A Giveaway with Carrie Crain

Carrie Crain says. “In 1999, I had a wild idea to write a chapter book series starring the new addition to my family: a beagle puppy named Buddy. I think that was when I tried writing seriously and loved it so much that in 2004-05, I enrolled in creative writing in fiction and screenwriting classes in Austin, Texas and at UCLA Extension. Screenwriting was the hardest thing for me mainly because I wrote in novel format with lengthy descriptions and lots of internal/external dialogue. My professors advised me that maybe I should try writing novels. LOL. So, I did.”

Links:

Website: http://www.carriecrain.com

Facebook: http://www.carriecrainbooks.com and http://www.legendofdiablo.com

Twitter: @CarrieCrain and @LegendofDiablo

YouTube: www.carriecrainbooks.com (Legend of Diablo book trailer)

Interview

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

The past. So many things I would do over again like go to college right after high school and study English/Journalism/Creative Writing and I would not have gotten married young.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

Christian Bale, J.D. Salinger, Raymond Chandler, Marie Osmond, Dolly Parton

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?

The Bible, Family Photo Album, and the complete DVD set of Chevy Chase movies. I adore his comedy.

What is one book everyone should read?

The Bible

If you were a superhero what would your name be?

Adventure

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

The ability to wipe away depression.

What is your favorite snack food?

Oreos. Chocolate dipped or double-stuffed. I just love Oreos.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

Maybe Farah Fawcett, she died too young. Her smile was so contagious. She was so beautiful. Believe it or not, I had her iconic poster! LOL.

Where would you vacation if you could go anywhere free?

Romania to visit Dracula’s castle and soak up the history in that part of the world.

Pet Peeves?

People who answer for someone else. I’ve had this happen to me on more than one occasion during dinners and parties. Let the person I asked, answer. Also, folks who don’t dunk their Oreos in milk. C’mon!

CONTEST

Carrie Crain is giving away either an e-book or autographed paperback of her debut novel to one lucky commenter. It’s easy… all you have to do is leave a comment, either about the interview or her chapter 3 excerpt below!

THE ADVENTURES OF AUSTIN GIRL AND THE LEGEND OF DIABLO by Carrie Crain

Here is Chapter 3 entitled Diablo. This was actually going to be my first chapter, but I had a literary agent advise me not to start with the villain in a children’s book. I understand why, but I still regret not having this be my novel’s beginning. Please keep in mind, I’m weird and my humor is way out there!!! Also, I wrote this story with young readers in mind.

Chapter 3 Diablo

Once upon a time, over the ninth land, beyond thrice kingdom, there existed a yucky planet called Planet Disco. The planet reeked of shag carpet and Turtle Wax. The place was about as exciting as repeating sixth grade. An ocean of quicksand spanning the length of a zillion football fields surrounded a teensy weensy island. The villainous heat on days ending in ‘y’, reached boiling point temperatures. The blistering sands were home to creepy creatures called Hovels. They were bald munchkins with piranha like teeth. With their big ole eyeballs and foaming mouths, they terrorized anyone and everything.

On the island, were three sections of thirty-foot tall cattails, the golden color of winter wheat, which rattled and waved in the brutal winds that swept daily – first from the ocean to the land by day and from the land to the water by night. These strong cattails withstood the hammering of 323 mph winds. A dilapidated bridge extended across the flat, harsh terrain. This bridge led to a medieval castle on the island called the Man Cave, for it was composed of solomictic limestone. The main entrance had ginormous heavy wooden doors, which opened to psychedelic painted walls. Inside, on the ninth floor there was a majestic discotheque complex. A small volcano resembling something from a kid’s science fair project bellowed ominously on the grounds near a guest cottage. The volcano had inhabitants who were living out eternity. The blowhards bellyached about the cruel stench, comparing the pungent, toxic odor to worn gym socks. They cursed the heat. It was, after all, really hot inside. They blamed one man for their misery, the head honcho who ruled Planet Disco and lived in the Man Cave.

The song Boogie Nights blared from the speakers on a custom motorcycle, draped in shocking red paint with flames licking up the front and back fenders with multi-colored lights flickering on the chrome 80 spoke wheels. The motorcycle was nearly beyond description with its 100 cubic inch RevTech motor attached to a six-speed transmission powering the super wide rear tire. Fire shot from its exhaust in two foot of blue and orange pyromania. The sound coming from its chromed straight pipes seemed blessed by the precise ear of a piano tuner as the bike meandered down the indoor asphalt track with the vanity plate, “JERK1.”

