#AprilPrompts Day 4 – Sin

This little word conjures all sorts of images and sayings, and in the literary world it has been extensively explored. From Milton’s Paradise Lost to Shaun Allan’s Sin and everything in between, the concept of sin has taken many forms. Today I’ve put my own little twist on it.

Sin

Day 4 - Sin

Day 4 – Sin

“Every word you speak is a sin,” the old woman hissed venomously. Her eyes blazed with hatred and fervour as she clasped the crucifix around her neck.

What?” Rosanna rocked back in her seat as if struck.

“These demonic instruments you use to extort money from the vulnerable make you sin against God,” the woman continued as if Rosanna hadn’t spoken.

sin1

Rosanna glanced down at the table; a spread of tarot cards lay face up and her crystal ball was glowing softly. She narrowed her eyes as she scrutinised them, before lifting her head to look her tormentor in the eye.

sin2

“Mrs Peabody, the cards don’t lie. Just because I’ve told you something you didn’t want to hear, it doesn’t make me a sinner. God gave me this gift so I could help others.”

“You blasphem!” Mrs Peabody thundered, rising.

“No I don’t! It’s not my fault your husband cheated on you and had children with her. You asked the questions and I warned you the truth would hurt.” Rosanna answered calmly.

Sin!”

You contacted me for a reading!”

Mrs. Peabody threw money on the table and stormed out.

Rosanna shrugged sadly – she didn’t get to tell her he was sorry.

#AprilPrompts Day 2 – Muse

Is it a coincidence that one of my favourite bands is Muse? I’m not sure. I listen to their music quite a bit when I’m writing as it inspires me. But there is another Muse who inspires me more . . .

Muse

Day 2 - Muse

Day 2 – Muse

A Muse is a writer’s best friend. They give us inspiration, ideas and help us on our writing journey.

When I began writing Heart Search: Lost, I didn’t know who my Muse was. However, a clairvoyant friend gave me a reading and since then, I’ve got to know her very well.

Catherine (I’m not sure if she spells it with a C or K though), my Muse, lived in the sixteenth century.  She has an oval face, gentle hazel eyes, pale lips and is quite pretty. Her hair is dark brown and hangs in ringlet-type curls down to her knees. She wears a long, jade green, velvet dress typical of the times and an unusual amulet hangs around her neck.

muse1

She was an herbalist and healer – a dangerous profession to have in those days. She loved to help people and was very generous, often giving medicine away for free to families who couldn’t afford to pay for it.

It’s not clear who in her village accused her of witchcraft, but she was ambushed in the woods one day when she was picking herbs and murdered, driven through by a sword.

Catherine is always with me and I treasure her.

muse2

Dilemma

Dilemma

Have you ever come across a book that’s so badly written you would rather cut your arm off than turn another page? That’s how I felt last night! Let me explain . . .

I was contacted by an American author who asked me to review her book for Amazon UK. She hadn’t received any reviews on my side of the pond and was keen to change this situation. I agreed and she sent me a free copy in return for a review. I added it to my list and began reading it Thursday night in bed.

Astounded by how immature the writing was (and bearing in mind I was really tired), I put it down telling myself it had to get better. WRONG!  I picked it up again last night and after half an hour I couldn’t stand to turn another page. This is what I found:

>          The book had either been self-edited or edited by someone who wasn’t professional and didn’t really know what they were doing. Whoever did edit it should be pinned against a wall and shot!

>          The characters were like cardboard cut-outs and one dimensional. There was no emotion SHOWN whatsoever. The reader is TOLD someone is happy/sad/hurting/angry, but there’s no emotional connection so you can’t empathise with the character. You can’t imagine what they’re feeling because there’s nothing to hook into.

>          There was no description used anywhere. When the characters were in a tropical location I wanted to SEE the golden sand, HEAR the waves lap gently on the shore, SMELL the salty air, ADMIRE the lush scenery with its colourful blooms, WONDER at the indigenous people’s customs. I didn’t want to be TOLD the place was ‘beautiful and peaceful’ I wanted to SEE and IMAGINE it for myself through good use of description.

