Bank Holiday Bliss

 

Bank Holidays are one of the good things about being British.  And one of the good things about May is that we get two of them!

 

There’s nothing like getting to Sunday night and realising that you don’t have to go into work on Monday morning. Instead I have a whole other whole day waiting for me to stretch out in.

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Lazing in the sun by J. Robyn King from Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

 

I love that let out of school early kind of feeling. And on days like that I normally write.  Fortunately my boyfriend is around to makes sure that I get out of my pyjamas leave the house, and encounter fresh air   This weekend we may even be very British and crack out the strawberries and champagne for a picnic too.

 

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As long as it doesn’t rain.  Rain loves bank holidays.

 

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Of course if it does rain there’s always the decorating to do 😦

 

 

How do you fill your free time? Any Brits out there with bank holiday plans?

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Holiday of books and dreams

Back in January Laini Taylor did a cover reveal for the last book in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

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As part of the release day promotion the first 3000 people to order the hardback from Amazon stood a chance to get a signed copy.  Not just signed though – but with a drawing of the story’s main character by the author.  Ha! Though the cynic in me.  I’ll wait for the paperback, easier to read in the bath.

That stance lasted about two hours until I actually saw the picture Laini Taylor had drawn. Awesomeness personified.  So as soon as my manager (who inconveniently sits right behind me with a clear view of my computer screen) went into a meeting I logged on to Amazon and blew that month’s book budget (I’m a bad girl. I need budget.)

All I had to do next was wait until April.  Still the delivery date was in the middle of our ‘decorate the bedroom’ holiday so the book would get delivered straight to my sweaty hands rather than me having to squeeze in an expedition to the nearest Royal Mail depot.

The delivery day came. No book arrived.  Turned out I’d had it delivered to my mum’s house over the bridge in Essex.  So I had to wait to Saturday when, thank you fates, we were going to dinner anyway.

It has been such a long time since I’ve felt like an over excited four-year old and Christmas (about 27 years, I think) but standing in my mum’s kitchen with that book I had some serious dancing butterflies.  I didn’t actually want to open the cover because I would have almost rather not known than known if I wasn’t one of those 3000.  Ridiculous, right? It was like a case of Schrödinger’s signature.

I’m not a four-year old though and it wasn’t Christmas, so I did open the book…

 

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Squeeeee! There was giggling, bouncing about. My boyfriend was torn between shook and terror. Best Easter present ever though and so worth the hardback price, and the fact that I would never risk reading this in the bath anyway.

It’s one to go with my signed copies of Equal Rites and The Red Country.  I wonder if this now makes me a collector and I should make plans to stalk Neil Gaiman with my battered copy of Neverwhere thrust into my bag?

Does anyone else get this excited about getting the signature’s of their writing rock stars? Who do you love and why?

 

 

 

Cover reveal -Chasing Shadows by Tia Bach

If, like me, you’ve been hanging of the edge of a cliff waiting to find out what happens to Reagan next the time is nearly here.

And here is what we can expect from Chasing Shadows the second book in the Tala Prophecy,

 

 

‘Reagan thought one night changed her life forever, but her fate was written long ago.

 

Merging creature and white blood,

One of flame, one of night,

At eighteen years it will commence,

Spiritual warrior and power,

Will bring an end to the lawless ones.

 

A war looms: One that pits brother against brother for werewolf supremacy. Angels and demons will each have a say before a victor is chosen.

With her eighteenth birthday only six months away, time is running out. Reagan must find a way to harness the two powerful, ancient bloodlines coursing through her: Werewolf and Wiccan. Then, she has to figure out her role in the century-old prophecy foretold by her great-grandmother.

However, if Reagan can’t save her family from her most vicious rival, Rafe, the forces of Hell will be unleashed and the war will be over before it starts.’

 

Them’s the facts. The best part of the cover reveal though is, well, the cover. Check out this beauty.

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I love it because it’s just so vibrant, and a little bit sleeping beautyesque.  It was  designed by Jo Michaels: http://jomichaels.blogspot.com/

If you want to find out more about Tia and the release date for Chasing Shadows, then do no more than look below…

About the Author

Tia Silverthorne Bach is an avid reader, sometimes runner, involved wife and mother, and rabid grammar hound in addition to being a multi-genre writer. Her three daughters were born in Chicago, San Diego, and Baltimore; and she feels fortunate to have called many places home. She’s the award-winning co-author of Depression Cookies, a coming of age story written with her mother. Tia’s office is wherever her laptop takes her and any place that’s conducive to allowing a wild imagination like hers to flourish.

 

Connect with Tia

Website: www.tiabach.com

Blog: http://depressioncookies.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tia.bach.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tia_Bach_Author

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/TiaBach

 

 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – April

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It’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group founded by writer and ninja Alex. J. Cavanaugh

Life is too short. And there is so much to do, so why would you fill it with things you didn’t enjoy and didn’t have to do?

