Thursday, November 8, 2012

What if ???? Are you ready ???

                         How can we not be affected by the devastation of hurricane Sandy?

I'm sorry this post is so late, it should've really gone out last week, but I just couldn't get it together. The week literally ran away with itself and I never caught up. I started to write this and never finished. The storm came and went leaving a trail of disaster in its wake. Needless to say that after watching the numerous news reports I felt so deeply for those people who were faced with such loss. I tried to imagine how I would cope if that had been my family? And although we live 30mins outside of Boston and well away from the coast, that flooding wouldn't be an issue, the way the world and the weather is changing, who knows what natural disaster may strike and leave us totally unprepared.

When I started to write my YA novel Children of Annwn :The Promise, one of the things I did was research the ways that the world may end. I read through the Exit Mundi theories. Its a collection of end of world hypothesis. Terrifying!!!

As we battened done our hatches last week I couldn't help but think over those possible end of world scenario's and ponder that for all our advances in modern technology, what can we really do when Mother Nature gets wild.

Watching the communities hardest hit by Sandy was like watching survivor man. Trying to get the means to survive seemed strikingly difficult. Do we need to learn how to survive these kind of events ? Are we going to see more and more of them? Should we be looking to teach our communities how to respond?

I know in my own family, my children are used to and take for granted, so much. What if one day everything that we took for granted was gone and we had to learn to start all over again. Would we be able to survive?

I'm not sure why, I felt so affected by Sandy but I did.

In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans it was unbelievable as we saw 80 % of it flooded. Some areas were under a staggering 15 feet of water. There was utter chaos, with lootings, people being murdered. 1200 people lost their lives. Its estimated the damage that was caused reached 108 billion dollars

Last year Hurricane Irene hit the Caribbean and the East coast causing significant damage to the toll of 15 billion and there are estimates out there that suggest Hurricane Sandy could cost up to 50 Billion.

With the United States of America in an unbelievable and staggering

$16,214,358,823,745.36     Debt as of 8th November 2012.

On early Wednesday morning when Mr Barack Obama gave his victory speech I did hear him mention " We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened
by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet"

I hope therefore that in his plan to move forward that he looks at how we combat the future of global warming and the challenges of a changing planet. How its all paid for I don't have an answer and I am concerned that the national debt it only going to rise for every man, woman and child.

However, I firmly believe that these natural disasters are of grave concern for our future and our children's future and so on. With one of the possible exit mundi theories it SUGGESTS that the volcano called "Cumbre Vieja" on the Island of La Palma off the African shore will not only erupt but that it will split and cause a huge chunk of the island to drop into the ocean. KERPLUNK!!!!

This drop in the ocean MAY unleash a Megatsuami of untold proportions that would forever change the landscape of the Eastern Coast of America. From the moment the island hits the ocean, America would have 8 hrs to evacuate and respond.

Waves twice the height of the Empire state building will obliterate New York!!! Waves will be travelling faster than a plane!!!  These are only predictions!!!!!! But very scary nevertheless...

Are we prepared? Are we doing enough to safeguard our future?

Maybe, I felt affected by Sandy because I've never been faced with disaster, my life is comfortable. It made me think that one day I may have to learn to adapt, to survive.

In my community one very strong willed and courageous lady Erica Guagenti organised a collection of supplies to be sent directly to those in such dreadful need. Her husband's company Acquia footed the shipping bill. 784lbs and 19 moving boxes later the supplies are being sent. When Erica asked, I like many others were glad to be involved, to be able to actually do something to help. After this I have seen others came up with similar plans and I hear now that the school is to get involved in a fundraising effort for the victims of Sandy. Ah, the human spirit!!!! As long as there are people that are willing to help, we will endeavour, we will conquer and we will overcome.

We may not be able to stop the effects of Mother Nature, but we can as a group of people come together and help each other to survive. I believe in Mr Presidents words," That while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Writing whilst on vacation...

This week I have felt inspired to put pen to paper whilst traveling on vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. I was very excited about this trip and as such gathered together some books in advance to give us an idea of what to expect when we arrived and so we could plan our weeks stay. With three kids between the ages of 7/14 we needed to have activities to satisfy all ages. I think we managed that and had a full and busy week. I would definitely go back there in a heart beat, with Busch gardens and Water country on the door step we managed to entertain the kids, tire them out and then squeeze in some interactive history at the historic triangle sites of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. The boys even had a full day Ocean fishing which they loved whilst I did a bit of retail therapy. Oh, and  I almost forgot I managed to write a couple of chapters for my new story , The Welsh Witch. Not sure how but I felt I needed to and so I did. I'm travelling again in a couple of days back home this time to Wales to visit my mum, so my blog maybe a bit hit or miss. Anyway, a small excerpt of my latest offering first draft and another WIP...

                                                                  The Welsh Witch

Splashing the crisp cool water over her face wakes her from the sleepy stupor that dominates her senses. Had she been drugged? That may account for the memory loss and the overwhelming fatigue. Damn, if only she could clearly remember. Standing now she gazed around. Okay, no matter what had happened she had to find some clothes, maybe food and more importantly come up with a plan. Her feet moved one in front of the other. Before she knew it she was furiously sprinting  through the forest, pushing the bushes away. Not pausing for breath , the sounds of screeching birds were ignored, she simply kept on running. Ella, could run twenty miles easily. Running was freedom. A lesson she had learnt early on. Ignoring the aching pains of her body she came outside of herself and to many it looked as if she was flying when she went into survival mode. Some time later her eyes narrowed on an  inconspicuous log cabin.

