Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Triple Whammy

That's me, parking my bike in the local field and jumping for joy... Okay, maybe not, but it should be me. First off, I won a competition, yay! Kindle Users Forum are approaching their first anniversary, and asked for a couple of lines from users as to why we love them. I decided to be cheeky and do a little poem, and I won! I had a choice of book vouchers, cold, hard cash, or a week's free advertising - and as it's early days for my book, I decided it had to be the advertising. So from 12 noon today for one week, my book gets displayed on the top-right hand corner on their forums (on rotation with a couple of others). I'll post back to let you know if it's effective or not.

Secondly, I was nominated for a blog award by fellow blogger Andrew Leon over at StrangePegs. (I recommend you pop over and have a look at his latest post The Wrong Answer to the Right Question - even if he didn't fully agree with my comment :P) My first ever blog award!! And it's all down to my Magic Eyes... I have a great one lined up for Friday, by the way.

Now I have to pick some winners myself. I don't want to rush this, so I will give myself to the end of the week to find the most-deserving blogs, (IMO). It's going to be hard, because all the ones I follow look good to me!

Last, but not least, I got my first ever review from an actual review site today. The Novel Student accepted my book, and I held my breath waiting for the result, because I know she's very honest. But she gave me four stars and a great review, so now I'm buzzing!!!

Well, that's all for now. Will be back on Friday with a Magic Eye for ya, and my blog award choices.

Picture Source

Monday, 29 August 2011

Getting to Know Prue Batten...

I'm chuffed to feature Prue Batten today, a fellow indie author who I met on asked Prue to supply a bio to share with you all, and had to giggle at the response she sent. 

Over to Prue...

The best way to describe myself would be to use a quote written about me by Mark Williams on a recent blog (

Here it is: ‘She lives in Tasmania, has a pet Tasmanian Devil called Gisborne, eats kangaroos’ testicles, has the most ridiculous one-star ever awarded on Amazon, and wrote a novel on Twitter…’

Believe it or not, most of it is true. My husband and I own a farm so we do have lots of kangaroos around, but the testicles? Ugh! As to the Tasmanian Devil? I wish I did have one for a pet, but as recently reported in the Huffington Post, the poor little things are suffering the ravaging effects of a disease that is bringing them to the edge of extinction. Better the scientists and conservation zoos look after them than me. And I do have a one star rating on Amazon… a woman bought my first book thinking it was an embroidery book despite the blurb and then gave ME a one star despite Her mistake. And yes, myself and 50 others wrote a Jane Austen style novel on Twitter which was mentioned by The Times (UK) no less.

Me in a nutshell!

Prue's latest book, A Thousand Glass Flowers, (a fantasy/paranormal/magical realism novel), is being released at the end of August for Kindle.

Two people… one an extraordinary young woman, the other an embittered immortal man. Both seeking concealed spells that could annihilate Life.

In a quest through a world where Others lace their way in and out of the lives of mortals, this is a story of legend, love, and clashing ideals. A story of murder, regret and revenge… a story that journeys across a world too hauntingly like our own.

A taster for you...

The tall gate blocked out the sunshine as Lalita tilted her head back to stare at it. They named it a door and yet it might as well have been an armoured portcullis. It was the entrance to a fortress, the gate beyond which no full-blooded male could proceed and which they named the Door of a Thousand Promises.

What promises? Promises of sex that an ordinary man might only dream of? Promises of untold wealth and comfort should an odalisque become known by the Sultan? Or promises of heavenly life in the hereafter because one had given up one’s freedom, one’s family and one’s life to serve the Court of the Sultan? 

Or perhaps a thousand promises of a thousand terrible deaths should one enter uninvited.


