Friday, 8 December 2017

Very intriguing book..... "The Soulweaver"

Today I am delighted to chat to author of The Soulweaver. This book sounds super intriguing to me and I can't wait to read it! I listened to the author read the opening chapter on a Facebook Live Video and the first line really pulled me in. The author of this book has also won awards and is super talented. I'm truly honoured to have her chat with me on my blog today. Hello Heidi Catherine!

Heidi, I’m delighted to have you on my blog today and I loved watching your live Facebook videos where you chat about your upcoming novel. It sounds very intriguing! Can you give us the first line of the novel and a little blurb as to what it’s about? 

Thanks for having me, and for your lovely words! It’s great to be here.

The Soulweaver is a story about a girl who is plagued by memories of having lived before. As these memories sharpen, she finds herself having to choose between the man she loved in her past life and the man she loves now.

Here are the opening lines…

“Hannah’s life began the day she died. It had happened before – both the dying and the beginning. She didn’t know it, though. All she knew was now.”

What inspired you to write this novel? 

When I was a little girl, I asked my mother what would happen if a widow remarried, only to one day find herself in heaven with two husbands. My quick-thinking mother told me that in heaven there's no jealousy, only pure love. I thought about this over the years, with this seed of thought unexpectedly flourishing into The SoulweaverWriting this book gave me a wonderful opportunity to really explore this concept.

Can you tell me about that moment when you decided to sit down and write your first novel? How did you get over any hurdles of fear or doubt? 

I wrote my first novel when I was in my twenties. It was a middle grade novel, which I mistakenly thought would be easy. Several rejections from publishers soon told me that it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Feeling discouraged, I abandoned writing until my thirties. This time I tried my hand at writing romance novels, again naively thinking it would be easy (I’m a slow learner). After several more rejections from publishers, I finally decided to write the kind of book that I’d love to read. That was when I really fell in love with writing. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed doing anything as much as I enjoyed writing The Soulweaver. I’m in my forties now and actually glad it took me this long to get published. I really needed the life experience (and the writing experience!) to put together a story like this. I’m also glad that a few scenes contained within those romance manuscripts will never see the light of day ;-) As for the fear, hurdles and doubt… there have been plenty of those along the way (and they’re still there today), but I have a wonderful support network of people who are happy to shout at me when I feel like giving up. Failure is never an option.

Please can you tell me about your writing routine – how do you settle yourself down to write? 

I get rid of drop my kids off at school and return to a blissfully quiet house. I usually have a look at my email and social media and answer anything urgent, then I light a candle, put on some music, read my angel cards, settle into work and hope the phone doesn’t ring.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors who would love to write but don’t know where to start? 

Don’t do what I did! Don’t write a book that you think will be easy. Write a book that you would love to read. Because no matter how good a writer you are, if your heart isn’t in it, then it will show. Also join as many writing groups and organisations as it takes until you ‘find your tribe’. Having likeminded people to share this lonely ambition with can make all the difference. Nobody will understand why you have puffy red eyes after the death one of your characters like your writing friends will.

What do you love doing when not writing? 

I love the beach and am lucky enough to have a house down the coast where I go with my family most weekends. I spend a lot of my ‘free’ time walking my dogs, gardening and being a slave to my children.

Was there a book you read that made you think “I’d love to write!”? 

The moment I finished reading The Hunger Games I began writing The Soulweaver. The stories aren’t very alike, other than having a heroine torn between two heroes, but I was inspired to create my own world where I could put my characters in impossible situations and see how they react. The Hunger Games explores love in many forms, not just romantic. We see a girl risk her life for her sister, a mother who loves her daughters yet is unable to look after them, and a man driven to alcohol after the death of his family. These are the kinds of relationships that fascinate me. And who wouldn’t want to be as successful as Suzanne Collins!

Lastly – a fun question – can you tell us about a funny/ embarrassing memory? 

A long time ago when I was young and silly, I was on holiday in Far North Queensland and I got talked into doing a bungy jump. I stood on the platform for a crazy long time with the staff doing several countdowns, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to jump. Eventually one of the guys picked me up by my hands and lowered me over the edge. Instead of letting go of him, I grabbed onto the platform for dear life and the poor guy had to prise off my fingers until I fell. My family like to remind me that I haven’t bungy jumped, I’ve bungy dropped. It was awful! Never again.

