Monday, 23 December 2013

Reading Wish List 2013 - Express Yourself

Express Yourself!
The Express Yourself meme is a weekly jaunt brought to you by Dani at Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books. At the beginning of the month the girls will post a gadget with a list of topics, something different for each week. Make sure to head on over to either of these blogs to check out the details more fully and see who else is taking part.      

This weeks topic of conversation: List the book(s) you wanted to read this year but never got around to...
There are two sets of books that I really wanted to read this year, but as usual plenty of things conspired against me.

The first is The Hunger Games.
I knew the new film would be out this year and wanted to catch up on the reading beforehand. I got as far as downloading the first one to my Kindle but haven't read any of it yet. Loved the film though!

The second set is A Song of Ice and Fire.        
I only managed to read the first one and have read the first 100 pages of A Clash of Kings. My husband has read them all but has been sworn to silence until I catch up.
Next year will be my year for reading these!

I have managed to read 29 other books so it hasn't been all bad. Here's to next year for a bigger read count.
Have you read any of these? Any reading regrets this year?


Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Celebrations!

It's Friday, which means only one thing: it's time to celebrate the small things with VikLit! This is a great opportunity to celebrate even the smallest of victories you may have achieved in the last week.


Today is all about celebrating the last day of term before Christmas, yippee!!!

It's my daughters last day at school, my last day at work, and then it's two weeks of festive holiday fun. Hopefully there will be time to relax in there as well, and I'll be ready and refreshed for the new working year.

I don't have long to get through though, only until the end of April and then I'll be off on maternity. Happy days!!!

Are you on Christmas holidays yet? What else are you celebrating?


Friday, 13 December 2013

It's Friday, which means only one thing: it's time to celebrate the small things with VikLit! This is a great opportunity to celebrate even the smallest of victories you may have achieved in the last week.


This week I'm celebrating submitting a short story for a competition.

I did submit one earlier in the year but this one feels different somehow. I really put the work into this one and feel like it's a positive step in a forward direction. I've been out of the writing loop for a bit and this has really helped to boost my enthusiasm for it.

Even if it doesn't get anywhere I have a completed story ready to be sent somewhere else, which is one of the bonuses of sending things to competitions I suppose. Each time I'm building my store of stories ready to go out into circulation.

I'm going to be making every effort to keep this up going into the new year now.

How about you? I hope you have something to celebrate this week.


Monday, 9 December 2013

Looking forward to Christmas! - Express Yourself

The Express Yourself meme is a weekly jaunt brought to you by Dani at Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books. At the beginning of the month the girls will post a gadget with a list of topics, something different for each week. Make sure to head on over to either of these blogs to check out the details more fully and see who else is taking part.      

This weeks topic of conversation: List something(s) you always look forward to this time of year.

I love the build up to Christmas, much more than the event itself I think. The children are all so excited and it's infectious, you can't help but join in.

Although trying to think of presents for everyone can be stressful, I do love wandering round all the shops with their decorations and festive music playing. I especially like the Salvation Army band that plays as you walk through the city, it never fails to bring forth a bit of emotion.

And of course the best thing to look forward to at this time of year ... two weeks off work!!! 

Friday, 6 December 2013

Time to celebrate!!!

It's Friday, which means only one thing: it's time to celebrate the small things with VikLit! This is a great opportunity to celebrate even the smallest of victories you may have achieved in the last week.

I have one main thing I'd like to celebrate with you all this week, and it's something that should go a long way to explaining my absence over the last few weeks.

As of today I am 15 weeks pregnant, and this is the first week that I've started feeling anything approaching normal. I still feel totally exhausted when I get home from work but the sickness is subsiding and I'm beginning to eat proper food again.

My writing itch is also beginning to make itself known, and it's getting easier to concentrate on creative things again. I'm going to be back into it soon but want to keep the stress down as much as I can, and try and enjoy it much more.

I'm looking forward to being able to leave my main work behind for a few months and to concentrate more fully on my family and my writing, the two things that are most important to me at the moment.

How has your week been? Anything to celebrate?


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Trying to regain some rhythm - an IWSG post

Welcome to this installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group, or IWSG as it's known around these parts.
This Group is an excellent place to find and give encouragement to fellow writers out in the blogosphere, whatever stage you may be at in your journey.

Founded by the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh, who always seems to go above and beyond for his fellow bloggers, the IWSG has grown so much since over the last two years it now has its very own IWSG website. 
It has a whole host of places to go for advice and opportunities for anything to do with writing.
You can also find the IWSG sign up list where you can find others writing about their insecurities, and also sign up yourself to make new friends and gain encouragement.

