Here's lookin at you kid...

Here's lookin at you kid...
The eyes are the windows to the soul...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

When Opportunity Knocks...

What do you do? Do you open the door, invite it in, make it comfortable, offer drinks, biscuits, cake?

Or do you grab your coat, lock the front door and follow Opportunity wherever Opportunity wants to take you?

I've grabbed my coat and we're now on the way down the street to goodness knows where.

Opportunity knocking on my door in this case is a metaphor of course... it was actually a phone call.

I'm excited... almost too excited to type out this blog yet, here I am, containing my excitement, tapping the keys to let you all know what I'm up to - just in case you're interested.
I'm about to launch into a direction of my career that quite frankly, I could never have foreseen. I'm not a presenter, I'm not a researcher, I'm not... well actually, instead of saying what I'm not... how about I say what I am!
I've done a few video interviews with a few very interesting people.
So, it's possible that I could be a presenter.

I've researched lots and lots of history, facts, figures and events and I put a lot of time into research for my books.
So, it's absolutely right that I'm a researcher.

I'm a novelist, a politician, a mother, grandmother, wife, biker, ex-bouncer and manufacturer of Robbie Williams' Rock DJ pants. I've raised money for charity, I've written a play (that shall be glossed over because it's VERY tongue-in-cheek and risqué) and I've acted in that play. I was the Wicked Queen and a few (a lot) of my friends have made mention that there was actually no 'acting' involved... I've 'performed' a few 'dance routines' in front of a LOT of people (around 800 at a time) and as they're all bikers and sometimes very scary people (yeah, ok, not really) it was quite a feat to stay on the stage and continue to the end.

Now comes a change of direction in my career. It's scary to think about it - BLOODY scary. But that's something that I have to get over, I think. It's something that I can't change, it's something that those that matter to me wouldn't want me to change and so I have to come to terms with it. I can't change my appearance. I've never been confident in the way I look. Yes, that's right, I'm NOT confident of my appearance. I never have been really. But now, I have to either get confident or blag it and hope that one meets the other in the middle.

The new and exciting project I have is to do a series of documentaries with Reality Entertainment. Wish me luck... this is the Deep End and I don't think I have my rubber ring to hand!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Dusty - one of my characters

On Sunday I released the 6th in my Dusty the Demon Hunter series. I've not blogged about her before but she's an interesting young woman/demon. She rides a motorcycle, throws a mean Unicorn rope, hefts a beautiful blue-bladed sword and is what you might call a 'Kick-ass Teen'. I like her - a lot.

I remember the first time I 'met' Dusty. I was sitting at my computer one Saturday evening and it was almost as though she came in, sat right by my side and began to dictate her story to me, the tale came to me so easily.
Before the evening was over, I'd done almost 8,000 words and I had ventured into a whole new aspect of writing, one that I never thought I'd be able to write - Young Adult.
The first scene is rather steamy and I was very worried about whether it would pass for YA - my daughter said that it most definitely would NOT be suitable for teens so I calmed it down a little.

After six stories about Dusty and her adventures, I've begun to think about a full novel about her. I think I can pull it off because there are a lot of demons in the world for her to be dealing with. I've got it all mapped out in my head. There are going to be a few more short stories involving the Demon Hunter teen but while I'm writing those, I'll also be writing her full story, with a good back-story to go with it.

So far, Dusty has met an incubus, another half demon teen, harpies, vampires, Santa, a doppelganger or two, goblins, a cacodemon, mega-maggots and the devil himself. Who knows what's going to be in Dusty's future? The only thing I'm certain of is that she's never going to lead a dull life.

Perhaps an Autumn release for her then? We shall see.

I've included the first part of Dusty's first story, just to whet your appetite so to speak.

She felt him approaching her from behind – as he always did. She was tense with excitement and shaking as he got close enough to touch her. The first touch from him was electric and her skin tingled wherever his fingetips stroked. His lips brushed her neck and she closed her eyes and leaned her head back on his shoulder. His arms snaked around her and folded her into his embrace. His lips were replaced by his teeth on her tender and sensitive neck; the nips were gentle yet insistant. His breath was becoming laboured as his passion rose to match hers and he pressed himself against her. She could feel his excitement and she gasped. Her mouth opened to allow her panting breath an escape route and she moaned involuntarily. He stopped nibbling but held his teeth close to her neck, his tongue flicking out between them as he listened to her sighs. She was impatient for him to re-start his seduction but he knew that he was in complete control and he made her wait.
His hand went up to her throat and gently traced from her chin down... the tension was excruciating and almost beyond her endurance. She wanted to take his hands and place one on her breast and the other between her legs but she seemed unable to control her limbs. Her hands and arms were immobile and a fleeting thought crossed her mind “Oh no, not again!”
With that thought now embedded in her mind, his caresses and strokes became more invasive and she still could do nothing but moan her passion. Her mind was screaming her protest but her body, her trecherous and lustful body was urging him on!
As he laid her down she closed her eyes because she did not wish to see the person that was pleasuring her and yet violating her night after night in her dreams. She knew that he was aware that she was protesting inside her mind. He knew that her free will was locked away in the dream-state. He knew and he took full advantage of her instincts to mate.
As he lowered his body onto her, she gasped again for his flesh was ice cold, almost painfully so. She could not move her arms to stop him but it seemed that her legs were under no such restrictions; they wrapped themselves around him. He was the consumate expert in seduction and he controlled himself perfectly. The rhythm was steady but exquisitely slow. He continued to work his magic upon her and she wrapped her suddenly movable arms around his neck to pull her up close to his body. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Thursday 19th April 2012

