Monday, 10 December 2012

#TBSU Spread the word, share the lurrrrve...

You may have seen the hashtag #TBSU cropping up  here and there on Twitter just recently, may even have investigated a little further and been led into the marvellous madness of Mr. Seumas Gallacher. Know him? He wears a kilt, hangs out in Abu Dhabi, sings along to Bette Midler, quotes Churchill now and again ...oh, yeah and he writes darn fine novels and blog posts. Trust me, if you've met him, you'd remember!

Anyhoo, Sir Seumas and his partner in mental instability, Author John Dolan, have thrust this new hashtag onto the Twitterverse in order for us all to join Sir Seumas's quest to make Bloggworld even more fabulous to visit than it already is. How? By sharing and following new blogs, spreading the word of these fine bastions of (did I just do the whole 'word-invention' thing again?!) via Twitter, our own blogs, Facebook - wherever you hang out really -  and encouraging our little community of like-minded lunatics to grow.

The name of this merry band of bloggers? The Blog Scratchers Union (hence the TBSU thingy - clever eh?). Want to join in? Simples  You just add a small section to the bottom of your blog post as often as you feel the need, this TBSU section should list the blogs that you follow and enjoy in the hope that, not only will these fine blogs reciprocate, but we will all gain new friends/followers to converse with, blog with and share the joys of this little trip into the unknown  (that'll be 'life' in case you're confused!). 

So, here's my little list for this week. Enjoy!

Blog Scratchers Corner


Blogs to follow and enjoy:

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Give In To Temptation...



            Maybe it's because it's getting near to the end of the world (thank you very much to the Mayan calendar carver who needed a toilet break, took a wrong turn, ended up as a human sacrifice and...well, you know the rest) or perhaps it's just because it's coming up to Christmas, but my mind is currently set on visions of my favourite things. Obviously one of them is books and 2013 is going to be fab since Mr. Stephen King has not one but two new books coming out (cue happy dance) - presuming we all survive the whole predicted world ending thing of course. Since I'm currently not aware of any chocolate books being currently available and since I pretty much talk non-stop about books here, I thought I'd shake things up a bit and talk about...yep...chocolate.

For the majority of us, the word ‘chocolate’ brings to mind a bar of sweet deliciousness, a luxurious box of mixed centres or maybe even a biscuit enrobed in a thick blanket of the stuff. Close your eyes, whisper ‘chocolate’ to your subconscious and you will find yourself salivating in anticipation of a sweet treat.
            If pressed (and if we managed to stay awake during school history lessons), several of us could probably point out a cacao plant and make a decent stab of guessing which European country it was first introduced to (Spain) and perhaps even by whom (Christopher Columbus).
            Few of us, while munching a few squares of our favourite calorific indulgence, know that the refined and processed bar we hold in our hands is a descendant of an alcoholic beverage produced from the sweet pulp of the cacao fruit by an enterprising Honduran around 1400 BC.

            Chocolate has always been highly prized – the cacao bean was even used as currency by the Aztecs while also being the key ingredient in their bitter spicy beverage called xocolātl. The Aztecs associated cacao with their goddess of fertility, Xochiquetzal. None of the ancient Aztecs would be at all surprised that modern courting couples exchange gifts of chocolate!
            As you can see, chocolate’s origins have little to do with hard bars and even less to do with a sweet taste. Before the 1700s, chocolate tended to be a drink, and a dark, bitter one at that. We can thank a notable physician, Hans Sloane, for pushing chocolate evolution forward. In 1689, in Jamaica, he developed the recipe for a milk chocolate drink which was initially used in apothecaries and which he later sold to the Cadbury brothers.
            After the development of the first form of solid chocolate in Turin, a Dutchman, Johannes Van Houten, invented a method of removing the bitter taste. It is believed that an Englishman, Joseph Fry, made the first chocolate for eating in 1847, followed, in 1849 by the Cadbury brothers. Chocolate’s bid for global domination had begun.

