Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Magic Eye

Hey, everyone! This is my last Magic Eye of the year, so I thought it should be a festive one...

I'm finishing on a high note - my kids are happy and excited about Christmas, hubbie's business is going well and we're hopefully going to exchange contracts on the new-build Bungalow any day now, my WIP is coming along nicely and I'm looking forward to cracking on with it over the Christmas holiday, and to top it off, I've just received another 5-star rating on Goodreads (Soul Protector's 19th) and a lovely 4-star review on Zoe's Corner.

So, last but not least, I'd like to wish everyone reading this a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. xxx
Magic Eye Source

Monday, 12 December 2011

Introducing... Kathryn Brown

Happy Monday everyone. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... tra la la la la. Hope you're enjoying the twinkly lights everywhere, and getting into the festive spirit. 

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to fellow author Kathryn Brown. Kathryn's book Discovery at Rosehill is available in Paperback and Kindle.

Paragraph (taken from the end of Chapter One after Camilla has moved into Rosehill) -  And when I stood at my new ceramic kitchen sink, looking at the distant orange glow of horizon lights, I was alerted once more to a soul with no face; the silence broken in the wake of a repetitive knocking on my new kitchen table. "Do you like it?" I asked after turning round to face the answer. The reply: two knocks, knuckle bound on ancient Pine.

The real inspiration came from my father, after his death.  It took me a few years to write my debut novel, Discovery at Rosehill, but I knew that when I did start to write it, it was the right time to start. I guess you say it was a calling. But inspiration also came from the house in which I live. It’s an old farm house, built in 1750 and containing beautiful Georgian features. I moved here ten years ago after falling in love with the farmer (who is now my husband). The house has a wonderful atmosphere; it’s original character which surrounds the magnificence of its structure, oozes with paranormal embrace and draws anyone sensitive to spirit, like myself, to the recorded history within its walls. Each room has a certain ambience, perhaps a little eerie in some cases, but always welcoming and friendly. This is exactly how I have described Rosehill to be and have based the mansion in the book on my fascinating home.

What is your writing process/when do you find the time?

I try to start writing in the morning, usually around 10am; this is generally when I feel at my best. I tend to carry on until I feel no longer able to concentrate, or, if time is running away with me, it will be when my daughter is due home from school. I did a massive amount of research for Discovery at Rosehill and got to know several mediums due to my main character being one herself. This helped me to develop my own abilities and gave me more confidence about what I felt able to write with regards to spirit communication, manifestations and mediumship. As a subject I’m most interested in together with living in what I describe as a spiritually active house, choosing to write about the paranormal wasn’t a difficult decision.

Any triumphs/eureka moments?

I would have to say most of the book I wrote was like having a eureka moment. It felt natural to tune into the world of spirit, albeit as an author writing about a medium. I remember many occasions when I would be sitting at my desk and suddenly hear someone in the next room. Then there were times when I would actually feel someone standing over me, breathing beside me, their eyes perhaps looking at my computer screen. I felt that often and those times always switched on the light bulb in my head, enabling me to write about yet another finding in my already chaotic mind. I think the triumphs started when the book had been published and people were actually buying it. That was one of the biggest achievements of my life and something I am immensely proud of.

What piece of advice would you give someone who wanted to write a book?

The same piece of advice I gave myself when I started working on my current novel; plan, structure and research. I meticulously planned my new work-in-progress, having everything ready, including my notes, characterisations and plot, before my daughter broke up for the summer holidays this year. When she returned to school in September, I was able to start writing. Less than two months on, I am now almost at 70,000 words and feel I’ve sailed through the first draft. I find that if you don’t have a plot sorted out before you start writing the manuscript, it will take twice as long because you’ll keep going back to change bits here and there. I know they’ll be a colossal amount to change once the editing starts, but this time I’m just getting on with the writing. Just to write a book without it being edited is an achievement in itself.

When I was researching Discovery at Rosehill I remember an established author telling me, “don’t worry too much about your facts”. What she meant was this: if the book is fiction, it’s make-believe, therefore, we can get away with creating a few facts from our imagination. I probably went a little over-board with research the first time round because I wanted to make sure whoever read my work would be satisfied I’d done all the necessary research for such a complex subject as mediumship. But it can also be the case that a reader can get confused if the author digresses too much with facts and information instead of just telling the story. Personally, I’m not keen on reading a fiction book where I have to keep turning back a few pages to remind myself of what was happening, and filling a reader’s head with facts is, in my humble opinion, best kept to reference books.