The driver parked the prized possession smack dab dead center on an illuminated tile floor like a self-absorbed bozo. The song continued to blast from the speakers mounted between the gas tank and close to the top of the front forks yolk. The bike’s subwoofer and amp system maximized the vibration capacity. The Man Cave shook. The driver cut the engine. The roaring of exhaust tones reverberated the windows as the exhaust tunes slowly dissolved.

Diablo, the man known as the meanest dude in the universe, got off the bike and marched up to the Chevy Pie Wagon with the custom paint job wearing tweed Tempur-Pedic slippers. Wrapped in a flaming red smoking jacket and black silk pajama pants, he opened the car door, reached in and yanked Tabby out and hopped in. He propped his knee against the door, leaving it partially opened. Leaning over, he adjusting the rearview mirror and marveled at his reflection. “Goodness gosh, I’m handsome.” He pushed a dangling hair plug back into place. He was practically fighting with the plug when it finally collapsed and hung. Diablo was bothered by this aesthetic distraction, and so he occupied his mind with other important matters like pushing his face’s saggy skin up. “I need another facelift,” he complained.

The Disco Cat Trio ran up, fawning over Diablo like teenage groupies to a rock star. The Disco Cats were three voluptuous babes who were half cat and half woman and hedonistically competed for Diablo’s attention. They came equipped with orange membrane bat wings that spanned two feet, green whiskers, and pink furry tails with a length span of three feet. They wore midriff football jerseys with their names painted on the back: Pink, Napoleon, and Siamese. Diablo turned his attention away from the mirror and reacted cautiously. With his hand, he shielded a key that hung from a brown leather thong around his neck. He referred to the key as his “bling.” Made of pyrite and carrying the nickname “fool’s gold,” it looked on the cheap – the facts didn’t lie. The key measured thirteen centimeters long, including the spooky serpent shape crafted into the handle.

“Don’t touch my bling,” he barked. He licked his finger and smoothed his unruly eyebrows. The Disco Cats stepped back and bowed their heads in submission. They knew better than to touch Diablo’s bling. It was the key that unlocked a secret, at least according to legend. He moved his tongue across his capped teeth. He looked to be around eighteen, but everyone on Planet Disco knew he was at least six thousand years old. Surprisingly single, he stood 5’10”, with chiseled hair and espresso bean colored eyes that were full bodied like the Blue Jamaican varietal.

His eyes followed Pink. She had sprung free from the pack in a gutsy move, trailing off down the linoleum hall and exited into the kitchen. Siamese lounged on a leopard chaise, rubbing ointment on her charred arm. Napoleon retrieved a pair of costume devil horns from a silver metal briefcase she carried, similar to the “Presidential Football” that authorized the launch of atomic weapons. Her wings flapped uncontrollably from low self-esteem. Diablo yawned and tapped his foot on the floor while Napoleon struggled to place the horns on top of his head. She jumped to reach his noggin but was unsuccessful on an account he just stood there and checked the time on his iPhone.

“I haven’t gwon since Fifth gwade,” she snorted. Napoleon was a Caribbean Lilliputian who swallowed her R’s and eliminated certain vowels when she spoke.

“Napoleon, you’d raise your IQ twenty points if you lost that accent,” Diablo growled, flicking a piece of lint off of his silk robe.

Napoleon had grown up in a small village in the Bahamas known for thieves and varmints. She died when a coconut fell from a tree, knocking her out permanently. She gritted her teeth, staring at him like she wanted to asphyxiate him with his bling. Some face fur flew into her mouth, causing her to gag. Diablo snatched the horns from Napoleon and dismissed her with a push to the rump.

Pink wobbled through the room in a burlap sack apron, carrying a serving tray. She teetered precariously in Croc wedges, her multiple gold necklaces jangling. Everything about her spoke edgy, including her hair, which was short and razor cut. The tresses were blonde, right out of a L’Oréal hair coloring bottle. Originally from Panama, she had once worked on a banana boat during the Korean War — that was until her fatal accident with a banana and a hungry monkey. Pink got her name because she lost both pinkies with the psycho banana boat monkey. Pink clutched the handles to a rectangular pewter tray filled with an array of ice cubes. Diablo’s eyes lit up at the sight of Pink’s ice cubes. It had been so long since he had tasted anything cold. He salivated.