            Nowadays we are all aware of chocolate’s reputation for being a calorie laden, obesity inducing, guilty pleasure. However cocoa or dark chocolate is also known to have beneficial effects for the circulatory system and may also be a good brain stimulator and cough preventer. There is no proof that it has any kind of aphrodisiac effect, although a report by the BBC found that melting chocolate in your mouth produced more brain activity and a higher increase in heart rate than passionate kissing! (something women have known for years!)
            So, this year, as you make the agonizing decision of which Christmas treat to eat first, you can stun your family and friends with a quick history of chocolate, safe in the knowledge that (so long as you don’t over-indulge too much) your brain is being stimulated, a nasty winter cough may be prevented and eating that piece of chocolate is possibly even better than snogging Channing Tatum! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Vacuum-sealed Blog.

It has recently been explained to me that I'm 'blogging in a vacuum' (or maybe they said 'blogging vacuously ...hmmm) - I'm commenting and providing guest posts on other blogs, sharing content via Triberr, Twitter, Facebook etc. but I'm not really doing much on my own blog. I haven't invited anyone around for a cuppa, to do an interview or scribble down a guest post.


If I told you I was shy you'd laugh your heads off, wouldn't you? Well, the truth is that I'm not sure anyone would consider it worth their while; I mean , I only have 7 followers on this blog (hello lovely people!) and around 1000 page views per month, so would other, serious, 'proper' bloggers be horrified if I asked them along to play?

Only one way to find out - I'm going to ask a few people round and see if anyone agrees to do it. Maybe try to fill an interview and guest post slot per month?  

Blogger and author friends - you have been warned!!!

PS: If you're one of those keen, helpful types who feels up for an interview/guest post type appearance already, then let me know - just in case I get too shy to ask!

Monday, 19 November 2012

A wonderful affliction.

I first became aware of my 'affliction' around the age of 6, in church of all places. Picture the scene; packed church, everyone in their Sunday best, visiting cleric in the pulpit, old pipes sighing and shifting, heat so stifling that the feather on the hat of the lady in front of me was drooping. I was trying to concentrate on the sermon, I really was, but my mind was drifting and I was thinking, 'What if someone passes out in all this heat - how would we ever get them out? What if the organ started playing by itself? What if people wilted in the heat like flowers? What if the roof opened up and a crowd of angels drifted in, bringing glasses of ice-cold Coke to revive us all?' I could almost see each of those things happening in front of me, could almost taste the Coke and hear the clinking of ice-cubes in the holy glasses.

Children use their imaginations all the time - during play, during day-dreams, whilst a parent is reading a story to them. They do it unconsciously and without embarrassment - some for longer than others - and most people expect that children will eventually 'grow out' of using fantasy worlds, pretend friends and beliefs in dragons, fairies, goblins and the like as they become more self-sufficient and learn more about how the real world works. 

I have never grown out of using my imagination and I really never want to be cured of it. How awful to be stuck in a queue and not be able to imagine the people in it starting to boogie, being zombies in disguise, or the guy in front of me turning out to be Channing Tatum ( a recurring theme for some reason!). Thankfully the importance of children hanging on to this ability is being recognised; how can a child study history - events and eras that they were never a part of - unless they use their imagination? How else can they learn to invest in their future selves if they are unable to imagine how they want their future to turn out? What about those children who will one day invent ways for us to correct the mess that we have made of our planet? Those who will find cures for disease, those who will write books, create TV shows and fabulous movies that entertain or educate - all of these start with the wonderful affliction of an active imagination.

Monday, 5 November 2012

My humble (and most sincere) thanks.

Ok, I admit it - I needed a wee cuppa before heading to the book signing last week. I sat in the cafe with my mum, daughter, son (he decided to come along in the end - but only because his mates were going!) & daughter's friend, sipping tea and pretending that I was cool, calm and collected when I really had a bad case of wobbly legs and one of those 'open-mouth-and-vomit' kind of feelings.

The walk down to Waterstones was a blur - I think I spoke to some of the staff on the way in but I've no idea if I was coherent or just mumbled 'help me, help me, help me' over and over. Then the table was in front of me and I was sitting down and someone was asking how much the book was and... 

I met old friends, new friends and complete strangers; signed books, talked about characters, heard Halloween stories that just HAVE to make it into a story somehow, was presented with flowers (thank you very much!), shook hands, had photos taken and almost before I had time to was all over!


If you came along and had a chat, shared your stories or bought a book then thank you - you made my day! Big, big thanks also to the staff of Waterstones, Coleraine - your support and encouragement are wonderful. Looking forward to next time...

