LAUNCH DAY EXCLUSIVE: Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Well, today’s the big day for the mega talented Connie as Huw The Bard, her latest book, officially launches.

On Friday, I revealed the cover and blurb, Saturday saw the book trailer, yesterday I gave you my review, and now I have an exclusive excerpt to share with you. So, drumroll please . . . no louder . . .That’s better *clears throat* . . . Ladeez and Gentlemen, for your delectation and enjoyment, I give you - Huw the Bard:

Excerpt from ‘HUW the BARD’ by Connie J. Jasperson, Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

“With Lackland helping as well as he could, Huw saddled Farroll while he drank; all the while Lackland warned the horse to be sure not to drink too much. Once watered, the unhappy horse desperately munched on grass while Huw began getting him laden with numerous heavy saddle bags and weaponry. “I know entire families who don’t travel with this much baggage,” muttered Huw, as he made a third trip with yet more of Lackland’s luggage. “No wonder you require a horse of this size!”

“Now, now, Jak! You sound like Chicken Mickey, clucking away at me like that,” replied Lackland cheerfully. “It’s all necessary, I promise!”

“Chicken Mickey?” Huw was at a loss. “I don’t believe I know this person.”

“Of course you don’t. The man is our provisioner, and he’s an absolute genius at it,” replied Lackland, lobbing the last saddlebag atop the horse. “You just reminded me of him. He’s always accusing me of overburdening Farroll with my luggage.”

“I see his point,” Huw said, struggling to hold the horse still while Lackland finished tightening the last straps. “I have no idea what a provisioner is, but he sounds interesting.”

“Interesting? Mick is definitely that!” His face lost its mirth as he considered the task of mounting his horse. His legs could barely hold him up, and he had to lean on Farroll just to stand. “I’ve no strength in my legs, and I doubt you could lift me to the saddle. I’ll have to walk as best I can.”

Nodding, Huw jumped nervously as pre-dawn sounds of birds alerted him to the danger they were in. He began to panic. “Lackland, we must get your horse moving! We must be away from here now!” He picked up his kit and looped his arm around the knight, half carrying him with Farroll supporting his other side. Then, at Huw’s urging, Lackland walked as swiftly as he was able. Farroll was not happy about having to walk when he wanted to eat. Huw grabbed the startled horse’s bridle and tugged, saying “Come, Farroll! They’ll have you back in the hellhole we just left if you don’t help me get your master out of here!” The occasional call of the birds spurred Huw as nothing else could have. The eastern horizon began to glow a fiery red, heralding the imminent advent of the dawn. “There’s the gate! Hurry!”

Almost running, Huw dragged Lackland and Farroll down the street and out of town as fast as he could. They stumbled to the opening just as the sun’s first ray pierced the sky, and with the light, the gates shuddered and began to close, creaking and groaning. Struggling desperately, Huw pulled the knight and his horse through. With a loud thunk, the gate swung closed behind them, catching the horse’s tail.

Farroll kicked at the gate, but although his tail was stuck fast, his hooves passed through the wood as if through fog. Skeletal hands began pulling the great beast backwards by the tail. He whinnied and his eyes were wild; Lackland struggled to keep him standing still. Quickly Huw raced back and, dodging Farroll’s stamping hooves, with a flick of his knife cut the tail free. He slapped Farroll’s rump and the horse shot forward, knocking Lackland down.

“Gah! They nearly had us!” Overcome with terror, Huw pulled Lackland to his feet. Grabbing Farroll’s harness, he dragged the two down the rutted overgrown road as fast as he could. He kept urging them on until they could no longer see the village.”

This is just a little taster of the adventures Huw experiences on his long journey. To buy this amazing book click on Amazon to be taken straight to the site relevant for your country. Well, don’t just sit there, CLICK ON THE LINK!!!!

Book Trailer – Huw The Bard by Connie J Jasperson

Yesterday, I revealed the unusual and striking cover of Connie J Jasperson’s, Huw The Bard, her latest book which officially launches on Monday 31st March. Now I have another little treat for you – the book trailer.

So let’s have lots of applause, whistles galore, and plenty of yells of excitement for . . .

