Friday, 14 November 2014

My #NaNoWriMo2014 Vampire Hunter Novel

Hey folks! How you doin'? Can you tell I am excited? Well I am! I just reached the halfway point on my #NaNoWriMo manuscript, and a day ahead of schedule. Hooray! Not bad considering I was 10,000 words short just 24 hours ago. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it... Anyway, because I feel very excited about this particular novel, I would like to share an excerpt with you. The story is about Hannah Oakley, a former vampire hunter turned wife and mother. She returns to work covertly to hunt down the vampire that almost killed her in a previous career. This is an excerpt from the very beginning of the novel (unedited, I might add!)...



Staring into the darkness, I held my breath and raised my gun, forcing my  body to remain calm and still. She was out there, my target, the vampire I was supposed to destroy. She had eluded me for long enough. I had to end it. But I didn’t. I could hear movement, but it wasn’t her. She was too clever, to strong, too determined. There was a draft blowing through the cracked window to my left, and I felt the cold air whipping across my face. It stung where the vampire had hit me. My skin was stiff with dried blood, and sticky with more as it oozed from my wounds. I was beginning to lose consciousness. No, I could not give in. If I collapsed now then she would win. She would kill me. I was not ready to die.
With a terrifying scream the vampire leaped out of the darkness, hit me again, and I flew backwards, landing with a heavy thud on the concrete floor. It stunned me momentarily, and I panicked when I lost my gun. I tried to reach for the silver knife sheathed on my left leg, but I was too slow, groggy with the pain and shock from my wounds. The vampire crouched over me, her silver eyes glowing in the dark. It was those eyes that had been my undoing. That and my inexplicable attraction to this woman when I first met her. It was no good. I was fading fast, gasping for breath and fighting to stay alive. My body could take no more abuse. 
“I could end this now, Hannah,” the vampire said, “All it takes is one more kiss.”
She reached out a slender finger and lightly stroked my face. I flinched and tried to move away but I couldn’t. I saw her fangs gleaming in the moonlight that streamed through the broken window. My nose wrinkled as it detected a smell of damp mixed with the cold, dead stench of vampire power. Just one more kiss. It would be so easy. She would kiss me, just like she always did, and the world would simply melt away. We would be alone, wrapped in each other’s arms, for eternity. My head lolled back, exposing my bleeding neck, and she moved closer, hovering above me as she savoured the moment. I closed my eyes.
“Mummy,” 
The vampire was kissing me…
“Mummy! Where are you?”
My eyes snapped open. The room spun. Blinking rapidly, I looked around. I was in the kitchen, standing by the worktop, idly stirring a mug of tea that was beginning to cool. It had happened again. The flashbacks were more frequent, and now it seemed they were lasting for longer. Shaking my head, I stepped away from the worktop and turned towards the door.
“I’m in here, sweetheart,” I called out in a voice that shook very slightly.
“Mummy,” my daughter called.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The World's Best Grammar Checker #amwriting

I pride myself on being a bit of a 'grammar ninja' when it comes to writing. That includes everything from my blog posts to social media statuses, and everything in-between. And, of course, the final copy of my manuscripts undergoes serious scrutiny before I deem it good enough to publish. Here is a useful infographic from Grammarly, 'The World's Best Grammar Checker.'



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Witch is Awake in Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel) #HumpDayHook #Vampires

Greetings my friends, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Hump Day Hook. Today I show an excerpt from book 3 in the Redcliffe novels series. Here is a snippet from Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel). Jessica has awakened her true witch power, and now she needs help from her werewolf friend.



“Jessica,” he said, “What’s wrong?”
        “Simon,” I replied with a sob, “You have to come quickly.  I’ve hurt Jack.  I don’t know how badly.  Please, hurry.”
         There was a moment of silence while Simon thought about my words.
        “Alright,” he said quietly, “Don’t panic.  I will be there in five minutes.  I’m sure he will be fine, Jessica.”
         I put my phone away, staring at Jack.  I knew he wasn’t dead.  After my recent experience with killing a vampire, I knew that Jack and Marcus would have turned to dust.  But I didn’t know what I had done to them.  All I knew was it had been a surge of pure energy, a power so strong it hit each of them like a fist.  I was trembling, and my head was spinning.