Twitter: @CrystalJigsaw
Facebook: CrystalJigsaw

Thanks, Kathryn!!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Introducing... Jennifer Snyder

Happy Monday everyone. Hope you are all well and looking forward to Christmas. We put our tree and lights up yesterday so the house is looking very festive. All I need to finish the ambience is to bake something nice and cinammony. Or maybe I'll just buy a scented candle...

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jennifer Snyder. Jennifer is the author of Touch, a paranormal novella.

Seventeen-year-old Rowan Harper knows her life is forever changed the moment her schizophrenic mother commits suicide. What Rowan doesn’t realize is how much her mother’s choice altered her own fate. It’s not until after meeting Jet, a sapphire-eyed dead boy, Rowan begins to learn of her new destiny as becoming her mother’s replacement for something she never knew existed. Touch is an approx. 18,115 word novella.

He stood at the edge of my yard, leaning against an old oak which had been dead for years, watching me in an unabashed way. Even holding my gaze, his cheeks never reddened and he remained eerily still and silent. A flurry of snowflakes began falling and a whistling wind blew across my face as I continued to meet his gaze. My eyes watered, but I refused to blink, afraid that if I did he’d disappear.


Jennifer, what made you decide to write a book? I've always had an overactive imagination and always loved to read, so writing just seemed like the natural thing to do for me.
When do you fit writing into your day? I am a stay at home mother of two, so it can be a bit of a struggle, but I do kind of have a system. I write everything by hand in a notebook first. I start with any plot ideas, scenes, or clips of dialogue that pop into my head... then I write it all out a chapter at a time. When nap time rolls around, which is usually around 1:00, I then sit at my desk and type up as much as I can before the hour is up.
Self Published or Traditional? Self Published.
How was your experience? Bumpy, but I think that goes with either path you choose. They both have their up and down moments. I'm really happy with my choice to steer down the self published road, though. I've learned an incredible amount of information in the last year that I never thought I would be able to learn in ten years.
Tips for would-be authors? Which ever path you choose, do not just dive right in head first. Take some time to study.

If you're wanting to go the traditional route then check out a place called They have a forum that is filled with wonderful, friendly people who are very knowledgeable.

If you prefer to go the self published way there are tons of books you can purchase to learn all the how-to's from. Because believe me, there is a TON you will have to learn! If you poke around my website, , some of my earliest blog posts are about tips for newbies.

Touch on

That's great advice. Thanks, Jennifer, and best of luck with the book.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Magic Eye Friday!

I was browsing the net for a decent Magic Eye picture and for some reason I really struggled to see the hidden 3D images. Usually I just look and 'bam' there it is. I'm now a little bit nervous I'm losing my special Magic Eye powers...
I have an interview with author Jennifer Snyder on my blog on Monday. Until then... xx

Friday, 25 November 2011

Magic Eye Friday, NoNaNo and finally a title for my next book!!

Hope my visitors from across the pond had a great Thanksgiving, and enjoyed/are enjoying spending time with their loved ones. Cheers to you all!!

I have to report that I've hung up my NaNo pen... but I'd like to thank everyone who gave me support and encouragement along the journey.

The reason NaNo and I have gone separate ways is because LIFE got in the way; I had overnight visitors two weekends running, and just when I planned to do my catching up, we had a family crisis. I'm happy to report the 'crisis' is out of hospital and recovering well, but I knew it was time to duck out .

I'm pleased to say I'm still furiously writing my book, so it's not a total fail. And I've finally got a name for Soul Protector #2 - it's going to be called Heads, You Lose, (which is very fitting at the moment). It's a shame I didn't 'win' NaNo, but I'm not sad. NaNo has been brilliant for clocking up the wordcount and I'll definitely be trying again next year. If you're still participating, I wish you fast fingers and a sea of imagination!

And finally, here's some Friday inspiration for anyone who might need it... Don't forget to turn up the volume ;o)

Have a great weekend!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Introducing Debbie Bennett

Debbie Bennett describes herself as 'just a boring middle-aged civil servant with a secret life as a writer.' Hmm... when you see the description of Debbie's book, I think you'll agree she's anything but boring.

"What do you do when you realise that the bad guys might care more about you than the good ones?

Ricky's on the edge of a life of crime. Skipping college to steal cars in the aftermath of his father's death in action, it's not surprising that his dreams are vivid and seem almost real.