 

I don’t know about you, but I think the music is quite haunting, and believe me when I say it’s very fitting for a book which gives you adventure, magical creatures as well as sadness and injury. Huw’s journey through this book is laced with love, laughter, despair, triumph and revenge!

Now, don’t forget to pop back on Monday for the exclusive excerpt on launch day and by then I should have the links to take you straight on over to Amazon to get your hands on a copy!

 

Book Launch & Review – Burdens of a Saint by Joan Hazel

One of the coolest things about being with Myrddin Publishing Group (apart from the awesome writers, great friendship, and the support we give each other), is discovering when new books are going to be launched before everyone else. It’s exciting to find  some real gems and having the chance to review them, especially when they’re fantasy or paranormal romance. Such is the case here.

My good friend and Myrddin colleague, Joan Hazel, launched her latest book on Monday – Burdens of a Saint. Check out this fab cover:

Cover BOAS3

This is the blurb on the back:

Your life will change today…

When Janet Beesinger writes the words in red on her calendar, she has no idea what they mean. But, as a psychic, she knows when the Universe gifts you with personal information, you listen.  How was she to know the Universe meant an irritating and sexy shape-shifter who would challenge everything about her life?

Saint Wolfe can feel the gravity of his arrangement with the goddess Hel closing in around him, forcing him to confront his past and the betrayal of the woman he was to marry. Needing to make peace with his past, he returns to New Orleans in search of forgiveness, only to be confronted by his own immortality. His only hope for atonement lies in the hands of a woman claiming to be a psychic. Will she be able to help Saint find salvation before his debt to Hel comes due?

Intrigued yet? Well, if you want to know what I thought of it, read on. Here’s my review:

After reading, and enjoying, the first book in this series – The Last Guardian [What? You haven't read it yet? Get over to Amazon now and click that buy button! Yes, I'll wait for you to come back . . .] – I was looking forward to seeing how the story would develop. I was also a little concerned as to whether Burdens of a Saint would live up to my expectations. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t like writing spoilers, although it’s going to be hard with this story running through my head, but I’ll try.

The characterisations in this book grew beautifully and organically from book one. I felt I got to know them in greater depth and found myself longing for Saint to achieve the happiness he’d been denied for so long. Ms Hazel created further nuances to the personalities of the characters which made them more fascinating, although with some, not always more likeable. Saint, the main character in this book, was like an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum – at times puzzling, occasionally a challenge, sometimes uncomplicated yet also with an endearing vulnerability. I love the way he was portrayed – the author did a great job of balancing the different facets of his personality while still making him relatable and believable.

The new cast interacted interestingly with the existing members. I particularly liked Janet and could empathise with her on many levels. I was intrigued by Eric; it was a tad exasperating not finding out from where his powers originated, but hopefully that will be covered in a future book. It was great to see how CJ (the Guardian) had grown into her role – I had to smirk a little when she exerted her authority – but I would have liked to see her do so a bit more often. However, maybe that’s yet to come; CJ wasn’t the main focus of this story.

The plot moved along at a steady pace and kept me turning the pages long after I should have stopped reading and switched off the light! The introduction of clairvoyance in this story was very realistic and the author obviously knows this subject well. The paranormal and magic aspects were believable and natural.

Thus far, this series has left enough cracks and lingering thoughts about what’ll happen to certain characters in the future for there to be more books about the Guardian and her wards. There are also some unanswered questions. There’s certainly plenty of scope for the author to do so, and I really hope she does.

Would I recommend Burdens of a Saint? ABSOLUTELY! I would advise you to read The Last Guardian first though, as it firmly establishes the relationships and hierarchy, and it would make reading Burdens of a Saint even more enjoyable.

My rating: 4.5 / 5

Now I’ve told you how good it is, click on one of these links and get yourself a copy:

Amazon US / Amazon UK

Oh, and check back next week for a character interview (and no, I’m not telling you which of the shapeshifters it is)!

About the author:

Joan Hazel Pic

Joan Hazel has written three novels that range from paranormal fantasy to contemporary to historical fiction. An accomplished actress and vocalist, she has performed with companies across the eastern United States. In her spare time, she plays with a colorful cast of characters who live in her head. She currently resides in DeLand, Fla., with her husband, Ricky, and their two fur kids.