Very nervous !!
Flowers for me?!!! Awwww.

Meeting some Twitter pals ! :-)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Book Signing!!

Yep. Believe it or not, Waterstones in Coleraine are allowing me back into their store to play again! This afternoon from 3 - 4 pm I will once again sit in that lovely comfy chair and sign copies of my books ...there'll probably be a lot of chatting involved too; once I get over my nerves and the fact that my hands are shaking so badly my writing looks like the scattered scribblings of a 4 year old! Talking of hands - I've bitten my nails down to stubs so to satisfy my normally dormant 'must-look-pretty' gene, I'm going to wear some of those fake stick-on Halloween-themed nails; I'm just not sure that I'll be able to wear them and write too!

My son in our local Waterstones.

My mum is coming (bless her!) and so is my daughter (son hasn't made up his mind quite yet!) so that I won't be on my own if no-one else turns up - I know we went through all this the last time, but the concern is still there!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get to meet some of those lovely folks that I mentioned in my last post - how much fun would THAT be? And, as always, I'm hoping that a) I don't let the wonderful supportive folk in Waterstones down and b) I don't disappoint anyone who does turn up (let's face it, I'm not exactly Stephen King!!).

Here goes....

Monday, 22 October 2012

Don't Panic!

I was doing my usual Blog fly-bys the other week when a random comment on one of them caught my eye. The Blogger was having a slight panic attack because his/her daily sales had fallen to 10. 

Now, if you're one of those lucky authors whose daily sales are in the hundreds or thousands then by God I salute you and am absolutely thrilled for you. On a good week I might sell 2 books. And ok, I may be a wee bit weird, but I celebrate every one of them because every sale means that someone out there decided to take a chance and spend their money on MY book. That's a darn good feeling.

Now, when I read this blog and heard the panic behind the writer's words, I wondered if I should be panicking too - my sales are much, much lower than that. Does that mean I can't write? Is no-one buying my books because they're *gulp* useless? 

I let that one stew for a while and the longer I let it invade my head space the more it grew and spilled over and made me miserable. Utterly miserable.

And then I had my little miracle.

I had a series of emails and Tweets from some readers who were reading and enjoying my books. So much so that they had thoughts on who should play the lead role of Sariel in the movie (OMG!!) and what music reminded them of the books. *sqeeeee*

Douglas Booth Picture
We reckon Douglas Booth should play Sariel in the movie trilogy!
                     And Mariana's Trench should provide the theme music!


I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I am thrilled to be selling 2 books per week - so long as they are being read and enjoyed like that. What an honour to have been able to tell a story that made some people care enough to get in touch, share their thoughts and even cast the movie! Lol Oh, so cool!

So thank you, thank you, thank you, Tori, Arinn, Christina & Laura. You guys rock!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Poetic magic!


I'm sure I might have mentioned a few million times that one of the most rewarding off-shoots of this writing journey of mine has been going into schools and chatting to the pupils about creative writing, reading, words, playing on the PS3, favourite authors, jam, unicorns etc. etc. etc. It's an absolute blast! Part of these school visits sometimes requires me to create and run creative writing workshops - it's a lot of hard work but I truly enjoy it. Sometimes the school will just require a talk about how I write, or some interactive creative writing-type exercises, perhaps a mixture of both, plus a hand-out at the end for each pupil, but usually the workshop is tied in to a particular topic/essay or assignment that the year or class is working on. 

Recently I've been booked to go into a school and deliver a series of workshops based around a poem that the pupils are studying. Now, I always found poetry tough in school - hidden imagery, pulling out all the thoughts that the poet might have been having as he/she wrote; I just wanted to read the poem and enjoy it for what it was, I hated having to pick it apart and delve into the use of alliteration or parahyme when, instead, I wanted to 'feel' the words. So I hesitated a little when the word 'poem' came into the emails from the school and then, having gingerly asked which they were studying,  looked it up and read it through. And then I read it again. I read it aloud, read it to my children, printed it out and stuck it on my wall! 

The poem is called 'The Listeners' by Walter de la Mare and I could wax lyrical all day about the imagery, use of words, the feeling it invokes etc. etc. But I won't. Do me a favour though - read it. Read it aloud if you can - it just begs to be heard (and that's coming from someone who usually balks at reading poetry). Maybe it's time to re-visit all those poets that I failed to enjoy first time around. :-)

Anyway, enjoy...