Yesterday's date. Nothing special about it? Well I thought so too up until around lunch time (or just after).
My son, Haydn phoned on the house phone (unreliable HTC/Virgin & Blackberry/Orange connections which work when they feel like it). He asked me to go to his house and get Tammy (his girlfriend). Tammy is pregnant and had a bit of a scare at the weekend when she started bleeding. She's a month away from her due-date so we're all on tenterhooks at the moment of course.
I pulled up outside their house (scraped my wheel on the kerb too, damn it!) and went inside to fetch her. She was taking her overnight bag just in case and off we went to hospital.
Tammy was doing ok, the pains weren't too bad but it was a bit hairy on the way there, avoiding as many potholes as I could (and there are A LOT) so that she'd be a bit more comfy. My car, I forgot to mention, is a little sports car, low to the ground, so it's difficult for a pregnant lady to get in (and out) of and it 'feels' the bumps more.
We had to queue to get into the car park (a great system that is!) and my anxiety was rising, but I hoped that it didn't show.
We chatted about waters breaking, Tammy didn't think hers had, I told her that she'd know when they did.
Up in the maternity ward, we were told to wait. We waited for more than an hour and Tammy was doing brilliantly. She was calm and patient. She was keeping track of her contractions and telling me how close they were (2 every 5 mins is close, right?) They'd slow down a little and she'd let me know that too.
Finally, Jane, the Mid-wife came and fetched Tammy. We went into the assessment room where Tammy was hooked up to a monitoring machine.
After a while, Tammy said: "Oh, my waters just went." and they had!
Then it started to kick up a gear. Tammy was getting more uncomfortable, but she didn't complain, not once! Her back was hurting, so I rubbed it and tried to comfort her as best I could.
The Mid-wife came in and wanted Tammy to walk down the corridor to the birthing room. That was not going to happen. She couldn't even sit in a wheelchair, the contractions were only increasing in intensity.
After wheeling the whole bed down to the birthing room, things started to settle.
The new Mid-wife asked what the result of the examination was - there hadn't been time to have an examination and she realised that if Tammy wanted to push, then that was ok because she was ready.
Tammy wanted Haydn with her but he was on his way back from London and was trying his very best to get to her on time.
It really was touch-and-go. We wanted Haydn there but the baby wanted to be there too!
Finally, Tammy couldn't hold back any more and she began to push. She was so very brave and still never complained.
At around 5:30 on the evening of April 19th, Mia Rose Gent made her appearance in this big, scary world. I was asked if I wanted to cut the cord and Tammy nodded her head wearily, she was exhausted. Mia was introduced to her mummy and a few minutes later, Haydn got there. He'd missed all the action but was in time to make Tammy feel a lot better just by being there with her.
Mia, I must say, is the most adorable, beautiful little baby girl. She gave us a little bit of worry being so early, but she's strong and determined, like her mum.
Not only will Tammy make a wonderful, caring mother, I think this experience will have strengthened our friendship too. I love Tammy to bits anyway but going through this together has made me really appreciate her strength and willpower and I have a new and higher respect for the beautiful young woman that has taken hold of my son and turned him from a kid into a man, Mia's dad.
Well done Tammy, very good job!

Yesterday our lives changed. Today the lives of my family will never be the same because our family has grown by one. Though she's the smallest one in the family, and the newest, she has altered everything. She has brought two families together and joined them in an unbreakable blood bond.

Mia Rose is amazing. She's done all of that before she is 24 hours old, what is she going to achieve in her lifetime?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