Joan’s contact info:

Website: www.joanhazel.com

Blog: http://joan-hazel.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @guardianwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Hazel/362411800440684?ref=hl

Trailer Reveal & Book Launch

Well, folks, the big day has arrived! The long-awaited second book in the Heart Search trilogy is officially launched today. [insert applause and cheering]

I’m also very proud to reveal the awesome book trailer Connie J Jasperson has worked her magic on. She, my editor (Maria V A Johnson) and I have worked hard to produce something unusual and unique, but without Connie’s technical expertise it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fantastic!

So, drumroll please . . .

Louder . . .

Here it is:

 

[insert standing ovation, cheering, banner waving]

I really hope you enjoyed it!

HEART SEARCH, book two: Found is now available on Amazon (and incredibly already has two 5-star reviews on the UK site). You’ve seen the cover, read the blurb and prologue, so if you’re now dying to get your mitts on a copy, here are the links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Heart Search: Found Blog Tour also begins today, so keep checking in for news of who is posting what and when!

 

Impatience

I wonder how many other authors go through what I’m feeling right now.

IMPATIENT!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the editing process (does that make me weird?); working with my wonderful editor, Maria V A Johnson, is a joy. She has fantastic insight and helps me shape my raw manuscript into something worth publishing. But now I’m so close to bringing out my second novel – I’m three chapters of tweaks away before final formatting and uploading to Amazon – I just can’t wait to get it done.

impatience

I know these last minute edits are so necessary, but I can’t help it – I’m excited! The knowledge that there are people who are clamouring for Heart Search: Found is a wonderful feeling and I really don’t want to deprive them any longer than necessary.

So I have to swallow my impatience, do what I need to and give my readers the very best book I can.

The cover reveal will be in the next couple of days so keep checking in – I might even give you a sneak preview! If any of you want to get involved with the cover reveal/book trailer reveal (apart from the lovely ladies who have already committed – Donna L Sadd, Deborah Jay, Maria V A Johnson and Joy Keeney), please leave me a message below, but be quick or you’ll miss out.

Book Reviews – Emeline & the Mutants / The Ring of Lost Souls

Well, I have a double whammy for you today – not one but two reviews!

I’ve recently read both of Rachel Tsoumbakos’s books back-to-back. Here’s what I thought of them:

Emeline And The Mutants

EATM

I’d heard some good things about this book and had wanted to read it for a while – I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed.

It did take me a few pages to really get into this; the meticulous world building at the beginning read like a bit of an info-dump yet the author managed to keep my interest. Once I read past this, I was engrossed.

Emeline is feisty, independent and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She’s also a crack shot with both gun and bow and has a very keen sense of smell. With the exception of her brother, Warwick, all her family are dead, so when he’s murdered in their kitchen her world turns upside down.

I loved Emeline’s character. She is very well crafted as a sort of urban warrior who’s in the Australian bush. Her hardened exterior makes her a little aloof from people around her yet it’s understandable with all she’s been through. It was nice to see her vulnerable side emerge as a result of Warwick’s murder and endearing the way she grows to really care about Gwennie (Warwick’s girlfriend). When she sets out to discover why her brother was killed, Emeline has to dig deep in an effort to piece everything together whilst coping with her grief. What she uncovers shakes her foundations, especially when someone she trusts turns out to be the biggest villain of them all.

The supporting cast are equally as well drawn. Gwennie grows on you as she becomes Emeline’s companion; she has a gritty determination which blends well with her softer and more caring side. This makes her a perfect sidekick for Emeline. Milosh, the charismatic, caring and handsome leader is not all he seems and as the author’s skilled hand reveals his ‘alter ego’, we see a deliciously cold, power-driven, murderous individual who doesn’t care how many lives are lost (including that of his own brother) as long as he can continue down his chosen path. Besnik (Milosh’s brother) is a little difficult to puzzle out at first – can he be trusted or not? It is a testament to Tsoumbakos’s characterisation that she keeps you guessing as to his true intentions for a while.

