Monday, 30 July 2012

Gymnastics rocks!

Just watched the Olympic gymnastics and we won bronze! Fan-tabby-tastic! I love it!

Go GB! :)


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Two lovely reviews

Today I had my day made for me when I read two reviews of my books from Ey Wade! Thanks Ey!
Happy face today!

Day of the Living Pizza

I couldn't help myself, I found myself laughing aloud many times as I read this story. The idea of someone running down the street screaming while a giant pizza chased her was both funny and scary. 

Vickie wrote this story as contribution to an anthology for the Gage Project. A project to entertain a child going through surgery with the prospect of a lengthy recovery time. Proceeds from this book will go to charity. This book definitely does its job. Too funny.

3 Heads & A Tail

Oh my gosh this is a funny book. I hate to harp on the topic of how the dog made the story, but I think he did. I know for sure I will forever look at my own dog and wonder what she is thinking.

Vickie did a terrific job transitioning between the romance concerning the humans and the love the dogs had for each other.

There was just the right amount of suspense between everyone/thing involved to keep you turning the pages and hoping all would work out well. I really enjoyed the story. It's such a feel good read and recommend it to all aged readers.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Day of the Living Pizza

Afternoon! I haven't had time to post an interview this week, so here's a preview of my new short story, Day of the Living Pizza. It was written for The Gage Project book in aid of children's charities. This is free on Smashwords and $1.24 on, where all proceeds are going to charity.

Day of the Living Pizza: a zombie story to get your teeth into!

Chapter 1

“Can I have a large, deep-pan pizza with chicken, bacon, peppers, mushroom and olives... well just a few olives?”
“Sure,” replied the pizza delivery guy. “Hold on... we’re out of chicken. Do you want a different topping instead?”
“Ahhh,” sighed Andy. Chicken was his favourite. He always had chicken. Should he ring his old, usual pizza company? But then he’d heard that this new place served the best pizza in Crazy Name Town, and he was really hungry. He smiled to himself. He’d take a chance. “Ok, can I have pepperoni instead and no bacon. I don’t think they go together.”
“Sure. Sorry about that. Your pizza will arrive in about 45 minutes. Thanks for your order. Bye.”
The line went dead. “Bye,” mumbled Andy, and put his mobile phone into his pocket. Now it was time to dig out a good DVD to watch. But, first things first. With a grin, he opened the fridge and took out a beer. Leaning against the door, he clicked open the can and took a sip. Ahhh. Some things were better than chicken. Well, some things. Not many, but some. Now, to find that perfect DVD, he thought.
“I’m on a highway to hell,” sang AC/DC from the speakers as Andy headed into the lounge. Perfect accompaniment, he thought, smiling.

