Feeling Impressed

I’ve had quite a busy weekend for me, but looking back two things I’ve done have left me feeling impressed with myself!

Last Tuesday was November 5th, Guy Fawkes. As I grew up Guy Fawkes was always a big event, we hardly noticed the passing of Halloween and very rarely ever dressed up. My parents didn’t like the idea of trick or treating so we never participated in that and I have to say nether did most of the kids around us either. But on the closest Saturday to the 5th we would pool all our fireworks with those of our cousins’s and have a big party, either in our garden or their’s. In the early years we always had a bonfire too with a hapless guy perched on top, but later years saw our parents becoming more proud of their garden and so the bonfires stopped. Or maybe they just had second thoughts about the idea of burning an effigy of Mr. Fawkes in our garden! They were great times though, wrapped up tight against the cold, twirling sparklers in the air, making glowing pictures that hung magically in front of your eyes, before fading away in time for you to replace them with more swirly designs.

Over the years health and safety has stepped in, and my children were taken to safe, organised displays instead. I think some of the magic has disappeared with this much safer alternative, or maybe it’s just me getting old! And so on Friday night we visited a local pub, who had organised a massive bonfire and a great firework display in a field next to their car park. It had rained all day so the bonfire was fairly wet and took a bit of getting going. Once it was burning well they set off the fireworks which unfortunately were positioned beyond the fire and so the smaller ones were obscured by the smoke billowing from the damp burning wood. I took out my Iphone and started to photograph the first few fireworks, but then deciding this was probably silly as they surely wouldn’t come out on my phone stopped and just enjoyed the spectacle.

Smoky Bonfire

Smoky Bonfire

Later when home in the warm, I looked at the pictures I’d taken and was very impressed at the results! The effect of the fireworks behind the smoke cloud produced some amazing pictures.

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There are more on Pinterest if your interested!

The second thing I did that left me feeling very impressed with myself happened on Sunday morning. Once a month my archery club organises a field shoot. We are lucky enough to have the use of a spinney and stretch of abandoned railway line. We have some very enthusiastic members who have devised some interesting and very difficult targets. One of the hardest to hit has to be done by shooting your arrow from around 15 yards away down a very narrow tube set in the centre of a target, so that it then flies out the end and hits another target set up behind. I have never seen it done and only a few of our archers have actually achieved it.

Impossible Shot!

Impossible Shot!

So when I stood lining myself up for this shot on Sunday morning, I was already resigned to the fact I wasn’t going to be scoring on this particular target. Maybe because I wasn’t trying ‘too’ hard or maybe through shear fluke my arrow sailed clean down the tube and embedded itself in the target behind. I spent the rest of the morning in a state of shock I can tell you.

So all in all an impressive weekend! I hope you all had fun this weekend too. 😀

Pinterested!

It’s probably more than a year since I first joined Pinterest and for most of that time I hardly visited my couple of boards more than once every three or four months. You see in the interest of building an author platform I joined a few different social media sites, but inevitably I didn’t have the time to keep up or really understand how some of these sites could help me. Anyway, last week I was reading a blog post (and I’m really sorry I can’t for the life of me remember who’s it was!) and the author writing the post commented on how useful Pinterest was for conveying her ideas. I visited her boards and found lots of images she had collected that she felt reflected the characters and places in her books.

Pinterest had been one of those sites I hadn’t really understood when I joined, hence why I hardly ever visited it. But now I could see some potential, I could pin images that I relate to my stories, people who look like my characters, and places that appear in my books.

Alex, Etienne and Richard

And that’s how it started!

Now I have got carried away and have started adding more boards full of other things I love, such as dragons

Dragons

And archery

Archers

I am still very new to all this and compared to others I haven’t really even got started yet, but I think I’ve found a new favourite place to be and who knows by pinning images perhaps I might draw attention to myself and my books!

I Was Conned!!

I like to think I’m fairly savvy and wouldn’t be fooled that easily, but I have to admit that my local pet shop may have conned me!

As you may know I have a crested gecko living with me, and despite being told he should only eat puréed fruit I know he loves small insects.

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So as a treat I often buy him a box of silent crickets.

Box of Crickets

He loves these and can move surprisingly fast when I let a couple go in his vivarium!

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But here lies the problem, it’s not that easy to get the crickets out of the box and into the vivarium one at a time (there can be 30 or more in a box!). As a result occasionally one manages to escape! I try not to think about these small bugs that might be hopping around my house, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve not been able to. Why? Because the pet shop lied to me when they told me they were SILENT crickets!! The last one to escape is not silent at all! The little b**** has been making constant chirpy cricket noises and for a small fellow he can make a very loud noise!

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He is so small, that so far he’s managed to evade capture and keeps up a constant reminder of his presence in my home. I’m nowjust a bit worried about how big he may grow!

Paperback Proof!

Look what I had come in the post!!!

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Finally the paperback proof for Wicked Game has arrived and I’m thrilled with it! As you can see it looks great and I am pleased to announce I have okayed it, so it should be available to buy on Amazon and all other good book shops any time now!!

Awesome Give-aways!!

Yes! There are two give-aways containing books or swag from yours truly running at the moment! Not only do they contain stuff from me they both also contain a lot of awesome books and swag from some fantastic authors, so make sure you don’t miss your chance to enter either of them!

