Friday 14 December 2012

1301 blog tour

Today I'm honoured to welcome Christine Rains as part of her blog tour for 1301 - The Marquis, the first in what looks like a really exciting series of supernatural novellas. She's here to talk about those characters we love to hate (or hate to love) - villains. So without any further ado, take it away, Christine!

Villains. Some of the most memorable characters in fiction are of the evil variety. Dracula, Voldemort, and Captain Hook. Their hypnotizing eyes and maniacal laughs. You know them as well as the heroes, and sometimes they're even more famous. It's been their sinister plan all along, of course.

In The Marquis, the hero Marc pits himself against a trickster demon named Vetis. Vetis isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, but he's not at all stupid. He's not bulging with supernatural muscle nor eager to crush everything into rubble. He has minions for that. What makes him so dangerous is his skill with illusions, his keen mind, and his vicious tongue. He could convince someone to hang herself and not lift a finger. Unless he's doing so through a text message.

Vetis is introduced as a mid-level demon forced to do boring work like tempting a vampire to sup upon a drugged teen. There's no fun in a job that offers no challenge. So when Marc steps in to save his vampire friend, Vetis sees his chance to torment one of his former comrades and rise up in the ranks of Hell by bringing back the head of the infamous Marquis.

It's easy enough to insult Marc's beard and bad wardrobe, but Vetis doesn't just want to kill him. He wants him to suffer before he takes his head. How to do that? Find out what matters to the old demon: his city, his friend, and his lady love.

There's nothing sacred to Vetis. Nothing is more terrifying than an enemy who has no conscience and likes to flaunt that fact. His wit is more deadly than a sword. He'll get what he wants in any way it takes. Vetis' plan might lead to the destruction of everything Marc holds dear and then Marc will welcome the fate Vetis has in store for him.

Villains like Vetis push heroes to their every limit and then beyond. Sometimes they even win. And the trickster demon believes he has his victory in hand.

Who are your favorite literary villains?

Title: 1301 The Marquis
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: December 13th, 2012

Life after Hell isn't more exciting than watching football and fixing a busted pipe. Once a powerful demon, Marc enjoys his quiet existence and a good cup of coffee. With big ambitions to gain his master's favor, a trickster demon named Vetis shatters Marc's peace and vows to deliver Marc's head to the fires of Hell. Not before he destroys everything Marc cares about, of course.

Marc's power has diminished over the years. Heaven will never grant him absolution, and he refuses to return to Hell. Running isn't an option. The city of Carmine is his territory. It's also home to his favorite cafe owner, Mae Hopkins. The dame has a lovely smile, but it's her heart and soul that shine bright.

While his city burns and his love is captured, Marc must decide to surrender or let hate and anger fuel him to become the fearsome beast he so loathes: The Marquis. If the Marquis rises, Vetis can be defeated and Mae saved, but Marc would be lost to his demon forever.

Purchase links:

Author Bio
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She also has two novellas and sixteen short stories published.


Congratulations, Christine! I'm looking forward to reading this and the rest of the installments!

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Fraction of Stone cover reveal

I'm here today to help with the cover reveal for Fraction of Stone, the debut novel by Kelley Lynn. Kelley is a positive and vibrant force in the blogosphere, who is enthusiastic about her work and giving back to others. Get excited, because her book looks and sounds fantastic! Congratulations, Kelley. And what's more, she's holding a giveaway for two ARCs too. Coolness!

Here's all the details you need...

Fraction of Stone by Kelley Lynn
Release Date: March 21st, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy

Book Description:

Wind tunnels, torrential rains and earthquakes tear apart Casden. The cause of the world’s imbalance is unknown, but the mounting occurrences suggest there’s little time before life ceases to exist.

Rydan Gale and Akara Nazreth are the only humans with the ability to wield magic. The tattoo on their necks and the discovery of an ancient book, dictate they are the key to the world’s survival.

But the greatest obstacle for saving mankind isn’t the bizarre creatures, extreme betrayals and magic-fearing men hunting them.

It’s that Akara doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. 

