Wednesday, 26 November 2014


I am editing my latest novel on my Kindle, which is still something I remember (ie. see daily when I watch the reruns) being featured regularly on Star Trek:The Next Generation.

It's amazing. I'm actually living in the future!

Silver reed 2600CR 01Especially considering that I began writing on my mum's electric typewriter. I particularly hated this piece of equipment because I'm a terrible typist and made so many errors. Even now, the backspace key is the most used on my keyboard.

The makers of Tipp-Ex were probably devastated when I move to a word processor and no longer needed to buy in bulk.


The height of technology in the library I worked in was the microfiche. (For those too young to remember them, this is what Google looked like in the 1980s.)

They were cumbersome and always made me dizzy when I used it - the articles scrolled ridiculously fast unless you had a very steady hand.

And yet, now, if I have a query, I just type it into Google (other search engines are available!) and the answer is there, in my own home, without the need to changed out of my PJs or anything.

I admit, I really don't belong in this century - I'm constantly in awe at the minds that have come up with all of this stuff.

What great pieces of technology from the past do you miss?
Or, indeed, which pieces are you glad you don't have to use any more?

Monday, 24 November 2014

Introducing Markie Madden

Please welcome Marguerite 'Markie' Madden to my blog. Markie is a diverse writer, and it's a pleasure to feature her today.

Markie, when did you first realise you were a writer?
I first remember writing creatively in grade school, maybe 4th or 5th grade. My teacher would come around and draw a squiggle on out notebook. The assignment was to use the squiggle to make a finished drawing and then write a story about it. 

You've written three very different books, how did they come about?

I never intended to write any non-fiction at all. But half a lifetime of living around supposedly knowledgeable horse people (whose animals often suffered neglect) inspired me to write Keeping a Backyard Horse. There are plenty of horse care books out there, sure. I even own quite a few. But the average horse owner, one who keeps their horse as a pet and for light riding, doesn't need to know how to breed horses or deliver a foal. So I wrote a very simple guide with very little terminology (and what's there is included in the glossary) that can be understood by most people. And my battle with cancer inspired me to write my memoir and my path to self-publishing, as a way of inspiring others with cancer and letting them know it's not the end of the line.

Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

I'd have to say I prefer writing fiction, though my two non-fiction books were rather easy, as I didn't have to research them heavily.

Do you have a typical writing day?

Since I'm still recovering from cancer, I don't have a typical day. I still have good days and bad days. Usually, I watch reruns of Supernatural and Bones on television every morning. I spend a lot of time on social media, marketing. I write when I feel like it, rather than forcing myself to. I avoid writer's block that way. Often, I'm still awake late into the night. I get more done when the house is quiet.

Do you have any rituals/special pens/certain music to get you into the writing mood?

I don't have any specific rituals for writing, actually! Although I do have a small plush horse a crafty friend in England sent to me. I met her in an online support group called MDJunction. Anyway, his name is Olaf, and he sits where he can watch me write. I think he's good karma.

Once you've finished writing for the day, how do you relax?

I don't really have to relax after writing, because I enjoy it so. But as a recent cancer survivor and a sufferer of fibromyalgia, I'm a hopeless insomniac. Sometimes my brain just won't shut up so I can sleep. Often, I use guided meditation MP3s on my phone to lull me to sleep.

Who are your favourite authors?

My favourite authors are Nora Roberts and her other self J.D. Robb, Patricia Cornwell, Kay Hooper, J.K. Rowling.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on Triple Heist, a crime novel, and book one of a series called the Undead Unit, called Fang and Claw. Triple Heist involves Allison, head of security for the Federal Reserve bank, and her plans to rob millions from the facility. Fang and Claw takes place in a future time where creatures such as vampires, werewolves and zombies live and work among humans. Lacey is a detective with the Dallas police department, and has just been put in charge of an elite squad charged with investigating crimes involving the Undead. I hope to have Triple Heist ready for release next summer, Fang and Claw by next December. And I'm working on getting my books into audio format. My Butterfly Cancer should be ready for release next month.

