Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The NaNoWriMo Post

Happy Halloween! Hope everyone has fun whatever you're doing. On the eve of what will be a month of madness for many of us, I thought I should get round to posting about it.

I've been excited about taking part in my first NaNo for a while, but only in the last few weeks have settled on an idea and over the last couple of days I've done a bit of an outline. Well, more of a synopsis, really. It takes me so far before I step off the edge of a cliff... and I know people recommend plotting for NaNo, but I find it really hard to work a lot of stuff out until I'm in the midst of something. We shall see what happens!

What I've gleaned about this event is that it seems to be largely about trusting your gut. There simply isn't time to hum and hah about where to go next: you just have to get on with it. I think this is where I veer towards pantsing because I will only get to know my characters better, and the course they would take, once I've spent a good amount of time with them. But there's no right or wrong way to go about it.

Regarding blogging, I'll still be around, posting weekly updates starting on Thursday, November 8th.

I hope all who are taking part have a blast! If you'd like to "buddy up", my username is Nick Wilford. I've just posted my synopsis on the site - it's not my normal modus operandi to talk about a story before I've written a word (and I even have a working title - unheard of!), but I'll go with it. As I'm curious to know what you will think of my idea, I thought I'd be brave and go ahead and post it here as well. So it goes a little something like this...

Working Title: Black & White

Genre: YA Dystopian

Wellesbury has lived all his fourteen years in a gleamingly white city. No dirt or disease exists here, neither does physical pain. But corruption runs under the surface. When people die after a long life, their bodies vapourise instantly. Wellesbury and his fellow citizens know nothing else.
One day, a young boy of the same age named Mallinger appears in the midst of the city. He is black with dirt, his clothes are ragged, and he tells people he is dying and needs help. They are not repulsed, but mystified. Not knowing what else to do with him, they put him in the city jail. Although they don't know what dirt is, they don't like the grimy stuff that rubs off whenever they touch him.
On hearing about the story, Wellesbury is intensely curious and goes to meet the boy. The outsider is relieved to find someone who will actually listen to him, and tells Wellesbury about his own home city, riddled with disease and the streets full of sewage.
Mallinger implores his counterpart to help him, causing Wellesbury to embark on a quest that will shake his "perfect" society to its foundations and alter his entire perception of both life, and himself.

It's basically my outline as it stands, slightly edited down. Like I said, so far and no further. Yikes!
Are you taking part? Plotting, pantsing or in between? Up to any frightening fun tonight? I'm just hoping I don't have nightmares about NaNo!

Monday, 22 October 2012

The "Letting Go" Bloghop

Good morning! Today is the day of Kyra Lennon's "Letting Go" bloghop, to celebrate the recent release of her stunning novella, If I Let You Go. It's a very sweet, fun and emotional read - just like everything else I have read from this talented young lady!

Madison Connor is about to lose it. Her job, that is. For three years, she’s taken care of Dominic Hartley’s five year old daughter, Tilly, but her world is flipped on its head when Dominic tells her his latest promotion is taking him to New York. With Tilly having a meltdown over the move, Madison and Dominic get into a fight that changes the entire nature of their relationship, causing Madison to ask herself a big question. Can she let him go?

So Kyra has organised a cool bloghop whereby our task is to write a flash fiction piece or personal story (500 words maximum) around the theme of letting go. Now, I apologise if my entry feels rushed - despite being signed up since the hop was announced, I somehow didn't have time to write it until 4 o'clock this morning! Never mind, I hope you enjoy it anyway! It also represents a bit of an experiment for me - it's my first stab at MG (I think - the protagonist is 12) and it's in first person. Oh, and it's not a real life story - pure fiction. It's 500 words exactly - here you go...

Everyone told me it wasn’t my fault. Heidi was a big dog – big and strong – and she’d have been quite capable of dragging me along if she wanted to. Not that she did. She loved me taking her for walkies.

It was just something caught her eye in the road. I never found out what, but it must have been something amazing, like a dinosaur bone. The car must have destroyed it like it nearly destroyed Heidi. I can still see the whole thing – most of all in my nightmares, which is why I don’t like going to sleep any more.