About the Author:

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Kelley Lynn's LinksBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday 4 December 2012

"Blindsided" Blog Tour

Hello! Today I'm hosting the irrepressible Kyra Lennon as part of her Blindsided Blog Tour. There's some hair-raising fun in store, so strap yourself in! Without further ado, I'll hand you over to Jesse, Blindsided's MC.

Hey guys, Jesse here! Isabelle, Georgia and Willow dragged Hunter and me to this awesome place called Winter Wonderland. It’s in Hyde Park, but it’s only there in the lead up to Christmas. You’ll learn all about it in Blindsided, but I wanted to show you some photos from the park! Kyra is such an enormous dork, she re-created Winter Wonderland on her computer – here are some photos for ya!

Pretty cool, huh?

And to show you the insane rollercoaster Hunter and Willow took a ride on, this video:

Isabelle: Are you telling everyone how much of a total wuss you are for not going on the rollercoasters? *giggles*

Jesse: Well … you didn’t go on them either.

Isabelle: I’m a girl!

Jesse: So is Willow!

Isabelle: Yeah but … okay, you got me there. It was more fun to stay down here with you anyway.

Jesse: *hugs Isabelle* Okay, we don’t have time to be too sappy, we have to tell everyone about Kyra’s giveaway!

Isabelle: Oh yes! When Kyra released Game On in the summer, she did a very silly giveaway, offering one lucky winner a collection of Leah’s tacky souvenirs! It was so popular, Kyra has decided to do another silly giveaway this time around which relates to our time at Winter Wonderland.

Jesse: While we were at the park, Isabelle talked everyone into buying winter hats – totally uncool – but fun. So, Kyra would like to give two lucky winners a chance to win a winter hat! All you have to do is follow the instructions below! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blindsided Synopsis: After a successful first soccer season in L.A, Jesse Shaw heads to London with his best buddy, Hunter, but his world is turned upside down when a dangerous prank threatens his career and his blossoming relationship with Hunter’s cousin, Isabelle. Isabelle Mills lives in Notting Hill with her parents and her twin sister, Georgia. When she finds out her cousin is coming to stay, along with his famous soccer player friend, her first instinct is to hibernate until they’ve gone. However, once she meets Jesse, everything changes. He’s everything she ever wanted, but with so many obstacles in their path, can she really risk putting her heart on the line?

Author Bio: Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. After years spent working in retail, where she met enough versatile characters to write hundreds of books, she finally took the plunge and quit her day job. Kyra's debut novel, Game On, was released in July 2012. While fiction writing has always been her passion, she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites. 

Buy Links: 
Kyra Lennon on
Kyra Lennon on

Find Kyra online

I highly recommend Blindsided whether you've read Game On or not! It takes a popular character from Game On - the sweet-natured Jesse - and introduces a great new bunch of characters who really jump off the page. I found myself quickly caught up in their lives and problems. It also makes for a nice festive read at this time of year. Congrats, Kyra!

Monday 3 December 2012

Baby Faces blogfest

I almost forgot about this blogfest hosted by the very lovely Trisha at WORD + STUFF. But better late than never, eh?

  1. Between December 2nd and 3rd, post a pic of yourself as a baby, and/or;
  2. Tell us a story about when you were a baby (no doubt you can't quite remember it yourself, but you've probably heard some stories from other members of your family).
You can choose to do one or the other or both, depending on your mood on the day(s). ;)

Well, all my baby pictures are in my parents' house (the only one I can recall right now is of me in the bath, holding a rubber duck that is for some reason pink. I look surprised at having my picture taken), but I can share a story. I must have been two or three at the time this happened, so slightly more toddler than baby - hope that's OK!

