Friday, 30 May 2014

'Wolfsbane' update...

A quickie update: I've just sent my ideas for the cover of 'Wolfsbane'  over to those fabulous folks at Streetlight Graphics, LLC, and 'The End' is merely a couple of tricksy paragraphs away.

It's finally happening, people!!!

Now all I have to do is go back to the beginning and revise the heck out the MS before it goes to Red Adept for editing at the start of July. Oh, and the kids are off school for another week.

Worry not, mes amis. I laugh(a tad hysterically!) in the face of deadlines. I say 'hah!' and snap my fingers at the scary dates on that pesky calendar.

For me, a looming deadline = Extreme motivation.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Favourite characters...

One of my favourite characters from the 'Traveler' series is Martha's dog, Forge.

Hand on heart, I have no idea where he came from. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm 100% a cat person, so the arrival of this shaggy hound took me by surprise.

It's weird how much I love him. I mean, he never speaks, has no scenes of his own, but in my eyes he's as much a hero as Vadim. More so, in fact. His love and devotion to Martha is constant, he's utterly dependable, and he'd jump into the very fires of hell to save his mistress.

How can any leading man compete with that?

Here's the way I see Forge when I'm writing him:

 Forge: Scottish Deerhound and defender of distressed damsels! 

If you've read the book, how does my Forge compare with your image of him? If you haven't read the book, do you have a favourite animal character?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Out now!

The paperback version of 'Traveler' is finally in the house!!!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cutting the strings...

The paperback version of 'Traveler' should be hitting Amazon--and everywhere else--in the next few days. That's it. Done. My baby has officially left home. I raised her the best I could. It's up to her. Bye-bye, sweetheart! *sniff* Okay, book two. It's just you and me now. Are you ready to hit 'The End' by Friday? You are? *rubs hands together* Then, let's do it! :)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Adventures in Google-land...

Hello again! How's your week shaping up so far? Good, I hope? Splendid! :)

Anyhow, I thought I'd share one of my favourite ways to procrastinate. Nope, not Pinterest, although that's definitely one of my top ten reasons for not hitting my daily word target. No. What I'm talking about today is research.

Ah, sweet research! That endless quest into the rabbit warren world  that is Google. I've had to seriously cut back on my Googling expeditions lately, otherwise I'd never get anything down on paper.

But research is SO addictive. And best of all, I can usually convince myself that whatever I'm hunting is essential to the story. Many a good writer has come to grief in this way! :)

During the writing of 'Hemlock' and 'Wolfsbane', I've learned some wonderful things about life in medieval times. In no particular order, here are a few of my favourite procrastination topics:

-How women back then dealt with their 'monthly visitor' (Sorry chaps!)

-Medieval 'bathrooms'.

-How to make soap from wood ashes and animal fat.

-How to light a fire when the wood is wet.


-How to make parchment/vellum/ink.

-Castle design.

-Medieval weaponry.

-Smoking(as in food preservation!).

And those are just some of the ways I fritter away my time. Actually, I'm surprised I ever get anything done.:)

S'funny, as I looked back at this list, something occurred to me. If this whole writing thing doesn't work out, perhaps I might have a future in bush-craft...if I can drag myself away from Google, that is!

Toodle pip!

(The mighty Ray Meers doing his thing!)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Hello, my lovelies. I just wanted to share a review I received this morning.

Isn't it lovely? Not just because of the five shiny stars--although they're very nice!--but because someone I've never met took the time to leave their thoughts on my humble scribblings.

 If I made this reviewer cry, their sweet review had a similar effect on me. If 'Traveler' actually moved someone, all those months of being chained to the keyboard weren't in vain. Mission accomplished!

I might be a writer, but I'm rubbish at writing reviews. Really! That little review box intimidates the heck out of me. Such a small, itty-bitty space.(Maybe it's a form of writerly agoraphobia?) Even so, I try and leave something behind, even if it's only a few words.

 Why? Because it matters. Believe it or not, even bad reviews have their merits! Yes, even the 1 star stinging variety!

 Are you like me? Does writing a review make you nervous? Push through your fears, young Jedi! Make an author weep today!