As I came to write this post I noticed how little I have posted over the last two months, something that was wholly unintentional I assure you. I planned to take a sabbatical over October and it just kind of spilled over into the whole of November too.
I'm not going to use this post as an opportunity to apologise for my extended absence, I've been in serious need of the break. A few things have happened since September and I haven't been feeling at my best, it's been a struggle just to manage my normal everyday things of family and work life.

Now though, I can feel that I'm coming out of the quagmire that has been sickness and fatigue, and I want to start getting myself back into my writerly habits. I'd started to build a good rhythm as this year progressed and my confidence has been growing as a result. I feel a little like I've taken a step backwards, but I'm not quite back at square one.

One advantage I have now over then is that I know I have it in me to write. I enjoy it, and others seem to as well, so I haven't got as far to go this time to get back to where I was. 
The bonus this time is that I know I need to perhaps slow my pace a bit so I don't find myself close to burnout again. It was not a nice place to be and so I will be trying to avoid it as much as I can in future. 

It feels good to be back amongst you all again. How have you all been? Do you have any insecurities to share?


Friday, 1 November 2013

Happy Friday everyone!

Happy 1st November to everyone! I hope you all had a wild Halloween.

It's Friday today, which means it's time to celebrate the small things with VikLit. This is a great opportunity to celebrate even the smallest of victories you may have achieved in the last week.

I've been on sabbatical for the last month, so today I'm celebrating a tentative step back into the bloggy-world.

I've spent most of October catching up on reading and getting my teeth into my creative writing course. The first assignment was due in yesterday, and for once I managed to meet the deadline. What's more, I even enjoyed the assignment, which is surely a reflection on how much I'm enjoying this one.

It's the only writing I've done in the last few weeks, but I'm not feeling bad about it. I desperately needed the break and now I'm feeling relaxed again I'll be able to pick up the pace gradually.

It's good to be back though.

What are you celebrating this week? Any plans for the weekend?


Monday, 14 October 2013

I'll be back ...

I just want to put a little post up to say I'm having a break from blogging for a while. There are a lot of things going on in my life at the moment, and I'm feeling quite run-down and unsure of some things.

My creative writing OU course has just started so I want to concentrate on that for a while until I find my rhythm again and get back on track.

I'm not sure exactly when I'll be back, but I'll try to make it soon.


Friday, 11 October 2013

The 13th Floor Collection - author interview!

I have great pleasure in being one of the stops on Christine Rain's tour today. Throughout the whole of October she is celebrating the release of her wonderful 13th Floor series which is being released in one complete collection.

Christine's on tour!!!

And as part of the celebrations she has been under my interview spotlight once again.

HM: Hi Christine, great to have you back. I first interviewed you way back in January, when you were near the beginning of your 13th Floor journey. How does it feel to have made it to the end and be celebrating with a collection of them all?

CR:  I keep going through a whole cycle of emotions over and over again. Excitement about its release, relief that I'm done, anxious about how well it will do, sad it's done, and eager to start on a new project. I love the 13th Floor series, and though I'll miss it, I can't wait to fall in love with something new.

HM:  It's been a tough decision for me to decide which is my favourite in the series. Which is your favourite character to read, and which was your favourite to write? 

CR:  Oh, tough question. Xan and Lois together are my favorite to read. They make me laugh. My favorite to write was Harriet. She's such a sweet soul yet cursed. Nothing was simple with her. She has so many layers. It's tempting to delve more into her life and write more.

HM:   I'm definitely going with The Marquis as mine, Marc is just my kind of guy. I see him as a Wolverine sort of character, very rugged and sexy. 

Do you have an image in your mind for each character? Are they based on well known characters, or straight from your own imagination? 

CR:   I'm a visual person. I have a definite image of each character in my mind. Marc came right from my imagination as did his lady, Mae. A few of the other characters have appearances similar to well known ones. I imagined Xan to look like Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman from True Blood) and Meira like Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly).

HM:   One of my favourite things about this series is how they overlap with one another, with characters appearing in different stories. Did you outline these overlaps from the start of your writing process to all coincide? 

CR:   I'd love to say I planned it all out, but I didn't. I'm a pantser through and through. I knew I wanted them to all happen during the same period of time, but I wasn't sure how it was going to work. I just let the stories take me along as they happened.

HM:   What have you learned on this 13th Floor journey, both about yourself and about your writing? 

CR:   I learned I can write a lot when under pressure. I learned to trust my stories and let them take me where they need to go. I've also learned how to more objectively edit myself. Sometimes it's difficult to critique your own work, but I've gotten much better this year.

HM:   Is there anything you would have changed about how you brought The 13th Floor into the world over the past year? 