We had just moved into a new house - the one that I grew up in until the age of fifteen. My parents' friends had come round with their two young daughters, and thanks to me, us three kids mysteriously disappeared. At the time the house was in somewhat of a state of disarray, with most floors having no carpets, antique wallpaper peeling off and so on. My dad took twelve years to get it perfect and then sold it. My sister's room was at the top of the house, up quite a narrow staircase, and was next to the attic, with a tiny door connecting the two (think Alice in Wonderland). I'm not sure I'd even been up in the room before. As you'd expect, us kids were allowed to wander off and play while the adults chatted. I ended up going up these narrow stairs, which were probably quite difficult for young kids, with the two young visitors in tow (they were twins, possibly). And then, of course, the "magic door" which seemed just the right size for us was extremely inviting. I got it open, and found a dark space beyond. I may or may not have found the light switch, but if not, my eyes must have adjusted, because I ended up at the other side of the attic having crossed a lot of wooden beams and taking care not to fall into the "yellow sea" (just as well, because this was foam insulation that I would have fallen straight through and into the room below). We played in there quite happily and quietly for a good while, but our absence was soon noted, and it probably took a good half an hour for the adults to find us and lift us out of the attic. Just as well none of us broke our necks! Of course, following the incident, my dad fitted a lock to that little door - spoilsport. It was childlike exploration, but there may also have been an element of showing off in front of two girls!

Well, there you have it. Sorry the details are a little vague... be sure to check out Trisha's blog to visit the other participants!

A quick note - sorry I'm still not getting around much to your blogs. My laptop has suffered a mishap, and until it can be fixed or replaced I'm using my stepdaughter's, so my online time is limited. Andrew still has his casts on, and I'm spending a lot of time with him. We've just had two inches of snow here, so it's debatable whether he'll get to school today - a shame, since his sister has her work experience there this week! I've got a few blog tour posts/cover reveals booked this month, and of course I'll honour those, but I miss you guys. Hope everyone's doing well!

"Make Believe" Anthology Launch

Today I'm helping to celebrate the launch of the Make Believe anthology from J. Taylor Publishing, featuring the story Birthright from one of my best blogging buddies, Lynda R. Young. Like many others, I can always rely on Lynda for sensible, straightforward advice and a positive and encouraging comment on anything I post. I was intrigued by what I read of her story and can't wait to read the rest! Congratulations Lynda!

Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible. 

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her. 

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.  

Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE.

And an excerpt:

Palms rustled overhead as Mrs. Tinder shouldered open the rickety door of Christa’s new home.

“Here we are,” the landlady said. The dark space breathed Florida’s hot air. “It’s not usually so humid here in December, but never you mind about the unseasonal heat, dear. As soon as the air-conditioning kicks in she’ll be right as rain.” Mrs. Tinder toddled over to a control panel on the wall and pressed a few buttons. A hum emanated from the walls, the lights blinked on, and the air stirred.

Busying herself around the single room cabin, Mrs. Tinder spread the drapes, straightened the cushions and opened and closed the fridge. She turned her sharp gaze on Christa. “You have family in town?”

Christa gave her a tight smile. “No, I don’t.”

“Friends, perhaps?”

She shook her head.

Mrs. Tinder’s wrinkles deepened into a frown. “You’ll be alone over Christmas?” Her pinched lips broadcast her true thoughts. No one should be alone over Christmas. It’s not right. It’s not natural.

Christa’s smile wavered. “I’ll have plenty to keep me busy.” She tapped her camera case, still hanging from one shoulder.

“Ah, a photographer.” The woman’s nod turned to a slow shake.

Christa didn’t need pity, and she didn’t need more invitations to join random family gatherings, either. To prevent further discussion, she asked, “Are there any galleries in town? Or museums?”

The woman’s face didn’t brighten. “No galleries. There’s one museum. A shack run by a man named Jack.” She grunted. “But you don’t want to go there. His displays are a load of balderdash, if you don’t mind me saying.”

“Balderdash?” Christa asked in mock surprise. “A mighty strong word.”

Looking like a school principal about to pass judgment on a wayward child, Mrs. Tinder perched on a kitchen stool and leaned on the counter.

Christa regretted the tease, realizing the woman had taken it for an invitation to continue.

“Apologies for my language, dear.” Reprimand laced Mrs. Tinder’s tone. After a pause of awkward silence, she sniffed. “Mr. Jack fancies himself the town historian, but he wouldn’t know history if he fell into a dung pile of it. He snoops into family lore, delves into lost legends, and makes up stories when he can’t find nothing of no interest. Mark me, all of it’s nonsense.”

Christa nodded, though she didn’t understand at all.

“Don’t get me wrong. Jack’s a lovely boy, but he’s strayed from the path.” Mrs. Tinder peered at Christa with an appraising eye. “Perhaps a woman like you would do a young man like Jack some good.”