Chapter 2

“So what’s the problem, Mr F-F-Farter?” asked Doctor Boring, peering up from under his glasses. They always slid down his nose slightly when he looked down. He pushed them up with his finger.
Andy sighed. He wished people would only use his first name. Whenever he heard his surname, he grimaced. If only he’d changed it when he reached 18, but then you had to keep the family name going, and the doctor’s name was pretty silly too.
“I’m not sure,” said Andy, sitting down opposite the doctor. “I’ve been feeling a bit weird. Since yesterday, Sunday, I’ve had blinding headaches and I feel really hot all of the time. I can’t eat. Food makes me feel sick. And then there’s this really weird rash...”
“I’ll take your t-temperature f-first,” said the doctor, sticking a thermometer into Andy’s mouth. He tapped his pencil against his desk as he waited. “Yes, mmm, that’s very high. I think you should be resting. It’s probably flu.”
“And the rash?”
“Yes, yes, let me see...”
Andy took off his jacket and pulled up his T-shirt.
The doctor peered closer. A bright red rash spread across the whole width of Andy’s stomach, from the waistband of his jeans up to his neck. “That’s a big rash. Does it hurt or itch?”
“It doesn’t hurt or itch really, but it feels really hot. My head feels hot too. It’s also on my back and my arms.”
“It could be excema or it could be an allergic reaction to something,” said the doctor. “I’ll prescribe you a histamine – that’s basically hayfever tablets – to take the reaction down. If it doesn’t improve in a few days just come back. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. Perhaps you ate something unusual .”
“But why do I feel so hot, and have headaches...” asked Andy. It must be something. He felt so weird.
“I think you may have flu as well. There’s a bug going round at the moment. Quite a few people have been here today with the same symptoms. Go home and rest.”
“Ok,” said Andy, pulling down his jumper and putting on his jacket.
The doctor handed him a prescription and Andy left. Flu? He wasn’t so sure. Still, he headed home, collecting the histamine from the chemist on the way. At home, he grabbed his duvet and pillow from the bedroom and made the settee his new bed, so that he could watch TV. He had a funny feeling he wouldn’t be going to work the next day. He really didn’t feel good.
The next day, Andy woke feeling like seven shades of drippy pooh. It took him all of his power to raise himself from the settee. His head pounded. The light from the window made him squint. Sitting up, he brushed his hair back from his face. Ah. He didn’t feel good. The TV was showing trailers. He must have fallen asleep while watching something. Oh well, he definitely must need sleep then. He rubbed his eyes and stumbled towards the bathroom. Ah, the first wee of the day was the best, he thought. He started to whistle but stopped. His throat felt dry and tight. He flushed the chain and washed his hands. Opening the bathroom cupboard he glanced around for his headache tablets. What? What was that? He’d seen something red behind him, looking in the mirror...
He closed the door of the cupboard and looked at the mirror again. Andy jumped. The face that stared back at him was bright red. The horrendous rash had spread to his face. He pushed back his hair. It was even along his scalp. Yuk. He looked disgusting. And he felt really hot. His eyes seemed smaller and squinted back at him. His lips were dry and cracked. His nose was bright red. It reminded him of a big tomato. 


Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I'm a featured author!

Hi! I'm excited today and it's not just because the sun is shining, but because the featured #WW indie author on Janus Ganghi's FB page today is me! Yay!

If you fancy joining in and having a read, the link is:


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Guest Post: Gillian Hamer on crossing genres

Rule breaking in fiction - how to write the book you want to read!
By Gillian Hamer

Thanks to Gillian Hamer for this guest post

The journey to get my novel, The Charter, into print has been a long and rocky road. It wasn’t until I felt confident enough to approach agents that I realised I’d committed quite a few cardinal sins in writing the story I wanted to write, all about a shipwreck off the coast of Anglesey, which has long fascinated me.

Apparently, in publishing, there are rules; a lot of rules. And one of the most fundamental rules in ensuring the success or failure of your novel is ‘though shalt not cross genres’.

I didn’t know this when I wrote The Charter almost five years ago. In fact, I didn’t know much about the world of publishing. I simply wrote a story I’d had in my head for 20 years, crossing modern-day crime fiction with a hint of paranormal and a dollop of historical backdrop.

It’s all to do with marketing, so I’m told; the fact that readers like order. If they like crime, they want to read crime. If they like historical fiction, they only read that. Personally, I think that’s a load of tosh. I love books that have an element of surprise, which leave you confused (in a good way) and breathless as the story unravels. I think of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger as a good example. Those who have read it will surely agree with me that they reached the end not entirely sure of what they’d just read – but adoring it all the same.

Now, I’m no Sarah Waters, of course, but that must surely point to there being a market of cross-genre books, or novels that don’t quite fit the mould. You’d think? But, no! Although the story, or perhaps my writing, gained the interest of two agents and went through numerous rewrites – removing ghosts, adding ghosts, removing ghosts – it became clear, when my current agent gave it the thumbs down, that my book had come to the end of its journey down the traditional publishing highway.

