Saturday, November 28, 2015

Guest Author Kathryn Robson

Please welcome our guest author, Kathryn Robson, a fellow author from Rebel Ink Press.

Writing is not something I ever consciously thought about doing. When I was at school, my friends and I would get together and compose short stories, generally  gruesome horror/thrillers in which most and all of our teachers came to horrible, sudden deaths. Or I would write out fantasies I spun in my head just before going to sleep. In all these books the characters were always 100% based on people I knew, with me in the main roll. An easy and fun way to write, as you know first hand how everyone will react to certain situations and the storyline almost tells itself. I never shared these with anyone, but I still have them tucked away in the attic somewhere.
I read a lot of different books, I like crime and detective books, I like historic novels and any Scify, Fantasy or Fiction book is fine as well, it always depends what mood I am in. Do I want something easy, more evolved or so fast paced I can not put it down until I have finished it?
I do not like and will never read books based in tragedy and death, they are just not my thing, life is hard enough as it is, I do not need to read about other peoples horrors of loosing a child ect.

I really started getting into Ya books when my son started reading seriously around age 9 ( he is now 14) . I found I had the need to know what he was reading, so would pre read the books and then hand them on to him where appropriate. And as he is an avid reader, there are few fiction Ya books we have not read together. The idea for a different spin on the whole Vampire Legend played around in the back of my mind for months, and like before at a child, I would write a chapter a night - purely in my mind - just before I fell asleep, until I had the whole book mapped out in my head.
It is the first book I have written start to finish and the first one to have published and I am so very excited about it and can not wait to hear what everyone thinks about it.
I could have easily written it as an adult fiction, put more gore and adult content into it, but I choose to keep it suitable for my teenage children to read, as I wrote it for myself and for them. 

Kathryn Robson is the author of Golden, a supernatural fiction novel. Born in Scotland, raised in America and Germany she now lives with her Family in Wales, Uk. She is the owner of 2 clothes stores and when she is not trying on her own merchandise, she is busy wrangling her three boys and trying to find time to write her second book.


When everything you know about the world to be true is a lie. 

When the monster under the bed is suddenly staring back at you in the mirror. 

Who do you save and who do you kill? 

Today is the day. 

It's Amy's 18th birthday. 

Her bags are packed and she’s ready to leave. A quick dash to collect her grandfather’s trust fund and she’s out of here. More importantly, she’s out of reach of her abusive stepfather's filthy hands. 

But Andras has other plans and soon Amy finds herself in a whole new world of trouble. As she races to find out the truth about herself, she’s confronted with one certainty… 

She’s the only person standing between the Demons she fled from and the boy she loves. 

Until she finds out she may be harbouring the scariest monster of them all

Excerpt from Golden:
"Bye, and thanks for breakfast." I called after him, while already searching for my keys in my bag.
I could hear his footsteps as he walked away, then they stopped and came back. I glanced up from fiddling in my bag to see him studying me, a look on his face as if he had just decided something he wasn’t too sure about.
"The people don't move away from you because they are polite." 
His eyes again, where pulling mine in, like sinking, more intense than before making my heart beat faster. Involuntarily I took a step closer, almost touching him. Something so out of character for me I was shocked at my own reaction to him. I forced my eyes away and looked down.
"Amy," his voice sounded a bit unsteady.
"They move away because they were born with the common sense to be scared of you,"
and in a lighter tone he added, "and of course because your eyes glow in the dark!"
My heart stopped, words already formed got stuck in my throat and I looked up.
But he was gone.
I fumbled my keys in the lock and rushed up the stairs to my room. I dropped my bag on the floor, conscious not to turn the lights on. I went straight to the mirror above my chest of drawers and looked into a pair of brightly glowing eyes.
A strangers eyes.
My eyes. 