Christa stiffened. Matchmaking was one of the many reasons she’d left New York for the holiday season. She hadn’t expected to find it in a small town in Florida, as well.

You can find blurbs here and excerpts here for all the stories in the anthology.

Find it on Amazon UKAmazon US and Goodreads.

A brief Author Bio:
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: BlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads.

I wish Lynda and her fellow writers all the best with this exciting anthology. Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday 22 November 2012

NaNo Update - Week 3

Another week, another update. How's everyone doing out there, as we race towards the home leg? Life has been extremely hectic at casa Wilford, and my progress reflects this. As of now, I have 28,523 words, so that's 7,970 added since last week. I'm not quite where I need to be, but I'm hanging in there by sheer bloodymindedness and I've found an iron will to finish. Anyone else get that. If you've done this before, do you feel like you're possessed by some kind of demonic force in the final week?

For those who may not know, my stepson Andrew has been in hospital for an operation to straighten his legs (this involved cutting tendons among other things). This should work to improve his posture when he sits in his wheelchair. Everything went really well, and he got home on Monday, but obviously he requires a lot of intensive care, around the clock. We've got our mattress down from our room to sleep on the floor next to him, and his bedroom is now the centre of the house! Fortunately, he allows me an hour in the morning to write while he and Mum have a doze, and I can still do my early morning, 4am session. That's already been done today, and I'm hoping to add 1500 later to bring me up to a round 30k. If I do that tomorrow, and each day next week (hitting 3k each day), and do 1000 on both Saturday and Sunday, I'll hit the 50k bang on. But, obviously, I'm hoping to exceed it! At the minute, I'm feeling very positive about being able to finish this.

And I'm now writing this story specifically for Andrew. I can't help feeling guilty about being away from him, even if he's sleeping at the time. He's a connoisseur of YA, and I'm counting on his reaction as a beta reader. I'm lucky to have a ready-made audience to provide feedback!

I'm fairly pleased with how the story's coming along, and for the most part it's flowing at a great pace. There's only been a couple of occasions where I've really struggled, which is far different from my previous novelling experiences. I just hope it's not too easy! It feels like there should be one more big plot twist, which is eluding my grasp. The answer? Keep writing. For everyone who's commented on these updates to that effect, I'm incredibly grateful - it's meant a massive amount to me!

I've learnt that I enjoy writing fantasy, whereas before, somehow, I never felt like I'd be capable of it. I'm letting my imagination run riot, removed from "real world" constraints. This is something I would definitely do more of, so I'm glad I gave it a go!

I hope all my friends across the pond have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving, and I wish you a productive week, whatever you're up to!

Thursday 15 November 2012

NaNo Update - Week 2 and "U Got the Look" Meme

It's the end of another week in NaNoLand and the halfway point in the month. I've got to say I'm doing better than I thought I would be. I didn't have time to write anything between Thursday and Monday: we took my stepson for an assessment at his new college on Thursday and Friday, then we had a fundraising Fun Day on Saturday, then other stuff came up. But I've added about 5500 words since Tuesday, bringing me up to 20,553. My aim was to get to 23k today, so I'd only be 2k words under par. Unfortunately, my predawn session this morning was a bit of a struggle, and my little one has a bug so she's off nursery. I'm writing this while she's watching Spongebob. Hopefully, I'll get a bit more done tonight when she's in bed.

I'm kind of coming to the middle part of the story where I'm hitting the really sticky bit. The conflicts and problems are there, now I need to work through them. I've thrown my main protagonist and his newfound female friend into a seemingly impossible dilemma, with pretty much no idea how they're going to get out of it! Luckily, she's smarter than he is, and has connections in the right places...

I was also tagged with the "U Got the Look" meme this week by the very talented C.M. Brown (thank you!) So I thought I'd link that in with my update this week in bringing you an extract. All that's required is to "go to your current WIP, hunt down the word LOOK, and post the surrounding paragraphs." So here's something from the last week...

Eventually, the door opened and sharp footfalls echoed on the hard floor. Wellesbury opened his eyes; he had been trying his best to think of absolutely nothing.

