Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dream Big

Yellow and red fire tulip

A new year is upon us and people all over the globe are making new year's resolutions, deciding what they want out of the year that stretches ahead of them. People everywhere look at the new year as a new beginning, a chance to make themselves into something new and change their lives.

There are also some people who say that it's a ridiculous practice, that anything you want to achieve, you should already be planning for and working towards, and that waiting for a new year to begin is just silly. But who is to say what is the right time for you to begin a new goal? And why can't you use the beginning of a new calendar year as a starting point?

Some people will also say that you shouldn't make resolutions, or goals if you'd rather call them that, that overreach. You should make practical goals that are easily attainable through a bit of hard work and effort.

Again, I ask why? Why do your goals, your dreams, your new year's resolutions, have to be small? Why do they have to be things that you already know it is possible for you to achieve? Why can't you think bigger, dream bigger? There's a saying that goes something like, "Reach for the moon because even if you miss, you'll still land amongst the stars." Why shouldn't you reach for the moon?

Maybe, if you dream big, you risk not achieving your dreams. But maybe, if you dream big, you will find yourself accomplishing things you never thought possible before, whether or not you actually make that one dream come true.

And maybe, if you dream big, the journey you make while reaching for it is worth more than the dream itself.

Just some things to think about.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Writers

Have a writer friend who you forgot to buy a Christmas gift for or just couldn't figure out what to buy? There are some simple last-minute gifts you can do for them, and many of them don't cost anything but your time.

1. Comment on their blogs.

2. Share their blog posts on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Stumble their blog posts.

4. Write about their blogs on your blog, or review their books on your blog.

5. Leave reviews of their books on Amazon and wherever else they sell their books on-line.

6. Offer to beta-read their current writing project.

7. Buy them some Facebook advertising or Adsense advertising.

8. Write them a poem. (No one appreciates the effort and beauty involved in writing a poem more than another writer.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Craziness Of The Holidays

Christmas Tree 2011

Is craziness even a word? If not, that's too bad because I'm leaving it in the title. It fits!

December has been busy, busy, busy for this mom of seven. There have been school Christmas plays to attend (and costumes to buy for them), treats to buy for school Christmas parties, a Christmas tree to put up and decorate, baking to do for the neighbors' Christmas gifts, Christmas gifts to buy for seven children and a son-in-law, Christmas gifts to buy for my husband, Christmas cards to sign and mail, Christmas decorations to put up around the house and Christmas lights to hang in the windows, presents to wrap and then more presents to wrap, and the list goes on.

I still need to take my younger four chidlren to go and see Santa. And I am praying that they dont ask him for anything difficut to find. (I've already taught them not to ask for anything expensive. I told them that if Santa brings them something expensive, then some other child won't get a good present because Santa only has a certain budget to spend on each child. I know, I'm evil, right?)

Where, you might ask, am I finding the time to write during all of this Christmas madness? The answer is, shamefully, I am not. I haven't even finished my paranormal short story for a competition that I was hoping to enter. And it's due soon. I could blame the fact that several of my children have taken ill at various times, my husband has been ill a couple of times this month so far and illness has struck even me during this cold month. But it would still just be another excuse.

The truth is that if I really want to, I can find the time to write. I've just been lazy and I've been procrastinating. I keep putting it off in favor of other things. And while tending a sick child is more important than getting my writing for the day done, there are a thousand tiny things that I spend time doing during my day that I could easily set aside to spend time writing instead.

SO no more excuses. I am back to my writing as of today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Free ebook through the 18th!


In the spirit of Christmas, my friend Barbara Mack has made her historical romance ebook, Chasing the Sunset, free through the 18th of December. It's available on kindle through a free download, so go and get your copy today! Check out her other books while you're at it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wiltshire NaNoWriMo 2011 - The Third Meet-Up

NaNoWriMo 3rd Meet Up 19th Nov 11

We had a third NaNoWriMo Swindon meet-up, with even more Wiltshire participants joining us this time. We saw again (in no particular order) Andrew, Sophie, Rob, Nick, Jamie, Scott, Briony, and Victoria, and this time we were joined by (Irene (not pictured) and Tesni.

I showed up late and was sat on the wrong side of the group to get to chat much with Irene and find out about her book, but I hope I get the chance to talk with her next time.

I love getting the chance to meet-up with so many talented writers, and we all had a great time chatting and laughing. Some of us (not me) even did some writing on our stories.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Write 50,000 Words In 14 Days

novel under construction

This is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. In the two previous years, I have managed to finish having completed my 50,000 words and "winning" based on my word count, which both times was two or three thousand over 50,000 words.