Calith's just on the edge of a life. Snatched from Ricky's world to another place altogether, Calith's found out that when you've grown up with the enemy, it's hard to make friends.

Then Ricky dreams of Calith and nobody seems more real than this boy from another world, with his multi-coloured hair and temper to match. But are Calith's motivations all they seem? Ricky's not sure. Calith's dark past is coming back to haunt him big time, and when you're jumping worlds to escape the good guys, something must be wrong somewhere, mustn't it?

A contemporary fantasy, certified 100% vampire-and-werewolf-free. No elves, faeries, dragons or wizards. Not even any zombies. Anywhere.

No, really - there aren't.

Edge of Dreams is available for just 99c/86p from the following outlets:

So, not boring at all... You can find out more about Debbie, here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Soul Protector #2 - a taster...

NaNoWriMo has definitely been a shove in the right direction. I'm clocking up large daily word counts on Soul Protector #2 and am totally lost in the story. And that's just the way I like it. If only I could come up with a title!

Anyway, here's a taster for you...

First play this, the louder the better! (snaffled from Breaking Dawn soundtrack).

Here's how I envisage Dan... I have this photo printed out and brooding at me from behind my PC. I tell hubbie it's purely to help with writing my book ;o)

And here's Gracie from the first book in the series, (she's standing this side of the mirror).


Gracie felt safe with Dan by her side. He'd been the one to save her life and introduce her to the world of Soul Protectors. Strong and dependable; he was her rock. And after everything they'd been through, she believed she could rely on him completely. So what happened to make her doubt him? 

While struggling to come to terms with what she's discovered, Gracie finds out Dan is in trouble. Huge trouble. And now she has to bury her pain in order to save him. But saving Dan means risking her own life, and betraying every one of her fellow Soul Protectors.

Mush dash - got writing to do...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Getting to Know Mel Comley...

Just before I introduce you to a very successful indie author, I want to share something that made me smile. A Google alert told me Soul Protector had been mentioned on Hawaii Five-0 Online. It was an article referring to a lovely review from Kim the Book Worm where she had likened my main character, Dan, to Alex O'Loughlin, aka, Steve McGarrett! I love hearing how other people perceive my characters. In my mind Dan looks quite different, (although I'm not complaining about Alex - far from it ;o)). That's the great thing about reading books; you go where your imagination takes you...  

I wonder who Mel Comley had in mind when she wrote her book, 'A Time for a Change'? For those who haven't heard about her yet, Mel is a British thriller/romance writer who now resides in France. She's happiest when she's tapping away at her keyboard creating memorable characters and great stories. 

A Time For Change by Mel Comley is a romance/mystery novella, available for 86p/99c.

Based on a true story.

Danielle Pires's life is going well. She has a boyfriend who wants to marry her and is building a reputation as a talented and hard-working interior designer. Keen to expand her portfolio, Danielle is delighted by a request to breathe life back into the Victorian Mansion that handsome Scott Jordache is renovating.

Her parents, meanwhile, have organised a surprise Caribbean cruise to give her a much-needed break.

Danielle sets sail only to discover Scott aboard the same ship, but mysteriously travelling under a pseudonym. Intrigued, she feels torn between mistrust and being drawn in by his charm.

Should she let herself fall for Scott or return to the security of the man she left at home?


How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for almost ten years professionally after I retired early and moved to France, this gave me the freedom to write full-time.
Do you have plans for any further books?
A Time for Change is my second romance and it’s been great to change genre, but my greatest passion lies with thrillers. I have two thrillers out at the moment Impeding Justice and Final Justice but the third book in the trilogy Cruel Justice is due for release on the 1st October.
What is your favorite book and why?
Actually, I know people will condemn me for this, but I saw the film the other day and was reminded what a terrific book The Da Vinci Code is, a stunning thriller!
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I would always say join a writer’s site, such as Authonomy where you will learn your trade. There’s more to writing than just putting words on a page. Then, invest in a GOOD editor, only go with someone who is recommended. There are lots of people calling themselves editors out there who clearly know nothing about the art of writing.

Friday, 4 November 2011

NaNoWriMo - my experience so far

I've been aware of NaNoWriMo for a few years now. I knew what it entailed; a group of writers coming together to take part in a month long writing frenzy. And I knew it wasn't for me. Seriously, who's got time to write 50,000 words in one month on top of all their other duties? Not me. 

