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.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Magic Eye Friday, Spooktacular Reading Challenge and Follow Friday

It's Friday again, so it's time for another Magic Eye! This one has a hidden image that you should recognise. If we took on board the advice it portrays - wouldn't our books be boring?!

I've just signed up for fellow writer, Marie Landry's (Ramblings of a Daydreamer) Spooktacular October Paranormal Reading Challenge. To take part you have to read and review three paranormal books during the month of October for the chance to win a prize. Click the badge in my sidebar for more details.

And last but not least, more Follow Friday Fun hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Visit either blog for details, and check out this week's featured bloggers on each of the girls' sites!  

This week's question: Do you have a favourite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep revisiting it.

My series would have to be Twilight - sorry, nothing out of the ordinary I know, but reading that series inspired me to finally write my own book. Can't wait to see Breaking Dawn in November..!

Have a great weekend one and all!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Motivate Yourself to Write

I've been waffling a lot lately about procrastination and losing/gaining the writing mojo. So I've decided; no more moaning from me - I am going to be positive! The bottom line is I want to fit writing into my day, so I will fit writing into my day.

Here's some tips I've put together to help you (and me!) to motivate ourselves to write. Some of these ideas should help with other things you may have been putting off too.

1. Declare it!

Whatever your writing goal is, make a public declaration. If you announce it to your friends, family or work colleagues, you will be much more likely to achieve it. You'll know that others are watching, or waiting for your updates, so it'll be a lot harder to wriggle out of it.

2. Plan Ahead

Instead of saying 'I'll try to fit some writing in today', you should be saying 'I am going to write this morning/after lunch/after tea/at work when I'm supposed to be doing other things,' (delete as applicable!). And then stick to it!

3. Break it Down

If your goal is a bit overwhelming, or if you haven't got as much time as you'd like, break the workload down into small achievable chunks. Ten minutes writing every day is better than nothing. As you move forward with your project, hopefully the momentum will build and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. What did that Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu, say? 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.'  He was right, you know.

If you're really stuck for time, ten minutes brainstorming your plot on the way to work is better than nothing.

4. Read More

Reading is a great way to motivate yourself to write. Great books teach you about style and prose without you even realising. Books are also great sources of inspiration, and you may find you have to put that read down to carry on writing your own story.

5. Reward Yourself

Make a deal with yourself that once you've achieved a certain milestone, there will be a reward waiting. It could be a a meal out, a massage, a movie or a trip to the shops; whatever it is that floats your boat. Plan it in advance and let it motivate you to finish that chapter, section, or whatever!

So, in the spirit of practising what I preach, here's my declaration: I am going to do something to move forward with my WIP every day - Monday to Friday, and possibly the weekend as well. I'm not going to worry about the actual word count, all I'm aiming for is MOVING FORWARD.  

How about you? What will you publicly declare?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Magic Eye Friday, Sad Week but Positive Ending

Good morning, all! Got another Magic Eye for you, and this one might just be my favourite. Enjoy...

It's been a sad week for my family; on Monday we had to say goodbye to our beautiful dog, Wellington. He really was a sweetheart, and it's so strange being in the house without him. I keep reminding myself he was sixteen, so we were lucky to have him that long. 

Welly on the left and his brother, Jasper, on the right. 
(We lost Jasper two years ago - another amazing dog)

So, it's been a strange week; my writing mojo departed again, my other job has been really busy and I was resigned to not making any progress on my WIP (book 2 in the Soul Protector series), BUT, something has sparked me off again; just before I went to bed last night, I checked facebook and found a message from an old friend I haven't seen for years. Here's a snippet...

Hi Mandy and I've got 1 thing to say to you.... OH MY GOD, I got your book last Friday and I finished it by Sunday night, gone midnight - it is the best book I have read for years, maybe ever! I could not put it down. How clever are you??? I am so so impressed. It was brilliant. Please write the sequel!!!!

Needless to say, the smile is back on my face and I'm itching to write again! :o) 

Follow Friday

I'm probably late to the party as usual, but I've just discovered Follow my book blog Friday - a great way to connect and meet with other writers/readers. Click the picture below for the link.

Some Follow Friday fun, hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read with Feature Bloggers - Librarian Mouseand Alaskan Book Cafe.

Q. It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?
Hmm, it would have to be one where I had some sort of power - maybe the Sookie Stackhouse series, because being nosey, I would love to know what everyone else is thinking!

And finally...

I read a quote once that writing a book is like standing on a street corner naked, waiting to see what everyone thinks of you. That's so true. Getting feedback is priceless, especially when it's positive. Even negative feedback is better than nothing; as long as the reviewer has taken the time to explain what they didn't like. I now make sure I review every book I read, because I know somewhere, some author will be sat behind a computer, chewing his/her fingernails, waiting to see what people think.

Have a great weekend people!! xx

Monday, 12 September 2011

Getting to Know... Barbara Ebel, M.D

Today, I'm pleased to feature Barbara Ebel, physician-turned author of Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR. Barbara writes fiction with credible medicine in the background of her plots, although her characters and plots remain center stage. Since she practiced as an anesthesiologist, her work shines when delivering operating room scenes. Barbara lives in a protected wildlife corridor in Tennessee.

Amazon UK Kindle book:  

Amazon UK paperback book:   

Book Blurb
Who says a rising neurosurgeon can't fall from his pinnacle?  From the skullduggery taking place deep in the Tennessee woods to the silent tension in the OR, Doctor Danny Tilson's life takes an abrupt turn after performing surgery alongside a scrub nurse with aqua eyes and a velvet voice.