So, if I wanted to see The Charter in print, I had to go down the independent publishing route. Last year, I decided to do just that, and formed Triskele Books with two other talented authors in a similar position to my own.

Why did I bother?

I’ve had close connections with the island of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast, all my life. It’s a place that fascinates and never fails to thrill me. You cannot take a drive around Anglesey without passing a Neolithic burial chamber along the side of the road. Even the Druids based themselves there, creating a centre of excellence on the island.

For as many years as I can remember, when driving along the A5025 coastal road, traversing the eastern side of the island, I can recall hearing the story of the victims of the Royal Charter ship every time I passed Llanallgo Church. The  majority of the victims were buried in the cemetery of this church and it features heavily in my book.

I also remember new reports and articles over the years when excited divers allegedly found Australian gold off Point Lynas, where the ship had hit the rocks. I even have a vivid memory of metal detecting as a child with a family friend, who lived on the island, somewhere on Red Wharf Bay. He convinced me that the shiny pennies I kept digging up were treasure from the Royal Charter. Years later, I discovered that my friend had been the source of the hoard.

I think when a person, topic or legend has fascinated you all your life, any story that you can create, as a writer, around its existence will always mean a lot to you. So, if I could bring the legend of the shipwreck to a greater audience and also write about a part of the country I loved, then it was a no-brainer for me.

And, if it meant breaking a multitude of publishing rules and regulations along the way then it was just too bad!

Book blurb

Sarah Morton hopes that discovering the truth about the 1859 wreck of the Royal Charter will silence the demons of her past. But, tormented by visions and threats on her life, Sarah fears the ship may claim her as its final victim.


Born in the industrial Midlands, Gillian’s heart has always yearned for the pull of the ocean and the wilds of North Wales. A company director, Gillian has been writing as a hobby all of her life, but after taking a creative writing course a decade ago, she decided to take her writing to another level and sought representation. She has completed six full-length novels, split between straight crime and her mix of paranormal thrillers. 
   Gillian is also a regular columnist for literary magazine Words with Jam, and in that role she has been lucky enough to interview a cross-section of authors, from Ann Cleeves to Michael Morpurgo.
   Gillian splits her time between Birmingham and a remote cottage on Anglesey, where she spends far too much time dreaming of being the next Agatha Christie, and can be found walking her Jack Russell, Maysie, on deserted beaches. In her spare time she is a regular theatre-goer, avid reader and curious traveller! 
   Her novel, The Charter, was launched in June 2012, under Triskele Books, an author’s collective set up by Gillian and a group of fellow writers. Her straight crime novels are represented by Shelley Powers of the Shelley Powers Literary Agency.


Twitter: @Gill1H or @triskelebooks
Facebook: Gillian Hamer or Triskele Books

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Discover Fantasy Tour: book review

Today I’m reviewing Magnus Opum by Jonathan Gould,
as part of the Discover Fantasy Tour.

What is the Discover Fantasy Tour? Well, during the month of July, three authors are aiming to show that fantasy can offer something for everyone, be it humour, romance, adventure or just a darn good story. To find out more about Jonathan Gould,
 David M Brown and Jeremy Rodden, head over to the tour website for a little bit
of what you might fancy:

Magnus Opum by Jonathan Gould

I’ve read two of Jonathan Gould’s other books, Doodling and Flidderbugs, and Magnus Opum is just as magical – and fun.

I was wondering about that title, so I just had to go Google... Magnum opus comes from ‘great work’ and refers to the largest or greatest, most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, composer or craftsman.  Meanwhile, ‘opum’ is the plural of the Latin ‘ops’, meaning resources, wealth and food. So, perhaps the title could mean something like great resources... or great food! So, there you go...

Our story begins in Lower Kertoob, which is inhabited by the Kertoobis, who have a healthy obsession with baking the very, very best, most perfect pflugberries. In this place, life is simple and safe, and simplicity reigns unless you get an attack of the dreaded Grompets – that itch in your foot to travel – which is feared as some kind of degenerative disease to be sprinted away from. This is what happens to Jango, the brother of our not-too-confident hero, Magnus Mandalora, and there begins an adventure.