1.  How long have you been writing?
All my life. It has been a creative outlet since I was little. All my life I have thought in words and text. 
2.  What/who inspired you to write? 
No one person or book inspired me to write, it was something I had to do. Like an artist has to put down pencil marks or brushstrokes, so I needed to put down words.
3. Have you ever based characters on people you know, or based events on things that have happened to you?
Never on people I know. Characters often experience something I have experienced. As much as possible, I try and experience what my characters do in order to establish veracity, as long as it’s within the law of course!
4.  Do you have any other books published?
I do. They are all listed on the links below.
5.  Do you have plans for any further books?
Indeed. I am writing a historical fiction based on an alternative view of Guy of Gisborne and entitled Gisborne. And I have a 70,000 word fantasy WIP which takes the stories of the previous generation to the next generation.
6.  What is your favourite book and why?
It’s a series. Dorothy Dunnett’s House of Niccolo (a historical fiction) for its depth, its breadth, its shocks at every turn. It’s what I’d take to a desert island.
7.  What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write and read and never stop. Oh, and never take no for an answer.

Thanks so much Mandy. It’s been wonderful to be a part of your blog.

Links to Prue:

Follow me on twitter:

Friday, 26 August 2011

Magic Eye Friday 26/8 or 8/26?

Today is Friday 26th August. I dated my post 26/8, but then realised most of my followers are from the US - so for you guys that would mean its the eight day of the twenty-sixth month! At least that's obviously wrong. International dates cause so much more confusion early on in the month - 7/8 is July 8th for an American and 7th August for a Brit! I'm not sure how the rest of the world writes it's dates, but perhaps its time to all follow the same format? But then which nation(s) would give in and change...

Anyway, let's not worry about that now, because it's time for another Magic Eye - woo hoo! There are two reasons for Magic Eye Friday - firstly, because in SOUL PROTECTOR Gracie has to learn how to decipher the voices in her head, and it's like trying to view one of those pesky images. The first time you think 'what the hell?' But once you know what you're doing - it's easy! The other reason is because I love 'em! I might even change my blog title to reflect that, but somehow link it to indie writing/publishing - all suggestions welcome!

Here it is...

Well, could you see it?

I hope you'll drop in on Monday when I'll be featuring indie author Prue Batten. A Thousand Glass Flowers, her fantasy/paranormal/magical realism novel is being released on Kindle at the end of August.

Have a great weekend, all!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

What Gets Your Creative Juices Flowing?

Today I wrote. I actually sat down, tapped away at my keyboard and produced a couple of thousand words. And when I read them back, they weren't half bad (in my humble opinion :o). The reason I'm so happy? Despite desperately wanting to move forward with my WIP, I've hardly touched it since the kids started school holidays at the end of July.

Today something was different; I wanted to write. Even though I'd planned to take the kids out for a treat, I took my laptop with me, and while they were occupied shooting each other with lasers, (not real ones I hasten to add!), I ordered myself a large latte, and let the words flow through my fingertips. In fact I was so absorbed in my imaginary world, I succumbed to the embarrassing habit of sticking my tongue out (helps me concentrate...) - I really hope none of the other parents noticed!

So it got me thinking; why was I able to 'write' so much today, when I've struggled to write anything in the past four weeks?

I think it boils down to inspiration. When I feel inspired, the story consumes me and I can't wait to get it down on paper. That inspiration can come from anywhere - a good movie, a great tune, reading awesome books, the list goes on...

Today, I can't tell you what IT was, but whatever IT was, I hope IT hangs around for tomorrow.

So, what about you? What/where/when/who do you turn to for inspiration?

Image creator Graur Codrin 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Platform-Building Campaign

Rachel Harrie's 3rd writer's platform building campaign started today. "What's that?" I hear you ask. In Rach's own words...
Basically, the Campaign is a way to link those of us in the writing community together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Campaigners are all bloggers in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others' online platforms while at the same time building theirs.
The window for joining is from today up until August 31st, and the campaign runs through to October 31st. This is my first time as a campaigner, but it looks like a great way to network and help other writers.  See you there!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Magic Eye Friday

Well, I posted about procrastinating and how I want to change and get all organised, but guess what... I'm still doing it! 

After enjoying the magic eye blast-from-the-past the other day, I decided I should have a 'Magic Eye Friday' every week, so here's the one for today.  Can you see it...?