At the London Book Fair

On Tuesday, we went to the London Book Fair. It's quite a trek all the way to the 'Big Smoke' in torrential rain and rush-hour traffic. We tried to set off at 7am but that didn't go too well and we eventually started off properly at gone 8.
There was no stress though, we didn't have any appointments or expectations, we were going more for a day out together than we were for anything professional.
Last year we had our visit cut short by Trev, my husband, collapsing and being admitted to Charing Cross hospital. He had kidney stones and was in utter agony. He had to stay the night because of the medication he had been given and I had to find my way out of London without a clue where I was going. The sat-nav on my phone was no help because the battery had died - just typical! I went past Charing Cross hospital at least 4 times before I finally found the pointer towards the M4 (it was close enough by that time).
Anyway, back to this year. We arrived, booked in and started wandering around. We had a few ideas on what we'd like to look at but unlike last year, we had not made any plans - we didn't want to tempt fate again!
We drifted towards Helen Hart's stand where she was showcasing Silverwood Books. We do like Helen, she's a very kind and knowledgeable woman.
We got to talking, as you do, about past businesses and experiences and a few things came to light. Apparently, in our time together, Trev and I have done some pretty amazing things.
I started a business from scratch and sold to multi-million pound companies, such as Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Everton FC and the like (loads more football clubs too). I also sold merchandise to a company that worked with The Rocky Horror Show (the stage production). Because of my contact with them, when they got a new, up-and-coming Pop star on their books, they asked if I could make men's underwear.
Yes, I know, it's rather a strange request but as I'd been making garters and such for football clubs, it's not too great a stretch is it?
I told them that I could and was asked to send in 3 pairs of identical men's briefs. So, off they went and I thought nothing about it until I received one pair back with a sparkly design on the front. 'How odd' I thought.
It wasn't until later that I got the surprise of my life. My children were watching TV when a new release for one of my favourite singers came on. Robbie Williams was singing 'Rock DJ'. It was a rather unusual video, he was standing in the centre of a roller rink, being ignored by the female skaters. Robbie desperate to gain attention began to remove his clothes.
OK, now I was interested.
He took off his jeans and what did I see... Yes! You guessed! The very same underwear that I had made!
Of course, excitement reigned in our household and even now, I can still say that I had my hands in Robbie Williams' pants!
What a claim to fame!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My first rant.

I've read this article:

and I've got myself all worked up - whether it's over nothing or not, time will tell, I'm sure.

As I can see it, the 'Big 6' are refusing to pay Amazon their asked for promotional fees. The thing is, like it or not, Amazon is one of the largest (if not by now the largest) market on the internet.
The 'Big 6' don't like having to pay to advertise their titles? Really? No, I mean REALLY? Well exactly how do they expect to get their titles promoted? By the good grace of a company that's in the business of selling for a profit? Would the 'Big 6' do that? I seriously doubt it.
I have an idea. Why not put all the titles published on a level playing field and see which ones get to the top of the best sellers lists. I concede that there would be still a large number of the 'Big 6's books up there but I would bet that there would be a lot more Indie works up there alongside them. Make the playing field level and let's see who sells what in what quantities.

The 'Big 6' complaining about prices for promoting their titles going up doesn't seem quite right to me, after all, you gets what you pays for, don'tcha?

I'm afraid that Amazon is calling the shots now because, right at the beginning, the 'Big 6' gave concessions to allow Amazon to get it's foot under the table and now it's not just a foot under the table, it's a great big hungry behemoth, all over the table.

'Big 6' - lookit! You may not have created the monster, but you certainly helped feed it.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Meeting new people

I like meeting new people and on Saturday, we went to a 60th wedding anniversary. Frank and Evelyn have been married for an astonishing length of time and I was proud to have been invited to celebrate with them.
Of course we arrived late. I can't manage to get to any event on time it would seem.
We found a couple of seats on a table and we were the youngest on that table. I sat next to a lady and eventually we got chatting. What an AMAZING woman she is.

She had a motorbike at one time, she can't remember what it was, except that it was a Honda. She rode it to keep her daughter company.
The lady's name is Joan and she apologised for talking so much. I told her not to worry because her stories were fascinating. I wasn't paying lip-service either.

She has been to visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda and after they'd been there, they went on to Mt Assisi to see Noah's Ark. She has visited New York in an original 1923 Rolls Royce to take the trip that the car took when it was first bought. The trip was well documented and the person that owned the car invited Joan to go along. I'm not surprised that she said 'yes'. I do believe that if there's adventure to be had, she's up for it!
Last year Joan was in Pakistan and she and her companion went all the way to the Afghani border to see what's what!
She's recently been skiing and she told me that on the trip, part way down the mountain, she felt a little breathless so she made her way to the nurse's station at the bottom of the mountain. She was a little dismissive when they said that they should call an ambulance, she didn't really want to bother anyone to that extent. Joan was then taken from the resort back to England where she had heart bypass surgery. She did offer to show me the scars but laughed at me when I told her that I'm a fainter and it probably wasn't a good idea.
She had to go early because she was still under the nurse's care and she had someone fetching her from the party - she doesn't drive now.
Before she went, she told me about the day she went to the Mall to see the Queen on her wedding day. She admitted that she became very overwhelmed and could hardly see anything.
She told me that she was going down south to visit her daughter this week and that she would be swimming in the outdoor pool (it's heated). I don't think it'd be one of my options this week, the weather has reverted to normality.

Joan was married on the same day as Frank and Evelyn and they have remained firm friends since then but her husband died a long time ago. She did seem sad when she told me that and I wondered if that was one of the reasons that she had packed so very much excitement and adventure into her life since, to ease the ache that he left.

Joan is 89 years old and I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Yes, everything changes. Maybe it's the coming of spring, a new season, a new beginning.
The frogs have been making out in our ponds for weeks now and we have a healthy crop of frog spawn - we are going to have hundreds of little hoppy things soon - if the pond doesn't dry out (I must keep my eye on that again this year).
But other changes have been happening in our household lately. My children have all but moved out (again) and my son and his partner are due to deliver us with a brand new grand daughter in a few weeks - EXCITED!
My husband has just had news that his work shifts will be altering and so, in keeping with his work pattern, so will mine. My late-night writing will cease and I'll have to discipline myself into getting up with him at 04:00 to write when he goes to work and the world is silent.
Last year I was frustrated in my writing because of noisy neighbours and I'm determined that they will NOT make a difference to my work this year.
This year, I've quit all game-playing on FB and the like and since I quit, I've seemed more productive (to myself at least). Promoting my work online is time consuming of course but if I am to be a full-time writer, then it just has to be done.
I have always thought that everything happens for a reason and I'm going to go with the flow. We've done this before, we can do it again. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Chapter 1

Visitors to the apartment would probably wonder at a few things. The fully automated security blinds on all the windows for one thing. Why would an apartment need such high security, so high up above the rest of the city? Even the windows that didn't have a balcony outside had the shutters. The visitor would possibly assume paranoia - or perhaps the more fanciful would imagine vampire. In the kitchen, the lack of any foodstuffs, cooking implements etc may encourage another fleeting notion of vampiric occupation.
The apartment was scrupulously tidy, almost as though the owner didn’t live there much. Again, once it had been thought of, vampire springs to mind as a likely reason.
The aforementioned visitor would be wrong in all of their assumptions. The owner of the apartment was not a vampire and was certainly not paranoid.
Apart from the fact that the apartment was very much lived in, used and loved, it also never received visitors. Not one. Never.
In fact, the whole of that floor was accessed by only one person – the owner of the apartment.
The mail was delivered to a secure box in the foyer and though there was the option for a trusted and well vetted employee of the building’s maintenance firm, it was not used. The cleaning service was expensive as cleaning goes but it was an opt-in or out service and it had been opted out of for the top floor. 
As another, far more utilised service, all visitors were screened and checked. If the occupant had neglected to give the name of any visitor, then even if the visitor had been regularly allowed in for years previously, if there was no name on the list, then there was no admittance, not even for maids, butlers and cleaners.
The Security Guy had slipped up only once and before his shift had ended, he was replaced.
“If the name’s not down, they’re not getting in” was the unofficial motto.
If there was paranoia to be assumed, then it did not begin with the choice of security shutters. Paranoia, if indeed that was the opinion, went further back than that, where the choice of the building had been made. Anyone living in that building wanted and paid for the ultimate in absolute security.
It took a while to get to know everyone in the building but the security firm prided itself on being the very best. No effort was too large or too little. Even the pampered pooches were recognised and referred to by name. But more than that, the Security Guy had to be intuitive too.
A hangover? The Security Guy would speak quietly if at all.
A funeral? The Security Guy offered respectful condolence or dignified silence, a black armband and on the one occasion, a tissue and a shoulder to lean on.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, was too much trouble for the Security Guy but the occupants also knew that they would never be allowed to debase, humiliate or take advantage of the Security Guy. They were expected to have more class than that. And yes, it does come as a complete shock when that point is rammed home.
The playboy that argued with the Security Guy because his three guests, two beautiful women and his best friend - a regular and recognised visitor, had been refused entry found that his lease was terminated the next day. His lawyers found that the lease, signed by dear ol’ dad was airtight. Dear ol’ dad had to renegotiate a new lease for the apartment that excluded his playboy son from even making visits to the building and because he valued the apartment, he was pleased to do so.
The diva (not in a good way) film star, aging and petulant, also found out just how binding the lease was. When she tried to insist that her Teacup Papillion was taken outside by the Security Guy ‘for a tinkle‘, she found herself a new apartment – again, the very next day.  
The Security Guys were respectful, polite and very well paid. They took their job seriously because the firm was the one that those in their trade aspired to work for. It was the pinnacle of security work, the height of an outstanding career.
When they became tired of being on the road, getting shot at for presidents and presidente, sick of the demanding film stars and rock gods, the move to make was to snag a post at ‘Crystal Securities - Clearly a Cut Above‘. It was a career move that meant good health benefits, a decent pension scheme (optional) and self respect. Sure, the hours were long and unsociable and there were the dangers of armed robberies too, especially back in the early days. There was also the worry of rival firms trying to muscle in on the classier action. All the disadvantages were compensated for and outweighed by the benefits. The armed robberies happened so infrequently that it had almost become one of the things they warn about and train for ‘just in case’. 
Unfortunately, the danger of a rival firm trying to take over was all too real. Until those kinds of firms got the message and moved on to try other, less able security firms, the Security Guys had to be on full alert at all times.
They’d get the hint, sooner or later, one way or another but until they did, if that situation occurred, it was a case of all leave cancelled and all hands on deck.
But at the end of the day, the employees knew which side their bread was buttered. Crystal Securities looked after its employees and they repaid with loyalty.

