Monday, 18 May 2015

Blood, Boobs and Carnage Blog Fest!

Hello and welcome to the Blood, Boobs and Carnage blog fest! I found this little party during the #AtoZChallenge, and it looked like fun so I signed up. And today I will use it to showcase my debut novel, Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel). Hey, someone has to talk about my amazing books, and you will enjoy them, I am sure.

How does a novel called Love Hurts relate to Blood, Boobs and Carnage, I hear you ask? I will tell you. It is the beginning of an adult paranormal romance series. I’m talking vampires, werewolves, witches and other supernatural creatures. So there is the blood. The boobs, well, my heroine, Jessica Stone, is just your average 20-something woman. She enjoys sex. And she especially enjoys having sex with her new boyfriend, who unbeknownst to her, is a vampire. Again with the blood.

And now to the carnage. Well, my vampires do not sparkle. They fight. They snarl. They feed on innocent humans. They battle each other, they battle other supernatural creatures, they fight for supremacy, power, control and just for the hell of it sometimes. But in the Redcliffe novels we find it is the werewolves that seem to cause most of the trouble. You see, Jessica’s boyfriend, Jack Mason, has an identical twin brother who just happens to be alpha of the Redcliffe werewolf pack. Danny Mason is impulsive, passionate, and dangerous. Carnage ensues when a rogue werewolf comes to town with the intention of killing Danny and taking control of his pack. His brother steps in to help, Jessica is caught up in the chaos, and all hell breaks loose.

I do hope this has captured your attention sufficiently to make you touch the ‘Buy Now’ button on your device… You won’t regret it! If you are keen to see more Blood, Boobs and Carnage, check out my fellow party goers. Have a nice day now!

*Brothers image courtesy of Phat Puppy Art Studios

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

It is Time to Get my Act Together #amwriting

The past five years have been a whirlwind of chaos and confusion, excitement and drama for me and my family. During this time I quit my safe, full time office job in order to pursue my dream career, I got married, I got pregnant, and now I am a housewife with two young children. There was lots of other stuff as well, but I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say, I have been very busy.

Now, because of being busy in my domestic life, I have neglected to devote the proper time and attention to developing my writing career. There have been lots of ups and downs while I alternately celebrated my successes, and commiserated my failures. It is an endless cycle in the world of small business, and especially so when it comes to the modern world of book publishing and writing.

I envisioned a career where I could spend my days writing my stories, and where I could earn a comfortable income from book sales. This was a very na├»ve vision, as I now understand. I waded blindly into my new dream without assessing the situation, and I am not a natural  business person. But I am willing to learn. And I am always learning.

All the advice I receive tells me to set up a business as a writer of some sort, whether it be ghost writing, proofreading and editing, technical writing or similar. So I have tried it. I have drifted from one part time job to another during the past few years, and all have the same basic catch: they do not pay. Most internet based companies will try and persuade a new writer that they can build their portfolio by writing articles for free, or these companies pay an absolute pittance that does not constitute a living wage here in the Western world. I have done my work experience. My portfolio is healthy. Now my wallet needs to catch up.

I need to get my act together. I need to assess exactly what kind of writing I want to do for my career. My personal life is also a very big distraction. We cannot afford external childcare in order for me to go out to work (I know, crazy!). But we hope to send our toddler to preschool in September when her older sister starts primary school. Then, perhaps, I will find time to settle down and actually write all of the stories that I have scribbled in snippets in my notebooks. That is where my heart lies. That is my career dream. I cannot be an author if I do not continue to write (and publish) new stories. So I will knuckle down, stop being distracted, and write. I will!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

#AtoZChallenge 2015 - Was it Worth It?

We have reached the end. It has been almost a week since I completed the April A-Z Blogging Challenge for my third year running. I initially found the blog hop during my desperate and naive attempts to sell my newly published novels across social media platforms. As a young, inexperienced, ill-advised and yet very talented author, I am struggling to gain a foothold in the industry. I want to be an internationally famous bestselling author. I know that I have the skill with words, I have the talent to write, and I have the determination. What I don’t have is a marketing budget, the expertise on turning my work into a sustainable business, and the right contacts in the right places that can get me started.

