Books and Reading Thursday: Enjoying your own creations

Bit of strange post for this week’s Books and Reading Thursday!

I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day which pretty much summed up part of the reason I started writing:

‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ – Toni Morrison

I write because I have stories that I want to read all bundled up in my brain and I just have to expel them 😀

So, I write these tales that I am so desperate to read and then what happens?

I have to re-write and edit them so much that the thought of reading them again makes me want to start rocking in a corner somewhere mumbling to myself!

But in April, I plan to re-edit and refresh the books I published last year in time for their one year anniversary. I learnt tons last year, not just about writing itself, but about the whole publishing process.

A while back, Sierra from Permashift, updated her book, The Soul (a book I highly recommend checking out), and I realised how much I also wanted to go over my older books and give them an update.

But, at the same time, I am also kind of excited to go back and read them.

I know I will be doing some editing and re-writing, but there won’t be too much (I hope 😀 ), so I’m hoping I will be able to read the books mainly for the stories I was so desperate to write in the first place.

The main books I will be refreshing are Stolen Bloodline, Heart of the Arena, and The Queen’s Jester, my first batch of books I ever published. I will also be going over Prophecy of Stones and The Magic Spark, but probably later in the year.

It’s getting on for a year since I published those first three books, and though some of the writing might make me cringe, I am hoping that the long time away will allow me to once again enjoy these stories and characters that I spent so long creating.

So, April is going to be a busy month getting all the books updated whilst writing a new one, but a fun month nonetheless 🙂

I highly recommend going back and reading the stories you spent so long creating, especially if you haven’t looked at them in a while. It might be difficult to read them without completely turning off the nagging voice inside that tells you bits you could have improved and things, but you worked hard on those characters and stories, why not go back and enjoy them after you’ve had some time apart? 😀

Do you enjoy going back and reading your own books? Do you ever miss the stories you wrote years before?

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Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myth by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty

So today I am really excited to host a couple of fellow bloggers who have collaborated on a book!

These bloggers are the wonderful Ali Isaac, and the amazing Jane Dougherty!

Now, I have to say, when I saw this book was coming out I got very excited. I love Ali’s posts she does on the mythical, and I always adore Jane’s writing, so when I saw the announcement of this book, my reaction was:

give

The book is called, Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myth.

And it comes with stunning cover art!

grocover

It’s will be available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in the release which is 11th February.

Normal price 99c/ 99p FREE Wed 11th Feb – Sun 15th Feb

When I offered to host the book on my blog (because again, am very excited to read it!), I was interested to know why they wrote it together.

Why did we write this book together?

Ali: We had already become friends through our blogs. I had this idea of re-telling stories from Irish mythology kicking around in my head for a long time, in fact, I had been incorporating some of them into my Conor Kelly books. It turned out that Jane, too, had already been re-writing her favorite myths. It just seemed natural that we would join forces and work on a compilation together. The first stories we worked on and subsequently revealed to each other just happened to be the most tragic ones, the love stories, perhaps because we connected in some way with the characters and what happened to them. We noticed the theme, and thought it would be fun to launch them for Valentine’s Day. That was in November, so we had to work fast… the Christmas and New Year celebrations held things up, but it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

Jane: I started these retellings about a year ago with the story of Deirdre. It was cold, we had had a flurry of snow for about five minutes that had everybody gazing in wonder up at the sky, and the blackbirds were taken by surprise and fussed about in the trees. Something in the combination made me think of Deirdre and her feelings as a young girl kept in seclusion, just waiting to be married to an old king. One story led to another, and when Ali, at the end of last year suggested we have a go at rewriting some of these tragic stories, I knew I could do it. Tragic usually means love stories. Love stories means Valentine’s Day. Our collection had to be ready for February 14th. And it is!

Blurb

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

Excerpt

From the Story of Baile and Aillinn

Bailé, the soft-spoken, left Emain Macha in the north to meet Aillinn, his betrothed. Rare was such a wedding host, and uncommonly joyful. For the king of Ulster’s only son and the daughter of the king of Leinster had made a love match. Even the sun shone bright on Bailé’s journey, the hounds danced and milled about the horses’ legs, fancy bridle bits sang silver songs in the wind, and the company was filled with joy.
Bailé left behind his own lands of Ulster, the blue lochs and gorse-yellow hills where the eagles cried. Before him, beyond the purple peaks of home, lay the low, wooded hills and the rich plains of Leinster. He saw his Aillinn in the contours of the hills, in the white plumage of the swans on the river. She was soft as new grass and spring foals, wild as the March wind, and generous as the blackbird singing to the world. His heart was full of joy that soon they would be wed and their union would bind together her rich beauty of soft hills and birdsong, and his wild majesty of the eagle and the red deer.

