Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Merry Christmas

It is coming to that time of year again when family life is becoming increasingly hectic and so this will probably be my final post of the year. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. Wherever you are and whoever you are spending the holidays with, I hope you have a peaceful and joyous time.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Celebrate the small things

Thanks to the lovely Viklit for hosting

I didn't manage to post for the Celebrate the small things last week therefore this post will cover the last couple of weeks! So, what have I been up to that doesn't involve work, cooking, cleaning, running around after the family etc etc? 

* I enjoyed a lovely evening meeting up with some friends we made at dance classes. Unfortunately, the classes stopped and it has been quite a while since we were all together so it was good to have a catch up.

* We hosted a Christmas party at our house for friends and neighbours.

* I have written and posted the first batch of Christmas cards.

* A friend gave me these unusual flowers and I think they are just fabulous. And of course purple! I'm not sure what they are called, if anyone knows please let me know.

* There are a couple of social events this weekend. Friday will be my Christmas meal at work and Saturday brings another chance to done my dancing shoes and sparkly dress! 

Basically there is so much going on there has been little time to add to my manuscript but I guess it is going to be like that till the New Year.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

IWSG - Dec

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh

Co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders, Heather Gardner, Kim Van Sickler and Elsie is Writing!

Don't forget to check out the IWSG website HERE

As 2013 is starting to draw to a close I have to admit to feeling disappointed about my lack of writing success. I know success can be measured in many ways, not just by having a best seller on my hands,(or any seller for that matter!) however, it still fills me with insecurity. BUT I am trying really hard to stay positive and look ahead to 2014 with renewed energy. The whole idea of starting afresh and creating new opportunities is very appealing. On a personal level this year has been one of the toughest I have ever had. Losing Mum and dealing with everything following that and I know some of that pain will remain for some time to come but I can't let it squash my dreams. Knowing I have supporters and friends out there in blogland has sure helped me come this far, this is a great community and I thank you. I am cheering YOU ALL on too :)

Let's believe in ourselves and each other.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Birthstone Unicorns - Tanzanite (December)

Happy December everyone and welcome to the countdown to the festivities!

As most of you probably know I have written a children’s series set around birthstones and their symbolism. Each month I like to tell you a bit about the particular birthstone I feature in my story and post a short extract. Eleven of the twelve stories feature the listed ‘traditional’ birthstone for that month but December is the month I veer off slightly! Well it is Christmas, I'm allowed to be a little different! For December I focus on the one of the ‘modern’ gems, the Tanzanite.

Why did I do this? Well a couple of reasons really. Firstly, I love, love, love the Tanzanite and its bluey/purpley colour. It is so pretty and so me! (Sadly it isn’t my birthstone). Secondly, I thought Tanzanite made an excellent name for a Birthstone Unicorn. In the story I sometimes shorten it to Tanzy and it fits the story perfectly. Check out the link at the top to meet her.

As its name might suggest, Tanzanite was first found in Tanzania in 1967. It is relatively new to the official birthstone list having only found its way on in 2002 where it joined the traditional gem Turquoise and other more modern additions, the Blue Zircon and Blue Topaz. But I personally feel it is a wonderful addition and its colour unique.

As Tanzanite is such a new addition there are few myths or legends surrounding it so I have used some of the associations with the traditional turquoise to weave into the story. However, legend says, that Masai cattle herders first found the stone. Following a lightening strike some herders noticed that brown crystals had turned deep blue/purple due to the heat from the fire. In Tanzania, women who have just given birth, wear blue beads and fabrics to bring health and good fortune to their babies.

As the Gregorian Birthstone Poem features the traditional gems this verse refers to the blue turquoise, enjoy!

'If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a turquoise blue
Success will bless what e'er you do.'

Friday, 29 November 2013

Celebrate with the Dragon!

This week I am celebrating the honour of receiving this award -

Many of you already know Al, our dear dragon friend. He held a very special party on his blog last weekend. It was a blast, my head is still spinning from dancing on the table with a bunch of his dwarves! I understand there might even be the odd guest still lurking around so feel free to head on over and see if there is any food left. Click HERE to be transported in the blink of a dragon's eye!

How amazing is that?
 My name in dragon fire - purple dragon fire!
Thanks Al 
In other news, went to see 'Catching Fire,' we thought it was brilliant. Managed to enjoy both some Indian and Chinese food this week.

