaflets advertising my websites and my work. Now it is the waiting game as I watch my readership  grow, which in turn leads to more royalties. It is not all about the money of course. I love writing. I love sharing my books with the world. I am very proud of my achievements regardless of whether I receive international acclaim for my efforts. But ultimately we live in a world that is ruled by the need for money. If I have more money, I can spend it on the small business’ around me, and that will keep the economy moving. We have to see the bigger picture, and we must support each other where we can.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

#NaNoWriMo – Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel) - #HDH

Hello and welcome to the Hump Day Hook. In honour of National Novel Writing Month 2013, today I share an excerpt from my ‘winning’ manuscript of NaNoWriMo 2011. Here is a snippet from Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel):

“Jessica, please, I want to help you,” Jack said from the stairwell where he stood in shadow, “You are not weak.  Please talk to me.”
Carrying my glass over to the table, I gulped the cold water and put my glass down, then turned to him.  He was naked, and his body seemed to glow in the darkness, tormenting and tempting me at the same time.  This was not a man.  This was a vampire.  I am in love with a vampire.  Because of him I was almost killed, and now I am scarred for life, both physically and mentally.  Because of him my life will never be the same again, and yet still I can’t leave him.  And now, to top it off, I am having erotic dreams about his identical twin brother, a man who has made it clear he wants to sleep with me.  What kind of a soap opera is my life right now?
“Jack, it’s late, or early, whatever, and I need to sleep,” I said moodily, “And I can’t sleep, because I keep having these stupid, ridiculous dreams.”
“What dreams?” Jack asked gently.
I swallowed, thinking about my words.  I felt anger now, and frustration, but at least the tears were gone.  I took a deep breath.  If I didn’t tell him he wouldn’t leave me alone.
“I keep dreaming about Danny,” I said, heart pounding.

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!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Written In Blood: A Snappy Supernatural Tale of Forbidden Lust in Vi...

Written In Blood: A Snappy Supernatural Tale of Forbidden Lust in Vi...: Today's Spooktacular Spotlight Author is Catherine Green She's brought us some lovely vampires to chat about today.  L...

Picking Up the Pace #NaNoWriMo 2013

So, we are on day 4 of National Novel Writing Month 2013, and while I am still behind on my daily word count, I feel positive and happy that the manuscript is progressing nicely. I had not really planned out Redcliffe book 4. Well, I did make some notes last year, but then I changed the ending to Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) and that totally threw out my original story line. I had intended for Jessica Stone to be turned into a vampire during the final battle scene in Love Redeems. She didn’t (sorry if I spoiled it for you!). Therefore I now move forward into book 4 with a different version of events, and a new adventure to create.

I actually enjoy the process of free writing. This is where you sit down at your computer, or you pick up your pen, and you just write. There is no thinking ahead, no planned story map or bullet points, just write. Using this process I have already penned (well, typed) almost 4000 words and am quite pleased with what has come out. Jessica is currently experiencing the aftermath of her revelations from the Redcliffe trilogy. She made a lot of supernatural discoveries within a very short space of time, and she lost someone close. Her friendships are forever altered, she is not the same person that she was six months ago, and she is still evolving. There is a lot to learn, and a lot more to discover in the apparently sleepy Cornish seaside town of Redcliffe…

Friday, 1 November 2013

A Slow Start to #NaNoWriMo 2013

Wow, has it been a year already? What have I been doing? Oh yes, publishing two novels, birthing one baby, mothering a young family and trying to stay sane in this crazy world! Well, here we are once again at NaNoWriMo, and I am back in the writing groove. I gave up on my previous manuscript while I was still pregnant because my Muse deserted me. I am slowly coaxing her back with promises of chocolate and wine, but she is hard to please. My children have not helped the cause today. We have just returned from a short holiday in the beautiful Scottish Borders. My toddler has been tired and grumpy all day, and my baby is breastfeeding every two hours and demanding cuddles inbetween. I finally resorted to typing one-handed just so I could actually get started with NaNoWriMo! Anyway, we are here, we have started, and it's all good. Here is my synopsis so far, for Redcliffe Book 4 (as yet untitled):
Let me consult my notes... this will be book 4 in the Redcliffe series, picking up where we left off in Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel)...Jessica comes to terms with her new status as vampire slayer and her metaphysical connection to Danny and his werewolf pack. Jack and his brother struggle to accept that she never knew she was a witch. Cue power struggles between the tiger and wolf, and damaged human relationships to repair.