Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Something to help you sleep...

Part of an email I received from Kindle Direct Publishing:

"On January 1, 2015, European Union (EU) tax laws regarding the taxation of digital products (including eBooks) will change: previously, Value Added Tax (VAT) was applied based on the seller’s country – as of January 1st, VAT will be applied based on the buyer’s country. 

As a result, starting on January 1st, KDP 
authors must set list 
prices to be inclusive of VAT..."

What does that waffle all mean? Why am I boring you On New year's Eve? Here's why:

"...For example, if an author had previously set
£5.00 as the VAT-exclusive list price for, the new VAT-inclusive list price will be £6.00 because the applicable VAT rate in the UK is 20%. "

And to make the matter even more confusing, the tax is different all over the E.U. 

In other words, buy your books now, my lovelies before the new tax law kicks in. X

From my side of the pond to yours...

...Just in case I'm asleep when the hands on the clock are pointing straight up!

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne! 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. "

Thanks for your company and friendship in 2014. It's been great. Now, where's 2015? Bring it on! XXX

Another nominee...

Congratulations to my friend Sharon Kay!

Two of her books, Wicked Flames AND Kissed By A Demon Spy, were nominated over at Moonrise Bookblog's Readers Choice Awards. I've read both and I think they're fabulous.

Good luck, girl!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


'Hemlock' has been nominated in Moonrise Bookblog's Readers Choice Awards. :D It's listed in the best fantasy romance category. *squee*

I can't stop grinning. Who cares about the results? I got an actual, real life nomination! Me!

Thank you so much, Moonrise lovelies! <3 <3 <3

*Edit* Wolsbane is listed too. I was so excited I missed it!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Book Pimpage ahead...

In case you didn't see my previous post #FBhideandseek, 'Wolfsbane' is now available at these outlets:

B & N:



Because I'm still in a festive mood, for a limited period, I've dropped the price. Yay! :) (And the moment its Kindle Unlimited stint is up, 'Hemlock' will be joining it!)

Don't forget, to be in with a chance to win paperback versions of BOTH books, click on the 'Super Awesome Giveaway' post at the top of my Facebook page.

Friday, 26 December 2014


How's your holiday going so far?

Christmas dinner turned into a bit of an epic, and I had a nasty encounter with a vegetable peeler, but it all turned out well in the end. Who needs an index finger anyway?

Ah! I love Christmas, all that love and goodwill... batteries not included. It gives me such a buzz!

As far as I'm concerned, there really is no greater gift than giving, so I've decided to extend Christmas in my own small way.

How d'you fancy the chance to win paper copies of BOTH my books? (Yes, I'm currently running a 'Hemlock' giveaway on my Goodreads page, but in this giveaway one lucky person will win BOTH books, Hemlock and Wolfsbane, gratis, free of charge. Heck! I'll even sign them if you want me to.

How does that sound? Are you up for it? To be in with a chance, here's what you have to do:

- Follow the link to my website.

- At the top of the page you'll see a box inviting you to 'Subscribe To My Newsletter.'

- Enter your name and email addie. (Don't worry. I won't abuse your details or pass them on to a third party, pinky promise!)

- Then leave me a message on my Facebook author page telling me what your favourite (or worst!) Christmas gift was and you're all done!

I'll announce the winner at the end of January, okay?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

So here it is...


Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful winter holiday.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Who fancies getting a message from Santa?

If you have kids - or a partner! - you MUST give this a try: Portable North Pole. Follow the link to get a free, personalized message from Santa. Yes, FREE!

(Fyi, I'm still on the naughty list, but Santa assures me there's still time for me to mend my ways before the Big Day.)


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Only 5 more sleeps to go!

Gingerbread house? Check! (Like my kids really need extra sugar to ramp up their excitement!) :D

*Note strategically placed cup handles supporting roof*

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Just 7 more sleeps until Santa lands!


How are you all holding up? My kids are both totally WILD at the moment, weeping one moment, laughing maniacally[sp?]--while doing the wall-of-death around the living room--the next! The opening of each new door on the advent calendar seems to escalate their craziness. Even the cat seems to be infected with tinsel-itis. She's currently diving in and out of the empty boxes and packaging heaped at the top of the stairs, and I've almost fallen over her twice. I can almost hear her shouting: "Watch this! Yayyyyyyyy!" as she dives.

Anyway, here's one of my favorite Christmas tunes.  <3 There's nothing like a few Clannad tunes to help ease the trials of gift wrapping, I always find. Enjoy! :)

Now where did I put the fecking scissors?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

What's a book without a reader?

... nothing but a meaningless jumble of letters on (virtual) paper, that's what. In order to truly live, a story needs readers.

I might come across as a confident person, but the truth is I'm rather shy, so making the decision to publish my scribblings was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

The only way I can describe this feeling is by asking you to imagine how you'd feel if you lost your diary or journal, the place where you record your innermost secrets. Now, imagine a stranger finds it, reads it, and passes it along to a friend, and they pass it to someone else, and then on to someone else...

Yup! Publishing feels a bit like that. :)

I don't say this often enough, but THANK YOU for all the support you've given me this year, for chatting, for reviewing, and for loving my stories (almost!) as much as I do.

I'd trust any one of you guys with my secret diary, anytime! <3 <3 <3


And today FB are running a poll asking for our opinions on Facebook. Ooh! That one was a real toughie to answer. [/sarcasm]

Anyway, just a heads up to let you know this is the last day of Hemlock's Countdown Deal. Go on, my lovelies. Grab it while it's still on offer! :)

ps: Have you entered my Goodreads giveaway yet? <3

Monday, 15 December 2014


Good morning! :)

Only ten more sleeps 'til Christmas, just in case anyone needed a reminder!

Anyway, hands up who fancies winning a signed paper copy of 'Hemlock', the first book in my 'Traveler' series?

You do? Great! Then clickety-click on the link and head on over to my GOODREADS PAGE because I have a giveaway going on right now. You have to be in it for the chance to win it!

