Reviews!

These always intrigue me…personally, I won’t go out of my way to leave one unless I enjoyed something, but that’s just me…and I’m quite happy to hear from people that didn’t quite enjoy one of my books – an honest opinion is a valid one. It can often help to make our work better in the future.

What I don’t get however, are the reviews that complain you haven’t written a book they would like. There isn’t anything wrong with the book per se, it just isn’t the type of story they like to read…If they chose not to finish reading it, does anyone else care? I mean, that’s fine.. plenty of books I couldn’t get into and put down, but do I need to go and tell the author ‘hey you didn’t write this how I wanted it!’ πŸ˜‰

Should I maybe point out that actually the book was written for more people than you – mainly for females too, but hey I’ve had a lot of male readers so, I welcome all.

As a writer though you need to build a thick skin – its water off a ducks back, but still it makes me wonder why people do that? (Oh and btw, if a bit of angst/sadness isn’t your thing, you’re definitely not going to want to read my next book…actually, any of them! πŸ˜‰ )

I’ve found it interesting too that people can enjoy one aspect of the first book, but in the second book they didn’t like that same aspect! Well, knock me sideways and gimme a t-shirt that says ‘can’t win either way.’ πŸ˜‰

So, what’s the deal with reviews are they helpful or a hindrance? Do you read them as a reader or a writer? Do you reply to them?

I pretty much take everything with a pinch of salt, but if its a valid criticism then I’ll take it onboard. Otherwise, I guess that old adage of ‘if someone hasn’t written the book you want to read, write it yourself’ comes to mind… cos this isn’t easy. It takes more than just an imagination and a laptop. It’s months of someone’s time, months of editing and re-writing. And then it takes balls… Yep, it takes guts and bravery to put yourself out there and have your work read by others. Maybe consider that when you go to compile your next review.

So, here’s the deal:

If its not for you then that’s fine, put it down, give it away, delete it…(Jeez, kindle even let you refund and I gave this book away for free)… but you don’t need to comment further really, do you? You don’t have to be upset about it that the book wasn’t for you, do you? Life is way to short to be that unhappy about a book, that wasn’t written specifically for you!

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Don’t fiddle with the pies!!

I don’t know about you but there are a few things that in my mind are sacrosanct. Like a happy ending in a romance… I don’t want to read 300 pages of angst and lustful longings only to find they don’t get together. Call me a hopeless romantic if you like, I don’t mind, in fact ill happily wear that hat.

But, there is one thing that just cannot be messed with…Mince pies!

These small cake like treasures of yumminess are a Christmas staple in the UK – I’ve no idea about the rest of the world, but if you don’t have them, then you’re missing out!

Its a pastry filled with mincemeat – no, its not actual meat. Its a fruity and spicy mixture and its sweet and sugary, and it shouldn’t be messed with!!

Its perfect as it is… whether you prefer a deep filled or a thinner version is a personal taste, but adding other flavours to it is just a no!

Salted Caramel is for many wondrous things, but not a mince pie! and don’t even get me started on Branston cheese and Pickle!! What were they thinking? And who buys them?

Its like having a Christmas tree with no lights… like Santa without Rudolph!… Christmas dinner with no turkey…

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Words to live by…

winter-time-2896597_960_720I have read several phrases recently that have really made me stop and take notice…

Meghan Markle’s father once said to her, apparently…’Draw your own box!’ What a powerful sentence… don’t allow others to label you and pigeon hole you. It took me reaching 40 before I finally understood that I don’t have to be the person you want me to be me in order to be happy.

‘I don’t have time’…. In actuality what this really means is… I’m not making time for you! And I have realised, this happens quite a lot… I’ve said it myself, when in reality I could have made time, but I didn’t want to. Something or someone was more important. So, don’t waste your time chasing people that are not prepared to share theirs with you!

and lastly, ‘Don’t expect different results’…When somebody continually behaves badly its doubtful that they either realise or care and on both counts, if they don’t make changes when challenged then don’t expect different results the next time you ask something of them…

and that includes those damn characters we create! Those annoying ones that just don’t want to be put in a box…the ones you find time for because you can’t ignore them, they pester at the back of the head until u let them out and when you get to the end, you realise they’re still indifferent to you.