Monday, 2 April 2012

It Wasn't...

It Wasn't...

The fleeting shadow that passed you on the darkened streets that you thought was a stray dog?
The person behind you that you thought was coincidentally going the same way that you were?
The feeling you got that there was something behind you that you thought was your imagination?

It wasn’t.

The glint you thought was the lights on a car passing the house?
The caller that hung up as soon as you answered the phone you thought was a wrong number?
The movement you saw from the corner of your eye you thought was your imagination?

It wasn’t...

The flicker of a shadow you thought was the wind blowing the branches of the tree?
That noise you thought was the central heating switching on?
The sound you thought was the cat bumping against something?

It wasn’t!

The shadow was someone checking you out.
The person was seeing where you live.
The feeling was instinct, you should have taken notice.

The glint was light reflecting off a knife.
The caller was making certain you were alone.
The movement was the knife being raised to cut the phone line.

The flicker was someone in the garden.
The noise was someone forcing the window.
The sound was someone on your stairs.

Are you scared yet?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Dream experiences

I was talking with my mother a few years ago when my own children were quite young. I don't recall how or why the subject arose but the conversation became a little odd to say the least.

A little back-ground is in order I think. When I was small, we lived in what was called one of the 'Pit Rows' that is to say, houses in a long line which shared each wall with the neighbour. These houses were built by the Mine owner for his workers to live in and were therefore built fast and cheap. The houses were one room wide with the staircase in the centre of the house. As you can possibly imagine, the stairs were very steep and quite scary for a small child to climb.

Me: I remember a recurring dream that I always had. I was on my back, sort of sliding down the stairs but I was at the height of the bannister, rather than sliding along at stair level. My knees were bent and my head was sort of raised forward so that my back was bent, I was hunched up.
Mother: That's not possible. You can't have dreamed that.

Me: I did, I dreamed it a lot, sometimes every night. It wasn't a scary dream, even though I was obviously falling or sliding down those steep stairs.
Mother: No, I mean it's not possible because when I was pregnant with you, I fell down the stairs, I slid down on my back and the position that you describe would have been the position you were in, inside my stomach...

I've never been able to explain that. It's not a memory, it was a dream not an experience. How on earth could I dream about something that happened to me before I had even been born? Weird? I think so...

Saturday, 31 March 2012

From Facebook & Twitter to the world

I have to start as I mean to go on and to do this, I have to build my audience for my work (and the works of my colleagues in writing, both in and out of the Gingernut Books Ltd - Publisher stable). To do this, it would seem that I'd have to market my work, blog, guest-blog, write articles, hubs and loads more things besides - ALL of which I am prepared to do but I also realise that this will eat into my writing time. This is where my friends and Fans (wow, I can't believe it, I actually have these) can help.
I need more than 5000 likes on my Facebook Author page. I need 100,000 for my Twitter account and whilst this seems excessive and impossible, it really isn't. I have 3 full novels out and 4 short stories on Kindle and I believe that's a good amount to set my platform on but I need help. I need the help of people that like my stories and I know I've asked this before but I have to ask it again, PLEASE share my links, PLEASE cajole, threaten and beg your friends to like my pages, and share my links and ask them to ask their friends to do the same.
I can't do this alone, I need help and I know that my friends on FB, the ones that I've not yet met and those that I have met (even if I'm too ditzy to link people to their FB account, sorry Sandra) will help me. I have the best and most supportive friends online and offline and I do know that together we can and WILL get my books (OUR books) onto that big screen somewhere and when that day comes, I'll invite you ALL to the premier - even if I have to travel closer to your home town to do it!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The start of new things to come

Legends, myths, folk tales - every nation has them, even the relatively new ones, nations that are less than a millennia old, less than half a millennia old.
Vampires have become the most common, varying stories that came across the vast oceans with the new settlers. Witches, werewolves, hob-goblins and trolls are there too, nestling in amongst the tales of hardship, loneliness, hunger and strife. It wasn’t enough that the settlers in a new land had new, natural hazards to overcome, they had to battle old ones from the old country too. The vampires, witches and werewolves travelled along with them in their minds, their hearts and their fears.
Stories of hardworking people trying to make a new life for themselves in the new, exciting, dangerous but ultimately rewarding land were peppered with tales of temptation, the devil handing out prosperity too easily for the price of a soul gave adequate warning against laziness, drove a spike of terror into the hearts of communities that wished their lives were just that little bit easier or that all their dreams could come true right now.

What? You thought that the idea of instant gratification was a new concept? Not even close.