Heidi Catherine can be found hanging out in the following clubs: 


Finally, as an extra treat, here's a link to  FREE prequel novelette called The Moonchild which introduces you to two of the main characters from The Soulweaver in the lifetime they lived before the book takes place.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Journey to Publication! - Isabella May

Ever wanted to become a published author? Today I'm delighted to be joined by my fellow Crooked Cat author Isabella May, who tells me all about her journey to publication! 

The Journey to Publication:

Oh! What a Pavlova

I guess the clues that I would one day become an author have always been there…

As a toddler I’d sit for hours on the potty with a pile of books at my feet, refusing to move until I had ‘read’ through them all, Mum dragging me off in the end to stop the ring on my bottom getting any redder or larger!

I have been scribbling and verbalizing in one way or another for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would invent stories (along with my little sister) about people we knew… as well as fictional characters - Worzel Gummidge, Aunt Sally and Emu to name a few. They would usually trail behind us in our hire car, chasing us through the mountains on holidays in Portugal and Cyprus – I know; I was a little bit ‘kooky’ to say the least! 

And when I wasn’t doing that I was penning equally random and daft tales about the neighbours on our street, together with very amateur felt-tip illustrations. Thankfully my story-telling abilities have moved up several notches, even if my artistry hasn’t.

When it came to reading, I wouldn’t say I was as book-wormish as some of my friends. I adored Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers. I wished (oh, I wished!) that I went to that boarding school where everything seemed to be fun and games. I must have got into reading those stories when I’d just started high school, and they offered up a safe haven of contrast to the school bullies who made it their daily mission to become my shadow at the time. Shortly before that, at primary school, I was in love with the busy madcap world of Richard Scarry. The illustrations captivated me, transporting me to another fun world full of endless possibilities.

But eventually, when writing is the path you just have to get back on, it will sneak up on you when you least expect it. The universe will drop hints like that. 

Marriage and children came along, but even before then, I had started to toy with the idea of a novel. I had a burning desire to write about domestic violence (something I had encountered in a former relationship), but I had a desire to write about it very differently, to dispel the misconception that an abusive relationship is abusive all the time: it is not. I also wanted to portray a very honest picture of the way D.V can splinter the victim’s life. Quite often they are leading a double life, their outer façade so astonishingly different to the unthinkable acts they are tolerating behind closed doors. Ultimately though, I wanted to create a story with a message of empowerment for any woman or man who is currently feeling anything but strong.

That’s why ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ contains so many diverse subjects, and it’s why it mixes satire with a more serious subject. Laughter can play a very important role when it comes to devising a coping mechanism.

And yet, putting all of these ideas to one side, there was still a literary mountain to climb. It was around this time (and a couple of years after the stillbirth of my second child, a tragedy you never quite get over as a parent), that I stumbled across a little something called the Law of Attraction.

Perhaps it sounds clichéd to say it, but suddenly many things in my life started to make sense, and so many opportunities ‘just happened’ to come my way. Things like… two writers’ groups starting up a few miles either side of my house. I met with a super talented author who was about to put on a six week course. I met two other writers with whom an online magazine was formed (The Glass House Girls – Now my writing skills were really starting to enable me to polish up the manuscript that was once a very rough diamond! I shall forever be thankful for it.

And so here I am. ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ was given a final polish last year. I began subbing her out in November. In March I was signing my very first publishing contract.

‘Pavlova’ is a tale of cake meets domestic violence, travel, spirituality, comedy, and a bid for freedom in the arms of many an unsuitable man… all set against the backdrop of the weird and wonderful characters of the publishing industry. It also features Glastonbury, a town I have long believed is totally under-represented when it comes to fiction! 

Crooked Cat Books ‘got it’ immediately and signed me up. They truly are the perfect publishing home for a writer like me, for they champion a multitude of authors who cross genres, touching on a number of important subjects, celebrating fabulous fiction in all its guises. Our author community is super supportive and I feel very blessed! The universe definitely delivered.

You can follow Isabella May on her website and social media here:

Twitter - @IsabellaMayBks

Instagram - @isabella_may_author

Oh! What a Pavlova

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. 

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Monday, 24 July 2017

Paperback arrival!

Very exciting news here today! I've just received the paperback copy of my novel # 3 - THE YEAR OF NO RULES. It's so lovely to see it in print! 

Please check out my short video below. 