Introduction

Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty are writers with a shared heritage. Ali has woven that heritage into the fabric of her stories about Conor Kelly and his adventures in the Otherworld. Jane consistently slips references to the old stories and the old heroes into all of her novels.

This collection of retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish mythology is our tribute to this culture which has so captivated us.
Love in the Iron Age, as you will see, did not have the benefit of Disney. The Ancient Irish had to contend with far more violence than modern lovers, and their ideas of what constituted happiness were not necessarily the same as ours. An Irish princess was not going to languish at the top of an ivory tower waiting for a knight in shining armour. She was much more likely to get on her horse and drag him out of his bed with a curse if he hung about too long.

But in many ways, love through the ages has not changed one iota. Grief, sorrow and passion are all there in spadesful.

If the only thing you know about Irish mythology is Saint Patrick, serpents, and Leprechauns, it’s about time you read this collection. If you like what you see, this could be the start of a life changing experience.

Links

Jane can be found on her blog, www.janedoughertywrites.com, on her FaceBook author page, or tweeting.
You can find out more about her on Goodreads, and all her books are available on Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk.

You will find Ali pottering about most days on her blog: www.aliisaacstoryteller.com, her Facebook author page, or tweeting.
Alternatively, you can email her at: ali@aliisaacstoryteller.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

So why not check out not only this incredible book, but these amazing authors? 🙂

This book is definitely on my TBR list, and I will be doing a review for it after reading!

*This is a scheduled post and I will be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!* 🙂

Character Sketch: Cosmas

Thought I’d do something a little different for today’s post. I recently got a graphics tablet and have been having great fun playing around with it.

I was inspired to draw a younger, care free version of Cosmas, who is a character from Prophecy of Stones.

Cosmas

Cosmas was one of my favourite characters to write, along with her bond mate Otto. There’s something really gentle but at the same time strong about her.

Excerpt:

“Will you not join us in celebration?” the man asked, spreading an arm behind him to gesture at the joyful crowd. “Will you dance?”

“Does she look like a woman who dances? Really?” Sindrin scoffed, leaning close to the man and jerking a thumb in Milana’s direction. She shot him a glare and put a hand on her hip. He took an instant step back, raising his hands before him in mock innocence.

“We will join you.” Cosmas’ soft voice flowed from Milana’s side, and she flicked her glance to her.

“Cosmas, we can’t-”

“Oh, come Milana, just for a moment,” Cosmas interrupted. She tugged Otto towards the crowd, the two of them spinning around, their laughter merging with the music that drifted over the area. Otto jigged on the spot whilst Cosmas’ agile, fluid moves made her the envy of the other dancers as she swirled and dipped with graceful ease around her bond mate.

If you’d like to find out more about Cosmas, why not check out Prophecy of Stones?

Prophecy of Stones

The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.

Links:

Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes and Noble

*This is a scheduled post, I will be back on Monday to reply to comments and emails. Hope everyone has a brilliant weekend!* 🙂

I have a confession to make…

So this week was my first week back after my long break- a break which was much needed and I was glad I took.

But I have to admit after such a while away from writing I was seriously nervous about getting back to actual writing.

At the beginning of the week I wasn’t even been able to look at the manuscript I’d been working on before Christmas.

Why?

I have no idea 😀

I was just really nervous about starting writing again. I’m sure a lot of it was to do with the fact I had such a long break, in which I only did tiny bits of writing here and there, all of which had nothing to do with the story I’m currently working on.

The thing is, it wasn’t even as though I had to start from a blank page. I am nearly finished with my current manuscript, it’s just the last few chapters that need doing, and I know exactly how they are going to go.

But mid-week, I pushed myself past the irrational worry of writing again and got out the folder with all my plans and inspiration sheets.

Well, it was an almost instant reaction.

I flicked through my chapter plans, my character sheets, my pictures and BAM! The excitement flooded back to me!

That intense excitement and passion that came flooding back to me in that moment drowned out any worry I had about writing after such a long break, and I opened up my manuscript and got straight back to it!

And it has been so good getting back to it! I forgot how much I need to write 😀 It was instant relief, and I got so into it I looked up at my clock a while after and three and a half hours had whipped by without me noticing!

Next week I will go back to having my status reports beneath my posts, as they always helped me keep focus and see if I was achieving my goals. My daily word count target during weekdays will still be 2000 words, and as with last year I will be taking weekends off.

So here’s to another great year of writing for us all!

Have you ever had trouble getting back into writing? How do you get your writing skills back into shape? Have you set yourself any daily word count goals?

*This is a scheduled post and I will be back on Monday to reply to comments and emails. Have a great weekend!*

On to 2015!

So, here we are- The beginning of a fresh New Year.

I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas and a great start to 2015 🙂

I thought about doing a round up post for 2014, but when I look back on it I was pretty overwhelmed. Not only did I achieve so much that I’m proud of, but I met so many incredible new friends and authors!

In December I did sit down and think about where I was heading in 2015, and how I was going to get there. 2014 was great, but I will admit I was all over the place. It was my first year at writing, blogging, publishing, reviewing, etc!

This time around I feel a little calmer and organised about it all 😀 I have a good plan going forwards.

Last year I got caught up in trying everything and, though it was great to learn so much, I need a more streamlined approach going forwards.

I have a new blogging schedule planned, a better timetable for publishing my books, ideas for improving my writing, but the main thing that caught me last year and gave me unbelievable amounts of stress…

Marketing.

Ah, yes. Marketing.

It really was a hate/hate relationship. I didn’t like doing it, you guys don’t like reading or seeing it 😀

So, this year, I have decided to take a different strategy for it. I realise it has to be done, but why should it give me such intense grief as it did last year? So, I have a much better plan in store for that, which involves focusing much more on reviews and visual marketing, trying to make it more fun rather than a chore.

Before this turns into an essay, I will just say that I am back and raring to go for 2015! I think it’s going to be an excellent year for us all!

I am gradually catching up with everyone’s blogs, which I have missed reading 🙂

So, whilst I catch up and try to get back into the routine, I hope you all have a fantastic start to the New Year and have already made great progress!

How was Christmas? Did you have a good start to the New Year?

The Magic Spark- A light, enjoyable read, full of fun and romance.

The Magic Spark

TheMagicSparkCover The Magic Spark
Contemporary romance with a dash of magic.

What people have said:

‘This is a sweet, fantastical, quirky, CLEAN romantic comedy where the author’s British humor shines. What happens when a charmingly, irritating fairy godmother decides to play matchmaker with a castle owning Scotsman and a reluctantly regimented woman who has given up on love? Well, what you get is The Magic Spark. *Suitable for all ages.’ – Jennifer

‘I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy a sweet, fun romance with a bit of a magic spark in it.’ – Elaine Jeremiah

To Buy:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Createspace (Paperback)
Barnes and Noble

((Sorry for the marketing post, but I haven’t had much time to write proper posts lately. Will probably do these on a weekend, just to have some activity on the blog 🙂 ))

Books and Reading Wednesday: Tales of the Disappearing Bookmark

So, this is related to reading, but not any specific book.

I have come to the conclusion that I have a bookmark goblin. A little creature that comes along and gobbles up not only my proper bookmarks, but also the stuff I use as temporary bookmarks as well!

I swear, I take whatever I’m using as a bookmark out of my book, place it down carefully, go to get it back after reading and POOF! It’s gone.

This has led to me using a good variety of things to mark my place in my books:

– Scraps of paper
– Tissues
– Greeting cards
– Money
– Gift vouchers
– Pens (I don’t recommend this one!)
– Sweet wrappers
– Food bags

The list could go on and on!

My current bookmark is a thank you note card, a pretty one :)

My current bookmark is a thank you note card, a pretty one 🙂

This is one of the things I do love about the Kindle and eBook readers, that I don’t have to worry about scrabbling round for a bookmark in the middle night when I’m done reading.

Still, I do read quite a few paperbacks, so it’s probably about time I try to find and reprimand my bookmark goblin, or invest in some GIANT-sized bookmarks that I will never be able to lose 😀

Do you have trouble finding bookmarks? Have you ever used anything unusual as a bookmark?