Saturday, 24 June 2017

Veiled Planet Revealed

After an intense week of editing, tweaking, and formatting, I uploaded Veiled Planet to Amazon yesterday. Pressing that 'Publish Now' button is always a thrilling, yet nerve-wracking moment.

I want to let you know that the book is $.99 for its first week of release (until the 30th June), after which the price will be $2.99) or free if you're with Kindle Select. 

Here's the first chapter of the book, and I hope you enjoy the start of Kara's journey.

Veiled Planet© 

Chapter One: An Encounter

Kara squinted, peering through the tall, thin jezebel trees. Their bare pallid trunks crowned with wide red leaves provided shade from the midday sun, but not from the heat, and she periodically wiped the sweat off her forehead before it dripped into her eyes. She could see where the upward trail led, but there wasn’t a single olive green cadet uniform in sight.
“Hey, wait for me!” Kara winced at the saw-edged whine in her voice, but they should have waited. The core element in this test was cooperative functioning as a team, and leaving someone behind broke the first rule of colony survival—you didn’t abandon anyone. If she didn’t catch up, she’d drop back to bottom ranking in her class. Not the result she wanted after she’d spent the last year clawing her way up two paltry places. Where in the universe were they?
Kara blew out a breath of frustration, ran her sweaty hands through her short hair, and put her sulk on hold. Lifting one foot at a time and putting it down while scrutinizing the ground for signs of spring-beetle occupancy took every bit of her attention. The small pyramidal mounds were thankfully absent. A bite from the insect, while not life threatening, could swell to horrible proportions. Her study of the insects last semester had given her far too much insight into the varying sizes and discomforts of post-bite swellings.
Two corco birds flew high above the canopy, cackling to each other as their heavy wings beat the air with a soft thump thump. They were herbivores, although there were still many unknown species of plant and animal on the planet awaiting detection and classification.
Kara halted for a second to observe their ungainly flight. Next year she would begin studies in her chosen subjects—botany and biology. She ignored the flush of guilt at the thought of the tiny gold speckled plants which had caught her eye. She was fully aware this wasn’t a field trip, but the urge to pop a couple into one of the specimen bags she always carried had been overwhelming. That was probably when she’d dropped behind, but one way or another, she would finish this course. If it had to be without the support of the rest of the class, so be it.
Since she’d become a student at the academy two cycles ago, she’d had plenty of experience of being the outsider. Joining the class late, because she’d remained with her father after her mother died, made her different from the rest. Friendships, cliques, and lines of allegiance were already long cemented by the time she arrived. Her shyness had been interpreted as unsociability, and her absorption in her studies seen as boring. Then there was her lack of interest in team games. She had what was called a delicate build which translated into a lack of enthusiasm for the more physical aspects of cadet training. Kara didn’t consider herself weak, she just wasn’t the least bit interested in throwing her classmates onto the practice mats and giving loud shouts every time she did so. The local flora and fauna were far more fascinating, and at least they couldn’t make nasty remarks about her within her hearing.
Her pack contained a map of the route, water, an emergency medical kit, and enough basic rations to ensure survival. Naturally, there was no comunit because calling for help defeated the point of the exercise. The original treaty with the Maruts, the planet’s indigenous hominids, prevented a true survival experience because they were forbidden to go beyond their settlement area, but now, alone—even though she was within a two-day's walk of the colony—this so-called practice was worryingly more authentic than she’d anticipated.
Fifty cycles ago, the Triumvirate gained permission from the Maruts for a colony on the planet, and the settlers’ situation was still far from permanent. Dangers from the flora and fauna, a variable climate, and the planet’s position at one end of a galaxy spiral placed it in the category of a limited outer world. But for Kara, it was home.
She mentally ran through the list of worst possible dangers as she continued up the trail. The small red-humped salamanders were dangerous when they were in heat and defending their territory, but thankfully this wasn’t the season. Kallin bears hadn’t been spotted anywhere near this location for the last ten cycles, and this area wasn’t on the seasonal migratory route of the Maruts. However, these were merely a few dangers on a long list. She shunted these thoughts aside, lumping them together with her irritation and resentment.