“Good evening,” said the examiner, sitting behind the desk. He was a lean, sinewy man of about sixty, with blue eyes that seemed to be boring into Wellesbury’s soul. “It is unfortunate indeed that we have to detain you in this way, but perhaps it shall not be for too long.”

Wellesbury didn’t answer. He tried to meet the man’s gaze, but somehow it was like looking directly into headlights on a dark winter night. He was feeling groggy and spaced out from the protracted period of sitting on his own. Don’t let him brainwash you.

The man punched a few buttons on the computer terminal. “My name is Examiner Tharl, and I work here at the Assessment Centre. Please, do not be afraid of me. I, along with the entire Government, am working in your best interests. This session will just be about exploring what has happened and finding the best ways to minimise any damage.

“Now, you are aware that you’ve been brought here because of your exposure to a demon from the Under-Region.”

Wellesbury remained silent, making no move whatsoever.

Of course, I'll have to change the name of the Under-Region, because it makes me snigger too much...

And I will tag the following five:

Basically I'm being really nosy about your NaNo stuff. ;)

How are you all doing with your projects, NaNo or not?

Wednesday 14 November 2012

I've Been Interviewed... the illustrious Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh over at the A-Z Challenge Blog today. So, if you'd like to know about my inspiration for my A-Z posts in April, and what I've got up my sleeve for next year (clue: it will involve you getting to challenge me quite a lot), I hope you'll check it out!

That's all for now. I'll be back tomorrow with more tales of clambering up the NaNo cliff face. Have a good day!

Thursday 8 November 2012

NaNo Update - Week 1

So, how's everyone doing out there? NaNoers on track? I have to say I've had great fun on the first week of my first ever NaNo. Things seem to be flowing nicely, which is good. As usual, I'm not sure if anything is any good, but I'm definitely enjoying it! As I'm away today and tomorrow to accompany my stepson on an assessment at his prospective new college, I've been beavering away, busily building a dam of words so I don't fall behind during the time off. Total so far is 14975, with about 11000 added since Monday. I don't think I could keep up this pace all the time, but my procrastination habits have been well and truly zapped for the moment. My new daily goal on a "normal" writing day will be 2000. So if you want to write more, yes, it can definitely help!

Sorry about the lack of blog commenting, by the way. I'm still snooping on people's progress on Twitter and the NaNo site! Fundraising and campaigning for Andrew is very much ongoing, so most of my other time has gone towards that. Hopefully next week will be better. And my internet connection is being extremely unreliable. Which is probably just as well, really...

OK, how about a little extract? I've just had a look through my WIP for the first time, and I did quite like this dialogue between one of my two protagonists, Wellesbury, and his gravball teammates (a game based on football) after one of them recounts how a dirt-streaked boy materialised in the midst of their gleamingly clean city.

“Well, that settles it,” said Hedgeson, with the air of one solving a great mystery. “He must be a demon.”

“There’s no such thing,” said Wellesbury.

“How do you know? We’ve all heard about them. Demons live under the ground, in the place where it’s... not clean.”

“That’s just kids’ stories, Hedgeson. We’re not five any more!”

Hedgeson leaned into him. “So you think you know best, do you? Just because you reckon you’re a hot shot at gravball? Fine, you explain where this kid came from. Assuming Finnister didn’t make the whole thing up.”

“There’s no way I could have made it up,” said Finnister, imploring Hedgeson to calm down with his eyes. Hedgeson tended to be domineering, and he hadn’t meant to cause a fight.

“Right, okay,” said Hedgeson, sitting back. “I can understand that alright. But let’s hear Welles’s opinion on it.”

Wellesbury shifted, not willing to come out with what he was thinking. One of the boys coughed without covering his hand. In this world, that was fine.

“Well...” said Wellesbury, and looked up to study the ceiling, with its pitch markings mirroring those on the floor. “Maybe he came from... somewhere else?”

“What, you mean outside of Whitopolis?” said Hedgeson. “Anyone been out there?”

“I have, on holiday,” said Salvo. “It’s the same as here, just... smaller. You know, small towns. And the people are the same. Everything, you know... white.”

“So that can’t be it.”

“No,” said Wellesbury, and Hedgeson snapped his head up sharply to look at him.

There was no turning back now. “I mean... outside of... outside of Pristinia.”