One moment she was bouncing along like she always did – our super Chocolate Lab – the next she was in the road in a heap. It looked like she was sleeping except for the blood. A lot happened in that moment – the brakes screeching, the bang when Heidi got hit, the smell of the cars’ tyres burning – but I don’t remember much else until I was at the vets’ with my mum. There were lots of adults around me, definitely, asking me if I was okay, but I didn’t know any of them.

It was three days later when we were sitting in the waiting room. Me and Mum – Dad was at work, as usual. They were doing an operation, but no one would tell me anything else. I just wanted to cuddle Heidi again, and rub her under the chin the way she liked. She must have been missing being together, too. It was Tuesday, but they’d let me stay off school.

We sat in silence until I asked, “Mum? Will Heidi be alright? And I want a proper answer – don’t just say you don’t know.” I looked at her straight in the face, trying to keep the tears down this time. I’d spilled a lot of them in the last few days, more than most twelve-year-old boys, I was sure.

“Callum,” she said. She squeezed my hand tighter and sighed. “It looks like... we’ll have to let her go.”

“Someone else will have to look after her?” I said quickly, though of course I knew that wasn’t what she meant.

Someone came out of the room where Heidi was, did a sort of smile at me, and said he had to speak to Mum. She went into the room with him. The big clock on the wall said it took three minutes. It felt like three hours.

We had the funeral the next day. I had to look away when they put Heidi in the hole. But not just for me. I couldn’t let Jimbo see his mum like that.

That’s what they couldn’t tell me. No one knew Heidi was pregnant until she got hit – and what if they had all died? But they managed to rescue just one. He’s a great puppy. He’s not Heidi, but it feels like she’s still here, a little bit. And one day I’m going to tell him all about her.

What do you think? Don't forget to visit Kyra's blog here for a list of the other marvellous (I'm making an effort not to use "awesome" so much) participants, and give her a follow if you're not already - you won't regret it! You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Below are the links where you can purchase If I Let You Go and read reviews:

Just a quick note - I've got training all week for my new job (my first in four years - yikes!) and I'm out tonight with the family for my stepson's 18th birthday, so it'll probably be tomorrow night before I get to most of the other entries. I can't wait! And best of luck to Kyra for her continued success - she's going places!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Giveaway Winners Announced

So, I'm back from holiday, multiple washings have been put through the machine, and my One Year Blogiversary slash 300 Follower Giveaway has come to an end. Many, many thanks to those who tweeted, posted and did other bits and bobs. has chosen three deserving winners and they are as follows...

Game On by Kyra Lennon - won by Kathy McKendry

Lady Fate's Game by Siscia Miles - won by Clare Dugmore

What We Found by Chris Eboch - won by Kyra Lennon (clearly she couldn't win her own book!)

Congrats to Kathy, Clare and Kyra (how nicely alliterative). I hope you all enjoy your fabulous new reads!

What else to talk about? Well, there's the holiday. I feel a bit thrown out of the blogging loop again, because although we were only away for six nights, we slept in five different places and did so much that it feels like much longer! On Sunday we were at Disneyland Paris for the third time in fourteen months, and it was our wettest visit by a long chalk, but still great fun. We queued for an hour to see Belle, but that was OK as it was indoors and gave us a chance to warm up and dry out. Eve (just turned four) decided to take her raincoat off before going into the room to meet the princess, and went from having a tantrum over not being able to undo the buttons, to instantaneously simpering and curtseying upon entering her presence! We also met Captain Jack Sparrow, Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas (the girls were just slightly freaked out) and of course, Mickey. It was also great to visit my parents in Brighton before we went to France and friends in Essex on the way back.

A few pics...

Three princesses

Eve and Emma with Jack and Sally. Looks like I put a cool effect around this photo but it  was just the stage.
Emma triumphantly holding aloft the decapitated head of a mouse before
spooning out its brain. Only joking, it's just a muffin in a Mickey cup.
How's everyone else's week been? Anything cool planned for the weekend?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

One Year Blogiversary and 300 Follower Giveaway

So. One year ago today I sat down at my kitchen table and started a blog, not knowing what it would lead to or if anyone would listen. It goes without saying that I'm glad I stuck with it! From a handful of followers I've now gained over 300, and I'm grateful for each and every one of you. As writers we all need a place to let out those inner thoughts and niggles that we can only really discuss with like-minded people, and blogging is the best venue for that. I've learnt so much just from the comments that have been left here, let alone the thousands of other posts I've read!