Thanks to the lovely Viklit for hosting our weekly hop!
Happy weekend everyone

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Moonless Blog Tour - 28/11/13

MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural
Series: Maiden of Time #1
Publication: November 13th, 2013
Category: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Today I am happy to be part of the blog tour for the lovely Crystal Collier and her newly released book, Moonless. Congratulations, Crystal. Below you will find an excerpt to wet your appetite, but not only that there is the chance to win your own copy of Moonless by solving the mystery sentence or entering the giveaway. Loads of great prizes to be won and fun to be had.

Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night.

Short Description: Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Unravel the mystery of the Moonless night! Hidden in each of the 8 blog tour excerpts is a single word. Gather all 8 and figure out the sentence to win a free copy of Moonless. Send your mystery sentence to crystal (AT) with the subject MYSTERY SENTENCE before December 10, 2013, and you will be entered to win one of 10 copies of MOONLESS—just in time for Christmas. Happy hunting! 
The study door stood closed. She neared, shaking. Pressing cautiously against it, she expected the mahogany to burn her.
Father’s voice boomed through the wood. “No! And that is final!”
The barrier lurched. She leapt back as it swung open.
He halted before her. Boots, not stylish, but entirely practical and worn; breeches, a sturdy gray, modestly hugging a trim form; waist coat concealed by a subtly weathered coat; shirt, fitted and simple . . . 
Her jaw fell.
Ginger locks framed his clean-shaven face with a straight nose, high cheekbones, expressive brows and enigmatic blue eyes. He was a perfect paramour of twenty years, except for a jagged white scar cutting from below one eye down his cheek. A sheen of beauty hung over his whole being. He verily glowed.
Like Bellezza. Like herself!
She gasped. Sweet pollen and rustic oak tickled her nose, transporting her to a grove of wooded mystery so deep mankind would never comprehend the fullness. Those consuming eyes met hers and flickers of heat burst in her cheeks, spreading across the back of her neck. His pupils widened, nearly eclipsing the night sky. She wanted to reach out and touch him, to fall into the blackness of his gaze.
A grunt from the den brought her back to the hall.
He bowed, movements excruciatingly slow, eyes never leaving her face. His lips parted as if he might speak, but with a dark glance toward the room he’d abandoned, his mouth sealed in a grim line. The corners of his eyes crinkled, pain glinting in his hypnotic stare. He nodded and stepped around her.
A breath of fresh-cut tinder and summer blooms pulled her eyelids closed, like the farewell kiss of a faerie nightmare.

Praise for MOONLESS: 
1. Bethany Kaczmarek, editor at A Little Red, Inc: MOONLESS is powerful, compelling, and packed with soul. MOONLESS is wonderful. So many threads, such rich backstory. Such amazing world-building. It was familiar England, yet always hinting at a sense of Otherness. Made me wonder if those things had really been there all along and I missed them.

2. Sharon Johnston, author of SLEEPER: Collier transports us to a time of elegance and mixes in supernatural splendor that gives goosebumps.

3. Tammy Mckee: I fell head over heels for the characters. The story itself was magnificent and the way Crystal writes is beyond that. I truly enjoyed every minute. 

4. Rachel Hert, editor at Fantasy Editing: Moonless does a fantastic job building a complex world filled with a cast of characters that are individuals and stay in your memory. I highly recommend reading!

Author Bio:
Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

Unleashing the dream world, one book at a time 
  Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr


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Friday, 22 November 2013

Celebrate the small things

Not a terribly productive time for writing this week but it has been a success in other ways. Last weekend hubby and I took off for a couple of days on our own. We needed some time away from work and phones and general stress so we headed for a cottage on the edge of Dartmoor for 2 nights. It was lovely, time to walk and relax. Even managed to do a little Christmas shopping.

View from the cottage towards church

View from the church looking back at cottage

Waterfall at Lydford Gorge

Sunset looking out towards the moor

Happy weekend

Friday, 15 November 2013

Thankful on Friday and a red balloon

Rest in peace, Andrew 
In memory of Andrew McDonald McNoughton 1994 - 2013


This week I'm posting more of a 'I'm Thankful for' type of post and they're BIG things, not small.  When we are surrounded by sadness and natural disasters I think it is important we recognise how lucky we are.

* I'm thankful for my family, my husband and two daughters.
* I'm thankful for my home.
* And I'm thankful for the food on my table.