"Christ, what the fucking hell is going on down there?" Walter shouted down the phone. Marcus sighed, the shit had hit the proverbial fan in the last twelve hours and now his boss was cursing at him as if it was all his fault. Which in part it was but hell Walter took every opportunity to have a go, he'd never like the arrogant prick and the feeling seemed to be mutual. But he was a means to an end. Bring in the girl and the big promotion in Washington is yours. At least that's what he been led to believe. It was all he wanted. And now, shit, shit. "I'm sorry sir." He ran his hand through his unruly mop of dark curls. Truth was he didn't know what the hell had happened. "Jesus, one minute I was in the Seasons restaurant one table away from them. They were eating and chatting everything seemed fine. Then they headed back to her place. I followed them and waited. As I started to do a sweep around the grounds I sensed someone else was there, another agent maybe. I did a full perimeter search and nothing, so I let it go. There were shouts coming from inside, I crept closer and watched them through the window in the living room. Everything was going ballistic. The guy Aidan was really having a go yelling and then he smacked her right in the fucking face. Hell, I was going to go in and stop it all, but then I got knocked out."

His hand rubbed his head where a lump had formed and still ached. He should have trusted his senses for once they were spot on, he'd known something was off. Even telling his boss seemed somehow wrong. When he woken up he simply couldn't believe the scene. Aidan was dead with his head smashed in, there was blood splattered all over the wall and Ella was missing. He still couldn't quite see Ella as a murderer. The last thing he'd seen was her crashing to the floor, after Aidan's hand had walloped her across the face. It had made his blood boil.  "Well, you'd better fucking find out and quick. Head quarters are looking for blood. You were meant to bring her in last week. On your request I gave you that extra week, but the crazy bitch has now killed her lover. Jesus, this couldn't get any worse. Mark my words I'm not going down for this, do you understand?" There was a pause Marcus knew without doubt, had always known when push came to shove, he was on his own.
"Yes, sir loud and clear."

Marcus had a very clear picture of Ella Masters in his mind and bitch and murderer simply didn't fit. Could he have been so wrong? It wasn't that he fancied her she was definitely not his type. He usually went for the blonde's, whereas Ella had long indistinguishable brown hair, always swept backwards into a tight ponytail. Very much the school marm, not the sexy kitten look. No, she was definitely not his type. Even her eyes were a wishy washy blue or maybe green it was hard to be sure behind her large glasses that seemed too big for her small face. But her smile when she allowed anyone to see it was wicked and innocent all rolled into one. He remembered when he handed her her favourite skinny vanilla latte and he'd felt an overwhelming sense of loss and sadness flood him. Also, a strong need to protect and help had ruffled his feathers so much that he'd snatched his hand away and he'd refused to meet her eyes that he knew had been looking directly into his. His mother had once told him he had a gift for knowing people. He swore at the thought of his mother and a bitter taste rose up in his mouth of revulsion.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Interview with author Camen Falcone

Hi Everyone,

I'm so excited today that I cannot keep still. I have great pleasure in introducing and welcoming the  lovely and very busy author Carmen Falcone, whose debut book release," A Vengeful Affair" is #81 on Amazon!!!!

Firstly, I'd like to say thank you very, very, much for agreeing to doing this with your crazy schedule, big hug xxx.

Last year I entered the amazing competition called," New Voices." It was an amazing experience for me as a novice writer. Since ,then I have kept in touch with many of the wonderful writers who entered and this is how I was introduced to Carmen. Harlequin provided a great platform for new and emerging writers, some who since then have had their stories published. Is it catching I wonder, I do hope so.
Anyway, I feel honored to have the opportunity to chat with one such lucky lady today. I  must mention before we begin, that one lucky reader will be able to win a copy of Carmen's book!!! All you have to do is simply post a comment on the blog and next week a winner will be chosen at random.   Hooray!!!

           Good Morning Carmen, my first question has to be, what is your daily routine?

      I’m an English-to-Portuguese translator during the day, and writer by night. I also moonlight as wife, mother of a vivacious three year old and a terrible housekeeper. I try to write whenever I can. It’s hard to resist Facebook and Twitter, though. ;)

Is writing your full time career and when did you start?

       It’s not my full time career. I believe a lot of authors still have other jobs. It’s a tough business, and having your work published doesn’t mean you won’t get rejections ever again. I started writing when I was six or seven, but the content has considerably changed since then *laughs*

Are you an avid reader? If so what sort of books do you read or
have inspired you?

       Yes I am! I love reading contemporary and short romances.

Where do you gain inspiration from for your writing and in
particular for your latest book?

      It all begins with a character. Then I ask myself, what does this person do for a living, what has this person gone through in life, and most importantly – what does he or she want but can’t have?  My debut release A Vengeful Affair is about revenge. I’ve always enjoyed this trope. But I wanted to give it a twist and have the heroine want a revenge, and not the other way around. Vivian Foster is my heroine and she inspired me to tell her story. J

Do you have a pen name?

     Carmen is my real name, but my last name is my mom’s maiden name.

Do you only write genre romance ? If so why this particular area.

     Why? Because I couldn’t do it any other way. I love writing short romances. J

What's your experience of the publishing world, pro's and con's.

 Honestly, I’m lucky Entangled took a chance on me and welcomed into the family. I’m very lucky  :) I don't have any experience with other publishers yet, but I think the

key is research. Your book is your baby. Would you hand your baby to a stranger? No. So you don’t want to sell your rights to any publisher just for the sake of getting published. And when you find a publisher you want, follow their guidelines when you’re submitting. That is the first chance you have to wow them.

What' your advice to anyone starting out?

Write. Don’t just talk about writing, or dream about having time to write. Do the best you can to write as much as you can, and find a good critique group. If it’s your dream, don’t give up. J

Self-publishing versus Traditional what's your slant on it all.

Honestly, I think you have to do what works for you. I know some great self-published authors. In my case, I like to have a respectable publisher behind me. Being a newbie is overwhelming. I have a terrific publicist who schedules my blog tour, and I had an awesome editor who made sure my book was the best it could be. I need the input, because I get too attached and see things differently. On the other hand, I see why people self-publish: it gives them complete control over everything and if they have a fan base, they can make good money.