“Sorry, I left them out at room temperature, they’re melting something awfully fierce,” Pink apologized, staring at Diablo’s perfectly shaped hands with envy.

Diablo gaped down at the tray, which was now just a pool of disappointment. There was a moment of stunned silence. “You’re an imbecile,” he said coldly. He jumped up and down like a spastic ape trying to scare her. He knew a Panamanian monkey had ripped off her pinkies, and this was the one flashback that continued to haunt her. Pink dropped the tray, splattering water in Diablo’s face. He pointed at her and doubled over laughing as she stumbled off wailing a loud, lusty cry.

A door slammed down the hallway. The sound jolted Diablo from his hysteria. He watched in utter disbelief as Siamese sashayed over to a cigarette vending machine and slapped the front glass with her three foot tail. A box was dispensed. Tapping the box with her hand that resembled a big, waxy glob, Siamese loosened the cigarettes up inside and retrieved one. Holding the cigarette in her left hand, she reached down in a pocket and retrieved a Zippo lighter. Diablo’s eyebrows arched dramatically. She smiled flirtatiously as she flicked the lighter. Her furless, tight face made her lips smile all the time. “Bloody heck’s wrong with this?” Siamese asked in a fake British accent. Siamese wasn’t really British, she was Vietnamese, but had spent time living in London as a manicurist until her unfortunate demise with a hot wax body machine. She offered no answers as to why the lighter didn’t work.

Growing impatient, Diablo snatched the broken lighter and cigarette from Siamese, shoving her straight into a bean bag chair. Her pointed ears suddenly bent at the tips, indicating a sign of worry. Diablo brought the cigarette close, sniffing it. “This is candy. When in the universe can I smoke real tobacco?” Diablo pouted and flicked the lighter. Nothing. He flung it across the room. The lighter smacked Diablo’s First Lieutenant, Tabby, in the keister before finding its resting spot outside Diablo’s office door. Tabby’s high-heeled boots clicked on the illuminated disco floor as she exited the office, her wild, musky scent recognizable long before she ever arrived.

“Tabby, did you find my sword?” Diablo sneezed as Tabby handed him a classification file folder marked, changed mind. A lot of people from Planet Earth were doing that lately.

“Um—not exactly.” She lowered her eyes.

Diablo snatched the folder and glared at Tabby in her purple vinyl bodysuit and thigh-high boots. At a whopping 5-feet tall, her generous curves and pink hair made a lasting impression. She had traveled to Planet Earth on a secret mission for him recently. She was the only one from Planet Disco who could leave on a temporary twenty-four hour pass because she had a driver’s license, plus she was a rogue demon who had special, but limited powers. Diablo was never allowed to leave Planet Disco. Oh, sure there had been a few times the clown tried. Each time, the mean ole OSA, or Outer Space Authority, caught him and brought him back. Diablo kept scheming, finally devising a way to virtually become undetectable, escape Planet Disco, rule Planet Earth, and the entire universe. It unfortunately involved Tabby. She wasn’t the brightest or the best.

Diablo tossed the folder on the ground and stomped on it. “My reputation is at stake,” he shouted, leaving Tabby to wonder where her next meal was going to come from. Noticing a low front tire, Diablo walked over to his Chevy Pie Wagon to get a closer look, Tabby on his tail. The tire was fine, and he ran his hand across the electrifying orange and red flames splashed down the side, admiring his prized possession. “What happened?” He turned to Tabby.

The Disco Cats huddled close together near the rear of the vehicle, observing the scene with trepidation. Diablo’s eyes widened at the sight of mud on the fenders. Apparently, he had not recognized it earlier. He leaned over, wiping his index finger across it. He snapped his head at Tabby, holding up the evidence. “Tabby, you got mud on my fenders,” he whined. One of the few luxuries Diablo had, and Tabby took advantage. It was like she didn’t care about his property.

“Texas is a dirty place, Diablo. You know, there are a lot of cows and oil wells down there.” Tabby hated Diablo’s whining, especially about his precious car. “Diablo, I need to tell you about—”

Diablo pounded his fist on the trunk in a rush of anger. It popped open. There was a person stuffed inside, similar to those dead ones found in mobster flicks, only this one wasn’t wearing lead. “Who are you?” Diablo asked dumbfounded.

Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play

Blurb:“Boardwalk Empire” meets “The Great Gatsby” in this soft-boiled historical mystery, inspired by actual events. Rival gangs fight over booze and bars during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston: the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jazz Cross, a 21-year-old society reporter, feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette.During a night out with her best friend, Jazz witnesses a bar fight at the Oasis–a speakeasy secretly owned by her black-sheep half-brother, Sammy Cook. But when a big-shot banker with a hidden past collapses there and later dies, she suspects foul play. Was it an accident or a mob hit? Soon handsome young Prohibition Agent James Burton raids the Oasis, threatening to shut it down if Sammy doesn’t talk. Suspicious, he pursues Jazz but, despite her mixed feelings, she refuses to rat on Sammy. As turf wars escalate between two real-life Galveston gangs, Sammy is accused of murder. Jazz must risk her life and career to find the killer, exposing the dark side of Galveston’s glittering society.

Excerpt:Why in the world was Agent Burton here? Everyone stopped working to watch him make his grand entrance. People don’t usually parade around in a newsroom: They sort of shuffle or stumble or stomp—unless a story’s really hot, then they’ll run. I felt like running away too, but I stayed glued to my chair, pretending to work, my heart racing. What did he want from me?Burton seemed to enjoy the attention as he headed my way. He was hard to ignore: Standing before me, all six feet-plus of golden skin and hair, he towered over my desk. Looking up, I noticed the curious eyes watching us in the too-quiet newsroom. The reporters stopped typing, fingers poised over keys, hoping for a scoop. My boss stared with unabashed interest.“To what do I owe this disturbance?” I adjusted my cloche, acting nonchalant.   He grinned at me, then looked around the suddenly still office. “I need to ask you a few questions. Can we go somewhere private?”   “What do you want?” I put on a brave face so the newsboys wouldn’t see me sweat.   

Burton scanned the hushed room. “You really want to discuss it here, out in public?”   

He had a point. Did I want the whole staff listening in on my private conversation? He probably wanted to discuss Sammy, who was no one else’s business.   

“Let’s go outside,” I agreed. Head down, I followed him past a leering Hank, feeling like a naughty kid going to the principal’s office.   

Nathan entered the newsroom, a camera slung over his shoulder, stopping to stare at Burton. “Jazz, is everything jake?”   

“Everything’s berries.” I smiled to pacify him but, I admit, I had the jitters.   

“I remember him. Your boyfriend?” Burton seemed amused.   

“He’s the staff photographer.” I ignored his crack. “And a good friend.”   

Outside, I felt safe among the throng of people and automobiles passing by in a rush. The hustle and bustle of the streets and sidewalks seemed almost comforting. I looked around for Golliwog, our resident stray cat, but she must have been making her daily rounds for scraps.   

“How was lunch?” In broad daylight, Burton didn’t seem quite as menacing or intimidating. Besides, a group of hard-boiled reporters peered out the newsroom, spying on us.   

“Fine.” I covered my growling stomach. “What brings you here?”   

“Sorry to barge in that way.” He smiled, tugging on his hat. “But I had to get your attention. You wouldn’t give me the time of day the other night.”  

“Can you blame me? A raid isn’t exactly the best way to meet new people.”   

“I think we got off on the wrong foot.” He stuck his hands in his pockets, jingling some change. “Perhaps we can talk over dinner, instead of standing out here on the sidewalk?”   

“Dinner?” Was he serious? “Just like that?” I snapped my fingers. “You waltz in as if you owned the place—like you did at the Oasis—and expect me to dine out with you, a total stranger, because of your badge? You’ve got a lot of nerve, mister.”   

“I wouldn’t be a Prohibition agent if I didn’t.” He looked smug. “How about tonight?”   

“Tonight? I usually work late.” I admit, I was curious. What did he really want?   

“Every night?” He raised his brows. “Don’t they let you off for good behavior?”  

“For starters, I don’t even know you and what I do know, I don’t like at all.” I squinted in the sun. “And I don’t appreciate the way you bullied us at the Oasis. I thought people were innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.” I wasn’t usually so bold and blunt with strangers, especially lawmen. Maybe it was his youth, or maybe I’d finally found my moxie.   

“You must mean Sammy. Fair enough.” He held up his hands. “If it makes you feel any better, my gun wasn’t loaded that night.”   