Good luck! :)

Okay, I'm off to spend the rest of the day with Anselm. Just me, my A4 notepad, a black Bic pen, and the most messed up black sheep on Erde. Lucky me, eh? <3

Friday, 12 December 2014

More book pimpage...

Sorry to be a book-promo bore but it's your last chance to pick up 'Hemlock' for 99 pennies. If time-travel romance with a side serving of adventure is your thing... or your mother's thing... or your fella's thing, get clicking, my lovelies.

Please don't miss out!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Seasonal felicitations, my lovelies!

So, how’s December treating you all so far?

a) Everything’s all mistletoe and wine here, thanks! Positively Joy to the World, in fact.

b) Shut. Up! My home resembles an Amazon depot, the kids are doing the wall of death around the living room, the cat’s knocked the fecking tree over for the sixth time today, and now my in-laws are coming to stay. So you can take your felicitations, wrap ‘em in tinsel and—

c) Hic! *slurs Who knows? Mulled wine is an hex-shremely powerful anesthet-HIC, you know.

I’m currently somewhere in the region of (a) and (b.) No drinky-poos for me until Christmas is all wrapped up and posted.

Okay, here’s a little something to banish the winter chills... I’ve scheduled a Kindle Countdown DEAL

for ‘Hemlock’, the first book in the ‘Traveler’ series and it starts tomorrow! Even better, for the first couple of days, you can get your hands on Vadim and Anselm for a measly 99 c/p.

If you’ve already read ‘Hemlock’, why not grab a copy for someone who hasn’t? I know I’m biased, but my boys would look great in anyone’s Christmas stocking. Treat your mum, your gran, or even your man. Spread the word, m’dears. Sharing is caring. :)

Right. I’m heading back to my writer’s dungeon. Actually, it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. Not now I’ve decorated the manacles with fairy lights. SO pretty!

Mwah! XXX

I do!

 How about you? :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Would YOU Survive the Middle Ages?

I don't normally post quizzes but I couldn't resist this one!

Apparently, I might get by... for a while. Yeah? Knowing my luck I'd catch the plague the moment I stepped out of my time machine!

How about you? Would you survive, living in a world like the one my poor Martha inhabits? And would you trade all the luxuries of our modern world for the love of one good man?

If you do the quiz, feel free to post your results here. (I know you won't do it, but I'm going to keep on asking this kind of stuff until someone takes pity and talks to me! :) )

Monday, 8 December 2014

Wolfsbane update...

The book I call "Wolfie" has officially been liberated from KDP Select. What that means is he is no longer exclusive to Amazon. Yes, my friends, you can now get your hands on Vadim and Anselm at all these other outlets. Well... with the exception of Apple. For some reason, some of my small print has upset them. Hey-ho!

Oh, and before I go, please pop back here on 11/12/2014 when I'll be sharing some news of the "Hemlock" variety.

Have a great day/evening!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Wassail, my lovelies!

"Wassail comes from the Old English words 'waes hael', which means "be well," "be hale," or "good health." A strong, hot drink (usually a mixture of ale, honey, and spices) would be put in a large bowl, and the host would lift it and greet his companions with "waes hael," to which they would reply "drinc hael," which meant "drink and be well..."

Christmas past rocks!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Writerly Essentials...

All the writers in the house say "Hell, YEAH!"

Thick skin = Writer's Kevlar.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Muse laxatives: How to make the words come...

Good morning, my lovelies! :) Check out this gorgeous song that one of my amazing readers shared with me. Apparently she listened to it a lot while she was reading "Wolfsbane."  Thanks, R! <3 <3 <3

When I'm writing, I listen mainly to instrumental stuff because I find lyrics too distracting. On the days when the words aren't flowing freely, musical aid is vital. For instance, I couldn't have written any of those gory battle scenes without the aid of the "Kingdom of Heaven" soundtrack.
This particular track is the ultimate word laxative.

Do you listen to music while you read? If so, feel free to post links to your personal soundtracks to some of your favorite reads. Poking around someone's music collection is almost as enlightening as their bookshelves, imo!

Have a great day! :)

Monday, 1 December 2014

Tell Don't Show: Why Writing Rules Are Mostly Wrong...

Yes. Yes. YES!!!

Thank you, Rachel Cross for posting this link to a masterclass featuring the creator of the insanely popular Jack Reacher series.

If only I'd come across this lecture back when I was still an aspiring author. Stupid "Rules." They had me tied in knots for months before I finally, and secretly, decided to discard the vast majority of them.

Lightbulb moment?  I'll say! It's a veritable 1960s paparazzi feeding frenzy for the mind. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Monday, 24 November 2014

What's the definition of a blithering idiot?...

... Well if you look it up in the dictionary you should find a picture of me right alongside the description.

It's come to my attention that I've been sending out the wrong book to reviewers/bloggers. *headdesk* I have no idea how it happened, but all my file names are wrong. *headdesk-HEADDESK*

If I recently sent you a book and it wasn't the one you were expecting, I apologize. Please feel free to mock me without mercy when/if you review. I deserve it for being such an utter dolt. Thank you.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Move over Elsa and Anna......

 ... 'cause in this house the 'Frozen' phase is officially over! *pulls shirt over head and runs about house cheering wildly*

My kids absolutely LOVED 'Maleficent'. She's completely won them over... and me! Ever since the film first came out, I'd been debating whether to let my little people watch it or not, but I shouldn't have worried. Turns out, old Maleficent is much less scary than, say, the first 'Harry Potter' film.

Such a wonderful twist on an old tale. It really made my kiddiwinks think about good and bad in a whole new way, which isn't a bad thing.

Now all I have to do is let Santa know we will be requiring Maleficent merchandise, specifically dolls, and an outfit for my little girl to wear to her classmates' birthday parties.

Ah! I can picture it now. Ten Elsa's, ten Anna's, a couple of Ninja turtles, and one newly-reformed Mistress of all Eeeeeevillll! :) I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

I have an important question for you...

Me? I'd be taking that red pill and heading off to Middle-earth to hang with the Rohirrim and the Rangers.

Which pill would you take, and why?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The show must go on...