What's the future for you...

I’m just finishing a book about a feisty heroine who kidnaps the hero to prevent him from expelling a tribe of Brazilian Indians that are illegally occupying his land. Then I’ll get started on a lovely story of a spoiled, broke L.A. socialite and the rough Texan cowboy she gets mixed up with.

Dear Jen, thank you so much for having me! J I love to connect with writers and readers. My  website

Follow me on Twitter,

Friend me on Facebook

Purchase from Barnes & Noble and Amazon:

          Read the first chapter free


Rich people get away with murder every day, but Vivian Foster intends to make billionaire Javier Rivera pay for what he did to her best friend—and how better to destroy a money-grubbing bastard than to sabotage the merger that means everything to him.

Javier Rivera would never hurt a woman much less kill one. But when he catches a gorgeous corporate spy in his office, he knows he can’t let her go—not when even a hint of scandal could ruin his career. Until the merger is signed, he’ll keep her close, even if he has to shackle her to his wrist. Literally.

But the closer Javier gets to Vivian, the more he wants her, and the more time she spends with him, the less she believes he could ever be a killer. Now Vivian and Javier have to discover the truth…and Vivian has to win the trust of her worst enemy.

Carmen’s bio: Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters and places beat doing Math homework any day. She traveled the world, achieved a B.A. in Tourism in her hometown in Brazil and was soon invited to work in the USA, where she met her Swiss husband. She’d always dreamed of becoming a published writer, and after her daughter was born, she revisited that dream of writing – this time, unwilling to give it up. She lives in Austin and enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family and three high energy pugs.

Please make a comment and next week I'll choose a winner at random at they'll receive a copy of Carmen's, " A vengeful Affair." Thanksxxxx

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

1} Thank the blogger that nominated you.

Thank you so very much Jeanette Andersen for  the One Lovely Blog Award. Go to for the “rules” and to snag the badge to post on your website.

 2} Give 7 random facts about yourself

1~ I'm originally from Wales. 

2~ I love Dr Who, my favourite Dr was David Tennant.

3~ I love to sing but I'm not very good.

4~ Have recently discovered that I love the gym.

5~ Cannot live without chocolate.

6~ Have four boys ages from 7==23.

7~ Used to make swarovski  jewelry,( rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings) for a hobby until it took over my office and then used to sell them at craft shows...

Nominate 15 blogs

Please leave a comment so I will know you received notification! 

(With problems I'm having at the moment w/Blogger and my cluelessness of attaching links, I'm not listing my 15 nominees. Sorry for the inconvenience)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Exciting news !!!

Next week Wednesday 8th August the very lovely and talented author  Carmen Falcone will guest post, writing about her latest book and her journey in writing. So excited!!! You can check out her latest book ," A Vengeful Affair."  Barnes and Noble have given it a 5 star rating.

There will be a giveaway too!!!!!

This is an excerpt from my first ever short story and then refreshed New Voices entry. I'm still playing with it and want to complete it someday. Any feedback, would be great... 

                                            Returning to the Vineyards of Allegretti

            There was a quiet whistle through the trees from the wind. He pulled her into his arms holding her still. His face hovered searching the depths of her eyes. Leaning forward he kissed her. The kiss that came was urgent, insistent. Blood pumped through her veins as her heart galloped, the sound echoing in her ears. His soft lips pushed firmly against hers, his tongue teased her as it licked the length of her lips, demanding a response. Eagerly her lips parted, and she yielded, kissing him back. Automatically, she raised her hands around his neck, and pulled him close.
 A rush of heady sensations burst throughout her whole body. Shocking tingles lit a trail along her skin, and a sweet taste flowed inside her mouth as his tongue explored. Wanting more, and more whilst struggling to breathe she moved closer. Micheal was kissing her, wanting her. Her knees buckled and his arms quickly gripped her tightly around the waist. This was it, she was ready to give herself to him, completely. Somehow, she found the courage and control to reach for his shirt. His body was chiseled and finely sculpted, she could feel all the tightly coiled muscles along his chest.  
Her fingers found there way to unbuttoning his shirt, and the warmth of his skin scorched her finger tips. Any minute now she thought she would burst into flames as her trembling hands roamed freely across his bare skin. Unsure of what to do, she lifted her eyes to stare into his, seeking his approval. Instantly she saw the barely controlled muscles in his mouth quiver. His dark eyes pinned her to the spot. The world became silent as her breathing paused. For a millisecond, she thought she saw desire, but couldn’t be sure. Then  everything changed in an instant. His hands suddenly lay on top of hers, freezing her. Without saying a word he brought them down to rest at her sides.
As if the sun had just set, Vivienne shivered. His face beautifully masked any emotions, he remained silent. Her heart that had been soaring into space was now crashing and burning, already her chest ached and she had to force a lump that threatened to bring on tears away. Shaking her head, she knew, had always known that the love she felt for him, wasn't returned. Her cheeks burned. She didn't know where to look or what to do but felt the almost painful grip from his fingers still holding her wrists. They weren't held in a loving clasp, more a shackle to distance them from him. As her eyes looked at her hands, he released them and walked away.
“Michael, I love you,” she said. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

“Vivienne...what do you know of are so young.” He voice sounded so far away.

“I know how I feel. I have always loved you. From the very first moment I set eyes on you I… ” Her voice began to quiver, realizing she was making a complete fool of herself. She stopped and sucked on her lower lip unable to speak and desperately holding back more tears.She hadn’t planned any of this. This was all his fault. And now, she'd opened her heart and offered it to him as if it was nothing. Gut wrenching embarrassment made her turn away, she wanted to flee but knew her legs wouldn't move. Why had he changed his mind. Why?
“You're too young Mia Cara for someone like me." Finally, he turned around, his shirt buttons all neatly arranged, his face like stone even with his sun tan.  