CR:   I would have written the entire series before I started to publish them. I was a bit crazy to write them as I went along.

HM:   What has been the most valuable thing that has got you through all the hard work for this project?

CR:   The most valuable things are my critique partners and beta readers. They had to work as hard as I did. I'm forever thankful for all their work. I promise never to set myself on a schedule like that again!

HM;   Will you be taking a well-earned rest after the tour or is it straight on to the next

CR:   I'd like to say yes, I will be, but I'm already starting on the next one. My drive has only increased with the release of the collection.

HM:  Thanks for being here and sharing your thoughts with us on your hard work throughout the year.

CR:   Thank you so much for hosting me today, Heather. I've had so much fun!

The 13th Floor Collection is released on 13th October 2013, only two days away!
Title: The 13th Floor Complete Collection
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance

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

Six novellas telling their tales.

A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.

All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Includes “The Shadow,” a bonus short story.


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

Connect with Christine:

Purchase Links:


Thursday, 3 October 2013

A delayed IWSG post - with apologies

This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group. A great place for sharing all those insecurities we writers have, and for offering advice and support for our fellows. To join in head over to Alex J Cavanaugh's blog, you can check out what other people are posting about and sign up yourself too. Enjoy!

I would like to start by saying a huge apology for the lateness of my IWSG contribution this month, but it does kind of demonstrate some of what I'm feeling at the moment.
My enthusiasm for blogging has taken a complete dip in the last couple of weeks, something that is filtering through to my reading and my writing too.
After spending a little time contemplating this phenomenon, I've come to the conclusion that I need to take a step back and slow down a little with everything.
I've still been posting things on a more regular basis than when I first started, but it's beginning to feel like I'm going through the motions with it rather than enjoying it. Things have started to feel more like a chore and I feel I'm not putting quite as much effort in as I could, or have done in the past.
A few days ago I checked my blog feed and there were over 200 posts waiting for me to read, and the thought of it made my heart sink a little. I'm also in a couple of book clubs, and find myself rushing through the current read just to meet the deadline and not fully absorbing whatever it is I'm reading.
I don't know about you, but this is not really how I like to enjoy my book reading.
I may have to cut down on a couple of things, and get back to doing one thing at a time and enjoying it as I go. I've heard that it's better to do one thing well anyway, rather than many things but not so well.
I hope this post makes sense today, the inside of my head is far from making sense right now.
Happy belated IWSG day everyone!!!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Happy Birthday Express Yourself!!!


The Express Yourself meme is a weekly jaunt brought to you by Dani at Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books. At the beginning of the month the girls will post a gadget with a list of topics, something different for each week. Make sure to head on over to either of these blogs to check out the details more fully and see who else is taking part.


This week the Express Yourself girls are celebrating the first birthday of this fabulous meme. Happy Birthday girls!!!

To celebrate the topic of conversation is - what has been your favourite questions during the first year of EYM?

I've been doing this meme since the end of May, so I don't have as many to choose from, but one of my favourites in this short time has been my favourite author quotes.

And just for fun, I've found some more:

This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back again.
Writers aren't exactly people, they're a whole lot of people trying to be one person.
The beginning is easy; what happens next is much harder.
I am always at a loss to know how much to believe of my own stories.
I think with my right hand.
Just get it down on paper, and then we'll see what to do with it.
Have you been involved in the Express Yourself meme?
What has been your favourite questions this year?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Book Thoughts on Thursday: The Ghost, Christine Rains

Book Thoughts on Thursday is somewhere that I like to share with you all some of the books I've been reading lately, and why I liked them. Not officially reviews per se, but nevertheless they may inspire you to pick up something new.
This week:

The Ghost, Christine Rains

A friendly warning: Although not intentional, I may give away some aspects of the story that you may not want revealed. I know I hate it when spoilers ruin my experience of a story, so feel free to halt your reading here until you've read it for yourself.
Then you can come back to see if you share my thoughts!