Tmi? :)

What did you think?

Hey lovelies. Can I ask a HUGE favor?

If you've read either (or both!) of my books, and if you haven't already done so, would you please leave a review on Amazon (particularly or Goodreads (or both! :) )? Pretty please? *puppy eyes*

Don't worry, you don't have to blow any smoke. Just tell it like it is. I'm not one of those authors who gets her knickers in a knot and hunts people down over a negative review. To each their own. That's my philosophy.

The truth is, reviews matter, every single one of them. From the War & Peace epics to the one sentence "Loved/Hated it." Each review has the power to influence someone into taking a chance (or not!) on a self-pubbed author. Believe me, we need all the pimpage we can get!

Thanks, my lovelies. <3 You're the best! Okay, I'm crawling back into bed with my tissues and Lemsip. My wee boy is so better since he gave all his snotty germs to me. Have a great day! :)

Monday, 17 November 2014

At last...

I'm so excited. :D "Wolfsbane" is now available in paperback form. Yay! (On Amazon UK, at least. Hopefully will soon catch up.)

Btw, if you haven't picked up your e-copy of "Wolfie" yet, don't forget that it's currently an Amazon Countdown Deal. Please don't miss out. Grab Vadim and Anselm while they're going cheap! (Well, Anselm's always been fairly cheap, bless his heart, but that's a whole other story!) :D

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

It's official...

... I am utter dingbat! The 'Wolfsbane' promo starts TOMORROW (Thursday) NOT Friday. Doh! I'm blaming my scrambled synapses on my little boy. The poor chick has been off school all this week with a really nasty virus.

At the moment, life for me is one huge used-tissue mountain. No wonder my brain broke. The stench of Olbas oil probably short circuited something. :)

So it's tomorrow, right? Definitely... I think!

Kindle Countdown Deal...

Hey girls and boys. Just a quick post to let you know that Wolfsbane has a countdown deal scheduled to start this Friday (14th). The starting price is just 99 pennies, so if you haven't grabbed your e-copy yet, now's your chance.

Tell your friends. Spread the word! #sharing is love.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Don't drink and write!

Hello, my lovelies!

One week into Nano and it's not looking good. Spewing out 50,000 words in a month is looking more and more like the writerly equivalent of climbing the North Face of the Eiger while wearing flip-flops... in winter.

Yeah. THAT difficult.

As we speak, I've only written 6,000 words. [Excuses: I didn't officially start until Monday, and I've spent this evening at the local walk-in centre (a sort of E.R. for non urgent out-of-hours medical cases) with my little boy who suddenly developed a rash, headache, and a stiff neck. He's okay, thank goodness! Just a harmless viral rash. as it turns out.]

I'm having real problems switching off my inner editor. What I need to do is sling the words onto the page and worry about prettying them up after I hit 'The End', but I just can't seem to "Let it go. Let it goooooo!"

Maybe I need a new tactic. Perhaps I should try "drunk writing" instead?

During my closet-writer years, I would often stumble home drunk from the pub, get out my notebook and pen, and scribble away (in extremely slanting, spidery writing) in the silent watches of the night. Pages and pages of "the most wonderful, perfect prose the world had never seen." (I was eighteen and still thought I knew it all. Turns out, most of what I wrote was utter drivel, but hey-ho!)

The quality of my "closet work" might have been on the iffy side, but there's no denying that my word count was positively vertiginous in those days.

Help me, drunk writing, you're my only hope!

Thing is, I'm not eighteen anymore. Half a beer-shandy these days and I'm asleep for the night. Nope. I need to come up with a better plan.

Answers on a post-it to this address please.

Enjoy the weekend. :)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Nano News...

Hey all. How's your week behaving so far? :)

Here's my news: I might not be posting as much on FB this month as I've decided to accept the Nanowrimo challenge in order to get a head start on book three.

50,000 words in a month? Is that even doable? Watch this space. :)

The key to having a successful Nano', imo, lies in the ability to ignore your inner editor, disregard all the grammar and punctuation rules you ever learned, and just go for it. Whang those words down on the page as quickly as possible and move on to the next one.

Thing is, I'm constantly battling with my inner editor. I'm the kind of writer who can spend a whole day attempting to make a paragraph look pretty, but now that I can't--not if I hope to finish in time!--the process is almost painful. Still, my daily word count is rising, so I must be getting into the swing of things, albeit SLOWLY!

I just have keep telling myself that I can make it look pretty on the second draft. *sigh*

Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Top Tips for Nano...

(Nanowrimo) is upon us once more. Yes, it's that crazy time of year when thousands of people from all over the world  attempt to produce 50,000 words during the month of November.

To mark the start of Nano, I thought I'd share a few of my own novel writing tips in the hope that someone, somewhere, might find them useful. :)

Okay. here we go... *drum roll*

N.J.'s Secret Writerly Top Tips.

Lesson one: Dialogue.

Writing natural-sounding dialogue can prove quite a challenge, especially on those days when your characters aren't talking to you!

-In order to get your conversations flowing properly, try wandering around the room--or 'house' if you're really struggling!--while reciting your dialogue out LOUD, alternating between your characters.

-DO ensure that you PRECISELY mimic the speech patterns and tonal inflections of your 'people.'

-DO punctuate your speech with any accompanying gestures--such as the brandishing of a sword in a menacing manner, hair tossing, punch throwing, wild laughter... whatever.

(SUPER SECRET TIP!!! Stay away from the windows!)

For the more seasoned writer, you might want to advance to the next level in achieving free-flowing dialogue: Muttering.

Be warned, "muttering" should NOT be attempted by a novice in a public place. The writer should have fully mastered the art of lip concealment, such as using the hand/ facial tissue to mask the face.

*bell rings* Okay, that's it for today. See you next time.

[And in case you were wondering, YES! I have done/still do all of the above! :) Enjoy the rest of the weekend! :) ]

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween...

...or Samhain!!!

Do take care when you're out there trick or treating, my lovelies. The veil between the worlds is particularly thin tonight.