If you enjoyed this one, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and see what my fellow authors have to offer. We write about romance, love, science fiction, fantasy, erotica and everything in-between, so you are sure to find something that delights the senses. You can also find us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Will I Succeed This Time? #NaNoWriMo

It is that time of year folks. How on earth did we get to November already? I have no idea. All I know is it has been a long and challenging year, and yet it seems to have gone really quickly. Back in April I attempted to do #CampNaNoWriMo. It wasn't quite the success I anticipated, but at least now I have the beginnings of a YA novel languishing on my hard drive until such time as I feel the urge to finish it.



For #NaNoWriMo 2014 I have returned to my vampires. OK, I never truly left them. But this time I am writing a story about a vampire hunter. Hannah Oakley retired from the job nine years ago after the vampire she was hunting seduced and almost killed her. She never did finish the job, and the vampire is out there, somewhere. Hannah is now married with two young children, and finding motherhood both a joy and a chore (sound familiar?). We meet her at the point where she is remembering the past, wondering about her former vampire lover, and wondering if she will ever be able to slay the one vampire who broke through her strong defenses.


The good news is, I am getting into this story. It is quite exciting, it is calling to me, albeit it faintly at the moment, and I do feel the urge to write every day. My difficultly lies with the ever-present domestic distractions. I am currently home alone with my own two young children, one of whom returns to pre-school next week after an extended half-term holiday. Perhaps then I might settle into a proper writing routine. As it stands I have written 4,957 words. The NaNoWriMo stats tell me at this rate I will complete the challenge on January 10th 2015. I had better suck it up, get my ass into gear, and get some words on the page!

Happy writing, fellow Wrimos!


*Vampire hunter image courtesy of 500px.com

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Love Kills in the Hump Day Hook #HDH #ASMSG


Greetings my friends, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Hump Day Hook. Today I show an excerpt from book 2 in the Redcliffe novels series. Here is a snippet from Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel). Our heroine, Jessica Stone, has returned to the werewolf lair for the first time since she discovered the secrets of her town. And now she faces a new challenge in the form of the werewolf alpha, Danny Mason.


We were back in the entrance hallway, the one where I had almost died.  I stopped in the middle of the room, staring down at a dark stain on the flags.  This was my blood.  I had lain here, bleeding from the neck and stomach, when Danny had fought Seamus Tully to the death.  Closing my eyes I could hear the dim sounds of snarls and growls, turning to howls as wolves were slain.  Simon and Sally had been injured but they healed quickly, so when they visited me in hospital it seemed like I was the only one to suffer.  I took a few deep breaths, and when I opened my eyes Danny was standing silently beside me.  I hadn’t even felt his presence.
“The floor has been cleaned several times.” Danny said, looking down at the stain.
            “A permanent reminder I suppose.” I said lightly, though my voice quivered.
“Come, Jessica, let us return to the pub.” Danny said, taking my hand and gently leading me towards the door across the room.
I nodded.
“Yes,” I said, “I need a drink.” 


If you enjoyed this one, why not pop over to our dedicated Hump Day Hook blog and see what my fellow authors have to offer. We write about romance, love, science fiction, fantasy, erotica and everything in-between, so you are sure to find something that delights the senses. You can also find us on Facebook. Happy Humping!

Friday, 31 October 2014

One Epic Ghost Hunt: Bodelwyddan Castle, Wales – Saturday 10th April 2010

Wow!  This was one epic and exciting ghost hunt!  Bodelwyddan Castle is beautifully kept and a fantastic museum and antique centre.  And they have a second-hand bookshop in the grounds!  I could feel the Spirit energy building as I drove to the venue, and it felt excited, as though the ghosts were ready to play...


On the walk round I felt dizzy in the hallway by the main staircase.  I knew that it was an active area but couldn’t connect with any of the energies to identify them.  The Library was a very masculine room, both in d├ęcor and the general atmosphere.  The Dining Room felt more welcoming and a bit more feminine-influenced.  In the bedroom I sensed a female spirit who was a very pretty and delicate lady and she was immensely proud of this room.  She wanted us to admire it because it was modern and stylish.

In the Library we spoke to Alfred, his brother Thomas, and a man who called himself Jeffries.  This was all done using the planchette.   Jeffries said he had murdered Thomas out of jealousy and he wasn’t remorseful.  In fact he seemed quite proud of his crime.  Jeffries was very strong and he moved the planchette across the table so it had two wheels hanging over the edge.  Then he moved it around the edge of the table but he lost it on the corner and it fell to the floor. I had never experienced this kind of movement before and was very impressed.


In the Dining Room we set up the glass and spoke to Margaret, who was Alfred’s wife.  She seemed very gentle and pleasant and told us she had three children, Alex, Jonathon and Alison.  We were about to ask her some more questions when Alfred came in and took over the glass, advising us that he had sent his family away and we should speak to him!  He was very protective and I got the impression he was well loved and respected by his wife and children, and vice-versa.

