Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Final Resting Place of Anne Bronte

I recently took time away from work (sort of), and spent a week in Scarborough with my family for a much-needed and overdue holiday. Everything about the place offers food for the imagination, and there is so much inspiration for writing that I should be kept busy for many months ahead, while I await the next holiday… As an added bonus, we happened upon the graveyard in which Anne Bronte is buried. The church looks to be a beautiful old building, although I didn’t have time to visit inside. I did, however, visit the graveyard, and what a fascinating place it is.


All of the gravestones are very heavily damaged by weather, and we could see the force of the salty rain that has battered these grand and gracious stones over the past two centuries or so. We could barely read the inscription on Anne Bronte’s headstone, which is why another memorial stone was laid in 2011, as you can see from my photographs. I admit that I have not yet read Anne Bronte’s most famous novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but I do have a paperback copy on my bookshelf, and I have picked it up before now with the intention of reading it, only to be distracted by something else.



The ancient graveyard, with its dark and broken headstones, is very eerie, and very inspiring for the romantic mind. My impression of the Bronte sisters is that they were fairly carefree and cheerful ladies, and I enjoy their lively writing style. It was a great tragedy that Anne Bronte should die at such a young age, but it is clear to see that she succumbed to one of the many medical dangers of their time. I wonder how many wonderful novels died with her? And what she may have been working on at the time of her death? So many questions, so many possibilities…

Monday, 18 May 2015

Blood, Boobs and Carnage Blog Fest!

Hello and welcome to the Blood, Boobs and Carnage blog fest! I found this little party during the #AtoZChallenge, and it looked like fun so I signed up. And today I will use it to showcase my debut novel, Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel). Hey, someone has to talk about my amazing books, and you will enjoy them, I am sure.


How does a novel called Love Hurts relate to Blood, Boobs and Carnage, I hear you ask? I will tell you. It is the beginning of an adult paranormal romance series. I’m talking vampires, werewolves, witches and other supernatural creatures. So there is the blood. The boobs, well, my heroine, Jessica Stone, is just your average 20-something woman. She enjoys sex. And she especially enjoys having sex with her new boyfriend, who unbeknownst to her, is a vampire. Again with the blood.


And now to the carnage. Well, my vampires do not sparkle. They fight. They snarl. They feed on innocent humans. They battle each other, they battle other supernatural creatures, they fight for supremacy, power, control and just for the hell of it sometimes. But in the Redcliffe novels we find it is the werewolves that seem to cause most of the trouble. You see, Jessica’s boyfriend, Jack Mason, has an identical twin brother who just happens to be alpha of the Redcliffe werewolf pack. Danny Mason is impulsive, passionate, and dangerous. Carnage ensues when a rogue werewolf comes to town with the intention of killing Danny and taking control of his pack. His brother steps in to help, Jessica is caught up in the chaos, and all hell breaks loose.


I do hope this has captured your attention sufficiently to make you touch the ‘Buy Now’ button on your device… You won’t regret it! If you are keen to see more Blood, Boobs and Carnage, check out my fellow party goers. Have a nice day now!

*Brothers image courtesy of Phat Puppy Art Studios

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

It is Time to Get my Act Together #amwriting

The past five years have been a whirlwind of chaos and confusion, excitement and drama for me and my family. During this time I quit my safe, full time office job in order to pursue my dream career, I got married, I got pregnant, and now I am a housewife with two young children. There was lots of other stuff as well, but I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say, I have been very busy.

Now, because of being busy in my domestic life, I have neglected to devote the proper time and attention to developing my writing career. There have been lots of ups and downs while I alternately celebrated my successes, and commiserated my failures. It is an endless cycle in the world of small business, and especially so when it comes to the modern world of book publishing and writing.


I envisioned a career where I could spend my days writing my stories, and where I could earn a comfortable income from book sales. This was a very na├»ve vision, as I now understand. I waded blindly into my new dream without assessing the situation, and I am not a natural  business person. But I am willing to learn. And I am always learning.

