Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

Just before I hop to the Romance Weekly blog hop, I just wanted to say sorry for the lack of blog posts last week! I was pretty ill, and couldn’t get onto my computer, but thank you to everyone who commented, I’m sorry again for not replying! 🙂

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Welcome to all those joining me from the lovely Elizabeth Janette’s blog, author of Redemption for Liars.

This week’s question is- What would you say your writing strengths and weaknesses are?

It’s kind of difficult to decide my strengths to be honest, because I’m very critical of my own work 😀

But I do think character interaction might be one of my strengths. I’ve had quite a few comments from people who’ve read my books and enjoyed the way I write dialogue and interaction between characters, as I’m able to show their relationships well and in a way that is easy to read.

As for weaknesses, well, probably my top one has to be description, or lack of it 😀 When I write I tend to see it like a movie in my head, and sometimes I forget that the reader doesn’t see what I see, that they don’t know the scene is set in a dank forest or a bright room. So yeah, I need to work on that!

Also, my over use of commas, but thankfully my readers do pick up on that in editing!

What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are?

Now hop on over to the amazing Jeana E. Mann and see what she has to say about her writing and maybe check out her latest release, Vindicated 🙂

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 16,846 (+14,323 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

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!* 🙂

Books and Reading Thursday: Two birds, one stone…

So, as you might have read, I have currently been reading and completing the first practical writing craft book on my TBR list.

And I have to say it’s brilliant! The confidence it has boosted in me as a writer is amazing, and it’s really helping me to see what I’m capable of.

In fact, it has been so awesome I have made the decision to always have a writing craft book on the go.

Now, I have said before that I’m not very good at reading two books at a time, but seeing as I will be reading a fiction and non-fiction, I think I can probably manage that. It will also mean I will be able to get through my TBR list a little faster!

I will also be doing it this way partly so as I can get back to reading fiction, which I am really missing! I will be reading the next book on my list, which is The Woodcutter by Kate Danley, which I will do a post about another week.

To any writers reading this, I highly recommend trying out some practical writing exercises either by finding them online or by getting a book. My word, I cannot begin to say the amount of confidence in my abilities it has given me!


Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft again, finally!
Word count: 2523

Books read towards challenge: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

It’s Romance Weekly time!

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Welcome to all those joining me from the awesome Dani Jace’s blog, author of White Doe.

This week’s question came from Sarah Hegger and was about opening lines:

A great opening line draws the reader in, makes them want to know more and compels them to read further. Share a great opening line, can be a classic or a more recent novel, tell us why you like it and then share the opening line to your newest WIP.

I was going to go the classic Pride and Prejudice route, because, well, it’s a classic and it’s one that pretty much everyone will have heard.

But, when I thought about it, there was another one that struck me.

It’s actually from a book I haven’t finished reading, and started years ago.

‘Burn this book.’

A striking line, right? 😀 It’s an opening that really caught me because of it’s sharpness, and has made me remember it for years, even if I never finished the book (which I will at some point!).

It’s from Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker.

As for the opening line of my newest WIP, well, as I stated last week, I have restarted it. So, this is very, very much a work in progress!

“Tut tut, Dr Murphy, nobody likes a coward.”

This won’t be the final version, but it’s something written so as the first page isn’t a stark blank page! 😀

So, there you have it!

Now hop along to Fiona Riplee’s blog and see what opening line catches her attention!

Is there an opening line you remember? What’s your WIP’s current opening line?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Planning.
Word count: Eh heh…

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Back to the beginning…

Do you ever read a manuscript or piece of work you’ve written and think, ‘Something’s just not right…’ Then spend weeks trying to work out what it is, and usually it’s one small thing, but you know that one small thing means you will have to re-write the entire thing?

Well, guess what…

It’s happened to me 😀

I have been struggling and struggling to finish my current manuscript. I knew it wasn’t the characters, it wasn’t the story, and it wasn’t the setting. Everything was great, in fact, I am really proud of what I’ve come up with.

But it was how I had laid out the story.

It was wrong, and just wasn’t working.

So, although it’s hard to get rid of over 50,000 words of work, I’m going to have to do it.

I will be starting from scratch, working out a better plan and beginning again.

It’s going to be tough and hard work, but it needs to be done. Deep down I know how amazing this story will be with this one change, even if it means starting over everything again. Back to the beginning for me!

But, it’s going to be worth it!

Now to hit that, ‘Delete’ button… Urgh!

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Going back to the beginning! – Planning.
Total word count: 0.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Books and Reading Thursday: Books on my Bookshelf

(Books on my Bookshelf is not a review, just my personal thoughts, feelings, and memories on the books I own).

Another book for this series 😀

This week I have chosen, Magic Kingdom for Sale- Sold! By Terry Brooks.

magickingdom

Nice chapter headings!

Nice chapter headings!

I actually didn’t realise this was the first book in a series until recently, so I might have to g check out the rest.

I got this book for free because someone I knew quite a few years ago was having a big turn out, and I saw this in his pile of ‘rubbish’ and it caught my interest.

Not only because the title looked great fun, but because of how well read it looked! I figured any book that looked like it had been opened over and over again had to be a good read.

So he let me have it, and it sat on my bookshelf for a couple of years longer until I finally got around to it.

One of my main memories of this book is that it was a major slog to get through the first few chapters. I mean, seriously a slog. It probably wasn’t like that for a lot of people, but I’m not very good with books that don’t start the story or action within a couple of chapters. I lose interest with all the scene setting and background setting.

