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!