#Read/recommend/review

Just a quickie to let you know that I am still here! I have had a lot going on personally which has meant that keeping track of blog posts has had to go by-the-by for a bit (and possibly will still for the next month or so).

On a brighter note, the anthology, A Haunting of Words, has been released and my story is in it! You can find it here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and there are some fabulous stories in it, if you’re up for some ghostly reading…

Talking about the title of this post, this is a plea for those of you who have downloaded copies of any of my books (or any books, come to that). Please, if you’ve read them and would like to recommend them, leave a quick review on Amazon… the more reviews any books get, the more publicity they receive and that really, really helps any writer.

Manchester

I don’t often comment on terrorist acts, but what happened in Manchester – targeting young children and their families – beggars belief.

Not many people know this, but on my 18th birthday I was working (and living) in the London Central YMCA and my work colleagues arranged a surprise party for me. We spent the evening in the bar celebrating, then my friends and I went back to our rooms via the lift (ostensibly the end of the evening) but the lift seemed to take ages to get to the correct floor. When the doors eventually opened, it was to an upper conference room floor that had been decorated for my party. Everyone was there to surprise me. There was drink, a beautiful cake and music. It was magical – I had had no idea that these glorious people would do such a wonderful thing for me.

In the early hours, the building shook and all the alarms went off. Tannoys blared for me and my guests to evacuate the building. We were all instantly sober – and I do mean sober – and filed down the stairs, holding hands and travelling single file (lifts decommissioned) to exit onto Tottenham Court Road where we were told to go to local bars and venues that had opened up for us. The YMCA had been bombed – a car bomb that went off in the underground carpark. It took the tops off cars and would have decapitated someone had they not been asleep in the back of a car. It cracked the swimming pool in the gym at the bottom of the hotel that was above the car park, and the force of it made the building SHAKE. It wasn’t the only bomb of that evening. Several went off all over London.

I’ll never forget the calmness of all the people in the YMCA. Nobody panicked; we all made sure that we all got out and that any injuries were dealt with (in our cases, from where we fell when the building shook). We all stuck together and looked after each other. We ended up in another hotel (bar) which supplied us with more alcohol once they knew it was my birthday. Free. We drank, but couldn’t get drunk – the situation was too close to home for comfort.

What terrorists need to know is that when this kind of thing happens, when their cowardly acts occur, people stick together. They help each other. They are kind. They are considerate of each other. They tend to the wounded, they open their homes and venues. They offer love in the face of hatred. It didn’t matter what colour, creed, race or religion any of us were on that night – in the same way that it didn’t matter yesterday. We, the people affected (I refuse to call us victims because that panders to the arseholes who inflict the damage) were simply PEOPLE put in an impossible situation. We pulled, and still pull, together.

Witness the homeless man who ran into the Arena last night to offer help without regard for his own safety and who ended up trying to save a life but instead was there when it ended. THAT is what I am talking about. Ordinary people who, when the chips are down, do extraordinary things to help others. These are the true people of this country. This is what makes our country great – not the idiots who want to instil fear into us all – the people who stand side by side when it counts, race and religion unmentioned and unnoticed in the desperation to help.

My heart goes out to those who lost their lives and to their families who have to live with the end result. And thank you from the bottom of my heart to those in the emergency services who acted instantaneously to help, and who saved lives in doing so.

Book Review: Sunshine Girl by JM Turner

I’ve had a completely honest review for Sunshine Girl (yay!) – so here it is. I’m over the moon that this has been so well received, especially as this is my first adult book. Please do let me know what you thought, if you’ve read it, too.

Lurking In The Shadows

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Description:

Kat Cantrell’s family is falling apart and her best friend is a wreck. Kat suspects she’s to blame but nobody will confirm or deny anything – she’s being thoroughly ignored.

So when two detectives turn up at the house and ransack her bedroom, Kat wants to know why. She follows them when they leave and finds herself at the morgue.

Quite literally.

It’s her body on the slab.

Kat is no longer alive, but she’s not quite dead enough. To move on properly she needs to solve the mystery surrounding her death – but how can someone who cannot communicate with the living pass on the terrible secrets she discovers about her family and friends? Secrets that show that her death was not so much a terrible accident, as murder…

Review:

Having read a few of the author’s previous works, I was interested to see the transition from Young…

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Author Interview: JM (Jill) Turner, author of Sunshine Girl

This is a rather lovely interview I recently had with a truly wonderful guy… Thanks, Mike!

Lurking In The Shadows

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Today on the blog, I am going to interview a great author.  I met JM Turner through the Dragon’s Rocketship a couple years ago, and we’ve stayed in touch.  Well, she has a new book out, so it’s time for an interview!

Welcome Jill!

Hi Mike!

So, can you please tell the audience about yourself?

Okay, I live in the UK and I’m a mum of two girls; one of them is married and has her own children now, and the other is almost 16 – don’t ask about the age gap, it wasn’t meant to be quite so huge! Apart from writing, during the day I work in education – with SEN and lower ability children. I also work as a proofreader for my local university, and I copy edit and proofread for local businesses as well as authors and aspiring authors.