I get that it has to be done sometimes, especially in series, but it didn’t help that the main character’s background that was being set up was really rather depressing!

But, I managed to churn my way through the chapters and I’m glad I stuck with it! It was a great read, and was packed with a great deal of fun as the cover and title hinted at.

I also have to say it’s one of those books that really inspired me to want to write my own books. I love those stories where someone goes from a hum-drum life and is thrown into a new world of adventure and excitement (that also might have something to do with all the fairytales my mum read me as a kid, it really spurred my imagination!).

Those books where an ordinary person is thrown into another world just is such a great parllel to readers.

You pick up a book and, as the reader, you’re like the character being thrown into this whole new world and story to enjoy. And sometimes it can be just as confusing, but also incredible!

But that’s what books do and why we read them, right? To let ourselves be taken somewhere else for a few hours, away from the hum-drum of everyday life.

So, yeah, it was a book that I definitely remember for the slow start, but also the incredible adventure that lay beyond it.

Random quote: “Ben grimaced. Wonderful. Just tap the red shoes together three times and repeat, ‘There’s no place like home.’ Off he would go, back to Kansas. Just wonderful.”

Favourite thing about the book: The story of the ordinary being thrown into the extraordinary. It was definitely one that got my imagination and creativeness pumping!

Least favourite thing: The incredibly slow start. My word. Ugh.

Something I took away from the book: That I shouldn’t be afraid to write the story I want to, even if it seems outlandish. You just got to write it!

Have you read any books with a slow start but a great story? Do you enjoy these kind of fish out of water tales?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: A bit up in the air!
Word count: … Don’t ask.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovechatwrite

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It’s Romance Weekly blog hop time!

If you’ve hopped over from A.S. Fenichel’s wonderful blog, then welcome!

So, this week, we’ve been asked- What quirky habits (superstitions, must haves, etc.) do you have while writing?

It’s an interesting question as I’m quite a compulsive person. A lot of the time I do need to have things certain ways in order to do them.

But I have to admit, I’m pretty easy going when it comes to writing. I will write pretty much anywhere and on anything 😀

I suppose it’s possible because my brain is constantly on writing, so it has to explode out no matter where I am or what I’m doing as it can’t contain it anymore!

Though, now thinking about, I do generally always have to have a cup of tea nearby!

Now pop on over to see what habits and quirks Eden Ashe, author of Ever Mine, has whilst writing!

Do you have any oddities or must haves during writing or the creative process?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Daily word count: About 400 – Handwritten.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Books and Reading Thursday: Books on my Bookshelf

(Books on my Bookshelf is not a review, just my personal thoughts, feelings, and memories on the books I own).

This week I thought I’d share a book I got for Christmas/Birthday!

Dragon Age: Library Edition (Includes The Silent Grove, Those Who Speak, and Until We Sleep).

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As you may have guessed by now (for anyone who’s followed my blog for a while), I have a thing for the Dragon Age series of games by Bioware. I won’t call it an obsession, mainly because it’s so far past that point by now…

Anyways, my best friend bought me this for Christmas/Birthday, and it was seriously a very happy surprise, especially as it arrived on the day I was getting my new PS4 and the game, so it was very well timed!

I remember I was really upset when the book was released earlier in 2014 as I couldn’t afford to buy it, so receiving it was more than a little exciting as you can imagine!

I read through this in an afternoon. I couldn’t put it down. Not only were the stories amazing, but the artwork was stunning, and I loved the artist and editors notes down the sides of the pages. Reading about their insights into how they set up the stories, or why they chose certain panels or dialogue really got me thinking about my own writing and how I set it out. I know it’s different formats, but it’s all about storytelling, right?

It’s going on my TBR list again, so as I can re-read it this year 😀

Stunning artwork!

Stunning artwork!

Artist and editor notes down the side were great insight!

Artist and editor notes down the side were great insight!

Random quote: ‘Long live the King! Long may he reign! And so forth. Pray to the Maker he doesn’t do something stupid…’

Favourite thing about the book: Apart from the fact it has returning characters from the games? 😀 It was laid out in a great, easy to read format, which kept me turning the pages.

Least favourite thing: Um, there is a moment that I thought was a bit out of character for one of the characters. But that’s pretty much it, I loved it all!

Something I took away from the book: The way the pages were laid out really got me thinking about the way I end chapters in my own books, and how to keep the reader turning the pages!

Have you read many graphic novels? Do you enjoy reading different types of storytelling?

Progress Report (I know, I forgot on Tuesday!)

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Daily word count: 913.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovechatwrite

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I’m back to Romance Weekly as regular this week! Nice to get back into it, I missed these weekly posts 😀

If you’ve joined me from the lovely Jami Denise, then welcome!

So, this week, Elizabeth Janette has asked us what is on our TBR list.

As I said last week in my Books and Reading post, I’m trying to get a lot more organised with my TBR list, so as I actually get to read the books I want instead of forgetting them under the ever-growing pile! 😀

But I am not that organised yet, and only have a few planned, though I did just finish the first book that was on the list (a beta-read for someone, which was great fun).

So here are the next 4 books that I actually have planned on my TBR list:

The Creative Writing Workbook by Mathew Branton
Thyme in a Flask by Glenn Quarry (Book for Review)
The Woodcutter by Kate Danley (Reading Challenge- A book written by a female author)
Random Library Book (Shelf number 4, book number 7)

So there you have it! The next books on my list.

Now hop on over to Elizabeth Janette and see what’s on her list, you never know if you mind find a book that interests you!

What books are on your reading list? Have you managed to read any yet this year?