Link to amazon:

And Blog

Friday, November 27, 2015

U is for undisciplined

Margaret talks about being disciplined as a writer

 It’s difficult being disciplined when you’re working from home but for a writer, or anyone who works from home for that matter, it is vitally important. It’s no good saying you’ll make your start in an hour or so, or even tomorrow because tomorrow never comes.
I make a rule of beginning work each day as soon as breakfast is over and the household chores done. I treat my writing as a job and virtually work office hours. It probably comes from the fact that when I first started writing I was also working – I worked for a small company and my boss was out a lot, therefore there was time when I had nothing to do. I used to read – but then an idea popped into my head for a story - and so it began.

I kept the discipline up when I left my job to become a full-time writer and although I’m now of the age when most people have retired I can’t see myself ever doing that. I do sometimes work less hours, or even take a day off to spend time with my long-suffering husband, but writing is still my passion, my pleasure and my life.

The dictionary definition of undisciplined is – not controlled, not trained to obey. So in effect I’ve trained myself to do the very opposite – and I can only do it if I enjoy it. Which I do. I love meeting my characters, giving them lives of their own, giving them problems, solving them. Creating the HEA.

Is your life disciplined or undisciplined?




Thursday, November 26, 2015

U is for An UNEXPECTED Blessing

Debra's Thanksgiving heroine shares one important trait with her.

I have one rule in my house this time of year. There can be nothing having to do with Christmas before Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I don't like Christmas, because I truly do. I just want it to wait it's turn. When trees come out in the stores before Halloween and shopping ads start not too soon after that, it's a bit much. Plus, it skips over one of my favorite holidays.

Poor Thanksgiving. It gets sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas and is often forgotten in the rush of things. Which is a shame, because it's such a wonderful holiday. A time to simply be together with family and friends. No one is begging for candy. There are no last minute gifts to buy. Not to mention the oodles of the best comfort food in the world to consume.

In An Unexpected Blessing, Katy shares my thoughts on this.

When the rest of the stores on Main Street are displaying Christmas wares, she convinces her boss to do an autumn cookbook display at the bookstore where she works.

The next day at the bookstore, Katy stepped back to admire her handy work. Colorful autumn garlands made of silk leaves and acorns draped the inside of the display window. Anna’s cornucopia sat in the center of the case. Plastic fruit spilled from the curved wicker horn. A variety of cookbooks, nestled in piles of faux fall leaves, surrounded it.

She glanced over to where Anna was stapling a large sheet of paper to the bulletin board next to the door. Usually the cork displayed flyers and announcements, but those had been removed and lay in a scattered pile at her feet.

“What’s that?”

“A list of a thousand things to be thankful for.”

When houses are already decked out for Christmas she's annoyed.

[She]stared out the window as houses flashed by. They passed one whose bushes were lit up with multi-colored lights. A gleaming plastic Santa and his eight reindeer adorned the roof.

“Ugh. Christmas lights.”

“You don’t like Christmas?” Joe’s surprise was evident.

She turned toward him. “I like Christmas just as much as the next person. But it needs to wait its turn. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.”

“Oh.” He sounded like he was trying not to laugh.

She studied his profile, but couldn’t make out his features in the dim, green glow of the dashboard lights. “Are you making fun of me?”


Did the corner of his mouth twitch?

She folded her arms across her chest. “Good, because I’m serious. Thanksgiving gets sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas and is virtually forgotten. Tell me, when’s the last time you saw a display of Thanksgiving decorations? Or candy? Or anything?”

“I saw frozen turkeys at the supermarket the other day.”

“That’s not what I mean. Oh, never mind. Everyone thinks I’m crazy.”

He pried one arm away from her body, and then folded his hand around hers. “I don’t think you’re crazy. I think you’re sweet.”

And when there's a layer of early snow on the ground, she's severely disgruntled. (Kind of how I felt last weekend with the pre-Thanksgiving dump of snow we got here in the Midwest.)

She peeked over his shoulder and moaned. A light dusting of snow covered the lawn. It sparkled in the sunshine. But she couldn’t appreciate its beauty. “No,” she whined. “It’s only November. It cannot snow.”

Joe raised an eyebrow.

She paused in her tirade to appreciate the effect it had on his face. But only for a brief second. “Snow is for Christmas. Not Thanksgiving. Ugh.”

