Thursday, 30 July 2015

This Writer is Getting On It!

This year is shaping up to be rather productive for me on the work front. Outwardly, nothing has really changed. I am still officially the mother and housewife, running around after my children, preparing for 'big school,' and observing various monumental developments in their young lives. But aside from all of that, I have managed, and am managing, to actually do some writing! I currently have 4 novels in progress, one of which is close to being polished enough to publish. I am shopping another novel to various publishers, and I am certain it will find a home very soon. I even have enough short stories in my archive to consider publishing an anthology, although that is a seed of an idea at present.

So, what about the other side of writing? That murky, uninspiring, necessary task of marketing and selling books? At present I am the only one spreading the word about my, uh, words. I have no team of professionals on hand to assist. I  have no marketing budget to speak of. It is just little old me, emerging from the shell, and actually talking about my books, in public, after rather a long absence. I will kickstart this new phase of authorhood with my involvement in the upcoming Scribe literary festival in October. More details will follow, as we are currently awaiting the official media launch, but the event is shaping up to be a good one, and I am very excited to be sharing the stage with some impressive local authors. If you are located near Middlewich, Cheshire, check back here for an official press release later in August... I will follow up the literary festival with events in 2016, all to be confirmed. See you soon!

Friday, 24 July 2015

I’m a #CampNaNoWriMo Winner!

I am so happy! My Muse has returned, and I have reached my target and won #CampNaNoWriMo for the first time. I attempted it in previous years and was unsuccessful, so this feels like a real achievement. #CampNaNoWriMo differs from #NaNoWriMo because you choose the word count, and everything is more relaxed. I decided to aim for 25,000 words on my new novel, and I got there in 23 days, hooray! And now I will continue writing, because the words are flowing again. Here is a synopsis of my new novel, Hunting the Hunted:

Frederick James Mitchell is a very old, very bored, vampire. He haunts the hidden tunnels beneath the city of Manchester, and hides out in his luxury penthouse apartment when he is playing human. One day he discovers a vampire hunter watching him. He lures her underground to fight, but his control is lost when she brings backup in the form of  battle hardened twins William and Samantha. By a curious twist of fate, Frederick is saved by the intervention of an enchanting young female vampire. His lust for life awakened, he sets about seeking revenge from his attackers, taking pleasure wherever and whenever he chooses.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Why #NaNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo are Perfect for Me

This month I am a very happy writer. After what feels like a ridiculously long absence, my Muse has returned, and she is raring to go. I signed up for #CampNaNoWriMo last year and my enthusiasm fizzled out very quickly. There were a lot of distractions within the family due to babies and accident-induced illness. I had to reluctantly accept that my writing would not flow while my mind and heart were consumed with other affairs. And it put me into something of a depression, I will admit.

Anyway, that was last year. This year, I am back on track. I never gave up with my writing, and it was always there, ticking over in the background, buzzing like a machine on standby just waiting to be switched on. Perhaps I needed the time to recharge my batteries. Maybe I was simply focusing my attention on my young children, conscious that they are growing fast and that my writing will still be there when they leave home as adults. Whatever the reason, I feel like I didn’t achieve very much on the writing front in 2014. I did, however, keep both of my blogs updated regularly, so I was still writing something, even it was largely what I call ‘disposable babble.’

Now, back to the present. When I began #CampNaNoWriMo this year, I wasn’t entirely certain that I could achieve my goal. I set a word count target of 25,000. That way it is not as much as the full 50,000 required for #NaNoWriMo, but it is still a good enough chunk of words to constitute a fairly decent novel. I had to start somewhere. I need new material to publish. My last novel was published in 2013, and now I am itching to get something else out there, although my methods and plans are a whole other story. And I am happy to report that my novel is growing steadily, and I am well on my way to achieving the word count goal.