The Listeners

by Walter de la Mare

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed on the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
"Tell them I came and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


See full size image

Imagine a time before the PS3, ipods, Nintendos, Playstations, Xboxes, computers, DVD players etc. The most advanced technology was a video player and music came on cassette tapes or vinyl. Television was in colour but there were only 4 channels (6 if you had a good aerial and could pick up RTE) but they weren't on all the time and 'children's programmes' ran for a couple of hours in the afternoon and on a Saturday and Sunday morning.

This was how the world was back when I was letting go of the reins of childhood and dreaming of how fabulously sophisticated I would be once I became a teenager  Yep, I honestly believed that turning 13  made you wise and flipped some kind of inner-goddess switch enabling you to cast off the shackles of baby-fat and awkwardness, emerging from a cocoon of bad-hair, clashing clothes choices and tree-climbing to become an Audrey Hepburn-type, complete with perfect skin and supermodel figure. Ha ha, ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha. Ahem. Where was I?

Ah, yes - pre-teen me.

Without the distraction of Facebook statuses, Tweeting, gaming, ear-buds blasting noise into your brain 24/7 etc. life was...simpler, quieter. I played with my friends OUTSIDE, did jigsaw puzzles with my granddad  learned how to make tea and read dozens and dozens and dozens of books.

Money was pretty scarce in our family and so I relied on the local library to sustain my reading habit and provide me with a constant supply of new authors and books. My Saturday treat was a trip to the library for next week's fix and by the time I hit the age of 11, I had pretty much read my way through the children's  section and was expanding my horizons from ponies and fairies to something more...grown-up. One Saturday I picked up a copy of a book called 'Seaward' by an author called Susan Cooper - this wasn't my usual reading material but it looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a go. At home, after dinner, I cracked open the book and, just like that, I fell in love.

That book. Ah, that book. It absorbed me, drew me right in and I was THERE with Cally and West, travelling through a strange landscape of fantastical creatures and scary adventures. It was the first time that I 'felt' a book. Do you know what I mean? That book took my love of creative writing in school and showed me that there was more to it than 'What I Did During My School Holidays'. That book showed me what it meant to really WRITE.

In the library of St. Louis College
I am blessed and delighted to be able to go into local schools and chat to the pupils and teachers about books and creative writing - I LOVE IT! - and most of the time I have the pleasure of meeting the pupils in the school library. Some of them are small, some are huge; all of them have wonderfully enthusiastic and dedicated staff who truly love books and want to help the pupils of the school to overcome the fear of literature and writing that sometimes prevails. I'm also lucky to have great local libraries to keep me in reading material during those months when the money is tight but the need to read is overwhelming.

Sadly, lots of town libraries are closing; school libraries are being squeezed and side-lined and even scrapped to be replaced by computer suites. At a time when there's a lot of noise about falling literacy standards and horror stories about children, when asked to bring a book into school to read, coming in with an Argos catalogue because 'that's the only book we have at home', it just stuns me that the powers that be consider the closing of libraries to be sensible. Really?! Technology may have moved on from perfect bound pages but there's still a need for books to be made available to people who want to read them and many libraries are offering eBooks as well as the usual hardback or paperback. Technology is part of our lives and most of us wouldn't like (couldn't?) live without it - I'm not one of those folk who thinks we should all go back to living in caves and wearing animal skins (ewwww!) but the idea that someday, somewhere there might be a child like I was who needs to escape into books but doesn't have the opportunity because some accountant in a fancy office decided that the provision of a library in her small town isn't good use of public money just leaves me cold.

So my message for this post - (and the point that you probably thought I'd never get to! ) is very simple - make use of your library; whether you're in school, university or you're just a reader like me who loves books but doesn't always have the money to buy them. Libraries hold a lifetime of stories about places I will never visit, told by people I will never meet but whose wonderful imaginations give me hours of enjoyment and whose voices will stay with me forever.

Oh, and after many, many years of looking for a copy (it went out of print years ago)...look what I found!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Wading into the great debate...

