Monday, 21 July 2014

Book Review: Mystical Circles by S.C. Skillman

Here is my review of Mystical Circles by S.C. Skillman:

I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while, since I follow the author’s blog and feel she is something of a kindred spirit. The story was interesting and a little bit different, but I have to say the book was not as good as I had anticipated. I found it fairly dull in places, and I really struggled to connect with the protagonist, Juliet. I suppose this was intentional, because the story follows Juliet as she tries to ‘rescue’ her younger sister from a perceived threat after she falls in with a crowd of people that might be part of a cult, and at the very least are of the New Age persuasion in spiritual terms. I personally follow this kind of spirituality, so perhaps I was instinctively feeling protective towards my own kind. Not surprising then that I preferred the leading male character, Craig, because he is the leader of this group, the Wheel of Love. Ultimately I thought there were some interesting social and cultural themes in the story, and it was something that is all too familiar to me, an English woman from a very traditional British working family. It is worth reading if you are more interested in thoughts and feelings, but don’t expect much physical action.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

#99cents Offer! Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel)

Did I mention that my debut novel Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) is now just $0.99 on Smashwords? Oh, well, just saying... maybe you want to read it, if you haven't already... and don't forget to leave a review! Thank you!

The Cornish town of Redcliffe is a beautiful seaside resort.  It has wild sea, rambling forests, mysterious cliffs, and a local powerful werewolf pack.  Jessica Stone is blissfully happy running a bookshop with her best friend and business partner, Elizabeth Gormond.

When Detective Jack Mason sweeps Jessica off her feet, she cannot understand the hostility towards him from her gay best friend Simon Bunce.  Eventually Jessica realises that there is more to Jack Mason than meets the eye, and then she meets his identical twin brother, Danny.  She is drawn into their dangerous lives by their enemy, a powerful werewolf determined to overthrow the pack leader.

Jessica’s world is turned upside down as she discovers that all is not as it seems in this picturesque resort, and there are many painful lessons to be learnt about falling in love…

Buy Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) from Smashwords now! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I Am the Master Procrastinator! #CampNaNoWriMo

We are 9 days into the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge for 2014, and I'm off to a slow start. It's not surprising really. As I write this, my youngest daughter is sitting on my knee trying to bash the computer keys. My eldest daughter is demanding that I play pirates, doctors, princesses and a whole host of other games. I sit at the computer, and instead of opening my WIP and getting on with the writing, I hop from one social network to another, messing about and telling myself that it is work.

I'm in a strange place at the moment. I need to sell more books. I need to get myself on some internationally recognized bestseller lists, and I need people to embrace the Redcliffe novels, and to understand that I am a bloody good writer! There is an opening in the UK market for some paranormal romance, since the popular television series Being Human finished months ago. I can't think of any British authors in recent decades that write the kind of stories I do, at least not in popular circles.

So how do I go about marketing myself properly? I have absolutely no budget. I am, essentially, a housewife. I dislike the title and all its associations, but that is a whole different issue I need to work through for me, and my emotional state. One thing is certain: my children are my priority right now. But in the same way, my books are like my children. Fellow authors will understand what I mean. I believe in my novels wholeheartedly. I would never have written them otherwise. So now I need to figure out how to show them to the wider world. How do I get people to actually buy my books? That is the ultimate million-dollar question...

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A World of Inspiration #CampNaNoWriMo

Good Morning! I am so happy today. My Muse has finally returned, hooray! I have missed her so much during the past eighteen months or so. I blame pregnancy/childbirth/babies/hormones for it all, but who knows? All I can say is I have been living in a sort of fog for almost two years, but my youngest daughter is now eleven months old, and so I feel ready for a new challenge.

I didn't actually start my writing for #CampNaNoWriMo until yesterday (2nd July), but somehow, despite having the children needing attention throughout, I managed to write just over 2000 words in the space of around two hours. I am so happy! And while I was writing, I started to get ideas and plans for the novel. I am writing a teenage zombie romance. Random, yes? I know, but that is where my Muse is at the moment, and clearly I need to write it. So far I have a seventeen year old student named Jean Pickering, and her best friend and wannabe journalist, Kelly Rouse. It's amazing how the words flow...  Have a fabulous month my friends!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo #amwriting

I decided to try again with Camp NaNoWriMo. My attempt for April 2013 never quite worked out, although at the time I put it down to being heavily pregnant with a toddler and a work-addicted husband to deal with. April 2014 was dominated by family dramas. Now I am going to attempt the July 2014 Camp NaNoWriMo, and I am trying a completely new project for the challenge. Hooray!

My project for the coming month is a Young Adult teenage zombie romance. Has this been done before? Probably. Can you recommend similar books for me to read as research? Please do... For now I take my inspiration from recent renovation works in my local town, where there is an old churchyard that I believe was dissected to build a new main road back in the sixties (or thereabouts). During some routine pipe maintenance last year there were rumours that bones had been dug up, and that's when the idea hit me.

My idea resurfaced weeks ago when an empty building opposite the church was renovated and opened as new medical centre, and there is also a newly refurbished funeral home next door. How cool is that? In terms of literary gold for paranormal lovers, I am very excited. Now I need to develop my plot, and work out just how a normal teenage girl can meet and fall in love with a teenage zombie recently risen from his grave... So many questions, and such a juicy challenge! See you at Camp NaNoWriMo!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Christmas with the Vampires #amreading

With his blond hair, ice blue eyes and sculpted physique, Marcus Scott immediately turns the heads of everyone he encounters upon his arrival in London at Christmas time. Unbeknownst to all the women and men who fall under his spell with just one glance, Marcus is a vampire with a desperate need to feed from the young and the beautiful. When he unexpectedly encounters the Lady Amelia Richmond, the vampire instrumental in his own transition, the two begin to plan a holiday feast to satisfy their deep hunger.

Available to download from Amazon

Friday, 20 June 2014

Vampire Hunter Inspiration at Home #writetip

Today I am inspired to show where some of my writer inspiration comes from. I live a very self-contained life at the moment while I nurture two young children and support my husband through his career development. Therefore, I haven't travelled very far recently, except in my imagination. Ah yes, the imagination... my old friend never deserts me!

Anyway, back to the subject. Last year I began writing a novel about a vampire hunter who lives on a canal boat and travels the UK waterways, working as a university lecturer by day, and hunting vampires by night (or during her spare time... my vampires are awake all day and can move around in sunlight). Strange idea, right? Well, that's my story, it caught my imagination, and I will write it!

The novel has stalled a little admittedly, and now I am feeling the need to include themes of angels and demons, and maybe a few reincarnation/past life experiences as well... it could get complicated! Ultimately, this whole story was inspired by one early  morning walk along my local canal, on my way home from the shops. I walked past a moored boat and could smell bacon cooking. I am vegetarian, but the smell still appealed to me. Suddenly, my vampire hunter appeared, and she has a story to tell...

What random, and seemingly small events, have inspired your stories recently? Please share!