 

 

 

Silence is golden…or not?

I have had four weeks out of the office. Three while I recovered from and op an this last one because of a car accident.

So, getting back into the swing of things was vital…I dragged myself and the laptop off the couch, made a cup of coffee in my special thermos mug for authors and, followed by the cat, I trundled off down the garden to my office. Most people would call it a shed: a summerhouse maybe, but for me its the office and my desk sits proudly waiting for me.

I hit the lights and flicked the switch on the heater and got myself comfy. Laptop open and at the ready. The cat however, had other ideas and having stomped all over my desk with wet and muddy paws, she then proceeded to climb all over me. Now, she’s not a small cat, there is nothing sleek about Tumble! When she sits on you that’s it! You can’t move… but she’s loving and nudging my face with her head, so who can ignore that?!

I guess the time gave me a moment to consider where I was taking my characters and how I was going to move the plot along, so I should be grateful. I was inspired for a while…until I became bored with just sitting there. I’m not somebody that doesn’t enjoy just lying around doing sod all: in fact, I’m an expert, but that’s on my terms not Tumbles!

So, I instructed Google to play some music…Christmas tunes filled the air and at that point Tumble decided she would rather sleep in the vacant dogs bed.

Yay, I had my arms free once more. I pulled the laptop closer and got my fingers ready to type and … nothing, all I had in my head was Mariah Carey singing about how all she wanted for Christmas was me!!

It appears I can’t work to music…it brings out the singer in me and after a quick warble, Google was instructed to stop.

She’s pretty good that Google though, very helpful with spellings and Synonyms πŸ˜‰Β 20150728_072901120_iOS

Linguistics and giggles

cropped-alphabet-1.jpgDasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen.

Angels, Eggnog, Candy Cane, Frosty, Mistletoe, Plum pudding and Poinsettia.

So many wonderful words that we only ever really use at Christmas. I’ve not written a story based entirely at Christmas yet and I’m missing out on all these wonderful words…

So, it got me thinking. I remember a time when I was a teenager and a friend was sleeping over. We couldn’t sleep and were talking quietly. The subject morphed into things that made us laugh and words came up as a topic… there were a lot of words that made us giggle just saying them… Frock was the one I’ve always remembered – who says frock nowadays? πŸ˜‰ Tickle always makes me smile. I’m not sure if its an English saying but, Collywobbles is hilarious! Malarkey… what a great word and I use it often!

We got in trouble of course, laughing so much that my mum banged on the door with a very firm ‘go to sleep’ πŸ™‚

So, which words do you love and why?

Childhood reading

Roald Dahl wrote many books and as a kid I wasn’t alone in reading them. I bet if you thought for just a few minutes that you could think of at least two that stuck with you.

For me they would be Charlie and the Chocolate factory and my absolute favourite, Fantastic Mr Fox.

We wasn’t a well off family – having a packet of biscuits in the trolley on shopping day was a treat, So reading about a small boy that came from nothing to have it all was something that resonated. The moral tale of not being greedy and doing the right thing, that it would pay off eventually has been a lesson that I’ve lived by. The idea of karma; that if you do good one day it will ultimately come back around.

I know throughout my life there have been tough times. How was that bill going to be paid? Why are all my girlfriends not ‘the one’? Losing a job, the car breaking down…but now as I look back, I realise that Karma has worked out okay and my life is just how I want it. Happy!

Mr Fox was, and still is my idol, he is wily and clever and outsmarts the greedy farmers at every turn and he never gives up. Even when the evil Boggis, Bunce and Bean try to dig them out and starve them. Its a tale of family and how parents will do everything they can to keep their children safe, and that’s how I felt at home, safe.

My parents were Mr and Mrs Fox, as an adult I now know that many times my sister and I ate a meal that my parents didn’t share because they were having beans on toast! I know how hard they worked to make sure that we had nice presents on our birthdays and especially at Christmas. I know that when things were tough, they were smart!

But also, Fantastic Mr Fox had me questioning things; like is it wrong to steal? or worse to starve? is it wrong to have more? and not share with those less fortunate?

I’m not religious, I don’t go to church or believe in any particular religion, but I believe in Christmas and the values of it. Its a time for family and sharing. Its a time to enjoy and if you can, to give. I’m on day two of the reverse advent calendar; each day you place an item in a box (non perishable food, sanitary items, pet food) and on Christmas Eve we take it to the local homeless shelter.

Maybe, just donating some books would bring a little joy to someone else’s life…CSP_1080

Christmas!!

When I was a kid there was nothing more exciting than Christmas eve. My sister and I would be tucked up in bed as early as my parents could manage – Often nearer Midnight than not.

The thought of Santa coming down our non existent council house chimney was the stuff of dreams and we would lie in bed desperately trying to go to sleep; because Santa wouldn’t come if we weren’t!

In the morning, long before it was a decent hour, one of us would awaken and poke at the other. Excited bed bouncing at the sight of a stuffed stocking hanging from the bedpost.

A clever ploy from our parents, we could open the presents in the stocking – as long as we didn’t wake them up until at least 7 a.m. Of course, we didn’t know that they were up to the small hours wrapping untold presents that they had somehow managed to save all year for. Our stockings had been very wisely packed. There would be a small bag of sweets to keep hunger at bay, some fruit – usually a satsuma. A couple of small toys and often, a book that would keep us quiet for an hour or two.

All through my life I have asked for a book at Christmas and it was usually my Mum that continued the tradition. Every year I’d get a hardback copy of the latest Patricia Cornwell and when my mum passed on, my wife took up the mantle.

Christmas without a book, for me, is not Christmas.

You can’t beat a good story to get lost in and I’m looking forward to this years read.

So, if you’re struggling to think of a great gift for your loved one… buy a book. There are plenty to choose from in every genre…Merry Christmas!

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Its Out… only its not, its Next!

cropped-1.pngSo, finally I have got the sequel to Out, Out!

I’m still a novice at all this technical stuff and it never helps when the laptop refuses to work for you, but its out!

Writing these characters is one of my most fun things to do. Maybe its because they were my first imaginings or maybe its just because they are so easy to write.

I have a lot of stories on the boil right now, but I think maybe, Cam and Michelle will go on forever! haha They certainly will be heading into book 3…

An introduction: Cam Thomas and Michelle Hamilton

There was a path of fire that followed the finger pads as they explored; she was sure that when it was over she would be covered in red pathways of scorched flesh that would spell out heCam Thomas is a down-to-earth, easy-going Brit from South London. She’s tall, blonde, and with her ice blue eyes she certainly makes heads turn, but it isn’t until her life is turned upside down that she really finds herself. She is pretty resilient and though she might wallow for a few days, she isn’t the kind of woman that just falls apart.

When her life restarts in LA, she finds herself surrounded by people and opportunities that give her a new perspective on who she is, but she has one rule: not to fall in love again.
Her situation has left her guarded and a little afraid, yet she is the most loyal and loving woman anyone would want to meet. Of course, nobody is perfect, and Cam certainly has her issues when it comes to love and relationships. She also has a big thing about taking her clothes off when she’s angry! Haha, you’ll have to read the book to find out why!

A lot of people assume the title of the book means it’s a coming out story; it’s not. Out is the name of the bar Cam owns. It’s where she meets Michelle.

Michelle Hamilton is beautiful: raven-haired with deep chocolate-brown eyes. She’s confident, driven, and sexy. Known to the world as Shelly Hamlin, she ventures into the bar one night in disguise with the intention of just looking. She has spent her entire life pretending she’s straight and not acting on her feelings in order to further her career as an actress, but recently something has been niggling at her that there is more to life. So, she has her own fears and limitations to deal with too.

When she meets Camryn there are sparks between them that neither can deny, and the internal battles that each of them faces produce a scenario that could end it all before it even begins.

Of course, no lesbian romance story is an easy path to happiness, right? But, I do love a happy ending!

Next: A Cam Thomas Story

So, this might take me a while to get my head around, but hopefully I will work it all out and be able to keep everyone up to date with new releases and any other bits of randomness I come up with!

Hopefully by the time everyone wakes up tomorrow, Next will be available!! Keep an eye on all of my social media for the links on when and where you can grab your copy!