After that we spoke to George, who came across as a portly, jovial 18th Century gentleman who enjoyed his brandy and the ladies!  His son Henry also came onto the glass but wouldn’t speak to the women in our group.  He only answered questions from a man. Apparently George had a mistress and an illegitimate daughter and it destroyed the family.  As a result of this Henry blamed the mistress and subsequently mistrusted women.

We then spoke to Bernadette, the illegitimate daughter.  She said we could call her Bernie, and explained that she and her mother were banished from the castle after the truth of George’s affair came out.  Bernie’s mother resented her for spoiling everything and she had an unhappy childhood as a result.  We felt really sorry for Bernie!  But then she said that she had been happily married and had children of her own.  We even sympathized with Henry after he told us the story and he gradually began answering questions from one of the women in our group.  After a while we felt the strong presences of all these Spirits surrounding us and it made us feel quite uncomfortable so we ended the vigil and went for a break.


In the rear hallway we sat on the floor to try some EVP and Pete (Medium) became overwhelmed by a drunkard gamekeeper called James.  This man affected a couple of women in our group by making them feel dizzy and one even smelt alcohol fumes.  Pete then said that James was having lewd thoughts about us!  He had been a hard worker and a hard drinker during his life but he seemed harmless enough.  At the end of the hallway was a sofa and I could see a man sat on it watching our group.  He wasn’t the gamekeeper; I think he was a gentleman, but I could get nothing from him.  He was simply observing but didn’t want to interact.  I also saw a lady in the hallway stood near our table.  She was curious about us but wouldn’t come any closer because she was afraid of James and what he might do.  She was tall and slender, with brown hair worn in an up-do, and she was wearing a pale blue dress.

We moved into the main hallway and found the other group with a tipping-table.  Paul (Medium) had contacted five young children and 14 year-old Patricia.  We started singing Ring O Roses and the table actually moved in time to the nursery rhyme!  It was amazing!  Then someone suggested we try a different song and the children joined in with Row Your Boat!  I was so impressed and excited because I've never seen this before and it was such a fantastic experience.



Later on we were doing EVP in the bedroom and we heard the sound of one of the toys being played in the Toy Room upstairs.  Two people went to investigate and couldn't explain how it had happened.  We all hovered on the landing for a bit but it was quiet and when we moved away we heard it again, it was eerie!

In the cellar we had been told there was a man who had been affecting people in the other group earlier that night.  He is apparently a very mischievous Spirit who had tormented many people over the years to the point where the Bodelwyddan staff refer to him as ‘Cellar Man’ and are used to his presence!  So we went in search of him.  He moved the glass a little bit and said his name was Matthew but we didn’t believe him.  Eventually we got bored and left him.

Finally we spoke to Mary using the glass in the Library.  Apparently she was George’s sister and they were cousins with Alfred and Thomas.  Mary was married to Timothy and her children were Anne, Emily, Laura and Giles.  She seemed very happy and was strong and talkative.  In fact it was dawn outside when we finished speaking to her!  Mary told us that George’s wife was Margaret and his mistress was called Lillian.  Mary and George also had a sister called Caroline.  Mary also told us that the man in the cellar was called Harold.


Bodelwyddan Castle is certainly a home with a rich history and a large family.  I think we could compile a whole biography from these spirits if we were to return with a list of questions…

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ghost Hunter Diaries: The Watermillock, Bolton, Friday 13th November 2009

This was one amazing night!  Let me begin by setting the scene…  After a few wrong turns I finally arrived at the Toby Carvery Pub known as The Watermillock.  The large building is imposing to look at and has gargoyles above the front door in true Victorian Gothic style.  Yet there was something warm about it; the colour of the brick, the large windows with a glimpse into the warm, cosy interior and even a black cat sat in an upstairs window watching people coming and going.  So I stepped inside…



Our first vigil was on the first floor and we began using a planchette on the tiled floor of the landing area.  The planchette is a divination tool.  Quite simply it is a wooden board on wheels, with a hole in the middle through which we push a pen or pencil.  We then place the apparatus onto a large piece of paper, each person will rest a fingertip on the edge of the board, and we will ask for a spirit person to come forward and speak with us.  The spirit will then use our collective energy to push the board around the paper to either write a message or even just draw a picture or symbol.  Sometimes they will simply move the board to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions.