The plot is well thought out and scarily believable. Tsoumbakos portrays the mutants and how they came into being in a plausible manner and the story races along at quite a pace. At the end I had a few unanswered questions, leading me to wonder whether a second book was being considered. However, there was enough closure for this to be a standalone novel and a damn good one at that. One of the things I liked most was the originality; this book is a blend of genres which work really well.

My only criticism of this very enjoyable read was the number of mistakes I found which should have been noticed and corrected prior to publication. This didn’t really spoil my reading pleasure, but did lose it one star.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this!

The Ring of Lost Souls

TROLS

This second novel by Rachel Tsoumbakos is an exciting blend of fantasy, paranormal and suspense.

Isobel, the main character, is starting to get her life back together after a painful break-up with her boyfriend and losing her job. She takes up jogging, and what she finds in the grounds of an abandoned mental facility radically changes her life.

Isobel has been well-crafted. She’s strong and determined, but also vulnerable and to a degree, a little too trusting – at first. The way she deals with events are totally realistic and readers can share her burgeoning love, fear, distrust and puzzlement as things unfold. This woman could have done with a little more laughter in her life, but it wasn’t the path she was meant to tread, so you never feel that it’s missing from the story. That, to me, is the sign of a good writer.

The supporting characters were also well written, especially Lottie. She’s quite mysterious and it’s not until the end you find out who she really is and what’s on her agenda.

The setting, Larundel, actually exists. The former mental hospital, as it’s depicted in the book, is a broken down building covered in graffiti, which is slowly being reclaimed by the flora and fauna surrounding it. It’s been plundered for most of its valuable assets and now resembles a bomb site with rubble, abandoned furniture and general rubbish left around to trip up the unwary. As Tsoumbakos takes you through the halls, wards and various rooms, you get a real sense of how it looks. It’s so well depicted you can easily picture it in your mind.

I loved the blending of genres in this book and the author builds the suspense in an artful way. Many a night I read into the wee small hours, because I just had to find out what was coming next. The fantasy and paranormal side is believable and put together in an interesting concept – one that I really enjoyed.

If there was one thing I didn’t like about this book, it was the number of missing words. However, putting that aside, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this – it’s a fantastic read!

So there you have it. Rachel Tsoumbakos sure knows how to spin a tale and keep a reader entertained. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! If you want to find out more, or better yet get a copy for yourself, click on the titles for links to Amazon.

Rachel

The lovely Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY

How many books could you get with a $100 Amazon Gift Card? Huh? Enough to make a serious dent in most wish lists, I’d bet! Wanna know more? Read on . . .

There’s only a couple of days left to enter this amazing giveaway run by my publishers, Myrddin Publishing Group and it’s so easy to do. Just click on the picture below which will take you to Rafflecopter. A couple of easy clicks and you’re in the draw!

If you want to know more about Myrddin Publishing, just click on the logo in my sidebar and it’ll take you straight to the website.

Good luck in the draw and remember, you have to be in it to win it!

Myrddin Giveaway

Special Guest – Maria V A Johnson

Today I have a real treat for you! My special guest is none other than my wonderful editor, who is a published author and poet in her own right – Maria V A Johnson. Now I’m going to make her blush before I begin the interview – I happen to know Maria was nominated for International Young Poet of the Year in her second year of University! What an amazing achievement! Is that cool or what??

Anyway, I managed to twist Maria’s arm to take time off from editing Heart Search book two, to talk to us about her emotive poetry book, Hearts & Minds, writing and editing. And, as a special treat, Maria has agreed to me sharing one of the poems from Hearts & Minds here for your enjoyment.

Maria

C: Welcome, Maria. It’s great to have you here today.

M: Thanks so much for inviting me, Carlie, and for the wonderful cup of tea!

C: Congratulations on publishing Hearts & Minds, Maria. Tell us, how did you feel seeing it up on Amazon for the first time?

M: I guess I was numb. You know how you get when the unachievable startles you? That’s how I was! I’m rather a pessimist and just seeing it up on Amazon wasn’t enough to make me truly happy; and I didn’t start believing in my work until I got my first good review.

C: I can relate to that. So, how long have you been writing and what got you started?