He chuckled. “Wow. You are really hung up on that, aren’t you?”
Katy took Kyle's hand to guide him down the slippery stairs. Ignoring the sled at first, he flopped down and rolled in the snow. His high-pitched giggles filled the air. Patches of grass appeared as he cavorted, reinforcing the hope it would melt before too long.

Joe put his hand on Katy’s shoulder. “See? How can you hate the snow? He’s happier than a pig in mud.”

Katy refused to be swayed. “I’ll take the mud. It’s the proper ground cover for November.”

May you and yours have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Reading,


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Upating a 1960s novel

Paula looks at the problems of updating a novel.

Now that I’m over half way through editing my latest WIP, I’m thinking about my next novel. I have a few vague (very vague!) ideas, and one possibility I considered is rewriting and updating my first novel, which was published in the 1960s.

I soon realised this would be almost impossible. For one thing, the hero is divorced. Why is that a problem? Because one of the major issues in the story was the attitude of the heroine’s parents to their daughter dating a divorced man, and so she broke up with him.

Far-fetched, you think? In the 60s, I recall my parents (both in their 50s at that time) being shocked when the daughter of one of their friends got engaged to a divorced man.

Would the divorce issue work in a novel today? I doubt it, especially as the man was the innocent party. Attitudes to divorce have changed dramatically since the 1960s. The main reason Mills and Boon could not sell this novel to their (then) linked publisher, Harlequin, in the USA/Canada (and I still remember the words Alan Boon wrote in his letter) was because: A large proportion of our readership in North America does not agree with divorce or accept it as a way out of a marriage. I wonder when Harlequin changed their minds about that?

If I tried to update this novel, I would have to think of a different kind of conflict, unless I made the parents ultra-religious, maybe?

Apart from having to deal with changes in attitudes, I would need to deal with other factors. Neither the hero or heroine had a car, until half way through the story when the hero buys one. It may have been different in America, but in early 1960s Britain, young people did not usually have cars.

And, of course, the technology revolution since the 60s has changed communication dramatically. No longer do people have one land-line telephone in their homes (and some not even that, my best friend didn’t have a home phone). Now, of course, almost everyone has a mobile/cell phone. Creating a situation where characters are unable to contact each other, either by phone or email, requires some ingenuity in a novel based in today’s world.

And all this is before I’ve even looked at the changes in schools, because my original hero and heroine were both teachers.

All in all, I’ve decided it’s probably easier to create a new novel than try to update this old one!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

U Is For Upper East Side (and Upper West Side)

Jennifer loves New York locales...

One of the things writers are told early in their careers is to “write what you know.” I’m honestly not sure about the validity of that advice, but I do think it’s important for one’s writing to be backed by research and knowledge, especially when it comes to settings.

I love to set stories in New York City. I’m familiar with the place, having worked their for several years and visiting it more times than I can count. New York City has so many different neighborhoods, that no two stories will be exactly the same, even if they are both set in the same place.

In my first book, A Heart of Little Faith, my heroine is raising her six-year-old daughter, Claire. They frequent the Upper West Side of the city, which is filled with cultural things to do, like museums and parks.

According to Wikipedia, “The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 110th Street. It is an affluent, primarily residential area with many of its residents working in more commercial areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It has the reputation of being home to New York City's cultural, intellectual hub (with Columbia University located at the north end of the neighborhood), and artistic workers (with Lincoln Center located at the south end).”

There are plenty of things to do with kids in a city, and one of the spots Lily and Claire visit is a playground on the Upper West Side.

On Saturday, Lily and Claire met Kim, Emily and Adam at a playground on the Upper West Side. After an initial period during which the kids stared at each other, they played together all afternoon, which left the two women time to talk.
“I’m glad you called and suggested this,” Lily said to Kim as she munched on some grapes she’d brought for the kids to have as a snack.
“Me too. I figured since Mark is working today, it would be a good chance for us to get together.” Kim looked out over the playground. The girls were at the swing set, pushing Adam on the swing. “The kids are having fun together. It’s always so awkward when the parents like each other and the kids can’t stand to be in the same room together.”
Lily laughed. “Yeah, play dates can be tough. They’re almost as bad as dating. It’s embarrassing when you have to ask some strange mom if their kid wants to play with yours.” She watched as Claire paused in her running to wait for Adam to catch up. “Claire loves having a little boy to take care of. She’s in love with babies and little kids.”
“I noticed.” Kim looked at Lily. “So, you mentioned dating. Are you?”
Lily looked up at her. “No. It’s hard with a child. I want to give Claire as much attention as I can, and frankly I just don’t have the energy to spend on finding someone who not only wants to date me, but be with her as well.”
“So what about you and Gideon?”
Lily blushed.
“I’m sorry; I don’t mean to get too personal.”
“No, you’re not; I’m just not used to talking about this. I feel like I’m back in high school. Honestly, I don’t know what we’re doing. We see each other often, although most times it’s with Claire and Samantha in tow. We’ve kissed a couple of times, but that’s it. I enjoy being with him, but I’m just not sure where we are right now.”
“Well, I hope it works out for the two of you. From what I know of him, Gideon is a great guy, and it’s obvious to me he adores you.”

In Miriam’s Surrender, the story also takes place in New York City, but this time, it’s on the Upper East Side.

According to Wikipedia, “The Upper East Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, between Central Park/Fifth Avenue, 59th Street, the East River, and 96th Street. The area incorporates several smaller neighborhoods, including Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, and Yorkville. Once known as the Silk Stocking District, it is now one of the most affluent neighborhoods in New York City. It is traditionally perceived to be home to commercial and business types.”

This type of neighborhood fits Miriam perfectly. As a single, business professional, she’s comfortable economically and likes the order and upkeep associated with the area.

Forty minutes later, she was dressed and ready for work. She stepped outside her Upper East Side apartment, waved to the doorman, and inhaled. The rain from the previous day had cleared and the pale March sun shone between the buildings. Although cold, it would be a beautiful spring day. The daffodils the condo board planted in front were about ready to bloom. Around the yellow flowers, purple crocuses poked through the dirt between the iron bars of the miniature fence surrounding the bed. The rooftop gardens would be in full bloom in a couple of weeks, and the minute it was warm enough, Miriam would be out there too.
She walked down the street and headed to her favorite coffee bar. Inside, the dark aroma filled her nostrils. Multicolored mugs lined the walls—everything from touristy “I Love NY” to extra-large sized French mugs—there was always a new one to look at while she waited in line to place her order. People on their way to work took small tables and chairs by the windows. In the back, upholstered chairs and free WiFi provided a break for people later in the day.

What settings do you prefer?

Monday, November 23, 2015

U is for Understanding

Ana muses on her golden rule of writing: write romance so the reader understands.

I have always been a lover of words. I analyze, perhaps too much, the nuances between words. In my mind, there is a difference between "adore" and "cherish." (To me, adore implies a worshiping from some distance, whereas cherish suggests a holding close.)

Whether or not I am correct, a writer needs to write so the reader understands the story s/he is trying to tell. Here is my (ever-growing) checklist:

1. a cover that fits the genre and conveys a feeling for the story.
2. a blurb that entices the reader as well as describes the story's tone and plot conflict.
3. good grammar.
4. Short paragraphs that generate lots of white space on the page.
5. Clear POVs. The reader should always know whose head the narrative and perspective is in. Also who says what.
6. Show the evolution - erosion of the reasons why the heroine and hero think they cannot be together. In other words, show how their attraction (love) is more powerful than all the obstacles to their union.

What would you add to this list?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

An excerpt from Ana's WIP

The hero has cooked up a plan that he thinks will ultimately help him convince Stormy's father, Zed, to retire and sell the ranch to him. Zed is in on the plan, which is to order a beautiful dress for Stormy, who wears only jeans, shirts and boots.

Zed pulled a button from the pocket of his Sunday jacket. “I need you to stop at Mrs. Rosenbaum’s. Find a button to match this one or buy thirteen new ones. I’ll sew them on this afternoon.”
Stormy tried to think of an excuse. The clothing emporium sold frilly dresses and breath-robbing corsets. Shoes with ribbon ties. Useless white gloves.
Suddenly, a truly awful image stabbed through her mind: Zed laid out in a pine box wearing this black jacket.
She forgot about the clothing emporium, and how surreal she felt whenever Blade was near. Maybe Zed was feeling poorly and wanted to get everyone else out of the house so he could talk to her alone. “Are you dizzy? Any pain in your left arm?”
“I feel fine.” He thumped his chest like a jungle ape. “Good enough to go dancing.”
Skeptical, she lifted his hands and examined the tips of his fingers. To her relief, they were pink and warm. “No dancing,” she said sternly. “Doctor’s orders. Remember?”
Zed smiled like a Cheshire cat. “Your breakfast is getting cold.”

“Hello, Stormy,” Mrs. Rosenbaum said. “Come in, dear. It’s nice to see you.”
Stormy looked warily at the shopkeeper, who’d never welcomed her warmly.
Mrs. Rosenbaum slid an arm across her shoulders and shoved the Emporium’s front door with the toe of her shoe. The door shut with a resounding thud. “Laura, look who’s here.”
The gray-haired seamstress flung open the curtain that separated the store’s fitting room from the retail area. A dressmaker’s tape measure hung from her neck.
“Laura has a rush order for a dress but is having trouble getting the measurements just right. Would you mind being a model? It won’t take more than a minute.” Mrs. Rosenbaum propelled her into the small fitting room, blocked her escape, and drew paper and a short pencil from her skirt pocket. “Raise your arms, please.”
Bewildered, Stormy let Laura Boe fit the tape around her chest.
“Thirty-four,” the seamstress said. “Waist twenty-three. Hips thirty-three.” She spun Stormy partway around, pressed one end of the tape against her neck, and measured to her belt. “Eighteen. Waist to ankle…twenty-eight.”
“Just a little bit longer.” Mrs. Rosenbaum picked up a swatch of mint green fabric from a shelf and set it on her shoulder.
Mrs. Boe shook her head.
In quick succession, Mrs. Rosenbaum thrust more swatches under Stormy’s chin. Neither woman asked for her opinion, but the emerald green was the prettiest.
The bell over the front door chimed.
Mrs. Rosenbaum turned to greet her new customers. “Gertrude and Emma Schultz, good morning. You’re right on time. Emma’s dress is ready for a final try-on.”
Stormy’s heart almost sank into her dusty boots. Emma was the last person she wanted to see. Invariably, Emma found a way to make fun of her.
Mrs. Boe tugged on her sleeve. “This way.” Holding two bolts of material as a shield, the older woman motioned with her head. Together, they sidled along the wall and backed into her workroom. The seamstress unbolted the store’s rear door and shooed her outside.
“Your mama bought the first dress I made when I come to this town,” Mrs. Boe said softly. “Said it made her feel like a real lady. You remember that, Stormy Hawkins.”
Stormy felt like an escaped piglet. She was free, but the buttons she needed were inside, where Emma Schultz was trying on a new dress, probably for the Founders Day dance.
Stormy hated Founders Day. After two or three cupfuls of Levi Hollingsworth’s hard cider, hired hands shoved each other for a chance to dance with Emma. Emma always twirled fast so her petticoats showed and called even more attention to herself by whooping like a drunken sailor whenever Ibra McSweeney called Soldier’s Joy.
Stormy walked around the building and stood next to her buckboard.
Brownie would go to the dance. He played the fiddle. Running Bear had to bring his meat and potato pies. They could take Blade with them.
Her breath hitched. Emma would flirt with Blade, and he’d probably ask her to dance. Stormy didn’t want to watch that.

She tugged on the ropes that bound her load of fence posts. The doctor in Yankton said Zed shouldn’t overexert, so if she went back inside and bought buttons, and Zed went to the Founders Day dance, she’d be violating medical orders.