I’m always reading stuff about how witches and vampires are so over and no one is reading that type of book anymore. So I’ve been trying to write other things and trying is the word because I have never got very far.

Life really is too short though and recently I read a post by Dyane Forde the author of Purple Morrow, her first book, which made me realise that there is absolutely no point putting time and effort in to a story that I don’t believe in. Especially when there is no guarantee that anyone will read it anyway.

So, life is too short and if I’m not enjoying my hobby there’s no point doing it anymore, is there?

A few weeks ago I dusted off the first draft of the witches and vampire book. I was ruthless. Scenes were cut down like leaves, unnecessary characters were left for dead and by the end I had a structured outline at my fingertips. Then I started to write. In first person, which I know is an acquired taste but I’m doing it for me now. And I love being back in Morgaine’s head and I love seeing her world, and I am so excited about where I am going to take her (yes, there will be sequels because my big dreams haven’t quite been quashed.)

And with Camp NANO now in progress there’s no reason not to get the rewrites/revisions done while I’m in the zone.

I also know feel that I have a story that I can use to help me build my brand, something else which has me lying awake in a cold sweat and night.

Of course the test is will I stay the distance? I’m excited now but can I stick to my plan? Let’s give it a go. Life’s too short and if you don’t try now you’ll never know, right? What does everyone else do? Are you fans of market research or do you write what you love?

Launch Today- Miss Mabel’s School for Girls

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Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.

Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

Check out the awesome cover,

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The launch party is today and you can join in on twitter, G+ and facebook, and there’s a giveaway from the 27th at 7 am until the 30th at 10pm. The official website has all the details on how to win: and anyone can participate! There’s a potions chest, a grimoire, bags and satchels full of herbs, skeleton keys, and a lot more up for grabs. There are lots of ways to win entries and no limit! Check out the following links for details,

 

Official website: www.missmabels.com

 

Nothing is as exciting as a launch day! Especially when it’s a book that you’ve been hearing about for ages and now have the chance to read.  I’ve been following Katie’s blog for a while and I love her style. A whole book of that is enough to make my fingers twitch.  I’ve got my holiday reading sorted out no, how about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – March

 

Austen

 

Um, Yes. It is.  Putting aside her style, the contribution she made to English Literature, and the fact that she wrote what she wanted despite the requests of the Prince Regent it would be very hard.  A few ago I visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton and saw where she actually wrote.  They wouldn’t let me take a picture, but I’m really, really glad I went because this month I was  tempted to whinge about the ongoing saga of my study which is currently being used as a dumping ground for the decorating stuff.

Jane Austen shared a bedroom with her sister and wrote at a table in the room where the family received visitors. There’s a rumor that the creaking door was never fixed as it alerted Jane Austen to the approach of visitors so she could hide her manuscript.  It’s the sort of rumor that is fun to believe, at least it was until I considered how frustrating it would be to stop writing because you are expected to be polite.  With so many distractions I’m in awe of the fact Pride and Prejudice was ever finished.  Perhaps if it wasn’t for all her pesky neighbours we would have more books. Or perhaps the books we do have wouldn’t be nearly as funny?

Given what Jane Austen accomplished without a study, privacy or a lap top I can hardly complain about having to clamber over paint pots.  Time to stop whinging and knuckle down.

How is everyone else finding March? And if you wish to share visit Alex J. Cavanaugh (one day I will remember how to spell his name without checking!) at  the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

 

 

 

 

 

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – February

First Wed of Every Month

 

This month I wrote a book review for Read it Now or Else. Writing the review, and reading the other ones on the site made me think about my own writing style.  As part of my job I’m constantly writing reports that refer to local and government policy in order to justify the decisions I make.

These reports are cold clinical creatures that deal in facts only.  They are not a true reflection of my personality, but comparing my first review draft to that of the other contributors mine seemed a little bit formal and emotionless.  I don’t think I captured any of the enthusiasm I had for the story, or the characters but was very snooty and aloof in word choice and style – in fact I think I’m doing it now with this blog post.  I’m afraid that I write so much as part of my job that this is creeping in to my other non-fiction writing and I’m becoming an automaton.

The fiction itself appears to be safe, but then when I’m writing fiction I’m being someone else. Even in third person I like to make the character’s personality a feature of the prose.

Do my characters have more personality than me? And is that actually a bad thing?

What really made me pause though was that I’ve always believed words were a way to get to the heart of things.  I’ve never thought that they could be barriers before. Misleading and subversive, yes, but never huge cold gates that simply said ‘don’t go there’. If I keep writing this way is it possible that people would be closed out? Or does it really depend on the sort of person I want to attract?

That’s how I find myself on the latest step of the ‘oh my god who am I what am I doing what are my blogging goals?’ anxiety. If the purpose of a blog is to showcase the author’s personality then argh!

Still, on my last post where I had a bit of a melt down the comments were encouraging (an IWSG post, of course!). The best thing to do is keep writing blog posts, and keep experimenting.  That’s the only way I’m really going to find out what works, after all.

As always thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for giving me the chance to vent. And thank you to all the other participants.  Despite not doing as well as I’d hoped visiting other people last month I still discovered some amazing blogs.  I’m going to put the extra effort in this month too and find some more.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – January

The last post on my blog made me realise exactly how much I do get out of IWSG. So this month I’m going to try to channel all my insecurities into something positive.

In my previous post I did reflect on the fact that I do not put as much into the IWSG as I get out of it so to change that I’m going to make IWSG last the whole month. Originally I had plans to  comment on every body’s post by next month, but since there are now 319 people on the list I think that’s too ambitious of me. If I comment on two of the blogs on the IWSG list though I will have seen 58 of you before the next update. I appreciate that’s setting the bar pretty low, but that’s in the interests of quality control and my sanity. If I can do more I will because it would be more comforting to finish on a round number.

I’m starting with Alex J. Cavanaugh who started Insecure Writer’s Support Group and then going through on every blog which has a number on the linky list that’s a multiple of 5 (to stop me getting confused.) I’ll check in next month. Hope everyone out there is having a productive start to the new year.

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Feeling Insecure?

As an addendum to my last post, this one is a tribute to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Alex. J Cavanaugh. Now when it comes to online communities I’m a bit limp, invariably registering and then hiding in the corner doing the minimal amount or forgetting my login, password or both because real life is busy throwing other very important things at me. I didn’t even realise there was a competition to promote the group until I read it on another member’s post.  Thank you Linda King.

The beauty of Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is that I don’t need a password.  All you have to do is add you name to the linky list here.  

 

It’s Easy

Then comes the hard part.  Then you have to remember, on the first Wednesday of every month to put up a blog post detailing about your insecurities writing related, or sometimes otherwise.  Now, for someone who blogs anyway you’d think this would be easy.  Not so much.  I do enjoy blogging but like with most things in my life (losing weight, trying to get more fresh air, trying to keep in touch with long distance friends) I have bursts of organisation and motivation which soon peters off when I hit a wall, burn out and spend a week lying on the sofa in the dark with a moist towel over my head.  There is so much to do! And seriously, who’d have thunk that this writing malarkey would take so much time!

The wonderful thing about IWSG is that it is only once a month. Even I can manage that.  Other groups go for two posts a week. A week! Frightening.  And once a month, despite whatever else is going on IWSG gets me writing a blog post.  I may not always get around to sharing the love on other people’s posts, and the fact that my own posts are lacking in comments reflects that, but once a month I still write and I still post. That’s important because even if no one reads these posts they are part of me discovering who I am when I write and what I want my voice to be.  And how I want my blog to look. Although not sure about today’s headings.

It works

Although I couldn’t tell you exactly why – perhaps the threat of missing two posts and being struck from the linky list (which is here, by the way.) Or it might be that even when I don’t read the other posts (and especially when I do) I get to see that other writers, all at different stages in their careers, are struggling with the same things and finding ways to overcome them.   If you were thinking about joining (by entering the linky list, in case I’ve not mentioned that enough already) and once a month isn’t enough for you then there is a recently launched facebook page, resources and a blog, and a community on Twitter (#IWSG).

Just remember that in order to test us all the January post will be on 8th and not the 1st.  See you there.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – December

Before starting their blog did any one put much thought in to what type of blog they wanted to write, or did they just decide to give it a go and see what happened?

This blog is a tiny bit of both. I read a great many books and articles (most of them free) about author platforms and how to use a blog etc. But I was procrastinating so much that in the end I just decided to give it a try and see what happened. When I manage to update regularly things go well and although I don’t get huge amounts of traffic I do get more than I expected. Recently though I’m having an identity crisis. This I think mostly comes down to my blog’s name. I don’t think it really matches my content anymore and that I should switch to a blog that makes it clearer who I am by entering the ‘insert your name’ writer category of blog.

Doing that though feels just a tiny bit frightening. Despite all the literature saying that I should I’m still not convinced that I will shift to wordpress.org as I also told myself I couldn’t justify doing it until I had got into the habit of regular updates all the time. But then it does seem stupid to switch to switch to a blog under a different name, and then switch to a blog with the same name again.

Is there anybody out there who may be in a similar position to me? Or who has more experience. Any advice or anecdotes would be appreciated.

As always a big thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for allowing me to vent – and making sure I do update at least once a month.