Opinions - the PG version

I love bloggers. Proper ones, I mean, who post reviews, information, thoughts, ideas, plans and daydreams every day for the rest of us to ingest, share and marvel at. (And no, I definitely don't count myself as a 'proper' blogger.)

It's a fact of life that once we state an opinion, there will likely be a few folks around who agree with us and a few thousand who don't - it's human nature and heartily satisfying as far as I'm concerned; wouldn't the world be boring if we all agreed all of the time?

Since writing is my thing, I tend to be attracted to blogs and bloggers who have something to say about books, writing, self-publishing, traditional publishing, agents, bookshelves, the poor quality of biros these days etc. etc. etc. It hasn't escaped my notice (!) that from time to time these fabulous folk and their commenters fall out about the differences between Trad and self publishing. There are strong advocators for each and lots of angry comments fly back and forth about the merits of one, the attitudes of people engaged in the other, which is better, which sucks and so on and so forth.

Most of the time when I read these, I end up feeling slightly nauseated. And then I get to wondering if there's something wrong with me since I'm not out there fighting in either corner.


I spent most of my writing life dreaming of the day when my bubbly, enthusiastic agent would phone to tell me that a publisher had bought my book and I was going to be 'published'. Ah, the joy that would fill my heart, the excitement that would shine in my dull grey eyes, the flush that would decorate my cheeks...yeah, you get the idea.

And instead I ended up with a large stack of very kind rejection letters.

Now, according to some camps in the blogger-verse, I should have continued down this route and ignored the temptation of self-publishing. In taking the self-pubbed route I was being 'lazy'.

Maybe they're right but I don't feel 'lazy' - I write the best story that I can, have it edited as well as I can afford, pay for a designer to provide me with a good cover and set up the interior of my books for printing, attempt (usually unsuccessfully!) to market myself, create workshops and visit schools to encourage children to give creative writing a go and, above all else, I keep writing. Yes, I've made mistakes and embarrassed myself several thousand times but I was always told that making mistakes is how you learn, getting it wrong once or twice has certainly shown me all my flaws and reminded me to take more care!

I don't feel angry when I hear a traditionally published author complain about self-publishing and I don't feel overjoyed when I hear self-published authors lambaste traditional publishing. I truly believe that there's a place for both and there will always be a friction between the two but that's okay - like I said, wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same?


The only time I twitch a little is when someone from the 'Trad' point of view complains that self-publishing needs 'gatekeepers' (arguing that in traditional publishing, the agents provide this role, weeding out the unsuitable, incapable and downright crap). I find this very confusing. Self-publishing already has such a thing - they're called 'readers' and they provide the same function for the self-published writer as for the traditionally published - a vast, able and mighty ability to discover good books and champion the best of them. If they download or purchase a book that they don't like then the chances are a) they'll tell their friends not to touch it with a barge pole and b) they'll avoid other books that the author puts out afterwards. 

So, am I lazy in taking the self-published route? Well, obviously I hope not but I can understand why a traditionally published author might view me in that way. Maybe I should have kept sending out the enquiry letters instead of jumping in with both feet by myself; I wanted someone to read my stories and get enjoyment from them. That's it. And am I wrong in believing that there's a place in the wonderful world of books for all kinds of publishing? Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Time to get back in the saddle...

It's been a tough few months.

That little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel might just be (with my luck) the tiny spark igniting the powder keg, or it may be what's left of my sanity quietly fizzling away - there wasn't really much left to go anyway! - but que sera, sera and all that jazz. 

What I DO know for certain is that NOT writing didn't solve anything - it just makes it all seem much worse. I suppose it says a lot about me that spending time with people who only exist in my own head (or on the pages of a WIP) keeps me sane and able to appear normal. Having read my way through quite a number of new blogs this past 6 weeks, I at least know that I'm not the only loony in the world for whom writing isn't just some cute hobby but a NEED ...maybe even a lifeline (or is that taking it too far?). Now I know that there will be some people reading this and making 'pfft' noises, shaking their heads and mouthing 'bloody drama queen' or something similar. Whatever. We will all have days when life's little problems threaten to engulf and overwhelm us,  this time I chose to make a break for the surface instead of drowning down there in the dark - never been that far down? Well, good for you!

Anyway - sending you all some non-awkward virtual hugs as you start your day and I pick up a pen again.