But the buzz wouldn't die down. Each year, more and more people spoke about it, facebook statuses and author forums were full of it, and I learned that last year's participants topped 200,000, writing a total of 2.8 billion words, (between them, obviously, not each!). And... more importantly, bona fine novels were coming out of it. 

This year, as the buzz started building, I tried to ignore it. But a little nagging voice at the back of my mind kept telling me I should give it a try. When an author pal put up a message asking who else was going for it this year, I scanned the comments. Someone had stated she needed to do it, to motivate her to crack on with her novel and stop her habit of editing before she finished her first draft. Ping! There it was; I realised I needed it too. NaNoWriMo was going to be the kick up the bum I'd been looking for.

So I started on Tuesday, and I can't help feeling like I've embarked on a diet. On day one I was mega-motivated, writing over 3000 words, and feeling like I was unstoppable. On day two, my muse gave me the silent treatment, but then yesterday it perked up again. Today, day four, I have written over 6,500 words in total. I can't deny it's tough trying to fit the high word count round my other stuff. But, in the spirit of a diet, I'm refusing to give in, (did you know I used to work for Weight Watchers?). I've joined a support group, and it's great; we share our successes and failures and spur each other on. When you read about other people struggling on through migraines and fitting NaNo in around an eleven hour working day, you know you've got it fairly easy.

So, although I'm not chomping at the bit like I was on Tuesday, my goal is still firmly in my sights, and you never know, I might just be one of the NaNo 2011 winners . And if I'm not? It really doesn't matter; I'll have made great headway on the first draft of my next book, and in the big picture, that's what's important.

Good luck to anyone else who is taking part in the madness this year. And if we haven't buddied up yet, my username on NaNo is Amanda Leigh Cowley.

Oh, and as it's Friday...


Friday, 28 October 2011

Magic Eye - Creepy Lady

Happy Friday to one and all! Found a great magic eye on His website is awesome and well worth a visit if you like magic eyes and special effects. My brain is ticking over now with the possibility of having a magic eye for my next book cover, because in the style below the 2D image is nearly as good as the 3D image. What do you think?

I'm busy this week trying to get my house/other job in order before NaNoWriMo starts on the first, because I don't think I'll be coming up for air for most of November. The tips I've had so far are; stock up on plenty of coffee, chocolate, salty snacks, disconnect from the internet as much as possible, get nice warm slippers and possibly fingerless mittens! Gawd, what have I let myself in for? :o/ If anyone reading this is taking part, feel free to buddy up with me - my user name is 'amandaleighcowley.' Not very original, huh? Hopefully not a reflection of my NaNo novel!

Have a great weekend everyone :o)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Getting to Know Tessa Stokes...

Tessa Stokes is the author of the Seven Spell Saga. The Sealed Door is the fourth book in the series.

In her own words:- I am an indie author, writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I have always loved to write, and have written lots of commercial and academic material before reverting back to my love of writing fiction.

I live in the United Kingdom presently, but have lived in many parts of the world. I love historic and sacred places and gather much of my inspiration from visiting them. I write for readers who want to escape and enter the life of characters. My books are full of magic, romance, intrigue and danger.
1. How long have you been writing? What/who inspired you to write?
I have only been writing pure fiction novels for about two years. In the past I have written lots of commercial and academic ‘stuff’.

2. Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

Yes, all the characters in The Seven Spell Saga books are based on people or composites of people I have met. I have had a couple of weird experiences too that have been incorporated into the books and have inspired parts of the books.

3. Do you have any other books published?

The Sealed Door is the fourth book in The Seven Spell Saga, so there are three others published at the moment. Spellbinding, The Spell Breaker and The Seven Spell.

4. Do you have plans for any further books?

I am currently doing the first edit of a vampire book, paranormal romance and I am writing the fifth book in The Seven Spell Saga

5. What is your favourite book and why?

The Sealed Door, because Chloe has settled down in her new life, she has ‘grown up’ but more because since this has happened to Chloe I can give her more adult experiences. Also, I have loved hearing from other narrators. Oliver and Tristan speak in this fourth book. Oliver’s voice especially was lovely to write.

 6. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer

I would say follow your heart. Write your heart out, and never let anything deter you from your goals, there are lots of ‘naysayers’ out there and they will try to tear you down in many ways. If you want to create, do it.