According to the White Goddess: ... This is a great night for visiting the faery realm, but you must return by dawn or remain forever enchanted, unable to return.

Hmm... I wonder if they have taxes/ebola/hunger/politicians in the realm of the fairies?

Have a safe, fun night!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

K.U. okay?

Good evening, my lovelies. The kids are on holiday from school this week which means I'm not getting much [i.e. ANY!] writing done. *sigh* By the time the wee darlings are asleep, the creative side of my brain is already snoring.

Anyhoo... as you may or may not know, being a bit of a dinosaur (specifically a veggiesaurus, in case you were wondering!) I don't own a Kindle but for those of you that do, I was wondering, what are your views on Kindle Unlimited? It sounds great, doesn't it? Limitless books and audiobooks for under ten dollar/pounds a month.

Have you signed up for KU yet? If you have, do you like it? Is it good value for money?

Authors? How's KU working out for you so far? Me? Let's just say, I have no complaints.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Chez Vadim...

Am I the only person in the west who HASN'T read/watched 'Game of Thrones' yet? Quite possibly. But that doesn't mean I can't have some sigil-making fun. 

Here's Vadim's House and his splendid coat of arms. And, look, I even gave him a motto! (A gold star for the first person who can tell me what it means.)

Go, my pretties! Sigil yourself silly, then come back and share your results with me. :D

Monday, 20 October 2014

The London look...

Evening all! How was your weekend?

Sunday was a bit of a wash out weather-wise, so me and the kids spent the best part of the day creating our own version of Samuel Pepy's London in the playroom using Lego, various Hello Kitty/MLP playsets, and a plastic castle.

We recreated the river Thames with kitchen foil, and we used various pots and plates as boats to ferry Twilight Sparkle and co. up and down stream.

 I don't know who enjoyed it most, me or the kids! It's good to play. :)

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Paper or e-book?

Well, I'm FINALLY going through the paperback proof of 'Wolfsbane.' All being well, it should be available for purchase some time next month--not that I'm expecting any huge sales there. Why would I when the electronic version is so much more convenient and affordable?

I get the appeal of Kindle, I really do. Why have one book in your handbag(or purse, if you prefer!) when you can carry around a whole library at a fraction of the weight and cost?

Truth is, as regular readers will doubtless know by now, I'm just a fusty old dinosaur at heart, doddering around waiting for the next extinction level event to strike. Until that day, for me, actual paper books reign supreme. Nothing beats the feel, the smell, and the sound of real pages being turned.

How about you? Which do you prefer, paper or electronic?

Enjoy the weekend! :)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

This isn't a writerly post...'s much more important.

I've just returned from having my first mammogram, and because we hear so many tales of how painful and uncomfortable these things are, I thought I'd tell you a bit about my experience.

Okay, having a mammogram will never be on my bucket list, BUT it didn't hurt at all. Not only that, it was much less uncomfortable than I'd expected. [Male readers might want to look away now...]

Put it this way, given the choice, I'd rather have a mammogram than a cervical smear, and it was way more comfortable than when I get my teeth scaled and polished! My pain rating? A big fat zero. Discomfort rating? Two out of ten, maybe even a one.

So there you go. If you get the chance, please have your baps zapped, ladies. It's much better than the alternative. :)

Friday, 10 October 2014

Why did I not know this?

Hey, all. Happy Friday!

A good friend of mine recently sent me the most wonderful book through the post.(Thanks, Krissie!) It's Neil Oliver's book called 'Vikings: A History.'  Although I've only just started the second chapter, I've just read something that totally blew me away and I just had to share it with someone.

We're all familiar with Bluetooth technology, right? But did you know that the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson named the tech' after a tenth-century Viking? Did you? Well, I certainly didn't. Why did no-one tell me this before?

"Harald 'Bluetooth' Blatand was King of Denmark and parts of Norway... He is famous for bring together the disparate Danish tribes into a unified whole - and then finding a way to unite them with their Norwegian neighbours..."

And get this: "...The little logo that sits at the top of the screen of any Bluetooth enabled hardware is actually a monogram created from the two runes that represent Harald's initials..."

Isn't that awesome? Just think. Even now, the ghosts of long-dead Vikings are still living in our modern world.

Okay, I'm off to read some more. Have a great weekend, my lovelies!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Hands up who likes Robin Hood...

I'm sorry I haven't been around much this week, but as well as battling my severe snot infestation, I've been busy with my Secret Project© Nope. I can't say any more at this stage.

So, what are you all reading at the moment? (I mean bookwise.) Anything I should be checking out?

I'm currently re-reading Angus Donald's fabulous 'Outlaw Chronicles'--a recent addition to my 'keeper' shelf. I really love this series. It's a retelling of the tale of Robin Hood, but this time, from the PoV of Alan Dale, the Robster's trusty sidekick. If historical yarns are your thing, you might want to give this series a go.

Warning! Blood and Gore Rating 9/10 ****

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Write Club...

Hey, my lovelies!

It's my turn in the writerly Thunderdome today.  Click on the link and see if you can spot my story. (Nope. I'm not giving you any clues! :) ) Come back here afterwards and leave me a message in the comments if you think you know which of the two offerings was mine.

Sorry if I'm even more incoherent than usual. My head is a fuzzy, pounding mess. (Yay! Let the cold/flu season commence!) I'm going to make myself a Lemsip, then I'm off to bed.

Have a great Thursday! <3

Monday, 29 September 2014

Let's talk about love...

I was chatting to a writer buddy this morning about love and romance. Not love of the hearts-and-flowers and grand gestures type, but--what I consider to be--'real love.' You know, those small every day acts that tell us we're loved by our significant other.

For instance, once when I was at a party, I imbibed several too many shots of the old giggle juice. Now, my hubby isn't a drinker. While I was quaffing (love that word, btw! Quaff, quaff, quaff!) glass after glass, he gave me 'the look', but he didn't say anything.

[If you have a delicate disposition, look away now!]

When we got home, the giggle juice swilling about inside my stomach turned sour. I couldn't stand unassisted, and then the 'whirling pits' started. I was in a REAL pickle. I swear, I almost puked myself inside out.:(

D'you know what my lovely hubby did? He held back my hair while I was hugging the toilet bowl and he stroked my back. That's it. He never said A WORD. Not one solitary snarky remark passed his lips. Then, afterwards, when I cold and trembling and smelling of puke, he put me in bed and snuggled up beside me, keeping me warm with his hot cuddly body.


A grim tale, I know, but it perfectly demonstrates what I'm talking about today.

So, now it's your turn. How do you know you're really loved?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The weakness of the pen...

Good morning campers! :)

What with last night's excitement, y'know Wolverine helping me duel my evil PodFB twin to her sorry doom, I forgot to tell you something... I've started work on a third 'Erde' book.

*nods* Yep. "Work" as in actual words written on paper as opposed to  the mental back-burner stuff.

I know. I'm supposed to be finishing that other project, but I was in the park yesterday with my kiddiwinks, and the sun was shining... I just couldn't help myself. You know how it is... I was all alone, and my notebook and pen were just sitting there... :D

At this stage, I'm not sure if it's going to be a novella or a full-blown novel. It might be a standalone spin-off. We'll see.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Bex 'n' Books: Review: Hemlock by N.J. Layouni

Bex 'n' Books: Review: Hemlock by N.J. Layouni: Hemlock by N.J. Layouni Lynn's rating: 5 of 5 stars I love time travel romances, but I am cautious with them. Not too many authors c...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

There's ale, and there's ALE...

 Hello, my lovelies! 

I've had some great reviews this week--and if one of them was yours THANK YOU!!! <3

However, one particular reviewer expressed a legitimate concern that I feel I should address here, since it's generally frowned upon for an author to respond directly to any of their reviews. 

As anyone who's read Hemlock or Wolfsbane knows, my characters are rather partial to their ale. In almost every scene, someone's swigging it from a bladder or a tankard, or a barrel!

Well, this reviewer was rather concerned, and rightly so, about the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome-aka FAS. (No spoilers! I'm talking generally here.)

You know what? I considered addressing this very subject during the process of writing both books, but I didn't want to turn the narrative into a lecture or turn Martha into a preacher (because she's obviously the only person in Erde who knows about the risks of FAS, right?)

So what I did, rightly or wrongly, I just kept quiet. BUT... I did leave a few clues here and there to intimate that the everyday ale on Erde wasn't the giggle-making drink we know today. (Martha's only major hangover was after a night on the mead. Seth went loco only after he'd been chugging wine. )

In years gone by, because the water could be rather dodgy back then, people tended to drink ale which they considered safer. Of course, then as now, there were various strengths of ale.

Dear readers, for the record, PLEASE be assured that any pregnant characters you may encounter in either of my books will only ever be drinking the weak and rather watery variety of ale. Well... unless I specify otherwise.

Cool. I'm glad I finally got that off my chest. It's been niggling at me for a LONG time:)

(For more info on medieval drink, follow the link. This lady explains medieval drink far better than I ever could!)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Ouch! Book hangover!

Status? I am currently suffering from a VERY severe book hangover courtesy of M's Larissa Brown a.k.a. Beautiful Wreck Yes, I finally reached 'The End', and Heirik (a.k.a. Stud-muffin of Viking manliness!) has now left the building... or longhouse.

Tell me, missy, what the heck am I supposed to do now? Harass you until you finish writing book two, hmm? That can be arranged, you know! *twirls imaginary mustache whilst cackling in a menacing manner.)

Sorry? What's that? You're only a quarter of the way through writing the first draft? *strikes a Macaulay Culkin pose* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!


I don't know. Flipping authors, taking their own sweet time when they ought to be delivering the goods. What's the world coming to, I wonder? 

Seriously, though. It's a darn fine read!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

You want a third book? Really?

Thank you for leaving such a lovely review of 'Wolfsbane.'

Tbh, I never planned on writing another book in the 'Traveler' series.' I deliberately left the ending slightly open so that readers could make up their own ending to the story.

However, early indications suggest that I may have to rethink things. It'll be a while, though. I have quite a few other projects to finish before I can rejoin Vadim and co.

Watch this space! :)

Monday, 15 September 2014

Anyone for time travel?

Hands up who'd like to take a ride on my fancy shmancy time machine! Any takers? If so, where/when would you like to go? Will that be a single or return fare? (I'd love to take you for free but, honestly, these high-end flux capacitors are flippin' expensive to run!)

Leave me your requests in the comments below and I'll do my best to accommodate you. :)

Anyway, as you might expect, over the last few months (translation => years!!!), I've spent much of my free time 'hanging' in the middle ages with my book crew. Although it's a fascinating time period to visit, for a long list of reasons, I certainly wouldn't want to make it my permanent home.

The humble loo roll is just one of the everyday essentials I'd miss--that and indoor plumbing.

Bathroom facilities, or a lack thereof, is definitely something to consider when planning your trip across time. Imagine it, stranded in the merry olde days of yore, shut in a stinking privy with only a dock leaf/ball of moss to attend to your nether regions, especially during a lady's... special time of the month! Hardly a very romantic image, is it? *shudders*

No. I'll stay right here in the C21, thanks. How about you? What item would you miss most if you were marooned in your time period of choice?

*Funny. But I believe the Chinese might have invented it a little sooner than this date*

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ooh! It's so BIG...

Minds from the gutter, people! I'm talking books, of course! :)

It's no secret, ‘Tales of a Traveler’ was originally meant to be just one, standalone book. But when I hit the 400 page mark, and the story wasn't even halfway told, I had to do some major rethinking. My choices were as follows:

-Should I prune the hell out of the story, rip out its innards, and trade depth for a brevity?

-Should I simply publish the whole thing as a 800 page McWhopper?


-Should I divide the story into two, allowing me to write freely, without constantly looking over my shoulder at the massively inflated word-count?