In the UK it is 'Children in Need' day. A chance for everyone to do their bit, however small, to raise funds for disadvantaged children and young people. I'm wearing my pyjamas to work today and making a donation for the privilege! Are you taking part in anyway?

Further afield there is the terrible typhoon that hit the Philippines. Thousands have lost homes and loved ones. Visit Authors for the Philippines to find out how you might be able to help.

I am unlikely to have internet access much over the weekend so will catch up with you all on Sunday/Monday.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

IWSG post (Nov)

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting, this month assisted by 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.
Write because you love it - we've all heard this wise advice many times. Wise because I sincerely believe it is true. I write because I can't not do it. It is the first thing I think about when I wake and I usually drift off thinking about it too! My characters nag me and follow me around when I'm at work, doing the laundry or putting the bins out. Then they sulk and refuse to talk to me at the most inappropriate times. BUT I am getting anxious. Anxious that my characters and stories will forever stay in my head or on my computer screen. Destined to be read by a handful of family members or friends. And I want more. I want to be able to share my stories, to have them out there for the taking. 

I've submitted, edited, submitted, rewritten, submitted. Round and round till I'm dizzy. I've had some great feedback from editors, agents and publishers over the last few years but so far there has always been a but. I am still waiting for that moment when the stars align and everything falls into place.

I could think about self publishing, I have thought about it. But if I go that route I want to be able to do it properly and financially at the moment that isn't an option. Maybe in the future, but not right now, and, If I'm truthful, my dream is to be traditionally published. 

I know that I have to wait, to keep trying and believing I just needed to get this off my chest if for no other reason than to release some of the negativity that has been creeping in recently. 

Moan over, I'm off to read what is on everyone else's mind this month! I'll leave you these few words, the words that often sustain me when I'm feeling a little low. Happy writing.

"To be successful a writer needs two things. Belief and hope. Belief in themselves and their writing and hope that others share their belief."
Suzanne Furness

Friday, 1 November 2013

Birthstone Unicorns - Topaz

Welcome to November and another birthstone post. Topaz is the traditional birthstone for this month. It is usually found in shades of yellow, gold and brown perfect for the days of autumn. Although it can also be found in various shades of blue, green and pink. There is even a colourless topaz! Said to promote feelings of happiness in the wearer, it is associated with loyalty, faithfulness and friendship. Health benefits are thought to be related to balancing emotions and easing tension. Not one of the gems I can say I own yet, but I think they are so beautiful I hope to add one to my collection soon.

Want to learn more? Read on for some fun facts and myths surrounding this gorgeous gemstone.

  • The most famous topaz is one of the colourless variety! Due to this it was originally thought to be a diamond. At 1680 carats it is known as the 'Braganza Diamond' and can be found in the Portuguese Crown Jewels.
  • In the 19th century pink topaz was discovered in Russia. So prized that ownership was only allowed by the Czar and family.
  • The Egyptians believed that topaz's golden glow came from the sun god, Ra. They wore it to prevent injury.
  • The Romans too believed there were connections with the god of the sun, Jupiter. They also thought it improved eyesight.
  • Whilst Ancient Greeks thought it had the power to enhance strength or even make the wearer invisible in times of emergency!
  • During the Middle Ages they thought it helped heal physical and mental disorders and might even prevent death.
  • Sufferers from disorders as diverse as insomnia, burns and asthma were told powdered topaz cured in wine might alleviate their symptoms.
  • Other 'health' benefits suggested over the centuries include,making you more intelligent, curing sadness and even curing the sores caused by the plague. Set in gold and worn round the neck it was said to ward off bad charms. It has been said to change colour in the presence of poisoned food or drink. 
  • It's mystical powers were thought to be strongest in moonlight and to alter with the phases of the moon.
  • Topaz is a hard gemstone but it can be split with a single blow, so should be protected from hard knocks.
Born in November? Here is the verse from the Gregorian poem by unknown author.

"Who first comes to this world below
In dreary November's fog and snow
Should prize the topaz amber hue
Emblem of friends and lovers true."

Learnt something new today or celebrating this month? Check out the link at the top of the page to catch up with an excerpt from Topaz the Birthstone Unicorn's adventure. Have fun! 


Before I go just time to add a short weekly celebration, thanks to Viklit at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author for hosting. Visit her blog to find out more and join us!