This year, I thought I would try somethign different. I wanted to challenge myself even more, so I set a goal of writing 10,000 words every three days until I reached 50,000 words. I actually beat that goal and reached a word count of 50,020 words within the first two weeks of National Novel Writing Month.

You might be asking how I did it? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but I will share with you some of the strategies I used while writing my novel for NaNoWriMo.

1. Split your focus between different parts of the story-line. I decided this time that, instead of writing a one-story-line novel, I was going to write a novel of short stories. Because of this, whenever I felt stuck on what I was writing or just needed a break from it, I was able to switch to a different story to write about. This can work when writing a one-story novel as well. When you get stuck on a certain part of the story or just need a break from what you are writing, start on a different scene within the story. You can always go back to finish the one you started with and when you do, you will feel refreshed and full of new ideas.

2. Set aside as much time as you can spare for writing. You may find, as I did, that you can sneak more writing time into your day than you originally thought was possible. I wrote when my kids were at school, when my youngest napped, and again when all of the children went to bed. Sometimes I had to stay up late, but it was worth it.

3. Get rid of distractions during your writing time. Many things constitute distractions. My kids are very distracting, so I wrote when they were in bed or at school. The tv is distracting, so I made sure it was off when I was writing. Facebook and Twitter are distracting, so I told myself that I would reach a specific word count before allowing myself time on either site.

4. Challenge yourself. Try and beat your best record for word count in a day. Or look at how your friends are doing and try to beat their word count. Think of a daily word count that seems slightly out of reach for you and then challenge yourself to find a way to reach it that day.

5. Believe in yourself. No matter what obstacles seem to be in the way of you reaching your word count goal, believe that you will overcome them. Because you can.

6. Make writing a priority. There may be a lot of things that have to be priorities in your life, but if you are reading this, then there is at least a part of you that wants to make writing a priority too. So do it. Make writing something you will not allow yourself to set aside.

7. Get rid of your internal editor. Just write without looking back. When you finish your novel, you can go back and edit what you have written, but just let it go while you are in the middle of writing.

8. When you are not writing your novel, talk about it with others. I used to talk to my husband about my story while we walked the dog every evening. Not only was he helpful in coming up with new ideas or ways for me to think about my plot, but also, just the act of talking about it helped me come up with new ideas on my own.

9. And the one thing I think it the most important is to have fun with your story! Enjoy every second of the world you are creating!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wiltshire NaNoWriMo 2011 - The Second Meet Up

Wiltshire NaNoWriMo Meet Up 12th Nov 2011

Today's meet-up of the Wiltshire NaNoWriMoers was a lot of fun! Pictured above, in no particular order are Sophie, Briony, Jamie, Scott, Nick, Rob, Robert, Becky (me), Victoria and Josh.

It was great meeting more writers from my area, and it was fun to hear how we are all doing with our novel writing. I hope to see everyone again at the next meet-up (and hopefully even more will show).

Monday, November 7, 2011

One Week Into NaNoWriMo 2011!

Stack of books

We are now one week into the 2011 National Novel Writing Month. It's been crazy and fun and sometimes difficult so far.

One day, I was really sleepy in the evening. I kept dozing off while writing. I'd wake a few seconds later and keep typing. Once I caught myself waking with my hand on the "a" button. I had typed several rows of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa - You get the idea. Later during that same typing session, I found myself in and out of dozing off and typing up absolute nonsense, the kind of nonsensical stuff I say in my sleep when people try and talk to me while I'm asleep. (My daughter remembers when she was a teenager and asked me, while I was asleep, what she should have for dinner and my sleep-talking answer was "Eat the liquid stuff on the chair!")

So yah, it's not been easy sailing. But my word count is the highest it has ever been this far into NaNowriMo! I have written 25,534 words so far! I'm very excited about this! (And yes, I deleted the sleep-posts and rewrote them when I was more awake.)

I've learned that writing while I am suffering from fatigue is not my best plan ever, and that if I keep at it, I can write more than I dreamed possible. I just have to continue to make writing a priority. I have also learned that I struggle when it comes time to conclude a story or a subplot of a story.

But best of all, I am LOVING my story so far!

So how is everyone else doing? What have you learned so far while participating in National Novel Writing Month? What have you struggled with? Is this your first go? Your second? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wiltshire NaNoWriMo Kick Off Party!

Today, we had our Wiltshire NaNoWriMo Kick-Off Party! It was a lot of fun and it was great meeting some of the other writers who live in our area.