Where to find Markie:

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Maggie Tideswell: I love the paranormal romance genre!

I'm taking part in a blog swap with author Maggie Tideswell today. She's here and I'm there. I hope she finds the chocolate cake I left out for her!

Take it away, Maggie, tell me, why do you love the paranormal romance genre??

Maggie Tideswell, author of
Paranormal Romance

Let’s face it, love really is all around us. Even when you read a murder mystery or a horror novel, there are romantic elements in it, because people fall in love. Even in the most unexpected or dangerous situations, people find each other. It is human nature.

What fascinates me about romance is firstly what characteristics attract people to each other enough to fall in love and secondly, what traits keep them in love for a lifetime when one in three relationships fail. This is a throw-back from studying psychology at university.

People want to be scared. Fright gets the primitive fight or flight response going. And that is where the paranormal comes in. When I say paranormal, I don’t mean zombies and vampires. Creatures with tentacles and many teeth also don’t interest me. Those are not scary and only have entertainment value as far as I am concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting authors of those genres down, all I’m saying is that those elements are not what I write about. I am interested in what isn’t visible to the eye, things that go bump in the night, ‘nothing is as it seems’, and witches getting up to mischief or doing genuine work to help. And ghosts, of course.

We all have those creepy little experiences of something moving just at the edge of vision and when you look, there is nothing there. Or the sound we hear for which there are no logical explanations. And who of us haven’t know what was going to happen next or what somebody was going to say before it actually happened? This is what is termed deja-vu.

People are not always what they seem. It is a known fact that people represent themselves in the best light and what they show to the world is only the tip of the iceberg of their personality. I like to say people wear ‘masks’ to hide their true selves from others, for reasons of their own.

But my biggest interest is ghosts and why some people seem to get stuck on the earthbound plane after death. I even joined a paranormal investigation group, but I am yet to come face to face with a ghost I could have a conversation with. I have been told I look too hard and that was why I am unlikely to see a ghost, but I do experience them. On one occasion I had fallen asleep on the couch and I startled awake with the distinct feeling that somebody was leaning over me. There was nobody there, but the room had been freezing. It was the middle of summer.

Romance in combination with the paranormal is what I write. Instead of placing my characters in mortal danger of burning buildings, an erratic gunman or in the path of a tidal wave, I scare them with what they cannot see.

I have two paranormal romance novels in print, both published by All Things That Matter Press, a small press in Maine, USA.

My debut novel, Dark Moon came out in 2011. Chance meetings can have far-reaching effects. Loved ones may not be who they seem. The line between comprehension and confusion is thin, particularly when one’s thoughts are being manipulated by another.

My second published novel, Moragh, Holly’s Ghost (2013) is, well, a ghost story. A marriage of convenience, helpful fey friends, a custody battle that cannot be won and a haunting - could love blossom?

Still to come is Roxanne’s Ghost, Poppet Nicole, which is the sequel to Moragh, Holly’s Ghost, and a story set on one of the Portuguese islands off the coast of Africa called Bazaruto, titled Adorable Crook.

As I was born in South Africa and still live here, I like to set my stories in South Africa, in and around Cape Town to be specific. South Africa is a country of breathtaking natural beauty, diverse population and many unexplored ghosts.

Find Maggie on her blog Wonderful Words, on Amazon and on Twitter.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

National Short Story Week 17th - 23rd November

Tomorrow marks the start of National Short Story Week in the UK (and possibly the US, although I think they have a different date).

On my other blog, I've shared some of my favourite short story writers - although, if you've been following me for any length of time, you won't be surprised by my choices!

But, here, because most of you are writers, I wondered how many of you write short stories, or thought about writing them, or hate them or love them... You get the idea - I want to know how you feel about short stories...

It's over to you...

PS. Shameless plug for my own short story collection, That Sadie Thing, "An amazing collection of short stories that will stick with you long after you've finished reading them" ( review).