Nevertheless, I blithely threw myself into the #AtoZChallenge, telling myself that it was a good way to build followers, raise awareness of my books, and who knows, maybe even sell a few to my blog readers. It has not yet reaped the rewards I might have expected. Most of my blog visitors are fellow authors in the same situation. We all have stories to tell, books to sell, and no means by which to break in to an industry dominated by stalwarts and professionals who have been working at it for longer than I have been on this planet. We have no chance. The big publishers will not give us the time of day. The agents are far too busy plowing through their slush piles, and will generally only take on TV celebrities or people that they are certain will sell because they are famous for other pursuits (I’m talking sports personalities and the like).

Anyway, in terms of selling books and growing my author platform, the #AtoZChallenge was, once again, a massive fail. And yet, I don’t feel like a failure. I feel very proud of myself. I took on the challenge to write a blog post every day for a whole month (with Sundays off), and I did it. My fiction writing has stalled a lot lately, because I decided to have children before my biological clock exploded. Writing for blogs has given me an outlet to rant, to let off steam, and even to play around with new ideas about my work. And actually I did make quite a big decision about my career direction while I was doing this year’s challenge. All for the better. So you see, it was worth it. It was a success. And I will do it again. See you soon!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Poldark with Fangs! #amreading The Redcliffe Novels

I am so excited! And it took just one new review for my debut novel, Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel), to set me off. We writers are a sensitive breed. We thrive on compliments, much like the rest of the world, I suppose, but for me this has been the boost I needed after more ups and downs in the world of writing and marketing.
My latest 5 star review comes from a reader who took my novel on holiday. And now she wants more. Hooray! She called the story, "Poldark with Fangs," which I think is absolutely brilliant, and why didn't I think of that? I mean, I watched Poldark because of Aidan Turner, because I first discovered him as the vampire John Mitchell in Being Human that was shown on BBC3, and I fell head over heels in lust for the boy. In fact, I even pictured him as a candidate for Detective Jack Mason in an upcoming television series or film franchise... 
Hey, we thrive on dreams and possibilities! Anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement, and my dreams, and I hope that if you haven't picked up the Redcliffe novels yet, then it will encourage you to do so. Put it this way: if you love Aidan Turner, if you loved him in Poldark, if you love sexy, smoldering alpha males with strong female characters in a picturesque Cornwall location, you will not be disappointed. Thank you! 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge - The Spell is Complete. The Witch has found her safe Zone

We are here. We have survived. We have experienced the highs and lows of life on the English Riviera, and we will never be the same again. Imagine if you took a holiday (or a vacation) in Redcliffe, Cornwall, and you discovered the werewolf pack, and the vampires. Imagine if you saw the witch Jessica Stone in the throes of magical sorcery. You would be forever changed. Just like Jessica, when she fell in love with a vampire. It is alright for you and I. We have our homes far away from the madness. Jessica now lives in a danger Zone. And she is immersed far too deeply to even consider an escape.

I hope you have enjoyed our adventures over here on the #AtoZChallenge 2015. I hope that you are now eagerly devouring the first three Redcliffe novels, and that they exceed your expectations. Perhaps you would care to leave a review, and share the books with your friends? I would really appreciate it. My life is very lonely at present, with my supernatural family demanding attention, and no one to share them with (my children are preschoolers. I think they are a little young for the Redcliffe novels just yet!). Maybe you are familiar with the tourist places in Cornwall that inspired my location. I used a mixture of Looe and Polperro, because those are places that I visited a lot many years ago. I also threw in a bit of Newquay, just for good measure.

Jessica will rest for now. I have completed the first draft of book 4 in the Redcliffe series. Eye of the Tiger is proving to be the most dramatic adventure yet, but it is far from finished. No. I have decided that I will take time over this novel. I will use the techniques, advice and information that I have gleaned during the years since I published the previous novels, and then I will make this one the Best Damn Paranormal Romance this side of the Atlantic. Jessica is learning her witchcraft. I, too, am learning my craft. My work continues to evolve, and now I allow myself the luxury of indulgent language. I will even endeavour to include some native Cornish dialect at some point. I do include local characters, after all; mostly members of the Redcliffe werewolf pack. See you soon, my friends…

I hope you have enjoyed participating in the #AtoZChallenge 2015. You can see other participants and find new authors over on the official website. We have everything from book stuff, to cooking, to photography, to travel, and a whole lot more. I am leaving now, to take a well-earned rest. And to catch up on some reading. And some writing… Toodle-oo!

*Image of Looe Harbour at sunset found on Pinterest

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge - Yield to the Wolf and the Tiger

It is interesting to see that as I progress through the Redcliffe novels, the call of the werewolves becomes ever louder and more demanding. The vampires seem to hide in the shadows, watching, waiting, and feeding. The wolves, however, are powerful, assertive creatures, who will stop at nothing to dominate whatever and whoever takes their fancy. So it seems for our hapless heroine, Jessica Stone, as she battles with her feelings towards the identical twin brother of her vampire lover, werewolf alpha Danny Mason. The Yowl of the werewolf is a haunting sound, one that draws you in, and calls to a deeper, primitive, animal instinct.

Jessica has not seen much of the werewolves actually in wolf form. When she does, it is usually in stressful situations, when they call forth their animal power to protect and defend their precious witch. At least, that is how she seems to the alpha wolf. His subordinates are not so welcoming. Danny Mason has connected with Jessica on a magical level. He refuses to give up on her, and he will pursue her relentlessly until she gives him what he wants. Her problems are further complicated by the call of her ethereal animal familiar, the snow tiger, Suri. She wants the alpha wolf as a plaything. The wolf and the tiger repeatedly howl, growl, and yowl their insistence to their witch. Their voices grow louder. Her resistance grows weaker.

What is a young witch to do? She has not long come into her powers. She is only just learning how to work spells, how to defend herself from enemies using magic, and how to celebrate the important seasonal festivals observed by her coven. Everything is distorted and confused. Jessica is absolutely certain that Jack Mason is her soulmate, even if he is a vampire. He loves her, and yet he is angry about what she has done. She feels the same way towards him. And always, creeping ever closer, is the alpha wolf, waiting for his chance to pounce. He will consume Jessica if she allows him. He will offer comfort, protection, support, and the greatest pleasure she has ever known. But what is his price? And what will happen if the wolf and the tiger come together in a cacophony of magical chaos?

If you are interested in seeing other participants for the #AtoZChallenge, check them out on the official website. We have everything from book stuff, to cooking, to photography, to travel, and a whole lot more. Happy April!

*Wolf image courtesy of List25; Tiger image courtesy of 500px

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge - Sex is the ultimate eXperience

Well, the month has flown by, and now we are in the final days of the #AtoZChallenge. And you know what that means? The final, and probably trickiest, letters to write about. None more so than the subject of today’s post. I couldn’t find a word beginning with X to correlate with the Redcliffe novels, so I chose words containing this sharp letter instead. Today we talk about how sex is the ultimate eXperience in Redcliffe, and in the supernatural world.

Over here in the UK we like to think that we are an open minded and easy going nation. The funny thing is, when it comes to sex, we are so uptight it is laughable. Our media outlets overflow with cautionary tales of sexual exploitation, sex gone wrong, and basically tell us that sex is scary, dangerous, and we should avoid it at all costs. This all comes at the same time we are being coerced into embracing our sexual nature, flaunting our gorgeous bodies (especially the ladies, am I right?), and making ourselves available for procreation and the self fulfilling prophecy of a good old-fashioned family unit. But only in a safe environment. That is very important. Safety in numbers is essential in our society, except when it comes to sexual relations. Then, we are to trust in one other person completely, as we open ourselves up and reveal our most hidden, delicate, and sensitive traits.

It is little wonder, then, that our heroine in the Redcliffe novels finds herself conflicted when she falls in love with a vampire, and finds herself lusting after his identical twin brother who happens to be a werewolf. Jessica Stone is not inexperienced when it comes to sex. She is not particularly embarrassed about enjoying sex for fun. She is, however, stuck in the belief that a person should only ever have one sexual partner at any given time in their life. And they most certainly should not ever consider having sex with their boyfriend’s brother. Not even when magic, mystery, and supernatural power is involved. Jessica cannot take chances. She cannot give in to her sexual urges, even if the eXperience would leave her satisfied and fulfilled. Or can she?

If you are interested in seeing other participants for the #AtoZChallenge, check them out on the official website. We have everything from book stuff, to cooking, to photography, to travel, and a whole lot more. Happy April!

*Threesome image courtesy of Fanpop