And do please pre-order a copy! The pre-order copy is super cheap! Here's the link:

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Chit-chat about my Slimming World journey

Dieting and weight loss. Is there a woman out there who hasn't dieted at some stage or another? Well I am certainly no exception. Since working from home two years ago, the weight slowly began to creep on. I was no longer walking home from work or walking around town at lunchtimes. All that exercise adds up on a daily basis! Added to that, the doctor prescribed me medication which slowed me down and made me too inactive to exercise. 

After trying calorie counting and Slimfast, (neither worked for me), I decided to join Slimming World. I knew a few girls who had tried this in the past and had fantastic results so I knew it worked. 

I went along to my first few classes and had my doubts. There was so much 'free' food that I was allowed to eat. How on earth would I lose weight if I was eating loads of pasta and potatoes each day? 

But I kept going, kept turning up for the weekly class and began to learn about 'speed foods' and 'protein foods'. As long as half of my plate (or a third of my plate) was speed, I was on track! 

Right enough, the weight began to come off and I have lost half a stone so far! :) I have another half stone to go and then I'll see if I want to lose any more than that. It's a "diet" that I feel can be sustainable. I don't feel starving or deprived and yet I'm losing weight! Result! 

I've also started cooking a lot more, which I love. I find that pottering around in the kitchen is so relaxing and therapeutic. It helps me to cook up ideas for my next chapter! ;) Here's some pics on a sausage casserole I made. Absolutely delicious and totally filling! 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Chit-chat - Fabulous book reviews!

Hi all :) I thought I'd share with you about some wonderful books I've been reading lately. 
1. The No Spend Year - by Michelle McGagh 

A fascinating account of how one woman set herself a challenge to spend absolutely nothing for an entire year! No clothes, no make-up, no going out - nothing. Only the absolute bare essentials - electric, mortgage, minimal food budget. I found this book fascinating and it really made me think about my own spending. Would I deprive myself of hairdresser visits and face cream potions though? I don't think so!

2. Pauline Quirke - Where have I gone? 

This was Pauline's very honest account of how she lost a ton of weight. Having to ask for a seat-belt extension on a plane was her rock bottom moment when she decided enough was enough. Opting to do the 'Ligher Life' diet, she proceeded to eat absolutely nothing. Not a single morsel of solid food went past her lips. Instead, she was given four sachets a day to which she added boiling water. This contained her calories and nutrients for the day. Not only did she come across as lovely and very down to earth, she was extremely honest about her weight loss journey.

3. Sister Sister - by Sue Fortin 

This is a fantastic psychological thriller which kept me on my toes wondering what would happen next. There are two sisters - reunited after a very long time apart. One sister is very jealous and doesn't trust the other. The second sister seems to muscling in on the family and trying to steal the other's husband! I loved the flow of this novel and the description of family life. 

4. My Sweetest Revenge - by Jane Fallon 

One of my favourite authors, Jane Fallon is hilarious! Long term partner of Ricky Gervais; those two must have such a giggle. This book is about a woman who finds out that her husband is having an affair. Rather than confront the husband, she sets out to gain her revenge. Full of twists and turns, this book is unputdownable. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

My new novel - The Year of No Rules

Thank you so much everyone for your support about my new novel - "The Year of No Rules". I am so grateful for all the lovely comments. I haven't made a You Tube video in a while so I thought I'd sit down and tell you all about my new novel. Check out my vlog below!

"The Year of No Rules" is due for release in November of this year and here is the book blurb: 

When Sasha falls in love with Kirk, she can’t believe her luck. He’s gorgeous, charismatic and charming. Within months he’s even discussing the ‘M’ word – marriage.
But there’s one problem – he’s given her a list of rules to sign.
Blindly led by her infatuation (and the fact that she’s been single forever) – she agrees to sign it.
Until everything goes horribly wrong.
Picking herself up and boldly moving on as a ‘No Rules’ girl, can Sam tame her independent streak?
Or will Sasha be able to make Kirk come crawling back? 
Follow Sasha in her year of no rules!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Overheard conversation

Last week I overheard a heated conversation between a man and woman in town. The conversation sounded pretty scandalous so I shared the tit-bits on Facebook that I heard. A few people wondered what happened next. So, just for fun, here's how the conversation continued.... (according to me that is!) 😊 

Her: I mean, have you thought about anything I’ve said at all?

Him: Of course I have.

Her: You do know there’s help available?

Him: I know. But it seems so cringe.

Her: But you’re going to have to do something. This can’t go on Jake.