Those tales were understandable. Fables of temptation and the ultimate turn around of a fallen sinner redeemed at last by the love and devotion of a family and a community who put their trust in hard work and men of God.
A community once divided by greed, brought back together by the clever defeat of the Prince of temptation, Old Hob, the Devil. The eternal struggle of good over evil.
What of other tales? What of the myths dragged with pilgrims and settlers from the old countries? What purpose do they serve? Why do men perpetuate those tales?
Blood sucking vampires, men turned to beasts of the field by the light of the full moon, goblins, witches, faeries, trolls, giants, dwarves? Why do these stories persist? If it isn’t for a useful and instructional moralistic tale, is it then because there may be a basis in fact?
Did those creatures once exist? Were they eradicated by vigilant humans or did the creatures just learn to hide their existence better? Learned to use man’s growing disbelief that he was lower down the food chain than he would like? Did they - do they - use his unwavering faith in the advances of science against him? The scientific fact that explained why a victim of tuberculosis when dug up, disinterred, exhumed, looked plump and healthier in death than they had at their last in life. The natural processes of decomposition forces blood from orifices such as the mouth where the blood vessels are closer to the skin’s surface to make it seem as though the corpse had somehow been reanimated to claim other victims and feed on their blood?
Then man’s inventive and macabre imagination, coupled with his desire to be scared, gave stories of werewolves, forever enslaved by the moon, forced by the monthly phenomena into murderous, frivolous killing sprees. Did those creatures really only exist in man’s warped imagination? His eternal fear that one day he could revert to the savagery of days long since gone, times when it really was kill or be killed, when man had only tooth and claw to rely on rather than his inventive nature and advanced weaponry. Before he even had the idea of propulsion, slings and rocks, bows and arrows, cannon.
Man has advanced up that food chain, killed everything he feared, done away with the animals that could kill him, drove them deep into the forest, the ever decreasing forest and jungle, to make absolutely certain that he can sleep easy in his bed. Man has no predator now, only other men.
Or did those ancient predators evolve? The predators of old, those that are human based or could pass for human with a little genetic manipulation, interbreeding with humans over the centuries to bring their features more in line with what was acceptable. Did the mythical, legendary and creatures of folk tales ever exist? No? Are you sure?
Just because vampires, werewolves, witches and goblins are told of in fairy stories, told to us as children doesn’t make them less real. If they existed once, they may still exist, they may just have become wise to man’s destructive nature, become better at camouflage and disguise.
Would a predator really show himself to his victim if the victim had the means to kill it? What sense does that make?
If a zebra had the means to slaughter the lion, would the lion ever allow the zebra to know of its existence? The answer to that of course, is no.
It suits the predators of man to allow the belief in his own ultimate supremacy. Vampires, vulnerable by day, would be winked out of existence. Werewolves susceptible to precious metal, gone in the blink of an eye. Disbelief is the weapon of choice for the mythical creatures and if vampires and werewolves exist, how many other creatures do too? 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Yeah, that's the title of this week's blog, the magazine that I'm connected with.

A few months ago, I was asked if I'd like to be sub-editor for a new magazine. Of course, I jumped at the chance, I enjoy writing and I love connecting people that can work together to create something AWESOME.
I was in the Caribbean when I saw the first magazine. I lay on the beach reading the articles and thinking just how lucky I am.

I have my dream job. I write.

The magazine was intended to be bi-monthly but the success of the first month meant that we could go monthly with it. Everyone was delighted of course, but there are drawbacks. We have to get enough articles to fill the pages. There's a bigger drawback though... this magazine, AWESOME magazine, can't have any old tat on the pages, the articles, columns and pieces have to be AWESOME.

Now for the question then...

Are YOU up to the task? Can YOU write something for our magazine? Can you?
Give it a go... but make sure it's AWESOME!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Can characters come to life for you?

I've just created a Twitter account for Red, Sentinel Exemplar, the main character in my three (soon to be four) novels. I think I'm going to have a little fun with her but will she really 'come to life' though her Tweets? I hope so...

Then, do I go even further and create other Twitter accounts for the other characters so that she can interact with them? I'm thinking that I shouldn't... too time consuming, too over the top and too freakish. I can cope with getting into the heads of my characters when I'm writing about them but I don't think I want to get in there with regards to how they'd interact with Humes on Twitter... Can you imagine Darius on Twitter? Or Anton? Oh my goodness, Erzsébet Tweeting?
Yes, I think I'll leave my bloodthirsty characters safely trapped in the pages of my books and in the minds of my readers... perhaps that's best... for now... until I get bored :)

If you'd like to follow me: @ShellGent

If you're brave and would like to follow Red: @WolfSentinel

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Oh what a week!