The boys looked at him for a minute, slack-jawed. Then, on a cue from Hedgeson, they all started laughing – some more nervously than others.

Wellesbury put his head in his hands. If only he’d just kept quiet and let Hedgeson have it all his way. What had he been thinking?

See you next Thursday. How are you doing with your writing, editing, or anything else you're up to?

Wednesday 31 October 2012

The NaNoWriMo Post

Happy Halloween! Hope everyone has fun whatever you're doing. On the eve of what will be a month of madness for many of us, I thought I should get round to posting about it.

I've been excited about taking part in my first NaNo for a while, but only in the last few weeks have settled on an idea and over the last couple of days I've done a bit of an outline. Well, more of a synopsis, really. It takes me so far before I step off the edge of a cliff... and I know people recommend plotting for NaNo, but I find it really hard to work a lot of stuff out until I'm in the midst of something. We shall see what happens!

What I've gleaned about this event is that it seems to be largely about trusting your gut. There simply isn't time to hum and hah about where to go next: you just have to get on with it. I think this is where I veer towards pantsing because I will only get to know my characters better, and the course they would take, once I've spent a good amount of time with them. But there's no right or wrong way to go about it.

Regarding blogging, I'll still be around, posting weekly updates starting on Thursday, November 8th.

I hope all who are taking part have a blast! If you'd like to "buddy up", my username is Nick Wilford. I've just posted my synopsis on the site - it's not my normal modus operandi to talk about a story before I've written a word (and I even have a working title - unheard of!), but I'll go with it. As I'm curious to know what you will think of my idea, I thought I'd be brave and go ahead and post it here as well. So it goes a little something like this...

Working Title: Black & White

Genre: YA Dystopian

Wellesbury has lived all his fourteen years in a gleamingly white city. No dirt or disease exists here, neither does physical pain. But corruption runs under the surface. When people die after a long life, their bodies vapourise instantly. Wellesbury and his fellow citizens know nothing else.
One day, a young boy of the same age named Mallinger appears in the midst of the city. He is black with dirt, his clothes are ragged, and he tells people he is dying and needs help. They are not repulsed, but mystified. Not knowing what else to do with him, they put him in the city jail. Although they don't know what dirt is, they don't like the grimy stuff that rubs off whenever they touch him.
On hearing about the story, Wellesbury is intensely curious and goes to meet the boy. The outsider is relieved to find someone who will actually listen to him, and tells Wellesbury about his own home city, riddled with disease and the streets full of sewage.
Mallinger implores his counterpart to help him, causing Wellesbury to embark on a quest that will shake his "perfect" society to its foundations and alter his entire perception of both life, and himself.

It's basically my outline as it stands, slightly edited down. Like I said, so far and no further. Yikes!
Are you taking part? Plotting, pantsing or in between? Up to any frightening fun tonight? I'm just hoping I don't have nightmares about NaNo!

Monday 22 October 2012

The "Letting Go" Bloghop

Good morning! Today is the day of Kyra Lennon's "Letting Go" bloghop, to celebrate the recent release of her stunning novella, If I Let You Go. It's a very sweet, fun and emotional read - just like everything else I have read from this talented young lady!

Madison Connor is about to lose it. Her job, that is. For three years, she’s taken care of Dominic Hartley’s five year old daughter, Tilly, but her world is flipped on its head when Dominic tells her his latest promotion is taking him to New York. With Tilly having a meltdown over the move, Madison and Dominic get into a fight that changes the entire nature of their relationship, causing Madison to ask herself a big question. Can she let him go?

So Kyra has organised a cool bloghop whereby our task is to write a flash fiction piece or personal story (500 words maximum) around the theme of letting go. Now, I apologise if my entry feels rushed - despite being signed up since the hop was announced, I somehow didn't have time to write it until 4 o'clock this morning! Never mind, I hope you enjoy it anyway! It also represents a bit of an experiment for me - it's my first stab at MG (I think - the protagonist is 12) and it's in first person. Oh, and it's not a real life story - pure fiction. It's 500 words exactly - here you go...

Everyone told me it wasn’t my fault. Heidi was a big dog – big and strong – and she’d have been quite capable of dragging me along if she wanted to. Not that she did. She loved me taking her for walkies.