Him: I know, I know. Please stop nagging me about it.

Her: Nagging you? Jake, I walked in on you with Sarah. You think I can just turn a blind eye to that?

Him: I know but it didn’t mean anything Amy. I was drunk.

Her: Jake, Sarah is my best friend. What were you thinking?

Him: I swear, it just happened. I didn’t mean anything to happen.

Her: Well, this has put me in a very difficult position. Sarah is my best friend and in a few months I’m to be bridesmaid to your fiancée! How can I walk up the aisle behind Joanne knowing what you’ve done to her?

Him: Amy, I’m begging you, please don’t tell Joanne. It meant nothing and it’ll only ruin everything if you tell her. Please Amy, you’re my best mate.

Her: For god’s sake, this is putting me in such a position.

Him: I know, I’m so sorry.

Her: Don’t apologise to me Jake. You’ll have to apologise to both of them. I’m sorry Jake, but they’re both sitting waiting in the pub for us. I’ve already told them. I couldn’t carry this secret anymore. You’re going to have to sort out your own mess this time.
(Opens door to pub where Sarah and Joanne are waiting anxiously). 
Goodbye Jake.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Great Debate - House Cat or Outdoor Cat?

New year, new cat. At the start of the year, I was given a beautiful white male cat – nine months old. I called him ‘Snowy’ – as most of you will know via my constant photos on Facebook.

I did all the suggested things – took him to the vet, got his injections, his worming tablets, cleaning fluids for his ears and got him neutered. The latter he was none too pleased about. Coming back home he gave me a dagger look which said “I can’t believe you did that to me”.

But anyway, moving on. It had been quite some years since I owned a cat (since my teenage years in fact) and I was really pondering the great debate. Do I let the cat go outside to play or do I keep him indoor as a house cat?

Delving into this question, I realised there is a great debate and people sway very adamantly on one side or the other.

I have one sister who has owned a cat for 12 years. Mo was let out once as a young cat and went missing for two weeks. We searched high and low, placed notices on lamp-posts; went round knocking all the neighbours’ houses. We even, alas, phoned the Council to see if a dead cat had been collected. Thankfully, there hadn’t. In fact, my sister received a phone-call not long after to say that a neighbour recognised the cat from the photo on the lamp-post and the cat had indeed been camping out in her garage. Happily, Mo was reunited to Rhoda and has never had any interest in going outside since.

My other sister has owned a couple of cats and is of the ‘let them outside to play’ argument. She believes that a cat should be given the freedom to run wild and chase birds, as nature intended.

When Snowy first arrived with me, I was sure I’d be in the ‘house cat’ camp. I couldn’t imagine the fear and worry every time he left the house. What if he’s got in a fight with another cat? What if a car has knocked him over? Or, what if, god forbid, someone else clapped their eyes on him and stole him?

Alas, I ordered loads of cat toys online with a view to keeping him occupied in the apartment. Here’s the thing, Snowy tires of toys very quickly. An hour’s active play and then he’s bored. The only ‘toy’ he has still kept interest in is the lid of a red biro!

So, one night he kept meowing at the front door. Meowing and meowing as if I was holding him hostage in a prison. Tentatively, I opened the front door and let him view the big bad world. He sniffed, he trotted and the next thing he was running away. Well, that was scary. But I just sat there for a while and ten minutes later he came running back again.
The next time he wanted out, he was out for an hour. Then another hour. But then one day he didn’t come home. Twenty-four hours passed and I was at my wit’s end. I had a tension headache from worrying about him. What he couldn’t find his way home? What if he’d gotten in a fight? What if he’d been run over?

I imagined having to tell my friend Paula – the girl who had given me the cat in the first place. Imagine her disappointment that I’d managed to lose him after only a couple of months!

And then, out of the blue, a loud meowing could be heard outside the window. I opened the door and he sauntered in. Rolled on the floor wanting his tummy tickled, trotted off to get some food and then slept for a day solid.

Now he comes and goes as he pleases. When he returns, he’s tired, sleeps for ages and eats lots. But he seems happier. He’s not running around the apartment demented, trying to burn up energy chasing a red biro lid. He’s outside burning up lots of energy instead.

I can totally understand people’s reasons for keeping their cat as a house cat, and even Cats Protection recommend it. But unfortunately for me, Snowy has told me that he’s an outdoor cat and there’s nothing I can do about it!