Joining us were my co-ML Sophie, Andrew, Tim, Victoria, Josh, Kayla and Gabriella. Victoria, Kayla and Gabriella are my daughters and Josh is my son-in-law, but they are all participating in NaNowriMo this year. (Gabby joined the NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program.)

There were stickers handed out, writing plans discussed and really bitter coffee that was had. Well worth the time! So if you are a Wiltshire NaNoWriMo participant, make sure you get yourself to the next meet-up!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

National Day On Writing

Today is the National Day on Writing. How are you celebrating?

I am writing this blog post, have written a poem and am writing some more of one of my recipe books. I am also working on one of the children's stories I have in mind.

It never feels like I have enough time to fit writing into my daily schedule. I know I have to make time for writing. I know I have to make writing a priority. Yet, I still find it a challenge.

But whatever else happens during the week, today, I am writing.

I write because I have stories to tell and it's no fun keeping them to myself!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fundraising for National Novel Writing Month

I am fundraising for the Office of Letters & Light. They run National Novel Writing Month, the Young Writer's Program, Script Frenzy and several other programs to inspire and ignite the imagination of writers everywhere.

Here's a little video that the Office Of Letters & Light created to explain what your donation will help with.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview With Children's Author Giles Paley-Phillips

I met Giles Paley-Phillips on Facebook. He is a 33 year old children's author and he was kind enough to let me interview him for this blog. He also sent me a copy of his book "The Fearsome Beastie," and my children loved it. You can watch their video review of it over on Children Review.


Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Giles Paley-Phillips. I'm a children's author and work part-time in a book shop. I was born in 1977, and I live and work in East Sussex with my wife, Michelle and two sons, Elijah and Sonny. I currently write picture book stories and play in a rock band called Burnthouse. I am also Patron for FSW Family Support Work Charity and I'm represented by Annette Green Agency. I can also be found on Twitter and through my blog.

What are some of your writing accomplishments?
I have two books out: The Fearsome Beastie is a picture book and There's a Lion in My Bathroom is a book of nonsense poetry.

Theres a Lion In My Pocket

What type of writing do you do? What genre do you write in the most?
I'm a picture book author, but I do also writing nonsense poetry!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it?
I started writing for children when my first son was born, I wanted to write something specifically for him, and I couldn't quite work it out, then I stumbled upon a book of nonsense poetry by Shel Silverstein, and it was my eureka moment.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
I get ideas from lots of places really, things the children do, things they are interested in, could be something in the news, or just something that I've heard people talking about.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Shel Silverstein's work got me first hooked in, but I've always loved children's books, especially writers such as Roald Dahl and the work of Tim Burton; things that are macabre always draw me in.

What are your current writing projects?
I'm working on another dark picture book for Maverick Books and a humerous book about dinosaurs for Gullane.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it?
You just have to leave your work alone and do something else, and come back to it later.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I'm terrible at editing.

What do you love most about writing?
When an idea comes, it's so exciting when you start figuring it out.

Is there anything that you have learned about yourself through writing/pursuing your career as a writer?
I've learned that I'm tenacious; I think you have to be and thick skinned too!

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?):
I'm not sure I've written a character I'd like to be yet, my protagnists tend to be a bit horrid!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you are trying to get published, then just stick to your guns, it only takes one person to like your work to make it happen.

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley Phillips

Giles was kind enough to send me a copy of his book The Fearsome Beastie, and my children loved it. I loved that the heroine of the story was a grandma, and I even enjoyed the fact that it had some slightly gruesome aspects to the story. My little princess Isabella was less impressed with the gruesome bits, but the rest of my children loved that aspect of the story and over-all, each of them were entertained by the story. My son Connor had me read it to him several times on the day it first arrived.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo 2011?

NaNoWriMo Participant Badge 2011

It is almost November and now, with just a little over 3 weeks left until November, it's time to start thinking about joining National Novel Writing Month for 2011! I have participated in NaNoWriMo for two years now and have achieved and surpassed the 50,000 wordcount goal in both years. I am definitely going to be participating again this year! Will you? Here's a little bit of advice for those of you who will be participating this year. (This is from an e-mail I sent out as one of two municipal liaisons for my region.)

Before we all start writing in all of our free time, I thought I'd ask you all what your plans are. Do you have a plan for how you are going to get 50,000 words written? Have you outlined your novel already? Are you just planning on winging the whole thing?

I'll let you know a little bit about my experience with doing this for the past two years. In the first year, I mostly winged it, but I had a very clear idea in my head for the story I was going to write. I didn't have an outline or all of the mini sub-plot details all worked out ahead of time, but I had an idea of who my main characters were, what they would be facing and where I wanted the story to end. I managed to write over 50,000 words that year (2009), and I really enjoyed writing it.