Friday, 16 May 2014

My first interview...

My life has been a series of firsts recently. So exciting!

Check out this interview that the gorgeous Kimberley (CC gal-pal, and writer extraordinaire!) posted on her fabulous blog.

See? Friendship really IS magic!

Monday, 12 May 2014

A cup o' tea and a slice o' cake!

Sorry about going awol the last few days, but I've been busy getting stuff ready for the arrival of the print version of 'Traveler'. With a bit of luck, and a prevailing wind, it'll be available in paperback by the end of the month. *weary 'Yay'!'* Once that's done, I really need to get my head down and finish book two if I'm to hit my editing deadine.

 Anyhow, I'm about to wander a little 'off piste' for a while. Please bear with me. I won't be long. Here's a question for you: Does anybody recognize the scarecrow character in the photo?

(Award yourself 5 points if you said Worzel Gummidge. Add a fat, shiny gold star to your tally if you remember the actor who played him. *cough...Jon Pertwee...cough*) What the heck does Worzel Gummidge have to do with self publishing, you may ask? Well...nothing at all. For the benefit of those who don't know, old Worzel used to have a collection of interchangeable scarecrow heads which he'd pop on and off to suit the occasion. (No, of course it didn't kill him. He's a scarecrow! )

 A head for every occasion. Can you imagine that!

 I'd love to be able to attach my writer's head every morning (after first taking off my mummy head!). Then, in the afternoon, I could strap on my marketing head for a while.

 What kind of head would you strap on if you had the worzelability? There. I joined the dots. Sort of! Here's a link to an episode where our turnip headed chum tries out a 'handsome' head. Warning! It ain't pretty!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Living with history...

My love of history isn't confined to the medieval period. It goes back much further than that. Way back to the 5th or 6th to be precise. The Iron Age.
Carl Wark 

As kids, we spent many happy days roaming the moors above Hathersage. One of our favourite playgrounds was Carl Wark, an Iron Age hill fort. My dad used to fill our heads with wild tales of this mysterious place and its long-dead inhabitants, and we lapped it up, wide eyed and full of wonder. 

While my brothers played, I'd wander alone, exploring the stones of this ancient place, and seeing ghosts at every turn. What must life have been like for those people, living in such an isolated spot?

Like all mysterious places, Carl Wark was woven into local folklore:

" Carl Wark was the site of a British encampment. A Celtic tribe lived here before the Roman legions came toBritain. At the end of the sixth century this area was part of the kingdom of Argoed, governed by Sir Lamoracke, one of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table, who stood next to Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristram in deeds of valour.
Men knew Sir Lamoracke (or Llywarch, to give him his celtic name) as a fierce warrrior. He had twenty-four sons, and at Carl Wark he and they fought the hordes of Loagrians, who invaded the country when the Roman army of occupation left Britain. After a long and bitter defence the knight and the remnant of his forces were driven from the stronghold. Norman Price "The Derbyshire Dales" 1953
Although I no longer live in Sheffield, those amazing places I visited as a child are a still very much a part of me. They shaped the person I am and the way I think.
Carl Wark viewed from Higger Tor.
Was I 'made in Sheffield'.Or did Sheffield, in fact, make me? Maybe a bit of both.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Rousing stuff...

Creatively speaking, what is it that inspires you?  What kind of things make you want to pick up your pen, paintbrush, laptop, or whatever it is you use to create?

For me, the smell of a bonfire can transport my mind to a medieval encampment on the night before battle. The curlew's lonely song paints an image of a wild, windswept moorland. And the sea! Oh, the crash of waves over shingle and the sound of rolling pebbles as it retreats sends me back to the time of the Vikings.

Places inspire the writerly side of my brain too. Regular readers know that I'm a bit of a castle freak. In my time, I've been lucky enough to visit some really amazing places. Here's one that never fails to send me scrabbling for my pen.

Urquhart castle on the banks of Loch Ness.

So, some on. Tell me. What's your inspiration?

Saturday, 3 May 2014


This is how I try to write my first drafts-- like no one's watching!
Enjoy! (Shower cap and broom optional!)

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