Okay, so you already know the answer to this one! Just run with me here as I think out loud. :)  

The decision to make ‘Traveler’ into two books came with a HUGE and insurmountable, problem... the dreaded cliffie ending. Dun dun duuuuuuun! :) I had to have one--there was no getting around it--so I ended book one shortly after Martha got her HEA moment hoping the reader wouldn't feel too cheated. I mean, theoretically, I COULD have just ended the story directly after her big, HEA moment. Imagine it...

V: "I love you."

M: "I love you too!"

(Cue snog-fest and soaring violins, roll those end credits...)

Thing is, I wanted to go on. To chase down and tie up all those loose threads that were blowing in the wind, to see where M and V took me. (I do mention on my Amazon page that 'Hemlock has a cliffie ending.)

The decision wasn't about wringing every last dime/penny I could from the lovely folks who bought my books. (Truth be told, I never imagined I'd sell this many in the first place! If I was lucky, I thought I might shift a couple of dozen copies to my family and friends and the like, but that's about it.) It was always about the story.

So here's my question: Would you buy the debut book of an unknown author that weighed in at 800+ pages?

M's Gabaldon: "Well, they bought mine by the ton!"

*sighs* Okay, you got me there, Di’. But I'm talking generally here. I think we can all agree, 'Cross Stitch' is a very exceptional exception. :)

Go ahead. Tell me what you think, and don;t worry about hurting my feelings. I have writerly abs of steel! :)

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Research Files...

During the creation of 'Hemlock' and 'Wolfsbane', I spent quite a bit of time online researching stuff for my fictional medieval world. 

I spent several very happy evenings in the company of 'trebuchets', getting to know these mighty beasts, and listening to them breathe'. Here's one of my favourites. Enjoy! 

Good morning, campers...

... I don't mean to be a self-pimping bore, but this is your last chance to pick up Tales of a Traveler: Hemlock for 99 pennies. (Here's the UK link.) I don't want you to miss out. It's one of those Amazon countdown deal thingies, and we're now into the last 24 hours of the promo.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins...

Event – The Seven Deadly Sins – Tagged by the lovely ladies over at Moonrise Book Blog..
1. What is your most expensive book?

I don’t usually spend a fortune on books; I usually get them second hand. But a few years ago I was deep into my Tolkien phase, so my most expensive book would probably be J. R. R. Tolkien’s Illustrated ‘Lord of Rings’. Alan Lee’s illustrations are simply lush!

2. What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I don’t do ‘hate’. Well...not with my fellow authors! :) I do get slightly miffed when my favorite authors don’t write fast enough. Unfortunately, though, most of my favorite writers are dead. (J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen et al.) Bet they’re none too pleased about that either!

3. What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

What ‘book’? As in singular? Nope. No can do. You can’t make me choose just one book from this list:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte;
Persuasion by Jane Austen;
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen;
Sense and Sensibility by Jane ; (Are you seeing a theme yet?  )
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

4:Which book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Well, my TBR pile is currently teetering, but I can’t say it’s due to laziness. This year has been crazy busy, what with releasing two books, but I aim to remedy that very soon.

5: What book do you most talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

Hmm... Not that I ever have, but if I wanted to sound intellectual, I’d probably drop ‘Beowulf’ somewhere into the conversation--although I really did enjoy Seamus Heaney’s version! :)

6: What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character?

Ooh! I like my men tall, dark, and handsome. Preferably wearing leather and carrying a sword. And a wicked smile and a pair of twinkling eyes are a bonus sure to get the old ovaries applauding!

7. What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Well, I wouldn’t say no to a first edition of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ if you’re offering!

Thanks Moonrise girls! I tag anyone who fancies having a go at this. :)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Wolfsbane is live!

And it's available right now on Amazon! To celebrate, I've slashed the price of 'Hemlock', the first book in the Traveler series, to just 99 shiny pennies.

Friday, 5 September 2014

'Wolfsbane' giveaway....

...on my Facebook page! Check it out, my lovelies.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cissy and Ada...

Hey guys. Have you ever met Cissy and Ada?

[] Oh, they do make me titter! Perhaps they never made it over to your side of the Great Pond?

But I digress...the reason I posted a picture of these two gorgeous girls(!) (aka Les Dawson and Roy Baraclough) is because I'm seeing a worrying rise in incidences of a particularly unpleasant disease on my news feeds. Namely, an epidemic of 'Too-far-up-my-own-ass syndrome.'  (Although you might know it better as 'Chucking-Teddy-Out-Of-The-Cot' disease, or 'Handbags-At-Dawn-itis.')

This distressing condition seems to be afflicting more and more authors, causing them to lash out and bad-mouth their readers--the very people who gave them their success--in the most public of places. Not a nice thing to witness.
What can we do about it? How an we protect our favorite authors from falling foul of this terrible affliction?

First off, do not attempt to engage the author while she/he is foaming at the mouth. Instead, back away to a safe distance and watch the fallout as it comes raining down. No one is gonna come out of this smelling of roses.

The best treatment is prevention.

Will you do something for me, my friends? If you ever see my ego swelling to an unnatural size, PLEASE stick a pin in me asap or, alternatively, slap me about the face with a wet cod/salmon until I return to my senses.

Just for the record, you can ask me anything, anytime you like, okay? I love talking with you guys! <3

Right. That ends today's sermon. Enjoy the sun, my lovelies!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Riding a sea serpent...

...well, sort of. 

I'm actually talking about the Great Orme in Llandudno, North Wales; a huge headland, or bluff if you prefer. The word 'orme' is thought to be derived from the ancient Norse word for 'worm' or 'sea serpent, and it certainly resembles one!
(view of the Great Orme from Llandudno pier.)

Being burdened with hefty rucksacks of vital provisions-and since we couldn't hire Sherpas for love nor money-my SIL and I decided that, rather than walk, we'd take the kids to the top of the hill on the Great Orme tramway. (Why is it that the little folk require so much food, drink, and spare clothing, I wonder?)

(The view from the top.)

As you can see, it's an incredibly beautiful place, overflowing with wildlife, stunning views and natural wonders. There's also an Iron age hill fort; Neolithic burial chambers; a Bronze age mine, and evidence of round house settlements. Oh, and there are fossils a-plenty to keep all the kids-big and small-happy. 