Well that was a week of ups and downs, I must say.
It started out with great intentions... I had three articles that I had promised people, one article, one interview and a fiction piece.
Deadlines for the three were Thursday (x2) and Friday. I'm pleased to say that I managed all three by Wednesday. Now THAT'S  a first!
The interview was easy, all I had to do was answer some questions - Thanks Julie Catherine.
The article, I was struggling on. I didn't have inspiration until a few nights ago. I was keeping up with the Brit Awards on Twitter not TV and I saw a few nasty and utterly horrible comments about Adele - she had won 6 Grammys a few nights previously and she must still have been on Cloud 9. As she started winning, I noticed a few comments about her weight and I thought they were going too far.
I Tweeted the guy and told him it wasn't right, Adele is a role model for young girls to not diet to extremes but whether he saw it or not, it didn't stop him.
So I played him at his own game and I started using the # to trend the #Brits too.
The next morning, my Tweet had been removed from his page so I guess he had seen it but the best part is that I wrote the article on self-confidence and self-perception, not just in young women but in all of us. I know that I've looked in the mirror and thought "who the hell is that and what have they done to my face?"
I mean... I don't remember getting this old... it's only been a very short time since I was 16 years old... hasn't it?
Well, apparently not.
I've wondered about plastic surgery, but that's as far as it's got... to the wondering stage. I can't justify spending money to 'go under the knife', no matter how I look but that's just me. I will never criticise anyone for having surgery, it's a personal choice but I do feel saddened when it goes too far.

The way I will stay young and become immortal is through my children and my books. While my children are around and having children themselves (I'm going to be a grandma in a few short months) I'll stay young.
And while there are copies of my books out there, I'll be immortal.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Hazel/Red and where she came from

Moving on from where Dusty came from in the geography of my imagination, I thought I'd share where Red came from too.

Deadlier... than the Male was the first novel I wrote. It took more than a decade to get it to where it became a 'proper book' (thanks Fiona hehehe) and the journey of that is enough to use up an entire Blog, so I'll gloss over that for now.

Red is female, like me. She's a red-head, like me. She has a temper, like me and she has no hesitation in killing those that annoy her enough... not like me.
A lot of the people that know me well and have taken time to read my books can see similarities between me and Red but that's as far as it goes. My imagination takes Red into extreme situations where the choice is kill or be killed and she obliges - with enthusiasm and flair.

Where Red's story is concerned, it began when I worked at a nightclub in the town close to where I lived. I worked there as Front of House staff - Door Supervisor, or Bouncer as it's more commonly known.
It was a slow evening, with not many customers, because the club had just opened and it took a few weeks before it became 'the place to be seen'. I was looking up at the sky over the rooftops of the buildings across the road and I turned to Lolly, the receptionist and said: "Can you imagine someone leaping from rooftop to rooftop, silhouetted by that full moon?"
"Are you talking about vampires?" Lolly asked.
"No, werewolves." I said that without thinking.
Vampires were still sexy, even though 'Interview' with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had been released five or more years before and Lost Boys were more than a decade older. I was starting to want more from the monsters I was reading about, I wanted something different. If I could write a story that entertained me, I was sure that I would be onto a winner.
I went home from work (it would have been around 3am) and I started to write.

I wrote what I knew - that's the advice, isn't it? - I wrote about a woman that was confident and intelligent (no, really, I can be, just give me a minute...). I wanted people to not only like her, but to feel empathy for her. I also wanted her to be strong enough to take care of herself and to not need anyone taking care of her, watching out for her or kicking ass for her. I wanted her to be surrounded by people that would do all those things if she needed or wanted - that's what friends do, isn't it?
I wanted this to be more extreme than a tale of friendships, trials, fall-downs, stand-ups and the like, this had to have gore and blood and mayhem - things I like to read about. I wanted my story to be as good as any I've read, as entertaining, as enthralling - as unputdownable - as any of those books I love. I didn't want much, did I?
That was going to be a test of my, as yet untried, talents.

I'd never written a full novel before. I had written short stories but never something that had to be disciplined and structured.
It took me two years to write.

I think I started out by writing about something that scared me in my daily life. Now, what scared me then (still does) was the idea of being alone in a deserted place and being attacked. I suppose that everyone has that fear and I'm no psychologist but I would assume that it's a natural fear of becoming someone or something's prey. Bearing that in mind, I set about writing about a woman on her way home from work, tired, distracted and vulnerable - just the right ingredients for a victim. Throw in a lonely location and a few added spices of previous attacks in the same place and we have a tense scenario where we just know she's going to be assaulted.

I added a twist of irony and deep satisfaction, a few pieces of location that I tumbled around in my head and scattered them in some slightly altered geography and there! I had my first scene and Red was born.

Then I wanted a back-story for this lady. I didn't just want a little back story though, I wanted her to have centuries of it! I took her five hundred years into the past and as I typed, she grew from an exceptionally fragile human girl, orphaned and alone, to one of the most powerful Wolves that had been documented.

Red is kick-ass, she's all-fury when necessary, she's independent and capable - she's Deadlier... than the Male.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Shameless plug alert

I don't do this very often, I'm not one of those people that plugs their work on every site at every opportunity. Sometimes maybe I suppose I should, but I find it intrusive and it's certainly annoying when all I see on my Twitter is "Read my book!" "My book, read it!" "Have you read my book yet?" from the same person, each time I refresh.
Anyway, here's me, being a hypocrite then...

