Wednesday, 3 December 2014

IWSG Anthology - Out Now!

Yes, it's a great day for the IWSG as its very own "Guide to Publishing and Beyond" is out now, completely gratis! I was very proud to contribute to this tome which is chock full of advice on anything and everything to do with writing, publishing and marketing. Having read some of the posts from the bloghop I can vouch that this is a fantastic resource for anyone at any stage of the game, from the members of the IWSG who have been through the battles. I look forward to reading the rest of the entries I missed. Get it at AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and Smashwords.

So onto my post for this month. Well my insecurity is something that I imagine a fair few writers have some trouble grappling with - money. Now, I know that very few writers go into the game hoping they will clean up - if they do, they're either doing it for the wrong reasons or they're suffering under an illusion. I accept that I'm never going to make megabucks from my writing. My insecurity stems from how this relates to everyday life. We have three kids, Christmas is nipping at our heels, and I can't help sometimes feeling guilty for not contributing enough. I've got my paper round, I'm continuing with my freelance writing and editing which, by nature, ebbs and flows. I never earn more than £250 in a week. I feel I'm doing what I can as the stay-at-home parent, but then my wife's working-at-home business has taken off in a big way and is almost earning as much as her day job.

I don't know, I've never been very savvy with money and don't feel like I've got the right sort of brain for it. It was always a bone of contention that the short stories I had published were unpaid. For me, the achievement was getting the publishing credits and the satisfaction that someone had deemed my words worthy of putting into print. I recently submitted a story to an ezine after a friend had success with the venue. It was rejected, but it was that Holy Grail of rejections, containing personal feedback! That was very exciting, and made me feel like I was halfway towards being paid for a piece of fiction for the very first time. Still, though, the payment was three dollars. Not a big difference to our bank balance, but money all the same.

I'm now looking at setting a goal of writing and submitting one short story a month with payment, but instead of this and the freelance stuff, should I be pursuing some sort of other work that offers a more regular income? I really don't know what else I'd do that would fit around my home responsibilities. I'm good at writing and I don't get any complaints.

Sorry for rambling on here. I guess my question is, if you write for no or very little money and spend a lot of time on it, do you feel guilty about that? How do you deal with it?

Be sure to visit the other IWSG bloggers here!

Monday, 1 December 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - Winner!

Yes! I did it. It was a long month of computer crashes and 4am starts, but I did it and wrapped up 50,000 words early on Sunday. Right in the middle of a crucial scene, too - so I've let myself have one day off today and then back on it tomorrow. After all, writing isn't just done during November, right?

I'd say it was a productive month with Part 2 of my trilogy finished and 17,000 words of my novella prequel written. It will probably require another 10k or so to be done. I had no idea this novella would even exist before NaNo started, so even though I started out by continuing previous work, it still threw up surprises! It was nice to work on something different but still related. I must admit I hit a slight slump during the middle of the month, which equated to the end of Part 2. Endings are always tricky for me and I need to regroup before starting Part 3. Nevertheless, I'm excited about the progress that has been made and looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. Also, I said hello to repetitive phrasing, clumsy constructions and other first draft sins - which I'd always been quite precious about, but that's why it took me so long to write drafts! I learnt from NaNo that getting the story out comes first.

So that's it. I'll try to get back to a regular blogging schedule this month, too.

How was your month? Did you NaNo? Did it go well for you?

Monday, 17 November 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - Halfway There!

No, it's not halfway through the month, I realise we're already past that, but I am halfway through my NaNo 2014 effort. Today, I typed my 25,000th word. I've been consistently a couple of days behind since the start, but that's okay. I only need 1,786 per day to finish on time, not much over 1,667.