>          The dialogue was stilted and unrealistic, even robotic in places.

>          The plot moved on, but because the writing was so bad, you couldn’t get a sense of where it was heading.

>          Part of the book is set in Eastern Europe yet the characters don’t have names typical of their Iron Curtain home, they have English/American names. The author obviously hasn’t done any research on the country and very little on their customs.

>          If I didn’t know better, I would say the book had been written by a six or seven-year-old as the style is like, “The cat sat on the mat”, and “He was a coward and his name was Fred”. I think you get the gist!

In the right editor’s hands, this book could possibly have been made into something half decent, but it would have meant scrapping it and starting again.

Anyway, here’s where my dilemma comes in. I’m not one to publicly trash another author’s work – I would hate to have it done to me – yet she’s asked me for a review. I won’t normally review a book unless I like it and am therefore reluctant to post a one-star review with nothing positive to say about it. I could email the author and give her a private critique, explaining why I don’t want to publish a review, but my instincts tells me she won’t take it in the right spirit. I think she’ll (A) blow off my critique because she thinks she’s such a good writer and her crap doesn’t smell (I’m sure you know the sort I mean), or (B) bad-mouth me for daring to criticise her work, or (C) run a hate campaign against me and try to smear my good name, or all of the above.

I’ve worked hard to build my reputation, both as a writer and an editor, and the last thing I want is to have my name tarnished.

So what would you do? All opinions very gratefully received coz I’m really stumped!!

 

BlogFlash With A Difference 1

The next post to appear on the Heart Search Blog Tour was a little something different. The lovely Joy Keeney set me a challenge which was “Take your main
character and your favorite childhood character (book, cartoon…you pick) and
write them into a scene in Heart Search.” She was kind enough to allow me a little leeway with the word count (thank goodness)! Anyway, when I was a kid, my favourite book was Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild and the character I most related to was Pauline Fossil. So, I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to marry up Pauline Fossil with Joshua from Heart Search and here is the result:

Joshua walked at a normal human pace across the park; he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. Although he didn’t feel the cold, he had the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his face; he wanted to be anonymous, to blend in.

The leaves on the trees were a glorious profusion of gold, red, orange and bronze. Autumn had arrived. As he strolled over the fallen leaves, he heard a faint sob from a female ahead of him. He didn’t think much of it at first until a little further on he saw the lone figure of a young girl sitting on a bench, tissues in hand, trying to stifle the sound of her misery.

He inhaled deeply. Her young blood had the sweetest fragrance and venom automatically pooled on his tongue. He’d fed before daybreak so wasn’t thirsty, yet her blood called to him. As he moved closer, there was something in her dejected demeanour which called to the human he used to be, so he went over and sat beside her.

“Why are you crying? What’s wrong?” he asked, his voice gentle and kindly.

She looked up at him, her eyes red and puffy. She seemed to be scrutinizing him as if working out whether she should trust him. After all, she’d always been told never to talk to strangers. Something she saw in Joshua’s eyes made her feel safe. “I’m lost and I’m late,” she sniveled.

He noticed the bag on the seat beside her; it was the sort dancers used. “Well, let’s see what we can do about that, shall we? What’s your name?”

She straightened her back a little, her eyes beginning to dry. “My name is Pauline Fossil,” she announced proudly, “and I’m a dancer and actress. What’s your name?”

“Joshua.”

“Joshua what?” Her eyes still on his face.

“Just Joshua, that’s all. But that’s not important is it? You said you’re lost and late – tell me where you need to go and I’ll help you,” he replied trying to change the subject.

She was much sharper than her gave her credit for. “So don’t you have a surname then? And why is your skin so white?”

“Look, I have somewhere I need to be so do you want my help or not? Where are you supposed to be going?” Joshua sidestepped her question and injected a little impatience in his voice.