I'm also hugely thankful for those connections I've made that have allowed me to improve my work, through both critiquing and being critiqued. That's why I want to give something back to my amazing CPs. It can be hard to take a detached view of our work which is why outside eyes are invaluable. My WIP has benefitted enormously from the input of these talented peeps!

So I am offering one book each from three of my CPs. One chick lit, one urban fantasy, one romantic suspense, but needless to say they are all awesome. Here's the line-up...

Kyra Lennon - Game On

After swapping her small town life to work for one of the top soccer teams in the U.S, Leah Walker thought she could finally leave the ghosts of her past behind. However, when she meets serial womanizer, Radleigh McCoy, the memories of her old life come swarming back, and she is forced to ask herself whether she has really changed at all.

Siscia Miles - Lady Fate's Game

Confronted with an unfortunate, not so uncommon occurrence, Selena decides to deal with it herself. Not long after, the law takes an interest in the incident, though she has no intentions of stepping forward... yet. Instead, she utilizes that to her advantage. Will there come a point where she's figured out? If so, will there be anyone left to defend her?

Kris Bock - What We Found

A summer afternoon
A stranger’s body
A life changed forever
And above, a hunter watches....

When Audra stumbles on a murdered woman in the woods, more than one person isn't happy about her bringing the crime to light. She’ll have to stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.

Sound good? Enter below and be sure to state your order of preference in the comments. 

I'll leave the giveaway open for a week. I'm away today on holiday until Wednesday, so I look forward to seeing you all on my return! Here's to the next year and many more to come!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 8 October 2012

Changing Tack

So... everyone have a great weekend? I did. I celebrated my 32nd birthday yesterday with a bumper crop of books as presents, and hopefully should get a few more when I go down to my parents' on Thursday. I sound really spoilt, don't I? Well, books are all I'm getting. I didn't ask for anything else!

Birthdays are a time for reflection, and as I work on edits for my second novel, I keep thinking that I meant to have a book published by 30 (having started my first one at 26). That now seems incredibly naive, but I do feel a lot closer since spending the last year blogging and soaking up the advice, camaraderie and support of my peers.

On a related note, one big advantage I've found from this community is I now feel much more broadminded as to my reading tastes. I've enjoyed reading chicklit from one of my best friends in the blogosphere (you know who you are!) whereas previously I would have dismissed it as insignificant fluff. It's not; it's about relationships and emotions, which every writer needs to deal with.

And I've become much more open to YA. I wasn't completely unfamiliar with the genre, having read authors like Rick Riordan to my teenage stepson, and I've read Terry Pratchett's novels for younger readers. Generally, though, it wasn't something I'd ordinarily choose to pick up and read for myself.

However, among the titles I asked my mum for for my birthday were Veronica Roth's Divergent and Lisa Shafer's Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire. (I've yet to see if my wishes come true!) Both are YA books that I've seen being raved about, but I don't think I would have considered them without this community.

Lately I've even been having ideas that have a distinctly YA flavour. I think I've homed in on one of these for my debut attempt at NaNoWriMo. It'll be something really different for me, and I find that very exciting. I hope this won't be seen as bandwagoning; it is merely me opening my mind to other possibilities and ideas. Which is pretty much thanks to you lot out there! We need to keep ourselves fresh as writers, and crossing genres seems a good way of doing so.

So, the question I want to ask is: do you switch genres? How many different things have you tried? Have you found this is necessary to find the one you enjoy the most, or have you stayed on one track all along?

Don't forget to come back on Thursday when there will be a giveaway and more soppy praising of the blogosphere! :)

Friday, 5 October 2012

C.M. Brown - He Came For Mine

Happy Friday! Today I'm helping celebrate the launch of C.M. Brown's latest novel, He Came For Mine.