I find that #NaNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo are perfect writing challenges for me. I am one of those people that works better to deadlines, and I believe that the reason I have not necessarily reaped the benefits of being a freelance writer so far, is that I have not been putting myself in positions where I have tight deadlines and people to answer to. It was quite nerve-wracking, I suppose, taking on such a responsibility, and what with the distractions of preschool children, I didn’t trust myself to do the work. Doing #NaNoWriMo is a fantastic compromise. I get to write my novels, in the way that I choose, and there is nobody to criticize. Indeed, I receive a whole lot of praise, encouragement and support from my virtual cabin mates on #CampNaNoWriMo, and there is always someone to talk to online when you need a pick-me-up. You get a whole month of writing abandon, and afterwards you have a solid piece of work that you can mould into a finished novel. Perfect!

Friday, 17 July 2015

A Taste of Vampire Seduction in 'The Darkness of Love'

Amelia picked up her glass and took a long sip of the rich red wine.  When she spoke again her eyes were glowing and her fangs had extended delicately.  Gregory felt her energy filling the room, and he smiled, responding with a lash of his own cold power.  He possessed the energy and strength of diamonds, hard and impenetrable.  Amelia shivered, her lips curling in a hiss, and wrapped her violet sparks around him in a cold, sharp embrace.  To a human there was nothing unusual in this room, but to a vampire, it was electric and very exciting.  They played a fine line between safety and danger, and Amelia thrived on danger.
“You wish for me to seduce this young man at your party next week?” Amelia asked, still caressing Gregory with her power, while she stood like a marble statue in front of the fireplace.
Gregory nodded, keeping his cool silver gaze fixed on her black eyes.  He tried so hard to ignore his Mistress’ advances, but he could never refuse her.  He belonged to her, and he was not strong enough to break free.
“Yes,” he said, “I am sure he will be compliant, for he is a man with vigorous appetites, or so I hear from the villagers.  He has a reputation among the workers’ daughters.”
Amelia smiled and nodded, her eyes glowing with excitement.  She licked her lips, and her eyes showed a glimmer of fire, deep in the pupils.  She was a contradiction of everything the vampires knew about themselves.  She burned with both fire and ice, and no-one could escape her trap when she set it.
“I will not disappoint my oldest friend.” she said simply.

 Did you enjoy that? Do you want to read more? Then get your hands on The Darkness of Love now! It is widely available as a paperback or eBook, to suit your preference. And don’t forget to leave a review…

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

How Do You Write? New Ways vs. Old Ways #amwriting

It occurred to me earlier today that we are now in a very fortunate position when it comes to writing. I mean, aside from the ability to read and write, we have many opportunities to display our work. We can use traditional methods like pencils and paper (or pens and notebooks), we can type our manuscript onto an old-fashioned typewriter for the authentic, romantic writer appeal. Or we can use a modern desktop computer, complete with all sorts of fancy word processors and digital tools to aid in the presentation and performance of our piece.

And then there are mobile phones and tablet computers. These are something that I am still getting to grips with. I still do all of my ‘important’ work on a laptop computer, which to me is pretty far advanced, because we still used a very bulky desktop computer system up until a couple of  years ago. I got my laptop when I made the decision to become a full-time writer. It was something of a prop, I suppose. I had a typewriter when I was a child, and I still vividly remember the joy of sitting down and typing out reams of words, even though back then I was probably still copying pages from books and comics.

This weekend I upgraded my mobile phone. I had already ventured into smartphone territory two years ago, but I spent most of that time learning how to use social networks, and taking photos and videos of my children. It was only this weekend, when I was downloading apps onto my new phone, that I began to explore the possibilities for writing on the go. I know that we can get apps for Blogger and Wordpress. I have looked at them, but am reluctant to try writing and posting via the apps. It doesn’t feel right, somehow. To me the process of writing is a considered and careful activity.

When I sit at the table with my laptop, I mentally prepare myself to write. When I pick up my smartphone, I am usually scanning social media updates as I walk around the house or waiting for food to cook. But maybe I could look at utilizing some of these digital tools. I already backup my documents to the Cloud, and I find it useful to read manuscripts on my Kindle during the editing process. I have used my smartphone for keeping notes before now, because sometimes inspiration will hit when I don’t have a pen and paper to hand. And, it is easier to type a quick message on a mobile phone when you are a passenger in a moving car, or out walking the dog, for example.