In my second year of doing NaNoWriMo (2010), I completely winged it. I knew what my story was called and who the main character would be, but I hadn't really fleshed her out in my mind. I knew that she had a certain ability emerging and that the story would be based around that, but I hadn't even figured out my supporting characters or what the conflict in the plot would be. I still managed to complete the 50,000 words, but I struggled through it more, and although I enjoyed the writing, I did not enjoy it as much as I had the previous year.

Looking back through my 2010 NaNoWriMo manuscript, there is very little that is usable from that writing, while the manuscript of my novel written for the 2009 NaNoWriMo is one that I will be completing, editing and sending out to publishers. The writing on it is better than the writing on the 2010 NaNoWriMo story and I believe that is because I had a bit more planning and thought behind the story before I began writing.

Of course, you will take on the NaNoWriMo challenge in whatever way works best for you, but if you're not sure what way that is, I suggest that you brainstorm a bit about what you want for your story before you begin. The more ideas you have and the more you flesh out what your goal in this writing is, the smoother things will go for you and the better your writing will be. You won't have to stick to any rigid plot ideas, but thinking about it in advance will give you a starting point and a direction. The rest can be played around with as you write.

And let me just add that I hope you all have a smooth and easy time writing your 50,000 words and make it to your goal for the 2011 NaNoWriMo!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Interview With Author Malcolm McDonough

Malcolm McDonough is a a friend of mine and we keep in touch over Facebook. He is a 45 year old dad and author living in Australia. He has a very creative personality and a terrific sense of humor!

Malcolm McDonough Author Interview Photo

About: I live in Melbourne with my partner and five children. I was born in Melbourne, but have also lived in London and Glasgow. I love travelling and have visited over 60 countries. You can learn a little about me from my new Google+ profile.

Writing accomplishments? I started writing professionally in an ad agency when I was 17. In the following 20+ years I wrote everything from four-word billboards to brochures, websites and TV commercials. My work won a few local awards and I was a finalist in some national and international awards too. Once, a campaign I wrote was chosen from a national competition to promote an Australian tour by His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. I’m not Buddhist, but it was still an honour to meet him at his Melbourne appearance.

What type of writing do you do? What genre do you write in? I now write full-time for my local government. My title in my day job is ‘Writer’ but it involves informative writing mostly, rather than creative writing. I have to write as clearly and concisely as possible, which I think is a good practice for most kinds of writing. My personal writing is mainly t-shirt slogans, with a focus on pregnancy and families. Just recently, my daughter and I co-wrote two tongue-in-cheek books. I would classify them as ‘ridiculous’ if that’s a genre. If it isn’t, I guess we just invented it.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it? When I was a kid I often wrote silly poems or songs for my friends. One friend said I should get a job writing jingles and I immediately thought, “Yes, that’s what I’ll do.” Since writing was something I enjoyed doing, it seemed like an ideal career.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing? You know how sometimes a conversation moves so fast that later you think “I wish I had said…”? Rather than waste those thoughts, I make a note of them to turn into a t-shirt slogan or a headline.

What books/authors have influenced your writing? I love the way Bill Bryson makes even the most technical subjects engaging. Now that my kids are reading a lot, I’m also rediscovering Enid Blyton, J.K. Rowling and Tolkien.

What are your current writing projects? Apart from my day job, I continually write slogans, product descriptions and tweets for my pregnancy announcement websites:
Pregnant By Design

I also write posts for two Facebook pages to promote the books I recently co-wrote with my daughter:
Totally Funny

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it? Once my daughter and I had the idea for our books, the words came very easy. So writer’s block was never an issue. But then, they are very silly books ;-)

With serious projects I am happy to write then revise. So even if I’m feeling less than 100% motivated, I just start writing.

What do you love most about writing? There’s no enforced down-time when you’re a writer. I love being able to write, or at least create and clarify my ideas, any time, anywhere.

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?) I’m sure it would inspire a lot of pregnancy slogans if I was actually pregnant for a day! But to be honest, I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. Luckily I’ve been able to share five pregnancies with my inspirational partner.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t be shy. It’s so easy to blog, tweet or self-publish these days. There’s no reason not to share your writing with the world. Plus, you’ll get to know so many wonderful and creative people in the process (Yes, I’m looking at you Rebecca).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview With Author Linda Bond

I have decided to share interviews with a variety of authors and aspiring authors here on the Imagine! Create! Write! blog, because I have so many friends who are writers. Linda is a friend of mine through Facebook, and, like me, she writes children's stories, so I am very happy to be sharing her interview here as one of my first author interviews.