When did you start writing? What motivates…

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Writing and Writer’s Block

One of the things I often hear people asking about is writer’s block and how to overcome it. Before you get too excited and think that I have any kind of answer to this, let me say straight out that I don’t! My own style of writing is to have an idea pop into my head, mull it over for a while (could be hours, could be days, occasionally it’s weeks or months), and then open up a brand new page and start typing.

I’m a pantser. For the uninitiated, this means that I sit and write and the story grows exponentially – as opposed to a plotter who creates a written outline of what-will-happen-and-when.

The real truth is that before I even put pen to paper (or, more realistically, fingernails to keyboard) I’ve got the broad outline plotted inside my head. While I’m ‘constructing’ a story (i.e. thinking about it), I often have vivid dreams. The old adage about keeping a pen and papfaces-2134001_640er by the bedside to capture your dreams holds true for me – it’s where some of my best ideas come from.

Having said that, if it’s a darker story that’s clamouring for attention, this can lead to a few restless nights. My story, ‘Joe’, that I wrote at the start of the year (and is being published in the A Haunting Of Words anthology later this year), is a case in point: there is a particular part of the story which made me cry when I wrote it, and woke me crying on more than one occasion after it was finished. I was somewhat relieved to be told by the owner of the publishing company that it made him cry, too.

That’s why I ‘pants’ things: I find the emotions pour onto the page better that way. Sometimes, when I’m lost in the story, my characters take over and practically write it themselves (and sometimes they do or say things that take me by surprise) – and when that happens, the feeling is amazing!

Which leads me back to writer’s block. I do have times after I’ve finished a piece of work where I don’t want to write for a while. It’s not that the ideas aren’t there, it’s more that my brain won’t let me have the good ones until I’m ready to commit to them. I almost have to mourn the story I’ve lived for so long (and yes, I’m aware that sounds daft, but for me, it’s true). I sometimes wonder if this is simply the body’s way of saying ‘take a break’. And I wonder if that’s what writer’s block really is?

What do you think?

 

Guest Blogger – Susan Day

Child, Girl, Read, Learn, Book

Hi again everyone!

I told you I would be featuring guest bloggers soon, and the writing that follows comes from a rather lovely author, Susan Day, who has written 15 books for children and also has a website, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, with some really helpful information for grandparents. She writes a blog (on the same site – link in her guest piece but you can find it by clicking on the above website link) and I strongly suggest you check her out, because the site is fab!

Susan Day writes…

How important is it to be a flexible writer?

When was the last time you flexed your writing muscles and wrote a piece that was completely unrelated to what you normally write about?

I never get sick of writing. I love it, and I have been doing it since I was four years old.

And now I’m a bit more grown up I get paid to write. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

But, there is a catch (there is always a catch).

I have to write about such a diverse range of subjects sometimes it makes my mind boggle!

So far this week I’ve written about the Internet of Things, purchasing a home on the beautiful west coast of the States (I live in Australia), and why you should consider China as your next marathon destination (the only part of my body that runs is my nose when I’ve got a cold!).

As well, I have written about proverbs that mention cats, dog cartoons, and one of my favorite subjects – how grandparents can build a meaningful relationship with their grandchildren.

I have also written 15 books for children over the past 7 year; this is where my true passion lies.

It’s not always about the money

Well, it is sort of all about the money because I like the way money buys me stuff, and I like stuff. I like a roof over my head and my belly full, and stuff to fill up my house.

Writing content for clients has taught me a lot about the art of writing, which I employ in my own posts and stories.

Creating a compelling written piece is a skill. For those who are new to blogging, it’s not just the words that matter. Great blog posts which lead people to websites over and over again have to be formatted properly; images tagged and added in certain places and subheadings… don’t get me started about subheadings!

It’s about diversity

Whether you are interested in writing for money or just writing because you love it, I would suggest you set yourself a task once a day and write about something you have no interest in at all.

You don’t have to belt out a novel. Just write a short 250 word article about the joys of fishing for catfish in South America or the novelty of red scarves or keeping guinea pigs on a budget. Write about anything!

Unless you are a world leader in keeping guinea pigs on a budget you’ll find that the old grey matter will be really stretched.

You may actually find it difficult to write because your brain is used to pouring out paragraphs in your chosen genre, and you love writing about the characters you have created.

Don’t let that stop you because we all know practice makes perfect.

The benefits of writing about unusual and unrelated subjects

I have found two main benefits from writing about strange and unusual subjects.

I never suffer from writer’s block, and I mean never. I can write about anything and anywhere. I am almost convinced I could write about the Sahara Desert under water.

My mind is a sharp instrument that can carve a statue of words out of a mountain of rock. Well, maybe not that sharp, but you get the gist.

The other benefit is when I have finished working and I turn back to my books, I am refreshed and really excited. I feel freer and more confident about writing.

So, how have you flexed your writing muscles lately?

About the author – Susan Day

Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents, parents and teachers to support them in helping children become better readers. As well, Susan has created a guide to help grandparents build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren through their love and passion for books.

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves coffee, painting and learning to box.