Sending virtual hug

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Congratulations ...

to Shannon Myles and Peter Johnstone 

- you are both winners of some book booty. A very big thank you for entering the competition and helping me to celebrate the release of Demon's Revenge, I'll be in touch about your prizes later today.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Welcome to the party!!!

 Come in, come in, pull up a chair, grab a glass of punch and a cup cake - you can snap on one of those party hats too (don't worry, they look ridiculous on everyone!) - and join the party! There's even a game to play at the end!

Today is the official publication day of Demon's Revenge so it's a day to forget about marketing, social media, book reviews, grammar and spellings, where all the readers are and all those other billion and one little niggles so beautifully supplied by our old friends Fear and Doubt. Today is the day to feel a little bit of pride as another year of work gets its coat buttoned, a quick kiss on the cheek and then gets launched into the wonderful world of books.

To everyone who's chatted on Twitter, gabbed on Facebook, shared links and lives, given support when it was needed, cheered every word along and STILL wanted to read it at the end - big thank you!

I'm not going to post loads of links here - they're elsewhere on the blog and on the website. Instead, I'm going to invite you to play a game...and win some prizes! Yes, yes, don't get too excited...I'll reveal all as soon as you're sitting back down again. That's better - you're getting a bit unruly on that punch!

So here's the game...

It's called 'Famous First Words' and, as you might expect, it involves books!! If you click HERE you'll get the list of first lines from some well-known books. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog to let me know that you're taking part, email the answers to me and I'll enter you into the competition. Simple!

So what are the prizes?

Since we're celebrating the launch of my new book, I'm giving away 5 bundles of the Emily story so far - books 1(Demon's Daughter) and 2 (Demon's Revenge) in the series in eBook form (via coupon on Smashwords). I'm also giving away some hand-made silver bookmarks with angel wing charms to 5 runners-up. All the names will go into a hat a week from now and I'll get my kids to pick out the winners. Your name goes into the hat once for leaving a comment here, once for emailing the correct answers and again if you 'Like' my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter within the next week.

Good luck and thank you so much for stopping by!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Demon's Revenge Tasty Morsel 5


Emily is taken to a safe house in Italy where she meets the rest of the Fallen Angels and another 'potential' called 'Adrian', a descendant of Joan of Arc.

'   Adrian was now sitting cross-legged on the ground. He had closed his eyes and folded his hands together in front of him. Armaros gestured to Samyaza who handed him a long, gleaming sword. The sense of anticipation in the circle of Angels rose a notch as Armaros began to circle Adrian, skimming the sword across the ground so that it made a low hissing sound. Adrian stayed motionless, his shoulders rising and falling with each breath he took. Armaros lifted the sword above his head with a graceful swing, gripping it with both hands. He kept circling. Adrian kept breathing. My heart was thudding hard all of a sudden. Armaros looked menacing now, dangerous. I could see a few beads of sweat on Adrian’s brow and a slight shake to his hands. The eyes of the other Angels glittered in the firelight. They looked enthralled and excited.
            It happened so fast that I wasn’t sure I’d actually seen it at first. Armaros brought the sword down towards Adrian’s head and, just as I drew in a breath to scream, certain that the blade would lodge in his skull, Adrian’s hands came up and caught the blade between his palms. Applause erupted and I buried my head in Sariel’s shoulder for a moment.
            I glanced at his face – as always he looked impassive although a small smile curved the corner of his lips. He was either impressed or amused by Armaros and Adrian’s theatrics. I couldn’t tell, although the urge to merge my mind with his and find out was more than tempting.
            Beside us Uriel sighed and I forced myself away from Sariel. She was shaking her head. “Smoke and mirrors,” she muttered, “Cheap parlour tricks.”
            Armaros swung around to face her. “You have something to say, sister?” he sneered.
            Uriel nodded. “You think that a boy magician is what we need?”
            Armaros’ eyes narrowed and his gaze flicked from Uriel to Samyaza and back again. He raised his voice. “You don’t believe that this boy has been blessed with these talents?”
            Uriel smiled dangerously. “I don’t believe that an Archangel gifted him with them. Otherwise we’d have an army of amateur magicians running around boring the Demons to death with card tricks.”  '

  Demon's Revenge will be out in paperback and eBook format on 16th August 2012. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

I'm no Peter Jackson....

