Monday, 28 October 2013

The Game On Bloghop

Kyra Lennon's Game On series is centred around the world of football (although, as it's in America, I guess I should call it soccer), and features a pretty fanciable football player called Radleigh McCoy. She wants to know who my sports crush is... Oh dear, here goes...

Actually this was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, because I apparently have an inordinate number of sports crushes. So I decided to go with someone who's probably a little less known than the others - because I like to be unique.

Chris Coleman is my crush - Welsh international player and their current coach. He has a lovely soft lilting voice and his eyes are much twinklier than they look in this photo.

Yes, he does have a chin, but it's really hard to find a photo of a football manager when they're not shouting, frowning or otherwise gesticulating in a very odd manner. This is the most normal photo I could find!

(Other crushes may or may not include Freddie Flintoff, Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, Roberto Mancini, and the guy at my gym who can do the most amazing press-ups known to man... ahem!)

Check out Kyra Lennon's blog to check out the other participants
and to join in yourself.
Go on, it's not too late!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Rachel Morgan's The Faerie War

It's party time!!! 
Today is the official online release of Rachel Morgan's third Creepy Hollow novel, The Faerie War. After that cliffhanger at the end of the second book, fans can finally find out what happens to Violet and everyone else in Creepy Hollow. If you'd like to get your copy, you can find it at the following online stores, plus a few others:

There are seven other teaser images displayed on various blogs today. If you'd like to see them, you can visit the following fabulous bloggers:

And there's a major giveaway going on!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A boost for the short story?

This week it was announced that Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And I, for one, was very excited that a woman who is renowned for writing short stories has been honoured in this way.

Short stories are sometimes seen as a poor relation to the novel, even though they are a complex art form in their own right, and can be very hard to do well. Munro has a fantastic style - she can fit the enormity of a novel into several thousand words. Her stories are rich and vibrant and satisfying.

I love this collection, especially.
Trying to sell my own short story collection at the moment, I know how hard it is to convince people to try short stories. Even though people say they have less time to read, they still prefer novels.

Here's my own (possibly controversial) theory: readers are lazy. Why read short stories - with the characters and situations continually changing so you have to start from the beginning again every few pages - when you can read a novel? Indeed, why read a novel - knowing you'll experience that bereft feeling of leaving behind characters you've grown to love - when you can read a series and never have to say goodbye to those characters ever again?

A good short story will draw you in, hit you hard and leave you reeling for hours, or even days. A novel, by contrast, is a slow burner - it can amble and wander, the final punch can seem to be more of a playful slap.

There is surely a huge imbalance between the number of people not reading short stories yet entering short story writing competitions. These competitions are growing and growing. The prizes are growing and growing - the Bridport Prize, one that I've been entering for far too many years, has grown from a £1000 first prize to a £5000 first prize. Well worth entering, but how can people expect to write a brilliant short story if they don't read them?

To return to Munro for a moment, I discovered this article from Open Culture which links to twelve of her short stories, so you can read for yourself.

What was the last short story you read?
Did it hit you hard? Are you still thinking about it?
Do you have a favourite short story writer?

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Word splurge

After my many posts of a couple of weeks ago, I've just realised that I haven't blogged for a week.

So, here's a post. 


Hello, how are you? I'm apparently in a strange mood. Several people have noticed this recently, but it's working for me, because I finally decided which of my three projects I was going to work on next, and actually made a start on it. Although I've already come up against a small problem of not quite knowing what the story is... oops!

I also got very stuck on the first sentence, so moved straight to Part 3. I'm writing it in past tense, but might change it to present. Ideally I'd like to write every paragraph in a different tense, because that's how they're coming into my head... But don't worry, I'm not going to do that - I will figure this out!

I'm slightly annoyed with Createspace and Royal Mail at the moment, because I've been waiting in every day for a delivery of 20 copies of Sadie, and she's currently no where to be seen. I've been trying to track her down, and even had to put in a second order without receiving the first. Today, she is 13 days overdue!

I've been told Createspace can work to their own calendar, so dates don't really mean much to them, but surely it's no way to run a business?

Today, however, I'm going out for lunch and Hubby will be in the attic, so what's the betting they will arrive today? No, I don't put Hubby in the attic when I'm not home, don't worry - he wants to be there. And I'll probably explain why, when there's something to explain...

And finally, it's getting colder in the UK which means my woolly tights, jumpers, skirts and boots will make an appearance!

And finally, finally... thanks to everyone who visited my guests last week, and for all the great comments and support.

How was your week?
Do you ever get confused about which tense to write in?
Have you had any bad experiences with Createspace?
What's your favourite thing about autumn/winter?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Christine Rains is on a blog tour...

And last but not least on my recent guest post list, Christine Rains has popped in for a very special post as part of her The 13th Floor Complete Collection blog tour.

Take it away, Christine....


The camera hates me. We have an agreement. I take the pictures and never step in front of it. The camera continues to take cute photos of my son.

But it's time for a new author photo. The one I use now is nearly three years old. While it's satisfactory, it doesn't look like the every day me any more. One of the most important jobs of an author photo is to give readers a reference so that if they happen to see you out and about, they'll recognize you. It's also part of marketing your brand. You are as much of a part of your brand as your books. You should update your author photo often.

If you can afford it, get a professional to take your photo. It needs to be clean, simple, and friendly. The background should be neutral. Don't doll yourself up with lots of make-up or wear fancy clothes. Just be yourself. Some people can pull off quirky, but most of us shouldn't go with gimmicks. Think about your favorite books and smile.

I'm more nervous revealing this photo than I was the cover to the 13th Floor Collection. I can't afford to get a professional photo done, but my husband has a keen eye and a steady hand. He borrowed the fancy camera from his work, and we did a photo session. There were several dozen shots. My glasses kept reflecting the flash. My smile was crooked, and there's a freckle on the tip of my nose. Ack!

So here we go. Paranormal romance author Christine Rains.

I can't pull off quirky, but there was one prop that refused to be left out of the photo shoot. This one is for all the Tawa fans!

Have you updated your author photo lately?

The 13th Floor Complete Collection by Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: October 13th, 2013

Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn't exist.

Six novellas telling their tales.
  • A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
  • A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
  • A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
  • A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
  • A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
  • A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
  • And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.
All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.

Website  //  Blog  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Goodreads 

Buy here:
Amazon  //  B&N  //  Kobo  //  Smashwords 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

It's Julie!!!! (and a tiny bit of insecurity - mine, not hers)

I'm being insecure at the end of this post - because I forgot about it... oops!

Today I'm welcoming Julie Flanders to my blog to share her new book cover. Looks good, doesn't it? I'm really keen to read the book, after checking out the blurb below!


A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out. But, it’s not at all what she expects ...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.

Author Bio:

Julie Flanders is a novelist and freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a life-long love affair with the ocean and has spent more summer vacations than she can count on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. When not writing, Julie can be found reading, cheering on her favorite sports teams, and watching too much television. She is an animal lover and shares her home with her dog and cat.

Find Julie at:

The Ghosts of Aquinnah will be released by Ink Smith Publishing on December 5, 2013

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Details here
On the first Wednesday of the month, us writers get together for a mass panic. Today, I completely forgot, so although I have many insecurities this month, I don't have the time to word them eloquently.

So, one question: when you're feeling really down on your writing, what cheers you up?

For me, it's the gym, music and chocolate!