Kara ignored the mid-day heat as the hot Hamarkhian sun beat down on the forest, and wiped away the sweat trickling into her eyes with the back of her hand. She listened for indications that her companions were up ahead. Nothing. Her heart started to pound and she sucked in small puffs of warm air as she heard her father’s instructions in her mind. If you’re out there alone, be alert and don’t think about anything else except for what’s around you. Focus on the next step that’ll get you back to safety. Survival is a matter of breaking down the major objective of staying alive into smaller, achievable tasks.She closed her eyes for a minute breathing slow and deep  till her pulse slowed and her flight impulse subsided.
If she didn't complete the exercise but retraced her steps to the starting point by going back down the hill, the entire unit would fail the exercise, drop their group rating, and have to repeat it after the term ended. This would give the other cadets more reason to resent her than they already did. If she finished the course, they wouldn’t achieve top ranking, but at least the assignment would be complete. Memorizing the route had been part of the preparation, and all she had to do was continue up the mountain to the summit, turn left and follow the trail till she arrived back at the spot where they’d camped last night. Easy.
Ignoring the burning ache in her calves, she pushed herself and walked faster, clinging to the small hope that maybe a couple of cadets had been instructed to wait for her at the top of the hill. Yet a knot of anxiety remained, no matter how frequently she told herself everything was going to be fine. After another spell of steep climbing, the thinning trees warned her she was approaching the edge of the forest. She’d catch up with them soon. The trouble with fear is it doesn’t stay boxed away.
Abruptly the forest ended, and a stretch of bare red rock led up to the summit. Here and there, the hardy brownish native moss had secured a grip, giving the landscape a burned mottled appearance and the slight breeze lifted small curls of dust. But there was no sign of any cadets.
Thank the stars this wasn't the storm season, although on Hamarkhis no season was without irregularities as weather patterns were notoriously unstable and hard to predict. If a storm had unexpectedly blown in from the desert, the group leader, Nina, would have received notification as she had a comunit for emergencies—which was no help to Kara.
She would have loved to collect more specimens but was far too aware of the price she was paying for her last stop. She listened and checked ahead before leaving the shelter of the trees. The low drone of the forest’s inhabitants rose and fell behind her.
Where in the universe had they gone? Sixteen trainee cadets on a routine survival exercise couldn’t disappear. Practical jokes were the warp and weft of dorm life but this wasn’t funny. Anything might happen. Kara’s anger skyrocketed, and she stormed ahead with her eyes fixed on her goal as outrage fueled the last half klick to the summit. Well, no one was going to be laughing when she reported this to Commander Trench.
As she mounted the final slope, she forgot her predicament and gasped in pleasure at the view. Row after row of red jagged peaks, crowned with snow, marched to the horizon. These mountains were the start of the Founders Range and covered the northern third of the continent.
Pre-settlement surveillance had discovered the Maruts pastured their herds of satyrs in valleys peppered throughout this range. An anthropologist among the first colonists had nicknamed the herbivores satyrs, a creature out of an ancient fable, as a joke, and the name had stuck. However, the Maruts didn’t keep satyr herds for their meat, but for their coats which molted seasonally; they used the thick satyr wool and satyr hides for clothing, housing, carpets, tents. They milked the satyrs as well, which produced at least half a dozen food products. The satyrs were the basis for their way of life, and without them the Maruts could face extinction.
Kara searched the slope below. No sign of her team-mates. How had she dropped this far behind? She hadn’t been that slow, had she? She started walking, but half-way to the summit, her stomach started making loud noises, and she figured she ought to eat. Basic survival training began early. The necessity of staying hydrated and fed was drummed into children living in a world of hidden hazards.
She didn’t bother about the spring-beetles―the forest was their habitat―but sat on a handy outcrop of rock and stuffed the bland emergency rations into her mouth, glugging the tepid liquid from her water bulb. The concentrated bars of essential vitamins and minerals were light to carry and quick to digest, and she brushed the final crumbs off her hands ready to face the downward trail. She would have to get moving if she wanted to reach camp before darkness fell.
Then she heard it.
A low growling, some distance away, behind and below her. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up as she recognized the sound. It was one every colonist was familiar with, but only through educational holovids. She turned, and froze as a huge red and green kallin bear emerged from the forest. Kara stared, stunned, then pinched her arm hard. No, she wasn’t hallucinating.