This week I'm celebrating;
  1. Adding another 2,000 words to my WIP
  2. Finally getting to actually see the woodpecker who lives in the tree in our garden. I've heard it many times, visitors to our house have seen it but until this week I haven't caught so much as a glimpse! However, something very tasty is obviously living in our grass at the moment and he has been strutting around the garden as if he owns the place!
  3. Cleaning the oven - enough said!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Celebrate the small things

Due to one or two unforeseen circumstances I did not post my weekly celebrations last week so this is a two week round up!

I am celebrating adding just over 4000 words to my ms! Pretty good writing week stats for me! Next week is half term so with a few days off work I am hoping for another productive writing week ahead.

I spent an enjoyable evening with a few girlfriends seeing the comedian, Sarah Millican.

Tomorrow hubby and I are going to a dinner and dance. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while will no doubt know I love the chance to dress up and get out my dancing shoes!

Hope you all have a great weekend whatever you are up to.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Potter Party and Celebrate the small things

Last weekend we hosted a 'Potter Party.' What fun! There were glasses of butterbeer and pumpkin juice, polyjuice potion cocktails and salmon with a gillyweed sauce. Not to mention Petunia Dursley's cream pudding and a chocolate golden snitch tart! We played games of, pin the scar on Harry, guess the flavour of the jelly bean and even our own version of quidditch. I know you wanna picture, I'll try and get a couple to post next week or maybe I'll update this post over the weekend if my daugher sends me over the pics.

This week I am celebrating having a quiet weekend to do some serious writing. Really looking forward to shutting myself away for some guilt free indulgence!

Whatever you're up to this weekend have fun.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Norse Gods Blogfest

In celebration of Siv's new release 'Secrets of the Ash Tree' 
Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Siv.

Norse God of knowledge and Diplomacy

Not being terribly knowledgable on Norse mythology I decided to do a little research to help with my post for Siv Ottem's blogfest and this particular God caught my eye. I thought it was an appropriate choice for a writer.

Kvasir was said to have been born of the saliva of two groups of god,  Esir and Vanir. Extremely wise he travelled far and wide spreading his vast knowledge until the day he was killed by two dwarfs, Fjalar and Galar. They not only killed him but drained his blood and mixed it with honey, resulting in a coccotion known as the Mead of Poetry. Said to imbue the drinker with wisdom and the gift of poetry. The God Odin drank the mead to gain great knowledge, but he spilt a few drops, the source of all the bad poets and artists. He is said to have offered the mead to those he felt worthy - the source of all the great poets.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Birthstone Unicorns - Opal

Opal is the birthstone for the month of October, along with pink tourmaline. Opals can vary in colour from the common milky white with pastel glints of rainbow colours to the rarer black opal. Like most birthstones, opal has its fair share of myths and legends surrounding it. Some are well documented, others less so. Here are just a few associated with the fascinating opal and this month I can actually say I do have a ring that contains an opal! A piece of jewellery that has been in the family a while and which I enjoy wearing from time to time.

A common myth is that opals are the ‘unlucky’ gem. In modern times this idea probably originated from the bestselling novel by Sir Walter Scott. His novel Anne of Geuerstein, written in 1829, was the story of Lady Hermione, who wore an enchanted opal in her hair. It gave off fiery red flashes when she was angry, and it sparkled beautifully when she was happy. She was falsely accused of being a demoness, and died shortly after a drop of holy water accidentally fell on her opal destroying its colour. In consequence, the European opal market was crushed within months of the novels release and remained at a low for around 50 years. Perhaps a warning to authors of the potential power of their written word!

Going back to the mid 14th century the opal was associated with the plague. It was rumoured that an opal worn by a sufferer was alight with colour right up to the patient’s death when it lost all its brilliance. But even in the 18th and 19th century opals were linked with disasters such as, famine and the fall of monarchs.

Another contributing factor to its somewhat tarnished reputation may be due to the fragility of the opal.  Compared to some gemstones the opal can be easily damaged if not treated with care. Not a gemstone to wear whilst doing the gardening or washing up!

In contrast, Queen Victoria laughed at the superstition and made no secret of her love of the opal. Frequently seen wearing them during her reign and giving her daughters fine opals when they married.

In Asia, opal is viewed as a symbol of hope.

In medieval times, all blonde maidens wanted a necklace made of opals. Thinking it prevented their hair from fading or darkening.