So, yeah, I'm just here to stick my head over the parapet and let you know how I'm doing this month. I've been typing furiously away, and certainly never written 25k in 17 days before, so I consider that a win already. If you've never tried NaNo, or are perhaps cynical about the value of writing just for the sake of obtaining a speed goal, try it! It's really not all about the word count. NaNo, for me, is about trying to instill good habits of writing, writing consistently, and writing around whatever hazards might fly into your path. I didn't really get started until Day 3 - I'm unused to writing on a weekend, and hadn't written for two months beforehand (tsk!), so I wasn't prepared for that first Saturday. Then, my laptop threw a major wobbler and wouldn't connect or open Word, so I scrawled on several sheets of good old-fashioned paper until Day 6, when I decided to hunt down my stepdaughter's forgotten laptop (she does everything on her iPad these days). I'm still using it and have just about got used to the smaller screen.

About those consistent habits - I really do think it's great that NaNo makes you write every day. I've made up for that first weekend and haven't missed a day since. I do a paper round seven days a week, and have been getting up at 4am on weekends to get my writing in first, up to 2000 words. I maybe wouldn't do so much in the future, but on the Mondays I've been able to easily pick up where I left off, whereas Mondays in the past I've been banging my groggy head on the desk trying to pull myself back into the "zone". So, thanks NaNo! I've learnt stuff I can apply going forward.

I'm carrying on my YA trilogy that I actually started during NaNo 2012, so it's quite fitting in a way. Except I'm not sure it will be a trilogy any more - when I finish Part 2, I'm really not sure what will come next, although that may yet reveal itself. I'll finish Part 2 before I finish 50,000 words, and I do have ideas for a prequel that will go into more depth about the events that led to the worlds we first encounter in Part 1. Maybe this will then be Part 1, or maybe 1 and 2 will become one longer work, plus a prequel - I'm open to all possibilities at the moment. Oh, and apparently, I'm not a rebel any more for carrying on a previous work. Hey ho, there's my image ruined!

And here's a little extract - it might be rough, but I've been learning to get over that. Everything needs editing anyway, and getting the story down should come first!


“Where am I?” he said, blinking and trying to make out any shapes in the darkness. But once his nostrils registered the overpowering odour of wet fish, he had his answer before Ez could give it to him.

“The cargo deck, hence the delightful scent. Don’t try to get up,” she said, her voice rising in alarm. “You need to rest that arm for tonight at least. Tomorrow you’ll have to try and walk, as we’ll arrive and Kriftey needs to take the boat back home. We made a makeshift splint.”

“Yeah, I... kind of remember,” said Welles. The pain in his arm was now a low ache that throbbed rhythmically every few seconds. “This’d better heal up quick, ‘cos once I get my hands on the bastard who did this...”

“Sshhh,” said Ez, as if soothing a baby. “Don’t think about that right now. That’s your problem, you get carried away thinking about what everything means instead of focussing on the here and now.”

With his head turned to the side, Welles could now discern the looming shape of the fish crates stacked all along the wall. At least the pungent smell gave him something to distract him from the pain.

“But that’s what you’re like too. That’s why I liked you, because you thought like me, which is why we’ve got to this point.”

Ez let out a heavy sigh. “Yes, I know, but... sometimes it’s better to just look at what we know for certain and deal with that. We don’t know any of the other stuff for certain.”

“Yeah, I guess. You’re really smart, Ez. Where’s Mal, by the way?”

“Right here.” His voice came from Welles’s other side.

“Strong and silent type , as usual,” said Ez.

“There’s something to be said for that,” said Welles. “Sometimes I wish I could just shut the hell up.”

They all fell into a silence after that, but it was a busy silence, each processing their own thoughts as the boat moved rhythmically through the water. At least the weather seemed to have calmed down.

“You know, things could be worse,” said Ez casually. “You could have broken your leg. Walking would have been a real challenge, then.”


If you're doing NaNo, how's it going? What else are you up to in November?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Nobody Knows cover reveal, and other news

Today I'm helping out author friend Kyra Lennon with the cover reveal for her upcoming "rock band romance", Nobody Knows. Having been lucky enough to read an early copy I can safely say it's a riveting, racy read which you'll want to add to your TBR pile as soon as! Also, fantastic news to hear that it will be the first of a series...

::::BOOK INFO::::
Title: Nobody Knows
Author: Kyra Lennon
Genre: NA Romance
Type: First in series (Razes Hell Book 1)
Cover Design: Najila Qamber Designs
Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography
Release Date: November 3rd 2014

It's not easy being friends with rising rock stars - especially when you're the glue that holds them together.

Razes Hell has taken off in the charts, and Ellie can't believe her childhood friends, Drew and Jason Brooks, are on TV and drawing crowds after years spent playing in dodgy bars. From obscurity to overnight success, Ellie soon realises life in the public eye isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as dark secrets become headline news and old conflicts are re-ignited. When a fake feud meant to boost the band’s popularity threatens to rip the boys apart for real, Ellie finds herself torn – a position which only gets more uncomfortable when her loyalty to Jason collides with her blossoming relationship with Drew.

Nobody knows how deep their issues run; nobody but Ellie. With friendship, a music career and a new love on the line, can Ellie keep their tangled pasts from ruining their futures?

:::::Goodreads Link:::::

:::::Pre-Order Links:::::

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go in November.

:::::Connect With Links:::::

:::::Hosted By:::::
Concierge Literary Promotions -

Kyra has been busy and is also getting ready for the release of her anthology for Cats Protection, which I was proud to participate in recently. I couldn't not show the cute cover in this post!

Coming November 10th!

Two Kristas (McLaughlin and Wayment) are bringing something wicked your way...

Hosts: Krista McLaughlin
           Krista Wayment

When: October 29th, 2014

Who: You, of course, and the villain of your choice.

What: The "Something Wicked" Blogfest is in honor of Halloween and the release of Krista W.'s new book in her Trusted series. Krista and I are name twins, who ironically published books at the same time, both with a character named Lainey. Sometimes I wonder if I share part of her brain... We both thought it would be fun to share about villains!

The rules are very simple - you have 400 words or less to write about a real villain, one you created in a novel, or write a flash fiction. Your villain doesn't have to be necessarily a murderer or stalker, but any anti-hero in your writing will work just fine!

Prizes: 4 winners!

Most Evil - Krista M.'s Winner
E-book copy of "Breathless" AND First 3 Chapter Critique
Guest Post on Krista McLaughlin's Blog

Most Creepy - Krista M.'s Runner-Up
E-book copy of "Breathless"
Guest Post on Krista McLaughlin's Blog 

Most Villainous - Krista W.'s Winner
E-book of "Trusted: Dragons' Trust Book One" AND e-book of "Burned: Dragons' Trust Book Two"
Guest Post on Krista Wayment's Blog

Most Suspicious - Krista W.'s Runner-Up
E-book of "Burned: Dragons' Trust Book Two"
Guest Post on Krista Wayment's Blog

Sign up here!

I also wanted to update you all on what I've been up to, as I haven't been too good at doing that recently. First of all... today's my birthday... but that's not such a big deal. Our youngest turns six on Friday, and will have a fabulous Frozen party with all her friends, then on Monday we depart on a cruise to the Canary Islands for two weeks. My mum will also come up on Thursday and stay for a couple of nights, which is nice, but as you can imagine things are hectic here as we get everything organised. During the cruise, we will be celebrating Andrew's 20th birthday on the 22nd, and Emma turns 14 on the last day in the hotel. Phew... and not to mention this little old blog will turn three this Saturday, but it'll be a quiet one. 

Essentially, I will be on a break until the end of the month, as when we get back I will have five days of frantic planning before... NaNo! Yes, I'm yet to crack that particular nut and I'm hoping third time's a charm. This year, I'm "rebelling" (I think?) as I aim to complete Draft 1 of Book 2 of my YA dystopian trilogy and make a start on Book 3. I'm not quite where I aimed to be with progress, so hopefully this will help... ask me again in six weeks' time to see if that's the case! And I'm always up for new NaNo buddies for some mutual encouragement.

What are your plans for October? Doing NaNo this year?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

IWSG - Anthology

It's time for another installment of the Insecure Writers' Support Group and a very special day for the group. It's the first anniversary of the IWSG website and also three years since the first IWSG post. To mark the occasion, the team have decided to put together a very special anthology featuring the collected wisdom of the IWSG members. Many of us are contributing a 300 word piece with advice on either writing, publishing and marketing. I'm sure this will become an invaluable resource for all writers at every stage of the game.

Here is my submission, which I give the IWSG team full permission to use in the book. I hope it's deemed worthy! It's in the writing area, as I don't have too much experience in the others yet.


Trusting your Gut

When it comes to writing, the best piece of advice I've found is to do what works for you. There are no hard and fast rules; it’s such a personal thing that after practicing for a while, hopefully some sort of instinct takes over. That said, here are some pointers that have helped me along the way which I try to bear in mind.

Show, don’t tell. I know we hear this one over and over again. One of the most useful ways to apply it is to delete the infinitive (to walk, to talk etc). Don’t say “he lifted the phone to talk to his wife”. If he’s lifting the phone, it’s pretty clear he’s going to talk to someone. Show us something about their relationship: “He lifted the phone. Would she listen this time?” You don’t even have to explicitly state who he’s phoning, as that will be shown in the dialogue.

If you like structure and timeframes to your writing, try to set a minimum word count each day so you’re know you’re getting x amount done. If you exceed it, great. One way to keep yourself moving is to leave off each session partway through a scene. That way, you always have something you can pick up again the next day.

Finally, a word about that inner editor. Some people hate theirs as a nagging voice constantly telling them they’re not good enough. I think the trick is to know when to listen. Your inner editor can tell you when something feels off, or could be tightened up, or removed. By listening at the right times, and not becoming too cocky, you will constantly be moving forward and improving as a writer. Like I said above, it comes down to instinct - and trusting your gut.

Bio: Nick Wilford is a writer, parent, freelance editor, and publisher of the fundraising anthology Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew; he can be found at his blog, Scattergun Scribblings.


The sign-up list can be found here for the other entries. I'm looking forward to soaking up a massive wealth of advice, and I suggest you do the same. Happy IWSG day!

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Big C Blog Hop

Happy Monday! Today I'm participating in the Big C Blog Hop, organised by the ever helpful Michael di Gesu to raise funds for our dear friend Melissa Bradley's cancer treatment. Entries will be collected into an anthology to go towards her exorbitant medical bills. I have family members myself who have been touched by cancer and knew I had to take part in this hop. Here's hoping it goes a long way towards getting Melissa back to full health.

We were asked to contribute comical, uplifting or inspirational stories. Mine is fiction which is based in fact. I hope that's acceptable! The cast is drawn from my own family (my parents, myself, and my daughter). Names have been changed, although character traits haven't. ;) Also, I ended up writing this at the last minute, so hopefully it doesn't seem too rushed. Naturally, I give Michael full permission to use my story in the anthology.

The Grumpy Pirate

Martin’s cancer treatment had gone from bad to worse. Chemo was out as an option, due to a number of unwanted side effects, leaving just radiotherapy to hopefully blast those malignant cells from where only customs men usually dared to probe.

The worst of these side effects had been an eye infection, meaning he had to wear a patch and - horror of horrors - not being allowed to drive.

Anyone who knew Martin knew he was a petrolhead who was used to driving anywhere and everywhere without the aid of any Satnav. He called it an “instinct for the road”, and relished the feeling of being in command of his vehicle. He also participated in classic car runs, and a 1952 Vauxhall Velox called Vera, who had a whole garage to herself, was his pride and joy.

Everyone knew he hated being driven, but no one more so than his long-suffering wife Elaine, particularly in the last few days.

“Are you sure you want to do this, dear?” she said, putting the last of the picnic things in the coolbag.