If you're ever down Llandudno way, the Great Orme is well worth a visit. 

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rock of ages...

Crikey. That was a bloomin' quick week! It doesn't seem a minute ago that I was bidding you all a fond farewell! Anyway, how's your week been, my lovelies? I do hope it was as much fun as mine!

Well, we've just had the most fabulous week in North Wales. Although I'm now dead on my feet, my fun levels are registering 'full.' The kids had a total blast with their cousins, and it was great to spend some proper QT with my lovely SIL. During the past seven days, we've sampled the very best that Llandudno, Conwy, and Towyn had to offer, and we weren't disappointed.

The weather was as varied as our activities: driving rain followed by blazing sun then gale force winds! But a little thing like the weather couldn't stop us. Mais non, mes amies! We've done markets; visited funfairs--where some of us(!) have almost puked. We've ridden trams, visited ancient places; hunted for fossils; visited a nature reserve; paddled in the sea; eaten much more than was good for us (namely candy floss, fish 'n' chips, lots of hot, buttery bara brith, and do-nuts. Yum! Oh, and wine. Lots of wine...and whisky.)

And then, of course, there was the castle...Conwy castle. *sighs dreamily* It really is the most gob-smackingly gorgeous, toweringly awesome gray ruin.

Oh, c'mon. Just because book two's head is currently engaged doesn't mean that I've slaked my lust for all things castle-y!

You know how electric cars can 'plug in' at gas stations? Well that's what castles do for me. They recharge my writerly batteries and fill my head with ghostly fragments of pictures and conversations until my fingers are tingling to capture them on paper.

Who knows, maybe our Martha might get a book three after all! We'll see.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Psst! PSST!

*glances left and right*

You know the cover blurb I've been whining about for the last couple of days? Don't tell anyone, but you can have a sneak peek at it over on my Facebook page. Have a look and tell me what you think.

This message will self-destruct in five seconds...

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Blurb talk...

I finally sent 'Wolfsbane' for formatting. Now I can devote myself to finishing off the cover blurb.

Fyi, back cover descriptions are HARD. If you've never written one, have a go at condensing the plot of your favorite book into a mere 200 or 300 words in a way that'll make people want to read it, but without revealing anything vital. Go on. I challenge you to do it.

Yep. HARD. *skulks back to blurb dungeon*

Saturday, 16 August 2014

I'm baaaaaack...

Hello, lovelies. Sorry for going awol, but this is where I've been all week.

Here's hubby and the kiddiwinks playing on the shore of Derwentwater, Keswick. Big hills = ZERO internet access, and extremely limited telephone reception. To tell you the truth, I needed to be disconnected from reality for a while.

The weather was mainly kind, although we did get wet a few times, but-hey-that's the Lake District for you! (Readers of 'Traveler' may recall that Martha and her Aunt Lulu came from around here. It's easy to see why I find the place so inspiring. ) One of the highlights of our stay was seeing a family of Ospreys. Brilliant!

Where have you been on your summer holidays? If you fancy de-cloaking, I'd really love to know.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Writing fuel...

Hello, lovelies! How's Wednesday treating you? Good, I hope. :)

 Anywho, earlier this week, I was talking about some of my writing influences--Tolkien, Bronte, Austen, to name a few. But my actual inspiration to write--that desperate urge to put pen to paper--can be found in many different places.

For example, the battle scenes in Kingdom of Heaven are, imo, gloriously graphic and distinctly un-Hollywood. They have a 'realism', that many other films depicting this era sadly lack. War is a sweaty, bloody, god-awful business, and I think the director did a fabulous job getting this across on the big screen.

I listened a lot to the 'Kingdom of Heaven' soundtrack while writing 'certain scenes' in 'Wolfsbane'. (I know you'll tell me if it shows!) It really helped get me 'in the mood'. Incidentally, PMS has a very similar effect!

Okay, that's all for now. More editing awaits me. If you're interested, I'll share more inspirational stuff with you another time. Oh, and leave me a message in the comments if there's something particular you want to know about either of my books.

Have a great day/evening.

Monday, 4 August 2014

'Hemlock' status update...

Hello, my lovelies! Just to let you know that 'Traveler' book one has finished its Amazon Select period. That means it's now available on 'Scribed' and 'Kobo' with 'B&N' and 'Apple' to follow. I'm not sure if I'll be going back to Select or not, so get 'Hemlock' in its different formats while you can. *slinks back to editing dungeon*

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Quick update...

Sorry for going awol on you, folks, but I'm currently neck deep in 'Wolfsbane' edits (Thanks Red Adept for all your great suggestions.)

With a prevailing wind, I MIGHT get this baby to you before the end of the month. Okay, I'd better get back to it. Have yourselves a great weekend. Enjoy the sun, if you can find any.

*slinks back to writers' dungeon*

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Rest ye and be thankful...

You might imagine I'd be used to this publishing malarky by now. That I'd be sort of blase about it. Wrong! It still hasn't sunk in, and I'm not sure it ever will.

I've been making up stories ever since I was a child--even before I could make those pesky letters form proper words. The moment I could write, there was no holding me back. I was a closet scribbler for decades. Yes. I am THAT old. :)

But in all that time, very few people got to see my stories—only a couple of my besties, and they didn't get to see everything. Some stuff was just too personal (and awful!). A gynae exam would've been less uncomfortable than exposing my 'darlings' to the world.

But here I am. Published. I might have decimated several forests to get here, but I finally did it...the thing I never even dreamed I could do.

It's been a crazy-mad year, so far. The hours simply whizz by, and suddenly there are never enough of them. But sometimes I find the time to stop, to take a breath, and look around. Wow! What an epic journey.

It's a weird feeling, knowing that complete strangers are reading my scribblings, and that they parted with their hard-earned cash in order to do so.

It's a humbling experience.

Thank you for giving me this chance. Whatever happens from now on, I'll do my damndest not to let you down.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Teaser time...