So you see, there are many ways we can prepare for our writing. Again, this is a double edged sword, because sometimes I become so engrossed in setting myself up for a writing session, that invariably I run out of time to actually write. These modern apps and digital tools can be both a blessing and a curse to the creative mind. How do you work? What is your preferred method for planning, writing and creating? Please, do share your thoughts and suggestions…

*Vintage typewriter image found on Ebay; Writing apps image from Appadvice

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Join the #RecordBreakers Summer Reading Challenge at your Local Library

One thing I find about our libraries is that they do a lot to support and encourage children to read and revere books. I mean, it was Cheadle library in Staffordshire that set me on my path all those years ago, back in the 1980s and 90s… Those were the days when I would take out six books every weekend and read them voraciously as soon as I got home. The process of choosing the books was wonderful. My Mum encouraged me to take my time, read every title, and sample a few pages here and there. She was very patient, which is more than I can say for my younger brother (he is not a reader!)

Anyway, now I have the pleasure of taking my own children to the library, and both my girls are voracious book lovers, just like their mother. Neither of them can read properly yet, both being preschoolers, but they recognise shapes of letters, and my elder daughter can read and write her own name, and can recognise most letters of the alphabet. Last year we signed up for the Mythical Maze reading challenge, which we completed, and my daughter was rewarded with a certificate and a medal. Once again we have signed our pledge, and this year we included the youngest, who isn’t quite 2, but enjoys her books.

Do you want to be a part of the #RecordBreakers Summer Reading Challenge? Get down to your local library and sign up. Most libraries have their own Facebook pages and Twitter feeds now, so really you have no excuse. Let’s see how many more horizons we can broaden in the literary world…

Monday, 6 July 2015

*FREE BOOK!* Special Summer Offer - The Darkness of Love

That's right folks, you can now obtain your FREE copy of The Darkness of Love, for a limited time only. It is available in most digital formats, including Kindle, Adobe Acrobat, and Epub. Get over to the All Romance Ebooks website and take advantage of this most generous offer... and don't forget to leave your review afterwards! Enjoy...

Friday, 3 July 2015

Settling in at #CampNaNoWriMo

The sun is shining as we enjoy day 4 of the Great British summer heatwave. I’m not so good in hot weather. My skin is white, and will often turn bright red even beneath layers of factor 50 sun cream. I have auburn hair and lots of freckles (more so during summer). You will usually find me sitting in the shade, a thin shawl draped across my shoulders, my floppy hat pulled low over my sunglasses, book in hand. Or at least, you used to, before I had children. Nowadays you will find me throwing small people into a paddling pool at high speed. They love it!

But back to Camp. My eldest daughter is at preschool. My youngest is having quiet time in bed. She is suffering with the extreme temperatures as well, although neither girl has inherited my hair colouring. I’m enjoying a light lunch, pottering around my virtual cabin, mentally preparing myself for day 3 of #CampNaNoWriMo. I’m off to a good start. So far my vampire protagonist has set the scene. He will not yet reveal his name, however. He likes to play games with people, and he despises humans. Apparently we are only a food source, nothing more. He has communicated that he is bored, and now a lone vampire hunter has come after him. He plans to play with her, to alleviate the tedium of his existence. She, however, has other plans…

Yes, the creative juices are beginning to flow. It is time to grab my laptop, take a glass of fizzy pop, and find a space in the virtual forest, where I can sit uninterrupted and write. I’ve got the sun cream on. My floppy hat is waiting, along with my trusty sunglasses. Let us wander off into the wilderness, and find a suitable spot… ah, over there, underneath that huge, old oak tree. I can lean against its sturdy trunk, balance the laptop on my crossed legs, and lose myself in the story… see you later!