All the advice I receive tells me to set up a business as a writer of some sort, whether it be ghost writing, proofreading and editing, technical writing or similar. So I have tried it. I have drifted from one part time job to another during the past few years, and all have the same basic catch: they do not pay. Most internet based companies will try and persuade a new writer that they can build their portfolio by writing articles for free, or these companies pay an absolute pittance that does not constitute a living wage here in the Western world. I have done my work experience. My portfolio is healthy. Now my wallet needs to catch up.


I need to get my act together. I need to assess exactly what kind of writing I want to do for my career. My personal life is also a very big distraction. We cannot afford external childcare in order for me to go out to work (I know, crazy!). But we hope to send our toddler to preschool in September when her older sister starts primary school. Then, perhaps, I will find time to settle down and actually write all of the stories that I have scribbled in snippets in my notebooks. That is where my heart lies. That is my career dream. I cannot be an author if I do not continue to write (and publish) new stories. So I will knuckle down, stop being distracted, and write. I will!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

#AtoZChallenge 2015 - Was it Worth It?

We have reached the end. It has been almost a week since I completed the April A-Z Blogging Challenge for my third year running. I initially found the blog hop during my desperate and naive attempts to sell my newly published novels across social media platforms. As a young, inexperienced, ill-advised and yet very talented author, I am struggling to gain a foothold in the industry. I want to be an internationally famous bestselling author. I know that I have the skill with words, I have the talent to write, and I have the determination. What I don’t have is a marketing budget, the expertise on turning my work into a sustainable business, and the right contacts in the right places that can get me started.


Nevertheless, I blithely threw myself into the #AtoZChallenge, telling myself that it was a good way to build followers, raise awareness of my books, and who knows, maybe even sell a few to my blog readers. It has not yet reaped the rewards I might have expected. Most of my blog visitors are fellow authors in the same situation. We all have stories to tell, books to sell, and no means by which to break in to an industry dominated by stalwarts and professionals who have been working at it for longer than I have been on this planet. We have no chance. The big publishers will not give us the time of day. The agents are far too busy plowing through their slush piles, and will generally only take on TV celebrities or people that they are certain will sell because they are famous for other pursuits (I’m talking sports personalities and the like).


Anyway, in terms of selling books and growing my author platform, the #AtoZChallenge was, once again, a massive fail. And yet, I don’t feel like a failure. I feel very proud of myself. I took on the challenge to write a blog post every day for a whole month (with Sundays off), and I did it. My fiction writing has stalled a lot lately, because I decided to have children before my biological clock exploded. Writing for blogs has given me an outlet to rant, to let off steam, and even to play around with new ideas about my work. And actually I did make quite a big decision about my career direction while I was doing this year’s challenge. All for the better. So you see, it was worth it. It was a success. And I will do it again. See you soon!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Poldark with Fangs! #amreading The Redcliffe Novels

I am so excited! And it took just one new review for my debut novel, Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel), to set me off. We writers are a sensitive breed. We thrive on compliments, much like the rest of the world, I suppose, but for me this has been the boost I needed after more ups and downs in the world of writing and marketing.
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My latest 5 star review comes from a reader who took my novel on holiday. And now she wants more. Hooray! She called the story, "Poldark with Fangs," which I think is absolutely brilliant, and why didn't I think of that? I mean, I watched Poldark because of Aidan Turner, because I first discovered him as the vampire John Mitchell in Being Human that was shown on BBC3, and I fell head over heels in lust for the boy. In fact, I even pictured him as a candidate for Detective Jack Mason in an upcoming television series or film franchise... 
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Hey, we thrive on dreams and possibilities! Anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement, and my dreams, and I hope that if you haven't picked up the Redcliffe novels yet, then it will encourage you to do so. Put it this way: if you love Aidan Turner, if you loved him in Poldark, if you love sexy, smoldering alpha males with strong female characters in a picturesque Cornwall location, you will not be disappointed. Thank you!