"You're not old, you're only a little older than me." She wanted to take his hand grab his arm and make him listen, but his dark eyes wouldn't look at her.

"I don't mean the age,  I mean I'm not the falling in love type. I would be wrong for you Vivienne. My view of the world is jaded and yours is idealistic. You look at everyone with a rosy glow.You have much to learn about life, the world. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to start this was a mistake. Come we should get back.”

She stared up at him wanting to say something, to scream at him, but knew it was no use. His mind was made up. After everything that had happened, she thought she knew him, could trust him. That finally ,that hole in her heart would be filled. How wrong she'd been. She wished her mother was still alive and hugged herself. Once again she was on her own. She blinked and the past disappeared.

“Vivienne did you hear me?” He shouted. She spun around, determined to stand tall and face him, she threw her shoulders back and tilted her chin upwards.
“Michael, why am I here, you could have said what you wanted to say over the phone?”

“You know why. We've discussed this.” His words were spoken more quietly now and his eyes wandered across her face and slowly over the rest of her.

“Oh, for goodness sake, I was having fun. What’s the big deal? ” She scowled, and looked away feeling uncomfortable from his angry glare. She knew there was no point in trying to explain,it was obvious from the way he'd spoken on the phone with his clipped and high pitched voice that had rambled on in fast and furious Italian that she had no chance of understanding. He'd already made up his mind. And found her guilty. In truth Vivienne had been drunk and maybe not for the first time, but in this particular incident it was not by her own volition.

“You were drunk; it was all over the papers. There were pictures of you in your underwear!! You've been skipping classes and you're about to fail. The academy is not cheap Vivienne, and quite frankly the trip to Paris was a fiasco. They won’t tolerate your behavior any longer and neither will I. We are not going to argue any more, no matter how much you seem to want to provoke me. We are not going to discuss this here, do you understand..."
Barely pausing to take breath, but he paused and his face softened slightly," Maria's at home, she's staying for a couple of days and she cannot wait to see you. Claudia, has prepared your room, so you have no choice, you have to come.”

He knew exactly how to reach her. Knowing that Maria would be there with her son was enough to take away any further needling and she gave in. Maria was two years older than her. She had become the instant sister she had never had, but sorely needed. Now, she was married with a family of her own. How different their lives had turned out.  

 “It was a party and I….. Anyway it doesn’t matter now. How long are you expecting me to stay?” She said subdued. Part of her wanted to explain everything to Michael but she didn’t want to get close to him and risk getting hurt again.

“Vivienne have you really changed so much, I know you love it here. Yet you are already looking to leave?”

“I have a life, and... “

“You have someone?” he said studying her face with curiosity.

“What if I do?”

“I would be happy for you, as long as it’s not that idiot,” he shrugged.

The idiot was Julian Winters and he was no idiot, he was worse. He was the son of millionaire financier Robert Winters and he was arrogant and used to getting everything he wanted and he had set his sights on Vivienne.

“He’s not an idiot and even if he was, it wouldn't matter. It's not as if I'm going to marry him,  it’s only sex and he's rich. I'm just having lots of fun.” Oh geez, if he was mad before, now he was going to throw a fit.Still, she wondered how he would react to her brazen statement. Of course most of it was a lie, but he didn't have to know that, maybe she just wanted to goad him, she wasn't sure.

Vivienne had befriended Julian in London they had become friends although she knew he wanted more, but she'd made it plain from day one,  that would never happen. The rejection only served to fuel his infatuation. He showered her with gifts which she had rejected, but he was unwilling to give up. His latest stunt, to spike her drinks had caused her to think Michael was right, although she refused to let him have the satisfaction of knowing the truth. Let him think what he likes. She tossed her long hair over her shoulder and ran a finger across her lip. His eyes watching her the whole time.
“There's a name for women like that, Puttana,” he said in disgust. He turned and strode away.

       How could she be so stupid to fall for someone as shallow as Julian Winters and sleep with him? Maybe, she had changed. She certainly looked older, more sophisticated, and well groomed.Looking at her designer label clothes he could at least account for some of her extravagances. He shook his head not recognizing this confident woman who could give herself away seemingly on a whim. He swore, her words replayed inside his head, "It's only sex." Sending her away was meant to allow her time to grow up, but this, this was exactly what he hadn't wanted to happen. Whatever relationship she had with this boy, it wasn’t a healthy one. She was flunking college and he was sure it had to do with this boy. He'd let her get drunk and made a spectacle of herself, knowing the paparazzi would be there to capture it all. He nodded, it had been the right decision to bring her home, he needed to get to the bottom of the puzzle that was Vivienne.    

                Vivienne wanted to scream; even now he managed to crawl under her skin and burn. Whore, she was no whore. Why did what he think matter so much to her? Damn him, why had she agreed to come? Okay her life was a mess and lately everything seemed to be spiraling out of control, especially after losing Mama Rosa. But how was Michael going to help her when he'd been the cause of it all. Sending her away and rejecting her. Of course she'd no choice, but to come when he phoned. All her college funding was controlled through him?  She walked quickly to catch him up, strolling across the piazza in silence. Turning one corner, then another and there on one of the cobbled side streets was his gleaming black BMW convertible.

           Moments later she was sitting in the soft cream leather seat of his car. Smelling the familiar fragrance she settled and he started the car and pulled away. The wind blew around them, as he skillfully weaved through the narrow and twisted roads. Once in the country side, she was struck by the air’s light perfume of lavender and rosemary. Breathing in the aroma relaxed her so much that she closed her eyes. Just as she was almost drifting off to sleep, she heard the familiar crunching sound on the gravel driveway. Immediately her eyes opened and she could see the cypress trees that lined the entrance. The car slowed to a stop right in the courtyard of, Casa di Vivienne.