Chiharo Black lives with six supernatural tenants in a haunted building's mysterious thirteenth floor. Of course, no one knows she's there except the cats. Being a ghost can be a bit frustrating and lonely, but it isn't as bad as her mother made it out to be.
Until another ghost intrudes on her territory. Jeremy Emerson wants revenge on the vampire that killed him and won't stop until he has it. To top it off, a nightmarish shade sneaks in and leeches the energy from the building's residents before setting its sights on Chiharo and the thirteenth floor. She can't decide which one is more frightening: the one wanting to eat her soul or the one who might win her heart.
Chiharo must convince Jeremy to stand with her against the hellish parasite. If they cannot work together, the greedy fiend will not only drain their energy but everything that supports the thirteenth floor's existence.
The Ghost was a wonderful conclusion to The 13th Floor Series. Not an actual resident of the floor, Chiharo roamed the entire building in which she has been trapped since her murder.
When we first meet her, she is contemplating her existence in a world where she cannot communicate with or even be seen by others.  This triggered something within me that made me wonder quite how would someone cope with this kind of solitary confinement, which it is as good as in every sense.
To be alone with only your own thoughts which you cannot share with another, drifting from one floor to the next and observing all of the lives around her without ever being able to be included in any of them. This is surely enough to send anyone crazy. But somehow she has coped.
The introduction of Jeremy into her existence was a shock for her, and the natural response was to get rid of him. Having been on her own for so long she seemed unable to deal with such an unexpected social dilemma.
Seeing her fondness and attraction grow for him though was very sweet. Having only ever been on one date, she was going through the same emotions as any other teenage girl, regardless of being a ghost. 
The fiend that was in pursuit of her was truly terrifying. It made me sit up in shock more than once as this unseen terror plagued the floors of her building. It was an excellent backdrop for her developing relationship and blended into the tale well.
My favourite part of the story, when her and Jeremy were finally visible to the rest, was a wholly satisfying end to the entire series of novellas. Having all of the residents come together in the hall for one final mention was a lovely touch, and it was nice to finally learn what Meira's final mission was.

I hope Chiharo and Jeremy find what they are looking for and stay happy together.


If you've enjoyed reading through my thoughts on this series of novellas, then make sure you head on over to Christine's pages for more information on all of the characters that live on The 13th Floor. Trust me when I say, you won't be disappointed with any of them. I'm still trying to decide on my favourite!

In October Christine will be on tour to celebrate the release of The 13th Floor Collection in its entirety, and will be making a little stop by here to answer a few questions about her work.
Don't miss it!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Join me on the Kinetic blog tour!!!

Today I am thrilled to be one of the stops on S K Anthony's blog tour for her debut novel, Kinetic. It's an excellent story, one that I enjoyed immensely and I'm going to share with you a few of my thoughts on it in just a moment.

But first, have you been checking the other stops on this tour? It's running 16th-28th September and if you want to see where S.K.'s been and where she's going check out this link for the details.

And, not only is S.K. on tour, but she's having a giveaway too, with lucky winners getting their hands on these lovely prizes:

• Two $25 Amazon gift cards {INT}
• Three signed print copies Kinetic + notebook, pen & bookmark {US only}
• One signed print copy of Kinetic + notebook, pen & bookmark {INT only}
• Ten swag packs of notebook, pen & bookmark {INT}
• Three bookmarks + pen  {INT}

 How great do these look?

If you fancy winning any of these fab prizes, head on over to this Rafflecopter page to enter. What have you got to lose? Go on, have a go!

And now, to the book! 

This story had me sucked in from the start. From that moment at the end of the first chapter when we are first introduced to Nick through his encounter with Annie, there was no way I could put it down for any length of time before finding out what would happen next.

The whole concept of the Luminaries and how they come to be, their covert operations for various government agencies and the different powers that each of them come to possess was a great setup for the main characters. 
Although there were a number of them, each character had their own individual traits that came across well as the book went along, and I found a fondness for each of them as their own stories developed, even Lisa!

Obviously, it was Annie's character that I got caught up in the most, and the inner battle she was fighting over Nick and Derek came across brilliantly. Personally, I was always rooting for Nick. There was just something about Derek that didn't sit comfortably with me, and whenever he had his more intimate moments with Annie I felt a shudder for her. This is definitely a credit to the writing to bring out such feelings in the reader.

It wasn't just the turmoil between Nick and Derek either, Annie was constantly wondering over Nick's sincerity too. She'd been led to believe some horrendous things about him and it was only natural that she would still have some kind of feelings towards him, given their history. She had all those factors to deal with alongside the bigger threat to both her and their organisation.

I have been so engrossed in this story and the whole world surrounding it that I've found myself thinking about it even between readings. In fact, I have had dreams about different people with different abilities, although sadly I couldn't remember what mine was or if I even had one! 

It's been such a pleasure to read this book, I am certain I will go back to it again and again. Even though I have it on my Kindle too, I love the cover so much I'll probably be buying it in paperback to sit proudly on my bookshelf.

I look forward to whatever comes next from the world of the Luminaries, and rest assured when I find anything out I'll let you know ;-)


 Title: Kinetic
Author: S.K. Anthony
Series: The Luminaries #1
Publication: September 20th, 2013
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Urban Fantasy (UF)

Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.
Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.
A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything …

Where you can buy Kinetic:

Author bio: 

S.K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!