“Small comfort now, after you scared everyone half to death.” So it was all an act?  

Burton looked down at his boots, as if reconsidering his options. “I hoped you could get to know me over dinner, but how about a quick bite now? I haven’t eaten.”   

“Why not?” I nodded, not wanting to let on that I was famished. 

Burton stopped at a sandwich vendor on the corner, and tried to pay for my lunch and Nehi, but I pulled out a quarter before he did. It wasn’t a date!   

“Where can we talk, in private?” He motioned towards the newsroom. “Away from prying eyes and ears.”   

Anxious, I led him towards a city park and we sat on opposite ends of a bench, my clutch bag like a barricade, keeping my distance. 

“So what’s the emergency? Why did you come by today, out of the blue? I hope I’m not under arrest!” I half-joked. 

Author Bio:Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer whose articles and essays have been published in several national magazines including: FAMILY CIRCLE, MODERN BRIDE, GLAMOUR, BIOGRAPHY, COSMOPOLITAN, COUNTRY ACCENTS, PLAYGIRL, etc. Several of her short stories (both mystery and romance) have appeared in WOMAN’S WORLD.   A flapper at heart, she’s the owner of DECODAME, specializing in Deco to retro vintage items (www.art-decodame.com). Formerly she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising sales and public relations. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism.  During college, she once worked as a cocktail waitress, a short-lived experience since she was clueless about cocktails. Flappers, Flasks and Foul Playis her first novel, inspired by real people and places.  Currently, she’s working on the sequel. “When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. I love the glamour and excitment of The Jazz Age, but Prohibition was also such a dark and dangerous time in American history. Jazz isn’t a debutante or socialite, she’s a reporter caught in between the two halves of Galveston society, struggling to do the right thing despite all the temptations and decadence of the era.”Links:Website

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Goodreads

It’s a Winner!

Thank you so much for asking me on your blog, Kimm. Ah, yes! My award! I have to say I was just a bit excited when I found out I’d been short listed for two awards at this year’s Festival of Romance! I was short listed for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award which is an industry award. People from the romance industry (authors, publishers, agents and readers) were allowed to put forward names for consideration by the Festival of Romance panel. I was also nominated for the Best Author Published Read for my contemporary romance novel, Strings Attached. Although I signed with US publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing in January, I self-published Strings Attached on 1 November last year, so it was eligible for entry! Result!

Then, last Friday night, at the Awards and Ball, I WON the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award! The other ladies on the short list were E L James, Sheryl Browne and Sue Moorcroft, so I had some stiff and very lovely competition. It was amazing to win and I’ve spent the whole week buzzing about it like an over-active hornet!
But now it’s back to work! I have a novella coming out on Kindle on 13 December, called Public Property, and this is a sequel to my first novel, Excess All Areas. It’s going to be completely FREE on launch day and it’s a little thank you to all my readers for supporting me this year. Without readers downloaded my books and loving them they just wouldn’t be out there!
And then, next year, on 4 April 2013, my next full novel with Sapphire Star comes out! It’s called Security and it’s a hot romantic suspense featuring pop star Autumn Raine and her newly-appointed bodyguard, Nathan Regan. Hopefully the tag line will give you the gist of it. ‘Lies hurt, but the truth can get you killed’. Think James Bond meets The Bodyguard!
Mandy Baggot – Bestselling and award-winning romantic fiction
Strong contemporary romance and characters you’ll fall in love with!
www.mandybaggot.com
@mandybaggot on Twitter
Mandy Baggot on Facebook
Winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award Festival of Romance 2012
Short Listed for Best Author Published Read – Strings Attached – Festival of Romance 2012
Member of Romantic Novelists’ Association
Signed with Sapphire Star Publishing
Featured author with Loveahappyending.com

Imagine…a writers journey

Joff Gainey shares his journey today ~

Imagine a world where you are being watched over by people who live in the clouds.

Imagine a world where every black cloud has danger within.

Imagine what happens next…

Throughout my career, as a primary teacher, I encouraged children to read anything and everything. I used my own short stories and passion for writing to stimulate their imagination and hopefully inspire them to write for themselves. It was after being made redundant that I decided to practise what I had been preaching to the children for so long. The idea for my first novel had hovered around my head since my own school days. With much encouragement from my wife and children, it was time to put pen to paper.