“We're home.” 

               The first time she had arrived here, realizing that all the surrounding vineyards and olive groves were part of the Allegretti estate was overwhelming. She thought it was all part of some kind of mesmerizing dream. Climbing out from the car, she gazed upwards at the beautiful 18th century villa that was renamed after her. It was an elegant caramel colored villa, mostly covered in ivy; the front was bordered with rose bushes in shades of peaches and creams. Michael turned towards her.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading and writing

I started to write regularly, three years ago. Wow, how time flies. I remember this, because it was my first summer back in the USA. I had just moved into our new home after spending  two years back in Wales, where I'm from originally. One of the reasons we decided to buy this particular house was because it had an amazing outdoor pool and knowing the summers here can be hot and having previously always been very jealous of our great friends who had pools, we succumbed. It was therefore the first time with my children that I actually summered at the pool, in our very own garden. The kids were ecstatic and I was in my element. For the first time in such a long time I was able to relax and enjoy reading, whilst they swam. I also developed a desperate need to write and when I started I simply couldn't stop. 

At the time I was reading, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, ever heard of it? Haha. Well, believe you me it wasn't an automatic choice. I had heard about the book through a friend,  whose daughter was really into the twilight saga. I scoffed and shook my head denying at interest. Until, I was at a yard sale, please don't frown, and I saw a copy for 50c!!! Well, I couldn't resist. I thought it must be fate and realized it was my chance to discover what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I never anticipated that I wouldn't be able to put the bloody book down. That weekend I ignored my husband, the housework, the cooking, and the kids. My fingers were glued to the pages. I fell in love with Edward, I'm not at all embarrassed to admit. I've always loved the supernatural, anything that makes your spine tingle, your insides quiver, and your tiny hairs stand on edge. It's wasn't about age, it's was about the romance and the qualities of Edwards character. His old world charm, his soul, his morals, and his undying love. For me romance is about the courting, the lead and build up to the hero/heroine, falling in love. The roller coaster ride of will they, wont they, the obstacles that are in their way that make it seem impossible. The eyes that meet across a crowded room, that first touch where their hands meet, the first kiss which lasts forever.
"Isabella." He pronounced my full name carefully,then playfully ruffled my hair with his free hand. A shock ran through my body at his casual touch."Bella, I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt you.You don't know how it's tortured me." He looked down, ashamed again. "The thought of you, still,white, never see that flash of intuition in your eyes when you see through my pretenses would be unendurable." He lifted his agonised eyes to mine."You are the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever."

I read the first book cover to cover within 48hrs. I was so besotted with it I had to go out and buy the next installment immediately. I simply  couldn't wait to find out what happened next. And although I found New Moon my least favourite of all the books, I raced through them and was very reluctant to read the last ,Breaking Dawn, knowing it was coming to the end. The point I'm trying to make is that when I read these books, I was simply a reader. I had only just started to write and I wasn't critically appraising the book or the writing, simply soaking up the story. Nothing more. Now three years later, I cannot pick up a book without examining its for POV, tense, the voice, the characters, plot, studying the narrative, the dialogue, and the grammar.

Does it take some of the pleasure out of reading? Hm, I guess it's like wine tasting and I'm not a connoisseur, but I love red wine and finally I know what I like and what I don't. To become a better writer you have to read, explore many different styles of writing and to find your own unique voice and style. I'm still learning and there's lots to learn, but whilst I'm almost paralysed with fear that I'm rubbish, that I'll never get anywhere, there are those that are simply doing it. I do agonize over every word, sentence, my characters, my plot, and so on. It almost makes you too scared to write out of fear of what the comments will be.  But one lesson I'm  realizing is that most readers, just read and they decide what they like. Sometimes, whether it's written well or not is a moot point. If, the story or the characters pull you in, you've captured your audience. Knowing, what will capture your audiences imagination is something no-one can ever truly predict or know for sure.
I'm currently reading, Fifty shades of grey by ELJames. Again, this isn't a book I would ever usually choose to read, erotic, BDSM, ( sexual acts involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism). I'm reading it for several reasons, it's my book clubs choice for the summer read, really, out of curiosity and because even though it's really not my thing, this book has become a phenomenon. The author first published it as an ebook and quickly the demand superseded all expectations. Who'd of thought that one woman's fantasies could be desired by so many.Wickipedia states that the books have sold more than 31 million copies around the world, it's the fastest selling paper-back, out selling Harry Potter. That's staggering!!! One has to simply wonder, why? Firstly, I'm so in awe of anyone that is able to write a book, have it published and make a truck load of dosh, amazing. Bottom line, millions have bought and read this book. I haven't bought the book I'm borrowing it and really will not buy the sequels, that's not to say I won't read them, I probably will, but I'm in no rush. I wasn't looking forward to reading the book maybe because there has been so much said about it already that it has put me off. It's written in the first person point of view and in the present tense which isn't the norm for main stream fiction, but that wasn't what jarred me.

Anyway, I'm three-quarters of the way through, and I still don't get it. Christian Grey is so many disturbing multipersonalities , he's a complete control freak who wants total submission from Ana a twenty-one year old student . This isn't love, it isn't a relationship. It's totally about his enjoyment, not hers. His concern for her is that she remain safe and healthy so that he can, Fuck her whenever he pleases.The writing is cliched, very repetitive, and as a British writer who is writing about an American student the language is a mix of English/ American which is confusing and immediately pulls you out of the story. I found myself cringing over every, "Oh my, my inner goddess, don't bite your lip, the way his trousers hang from his hips" Phrases that are used over and over. I found myself screaming how could you let him hurt you, humiliate you with the spanking. How can anyone like a character than literally gets turned on by inflicting pain. Already, I'm thinking the battered woman syndrome, where woman make excuses for their partner/ husband. I can see that already Ana is doing that, feeling sorry for him because of his abuse as a child. I understand that Ana who was a virgin when they first met and was subsequently deflowered by him, is under his spell, his sexual magnetism. But to not be able to touch him, or  to call him by his first name, to submit to all that he desires!!!! Argh!!!!! I could go on but I'm not, only to say that I will never have a character such as Christian Grey in any of my stories. The world is full of sadistic people who abuse the weak and it's just not something I want to write about. I may never be successful but that wasn't really why I started to write.