Firstly The Violet Hour Book Review is running a give-away for swag from me, a choice of a paperback by Airicka Phoenix and a choice of an ebook by Stephanie Constante. There’s only a day left on this one so don’t hang around, go and enter before it’s too late!!

The second give-away is being hosted by the wonderful Tianna Holley who I met and became good friends with at the RNConvention in Las Vagas!

Yianna and her banner!

Tianna has kindly included two sts of my ebooks in her give-away, which also includes loads of other fantastic prizes by some incredible authors! Here’s the give-away to make it easy for you to enter, because I’m so good to you!! 😀

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There’s links to all the authors on Tianna’s web site so you can see just what wonderful prizes these really are! Get over there and check it out and good luck! 😀

Great Advice for the Self-publisher

One of the many blogs I follow is Chuck Wendig’s blog ‘Terribleminds‘, Chuck writes a lot of sense about writing in a very amusing way. Today I read his latest post ’25 steps to becoming a Self-Published Author’ and thought I must share it with you. Not only is it very amusing, but very instructive too and a good place to start if you’re thinking of self-publishing or already out there trying to be heard. So click on the image below and do yourself a favour if you haven’t already read it!!

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.

Massive Thank You!!

Yesterday I posted about what a wonderful time I had in Las Vagas at the RNConvention. Well today I want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone involved in organising the event. It was fabulous, but only because of the people who worked tirelessly to pull it all together and make sure we all had a great time.

So to Jimmy Thomas, Shannon, Jimmy’s mum TJ Mackay, all the wonderful people at InD’tale Magazine, all the volunteers and everyone else who gave up their time and energy to give us all a fantastic week, I would like to express all my gratitude and thanks, you are all absolutely amazing!! I had the most incredible time and I’m definitely looking forward to next year!!

Dragon in Las Vagas!

I’m back, and WOW did I have a great time in Las Vagas!!!!

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I vent to attend the first ever Romance Novel Convention and yes it was worth it! The hotel was lovely, the people super friendly and the convention itself was soooo much fun! I attended lots of classes and talks on promoting, and marketing, an area I’m not to good at! There were shows, parties and even a costume ball! I went as a dragon!

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I met loads of new friends and a couple of long term friends who I hadn’t actually met in person before!!

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Richard is a member of the wonderful writing group I am privileged to be a member of The Alliance of World Builders, and I’ve known him for around two and a half years now. He and his lovely wife Susan came to attend the book fair on the Saturday and to meet me!

One of the big highlights of the convention was the costume ball. I had never been to a real costume ball before and boy were there some fabulous costumes!! The room had been decorated beautifully too, and standing at one end was an enormous open book. It stood taller than me and was propped open. Inside a scene had been crafted on the right hand page with such intricate detail, it was incredible. Check out the convention’s FB page for everyone’s photos of the convention, there are some really great and interesting pictures.

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I had booked a table at the book fair and set out all my swag and a pile of crisp new copies of Vortex to sell. I haven’t sold direct to the public before, like this so I was a little nervous. I shouldn’t have worried because everyone was really kind and showed a lot of interest in my book.

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I actually sold over half my pile of paperbacks and gave away loads of copies of the QR code to both Vortex and Wicked Game so all those who read ebooks can upload them easily.

On Sunday I went on a tour of The Strip with Richard and Susan and checked out all those amazing hotels! We spent hours walking around Ceasar’s Palace, it is mind blowing inside, and watched the dancing fountains outside The Bellagio. It would take weeks to see all the sights and we only had one day so I’m looking forward to visiting again, maybe for next years convention 😉

This is INSIDE Ceasar's Palace!

This is INSIDE Ceasar’s Palace!

Here’s some more pictures of the convention 🙂

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Only Hours Away!

Yes, I’ve uploaded the file to Amazon and Kobo so Wicked Game is only hours away from becoming live!!

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And for August it’s going to be at a discount price so get your copy now!!

The paperback and Hardback copies should hopefully be available mid August for those who, like me, like to hold a real book in their hands.

Poster

Kidstales Summer Reading Event

This year here in the UK we really are finally getting a summer!! And It’s a very hot one! Serves us all right for complaining so much in previous years about the weather!

But, with the risk of sounding old, I have to say it reminds me of summers when I was a kid. The summers always seemed hot and sunny back then. One thing I liked about my summers when I was young was having more free time to read. Although neither of my parents were great readers they instilled in us kids a respect and love of books.

So when I came across Kidstales Summer Reading Event on Facebook I wanted to get involved if I could. I think it’s very important to encourage children to read, especially these days when there are so many hi-tec distractions for them. Kidstales is providing a  summer reading program challenge for children of all ages. They are giving prizes for the reader’s achievements, offering give-aways and competitions and much more. So really a lot of fun to be had and enjoyed.

This week I’m thrilled and honoured to have been selected as their sponsor of the week. Candice Simpson who is masterminding the event has some of my bookmarks and a very cute small cat I sent her up for grabs. So If you’re signed up for the event make sure you take a look at what you need to do to try and win one of them. I also know she has a couple of unicorns and a couple of copies of my book Vortex to give as prizes as well, so make sure you keep reading!