After six months of writing and a further four months of re-reading, editing and asking friends and colleagues to digest every word, it was ready for publishing.

Sleeping on a Cloud is part one of a trilogy, aimed at teenagers and young adults. The central characters are a teenage boy and girl, who are Silver Liners. They live and travel in the clouds. The Dark Walkers, from a distant planet, are attempting to take over the earth. However the Silver Liners, who have never approved of such belligerent tactics, have spent many years trying to thwart the Dark Walkers plans. Prophecy has told of the twins and their powers. It is one of those powers, a secret power, which is capable of destroying the Dark Walkers. Unfortunately for the twins and the human race they don’t know what that power is… yet.

For the past couple of months I have been writing to publishers and agents in the hope that someone out there will be interested in my novel. I have had half of those approached reply with ‘like it but not for us’ or ‘its got potential but in the present market we are being selective’. The other half have yet to respond. So while I have been waiting for the yes vote, I sketched an idea for a front cover and then my brother-in-law designed and drew the result here.

I have had no further replies from publishers or agents. So with this in mind I have spent the last couple of weeks preparing my book for publishing as an ebook. Many of my friends, including those on Facebook, have supplied valuable advice and encouragement on how to do this. Also a book that I found very useful and easy to follow was ‘Kindle Publishing Made Easy’ by Ashley Kalym. It was recommended and thankfully so as the step by step instructions guide you, easily, through the process of formatting and uploading an ebook.

I have finally uploaded Book One of the Silver Liners adventures to Kindle and as a paperback.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009T6OSTU
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Cloud-1-Joff-Gainey/dp/1480179396

More recently I’ve begun thinking of ways to market my book, other than social networking sites. I decided to approach some local schools and offer them each a copy for their libraries. While at the same time offering to come in to the school to give a talk about the book and its journey to fruition. This week I have sent a copy to Ron Howard‘s film company, Imagine, and a copy to Chris Evans at BBC Radio…nothing ventured nothing gained!

Genres, themes and inspiration

Author Maria Savva talks about the genres, themes and inspirations behind her work. For more information and buy links, just click on her name.

Different Genres

With the launch of my latest novel, Haunted, a crime thriller, many people have commented that I don’t tend to stick to one genre in my writing. For example, my last book, The Dream, was a paranormal, time travel novel, and the one before that was a contemporary romantic drama; I’ve also written a family saga, and a mystery/drama. Within my short stories, you’ll find ghost stories, romance, and even a sci-fi tale, to name but a few story types.

The most common description I hear of me as an author is that I am a ‘multi-genre’ author. This is true. I don’t stick to one genre in my novels or short stories. Even in one short story, I include facets of different genres. I have, however, noticed that there are common themes running through my novels and stories. So although I don’t stick to one genre, I do explore similar themes in my writing. Maybe it’s just a matter of me looking at different themes in different ways with each book I write. To be honest, I don’t set about writing something with the intention of including a particular theme, but as my novels take shape they tend to incorporate many aspects of things that have inspired me in my own life, so it’s not surprising that there are recurring themes running through some of the books.

In this blog, I will explore some of the common themes I’ve noticed in my work. Perhaps this will help give readers an idea of my style, because it’s often hard to categorise my work, so, difficult for a reader to know whether they would enjoy reading it.

Firstly, I would say that I think most of my books and stories could probably be classed as dramas. This is because I tend to have true-to-life characters and situations. Some of my fiction has been described as literary fiction. This may be because I have always read a lot of books and have been inspired by some of the more traditional writers. I do, however, feel that my writing can be classed as contemporary.

The essence of it all is that I love writing and I love exploring different types of writing. I am also a bookworm, and I don’t only read one genre. I like reading all types of books from memoirs to fantasy.

Here are some of the common themes I’ve spotted in my books:

Dreams

In Coincidences and also in The Dream, a dream plays an important role.

In Coincidences, Alice’s dream is what makes her curious about the father she has never met. The dream spurs her on to look for him.

In The Dream, Lynne is told by a strange man in her dream that she should not marry her fiancé, Adam. The man in the dream becomes a significant part of the story.

Why dreams? Well, I’ve always had quite detailed dreams and can usually remember quite a lot about my dreams when I wake up. Often, especially when I was younger, my dreams would contain some kind of prophetic message, that perhaps I didn’t notice until the event happened. This was so intriguing to me that I started keeping a dream diary a few years ago, and was quite surprised at how some of the dreams I was having seemed to almost predict future events. So that’s probably the reason dreams feature in my books and will probably continue to do so.