M: I guess I was a bit of a late starter. I did the odd poem or story in school for assignments, but I didn’t really start writing per se until 2004 during my A Levels. It was at that time my grandmother passed away, and I wanted something personal to read at the funeral. Good student as I was, I researched heavily into funereal poetry before attempting to write my own; and I haven’t looked back since.

C: I don’t think that’s particularly late – some people don’t start writing until they retire! Anyway, I noticed on your bio you have a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing. What aspects of your Creative Writing degree did you love? What did you hate?

M: Well I loved most of it, but the fiction writing course was my favourite. I have the beginnings of about 10 stories – because each submission had to be a different story – and the hardest part is going back and picking which one to finish. I would have to say the screenwriting course was the hardest for me; I really struggled. Believe it or not though, poetry wasn’t one of my favourites. My teacher was constantly on my back saying it wasn’t modern enough, that it had too much story to it. I read some of his, and honestly I have no idea how he managed to get it published!

C: Where do you get the inspiration from for your beautiful poetry?

M: A lot of my inspiration comes from my experiences. When I first started it was a very emotional time for me, and there was something so cathartic about pouring my emotion onto paper that I’ve kept going in that vein. Some of my inspiration actually came about as assignments. I had to write about a certain subject, and something worthwhile came out.

C: Everyone needs an emotional outlet and I think it’s wonderful how you channel yours into your poetry. How much of yourself do you actually pour onto the pages?

M: A lot! I’m one of those people that tend to bottle up their emotions until they make themselves ill. Writing poetry has helped me release some of that tension. To be honest, I believe poetry is a way to share yourself and your views with the world. If you don’t pour yourself in, then what is your poetry?

C: Good point! Do you write stories as well? If so, what genre and age group?

M: Well, the genre is easy – Fantasy. I fell in love with it as a kid, and haven’t looked back since. My favourite age group to read is teenage/YA, and that’s the genre I aim to write for, but most of my ideas tend to be younger than that!

C: You are also a professional editor. What is it about editing you enjoy? Is there any part of it you hate?

M: The most rewarding part is getting to turn a raw manuscript into something people would buy and read. The part I love most however, is getting to read the stories first! I guess the only real downside is being unable to switch off the editor. Now, whenever I read, I constantly notice mistakes and it sort of spoils the enjoyment. Even big authors like Charlaine Harris (who wrote the True Blood books) aren’t free of mistakes.

C: Damn! You were supposed to say your favourite part of editing was working on my books!! [Laughs]. So, what’s next for Maria V A Johnson? Are you working on anything at the moment?

M: Right now my writing group, Writebulb, is just starting work on a second charity anthology. We released one towards the end of last year raising money for Farleigh Hospice, and we have decided to do another. We haven’t quite chosen a charity yet, but Little Havens Children’s Hospice is the logical choice since we are attempting to write for 6-10 year olds.

As far as my individual work goes, I’ve been playing about with a space story for young children. I haven’t quite figured out which age group it’s going to be for – I’ll wait and see once the story is written. The idea actually started as a writing challenge in my group; take a song title out of the hat, and write for 30 minutes. I got the title Supermassive Black Hole! I might even use that as the title for the book…hmmm.

C: Five fun ones to finish off:

Favourite food?

M: Now that’s an easy one! I’m quarter Italian, and I love pasta in any form.

C: Favourite book/series?

M: Another easy one! Are you planning to ask me anything that’ll make me think? It has to be the Otherworld Series by Yasmine Galenorn (over 16’s only readers!), but with The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien running a close second.

C: Uh-oh! Now she’s getting sassy! [Laughs] Ok, try this one! If you could be a supernatural being, what would you be and why?

M: Ok, now you’re upping your game! I love vampires, but I’m not sure I’d want to be one. A steady diet of blood would get really boring after a few hundred years. So in that case I think I would have to pick two: Fae (because they can live for ages – even half-fae can live to a thousand), and a Were. Even though Weres have to change form on the full moon, they can change whenever they want. I’m not sure which species of Were I would prefer, maybe seal because I love to swim, or maybe one of the big cats. Though I love wolves, the Weres have a bad rep as being too aggressive.