The beast raised its giant snout and sniffed the air. Catching her scent, the animal paced toward her, paw by gigantic razor tipped paw.
Kara’s training kicked in, and she pressed the adrenaline patch on the underside of her arm, releasing its one dose. As the hormone mixture flooded her bloodstream, enhancing her responses and donating an artificial mental clarity, she recognized she had no way of escape, and was unlikely to survive this encounter. A rapid stream of thoughts flashed through her mind. If only those in charge of such matters had anticipated needing more than one adrenaline boost. If only the others had waited, together their prospects would have been better, and what a story that would have been to tell her father. Rage at her classmates’ carelessness swept through her, and she cursed them a second time.
Tracking the giant predator’s progress, Kara removed the stunner from her belt with careful slow movements.
The animal began to charge, gaining momentum as it grew closer.
Logic and reason informed her there was no way she could outrun the beast, even if she’d been in the forest, as its formidable sense of smell would allow it to track her scent as easily as following a lit pathway. She remembered the kallin bear’s swiftness and natural weaponry made it one of the dominant mammals on this planet. She very nearly smiled; her last moments and all she could summon up were facts from a biology lesson.
She raised the pistol, it had a range of approximately a quarter of a klick, but she was a lousy shot. Martial arts, self-defense, in fact, any of the physical skills that helped the colonists survive fell into the category of no ability and even less interest. But while Kara intellectually understood the longer she delayed the more she increased her chances of hitting the creature, her hands shook as she observed the slavering mouth and sharp canines as the bear increased its speed.
The bear’s fast rolling gait made it hard to get a fix on a vulnerable spot, but she zeroed in on the left eye. She aimed, fired, and hit the animal in the shoulder. Damn. She fired another shot. The stunner had ten more shots before it needed recharging, but the rabid predator closing in on her clearly had a quick lunch on its mind. Her next shot hit the upper chest and made not a whit of difference to its approach. She fired again, and the stun charge struck close to her first shot. The animal’s pelt shivered, but it came on relentlessly. An irrational urge to flee seized her, but the bear would outpace her in minutes, if not seconds. No, she’d stand and face her death. She fired repeatedly. With each hit the creature keened, an eerie high-pitched moan, began to slow but didn’t stop.
She kept count in her head. Three shots left. Nothing worse than thinking you have ammunition you haven’t, their instructor had joked at every session as he hammered the necessity of this procedure over and over into their brains.
The bear finally slowed and part of her mind continued analyzing the animal even as the gap between them narrowed. She noted the unkempt fur, emaciated hide, and the prominence of its ribcage. The beast must be far from its home territory, making it more dangerous as its need for her warm-blooded flesh was greater.
At this distance, she couldn’t miss, and, as the bear closed, she could see its red pupils and smell its rank fetid breath. She pumped out the last shots, clinically observing the bear’s pelt shimmer and quiver, as each shot hit home, yet she still managed to miss its vital organs. After the last shot, and impelled by an undeniable primal compulsion, she turned and fled—her last chance as the adrenaline boost would only last for another few minutes.
After inhaling the delicate flavor of a prospective meal, the bear, galvanized by the sight of its prey escaping, intensified its pursuit.
Kara scrambled and slithered down the escarpment, trying to avoid the small boulders and stones littering the surface. She hit a patch of shale and lost her balance. Sharp stones scraped the skin off her arm as she slid. Stumbling to her feet, she threw a backward glance at her pursuer and noticed the bear had slowed. The stun shots had finally had some effect, and she’d gained a tiny lead. She sucked in a deep breath and took off running.
Then it happened. Her foot landed on a small rock, and as her ankle turned, she lost her balance and toppled sideways. A fierce stabbing pain shot up her leg as her full weight bore down on the twisted ankle.
The bear stalked toward her, its massive claw-tipped paws moving softly on the slope. She tried to get up but arrows of agony shot up her leg. She hadn’t panicked, and had given her best, but she was going to die. If her father could have seen her, he would be proud of her. Shortly she would join her mother.
The last of the adrenaline drained out of her body and she shut her eyes as the backlash of fatigue hit. Shaking and terrified, she curled into a fetal position, and squeezed her eyes tight as she attempted to block out the awful sight and sound of her approaching death. She lay paralyzed, expecting to feel the kallin bear’s teeth and claws rip and shred her skin and muscles at any second as it prepared to feed. Please let it be quick, she begged.


If you enjoy stories full of drama, action, intrigue with a romantic twist, and a strong heroine, then click the link and enter Kara’s world today.

Thank you so much, because writers need readers!

Stay well, keep reading, and best wishes,

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Another step on the journey...

When I’m asked why I write, the answer is pretty straightforward—there’s a story (an idea or a scene or a character or a combination of all three) in my head that's occupying my internal landscape, and the only way to maintain some semblance of sanity is to write it down. Once I start writing, I fall in love with the process of transforming whatever is living in my imagination into something visible. This has the advantage of clarifying and creating sense out of what is often a nebulous concept.

The beauty of this misty amorphous idea is its openness—the potential is cosmic—especially when writing science-fiction/fantasy/urban fantasy. The downside is while I’m having a brilliant time in my own sweet world, I can’t share it in this form. The upside of writing and publishing a book is that the conversion from abstract to concrete is complete.

Of course, there is always the possibility that no one else on the planet has any interest in what goes on inside my head, but the desire to share, to give back, and, hopefully, for others to enjoy my stories is a powerful one.

Veiled Planet started life in 2014, written in a blast of furious activity as a NaNoWriMo project. This is an annual internet-based creative writing challenge  that takes place during the month of November where the goal is to write 1,667 words a day, and emerge at the end with a 50,000 word first draft of a novel. This is a serious task if you’re working, have kids, or any kind of social life, but gives aspiring writers the chance to flex and build their creative muscles. The sense of achievement I got from participating and achieving my target inspired me to keep writing.

I put the rough draft aside and kept it as something to work on while I rested whatever novel I was writing at the time. Okay, it has taken several years more than anticipated to expand and edit that draft. However, Veiled Planet is due back from my editor at the end of this week, and that means the pre-publish butterflies are starting to flutter as I’m aiming to publish mid-June. This is the first book in the Hidden World Trilogy, though I’ve made a promise to myself that Book Two will not take another three years to write and publish.

I’ve always read science fiction since my older brother started buying paperbacks way back when, but apart from a flash fiction story, this is my first sci-fi novel. The book also falls into the YA (young adult) category as the heroine, Kara, is eighteen, and the story tells of her journey from an introverted student to a strong young woman who faces tremendous odds in a fight to choose her destiny. (Yes, that’s me cheering ‘Go, Kara!’ from the sidelines.)

I’m thrilled, apprehensive, and can’t wait to release Veiled Planet.
Best wishes

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Promotions Galore!

One of the most important and interesting things I've discovered about indie authors is that they are a genuinely generous bunch. Sharing promotions, newsletter swaps, giveaways, everyone helps each other to tell enthusiastic readers about our books.

If you're like me, and like to have one or more books waiting to be read, then this 
May We Fill Your Kindle Giveaway is available for the entire month of May. So, why not check out these fabulous titles because you never know where you'll find your next favorite author? 

What better way to spend these long summer evenings than curled up with a good book!

Best wishes,

Monday, 17 April 2017

Happy Days!

Hi everyone,

I hope, whether you celebrate Easter or not, you're having a great long weekend. As for me, well, I've just had a week of intense, full-on striving to meet a deadline. The mixture of emotions after pressing the 'Publish Now' button
for Sorcerous Deeds, the second novella in the Adept Solutions Series, includes exhilaration, satisfaction, and, if I'm being honest,  a degree of relief.

JB’s private detective agency is successful, even if he can’t say the same for his love life, but when two elven princes turn up and demand he fulfil a blood bond by finding a missing princess, he has no choice but to take the case.

Heading up an alliance with others provoked by a vindictive sorcerer’s murderous deeds, JB tracks the princess to the blighted Wraithlands. The allies face exploding portals and monstrous shapeshifters, but can they rescue the kidnapped princess in time to prevent her death releasing havoc on an unsuspecting world?"

A big thank you to my editor, Sarah Watts, who offers invaluable feedback as well as reminding me I don’t need to cram everything into one sentence. To everyone else who helped with feedback on the story, the description, and the cover, you're the best!

If you read and enjoyed Hekate’s Chalice, Book One in the series, want to follow the latest  adventures and shenanigans of the gang at Adept Solutions, enjoy gripping mysteries interwoven with generous doses of magic and humor, then click the link below to enter this imaginatively creative world today!

PS If you're with the Amazon Prime program, you can download the book for free.

My next writing project is finishing up a book I started in 2014. I’ve been working on this science fiction/young adult novel intermittently ever since, mostly when I finished a stage (first draft, second draft etc.,) in whatever novel I was writing.

It has taken time, and it's an interesting exercise to see how my writing has changed, but at last, I’m on the final tweaking stage before sending the manuscript off to my editor. I’m hoping, fingers and toes crossed, the book will be ready for publishing by the end of May. My blog is called ‘writingmynovelnoworkingtitleyet’, and as far as this story goes, this is very true. It’s probably time to give my subconscious some strict instructions in this matter.

So, while I have a very serious debate with myself about whether or not to get that large tub of Baskin and Robbins to reward myself for achieving another step toward my dream of being a writer, I hope you have a brilliant week.

Stay well, keep reading, and best wishes,

Saturday, 1 April 2017

No April Fool

When a friend asked me if I was interested in taking part in a cross-promotion on April Fool’s Day, I hesitated as all sorts of ridiculous ideas ran through my head. As someone who remembers many a bruise from the ‘pinch, punch, first day of the month’ tradition, I thought, April Fool’s Day? Really? Readers will think this is a practical joke and won’t take it seriously. They’ll wonder what kind of hoax is this? No way would anyone waste their time checking out books advertised on a day famous for trickery. Surely no reputable author would take part in such a prank on the public? Would they?
I hesitated until I saw the title of the promotion—A Fool for Love—and that made me think again because one thing is for sure, love can make fools of us all. In my early teens I used to read my mother’s Woman’s Weekly magazine for the romance stories. I loved those, especially the serials that ran over several weeks. Today, even though I write mostly genre fiction with fast-paced action and mystery, there is always a love story at the heart of my novels.
Relationships are at the center of all fiction books, irrespective of genre, and so April Fool's Day or not, A Fool for Love offers over thirty chances to find a new favorite character and immerse yourself in their heartaches and joys. This promotion gives you the opportunity to discover romance in Contemporary, Chicklit, Fantasy, Historical, Suspense, New Adult, Paranormal and Sci-fi genres.
As I said previously—and I’m positive you’ll hear me say it again—if you want something new, you have to try something different. And believe me, I promise there is no trickery involved in this 99c promotion.
Go ahead and click the A Fool for Love link and enjoy a wonderful romance:

Stay well, keep reading, and best wishes,

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Path of Least Resistance

Scrolling through screen after screen looking for the next book can be time consuming. When we do make a decision it’s easy to be seduced by an enticing cover, a tantalizing book description, and rave 5 star reviews—only to find that our expectations aren’t met, and we experience that slow, or sometimes quick, descent into disappointment. Often we persevere past the point when we know we should stop reading but keep going in the hope that the original promise will be fulfilled. Sometimes, we do give up. We close the book, turn off our ereaders, and with a frustrated sigh start the hunt again.

I have always read and loved stories—whether as books, audiobooks or film—and to be writing my own novels is a dream come true. I received a prize for a poem I wrote when I was 10 years old, so I blame my teachers, the education system, and whoever decided I had won the competition for planting the idea that I could write in my head.

But having an idea, then planning, drafting (several times!), and editing before publication is only one half of the equation. The other half is finding readers because writers want to share their stories. As a writer, I can tell you when somebody enjoys one of the books I have written, it’s the most rewarding feeling. So finding readers is a serious quest for me.
Here’s what readers have written about Healer’s Magic, Book 1 in the Kala Trilogy.

"Great descriptions and depths of the primary people, a good back story, marvelous romance, and consistent supporting characters." Sierraflowr
"Deep emotion, complex story, a very good read!" TDBRLVR
"Loved it so much bought the next two in the trilogy straight away. Looking forward to starting them tonight." Mrs. L. Dagdeviron

I am grateful and honored by readers like those who posted the above reviews because this is what I strive for. Consequently I have made Healer's Magic, Book One in the Kala Trilogy FREE!

When considering offers like this you may think is this really for me? And studies show this is the most common response because doing nothing—the path of least resistance—is the easiest path

However, this is the path you have already been traveling, and the trouble with staying on that path is you’re most likely to get the same outcome you always get.

On the other hand, if you want to experience something new, something different, sometimes you have to make a new choice…

A powerful healer. A treacherous enemy. A deadly conflict.
Tatya's world slides into chaos when a demon consumed with the desire to control her power attacks those she loves. She refuses the local master vampire’s offer of aid, as he's just turned her best friend into one of the undead. She needs allies, but who can she trust in the battle to destroy this dangerous enemy? 

Click the link, download the book today, and enjoy a thrilling roller coaster read:

And whatever book you're reading, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Stay well, keep reading, and best wishes,


Monday, 13 February 2017

February Festival!


By now memories of Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations are fading, and where I live in the northern hemisphere, January is gloomy and dark. Thankfully by mid-February the days are getting longer, and waking up to a sky filled with gold and peach fringed clouds, and coming home in daylight instead of a gloom filled twilight always cheers me up. (Am I jealous of those of you who live in the southern hemisphere and are now enjoying summer sunshine? You bet!)

Yet February isn’t lacking in festivals to cheer us up. The most well-known in the English speaking countries are Pancake Day, (my favorite is lemon juice and maple syrup… yum!) Mardi Gras, (on my bucket list in New Orleans) and of course, Valentine’s Day.

However, I'd like to tell you about another festival taking place—and this one is for readers. From  today, February 13th, through to Sunday 19th, there's a fantastic opportunity to download a brilliant selection of free books from the 
Science Fiction and Fantasy Promotion, where a number of authors have joined together to share their work.

I know taste in books is personal, just like food, clothes, and everything else in life about which we make decisions, but you don’t have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy these books. For those of you who don't read either science fiction, fantasy, or any of the many sub-genres, I would ask you to, at least, look through the wide range of books on offer in this freebie promotion, and encourage you to give these authors a chance. A good story is about people and relationships, irrespective of the setting, and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. Give it a go!

Click the link, choose your book, and enjoy!

Curling up with a good book in a cozy chair is one of life's pleasure, so be sure and let your friends know.

Stay well, keep reading, and best wishes.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Climbing a mountain...

When I took a sabbatical to test out what writing full-time would be like, the image in my mind was one where I sat sedately at my desk tapping out my stories filled with inspiration from my muse. The truth of the situation is that while the writing part has absolutely more than fulfilled my expectations, I had no idea how addictive the process would become or of the challenges I would face. Finding readers has also been a surprising learning curve, and I have acquired a lot of skills I had no idea I would need!
But life is for learning, I’m enjoying the journey, and this week has been a real highlight for me. I published the final book in my urban fantasy, Demon’s Nemesis, and the three books in my first box set, The Kala Trilogy Box Set. I feel like a mountain climber who has reached the top of a mountain. The view is fantastic, and I’m real proud of this achievementone I had only dreamed of a few years ago.
I’d very much like to share my excitement about this success with you, so starting today, and just for the month of February, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can download The Kala Trilogy Box Set for free!
Here's a description of the book:
A healer, a demon, a vampire: an eternal triangle with a difference.
When a powerful demon sets his sights on gaining control of Tatya's power, a series of tragic events ensues. Tatya finds love and friends in unlikely places, but ultimately she must face the demon and fight for her life. 

If you enjoy urban fantasy fused with mysticism, thrilling action, and determined heroines who never give up, then you’ll find this box set a real treat.
Click the link the link and start the journey:

You'll find me popping up on these sites from time to time, so please drop by.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Giveaways

One way authors spread the word about their work is by participating in cross-promotions.  For those of you (like me not so long ago) who don’t know what a cross-promotion is, it’s when a group of writers get together and organize a free giveaway of their books. This is a win-win situation for readers and writers.

This InstaFreebie promotion will appeal to fans of romance – so whether you enjoy contemporary, chicklit, paranormal, or historical romance (and there are many more sub-genres included), this is a bonanza where you can take your pick of over a hundred free books including my time-slip novel, One Summer in Montmartre.

To enjoy these free books, pop over to the Instafreebie website and sign up at:  

Once your membership is confirmed, click on the link below (or paste it into your browser), take a little time and search through the categories, then download the book (or books) you want, including my time-slip novel, One Summer in Montmartre.
And if your friends love a good romance, why not surprise them by letting them share in the giveaway?

Romance InstaFreebie Giveaway link: 



My novella, Hekate’s Chalice, is also on a free promotion from today until the 27th December. If you like gripping mysteries, interwoven with generous doses of magic and humor, then click on the link below, and enter this imaginatively creative world today!
Here’s the blurb:
A stolen artifact. An imminent deadline. A tenacious investigator.
JB runs a private detective agency, but if business doesn’t pick up soon, he’ll have to close the doors for good. When someone steals Hekate’s chalice, JB and his maverick team jump at the chance to track down the supernatural object. They’re resourceful and determined, but can they outsmart wizards, witches, and daemons before the client’s deadline expires?
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not you can still curl up in a cosy chair, and enjoy a great book.

Stay well, keep reading and best wishes until next year!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Writing and Film

Stories begin as visions in the mind where characters and action take place on the screen of our imagination. A writer then crafts their vision into the tangible form of a novel to share that story. A fascinating aspect is that the process is reversed when reading, and the book becomes like a film in the mind of the reader.

Both film and fiction tell stories using scenes. In film, each scene is composed of many shots chosen because they increase the significance and or implication of the action – whether it’s dramatic or static action - and film uses varying distances of shot to increase that impact. Long and medium shots, close-up, and extreme close-up are the basic types of shot used in film, and when one shot ends, it is immediately replaced by the next shot. The result is a stream of images that tell a story.

So, how does this apply to fiction?

Here’s an extract from D. H. Lawrence’s short story, Odour of Chrysanthemums.
          "The small locomotive engine, Number 4, came clanking, stumbling down from Selston with seven full wagons. It appeared round the corner with loud threats of speed, but the colt that it startled from among the gorse, which still flickered indistinctly in the raw afternoon, outdistanced it at a canter. A woman, walking up the railway-line to Underwood, drew back into the hedge held her basket aside, and watched the footplate of the engine advancing. The trucks thumped heavily past, one by one, with slow inevitable movement, as she stood insignificantly trapped between the jolting black wagons and the hedge." 

Looking at the introductory paragraph, a quick analysis shows how Lawrence introduces the setting with a long shot. Transitioning to medium shots, he cuts to the colt and the woman. The next shot, a close-up, shows the woman holding her basket aside. The description of the trucks moving past the woman is an extreme close-up, and in the phrase ‘thumped heavily past, one by one’ Lawrence traps the reader just as much as the space between the train and the hedge traps the woman.

Lawrence also follows the dramatic arc of rising action. The movement of the approaching train is echoed by the colt running, and creates a climax (and contrast) with the woman forced into stillness by the immense noisy train. Further on the paragraph moves into falling action with transitions through medium shots of the countryside, concluding with a long shot of a building silhouetted against the horizon.

Trying this exercise with your own work is interesting and constructive as you may find you favor one particular shot more than others. If you find most of your scenes are, for example, medium shots, then varying those with longer and shorter shots can give the scene more impact, pace, and drama.
Writing Update
The final book in my Samsara Trilogy is with my editor, and I'm aiming for a Christmas release. Although, life being what it is, it might well be a New Year publication. So, I'm busy, excited and nervous as I prepare for publication. This book completes the trilogy, and will be my first box set - a milestone I wasn't sure I would ever reach. Yeah!

Today's Haiku
are you old and grey
my once and youthful lover –
I dream about you

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To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

Stay well and best wishes.

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Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....

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