Tell your friends!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Nobody Knows by Kyra Lennon - a review

Nobodyknowsebook(1)I don't often post reviews of books on my blog. But when someone as fantastic as Kyra Lennon asks me, I can't say no. She has been very active, launching this book, with Facebook parties and takeovers, and you'll probably have seen her book on many blogs over the past week.

I have always loved Kyra Lennon's voice - from the very first time I read her blog during the A-Z Challenge in 2012. She has an amazing way of putting you right in the middle of the story so that you really feel part of that world.

It makes the book unputdownable, And Nobody Knows is no exception, 

Ellie, Drew and Jason are childhood friends, all on the cusp of great career success, but the dynamics are changing, Brothers are falling apart, hidden feelings are rising to the surface.

Now, I've read this book before (during the beta stage), so technically, nothing should have been a surprise, but from about half-way through, I was holding my breath. The challenges that the three main characters have to overcome seem too vast to be conquered. You have to keep reading - because Kyra knows exactly how and when to end a chapter so you can't possibly close the book and go to sleep... No, you end up switching the light back on and reading some more!

Oh, and there was a tear or two. In fact, the line that got me started was: "Come here." Jason reached out to me. I kept a handkerchief close by from then on.

The story is, in turns, uplifting and heartbreaking, and plays on every girl's dream of hanging out with the band. 

Author Bio:
Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.
Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Also (as if that isn't enough):
Kyra has compiled an anthology - with proceeds going to the Cat's Protection League - of cat-based stories (fiction and non-fiction). The anthology contains many bloggers you'll know - you might even be in it! Anyway, here's the link to buy it on Amazon UK

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

IWSG - Waiting for the right words

It's the November installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group where us writers get together to share our insecurities and give advise to others. Check out the sign up/visiting list here!

I'm a bit late with this today. I've not had much time at my laptop this week - shopping (necessary rather than exciting), working and spending most of Monday in bed with some kind of lurgy.

This month I am trying to re-write my latest novel. It should have been an easy task, but then I hit a chapter that just doesn't flow. I need that chapter, but it needs to be completely scratched and re-started and I have no idea how to do it. I can't move on until I've got this bit sorted because the bit that comes next will highly depend on what happens in this bit.

I'm not expecting help with this - it's probably a wait and find inspiration in a random place, kind of deal - but a box of chocolates and a glass of wine wouldn't go wasted...

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

On a slightly different note,

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Our Beautiful Child by Annalisa Crawford

Our Beautiful Child

by Annalisa Crawford

Giveaway ends November 12, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, 3 November 2014

Kyra Lennon's Nobody Knows, available now!

Who-hoo, it's here!! Congratulations to Kyra Lennon on the release of her book Nobody Knows! It's awesome! Check back here this time next week for a review.


Nobodyknowsebook(1) Title:Nobody Knows (Razes Hell Book 1)
Author: Kyra Lennon
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najila Qamber Design
Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography

It's not easy being friends with rising rock stars - especially when you're the glue that holds them together.
Razes Hell has taken off in the charts, and Ellie can't believe her childhood friends, Drew and Jason Brooks, are on TV and drawing crowds after years spent playing in dodgy bars. From obscurity to overnight success, Ellie soon realises life in the public eye isn’t all it’s cracked up to be as dark secrets become headline news and old conflicts are re-ignited. When a fake feud meant to boost the band’s popularity threatens to rip the boys apart for real, Ellie finds herself torn – a position which only gets more uncomfortable when her loyalty to Jason collides with her blossoming relationship with Drew.
Nobody knows how deep their issues run; nobody but Ellie. With friendship, a music career and a new love on the line, can Ellie keep their tangled pasts from ruining their futures?

Pre-order links: AMAZON | AMAZON UK



No Body Knows Teaser2

No Body Knows Teaser


Author Bio:
Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.
Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.
Release Day Party on Kyra's Author FB Page

Release Party - Friday November 7th - Hosts TBA

::: Facebook Event :::
Hosted By: