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Showing posts from October, 2012

Two of a Kind: Spooky Snow Stories

I've just started reading Michelle Paver's 'Dark Matter', which was passed on to me by a friend who'd enjoyed it, and which has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while now because I thought Halloween week would be a good time to pick up a story subtitled: 'A Ghost Story'.  So far (Chapter 4) I haven't yet met any ghosts, but I am loving both the characterisation and the incredible sense of period and setting she creates. 

Having grown up on an eclectic reading diet, including 'Scott of the Antarctic' biographies and Jack London stories alongside 'Little Women' and 'Ballet Shoes', the whole Arctic setting felt very familiar.  The snow, the wind, the cracking of ice, the wheeling gulls (which turn out to be kittiwakes) all rang more bells than seemed reasonable for someone who's never travelled North of Stockholm. 

Now, Scandinavian fiction has been the 'next big thing' for a while, and I've taken in my share of &#…

Halloween Blog Hop and Giveaway

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Welcome to the Wild Rose Press Halloween Haunted Garden Blog Hop and Giveaway.  Phew, what a mouthful!  Oh, and welcome back if you've followed the link here from one of the lovely Roses' blogs.  If you've visited before, you may remember I promised you some thoughts on the dark side of light fiction, and here they are...



I love Halloween, and all things gothic and vampiric, which surprises most people who don't know me well. After all, I don't write dark, paranormal fiction.  Well, not often, anyway.  I mostly write light contemporary romances, with not a ghoul or demon in sight (though I do have one, as yet unpublished, story featuring a Djinn.  And even that one's faintly comic).  Occasionally I have an odd outburst of creepiness, as in the case of a ghost story I wrote in which the ghosts of a family who perished in a flood came back to claim a child (mercifully, that one's somehow disappeared off my computer - maybe a poltergeist stole it).  Mostly…

Breaking News: My Novel is Accepted!

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Apologies if this is not the most coherent post ever, but I'm excited!  Recently I sent my contemporary romance novel, 'Perfect Partners' to Crimson Romance (a clip of their website is below, but do go and look at the real thing - it's much prettier and has lots of good books on it) and they have accepted it for publication in 2013. Hooray! 

My novel 'Perfect Partners' is set in the glamorous world of ballroom dancing, and was inspired partly by my experiences on the Oxford University Ballroom Dancing team, longer ago than I care to admit, and partly by my love of Strictly Come Dancing.  Which is on tonight - that's my plans for the evening sorted, then.  I'll be spending the evening in front of Strictly - possibly with a glass of bubbly to toast my success... though the bubbly is banned until I hit my wordcount for the day... better get writing!


Spooky Stories

Indeed it is the season for ghost stories, and if you like them, there's an interesting list of recommendations here.

My perennial favourites - neither of which appears in the list - are Susan Hill's 'Woman in Black' (yes, the one that was recently filmed with Daniel Radcliffe) and 'Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad' by the superbly creepy M.R.James.  Also, if it counts, 'A Christmas Carol.'

Any more recommendations?




Halloween is just around the corner... Boo!

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Yes, Halloween is nearly here.  The nights are drawing in, there's a nip in the air, the shops are full of pumpkins and black cats and gruesome edibles (gunky eyeball cake, anyone?), and the Wild Rose Press Halloween blog hop is coming up!  Stop by nearer the time to read my thoughts on the dark side of writing light fiction, and for links to lots of lovely Wild Rose Authors writing about the season of spookiness.

I've got some personal plans for the 31st too, so if you're really good and leave me lots of friendly comments, I may risk a photo of my Halloween costume ... Though come to think of it, you may prefer that I didn't.  That probably depends on the costume ...

Discovery of the Day: Blue Penny Quarterly

I used to be a big fan of literary magazines, but everything changes so fast online that recently I've rather lost touch.  So I was delighted to stumble across a link to this oddly named and oddly compelling publication:

http://bluepennyquarterly.blogspot.co.uk/

Published, as you might expect, quarterly, and packed with polished and thought-provoking stories (albeit with rather an American slant), it's well worth a visit, especially since it's free to read.  The magazine is advert-free, and publication is subsidised by a small reading fee of $2 per submission.  

And why is it so named?  Ah ha.  Read it and find out!

Discovery of the Day: A Great Writing Prompt Site

I'm a big fan of writing prompts to help get things started.  A blank page is far less terrifying if there's something to suggest a direction you might take in filling it.  I have a number of books of writing prompts (of which my current favourite is 'The Writer's Idea Book') but it's always good to find fresh ones, and this is my latest source:

http://www.squidoo.com/writeprompts

The site contains not only some great prompts (frequently updated) but also some wise thoughts about the use of prompts, such as a reminder not to get too hung up about hunting for the 'right' prompt.  Reading 100 prompts in quick succession won't get the book written, and will mean that when you come to use those prompts in future, they're no longer as fresh and inspiring as if you were seeing them for the first time.  You have been warned!

Writing blurbs, or what makes a book sell?

So... a friend asked on facebook today for advice about how to write a book blurb.  Being a former marketer, amongst (many) other things, I thought I ought to have something to say, so I sat down to try and write a few pointers.  When the few pointers turned into something of an essay, I decided this was worth making more public than a private message in facebook.  So, for any writers who have ever struggled with the question of just how much to give away on the back cover, here are my thoughts...

1) Don't give too much away.
You are not writing a blurb to give your reader every detail about your characters, world and back story.  They will find that out when they read the book, and too much detail in the short space of a blurb makes most of us dizzy!  You don't have to tell the reader everything now.  The blurb just needs to give the core facts which tell them whether this is a book they will want to buy.  In most cases that means the genre, the general setting, the protagoni…