 "And then this evening, he actually hit me. I've never been hit in my life. What have I gotten myself into? Very slowly, my tears, halted by Kate's arrival, begin to slide down the side of my face and into my ears. I have fallen for someone who's so emotionally shut down, I will only get hurt -deep down I know this-someone who by his own admission is completely fucked up."
Have a good one. Any comments, would love to hear them Jen x

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stretching myself...

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I hate working out. I just wish there was a quick fix to getting fit and losing weight, but sadly I don't believe there is. Like anything in life it takes hard work. Therefore with it being the summer  my youngest is at day camp and the  teens are in bed until mid morning, I thought I would shake up my routine. As soon as I drop off at summer fun I go to the YMCA. We have a family membership, that shock, horror, we rarely use. With that at the back of my mind I aim to make full use of it. I have been going 4 times a week so far. I'm stretching myself and my routine, which is usually the bikes and the tread mill.

This week I went to Pilate's ( which I loved and will go back...absolutely). Zumba...I so loved the music and wished I was more rhythmic and co-ordinated than I am, but I just couldn't get to grips with the speed and the movements and the shake that body... And then I tried muscle training and cardio which I totally can do and really enjoyed, even if every part of my body is aching. The instructor is very seductive in the way she speaks through the class, almost whispering that at every push and squat thrust our bodies are changing. I'm so willing and eager to believe, that I do find myself pushing that extra bit harder.  It made me realize I have to step out of my comfort zone to become stronger and  more toned. No pain no gain. I'm still aching, but I know it's good and I'm dreaming of that new body.

You maybe thinking well that's all well and good, but I thought this blog was about writing and you'd be right. I believe anything that makes an impression upon you is something worth examining and discussing and I believe that every day events help shape you as a person and as a writer. Healthy mind and body, healthy writer???? Right, please say you agree!! It occurs to me as I work out many possibilities for stories so I believe it's a good way to brain storm ideas and also as I'm trying different classes with the aim of getting stronger so too should I consider different ways to strengthen my writing.

One way this summer was to read as many books as I could. I'm reading a combination of adult and YA novels. I have chosen two that  I have really enjoyed, both are YA novels. This is the genre I was most eager to read, as my first novel is aimed at this audience. And everyone tells you to research the genre you are writing in, to try to ensure you're not writing a story that has already been written a million times. Although, that being said each writer brings something different to the table with their characters or slant on the story. But I do believe it needs to be fresh. This is what I'm aiming for and it's a word I hope to hear more and more as I expose my story to readers, agents, and publishers.

The first book is Need by Carrie Jones, I  believe this was her debut novel. Her female protagonist Zara White has recently lost her step-father and she's having a hard time coming to terms with his death. Her mother decides to end her to stay with her step-grandmother's house in sleepy bitterly cold Maine. I did think this was a bit odd to start. Zara appears to have a weird man stalking her, who follows her to grandmother's house and leaves a trail of gold dust. There's romance, suspense, and fantasy. I really enjoyed Zara's voyage of self-discovery and acceptance of who she is and will be searching for her other books.

 My second book I loved. Deception by Lee Nichols. Now this I thought was fresh. Emma Vaile (Love the name) the main character is strong, quirky, and immediately visible. When her eccentric parents disappear and Emma is left alone in San Fransisco she plans what most kids her age would, a party. However, that doesn't go as planned and she soon becomes the ward of Bennett a family friend. Bennett is of course wildly handsome, but his manner is very cool and distant. You can feel her attraction for him immediately...but strange that someone so young would get custody...Anyway...Emma ends up staying at Bennett's parents mansion/museum in Boston and starts attending Thatcher academy. The story is full of ghosts, flash backs, past lives, and monsters. It is creepy, spooky, and it does keep you on the end of your seat. Her next book is called, Betrayal and I'm already guessing who is going to be responsible. Really enjoyed it..
"I couldn't see, couldn't breathe. Strapped to a chair underwater, I was shivering and my lungs burned. A moment before I blacked out, the chair rose through the icy darkness and broke the water's surface.
I gasped and coughed, but the instant I caught my breath, he plunged me under again, brought to the verge of drowning over and over." 

That's it for this week, keep reading and taking note of everything you see and do. You never know when that experience will come in handy...Cheers Jen

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My male muses......

Welcome to happy Thursday. Almost didn't manage to write this blog, the week has been crazy.

Anyway, one of the revisions in my MS was to give my male lead Ryder/Robert a voice. Because the story is a romantic fantasy, part of what I felt was missing was his view on things. At the beginning he is quite typical of an Alpha male. In his world of Annwn men are by nature more dominant over the female and he was looked upon as being a leader. He's tall at nearly six foot,with shaggy, inky- black hair, he's muscle bound and physically strong. His melted warm chocolate eyes, can penetrate even the most vitriolic female. As with many Alpha males, he's comfortable in his own skin and he's not ashamed to reveal himself, as he's confident of his appeal. He believes strongly in being positive even under stress. He's a problem solver, he accepts things as they are and looks for a solution. He pushes Mia to her boundaries and challenges her, but ultimately he respects her and all that she is. He's open to change and self discovery, although he's scared of losing all that he has. He's vunerable because he's an open book and although this makes his relationship with Mia intense and intimate he's terrified that it also makes him weak. He does change in the story, living in the modern world where the roles of men and women are more equal, he discovers that Mia is strong, independant and totally capable of making decisions too. To ensure their future, he know's he will have to relinquish some of the control and they will have to work together.
His flaws are ultimately stepping down and sharing the leadership with Mia and his jealously over her relationship with Alex. Everything was predetermined in Annwn, families were aligned from an early age. In the human world, there is so much choice and although he accepted Annwn's way, it's was all he'd ever known and believed, he starts to see what this world has to offer. He has a penchant for peanut butter,eating out of the jar with his fingers, he loves to stargaze and he can sing.  I think the two have an amazing chemistry, fireworks of both passion, contempt, distrust, and then mutual respect. I've heard a lot about muses lately and in creating my character for Robert/ Ryder I cannot pin down one particular muse there are many, above are a sample of the inspiration for this character. It really helps to have a visual to write about.