Right, I'm off to tackle the ever-growing 'to do' list... ooh wait a minute, someone's posted something interesting on facebook...

If anyone knows who designed this magic eye, let me know; I'd love to give him/her the credit.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Soul Protector now available in paperback!!

Soul Protector is now available to order in paperback format via Amazon, Waterstones and other booksellers :D

(It seems to be cheaper at Amazon...)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Am I the only one who does this?

It's 3.07pm on a Wednesday afternoon and both my kids are out with their friends, so why is my 'to do' list going the wrong way?  I've got about thirty different tasks scribbled down, and I've only crossed off four - four measly jobs!

If I'm honest, I know the reason why - I've PROCRASTINATED, again!  I can't help myself.  Instead of completing tax returns, I dug out the front flowerbed, instead of ironing, I read fellow writer's blogs, instead of reconciling accounts, I went shopping and instead of writing, I checked out Amazon's bestseller charts.

I hate feeling like I've wasted the day.  Every morning I grab my latte, sit down in the office and write out a new 'to do' list, (with around 50% of the tasks being old ones, carried forward from the day before!).  In the back of my mind I have a vague plan that 'today I'm going to get ORGANISED'.  I plan to divide my day into segments, and allocate a certain amount of time for: my hubbie's business tasks, exercise, writing (my next book), marketing (my published book), and even more importantly - quality time with my children, and also hubbie when he eventually makes it in from work, oh, and maybe some housework and cook dinner...

I know it's achievable, but for some reason it seems beyond me.  More often than not I spend the evening catching up with business tasks (when I should be doing stuff with the kids), and I don't find the time to write at all.

I know I'm not unique, most people have busy lifestyles and a lot of people have far more on their plate than I do.  So I've decided; enough is enough.  I am going to get organised and be one of those super efficient people and sit down at the end of the day with a smug smile, knowing I'm on top of my game.

What about you?  Are you like me?  (Please tell me I'm not the only one) or are you someone who just cracks on and gets the job(s) done.  Either way, I'd love to know, so please leave a comment.">Image: Ambro /

Monday, 8 August 2011

Who Influences Your Book Choice?

Have a think about the last book you read, or the book you're reading now. Of the bazillion books in circulation, what made you pick that particular one?

I used to buy most of my books from stores like Waterstones or Borders. The ones I picked were displayed prominently on the shelf and (some) had glossy posters, or offers attached to them. I thought they had to be good because a big publisher was behind them, and I didn't even think about searching for other titles.

I first realised the error of my ways when I bought a novel written by a celebrity last year.  It had a lovely red glossy cover, and was placed in prime position...

That book was a real wake-up call; it made me realise that a fantastic cover and a big marketing budget doesn't necessarily equal a great book, (I won't go into detail, but at the time of writing this book has 58 reviews on, and over half of them are the dreaded 1 star.)

What I didn't appreciate was that all the other books lurking in dark corners with absolutely no promotion attached could be equally as good, if not better, than the heavily promoted ones. (And definitely better than the aforementioned book.)

Now I've got my Kindle, I've taken advantage of downloading free samples from any book I fancy, so I can 'try before I buy.'  Also, I've joined Goodreads and Shelfari - online book clubs where I can visit my genre of choice and consider reviews/ratings of like-minded people before I make my decision. (Don't get me wrong, some of the 'great' books are still produced via the 'big six' publishers, but then others are indie-published, and the quality has been just as good.) 

I'm so pleased the publishing world is changing, it means more books become visible, and with all the digital platforms available, if we're still not sure, we can download the sample before we commit to buying that book.

I'm not saying traditionally published books are bad, or that all indie published books are good - I'm just saying don't judge a book by it's... publisher!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Magic Eye

eye Picture

Do you remember the magic eye pictures?  They were sooo popular back when, the 90's?

In my book, when Gracie tries to tune into the voices in her head, I mention that it's like trying to view one of those magic eye pictures; the first time you try to do it you struggle, but once you know what you're doing, you wonder why you ever had a problem.

Are you any good at magic eyes?  Here's a test for you:-

Can you see it?