After almost a year of wondering 'should I?' and getting frustrated by my lack of computer skills, I finally managed to get down to the nitty gritty of making a book trailer.

Well, okay - if I'm entirely honest, I had to end up following the step-by-step (and much eye-rolling) instructions of my 12 year-old to figure everything out! And to think I used to giggle when I was her age and my granny couldn't work the TV remote - tsk, tsk.

It took the best part of a day to produce 1 minute and 55 seconds worth of material, a few weeks to locate suitable royalty-free music and find photographs that conveyed the right message. (I've discovered that trying to convey the message of 'humour' in pictures is a nightmare so in the end I gave up on that plan and went with 'dark and mysterious'!) To be honest, once my daughter finally managed to give her instructions in language that I could understand (ie. NOT technospeak!), I had a lot of fun! 

Will it help me sell more books? Probably not. But part of this whole Indie Publishing experience is all about trying new things to find out what works so I can now hold my head high and say that I've had a go at making a book trailer. Obviously, in the hands of a complete novice such as myself it's not exactly Oscar-worthy material but I'm still rather proud of it!

What do you think?

Have you made a Book Trailer? I'd love to hear about your experiences and if you think it helped as a marketing tool.

Best wishes!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Demon's Revenge Tasty Morsel 4

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Ooh, this is getting exciting! Only 2 weeks to go until publication and there are whispers of a proper launch party at my local bookshop. How amazing would that be?!!! Anyway, will keep my fingers crossed about that and share another wee snippet with you in the meantime. Best wishes :-)

Asmodeus forces Emily  & Seth to split from their mother. As they attempt to ditch her, Joanna turns back...

'   Mum turned back and her face had changed, she looked frantic. I gasped as she ran back to the car, reached in and took my hand. She reached for Seth’s too and he leaned right over Jude to get to her. I almost panicked, convinced that she was about to drag us both out of the car and into the depths of the hospital where Asmodeus’s goon squad was waiting to take us to hell. Instead she kissed my hand and then Seth’s looking up at me with tear filled eyes that most certainly belonged only to my mother. “Get out of here,” she said hoarsely. “Get away and keep driving. Don’t come back for me. He has me. I know it. I love you both.” She turned to Jude. “Put your foot down and look after my babies.”
            With that she gave Seth and I one last agonised glance and then, letting go of our grasping hands, turned back to the hospital. Jude shoved Seth away and sped out of the ambulance bay, across two lanes of oncoming traffic and drove like Satan himself was on our tail for almost three miles before pulling into a lay-by and shutting off the engine.
            I had begun crying as soon as mum had started to speak. I couldn’t seem to stop. I was a human sprinkler system for the back seat, my tears seemed to jet from my eyes as I gave into the anger, fear and loss, feeling despair in the very marrow of my bones. Seth sat with his hands braced against the battered dashboard and his head down. His shoulders shook with silent sobs and I wished I could go to him and put my arms around him but I knew that, at that moment, it would be the wrong thing to do.
            Jude turned to look at us both. “Would someone like to tell me what the hell just happened?”   '

Demon's Revenge will be out in paperback and eBook format on 16th August 2012.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Demon's Revenge Tasty Morsel 3

Time for another yummy dipped-in-batter-and-deep-fried excerpt from Demon's Revenge...

In this scene, Emily has been captured by a vampire, Lucas. Thanks to their telepathic connection she is able to let Sariel know what's going on and enable him to track her down but will he be too late?

'   “So, these pheromones are making you smell like this?” He whispered into my neck and I allowed myself a sigh of relief.
            “Yeah, that’s right. I wouldn’t normally smell this good. If you think I do, I mean. I have no idea how I smell. I could smell like blue cheese for all I know,” I hiccupped a laugh.
            “You smell…it’s hard to think of the right words. You smell like everything I enjoy. Like my best memories and favourite people and places. Like blood and fear and tears.”
            Okay, perhaps the relief had been a little premature. “So, I don’t smell like chocolate?” I asked weakly.
            He chuckled and I could feel his smile against my cheek. I looked up into his dark, dead eyes and forgot to breathe for a moment.
            I’m going to die.
            No! I’m almost there.
            I didn’t have to tell him that he would be too late. The look in Lucas’s eyes told me that death was standing beside me, holding me in its arms and looking down at me with an expression of cruel anticipation.
            “You want to know how you smell?” He asked through fangs that had slid gracefully down further as he spoke. I swallowed a sob and nodded. “You smell good enough to eat.”   ' 

Demon's Revenge will be out in paperback and eBook format on 16th August 2012. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Demon's Revenge Tasty Morsel 2



Emily and Sariel have an ...attraction...but both fight it for different reasons. I allowed them to let go a little and look what happened!