The opal was also thought to make a person invisible whenever he wished, and for that reason, it was called Patronus forum (patron of thieves).

The Arabs believed that opals fell from heaven in flashes of lightning whilst Ancient Greeks believed the opal gave the gift of foresight and prophecy to the wearer. It was also known as the love stone of Cupid. Cleopatra is said to have worn an opal to attract Mark Anthony.

Opals have strong spiritual respect in Aboriginal legends. It is said that their ancestors left their presence behind in opals.

Opals are also given to celebrate the 14th year of marriage.

Finally, the verse from the Gregorian Poem by unknown author;

“October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.”

Well there we are, a few stories surrounding this stone. It is certainly a gem with a chequered history, but I happen to think it is a very pretty jewel and one any discerning unicorn would love to adorn its horn! On that note, why not take a look at the excerpt from Opal the Birthstone Unicorn's story. Click tab at top of page.

Happy Birthday to all celebrating this month.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mini celebrations!

This has been a record week for me and my blog. For the first time ever I have posted everyday! Not entirely intended it just worked out that way with helping my fellow bloggers and of course IWSG. I am not sure I could manage this on a regular basis, so I applaud all of you who manage it regularly. It is not just posting but replying to comments and visiting others that takes time and commitment.  However, I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of the promotions I helped with this week, so I am celebrating the fact I survived the week of posts and helped out some awesome bloggers in the process. I truly wish you all the best with your endeavours.

Thanks also for all the comments on IWSG. I am really hoping to make October a productive writing month and am looking forward to getting stuck into a writing groove next week.

It has been so busy that I haven't managed to slot in my regular Birthstone Post yet but I intend to get this up on Sunday/Monday. As an aside to that, is anyone else having any problems with changing items in their side bar at the moment? I have been trying to update and rearrange a few bits and bobs and it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe it's just me!

Hope you all have a happy, healthy and positive weekend.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cover Reveal - Moonless by Crystal Collier

Today I am pleased to reveal the cover for Crystal Collier's new book, Moonless. Congratulations Crystal, the cover is fabulous!

Title: Moonless
Author: Crystal Collier
Series: Maiden of Time #1
Publication: November 13th, 2013
Category: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night. 

Short Description: Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless. 

MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

Author Bio
Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

Unleashing the dream world, one book at a time 
  Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

IWSG - A sticky patch!

This month's awesome co-hosts

I feel like I'm swimming through treacle

Apologies for the use of blatant cliche but it sums me up so well at the moment. September was pretty  - blah! Maybe it was getting back into work after the summer break, maybe it was losing our beautiful cat, maybe it was the two university visits that took up two weekends, maybe it was the 3 birthday parties or maybe it was a combination of all of the above, but my word count on my WIP during September was a big fat zero.

I am determined to make October better. I hope my muse agrees to come play because I have plans!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Guest Post from Nick Wilford

I have pleasure in welcoming Nick Wilford to my blog today. Many of you probably already know Nick around the blogosphere but he is here today to tell us all about his new venture. It sounds exciting, Nick, I wish you all the best.

With the unstoppable rise of self-publishing, it’s easier than ever to put your words and stories out there in the world. This is a great thing, and I’m all for it. However, it’s not just about the story - although of course, that is the most important part - but the way it’s presented. After spending months or years on a novel, building an incredible world and honing your characters and storylines to perfection, the last thing you want is to be let down by a lack of editing. It’s just as important as an arresting cover image.

Nick Wilford, Freelance Editor is a one-stop shop for affordable editing, proofreading and formatting services. With professional training and ten years of experience as a journalist and editor, the time has come to transfer these skills in order to help out the fellow authors I have come to love.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’m ready to edit anything; from a crucial term paper, to memoirs and other non-fiction books, short stories, articles or job application letters. Let me put that finishing touch on your masterpiece.

Feel free to take a look at my website for further details of my services and prices.


Nick Wilford is a writer, freelance editor and stay-at-home dad. Fascinated by words from a young age, he trained as a journalist before embracing the calling of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland.


Monday, 30 September 2013

The Ghosts of Aquinnah by Julie Flanders

Today I am happy to be part of the cover reveal for Julie Flanders upcoming release, The Ghosts of Aquinnah. Congratulations Julie the cover is looking great.


A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects ...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.

Author Bio:

Julie Flanders is a novelist and freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a life-long love affair with the ocean and has spent more summer vacations than she can count on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. When not writing, Julie can be found reading, cheering on her favorite sports teams, and watching too much television. She is an animal lover and shares her home with her dog and cat.

Find Julie at:

The Ghosts of Aquinnah will be released by Ink Smith Publishing on December 5, 2013

Friday, 27 September 2013

Celebrations post

I've not been around the blogosphere quite as much as usual this last week. I haven't felt terribly creative so decided to put my writing aside for a few days and think about other things! However, I have still been busy. We celebrated daughter's 18th with a family meal out and I made a birthday cake in the shape of a sheep (she is mad on sheep!) I also looked at some of our recent holiday photos, which brought back some happy memories. I have included a handful at the end of this post. As the weather turns more autumnal and the nights begin to draw in thinking about the sunshine is uplifting.

This weekend we are getting together with a bunch of friends and going out for an Indian meal. It is another part of the 18th celebrations!

Finally, I would just like to thank you for all the lovely, supportive comments on last weeks post. It was a sad time for us and reading your messages cheered me and the rest of the family. You are all super amazing and I celebrate the fact I am part of this supportive community.

Whatever you're up to this weekend hope you have fun.

View from Villa
Beautiful beach
looking flushed from the sun!
tombs in the cliffs

pomegranates growing in garden

Friday, 20 September 2013

A sad week

I am not joining in the weekly celebrations post this week because, well quite frankly, I'm not in a celebratory mood. It has been a sad week in our house. Our beautiful, loving cat, Buttons, died suddenly. Now I know she was a very good age, she lived a full and happy life, but you are never ready to let go. Buttons had been part of our family for over 17 years, my youngest daughter was only a few months old when we rescued her. And it was rescued in the true sense.

At the time we lived in a very old farmhouse with several run down barns outside. A feral cat (Buttons' mum) gave birth in the roof of one of these barns to five kittens. Tragically, the mother cat was run over and killed when the kittens were only about 4 weeks of age. As they were a totally wild family of cats we didn't realise straight away and sadly two of the kittens were killed by a dog.  Determined to stop the same fate for the remaining kittens my husband climbed up into the roof and, not without injury and numerous scratches, we managed to find the three tiny bundles and pull them to safety.

Our next problem of course was that they were too young to survive without a mother so we contacted a local vet for advice and before we knew it we were hand feeding three kittens with special formula in tiny pipettes. At that stage we didn't know if they would live or die but we had to try. We kept them in a utility room which was warm from a boiler. Naturally they were very scared to start with but gradually they got to know us and slowly started to gain weight. It was a pretty full on job! Young kittens can't go to the loo on their own either so part of our nursing job involved rubbing their bladders to encourage them to go for a wee!

We must have done something right because all three survived and were weaned. They were called, Holly, Ruby and Buttons. (Strange choices some thought because Holly and Ruby were boys but hey!) Sadly Ruby died aged about 7 from a tumour.  Holly died a few years ago, also from a tumour, aged about 12. Buttons had always been the shy one of the bunch and it wasn't till she was left without her brothers that she craved our attention so much. She was a truly wonderful cat, never happier than when she was curled up beside one of us on the sofa. She would purr so loudly we often had to turn the TV up! If I was sat writing she would keep me company and she was always there waiting at the door when I came in from work.

If there is one thing to be thankful for is that Buttons was happy till the last. Monday morning she had seemed fine, ate some breakfast, then went into the garden for a few minutes for her morning stroll. She never ventured further than the garden these days. My daughter had seen her that lunch time and all appeared fine. But by the time I returned around 4pm she was obviously a very poorly cat. I rushed her straight to the vets but there was nothing they could do. We don't really know what happened but they think it might have been her liver.

So today's post is dedicated to Buttons, fat and furry and very purry. We will all miss you, you have left a hole in our hearts and a space on the sofa that will take a long time to fill.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Taking the blogosphere by Storm - CassaStorm!

There's a storm brewing ...

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.”
- Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”
- Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:
Amazon -

Mini Alex just wanted to join the fun today

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Book Trailer html -

And, as if that wasn't enough, one lucky commentor on Alex's blog will be chosen at random to win a Cassa mug, Cassa mousepad, swag and iTunes/Amazon voucher. What you waiting for?, Head over there now and wish Alex congratulations on the release of his final book in the bestselling series.  Over and out Ninja Captain sir!