Linda Bond

Name: Linda Bond

About: Born in London (UK), and an avid reader at an early age. I loved the adventure stories of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis and fairy tales. Even as an adult now I will choose a fantasy or adventure novel over a romance!

Writing accomplishments: I am the author of four books about Retishella Mermaid and her adventures. You can read the opening chapters on my webpage.

Retishella and the Dolphins

Retishella and the Pocket Shell

Seeley and the Grantuff

Retishella and Pirate Cool

I am currently working on the fifth story Retishella and the Junkball. I have two audio stories on the Shortbread Stories. One of my stories "Holiday Butterflies" was recently chosen as the Friday story and received some touching and encouraging reviews.

I am a member of the Writers In Somerset group, and we have published an anthology of short stories about the West Somerset Railway.
In my day job as a primary school teacher I organise and judge regular short story competitions. I am almost ashamed to say I also ‘test out’ my latest stories on my present long-suffering class of 7 and 8 year olds, although they have not complained yet!

What types of writing do you do? What varieties of genres do you write in? My short stories are very varied. Some, like Holiday Butterflies are based on my own experiences, others, like Pearls of Wisdom and The Inspector are inspired by fairy tales.

My Retishella stories are unabashed adventure stories, where I can let my imagination run riot, inventing new places, objects and characters. I love writing these stories, as there is no limit to my creativity in Retishella land.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it? I have always dabbled in writing. When I was younger and living in Sweden, I helped pay the bills by writing for a local newspaper. Later on when I was back in the UK, I worked writing copy for advertisers in a local newspaper.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing? The main inspiration for my first book Retishella and the Dolphins came from a walk along the beach close to where I live. The water there is an uninviting murky brown and as I walked along I saw a fisherman pull a fish from this muddy soup. As he was only a couple of metres off shore it struck me that we could neither of us see the marine life in the water, but it was obviously there nonetheless. I wondered what else could live there – mermaids maybe? Retishella and her world were born.

What is one of your favorite hobbies? I love reading. One of my ideas of heaven is to sit under the parasol at the bottom of my garden, on a hot sunny day, with a cold drink and a good book. If the book is good enough and I can’t put it down, a whole day can go past!

What are your current writing projects?
I am currently working on the fifth book in the Retishella series, Retishella and the Junkball. As with the other books it begins with an unusual situation that develops into a fight against evil. As always, things are not quite as they seem.

I am also working on a rewriting of the Cinderella story from the fairy godmother’s point of view. I have some notions about how all the characters in that story may be connected.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it?
In me writer’s block manifests itself as procrastination and displacement activity. I find no end of other things to do, and running a home with three teenage children as well as working as a teacher gives me a rich source of other things to do!

I know that if I force myself to sit at the computer and make a start, something will happen. It may not be what I want, but a story of some description will start to form.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Checking up on facts and researching things. No matter how much I check up on, for example, the life cycle of a particular marine creature I am never completely convinced that I have enough facts. I’m always worried that I’ve missed something important.

What do you love most about writing? It is one of the most complete forms of escapism I have ever experienced. Even when a story is stuck and you go for a walk to try and work it out, you are in another place. It sometimes scares you, but mostly pleasantly surprises you with its twists and turns.

Every time I have carefully plotted a story, I find the story taking on a life of its own. I know that is a writer’s cliché, but it is a useful way to describe what happens when you start to write. I have a particular ending in mind for Retishella and the Junkball but I can’t say for certain that it will end that way until I get there!

Is there anything that you have learned about yourself through writing/pursuing your career as a writer? Writing itself can be therapeutic, helping you get your thoughts into some semblance of order or firing your imagination . But publishing your writing can make you feel very vulnerable. You know some people will love your stories, and others won’t. When people are not constructive in their criticisms it is easy to take it personally. It’s taken me a while to develop a thick skin against such criticisms.

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?) I would love to be Mersia, the wise mermaid in her purple bower, polishing her crystals , helping others with her charms and spells.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Since publishing Retishella and the Dolphins back in 2006 I have met a lot of people who begin a conversation with me along the lines of ‘I’ve started writing a book…’ and then give you loads of reasons why they can’t finish it. My main advice for writers is to go for it!

Also, get your writing finished and then spend a great deal of time editing, getting friends to read and iron out any problems with plot or spelling etc.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Chasing The Sunset" by Barbara Mack - review

This was a terrific historical romance! Having read the "Dreaming Of You" novelette by the same author, I was pleased to find the main characters from that story involved as supporting characters in this novel. It was fun to see their romance from another character's perspective, but the main characters in this novel are the real story in this. The moments when they are together are full of sizzle and spark and you can't help but feel empathy for the pasts that they are both having to reconcile themselves to as they find a way to allow themselves to trust again.

If you are in the UK, you can get the book here:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sharing A Scene from "Through the Veil"

Just for fun, and because I have always been too shy to share the writing I have done on my novels, I thought I would share the opening scene (a very short one) from the novel I wrote during my first time doing NaNoWriMo (in 2009). It's from the novel called "Through the Veil." I am working on being braver with my writing by being able to share bits of it from time to time and get feedback.

How did she get into this? Bella didn’t know how she had ended up in this predicament. Just last week, she was a normal 15 year old girl with a normal life. She talked about boys with her friends and worried about her grades and what to wear to the Spring Dance.

How had things come to this?

“Are you ready?” The voice sounded soft but assured. Bella looked up at the girl who had spoken to her. Gabby was petite. She had died her brown hair jet black and had dark eyeliner outlining her eyes. Her very dark purple lipstick accentuated her lips and matched the purple streak in the front portion of her hair. Her expression was serious.

“Yah. Let’s do it,” Bella was as ready as she was ever going to be.

This was the night they were going to escape.

Before anyone thinks to bring it up, yes, I used some of my kids names for the characters. What can I say? I like the names, and I was having trouble naming my characters, so I went with names I knew, even if the characters do not at all resemble their namesakes.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and please be gentle; my ego is a fragile thing. Maybe I will work up the confidence to share a bigger piece of the novel someday.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Notebook

Recently, I was going through some old papers when I came across a notebook of mine. In it, I had ideas for stories written down and about 30 pages written of a paranormal romance novel. It was all just handwritten, and I barely remember writing it as it was written so long ago.

But here's the really interesting part about finding it; as I read through what I had written, I not only enjoyed it and thought the writing was pretty good, but I could see where I was going with it. Sometimes, I'll re-read something I've written, and I'll think the writing is awful and start questioning my ability to write a novel worth publishing. Finding that this writing was good was a definite confidence booster for me.

Am I going to start writing the rest of the novel? Not right now. I have other novels I am already working on which are much further along,and , although I'm tempted to go off in this new (old?) direction, I feel I should finish what I am already working on before starting something else. I will, however, take the time to type what is already written of it onto my computer so I can come back to it at a later date.

Do you have any old notebooks that you used to use for notes and writing ideas? Maybe you should go take another look at them. You might be surprised by what you find.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Dreaming Of You" by Barbara Mack (review)

Dreaming Of You Cover

Barbara Mack is not just a good friend of mine and she's not just my youngest son's godmother; she is also a very talented and gifted writer. I recently got the chance to read her new novelette Dreaming of You and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I don't often read historical romances anymore but I have read many in the past, so I can say that Barbara writes like a professional. Her heroine Kathleen is feisty, intelligent and proud, and the supporting characters are fully developed. You, as the reader, feel for Kathleen and for the handsome doctor Duncan who lusts after her.

If you like historical romances, I am happy to recommend Dreaming of You by Barbara Mack.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Winner of "A Tale Of Two Goblins" by H.P. Mallory

I went to to choose the winner of the e-book or Kindle book that I am personally awarding to a random commenter on the post, and the winner is C.G. Powell! Please get in contact with me to claim your prize!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"A Tale Of Two Goblins" by H.P. Mallory Book Tour

I have been given the opportunity to review the book "a tale of two Goblins" by H.P. Mallory. I was thrilled with this opportunity for two reasons. One was that I had just been given a Kindle for my birthday in late February and loved the chance to add another book to it. The other reason is that I had just finished reading the first book in the series about Dulcie O'Neil and was eager to continue reading the series.


These books were part of the Dulcie O'Neil Series, book one and book two, and I thoroughly enjoyed both! If you like books with a bit of romance, a lot of adventure and some supernatural abilities thrown in, then you'll love these books too.

Here's a bit from the author:


Hi, I'm HP Mallory and I've written two series, the first about a fairy in law enforcement (To Kill A Warlock and A Tale of Two Goblins) and the second about a witch who can bring back the dead (Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble and Toil and Trouble).

I'm a mongo fan of anything that goes bump in the night and Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! (Quick tangent--the best costume I've ever worn was last year when I went as the Headless Horseman and my baby was my Jack-O-Lantern head!) I've always loved the Twilight Zone Marathons and if I ever saw a ghost, I think I'd wet myself.

I grew up in California although I've lived abroad in the UK (England and Scotland--woo hoo, gotta love those kilts!)

I'd categorize my writing as a blend of suspense, humor, light horror, and romance with a sprinkle of fantasy to tie everything together! If you are all about fairies and witches and vampires (oh my!), you love a good alpha warlock and you like men who get a little hairy during a full moon, I got the goods.

And, just to give you a taste of what you'll find in the book, here's an excerpt:

I knew I was sleeping but my dreams had never been quite so lucid, images so vibrant and crisp, I felt as if I could reach out and touch them. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, finding the velvet blackness of night was still in full effect. There was something I needed to do, something that was on the brink of happening. Something bad. It was one of those gut feelings.

I stood up and was seized by a pain reverberating through my head. It felt as if my brain was being torn apart, all my memories and thoughts being dissected by a sharp blade. I fell to my knees and grabbed my throbbing head, willing the pain to go away.

And, just like that, it did. I was suddenly free of pain but I was somewhere I couldn’t comprehend—somewhere unknown to me. It was like I’d been plucked from my bedroom and deposited on a street I didn’t recognize. A cold wind whipped around my shoulders, and I glanced down at my white lace singlet and baby blue pajama shorts. I wrapped my arms around myself, trying to ward off the cold and glanced up at the front of a townhouse—a modern structure that glared down at me in an array of hard angles and bleak whiteness. The numbers 3467 delineated the corner of the door, and somehow I knew those numbers were important, that I had to remember them.

Before I had the chance to think, something flashed by me. I couldn’t see it but I could feel the death imprint it carried—something powerful, something evil. In an amorphous blur of darkness, it vaporized into the door before me, and I had no choice but to follow. It wanted me to follow—I could feel the distinct urge to continue after it, as if it were beckoning me. I reached for the doorknob, and my hand went through it. Shrugging, I took a hesitant step forward and found myself merging with the door, entering the room beyond it.

The sounds of crashing and fighting snapped me out of my initial trepidation and I forced myself forward, following the noises down a dark hallway and into a bedroom where my eyes settled on the shadows of two men. One was in a huge bed that dominated the room and the other was atop him, pummeling him with fists full of hatred. The man in the bed didn’t resist his attacker. He merely lay there in quiet repose while the entity pounded him repeatedly. I had the sudden desire, the sheer need to protect the man in the bed.

I started forward and suddenly came up against an invisible barrier, something stopping me from reaching the bed. I shook my hand, waiting for the telltale sign of fairy dust to emerge in my palm so I could blow the dust toward the barrier and simply eliminate it but my fairy dust never materialized.

The man in the bed continued to lie there, immobile, amidst his blood-stained sheets. The thing atop him shifted to the side, pulling itself away from the bed and allowed me to gaze at the man. My heart about stopped.

“Knight!” I screamed and beat my ineffectual palms against the invisible wall. My voice just bounced off the unseen barrier and died in the air.

Knight’s attacker was no longer an amorphous shadow. He’d taken an outline of a man and was now facing me. I couldn’t make out his features, I couldn’t even see his face. He was just etched in darkness, outlined by night. But I didn’t have to see his face to realize what and who he was. I knew it deep down in my gut because he wanted me to know it. The Dreamstalker. I felt a smile radiating outward from him. A smile coming from that dark shade of his face.

He leaned over Knight while I held my breath.

I woke with a start, my heart pounding.

I couldn’t shake the nightmare from my mind. And the main reason was that I was convinced it hadn’t been a nightmare at all but an omen from my own subconscious. It had been a warning. A warning from the Dreamstalker.

I leapt out of my bed and glanced at the clock. It was two a.m. Reaching for the phone on my side table, I speed dialed Knight. It just rang.

I dialed again. It just rang.

I dialed again.

It just rang.

I was told I had a giveaway to do too, but, as I have recently moved to a new house and temporarily lost my Internet access (I am using my local library now), I was unable to follow up to that and see if there are any conditions and just exactly what the giveaway was supposed to be. So I decided that everyone who commented below will get entered into a random drawing to win the Kindle version or e-book version of the novel, awarded by me from my own pocket.

The drawing will be closed at noon PST on May 1st.

However, I found out through following it up that the giveaway was supposed to be quite different, so there is another giveaway you can enter which is detailed below.


Both books can be bought for the Kindle.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Do You Call Yourself A Writer?

What constitutes being able to call oneself a writer? Everyone seems to have a different opinion of this. Some say you have to be published in order to consider yourself a writer. Some say you have to have published a book in order to call yourself a writer. Others say you only need to be currently writing, whether published or not, in order to call yourself a writer.

The Merriam-Webster Free Dictionary defines a writer as "one who writes." Many of us write. Some of us are good at writing, and some of us only write rubbish that few would be willing to read. But according to this dictionary definition, both types are writers. One only needs to write in order to be a writer.

Wikipedia states that "A writer is a person who produces literary content, including but not limited to stories, poetry, music and other literary art, advertising, procedures, and books." It goes on to say that "The word is almost synonymous with author." This would suggest that a writer is someone who is published, whose writing is read by others.

What about bloggers? Our writing is published on the Internet. We don't get paid for our writing (unless we are writing a review for pay), so does that negate the fact that we are writers? Do we need to be paid for our writing in order to qualify officially as writers?

Personally, I believe that, while not everyone who writes is a writer, you don't have to be published to be a writer either. Some people write with no intention of ever having their writing read by others. Some people write without ever paying any attention to their prose, ignoring the need for their writing to have any sort of quality whatsoever. Those are not writers. They are dabblers. Just as artists sometimes doodle, writers sometimes dabble in mindless writing. But a person who only writes mindlessly and never writes with thought to content is not a writer. (We should have a word for this mindless writing, just as artists have the word doodle for mindless drawing. Any suggestions?)

Some people strive to write something that will appeal to others. They pay attention to their content and to their form, and they work hard at creating something worthwhile through their writing. Regardless of whether or not these efforts ever get published, these people deserve to be called writers, because writing means something to them.

And maybe that should be the distinguishing concept on whether or not someone can call themselves a writer or not; what they write has to mean something to them. Anyone who puts something down in writing in order to express something, to share something or to create something is a writer.

What do you think?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Picture Book Marathon

February is Picture Book Marathon Month. I love the idea of a picture book writing marathon!

Alas, I am unable to join in as I did not learn about this picture book marathon month until it was almost over. Instead I will honor the month by writing a new picture book this month and drawing three preliminary sketches for it. (Yes, I am still struggling along with my attempts at teaching myself to draw.)

Have you joined the marathon? If not, do you think you'd like to join in next year?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writing for Real

I feel as though most of my writing up until now has been hobby writing, and I feel this way because I haven't actually done much with the stories, articles and poems I have written. I haven't shared them here. I haven't completed either of my novels or started editing them. I still have my three children's stories and they aren't illustrated yet.

What I have done that is not just hobby writing is I have become a regular writer for a magazine. I write monthly on the topic of raising healthy kids for Beverly Hills Child Magazine. This is great, but it's only a start.

I have career goals for my writing and those goals are achievable. I just need to keep working towards them. To this end, I have decided to set up a list of tasks for myself to do in which, with each of the tasks that I achieve, I will be getting closer to reaching my goals.

Watch this space, because I will be published this year and in more than one venue!

What would you include in a list of tasks if you were making the list of tasks for yourself?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentines Day Ribbon

Happy Valentine's Day!

Some of you I see every day,
And some of you live far away.
But I consider you friends, one and all,
With hearts so big, and typing so small.
I love learning of you through this electric highway,
And I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tips For Sticking To Your New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 is going to be a wonderful year for us all.

It is that time of year again when everyone starts to think about what they have achieved over the past year and what they hope to achieve in the new one. A lot of people will make new year's resolutions now. And most of those people will not stick with them any longer than next month.

Just how are you supposed to go about making resolutions and then making sure you achieve them?

Here are some quick tips, just from the top of my head.

1. Make realistic resolutions. Don't over-reach your abilities. Yes, you might be able to get your book published this year, but if you haven't even started it, then aiming to have it published by March is unrealistic. However, deciding that you want to have three short stories entered into competitions by March is a more realisitic goal.

2. Resolve to WORK towards your goals. You will never reach any of your resolutions if you are not willing to put in the effort and take the steps needed to attain them.

3. Believe in yourself. It is very important that you believe in your ability to reach your goals. Without that belief and confidence, you run the risk of sabatoging your own efforts.

4. Surround yourself with people who support you and believe in your goals. There is nothing more helpful than supportive friends and family who believe in you. The last thing you need if you are trying to become a published author is to have the people around you acting like you spend too much time writing or telling you that you are wasting your time.

5. Reward yourself for every step closer you get to achieving you goals. It is easy, on a long journey, to lose sight of how far you have come and to instead keep dwelling on how far you have left to go. Try to focus on what you have already achieved and how it brings you closer to your ultimate goal.

6. Write it down. Don't just write down your resolutions, but write down each step you need to take to get there. Reference this note whenever you feel tempted to slack in your efforts. Writing your ideas down has an effect on your subconscious. Also, keep a journal of your thoughts during this time. Sometimes fresh ideas can be sparked through journal writing.