C: Hmmm. I can see the attraction of Fae, but not sure about Weres. Let’s see if I can really get you with this one. If you could pick one place in the world to go, where would it be and why?

M: Now this is a hard one. There are so many places I would love to go, how do you just pick one? I have already been to Paris and Rome, so I think I would have to go for either Milan or Venice. Milan, if I’m being reflective – my paternal grandmother came from a little village on the outskirts, but Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and I would love to experience it.

C: Yay! That one made you think. Finally, if you could have dinner with any one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

M: Prince Charming! Oh, did you mean a REAL person? [Chuckles]

C: Thanks for taking time off from editing to let me interview you, Maria.

M: Thank you for asking me here. Now, how about another cuppa?

Cheeky, isn’t she?! Lol. Now I happen to know Maria’s book cover was designed by the wonderfully talented, Ceri Clark; I think it’s fabulous, what about you?

Hearts & Minds

Here is the blurb:

The most important human experiences of love and death are beautifully explored in this anthology. With carefully selected and themed sections: Loss; Love; Lyrical; and Life, the emotions invoked by the words as they flow over the page will touch your heart.

And now, as promised, here is one of the poems from the book:

The Chair

The chair sits stark and silent,

its occupant gone.

A mass of letters

stacked nearby, no one

there to open them.

A brown patch stains

the ceiling, a stale

smell clings to the fabric -

old smoke.

A spaniel casts its lonely eyes

approaches, sniffs

and slinks away.

Reading glasses discarded

on its arm, blank screen before it,

no haunting strains

of Emmerdale make us

yell for quiet; no better tune

than the one we lost.

Hearts & Minds is available from Amazon UK, and Amazon.com for Kindle or paperback.

Check out Maria’s website here: http://mariavajohnson.com

Affirmation

It’s strange how our minds’ work. It has this strange habit of sowing doubts, making us question things we were once confident about. Let me explain . . .

After finally publishing Heart Search, book one: Lost, I was euphoric. My dream of seeing something I’d written on the pages of Amazon had come true and I was riding a wave of triumph; I’d achieved my goal!

I knew early on in the writing of Heart Search: Lost that the story wouldn’t fit into just one book and made the decision to spread it over three. It didn’t faze me in the slightest, at the time, and I looked forward to getting the next section drafted. Once the blog tour was underway, I began making my plans to push forward with it during NaNoWriMo. It would give me the discipline and momentum I needed to get it written quickly, I told myself, and was eager to start.

affirm1

November 1st came and I sat down to write, full of ideas and inspiration, confidence running high, and then my mind decided to throw a spanner in the works.

Despite the fact the story was flowing quite well and I’d written over ten thousand words by the end of day three, I began to doubt my abilities. I suffered a crisis of confidence. Just because I’d successfully written one book, did that automatically mean I would be able to complete another one? Did I have another novel in me? Would I find enough of a story to finish it? Was I a good enough author to write a second book?

doubt

All these questions and more spun around in my head like a Tasmanian devil on crack, and it was a horrible feeling. On one level I truly believed I could achieve this second goal, but those niggling doubts had taken root and the tendrils were spreading. I kept my own counsel during this worrying time, dug my heels in and gave myself a strongly-worded lecture. And I carried on writing.

As the word count grew, and one chapter led to another and another, my confidence began to come back a little at a time. The fears didn’t go away, but instead of letting them overpower me, I took back control. I was determined to prove to myself that I wasn’t a ‘one-trick pony’!

I finished the first draft of Heart Search, book two, on 11th January – just eleven days ago – and have now begun the revisions and edits. I can honestly say I experienced the same sense of achievement and joy as when I finished writing book one; I’d overcome my misgivings, my confidence crisis and affirmed that yes, I did have it in me to produce another novel.

affirm2

I have no idea where the doubts came from or why my mind decided to throw me a major curve ball. What I do know is, I can fight it and win!

Reflections

First off – Happy New Year to you all. I wish you health, happiness and success in all your endeavours.

looking back

 

In the first few days of a new year, most people are making resolutions and setting goals, and whilst I do that, I also take some time to reflect on the year just passed and ask myself some questions:

 

What was my biggest trial during 2012?