Book blurb
In this fourth book of The Seven Spell Saga, The Sealed Door, we find Chloe McGarry still in love with both Oliver and Tristan. Both Oliver and Tristan love her too. The Sealed Door sees the relationship between Oliver and Chloe become very serious and yet she is still unable to choose between him and Tristan. Oliver suddenly realizes she will never choose between them, will it change his feelings for her? Chloe finds herself also taking her relationship with Tristan to a new level. In this book, The Seven Spell Saga gets steamy. Since she is unable to choose will someone else do it for her?

As everyday life goes on, we hear from Oliver and Tristan. Oliver describes his experiences and we find out more about how he feels. The Sealed Door has some interesting revelations about Tristan’s past. He finds himself feeling emotions he never expected to feel. He surprises his friends by his actions; this is not the Tristan we have come to know.

When Tristan asks the archaeology team to open the sealed door found in a tunnel below his house, where Chloe lives, a surprise awaits him.

Trouble is on the horizon from a surprising source. Tristan, Chloe and Oliver think they have encountered enough magic to have grown used to it by now, but they find this latest brush with witchcraft almost too much to bear.

Who is Lily and better still who is Anna?

When yet another experience from the past catches up with Tristan, the only thing that will fix things is yet another time travel adventure.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

In the mood for some (FREE) spooky stories?

Halloween is fast approaching. My pumpkin is sitting on the side ready to carve, the kids have their scary costumes hanging in the wardrobe, and I've bought some spooky treats to hand out to the trick-or-treaters. When all the witches, ghosts and skeletons have finished terrorising the neighbourhood, gorged on too many sweets and are finally tucked up safe in bed, I'll be snuggling on the couch ready to devour a spooky story or two. 

If you fancy reading some short seasonal stories, pop over to the KindleUsersForum and download Halloween Horrors Vol II - it's FREE. 

You'll find my effort in there 'A Little Bit of Faith.' Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Magic Eye and NaNoWriMo

I'm posting an early Magic Eye this week because I'm heading off for a long weekend tomorrow (woo hoo!). And for anyone who's wondering, the answer is no; unfortunately I didn't lose 7lbs in 3 days, even though I turned down a jam doughnut and only ate one small Kettle chip! (Maybe it was the chocolate...) So I'll be the one knocking down small children as I run for my towel in-between water-slides and rapids! 

Back to the Magic Eye - as you stare at the picture, remember to 'relax' your vision and fix your focus as if you are looking into the distance. Can you see it? Now say "awwww."

Finally, I'm excited to say I've just signed up for the crazy event that is NaNoWriMo. I've never done one before, but from what I've heard, I'm expecting my life to be on hold for most of November. I really, really need a kick up the butt to force me to crack on ('scuse the pun) with my writing, so here's hoping this will be the catalyst.

Let me know if you're taking part - I'm going to need all the help I can get! (and will be ready to cheer you on too, of course :o) ).

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tuesday's done... doing... to-do list!

Hope you're all fine and dandy today. The view out my window is beautiful; brilliant sunshine, and the trees are still holding onto their autumn colours. But it's breezy and so coooold, so I guess they'll be naked very soon.

In the hope that I will be productive today  - here's my done, doing, to-do list!


  • Tickled pink - for losing a (little) bit of weight, when I've been so naughty.
  • Treading on a plug - a few expletives were uttered!


  • Thrilled - at the thought of going to Center Parcs at the weekend with friends. Fab family fun times!
  • Terrified - that have not lost as much weight as I planned and will be spending the weekend in swimwear.
  • Temptation-avoiding - must resist chocolate, or swimwear will be straining (even more).
  • Thoroughly engrossed in current read - The Bringer by Samantha Towle.


  • Tackle my daily word count so I finish my book before the next millenium.
  • Think about uploading a word count tracker. That should help!
  • Try not to forget am supposed to be working.
Hope you have a wonderfully productive day yourselves...

** Apparently Blogger is playing up at the moment. If you're having trouble commenting, make sure you uncheck the 'stay signed in' box, and it should work - thanks. **

Friday, 14 October 2011

Another Magic Eye Friday

Another Magic Eye for all the Magic Eye lovers, just because it's Friday....

Oh, and while I've got your attention - here's a good website for the writers out there - it's a website where you can upload your first chapter for others to check out your book before they buy. Here's the link to mine - very straightforward to do!

Just a short one today, gotta go..... Have a fab weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

My Reviews: Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge

Here's the review for my second book in Marie Landry's Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge - The Bringer by Samantha Towle:

Book Blurb:

Death is sad, love is agony.

Max was her next job. She got his name just before he died and it was for her to lead his soul to heaven. She was a Bringer.

