Wednesday, 26 August 2015

#ScribeFest - A Write Good Experience! Middlewich Literary Festival

I am back from a very busy, and very enjoyable, weekend at the Middlewich Boat Pull event, and now I am very happy to announce the official launch of our brand new local festival, Scribe (Middlewich Literary Festival). Scribe takes place from 12th - 17th October 2015, and it is set to be a very lively festival, with visiting speakers and authors from all over the UK, lots of local venues opening their doors, and a chance to meet our local artists, writers and performers.

Some of our guests include Elizabeth Williams from the Gaskell Society, talking about Jane Austen, Money and Marriage; Miles Hunt with the Wonder Stuff diaries; poet John Lindley and film maker Alex Bell; journalist Joanna Collie, and various authors including yours truly (of course!), historian Gill Hoffs (who you may have seen recently on the television show Coast), author Paula Manley, and author and playwright Dan Weatherer (responsible for the award winning Legend of the Chained Oak short film).

#ScribeFest is a brand new festival concept that aims to bring together local artists with those visiting from further afield, to offer a creative and invigorating atmosphere in our canal town. We even have something for the children, in the form of a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party hosted by professional storyteller John Kirk, and a Children’s Literature and Illustration event run by local artists Ian Hill-Smith and Philip Latham. More events will be announced as we continue our preparations, but I am very excited about this one, as you can probably tell! Oh, and you might be interested to enter our short story competitions, one for adults and one for children, all with cash prizes and an invitation to our very special short story award ceremony during the festival.

So, here is my call-out to book lovers old and young. And to all of my artist and creative friends, we offer an open invitation to come and visit Middlewich in Cheshire during the October festival. Our pubs are welcoming and very cosy, we have events planned in various venues including my favourite cafĂ© Drinks and Bites, and in Boatyard Artspace at Middlewich Narrowboats, which is a fabulous place, and very pretty with views over the canal and lots of colourful boats bobbing around. In fact, if you own a narrowboat, why not travel in style when you come to our events? Now, there’s an idea…

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Made in Middlewich: Boats, Beer, Books and Crafts

Hey folks, what are you doing this weekend? Do you fancy meeting your favourite paranormal author in Middlewich? Then come on up!
I will be exhibiting the Redcliffe novels, and The Darkness of Love, as part of The Middlewich Creative weekend of crafts, beer, boats and books. You can visit us at Middlewich Narrowboats, Canal Terrace, Middlewich, CW10 9BD from 10am on Saturday 22nd August, until 4pm on Sunday, 23rd August. See you there!


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