There are many well imagined places here, from the sacred old battlefield of Ferelshine to eerie Krondeep forest, the colourful world of the Parsheeth and the beauty of Sweet Harmody. Over everything hangs the threat of the Glurgs – even their name sounds like the flush of a dirty toilet. There are some amusing side adventures; one with something called a Blerchherchh, and it has nothing to do with burping or anything worse!

The story follows Magnus as he tries to do the right thing while seeking the truth of what happened to his brother. But, things aren’t always what they seem in this world, as he discovers. The author writes: “What was he to do in a world that had turned as topsy-turvy as the plumiferous grousehen that walked on its head and sang through its feet?”

The story skips merrily along. The style of writing is easy to read and whizzes along happily. The tale is a fun one, told with confidence, and full of hilarity. I loved the silly names of everything – well, they are damn silly!

Many themes run through the book. Tharella the beautiful, tells us, “Everyone has their own gift. They just need to know where to look in order to find it.” This is a major theme, along with the idea of what is beautiful and what is ugly? External attributes are compared with internal ones. Assumptions and preconceptions are thrown up (no, that wasn’t the Blerchherchh) against reality. Gossip, represented by the Doosies (whose physical attributes match their personal ones), is compared to the truth. And then there is power – is it used for the general good or to corrupt?

I enjoyed the characters of Magnus and Shaindor, the polite, dashing and blue-eyed swordsman with a penchant for song. But my favourite character of all is Klugrok, who I found hilarious. The family welcome from Klugrok, Kruperke and the Glurglets is brilliant, and one of my favourite parts. To steal some of his words, pick up this book, enjoy it, and “may your dreams be dark and yucky”.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Book review: Second Chances by Dannye Williamsen

I enjoyed this supernatural thriller, with suspense, romance and murder thrown into the mix. It’s gripping stuff, well written and tightly plotted. 

I won’t tell you what happens as that info is in the book blurb and I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but I can say that this story is a definite page turner and will steal your attention. Towards the end, I was so rushing to get to the finale and find out what was going to happen that I missed my train stop! 

I really liked the character of Avatar, the wolf. He’s a rounded, thoughtful character who introduces the book and the sets the eerie, ‘what’s really going on here?’ atmosphere from the beginning. The personalities of Jeff, Garrison, Freddie, Darian and Jodi are all well-rounded individuals, especially the two central characters of Freddie and Darian. We watch as they lead their separate lives while the threads connecting them are secretly weaving more tightly.

What does a woman do when she finds that she can no longer keep chaos at bay with the forceful control she spreads over everything? The author tells us that Freddie had “spent most of her time trying to orchestrate her life in an attempt to not feel empty, to not feel like a failure despite her success, to not feel lonely.” In the book, she begins to learn new things about herself, her strengths and weaknesses, and the dark secrets that she has never been told. Who is the mystery shadow that comes to haunt her, which she nicknames Mr Personality?

Then there’s Darian. What does a man do when he is broken and becomes a fragment of those parts he once was? Ms Williamsen tells us: “Feelings were all Darian had that he could call his own. So he guarded them carefully, treasured them. Whenever an experience evoked a new feeling, he studied the experience and savoured the feeling in his mind until he could determine where it belonged. Each feeling had a place and a purpose in his mind. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. One day he would have all the pieces.”

There is a lot of philosophy and deep thinking in this novel, lying in the background, which I found interesting. I was underlining many things for the ‘notes’ section. The story investigates the yin and yang, the two sides of the coin; the dark and light of the human character. What makes us do what we do? 

It also steps into the nature versus nurture debate. Who are we really? What creates a person? Are people’s characters innate or do our experiences shape us? If someone’s experiences are only dark, how will they turn out? Can we sympathise if they also turn out dark? 