He Came For Mine

Book Two in The Protector Series
By C.M. Brown

Available as an eBook at:


Price: $2.99

Add He Came For Mine to your TBR list on Goodreads

You can connect with Carolyn 

For the next two weeks Carolyn is holding a Rafflecopter Draw on her Blog, to celebrate the following three reasons:

  1. The release of Book Two in the Protector Series, titled:
He Came For Mine

2.   One full year of Blogging!


3.   Twelve months since the launch of Book One in The Protector Series!

Prizes will include:

One $20 AUD (Australian Dollars) Amazon Gift Card
One free eBook of Book Two in The Protector Series, He Came For Mine!
One free book cover illustration by Rebekah Romani

Also, during the two week launch
Book One, in The Protector Series

He Came For Me
will be free as an eBook
to download



This book continues the story of Jazz and Sebastian's fated love affair.  Sebastian abandoned Jazz at the end of book one and returns to his home world of Aidensdein, which was burned to the ground when Jazz escaped from his nemesis Brennan.  He is kept busy rebuilding the city and restoring order to his people.

Unfortunately, Jazz is left alone to transform into a part-vampire and deliver their child on her own.  Seb, of course does not know that she is even pregnant when he leaves her.  As Jazz tries to survive the changes to her own body and raise a young vampire, she finds herself being drawn into a relationship with someone who looks very much like Seb.  Can she trust this stranger, or should she be wary?


Fending for herself for almost two years, Jazz worries she will never see Sebastian again.
A new man enters her life,
But does he hold a secret?
Will Jazz trust him?
Sebastian discovers an ancient ritual which must be performed on the Chosen One's son before his first birthday.
He returns to Earth to find Jazz in the arms of another man.
A man he knows very well.
A man he doesn't trust!

About Carolyn Brown

I live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and love the beach lifestyle.  I try to share some of the wonders of this area with my readers, in the content of my books.

I am happily married and have two children, one in university the other in his second last year of High School.

Many years spent supporting high school students with Learning Difficulties has inspired me to take on the challenge of writing, which I am finding I am enjoying immensely.  I spend my free time reading and writing and try to relax on the beautiful beaches I live near, walking my dog and swimming, at every possible opportunity.

I love and am drawn to the dark and mysterious things that go bump in the night and love writing in the paranormal romance genre for New Adults as I enjoy enticing my audience with small hints of sexual fantasy.


Wishing Carolyn all the very best with her release! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Back, with News

Hello all, I'm back after my month off and excited to get round and see what everyone's been up to. I've got some news to share and I'd also like to ask you all to do me a small favour which will hopefully have a big impact.

Before I left I wrote about my new blog which charts the progress of my stepson, Andrew McNaughton, in his efforts to secure funding for a place at a specialist college in England. I'd love it if you could pop over and give him a follow, and if you could also click on the button with Andrew's face on it to the right, it will take you to the Facebook page which features daily updates. Please give it a like, and if you want to show some extra support, you're more than welcome to grab the code for the button and paste it on your own blog.

One of the simplest ways to show support is by signing the online petition, which you can also get to via its widget over there -->. We're trying to change the entire landscape and get our very own college built in Scotland with the facilities that Andrew needs in order to thrive and have a meaningful career, and we'll only achieve that by banging on the door of the Scottish Government with enough voices behind us! Just to emphasise this point - further education is FREE in Scotland, yet we are obliged to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to send Andrew to a college far away from his home and family. The Scottish system has no equality and no choice for those with complex support needs - what is offered is essentially daycare - and that is what we are trying to change.

We've also got loads of items for our online auction which will run from 2nd to 9th October, including signed books, handcrafted jewellery, toys, portraits, a bottle of champagne, and yours truly is offering a full book critique! Get yourself an early Christmas present and help a deserving cause. All the details are on the Facebook page.

I initially took a break to secure part-time employment, and I managed to achieve that goal halfway through the month, although it won't start until 22nd October (also Andrew's 18th birthday). I posted before about my previous job offer, but that fell through before I got a shift. Hopefully this one will run smoothly. My break was extended to help get the fundraising off the ground, which is probably going to continue for the next three years. I'm planning to continue with this blog and update Andrew's blog once a week. I want to give a massive thanks to those of you who have donated books and other items - we've got enough auction items now, but I'll be keeping you up to date on all the other ways you can support us!

Editing and critiquing are continuing apace, and I can't wait for my one year blogiversary on Thursday 11th October! It will also celebrate 300 followers, and I'll be giving away some fab prizes, so don't forget to come back for that.

Finally, myself and my better half have taken the leap into the Twitterverse - @NickPWilford and @HeatherWilford, which is another way we're keeping everyone up to date on the campaign. Big wave to those who have already followed me there!

Have a good week, and I'll see you around!