“Of course,” said Martin, sitting at the kitchen table and finishing off the newspaper crossword with the use of only one eye. “It wouldn’t do to disappoint the little mite.”

She groaned, and zipped up the coolbag just as the doorbell rang.

Elaine opened the door to find her son Rick standing there with a concerned look on his face, and her granddaughter Niamh with an ecstatic, beaming one on hers.

“Nana!” she squealed and jumped into Elaine’s arms. Elaine staggered slightly under the little girl’s weight. She was five and growing up fast.

“Hello, darling!” Then, to Rick: “Are you sure about this?”

“Not quite, but try telling that to her,” he said.

“I know, and your dad’s the other one who won’t be talked out of it. Oh well, we just have to get there, and then it’ll be okay. Until it’s time to go home again.” Her shoulders sagged.

The corner of Rick’s mouth lifted up in a half smile. “Stay strong, Mum. And don’t take any of his rubbish!”

She nodded. “I can only try. Well, you’d better get off to work. In you come, you little scallywag!”

Each Saturday, Martin and Elaine looked after their youngest granddaughter while her parents both went to work. The three older kids, who were all teenagers, were happy to stay in the house and get a break from their excessively energetic sibling. Rick had argued that shifts could be swapped while Martin was undergoing his treatment, but Martin was adamant that he didn’t want to break the routine. They took Niamh out for a special treat and it was the highlight of her week.

Niamh hugged her dad goodbye and skipped through to the kitchen where Martin was still sitting.

“Whoa! What happened to your eye, Granpa?”

“And hello to you too,” said Martin, looking up and breaking into a grin. “Come and get a cuddle.”

She ran over for a hug, but after pulling out of her granpa’s bear-like grasp she looked up at his face and frowned. “You look like a pirate.”

“Granpa’s got a bit of a sore eye, just while he’s ill,” said Elaine. “Remember, you need to be gentle with him. He might be a bit grumpy... even more than usual. Especially because he can’t drive the car.”

“You can be a grumpy pirate!” said Niamh, throwing her hands in the air.

So for the duration of the half an hour journey to the soft play centre, that’s what Granpa was. He sat next to Niamh in the back, and at every junction he warned Elaine of incoming ships on the starboard bow. He grabbed hold of Niamh and uttered dire warnings that anyone who tried to take his “treasure” would walk the plank. He issued streams of hilariously inventive, kid-friendly pirate expletives. Niamh laughed her head off. The drive wasn’t nearly as bad as Elaine had anticipated, and by the end, she couldn’t stop herself from smiling.


Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Trained as a journalist, he now enjoys creating new worlds and getting to know his characters better. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He also works as a freelance editor and proofreader. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine and is the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew, a fundraiser for his stepson's college fund. You can find him at his writing blog, Scattergun Scribblings

Please go to Michael's blog to check out the other entries!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Kyra Lennon's Cat Anthology Bloghop

Happy Friday! Today I'm posting for a wonderful fundraising idea dreamed up by author Kyra Lennon. Kyra volunteers at her local Cats Protection branch for rescued kitties in need of a loving home and decided to put together a cat-themed anthology to help the cause. Here is my contribution, which was inspired by Egyptian mythology and Tom & Jerry. Hope you enjoy!

Cat and Mouse

A growl of frustration came from deep in Jabari’s stomach as he eyed the mouse that had secreted itself in a hole in the mudbrick wall. The little beady eyes and quivering whiskers hovered just inside the recess, seeming to be mocking him. He paced and growled again, trying to be menacing, although he didn’t feel like it.

“It will give up eventually,” purred a deep voice with an alluringly feminine tone. “Stay strong, Jabari.”

Jabari’s ears pricked up and a chill ran through him, which always happened when the great goddess Bast manifested. His ears flattened and he lowered himself to the floor in a gesture of supplication. “Please help me catch this elusive mouse, O great Bast.”