Good evening, my pretties. If you fancy a teaser from my upcoming novel 'Wolfsbane', head on over to my Facebook author page and tell me what you think.

I'll be revealing the cover some time before bedtime. :)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The sun is shining...

...and I'm in a happy mood.

So, what do you fancy? A 'Wolfsbane' teaser, or a sneak peek at the new book cover? Leave me a comment on my FB page and let me know. Majority rules!

Monday, 21 July 2014

How dumb am I?

I forgot to mention (#weekendfromhell) that the lovely Lissa Lane is running a 'Traveler' competition over on her Saturday Morning Characters page. Click on the link for the chance to win a free e-copy of 'Traveler'.

Have a great day!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturday Morning Characters...

This is a bit late(#dayfromHELL!) but the lovely Lyssa Lane interviewed my Martha for her 'Saturday Morning Characters' spot. Check it out and learn what Martha has to say regarding 'fecking', two-timing Tony, and love!


Friday, 18 July 2014

The big hand's pointing straight up, and the little hand is on the number eleven.

Yay! Vadim o'clock! (OT: 'o'clock' is a weird word, isn't it? I had one of those sudden moments of blankness where I couldn't spell it. But what does it actually mean, o'clock? 'Of the clock'? [/randomness ends] )

Anywho, who's in the mood for a Hemlock teaser? I know I am. :) This one is taken from the start of the book, another of Martha and V's getting-to-know-you moments...

"...Shall we begin again?" He stood before her, hand held over his heart. "Some call me Hemlock, but you may call me Vadim." He bowed his handsome head. "If it is within my power to do so, I will help you find your way home."

"Ch-charmed, I'm sure." Her stomach fluttered. "And I'm Martha, Martha Bigalow." Without thinking, she thrust out her hand. What the heck had she done that for? His old-fashioned manners must have rubbed off on her. "How do you do?" she added for good measure, then cringed.

"I do very nicely, thank you." After a momentary pause, Vadim took her outstretched hand.

Although his skin was rough, his touch was gentle. Warm. A pulse of electricity bolted up her arm. To her amazement, he raised her hand to his lips and brushed it with a feather-light kiss. All the time, those dark, knowing eyes bored into hers.

"'Tis my greatest pleasure to know you, Lady Martha," he murmured against her skin.

For a moment, she forgot to breathe. "J-just Martha will do. Thanks."

What was she thanking him for? Blushing and flustered, she slipped her hand from his.He made no attempt to stop her, but a half-smile played upon his lips. 

Weird hermit, or an escapee from a secure unit? Whatever he was, Vadim knew what he was doing to her. Damn him. Martha shook her head to clear it. What was she thinking? Get a grip, woman.


Even after several dozen passes, I still love that scene! Or is it uncool of me to admit that out loud?

Okay, in other news, my lovelies, next week, I'm finally going to reveal the cover of 'Wolfsbane'.

Is that worth a 'hello', do you think? Or, if you're still shy of me, a smiley face in the comments will do. How about a scowly face? A thumbs up/down? A poop icon? Anything you like!

Enjoy the sunshine this weekend!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Oh, the relief!

I have my E.I.N. !!! :) I'm sure my non-American writer friends will fully understand my relief at this.

For the benefit of those who don't know an EIN from a spine, it's something non-US tax paying citizens need in order to avoid paying the IRS 30% tax from our monthly Amazon earnings. Yay!

The IRS were very sweet, helpful, and efficient. The lady laughed when I told her I'd been terrified of contacting them. Why? Good question. I guess it's a combination of lapsed-Catholic guilt and a fear of authority or something. Anyway, it's done, and it didn't hurt a bit.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Something for the weekend...

Check out your friendly neighborhood Amazon this weekend, my lovelies. The ebook of 'Tales of a Traveler' is now at a discounted price everywhere.

Maybe throwing some good mojo into the cosmos will help me shake this sicky bug? *fingers crossed*

Friday, 11 July 2014

Guy talk...

Good morning!

We were discussing favourite fictional men (book boyfriends, if you will) over at my Facebook page. It's a subject that's really got me thinking. Not only do we love these men for their washboard abs and hot-damn good looks, but we also love them for the way they behave, and all the panty-melting things they say.

However, as my pal Larissa pointed out, if our RL men acted like those hot Alpha types, we'd probably call the police.

I'm inclined to agree! Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) is one of my most beloved book heroes. Here's the amazing letter he wrote for Anne Elliott:

Oh, Frederick! *swoony-sigh*

Now, let's read it again. But this time I want you to imagine your other half speaking those lovely words. Hmm...not quite the same effect, is it? And are you seeing any red flags there?

Me? I'm torn between laughter and wanting to barf. I think, all things considered, characters should remain safely within the pages of their book.

Tell me, who's your all-time favourite leading wo/man? Leave me a quote so we can properly appreciate his/her gorgeousness!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Tease me, please me...

I really love my fictional men. Mr Darcy. Colonel Brandon. Aragorn...the list goes on and on. Why? Simple. When was the last time you heard a C21 fella say something like this?

I rest my case. :)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

A father's warning...

Good evening, lovelies!

I wanted you to say hello to Seth, Anselm's dad.

What do you think? Isn't he gorgeous?

(Okay. So his full name is Seth-the-actor-formerly-known-as-Angus-from-the-first--Highlander-movie, but that's a bit of a mouthful!)

It's so weird. From day one, this is exactly how I've imagined him. Seth and Forge were easy characters to 'Google'. :)

Anyway, when Seth found out Anselm had been over here, baring his moobs, and givin' you girls his sultry look, he wanted to stop by and warn you off his 'wastrel' of a son.

Seth? Seth, you're up!

Seth: *clears throat* "Do not surrender yourselves to Anselm's honeyed tongue, dear ladies. My son is altogether unscrupulous and untrustworthy; a man devoid of honor. For the sake of your virtue, I beg you, heed not his flowery words." *stomps off*

Is that it, Seth? Are you...? Seth? Yep. He's gone.

Consider yourselves warned, ladies!

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