Then Max started pleading (as they often do), but not for himself, for his son, James.

Would she look after him, would she comfort him as he grieved for the loss of his father? James was a sensitive young man. He would take his father's death very hard.

Well, Bringers don't do that sort of thing; their exclusive role is to usher souls to heaven. They are not allowed to get involved in earthly affairs.

However, when she saw James, she felt something she had never felt before – an emotion, a shock.

She was a Bringer. Bringers do not have emotions.

Yet she couldn't help herself. She found herself being drawn inexorably towards James and his life, against every instinct she had ever had, against every law of the universe.

And she fell in love.

For a Bringer, that is a terrifying fall.

My Review: ***** 5 Stars!

The Bringer is a unique tale, initially from Lucyna's point of view. Lucyna is one of the 'beings' who, devoid of emotion, help humans on their journey to Heaven. But on a routine 'bring,' Lucyna's feelings awaken in the presence of the gorgeous James. Confused but curious, Lucyna starts to visit James regularly, until something happens which throws her existence into chaos.

Samantha Towle makes it easy for you to suspend disbelief and buy into her story, but just when you think you know what's going to happen, she throws in another twist to keep you on your toes.

A very entertaining read.


As I've mentioned earlier, I'm taking part in Marie Landry's Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge and I've just finished the first book - Hidden by Shalini Boland.

Book Blurb:

HIDDEN is a paranormal romance that spans the centuries from modern London to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia.

Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune, she inherits a house, she inherits a cellar full of danger.

Eighteen-year-old Alexandre lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

For each of them, life is finally starting. Little do they know it is closer to ending. Something lies buried which should have been forgotten. A Pandora’s Box that was meant to stay shut. But Madison and Alexandre have never been any good at following the rules. They are about to find everything they’ve ever desired and everything that could destroy them.

Falling in love has never been so dangerous.

My Review: ***** 5 Stars!

This book is a must-read. Bringing together the worlds of gorgeous Alexandre from the late nineteenth century, and Madison Greene, a feisty modern day girl, Hidden is a fresh take on the vampire theme.

When Alexandre and his family visit Cappadocia, they find much more than they bargained for. When Madison inherits the beautiful Marchwood House, she unlocks a chilling secret that has been hidden in the cellar for over a hundred years.

Shalini Boland is a talented story-teller. Her voice draws you in, and her scene-setting brings the book alive. There are plenty of heart-thumping moments, like when Alexandre is exploring the cavern; I couldn’t read quick enough to find out what happened next.

Hidden is one of those books that you really don’t want to finish, but now I’ve seen it’s the first book in a trilogy, I can’t wait for the next one.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Introducing... Katie W Stewart

It's a fresh week, and I'm raring to go. I've had a plot hole in my next book (Soul Protector #2) that's been bothering me for a while, but in the shower the other day I had an ephiphany and 'pow' - plot hole sorted! Now I just need to crack on and finish writing it. I've decided to try to upload one of those word count thingies to my blog in the hope it will motivate me to write quicker...

This week I'm pleased to throw the spotlight on Katie W Stewart, author of Treespeaker
Katie is an Australian author. She lives in country Western Australia with her farmer husband, three children and an assortment of animals. By day, she’s a Library Assistant at a local school; by night, she writes fantasy. Treespeaker was the first book she epublished. She has also recently epublished a children’s novel, “The Dragon Box”, which is aimed primarily at boys aged 8-12. At the moment she is busy completing the sequel to Treespeaker, as well as editing another YA fantasy novel.

Blurb: Saving his people means leaving the forest. Leaving the forest means death.

Jakan, Treespeaker of the Fifth Tribe of Arrakesh, knows from the visions he received at the SpringSpeak, that the stranger who has just arrived in his village is not the innocent, interested visitor he claims to be. As the villagers succumb to the mind-bending sorcery of the man, Jakan becomes more and more desperate to be rid of him. But when he accuses the stranger of an act of sacrilege, events take a sinister turn and it is Jakan himself who is expelled from the forest.

Sent on a journey across the treeless land outside the forest, Jakan finds himself fighting for survival – for his people and himself. Somehow he must find a man he hasn’t seen for twenty years, but as a Treespeaker —bound in spirit to the forest — his life hangs by a tenuous thread which grows ever thinner.

Meanwhile, his son, Dovan, must find the strength to carry out the new role he has been given while his father is away, for who knows if the Treespeaker will ever return?