“Oh do get up you silly tom, that’s what I’m doing.” The irritated voice seemed to come from within his own head, but when he looked to his left, Bast looked like a normal cat, albeit extremely beautiful - sleek, papyrus-coloured, with large brown almond-shaped eyes. He knew not to look too long, or he would be transfixed by her radiance.

A morsel of cheese materialised on the other side of him. The mouse’s whiskers thrummed with greater ferocity and Jabari could practically see it salivating. It was the most succulent cheese to be found in the Lower Delta, and Jabari had to restrain himself from gobbling it.

“Now, we wait. He will not be able to resist for long.”

But Jabari didn’t feel like waiting. He was getting old, and wanted nothing more than to curl up and sleep in a patch of warm sun. What did it matter if he let one mouse go? Cats were so revered in Egypt that he was hardly likely to be thrown out on the street, but he didn’t want to lose face in front of the goddess.

As if sensing his thoughts of blasphemy - which he knew she was - her voice rang out in his head again. “Patience, Jabari. You will win over this puny creature.”

Now Jabari was getting annoyed. He glanced again for a second at Bast - who was watching him with an expression of faint disdain - and at that moment the mouse dashed out of the hole, snatched up the cheese under one front leg, and scrabbled up the wall on the opposite side of the room. Jabari snarled, crouched and lunged, but it was too late. The mouse was clinging onto the wall near the ceiling and rapidly devouring the cheese, and two thoughts hit him at once.

Since when could mice climb up walls?

And this mouse had not only climbed the wall, but had committed a heretical act. He had dashed up the mural of Bast in her glory days, as a woman with the head of a lioness, and was actually sitting at the open mouth of the painting as if defying her to snap down her jaws.

A terrible yowl from Bast made him claw at his own head in a hopeless attempt to stop the noise. “Witchcraft!” she shrieked. “Blasphemy!”

Jabari looked open-mouthed from Bast back to the mouse, which had finished the cheese and seemed to be sneering at them. A terrible heat was coming from the middle of the room, which had been hot enough to start with. Jabari turned and shrank back, shielding his eyes and trying to curl into the wall. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bast also looked subdued, her front legs stretched out in front of her and her chin touching the floor.

The sun god Ra had manifested; the creator of all living things, he was also Bast’s father. A giant, muscular man with the head of a hawk and a blinding image of the sun disk atop his head.

“Your powers are weakening, Bast,” he intoned. “Why was this mouse able to outsmart an experienced hunter so easily?”

“I... I do not know, father,” said Bast, her formerly authoritative voice sounding meek compared to Ra’s booming tones. “It has been happening more and more of late.”

“Yes, I know,” said Ra. “The balance of power is shifting, which is why a new member of my celestial family has arisen. Allow me to introduce you to Nantor.”

The great god held up a clenched fist; when he opened it, a brown mouse with piercing eyes and a tiny head dress like the one worn by Ra materialised and stood proudly.

“You are relieved of your duties as a deity,” went on Ra, as Bast’s eyes widened in horror. “The mice have grown in number and intelligence, and Nantor shall be their idol. A new temple is to be built in his honour at Bubastis, site of your own shrine which houses thousands of mummified cats. Although they will be left in place, the temple will cease to function as a place of worship.”

The sun disk on Ra’s head seemed to expand until it filled the entire room, and Jabari was forced to squeeze his eyes shut. When he opened them, Ra and the new mouse god had disappeared. Bast was still there, but... diminished. She stretched, and paced in a circle a few times. Jabari realised what had happened. Ra had removed her status as a goddess, but allowed her to remain as a mortal being. She was trying out her physical body for the first time.

She stopped, and sat down, and they both watched blankly as the mouse ran down from the wall. It brazenly crossed the floor in front of them, climbed the opposite wall, and disappeared out of the window. Jabari couldn’t process what was happening, so what must it feel like for Bast?

His owner came into the room and paused, brow creased in confusion, as he stared at the feline newcomer. Did he know what had happened? Would both of them be thrown out to starve?