Check out the link below it gives some tips for writing a paranormal romance that I found helpful.Thanks for looking.

                                                        Small excerpt from Chapter 7

“I’m glad you’re here, I didn’t think you’d come. I was never in any danger of getting hurt, I could sense your fear,” he said, baring his perfect white teeth.
Tingles prickled along her spine and shivered as he spoke. She was an open book to him, it unnerved her, and she tried to ignore him. Any minute Alex could walkover and there would be a massacre. Added to that, she knew without a doubt he was anything but an ordinary boy. His remarks confirmed it. Even at a distance and whilst playing football, he had known she was worried about him. She stared into his eyes that reached for her and slammed her angry words into his mind; You have to leave me alone.
Then when and where, because we need to talk, his words were gentle but strained as they raced through her head.  I’m not going to hurt you, when will you realize that. There was no escaping him. They were the same, whatever that meant.
“I have to go or Alex will come looking…..” she said tearing her eyes away from his.
“You cannot keep doing this,” he said
His hand blocked her exit. She turned and caught his taut face inches away from hers. His smiled had vanished, and then he sighed with exasperation and ran his hand through his tassled hair. He removed his arm and turned to face a very stony looking Alex. His eyes looked like a stormy sea and his mouth was pulled into a thin straight line. His shoulders were pulled back but Robert was still an inch or two taller. Alex’s face was strained; he was trying very hard to control his annoyance as he looked from Mia to Robert.
“You played well, good win,” he said.
“Thanks. There’s a party to celebrate if you’d all like to come?” he said.
Alex cocked his head to the side, inspecting Robert up and down through narrowed eyes. Mia held her breath and waited to see what he would say.
“Not tonight mate, another time. I just came to get Mia, our food is ready.”
With that he reached for her hand and pulled her away. Mia’s hair flicked over her shoulders as she passed Robert by and knew it was not finished, she bit her lip and tried to calm the storm she was feeling from Robert.
Please not here.  But the atmosphere was all heat and fury,his aura darker to a murky green and she knew it was coming, like it or not.
“Mia, is that what you want?” Robert called.
Alex snapped his head around, taking a good look at Robert and then marched over passed Mia and headed up close to Robert. They faced each other and then Alex launched.
“What is it with you Mathews, winning the game not enough? Mia’s with me, are you blind?” Alex said. Robert called out beyond Alex, he wouldn’t let go.
“Is that right Mia, are you with Alex?” Robert dared to ask.
There was absolute silence, Mia felt the tiny hairs stand up on the back of her neck, her stomach ached and her head roared. What on earth was Robert playing at; he didn’t seem to care how upset Alex was or how awkward it made things for her. They were fighting over her like children, both wanting the same toy.
“I don’t belong to anyone. I’m going to eat, then I’m going home.”  Their volatile conversation had attracted a crowd, curious as to what the ruckus was all about. Alex didn’t budge.
“Mia, I want to sort this out, what the hell is going on?” he said.
He turned to stare directly at her and blocked Robert completely out of view. Mia wished the ground would just swallow her up, why had Robert forced this situation, it was all his doing. Right now she could gladly thump him. She had intended to discuss everything well almost everything with Alex tonight, now they were becoming a very public spectacle.
“Alex there is nothing going on, please can we just go” she said in a hushed voice.
She felt annoyed with Robert for putting her in this predicament. Although, she knew that it was her fault too. Some of the Blue Crusaders had gathered now and they looked eager for a fight and were poised ready to join in, if there should be one. She couldn’t stand it any longer. Her face was scarlet; there was a movement amongst the crowd, a girl from the cheerleaders appeared. Mia didn’t know her name, but she was the same one from the night of the concert and here she was again searching for Robert.
“Rob, come on I want to go to the party, can we leave,” Robert glared at Mia.
The girl was very pretty and it was obvious, she wanted his undivided attention. The crowd erupted again chanting.” “Party….party”.
Robert said simply, “Sorry.”
Again Mia wasn’t sure who the apology was aimed at, but he turned and left. Some of the tension between her and Alex left too but she felt hollow inside. As they returned to their table, they sat and ate  in an uncomfortable silence.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Do you have what it takes to write ?

Every day I ask the above question and I ponder this. Then I shake my head and yell, "Hell yes." Then I buckle down and work. Yes, it is work. Just, because I'm at home I take this as seriously, as if I went out to work and sat in an office. I sit at my desk, I run over scenes, sometimes I talk to my characters, yes don't catch me in one of those moments, because I must look like a complete lunatic. I read through my writing and I try to analyse my characters motivation, goal and conflict. Then, I try to make sure that the scene is moving along at a good pace by showing the action of the scene. There is a lot of free thinking but a lot of careful planning.

Suzanne Collins talks about her routine for writing;

“I grab some cereal and sit down to work as soon as possible. The more distractions I have to deal with before I actually begin writing, the harder focusing on the story becomes. Then I work until I’m tapped out, usually sometime in the early afternoon.
“If I actually write three to five hours, that’s a productive day. Some days all I do is stare at the wall. That can be productive, too, if you’re working out character and plot problems. The rest of the time, I walk around with the story slipping in and out of my thoughts.”