This would have to be the major problem with my spine. The first signs appeared mid-February, but by the third week in April, it had deteriorated to the extent I could no longer work, drive my car, dance, sit for longer than half an hour, stand for more than fifteen minutes, bend, and needed a stick to help me walk. Suddenly I was taking medication by the handful (or that’s how it seemed); muscle relaxants, pain killers, anti-inflamatories and nerve blockers were thrown down my neck in the vain hope they would take the pain away. Yeah, they took the edge off, but that was about it. The doctor could have given me stronger tablets, but I really didn’t want to become a barely-functioning zombie.

There were two things which helped me through this nightmare (until I had surgery at the end of September) – my daughter and my writing. It was because of both I refused the more powerful drugs. My writing and editing work kept me sane; in my writing I was able to immerse myself in the world I was creating, and in between I had the honour of editing fantastic novels by Connie J Jasperson, Johanna Garth, Alison DeLuca and Nicole Antonia Carson; Johanna’s (Losing Hope), Alison’s (Crown Phoenix: Lamplighter’s Special) and Nicole’s (Yum) are already available, and Connie’s (Forbidden Road) is due to be published within the next couple of months. In the rare times I wasn’t writing or editing, my lovely daughter kept my spirits up.

What was my biggest achievement?

Without a doubt, the publication of Heart Search: Lost through Myrrdin Publishing Group. The joy I felt seeing it up on Amazon for the very first time was indescribable; I still get a buzz from it three months after the launch! When the paperback arrived, I turned it over and over in my hands, scarcely able to believe my dream of publishing a book had come true, especially after the difficult time I had trying to get it written in the first place.

What was my greatest challenge?

I think this would have to be organising and running the blog tour to celebrate the launch of Heart Search: Lost. I’d never done one before so was feeling my way with it a bit, but I had a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve. I also wanted to combine the tour with a giveaway, so had to choose and design the items too. I wanted each participating blog to have original guest posts and excerpts – if people were kind enough to support my launch, the very least I could do was ensure they had exclusive pieces to share with their followers.

I had some wonderful people supporting me on the tour, a number of which have become dear friends as a result. The fact that the tour began just ten days after the surgery on my spine, when I could only sit for 10-15 minutes at a time, increased the challenge. I had 17 guest posts to write, 14 interviews, and to pick out 20 suitable excerpts. Add this to the actual administration of the tour, the launch itself and all the requisite publicity, it would be fair to say it was a challenge I wondered if I could rise to. I managed it, somehow, mainly by ignoring doctor’s orders and sitting for longer than I should have done!

What was unexpected?

Finding myself holding the reins of a writers group! I had only been a member of Writebulb for about four months when the leader and last remaining founder had to bow out. It had taken me quite a while to find a group I was happy in and I didn’t want to see it close. I volunteered to take over and have been running Writebulb ever since.

I’m proud of the achievements of the group since I took over. Apart from myself, others have published their work for the first time and collectively we published a charity anthology, The Other Way Is Essex, to raise money for our local hospice.

What surprised me the most?

People! To be more specific, how wonderfully supportive my fellow authors, bloggers, followers and readers were. Every member of Myrrdin Publishing were incredible and I’ve found some wonderful new friends as well as very talented authors. The Heart Search Blog Tour crew were all fantastic, most going out of their way to help publicise all the activities/posts/reviews etc as well as their own and offering me loads of encouragement. My fellow writers at Writebulb have been responsive and supportive of my leadership and ideas. Last, but by no means least, my wonderful readers who have given me such fabulous feedback on my debut novel.

What have I learned?

Loads! I’ve learned to stare adversity in the face and find a coping mechanism to deal with pain (admitedly doing something I love and would have done anyway, but still . . .). I’ve been honing my craft, trying to improve my writing, so as to give my readers better quality stories to enjoy. I’ve learned how wonderfully supportive other authors and my blog and social media followers are. Finally, although I’ve been writing since I was a child, I’ve come to realise it’s a much bigger part of my life than I ever expected and I can never stop doing what I love so much!