“Where did you come from?” he said, glancing briefly at Jabari before walking past him to pick up Bast. She let herself be tickled under the chin and Jabari heard her purr. “Let’s see if we can find you some food.” He put her down again and walked to the door. “The kitchen’s this way.” They both trotted after him, and Jafari could sense some kind of relief coming from Bast. Being a goddess was a lot of pressure, after all. She’d never had an owner to give her any affection, and Ra was probably too busy to spend any quality time with her. So cats weren’t going to be worshipped any more, and he wouldn’t end up being pickled and wrapped in bandages, but that was okay with him as long as he still got fed.

There might be a problem with mice eating through stores of grain in their new found position of power, but it wasn’t his problem. Maybe mice would be kept as pets and fed on cheese so they wouldn’t have to eat the grain. The pressure was off him, as well. He had never quite enjoyed having to kill them.


Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Trained as a journalist, he now enjoys creating new worlds and getting to know his characters better. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He also works as a freelance editor and proofreader. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine and is the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew, a fundraiser for his stepson's college fund. You can find him at his writing blog, Scattergun Scribblings

I give Kyra permission to use my story in the anthology.

Please go to Kyra's blog to check out the other participants! 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

IWSG - RIP Tina Downey

Most, if not all of you, will have heard about the sad passing of Tina, one of our blogging comrades. This will not be a long post, but I wanted to add my voice to the growing chorus of praise for Tina and her warm online presence.

I first met Tina through the A-Z Challenge, and while I did not know her as well as some I can say that every comment I received from her was cheerful and encouraging. I have to confess that I did not know she was ill, so the message from DL Hammons breaking the news was a complete shock. Next Monday there will be a bloghop to splash sunflowers all across the blogosphere, Tina's favourite flower.

Of course, my thoughts are first and foremost with Tina's family, including her two boys. Her nearest and dearest managed to find time to post a letter on her blog to break the news to everyone, which they didn't have to do, but it is a reflection of the high esteem in which Tina held her fellow writers and the energy she gave to the community. I hope they find some measure of comfort in the messages that were left underneath and in the tributes that have appeared since.

I could not help but be reminded of the outpouring of support that followed the passing of my stepson. Times like this show the strength of this community. Some might say that people we communicate with electronically and may never actually meet are not our friends; acquaintances perhaps, or connections. I think it is more than that. Through our blogs we let people in on a slice of our lives, as long as we are open and honest, and through shared interests we build friendships. Tina's passing will leave a hole in the lives of many, even those she did not share in person.

I hope this post makes sense. Let's take a moment to celebrate Tina's joie de vivre and this amazing community which has the power to offer solace in the darkest of times. Here's to you, Tina!

Please check out the other IWSG blogs here.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


It's time for another group posting of the Insecure Writers' Support Group hosted by the erstwhile Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. Go here to find out more about the group and to sign up.

First of all, I need to state that this is a prescheduled post as we're visiting my parents in Brighton this week, so I'm unable to take part in visiting the other bloggers in the circle. I missed last month because I was away then too, so I didn't want to do the same thing again.

I guess blogging (or lack of it) is my insecurity this month, rather than writing. Many people worry that blogging is turning too much into a platform for promotion rather than debate - all the cover reveals and giveaways. I love all that, and love supporting my comrades who have worked so hard to put their work out in the world. But as far as anything more in depth goes, my well seems to be running a bit dry.

I know many people post less during the summer, especially if they've got kiddywinkles, I've noticed that. Recently we've had subtropical temperatures that were boiling our brains out, but today it's been bucketing down with rain, provoking a feeling of gloom. In between running around after the kids and the dogs, I just don't feel like I've had anything to say.