It was just something caught her eye in the road. I never found out what, but it must have been something amazing, like a dinosaur bone. The car must have destroyed it like it nearly destroyed Heidi. I can still see the whole thing – most of all in my nightmares, which is why I don’t like going to sleep any more.

One moment she was bouncing along like she always did – our super Chocolate Lab – the next she was in the road in a heap. It looked like she was sleeping except for the blood. A lot happened in that moment – the brakes screeching, the bang when Heidi got hit, the smell of the cars’ tyres burning – but I don’t remember much else until I was at the vets’ with my mum. There were lots of adults around me, definitely, asking me if I was okay, but I didn’t know any of them.

It was three days later when we were sitting in the waiting room. Me and Mum – Dad was at work, as usual. They were doing an operation, but no one would tell me anything else. I just wanted to cuddle Heidi again, and rub her under the chin the way she liked. She must have been missing being together, too. It was Tuesday, but they’d let me stay off school.

We sat in silence until I asked, “Mum? Will Heidi be alright? And I want a proper answer – don’t just say you don’t know.” I looked at her straight in the face, trying to keep the tears down this time. I’d spilled a lot of them in the last few days, more than most twelve-year-old boys, I was sure.

“Callum,” she said. She squeezed my hand tighter and sighed. “It looks like... we’ll have to let her go.”

“Someone else will have to look after her?” I said quickly, though of course I knew that wasn’t what she meant.

Someone came out of the room where Heidi was, did a sort of smile at me, and said he had to speak to Mum. She went into the room with him. The big clock on the wall said it took three minutes. It felt like three hours.

We had the funeral the next day. I had to look away when they put Heidi in the hole. But not just for me. I couldn’t let Jimbo see his mum like that.

That’s what they couldn’t tell me. No one knew Heidi was pregnant until she got hit – and what if they had all died? But they managed to rescue just one. He’s a great puppy. He’s not Heidi, but it feels like she’s still here, a little bit. And one day I’m going to tell him all about her.

What do you think? Don't forget to visit Kyra's blog here for a list of the other marvellous (I'm making an effort not to use "awesome" so much) participants, and give her a follow if you're not already - you won't regret it! You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Below are the links where you can purchase If I Let You Go and read reviews:

Just a quick note - I've got training all week for my new job (my first in four years - yikes!) and I'm out tonight with the family for my stepson's 18th birthday, so it'll probably be tomorrow night before I get to most of the other entries. I can't wait! And best of luck to Kyra for her continued success - she's going places!

Friday 19 October 2012

Giveaway Winners Announced

So, I'm back from holiday, multiple washings have been put through the machine, and my One Year Blogiversary slash 300 Follower Giveaway has come to an end. Many, many thanks to those who tweeted, posted and did other bits and bobs. has chosen three deserving winners and they are as follows...

Game On by Kyra Lennon - won by Kathy McKendry

Lady Fate's Game by Siscia Miles - won by Clare Dugmore

What We Found by Chris Eboch - won by Kyra Lennon (clearly she couldn't win her own book!)

Congrats to Kathy, Clare and Kyra (how nicely alliterative). I hope you all enjoy your fabulous new reads!

What else to talk about? Well, there's the holiday. I feel a bit thrown out of the blogging loop again, because although we were only away for six nights, we slept in five different places and did so much that it feels like much longer! On Sunday we were at Disneyland Paris for the third time in fourteen months, and it was our wettest visit by a long chalk, but still great fun. We queued for an hour to see Belle, but that was OK as it was indoors and gave us a chance to warm up and dry out. Eve (just turned four) decided to take her raincoat off before going into the room to meet the princess, and went from having a tantrum over not being able to undo the buttons, to instantaneously simpering and curtseying upon entering her presence! We also met Captain Jack Sparrow, Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas (the girls were just slightly freaked out) and of course, Mickey. It was also great to visit my parents in Brighton before we went to France and friends in Essex on the way back.

A few pics...

Three princesses

Eve and Emma with Jack and Sally. Looks like I put a cool effect around this photo but it  was just the stage.
Emma triumphantly holding aloft the decapitated head of a mouse before
spooning out its brain. Only joking, it's just a muffin in a Mickey cup.
How's everyone else's week been? Anything cool planned for the weekend?