Divorce or relationship breakdown

I notice this theme cropping up in my work. It’s probably because I worked as a family lawyer for a couple of years and heard lots of stories. My imagination was inspired by all the stories I was told.

In Second Chances, the theme of a relationship breakdown is pivotal to the story. James and Pamela, the protagonists, are on the brink of divorce. James is actually a divorce lawyer as well. So there is the irony that what he deals with at work is also happening to him.

In Haunted, Nigel’s marriage has fallen apart after over 20 years of neglect on his part.

In Coincidences, Alice’s parents divorced when she was just a child.

In The Dream, Lynne’s relationship with Adam is turned upside down after she has a dream warning her about marrying him.

In A Time to Tell, we see another aspect to marriage breakdown. Penny is the victim of domestic violence. Again this is inspired by my time as a family lawyer.

Secrets and lies

I have always been fascinated by the secrets people keep and the lies they tell, so this is reflected in my work. It seems to crop up in all my novels.

In Coincidences, Stephanie, Alice’s mum, has kept a big secret from her for many years. It’s something that almost ends their relationship. When Alice meets her father, there are even more secrets and lies revealed.

In A Time to Tell, Cara has kept a secret for 50 years. When history starts to repeat itself, Cara is facing regret and realising that she may have to reveal all. One regret she has is the lie she tells her husband, who died without knowing the truth.

In The Dream, Lynne is woken up to the truth about her fiancé, Adam, after her dream. His secret is the final nail in the coffin for their relationship.

In Second Chances, Pamela’s secret/lie is one of the things that James has a hard time dealing with.

In Haunted, my latest novel, a long-kept secret eats away at Nigel’s mind.

Ghosts

I have always loved a good ghost story. I also grew up in a haunted house, so it was inevitable that some ghostly goings on would crop up in my fiction.

In The Dream, a paranormal tale, there is a ghost who appears to Lynne.

In Haunted, my intention was to leave the option to the reader to decide whether this is a paranormal story or a psychological thriller. It’s an interactive novel in that sense, the reader decides what they want to believe about the events in the book, and hopefully, I have left it open-ended enough for that to be the case.

I have a few ghost stories in my short story collections. ‘There but for the grace of God’, ‘Visions’, and ‘The Reunion’, in my collection Fusion, feature ghosts, as does ‘The Artist’, in Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales).

Unemployment/being fired/redundancy

Much of my fiction is inspired by events in my own life and I have been out of work quite a few times. I have been fired and made redundant before, so it’s no surprise that this topic makes an appearance in my literature.

In Second Chances, there is a minor character, Pete, who is fired. The circumstances surrounding the way he was fired reflect the way I was unfairly dismissed from a post many years ago. James also loses his job in this novel.

In The Dream, Lynne is made redundant, and I used a lot of the emotions about the way I was feeling about my own redundancy in describing the way Lynne reacts in the novel. Lynne goes through a long and unsuccessful job search, similar to the one I went through.

Love/relationships

This is a subject that is covered in most if not all of my novels, and many of my short stories. I have always been a hopeless romantic even though I am unlucky in love.

I would describe A Time to Tell as a romantic drama. It is also a family saga, but for me, the main theme is that of true love and how love can survive over time and distance.

In Second Chances, at the risk of giving too much away, James and Pamela are a couple who are deeply in love. There are a lot of obstacles and hurdles for them to get over, and the question is whether their love can survive that.

In The Dream, Lynne’s friend Sandra has always believed in soul mates/true love, something that Lynne has never considered in the past. The man in Lynne’s dream tells her she has a soul mate. This causes her to think more about the subject.

Many of my short stories deal with the highs and lows of love and relationships too. Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales), is so titled not only because it contains a story called ‘Love and Loyalty’ but also because the theme that runs through most of the stories, I noticed, is that of love, and loyalty in relationships.

A first from Buy the Book Tours

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I’m a “partner” with Buy the Book Tours, a new promotion company set up by two women in Michigan. Originally from Michigan myself, I joined them for sentimental reasons but also hoping I can learn more about promotion and marketing and hopefully increase my readership for this blog. With that in mind, here’s the first free gift I can offer you:

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