I can totally empathise with her comments, if I'm distracted it's a nightmare trying to get back into where you were, because you step out of character and lose the sense of where the hell you were. I also agree there are many times when simply sitting and thinking, although it may seem wasted time,sometimes you own mind is working and solving problems for you. The brain is an amazing piece of machinery, essentially a muscle, but oh so much more and even when you are not necessarily trying to solve a problem the brain can come up with solutions. It's almost as if it's so fined tuned into your thoughts, it can anticipate what you need. I believe. Amazing !

Anyway last night I was so excited to be going to an authors book reading/signing at a local bookstore, but I came away feeling somewhat let down. I don't know what bothered me the most, the lady's disillusionment with the publishing industry or her own conflict in deciding to continue to write or pursue another adventure entirely. One, I suspect that is more profitable ??

To me and I may well be alone in this, when you are standing there, you should have a duty as an author to put on a face, providing encouragement and inspiration ?? I know the world can be grey and gloomy, we all know the roller coaster ride for most writers,  and I certainly don't sit here writing thinking, well, one day I'll be a millionaire. But if your disillusioned, DONT WRITE GIVE IT UP - do something else. Don't stand there debating the dilemma because your not earning enough through writing books, don't sit on the fence and moan about it, especially whilst waving your book, hoping someone will buy it?

Is this just me??? After watching a new writer Liz Michalski  attend her first book launch (over a year ago), her book was called,  Evenfall. I remember watching her and studying her stance, the way she dressed, her carefully composed address to the audience. It was personal, she gave a small rendition of her life and what had led her to this moment. She then talked about her book and how she had been inspired to write it, adding a little of her journey in getting published. I sat there with goosebumps, I remember feeling and still feel, Oh god I will never be able to do that, she's incredible.  She was inspiring and I felt so excited for her. I really was in awe seeing someone achieve their goal of having their story in print! It's amazing.

Am I being too hard, too naive therefore when I listen to an author who really has lost the glow of why she is writing, bogged down with realism. I believe if you decide to write, it must be all or nothing and not necessarily for monetary gains because your setting yourself up for failure right there. But this disillusionment is not new. In my very short life, so far, this was the second occasion where I really felt there are writers out there that have become completely jaded by the experience so much so that they question whether to pursue another career.

 The first lady writer was someone who I paid to critique my work,she was a published author and albeit my MS must have been when I look back,less than desirable,but her own story, her reference to her journey, was so melancholy. If I had taken to heart the fact that being isolated makes you depressed, then I think I would have given the game up right then and there, maybe that was her goal.
I will say, I think that writing suits perhaps certain people, with perhaps certain psychological traits. Meaning, people who perhaps are more inclined to be socially introverted, not necessarily shy but people who choose to opt out socially. These people I suspect are like hibernating animals they only come out when all the writing is done or the need for company or caffeine supersedes anything else.

 Yes, there are days when  it really SUCKS, days when you QUESTION YOUR VALUE as a writer and wonder if you'll ever write one sentence that someone will love. But, and I'm not sure if every writer feels the same, I find the art of creating the story so exciting and exhilarating that for me that is what it's all about. If I stopped being able to imagine how my characters look, what they think and how they dress and what drives them to make the choices they make, then I would give up.

Working in isolation is for me, necessary, but I belong to 2 critique groups I hope to send some chapters to friends for feedback I have also sent chapters to another lady who specialises in critiquing. I belong to several writing forums on line. I read and share my opinions there, surrounding myself with other writers. I think that it's vital when you are starting out to have that connection with like minded people to gain support and maybe that helps when those dark days of depression lurk. And I really love a good old knees up with the girls, it helps to keep me going.

But going back to the book signing from last night, you have to picture an idealistic virgin in the world of writing where everything is full of promise and excitement. That's me, bright and shiny, willing to believe she can get through anything that other friends, writers, publishers or agents may throw at her. However, going to a book signing and listening to an author go on about how she is not sure whether she wants to continue to write because the publishing world is so narrow- minded and difficult, just threw me for six.,

I'm sorry, but her story is there for all to read. It's in print, someone has taken the risk  and published her work. I have a copy, I didn't want to know that she's torn between writing or focusing on her company that specialises in energy savings devices. My mouth honest to god dropped. I hope that if one day I was lucky enough to stand there before a live audience talking about my book, that would dominate my entire conversation.

 I'm sorry if I seem mad, but honestly in today's climate where it seems anyone can get a book published via Amazon  and I know because I have. It was awful, my first ever go at writing a short story, completely inexperienced in the world of self-publishing and yet it's there for anyone to purchase, but I cringe because the writing is awful. I do whole heartily agree that self-publishing is a platform to allow so many writers to fly, but I also agree with the author I met last night that it's killing the book and the need for the wonderful cosy bookstores that sell them. Everything, is becoming mass produced and although it allows an enormous amount of books to be published, it seems the flood gates have been opened, allowing some really awful, horrendous books to seep through.

I guess I'm being idealistic, the author who shall remain nameless was being honest, the world of publishing is becoming a members-only club. Which makes it's virtually impossible for new writers to get published. As for me, if I focused on that goal alone and believed that, then I would have to seriously question why am I bothering. So I file it away,  I don't want to think about that, because I have so many ideas for books, not just this one and I want to keep going. I want to keep believing that if you work hard enough, believe passionately enough, then one day you'll get there.  But it was very deflating to listen to an author who has 4 books published to her name, seem so disillusioned, it made me very sad. But writers have to make a living and when they don't earn enough and the experience for them has lost it's appeal, then they become teachers, real-estate agents or energy efficient consultants.

I hope that writers keep writing or where will the world be without brilliant books to read and stories to share and inspire all of us?

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind.

Books are humanity in print.”
Barbara W. Tuchman