They're back at school in a week, so I'm sure things will pick up again. Maybe blogging is a seasonal thing. At least I've been able to continue with my writing, by aiming for 1000 words on weekdays before my paper round, between around 5-6am. I haven't accomplished this every day, but by keeping up semi-regular progress, I've passed the halfway point on Book 2 of my dystopian series, so I think writing was a win this summer. Maybe I'm drained after an early start writing, leaving no room for a well thought out post!

How about you? Do seasons affect your productivity in blogging and other social media? Any tips for keeping things balanced?

Friday, 18 July 2014

SOULLESS cover reveal

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and
lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to
reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her
wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her
people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Sidelined Blog Tour - Bree Collinson Interview

Today I interrupt our normal programming to hand over to the States for a very special, exclusive interview with Bree Collinson, star of Kyra Lennon's latest novel, Sidelined. As you'd expect from Kyra, it's a very sweet read with some added grit and an excellent addition to the Game On series. So without further ado, let's hand over to our friends at Westberg One.

Hello and welcome to Word on Westberg, your local syndicated cable TV chat show with your host, Wilbur Wintersby. We've got a great show tonight and we're starting by finding out about the glamorous life of a top soccer player's wife. Our first guest's husband Jude is the goalkeeper for Westberg Warriors. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and give a warm welcome to the fabulous Bree Collinson.

- Good evening, Bree, you're looking beautiful. Can you tell us about a typical day as a footballer's wife? Some say you have everything a girl could ever want, is that true?  

*tilts head* Well, it’s pretty awesome to be a footballer’s wife, and my husband is soooo handsome! Jude has to work a lot, so I get lots of time to hang out with my friends and go shopping! I love to shop, and yeah, I do have a lot of stuff. Sometimes I think I have a little too much, actually. Maybe I should donate some of my shoes to, like, a charity or something…

- Now, you've gone through some troubles in the past year which have inspired you to tell your story in this book as an inspiration to others. Without giving anything away to those who haven't read it yet, why should people read your book?

Because, as a footballer’s wife, people have the impression that I’m… stupid. Sure, I know how to dress, and I know more about fashion than… well, anything else, I guess. But I’ve been through a lot of stuff, stuff most people would never be able to guess. I get excited about little things like celebrity weddings, and the latest movie releases, and nights out with friends, but it’s only because I never used to have any of those things in my life. I couldn’t afford a gossip magazine, and I sure couldn’t afford to go the movies. I didn’t have any friends, either. Not real ones like I have now. So, yeah. I guess I want people to read my book to show them that I’m not all about the latest trends. There’s more to me.

 - It seems like you're in a pretty good place with your life and marriage. Could we be hearing the patter of tiny football boots in the Collinson household in future?

*laughs* Oh, I love babies! But, you know, Jude and I have been through a lot in the last few months, and right now we just need to focus on us. There will definitely be babies in our future, but not for a while.

- You come across in the book as a bit ditzy, but with a heart of gold and ready to help anyone. Apart from Jude, do you have anyone in your life like that?  Tell our viewers why they're so great.

I’m a lucky girl. I sure don’t know anyone as ditzy as me, but I have the best friends in the world. And I know everyone thinks that about their own friends, but seriously, mine really are the best. If you guys have ever seen us out on the town, you know that Leah Walker and Freya Phillips are my best friends, and also, Jesse Shaw. *audience wolf whistles and Bree giggles* Right, ladies? He’s a sweetheart, a real gentleman who has been there for me when things got rough.

- In the early part of your book you seem dissatisfied with your lot and yearn for something more.  Have you found that and is there any news on that hamster?

*laughs out loud* No hamsters for me! Things are getting better now, but I wasn’t dissatisfied with what I had. I was dissatisfied with myself, but I didn’t really realise why for a while. All it took was an idea from Leah to help me see what the problem was and I’m much happier now I have something to work for.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight, Bree and I hope you'll stick around, we have some awesome guests still to come.
Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed
of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than
Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything
handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to
better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

Buy Links: Amazon UK/ Amazon US/B&N/iBookstore

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels.

Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

Find Kyra online: Website/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Goodreads/Join My

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