“Madame Barnetta’s Theatre School,” Pauline replied automatically. She was a little taken aback by his sudden change in tone.

“Okay. Grab your bag and let’s go. The longer we sit here the later you will be.” Joshua began walking a little faster than normal human speed and even running she couldn’t keep up with him.

“Wait, please, you’re going too fast for me,” she gasped. Joshua turned around and walked back towards her.

“Jump on my back,” he commanded crouching down. She did as she was told, her arms clasped around his neck and her head rested on his shoulder. As he walked quickly, his nostrils were again assailed by the honeyed scent of her young blood. This was getting harder by the minute. He wasn’t one to feed from children, but the smell was too delicious. It took every ounce of his willpower not to bite into the flesh so close to his lips.

Within minutes they had arrived at the old building with the faded sign declaring the name of the school. He crouched again so she could climb off. “Good luck, Pauline Fossil”

“Thank you very much, Joshua,” she replied. She took half a dozen steps towards the school then turned around to say something more, but he had vanished. She shrugged her shoulders and ran up the steps. She had an audition to attend.

I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I did writing it!

Guest Post from Mia Hoddell

I’ve got a treat for you today! I’m delighted to introduce a very talented author who has two books published and has kindly written a post for us about her writing and influences.

Drumroll please, for the lovely Mia Hoddell . . .

Mia Hoddell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone! Here’s a little about me, my writing and influences.

During high school English lessons my teacher used to make us review a different book we had read every month. However because I was never interested in reading/writing until 2009, I used to make up my own books, which I got away with for a while (probably should have followed the hint then). Up until this point I was more interested in sports and art, and originally wanted to be an artist. Later on though, I discovered some books by Julia Golding which really interested me so from then on I have developed a love of both reading and writing.

I began writing short stories that all included paranormal aspects. My first one was about a WW1 soldiers who died in battle then returned as a lost soul and was forced to walk the battlefield for eternity. I love anything paranormal so my ideas and writing generally includes some aspects of this or fit into the paranormal genre. This may change in the future, but for now the ideas in my head (about nine of them) are all paranormal.

The short story I had written about the WW1 soldier helped me to develop the main theme of The Wanderers Trilogy. Also a song on youtube (SomewhereNowhere – Cinephile) helped generate the images for the first scene in The Sheol. I started writing about the clear image I had in my head of a woman wearing black and standing on the edge of a cliff while the sun set. And from there the story slowly developed. I hadn’t really thought it through up until that point though; all I knew was I wanted a strong female lead and something to do with lost souls.

Once I had finally planned the whole trilogy, I had no trouble finding suitable names for most of my characters. For Kala, I looked up names with the meaning “darkness,” to fit in with the dark paranormal romance theme, and after looking at a few websites, Kala seemed perfect. After that most of the other names seemed to fall in place; all but Nachtmahr’s anyway. I had written the whole book before finding him a name, just using a few dashes instead (something I later regretted when I had to go back and edit it all). I spent three days trying to find a suitable name for him before finally settling on Nachtmahr – meaning nightmare in German. I’m very picky with names and if I have the slightest doubt, I will not use it, even if it does take me days to find a replacement.

I wrote during my summer holidays and would stay up until 4am writing, just losing myself in the story. However, by the time I reached chapter 6, I had run out of holiday and was stuck with a heavy work load so my writing was put on hold for two years. I was finally able to get back to my novel though as I was desperate to finish it and made my writing my priority. I spent 4hours minimum writing everyday and within two weeks I had finished The Sheol.

For me the task of writing the book seemed easier than inventing a title at this point; and there was also the editing. I originally settled on ‘Earthbound’ but it didn’t seem right so I decided to keep it simple and use the main dark supernatural force ‘The Sheol’ (meaning a place where the dead congregate) as the title. After this, three painful months were spent editing before I shot photos for the cover and uploaded my first book to Amazon. From there on the sequels to The Wanderer Trilogy have been created and I have more ideas I am working on, all from different influences; some real life and some from dreams.