Thursday 11 October 2012

One Year Blogiversary and 300 Follower Giveaway

So. One year ago today I sat down at my kitchen table and started a blog, not knowing what it would lead to or if anyone would listen. It goes without saying that I'm glad I stuck with it! From a handful of followers I've now gained over 300, and I'm grateful for each and every one of you. As writers we all need a place to let out those inner thoughts and niggles that we can only really discuss with like-minded people, and blogging is the best venue for that. I've learnt so much just from the comments that have been left here, let alone the thousands of other posts I've read!

I'm also hugely thankful for those connections I've made that have allowed me to improve my work, through both critiquing and being critiqued. That's why I want to give something back to my amazing CPs. It can be hard to take a detached view of our work which is why outside eyes are invaluable. My WIP has benefitted enormously from the input of these talented peeps!

So I am offering one book each from three of my CPs. One chick lit, one urban fantasy, one romantic suspense, but needless to say they are all awesome. Here's the line-up...

Kyra Lennon - Game On

After swapping her small town life to work for one of the top soccer teams in the U.S, Leah Walker thought she could finally leave the ghosts of her past behind. However, when she meets serial womanizer, Radleigh McCoy, the memories of her old life come swarming back, and she is forced to ask herself whether she has really changed at all.

Siscia Miles - Lady Fate's Game

Confronted with an unfortunate, not so uncommon occurrence, Selena decides to deal with it herself. Not long after, the law takes an interest in the incident, though she has no intentions of stepping forward... yet. Instead, she utilizes that to her advantage. Will there come a point where she's figured out? If so, will there be anyone left to defend her?

Kris Bock - What We Found

A summer afternoon
A stranger’s body
A life changed forever
And above, a hunter watches....

When Audra stumbles on a murdered woman in the woods, more than one person isn't happy about her bringing the crime to light. She’ll have to stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.

Sound good? Enter below and be sure to state your order of preference in the comments. 

I'll leave the giveaway open for a week. I'm away today on holiday until Wednesday, so I look forward to seeing you all on my return! Here's to the next year and many more to come!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 8 October 2012

Changing Tack

So... everyone have a great weekend? I did. I celebrated my 32nd birthday yesterday with a bumper crop of books as presents, and hopefully should get a few more when I go down to my parents' on Thursday. I sound really spoilt, don't I? Well, books are all I'm getting. I didn't ask for anything else!

Birthdays are a time for reflection, and as I work on edits for my second novel, I keep thinking that I meant to have a book published by 30 (having started my first one at 26). That now seems incredibly naive, but I do feel a lot closer since spending the last year blogging and soaking up the advice, camaraderie and support of my peers.

On a related note, one big advantage I've found from this community is I now feel much more broadminded as to my reading tastes. I've enjoyed reading chicklit from one of my best friends in the blogosphere (you know who you are!) whereas previously I would have dismissed it as insignificant fluff. It's not; it's about relationships and emotions, which every writer needs to deal with.

And I've become much more open to YA. I wasn't completely unfamiliar with the genre, having read authors like Rick Riordan to my teenage stepson, and I've read Terry Pratchett's novels for younger readers. Generally, though, it wasn't something I'd ordinarily choose to pick up and read for myself.

However, among the titles I asked my mum for for my birthday were Veronica Roth's Divergent and Lisa Shafer's Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire. (I've yet to see if my wishes come true!) Both are YA books that I've seen being raved about, but I don't think I would have considered them without this community.

Lately I've even been having ideas that have a distinctly YA flavour. I think I've homed in on one of these for my debut attempt at NaNoWriMo. It'll be something really different for me, and I find that very exciting. I hope this won't be seen as bandwagoning; it is merely me opening my mind to other possibilities and ideas. Which is pretty much thanks to you lot out there! We need to keep ourselves fresh as writers, and crossing genres seems a good way of doing so.

So, the question I want to ask is: do you switch genres? How many different things have you tried? Have you found this is necessary to find the one you enjoy the most, or have you stayed on one track all along?

Don't forget to come back on Thursday when there will be a giveaway and more soppy praising of the blogosphere! :)