'  I swallowed a sudden burst of shyness. “Are you, um, distracted?” I asked and he chuckled.
            “You could say that,” he said in a voice that now bordered on husky and made my toes curl. He leaned in and, before I knew what he intended, he kissed my tears away with warm, gentle lips that left a trail of heat across my cheeks and down my neck. I sighed and closed my eyes as his lips found mine and the taste of him took my breath away.
            The kiss deepened and his arms tightened, pulling me hard against him as his tongue swept across mine and little shooting stars went off in my head, making me dizzy and sending streaks of lightning through my blood. I kissed him back, loving the feel of his hands on my back and his body against the length of mine. Our bodies touched in several interesting places, making me forget where we were and why. This was what I wanted from Adam. This was a proper sweep-you-off-your-feet-and-send-you-insane-kiss!  '

Demon's Revenge will be out in paperback and eBook format on 16th August 2012. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

What do you mean there's no Internet?!

No Internet access

As disasters go, the events of the past few weeks have been tame when compared to floods, earthquakes and the like. For the inhabitants of our little house, however, it's been a kind of 'asteroid-hits-the-planet' calamity.

It began with a small blip of a nuisance - the router had a 'bad day' and had to be switched off and on more then once. We laughed about it - silly router had a little huffy fit, that's all.

A few days later we woke up with no wi-fi anywhere in the house. There were a few minutes of blind panic where everyone fired up their individual devices and went 'Huh?!' The router was switched off and on, we all noted how hot it was and figured that the poor thing must have simply overheated. It was decided that the router should remain switched off until it cooled down and, after a couple of hours of us all wandering around trying to figure out what to do with ourselves, we switched it back on and - phew! - normal service had resumed.

All was right with the world again.

Except it wasn't - this pattern continued for a few days with increasing frequency and the worry and concern turned into anger. I called the ISP, spent half an hour on the phone with a poor lady who wanted to me to keep telling her which lights were on and which were off, how fast they were blinking, was there any change now? Now? Change the filter. No difference. Change all the filters in the house. Really? Ok but no change. Unscrew the front of the socket and plug the router directly into the....Are you kidding me? Fine, unplug everything for 48 hours and it should be ok.

48 hours later it was definitely NOT okay - on the router, there was one solitary light blinking on and off in a pattern of desolate loneliness so I called the ISP again. 'Try this', the man ion the other end of the phone suggested and talked me through rebooting the router and resetting the factory settings. OK, there are lots of happy little lights on now. Yippee!

All was right with the world again.

For two days.

I was rudely awakened from a dream about sewing books together to make a computer (I kid you not) by child number one's anguished cry of 'What do you mean there's no Internet?' Hubby and children were in the kitchen looking shell-shocked and depressed. "Mum!" cried child number two, "There's no Internet connection at all - we're UNCONNECTED!"


'We'll send you a new router,' the ISP folk promised, it should be there in a few days. With bank holidays in the way, it took over a week and for the first few days we were a family adrift from our usual routines and connections. Child number one and I decided to re-read some books, child number two went out to play football, hubby headed off to the gym. It was a kind of old-fashioned, back-to-basics kind of connecting which I realised I'd kind of missed.

And now we're back on line, connected again to the wonders of the world wide web and our online, far away friends. It was a very long 'week and a bit' without Google and Facebook and Twitter and Blogger and all those other little bits and pieces that make up my day-to-day existence. I missed them, missed a lot of people that I chat to every day in some form or another but will probably never meet but I realised that, if the unthinkable happened and the web of wonders disintegrated, I would survive but my world-view and my circle of friends would shrink a HUGE amount. (Hmmmm...there may just be a future book in that!)

Plus, I wouldn't get directed to things like this:

Thank you very much legogenie123! That's AMAZING!!!