Thank you, Mia, for sharing this with us.

For more information about Mia and her books, keep scrolling down!

The Sheol – the first book in The Wanderer Trilogy.

Being a trained killer, Kala can handle most things the world throws at her. However, when she murders her fiancé, Kala’s life is thrown into chaos. Forced to leave everything behind, she runs from city to city, in fear of her psychotic boss who is seeking her death. If that wasn’t enough, she also has to cope with the re-appearance of her dead fiancé who is struggling to keep a hold on his sanity as he strives for revenge.

Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROCvv4FqfCQ

The Flawless – the second book in The Wanderer Trilogy.

A battle is going to arise soon; The Sheol and The Flawless will come together but only one can survive to continue their manipulation of humankind. The Wanderers have to decide whether to summon the courage to fight so they can save themselves from eternal unrest or whether they like being lost, immortal souls. Nachtmahr is upgrading his Sturmmen to create more ruthless and efficient killers due to interference from The Sheol, while Kala is becoming darker; her rage consuming her as she strives to fulfill her own personal mission…Kill Nachtmahr.

LINKS:

Website/blog: http://miahoddell.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia-Hoddell-Author/421368247889610?ref=hl

Twitter: @MiaHoddell – https://twitter.com/MiaHoddell

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=mia+hoddell

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=mia+hoddell

Also available at Barnes & Nobel and iBooks

Print Books available at Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/mia-hoddell/the-sheol-the-wanderer-trilogy-1/paperback/product-20365466.html

 

 

Launch Update

Hi Everyone,

I hope you enjoyed reading the #BlogFlash2012 posts as much as I did writing them!

Now I have some exciting news – I’m preparing for the launch of Heart Search: Lost (is that a few hurrahs I hear?? Lol) through Myrddin Publishing. I will be running a blog tour with giveaways and I thought, what better way to start kicking things off than by sharing the news with my faithful followers.

I’m looking for people who would be willing to support the blog tour by hosting reviews, interviews and blog posts and as a thank you for your ongoing support, I thought I’d give you the first opportunity to jump on board the tour bus before I advertise it further afield.

I haven’t got the exact dates yet – I’m waiting for one more thing to fall into place – but I’m looking at end September/beginning of October. Sorry this is a bit vague, but I will be having surgery on my spine sometime this month and am waiting for the date, and this will affect when we ‘go live’

The tour will run for two weeks and I want as many people as possible involved. However, I will be limiting the number of reviews of the book and it will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Also, because of the content in the book and the genre, it would help if reviewers are fantasy fans! So we get an even spread of coverage, each person involved will be allocated a date for their post to appear.

If you are interested in hosting on the tour please either leave me a message below or email me at carlie-c2011 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk and put ‘Blog Tour’ in the subject line, stating which you would prefer to do. I will hold off advertising outside until Friday 7th September, so you’ll need to get back to me by then.

Finally, I wanted the unveiling of the cover to be exclusive to my lovely followers, so drum roll please …………..No, louder than that …………… (that’s better! lol)

Here it is:

I hope to hear from you very soon!

Reading #BlogFlash2012

Hi, today is Day 6 and the prompt for today is Reading. This is one of two subjects I could talk about for hours (writing being the other, of course), but as we’re limited to 100 words, I’ve tried to do something more creative with it. I hope you like it!

 

 

Reading

 

Damn! Another power cut. I’ve enough battery to continue writing on my laptop for an hour, but I really fancy reading.

 

One of my ideas of heaven!

 

I light some candles; positioned around the room they give it a glow, a warm ambience that electric light can’t compete with. I position a large candle by my chair and grab my book.

 

Vividly the scene comes to life by the beautiful descriptions

 

As I delve back into the exciting scene, my mind pictures the images the words create. The beautifully crafted descriptions allow me to wander, to immerse myself in the world on those precious pages, to relate to the characters and I lose myself for a while.

Immersed in the wonderful world created on the pages