Dusty came from nowhere I think. She sauntered up to me one Saturday evening and settled herself at my side and began to tell me her story. Before I knew it, I had almost 8,000 words written about her first adventure. It didn't seem to have taken any time at all. By Sunday afternoon, I had a full episode of her story, the genre she fitted into and a character that I really liked. I asked a few people to read what I'd written and bearing in mind that I wanted Dusty the Demon Hunter to be a kick-ass teen, I was disappointed when I was told, in no uncertain terms, that it was way too raunchy for teens. Now, to be fair, I don't think it was the teens that it was too raunchy for. I think it's too raunchy for the parents of said teens. They don't like to think their teens are reading this - they are though, trust me, I did too!
Nevertheless, I toned it down (no, really, I did) and though it's still slightly risqué, it's not graphic.

Dusty's friend has had a dabble with a friend's Ouija Board and something came through. That 'something' was an incubus, a demon that seduces human women in the hope that it can impregnate them and then steal away the resulting child.
Dusty was asked to help her friend Ange and because Dusty is the result of a similar encounter (her mother was seduced by a powerful demon) she helps Ange to stop the night-visits.
During the course of the adventure, Dusty meets another half-demon called Hunter, and they hit it off.

I had the story proof-read (thank you Julie) and it was put onto Amazon's Kindle site (thanks Trev).
Then I sat back and waited.

People loved it! They love the character, the story - everything about her! I am still excited that I created something that others enjoy and tell me that they enjoy it. Though she's not hit 1000 sales yet, Dusty's getting out there and I'm sure she'll be a success (she already is a success to me, people enjoy reading about her, it's not about the money, it never was).

After that encouraging start, I tried another story. This time Dusty encounters mythological creatures called harpies. I researched these creatures and found that they were three sisters and I was able to weave a very satisfactory (well, to me, anyway) story with regards to Dusty. Ange makes another appearance in this story too, as does Ange's cousin and of course, Hunter. Flights of Fantasy has also been well received by the fans that have started to accumulate for my half-demon teen.

Vampires, Trouble x 3 was inevitable I think. After all, my writing career was re-started when I was admin for a vampire game on Facebook (don't bother to look for it, I no longer play the game).
Dusty is approached by a vampire and asked to help. There's way more to the vampire's tale than at first seems, which makes for another interesting read.

The next Dusty tale is a free download. I wrote it with the specific aim of putting it into Gingernut Books' Newsletter (click the link at the bottom of the page) and you can still get the story.
Dusty meets Santa in this story. As I wrote it, I wrapped it around one of my favourite Christmas poems - The Night Before Christmas. I had a lot of fun with that short story and it fits in well with Dusty and how she's developing as a character.

The fifth in Dusty's repertoire has just been released. Dusty's Doppelganger was as much fun as the rest have been to write.
I didn't find much by way of research on the doppelganger myth but what I could remember from childhood stories have been supplemented by my trusty fall-back option - I made stuff up!

I'm in the middle of writing Dusty's sixth adventure - it doesn't even have a working title yet - and it's still fun. I'll keep you updated on her adventures and possibly, later this year, maybe Dusty's seventh will hit the shelves running - as a full length novel.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

On a cold and frosty morning...

January - cold, sharp mornings with frost thick on every surface. It makes the world seem clean and fresh even though everything is dead - no, not dead, but slumbering. Twice this week I've been at my computer as the sun broke through and banished the night time - I can't say I'm a big fan of early mornings but I suppose if I've been woken up (by the screaming child next door - again) then I must make the most of it.

As this new year begins, I'm thinking of what it's going to bring with it this time. I know that we are going to have a few great upheavals in our lives as a family, we're having a new addition in May for one thing. But personally, my writing career seems to be on the very edge of something big and I can't help being excited. Before you ask, no, Hollywood hasn't called and neither has an agent or publisher - that's not what I'm excited about. I can't put my finger on it, there's just something in the air I think... Movies, Magazines, Newsletters - all are opportunities to be spotted and grasped and I've met some inspiring people along my journey so I'm ever hopeful.

I've had a few wobbly days just lately, days where I seemed to have had so much to do, so many things that I could be getting on with that I didn't know where to start, which one to begin, and so I started a few different projects and finished none to any kind of satisfaction. I know what I have to do today and I shall finish all three of those writing projects.

Then I shall tidy the bathroom...

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

New Year still?

Last night I went to a party I greeted some of my friends with Happy New Year and the discussion began: When do we stop saying Happy New Year?
Is it once the first few weeks are done with, when January is over or when you've wished all of your friends and family a Happy New Year?

I think I'm just about done with my own personal Happy New Years for this year except for you, my blog followers -

Happy New Year to you all :)