This is not a book about good versus evil. It is a book about belonging, balance and belief. It's an adult fantasy, but suitable for anyone 12+

Treespeaker is available from Amazon and Smashwords


How long have you been writing? I’ve always enjoyed writing and completed my first (woeful) novel when I was sixteen. But I also loved art and put most of my energy into that until 12 years ago when I took a writing course as something to do. I had thought I’d do a course in children’s writing, as picture books seemed the logical thing to go into, but my sister persuaded me to do a general course and I discovered I really enjoyed writing novels, so that’s the direction I took.

What/who inspired you to write? I was brought up in a house full of books. My mother always encouraged us to read and to read widely. I was born in England and attended a small village school. There, too, I was encouraged to read and to write. It was a really happy, non-judgemental school where being creative was not seen as odd, but as something to be nurtured. My imagination was allowed to go wild, something I think should be permitted in every childhood.

Do you have plans for any further books? I’ve completed three and have another two underway, with at least three more in my brain waiting to hit the computer screen. As I said, I’m working on “Song of the Jikhoshi”, the sequel to “Treespeaker” right now and then there’s another YA novel completed, which I’m tentatively calling “The Mark of the Dragon Queen”. I haven’t decided yet, whether to epublish that or to keep trying the traditional route. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. I’m always getting new ideas popping into my head and having to put them on the back burner until I have time to write them down.

What is your favorite book and why? I couldn’t possibly name one book as my favourite. I have fallen in love with way too many over my life to choose just one. I love Paulo Coelho’s books for the apparent simplicity which covers so many layers of meaning. I love a lot of Ursula Le Guin’s work, too. She creates worlds that are so different, yet so real. Then there’s Juliet Marillier who uses Celtic Mythology and weaves magic in so subtly that you hardly notice it; you just take it as real. CS Lewis was a brilliant writer, too. The imagination he must have had to produce the Narnia Chronicles amazes me every time I read them. I don’t just read fantasy though. I love John LeCarre and Joanne Harris as well. I’ve probably read every book AJ Cronin ever wrote and as a teenager, I devoured everything by Charles Dickens. “Les Miserables” is a book I’ve read twice and frequently dip into as well.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Read and read widely. There is no way you can get a good grasp of language without absorbing the way other writers use words. There’s no better way of learning to plot a good story than getting involved in someone else’s plot. Get lost in a good book and you’ll find the best way into your own.

Thanks to Katie for taking the time to answer my questions. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Magic Eye, Follow Friday and 'Feed A Read' Spotlight

It's Friday again, and to celebrate my favourite day of the week, here's another Magic Eye for ya!

Sweet (candy) anyone?

Follow Friday Fun: This weekly meme is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  See their blogs for details/rules, and how to join!  

This week's question: If you could pick one character in a book, movie or television show to swap places with, who would it be? 

Easy! It would have to be.... Sookie Stackhouse - she's a strong character; quirky, feisty and with the ability to read other's minds. Although, like she says, not so great when you're being intimate with someone ;o)

And finally, I was delighted to discover Soul Protector was spotlighted (or should that be spotlit?) on this week. All publicity gratefully received...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wednesday's done... doing... to do list!

Happy Hump Day - is your week going in the right direction? Here's 10 W's for Wednesday, from my done, doing and to do list...

Done                                                              Picture Source
1. Working-Out - I can feel smug all day because I did 30 minutes of step-ups in front of the telly first thing.
2. Whacking - my knee on the bed post; a regular occurrence and one I need to avoid before my upcoming trip to Center Parcs (because you spend way too much time in swimwear :o/ ).

Doing                                                            Picture Source
3. Waving - a mug at the builder outside my office (spare bedroom) window to see if he fancies a brew.
4. Working - a necessary evil. 'Nuff said.
5. Wondering - spending too much time thinking through a plot hole in my WiP, when I should be focussing on No 4.
6. Whispering - to myself; (words like 'D'Oh' and 'what?' and 'pants'. (Whispering to oneself is acceptable, and nowhere near as bad as talking to oneself. Honest).
7. Wrestling - with the temptation to eat chocolate, because I don't want to lose smug points from earlier work-out!
8. Waiting - to see Soul Protector advertised on Kindleboards today! Woo hoo!

To Do                                                        Picture Source 
Writing - I must write today, I must write today, I must write today...
Win - the battle of the washing/ironing mountain. Can't wait to tackle that one!