Can Danny’s situation get any worse after the alluring lady disappears, he inherits her roguish retriever, and his Albert Einstein historical book turns up missing? A pack of Tennessee attorneys pursue Danny while he develops a scheme with his paramedic best friend to payback the mysterious woman who left in a hurry.   

“Novelist Barbara Ebel’s meticulous and knowledgeable accuracy in background details makes for an especially riveting read from the first page to the last.”
Micah Andrew, Reviewer
The Midwest Book Review

Red Adept Reviews: (The critical, in-depth eBook Reviewer)  July 19, 2011
Overall:  4 ½ stars out of 5
Plot/Storyline:  4 3/4 stars
Characters:  5 stars
Writing style:  4 ½ stars
Editing:  3 ¾ stars

“Operation Neurosurgeon: You never know…who’s in the OR was a marvelous story about the rise and fall of a fictional neurosurgeon in Nashville, Tennessee.”

• Q&A

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

 The antics don’t fall far from the truth in Operation Neurosurgeon. It is a unique “romantic suspense,” with some twists.  But all’s fair in love and war, so they say!

I did weave into this plot many different scenarios I have seen as a physician, as well as my personal experience with family court and attorneys. 

2.  Do you have any other books published?

I just published a general/historical fiction novel called Outcome, A Novel: There’s more than a hurricane coming….

I have also penned and illustrated a heartwarming children’s book series about a dog.  It’s called Chester the Chesapeake.  They are written from the dog’s point of view and they are unique because I use real pictures. Chester inspires good behavior in children and he’s also my own working therapy dog.

You can view more information or just see book covers at

3.  Do you have plans for any further books?

I just started working on a self-help book from my physician point of view. I am focusing on fifty to sixty year olds but I will give good advice to  all adults.

4. What is your favorite book and why?

I have multiple.  Here is one I’d love to share:  Tinkers by Paul Harding.  It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and it’s a gem.

However, there are so many outstanding books with unknown authors that never win an award.  This is always sad and a loss for all of us who fail to stumble on their work.

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

Don’t force your writing - sometimes it takes time to develop. Perhaps you are waiting on the perfect plot that’s hatching in your brain. The more passionate you are about something the more productive you’ll be.  And, good luck.

Short Excerpt:
    The salon was wedged between two posh women boutiques. The chatter inside diminished as personnel snapped down bulky dryers and stashed away rinse colors in plastic bottles. The last hairdresser with a client combed and snipped the parched hair of a customer in her chair, the wife of a prestigious partner of a major law firm in Elvis’s hometown.
    “You have the longest legs,” the hairdresser said. “My drape isn’t doing your cream silk pants any justice.” She placed another cloth over the woman’s knees.
    “Thank you, darlin. I’ll be shedding them soon enough. I’m donning my most recent holiday splurge for tonight. And if my husband asks me about the gown’s price, I’ll just tell him it’s one of his Christmas presents to me.” She laughed over her shoulder. “That works for everything this time of year.”
    The younger woman combed her client’s hair forward around her face, scrutinizing for any unevenly cut areas. “Mrs. Rose, in retrospect, what would you do differently? Regarding men, that is?”
    “First off, you’ve used the correct term. Never stop with one.”
    The hairdresser squirted a creamy product in her palms and massaged it into the woman’s hair, creating a silky sheen.
    The older married woman didn’t offer any more advice. “Are you still taking that course you told me about?” She spied the study guide on the hairdresser’s busy counter.
    “I am. I take it online. It’s so easy and it’s only for twelve months. I sit for the certified surgical technician test in a few months.”
    “Wow. There’s good money in medicine.”
    “Not as a tech.”
    “You’re not after lawyers, then, are you?”
    The young woman only smiled. 
    “Smart girl. You strap on one of those masks they wear and you’ll knock them male surgeons dead with those eyes.”
    “Thank you for the kind words, Mrs. Rose. And enjoy your holidays.”
    Mrs. Rose squeezed a twenty-dollar tip into the woman’s hand, paid the bill at the front register and left. The beautician swept her space. The salon was quiet and almost empty.
    The co-owner left the cash drawer open and pulled the window blinds. The pretty twenty-four year old picked up her study guide and gathered her purse from the bottom drawer of the front desk. With her eyes fixed on the inattentive co-owner, her hand smoothly slid a fifty-dollar bill from the register into her blouse pocket.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Magic Eye Friday - an easy one for you...

It's Friday! The weekend is *holds thumb and forefinger close* only that far away! 

On my blog, Friday means another Magic Eye. Now, for all the followers who can't see them very well, this fishy one is a bit easier. You're not actually looking for a hidden image, it's the fish themselves which become 3D. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!!

So, the English weather has declared Autumn (Fall to my American friends) and as much as I've enjoyed the Summer holidays - now they're over, I'm glad to say I've found my writing mojo again! I've completed a short story for a Halloween special on Kindle Users Forum, and I'm itching to get back into the second book in the Soul Protector series. Ideas are flying round my head at the most inconvenient times(!) and I have to keep stopping whatever I'm doing to jot them down.

What made the mojo come back? Is it because I'm back in a routine and exercising again? Or could it be something to do with the kids returning to school this week? The house has become much quieter during the daytime, although I'd kind of got used to working amidst zombie noises on the PS3, my two arguing and ten kids traipsing in for refreshments halfway through a kick-about.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Magic Eye Friday, a bit early...

We're taking the kids to Legoland tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to prising my fingers away from the keyboard and having some fun. BUT, I couldn't go without leaving a Magic Eye for those of you who enjoy them. It's a pretty good one this week, even if I do say so myself... ;o)

Andrews McMeel Universal

How did they get it to shimmer? Marvellous!!