During our walk round I had seen a small boy walk across this area and peer into the room where we were sat and I was hoping he would come and speak to us.  He didn't but we soon had a response from a man who identified himself as Herbert, grandfather to John who was in our investigation group.  Herbert had been a soldier injured in WW2 and was brought to the Red Cross hospital in this building in the mid 1940s.  He was very strong and seemed only to want to reassure John that he was still with him, but he was very private and wouldn't answer any personal questions.  He did say there were other spirits in the house but none of them were able to speak to us at the time.


The second vigil was a whole new experience for me as a ghost hunter and I will never forget it!  We moved into the cellar and into a disused room that Lorraine (the medium) had felt very uncomfortable in during our walk-round earlier in the evening.  At the time I hadn't felt anything unusual, which in itself confused me because I generally feel very anxious in cellars and enclosed spaces.  But as I walked down the stairs from the ground floor I had a sudden strong feeling that someone would try and push me down even though there was nobody behind me.  Then when I turned the lights off for us to begin our vigil I had a strong urge to run back upstairs to safety, I did not want to enter this room!


We moved in and sat down around the table but each of us huddled into our chair and was very nervous of the unknown energies.  I even had to ensure I sat on a high backed chair rather than a stool because it felt safer.  We used a glass in this room because it seemed appropriate.  By ‘using the glass’ I mean it as a method of divination to communicate with spirits.  We ask questions and the glass is moved around the table to indicate either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in answer.  The energy is raised by each person in the seance circle placing a fingertip very lightly on the edge of the upturned glass, so that the spirit person can ‘push’ it.  We very quickly got a response in here.

Through questioning we met 17-year-old Gertrude, who was very strong when moving the glass.  She seemed to attach to Maggie in our group because she felt safe with her.  Gertrude told us that she was alone in the cellar and that she had been brought to the hospital in 1943 having been fatally injured by a trusted male friend.  He had apparently proposed marriage to her and when she rejected him he became angry and hurt her.  Then he took her to the hospital where she died on 10th December.  At this point the glass was moving very forcefully around the table as Gertrude demonstrated her loneliness and isolation, and Maggie started crying almost to the point of hysterics as she became involved with the spirit.  We then asked Gertrude if she needed our help and she said yes, The glass was almost flying in circles around the table.

I went upstairs and asked Lorraine if she could come and help us and she knew instantly that it was a young girl that we were communicating with.  She came into the cellar with me and proceeded to help Gertrude move into the Light (a mysterious other realm that I am not familiar with), where she was reunited with her long lost brother.  The emotions and the energy I felt during this particular seance was so intense I was left exhausted, as were the other members of our group, but we felt so much better once we knew Gertrude was in a safe place.



Lorraine suggested we move into the next large room in the cellar, which is used as a staff room.  The atmosphere in here was much lighter and there was no sense of oppression.  We then attempted table tipping with almost instantaneous results!  It was a square table, which had a small brass goblet on top.  The table tipped almost vertical and the cup never moved until I commented on it to ask if it was stuck in place.  Then the table was lowered, paused and tipped again and this time the cup fell off.  Lorraine laughed and told us it was a young boy who was playing with us and we did feel very jolly and happy.


Finally we came to our third vigil, by which time we had had quite enough strong energy and were ready to relax a little.  We sat in the large ground floor restaurant area towards the rear of the building, and it felt very homely and strangely comforting.  A few of us commented that we could quite happily curl up on the floor and fall asleep knowing that we were safe and protected.  I had a vision of the room filled with warm candlelight and people laughing and chattering together while a huge fire roared in the grate.  Lorraine felt that this part of the house would have been separate to the hospital and that the family life was very happy and comfortable.  While I was sat at a table on my own I became aware of my Yorkshire Terrier dog, Toby, who had passed away 18 months ago.  He padded towards me as he used to during life, and I felt him jump up and put his front paws on my knee while he asked for a fuss.  At the same time I felt a strong cold draft across my knee even though the room and the rest of my body was warm.  I was greatly comforted with this and was aware of Toby lying by my foot relaxing.


I was very surprised to learn that ours was the only group who experienced any strong activity during our investigations.  The whole house seems alive to me and I cannot wait to return and see who else we can speak to!  It is wonderful to know that we leave a little of ourselves behind when we pass over, because to communicate with Spirit is to have history come alive and to know that there is always something more, something beyond our physical Earth realm, just waiting to be explored when the time is right.  And this is exactly what I felt in The Watermillock; history from its past inhabitants, families, patients, doctors and any number of other people with stories to tell and memories to share.