Well that pretty much sums up my Wednesday. Hope you're all getting on well with your own to-do lists!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Magic Eye Friday - bet you see this one!

Don't forget to stare hard...

Well, did you see it? ;o)

I'm looking forward to taking part in Marie Landry's Spooktacular Reading Challenge, which starts tomorrow. I've already got my first two books lined up - Hidden by Shalini Boland (have had a sneak peak and can't wait to fully immerse myself) and The Bringer by Samantha Towle - which looks intriguing. I still need to pick my third book for October, so if anyone can recommend a good paranormal/fantasy read, please do!

Life in General...
We're in the middle of a mini heatwave in the UK - woo hoo! Tomorrow the mercury is set to hit the eighties, and if it does, it will be the hottest day recorded in October (UK) EVER!! It would be rude not to BBQ, although we're cheating and going to a friend's :o). Finally, I'm looking forward to my mum and dad returning to the UK. They've been visiting my brother and his family in Sweden, and right at the end of the trip my dad was admitted to hospital. He's fine now, and allowed to fly home next week.

Have a great weekend everbody!!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Introducing... Gloria Galloway

It's the start of a brand new week and I'm pleased to throw the spotlight on fellow author, Gloria Galloway. Gloria makes her home in Northern California and has a life-long fascination with the spectral world. Her story, 'Dead By My Side', came together after extensive research of police procedure, crime scene investigation and studies of the criminal mind. She collaborated with experts in the field, including a crime scene investigator and a former deputy coroner of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Book Blurb
Julia and Tony, homicide detectives for more than twelve years, make quite the pair with her long legs and his rugged good looks. They’re an unstoppable team, both fiercely loyal to friends, family and each other. But when Julia is killed in the line of duty, Tony is left alone to pick up the pieces in Gloria Galloway’s thriller, “Dead By My Side.” While Tony is getting used to work as a solo detective, Julia’s spirit appears to him. He tries to ignore this ghost-like version, but it soon becomes clear that his late partner won’t disappear until he agrees to join forces again. Now, with his spirit sidekick in tow, Tony faces one of the most difficult challenges of his career: a sadistic killer on the loose. Julia and Tony must put a stop to the rising body count and learn to lean on one another, even after death.


How long have you been writing?  What/who inspired you to write?
My first attempt at story telling came at a very young age.  My dolls were the characters in my stories.  Of course, back then I didn’t want to kill them.  No, really.  As a teenager I spent countless hours in libraries and read everything I could get my hands on.  I think my writing stemmed from my love of books and make believe.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
It’s funny because you’d be surprised how many friends and co-workers have asked to “die” in my books.  I killed off a former boss in this book.  But she asked for it.  Honest.  The deputy coroner in my book is fierce.  Pit bull fierce.  Her character is loosely based on one of my technical advisers, a former deputy coroner of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.  One friend wants to die in my next book, but she doesn’t want to be strangled.

Do you have plans for any further books?
This is the first book in a series.  I have the next two books in the series completely written.  In my head.  Now I just have to put those words to paper.  One reader told me (on a Monday) that she was leaving for vacation on Friday.  She asked me to write the next book in time for her to read it on the beach.  I actually wrote historical romance for a time.  Although the publishing houses complimented my writing, it was never quite the right fit for me.  My daughters have been trying to convince me to go back and self-publish a couple of them.  I’m thinking about it.

What is your favorite book and why?
Wow, that’s a hard one.  My taste in books is very eclectic, so it’s difficult to choose just one.   I’ll go with a classic —Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind.  I loved the story of a strong woman overcoming adversity.  The vivid portrayal of the South and the Civil War kept me spellbound.  Of course, the handsome and debonair Rhett Butler might have had something to do with it as well.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
My advice is—don’t use the excuse that you don’t have time.  Make time.  Don’t procrastinate; your dream won’t come true if your story doesn’t get written.  My first book, a historical romance set in Mexico, took me ten years to write.  No, that’s not a typo.  I attribute that to writer’s block and procrastination.  Thankfully I’ve come a long way since then.  This book took me three years from start to publication date (July 1, 2011).  I work full time and I can often be found in the lunchroom of our building, writing on my laptop, writing on a scratch pad, and even writing on post-it notes when an idea comes to me.  I came up with a simple solution that helps me deal with writer’s block.  Instead of starting at the beginning of my story and writing to the end, I write in “scenes.”  Then I write the chapters around them.   As for procrastination…well, I’m working on it.