Then there is the idea of fate. What is fate, are we fated to take a certain path no matter how many choices are offered to us? 

And what is choice? Do we all deserve a second chance? Would everyone actually want a second chance? Everyone has choices. As Ms Williamsen writes, “Our lack of understanding of our relationship to the Universe is why we make choices that aren’t healthy.”

There is a lot to tickle your thinking buds in here besides the actual story.

So, all in all, a good storyline, some fascinating ideas, a good plot, interesting and rounded characters, good pace and a definite page turner, along with some creepy scenes, a drop of romance and some genuinely spooky goings on.

The only downside is that this book is a little too dark for me. This genre of book is not one that I normally read. But, that's just me. Anyone who does read horrors and supernatural dark stories will absolutely love it.

Fans of this book will be happy to know there is a follow-up, called The Threads That Bind.

Book links:

Second Chances is available in ebook and paperback format.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sample Sunday: excerpt from 3 Heads & A Tail

Hi, a big lazy Sunday to ya! I'm sitting here with a cup of tea, and a bowl of bananas and custard - deja vu to my childhood I guess, without the tea! Maybe just milk and a cookie then?

Today's Sample Sunday is an excerpt from my new book, 3 Heads & A Tail, which has just been published by Inknbeans Press. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo 2011, which was my first NaNo and tough! A big kick up the butt to write though! The result is this comedy romance with walkies! 

Book blurb:

When nature lover Josie moves into a house share with two pals, dreamer Ben and model man David, she sees it as a short stop and doesn't bank on an attraction developing with one of them. Meanwhile, Ben's dog, Glen, has the hots for Miss Posh, the beautiful golden Lab in the park. When dog meets dog it's puppy love, but a complication leads to Glen taking matters into his own paws. In this comedy of errors, romance and walkies, it's anyone's guess who is going to get the girl/dog and live happily ever after.

The book is currently available on Amazon UK and US.


Chapter 2

Half an hour later, they had finished bringing everything in and were standing in the kitchen sipping mugs of steaming coffee. Josie wrapped her hands around her mug and smelt it, drawing in the relaxing aroma.
“Where were you living before?” asked David, flicking his hair.
“With me!” said Kay, before Josie could answer. “I broke up with my boyfriend and she moved in for a while, but then I had to move somewhere smaller when the flat sold, so I’m living on my own now.”
“And you decided to come here,” finished David.
“Yep, that’s about it,” smiled Josie. “We were good flatmates though.”
“Sure were,” said Kay, moving slightly nearer to her prey. “But now I have my own place, all to myself!”
“Is it nearby?” asked Ben, glancing at David, who looked disinterested in Kay’s blatant flirting.
Kay didn’t break her gaze, which was fixed on Mr Model. “It’s not far. Maybe you could pop round for coffee some time and I can return the favour?”
But it was me who made the damn coffee, thought Ben. Jesus.
Josie smiled at Kay’s directness. That was something Josie always had a problem with, getting straight to the point, but then a lot of the time she had no idea what the point was. The real point that is, which seemed to change with the whims and tides of the day. In fact, what was the point of most things?
“You seem deep in thought,” observed Ben.
“I was just thinking,” said Josie, glancing at Kay, who was telling David about the supremely amazing cookies she could make – if he came round for coffee that is. “I was wondering about the real point of most things.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, you know, sometimes you just do things not thinking about the point, and they’re cool. Other times you think too much about the point of something and you can burn it out by thinking...”
“...that it has a real point?” finished Ben, cupping his coffee.
“Exactly,” smiled Josie. “I think you can overanalyse things. Maybe it’s best not to think of the point, and just jump in and do it, and to hell with the point.”
As she said the words, they both looked at Kay, who seemed to have David almost pinned up against the wall. They were talking very intently, or rather she was talking intently and he was kind of wriggling to escape.
“You see my point?” asked Josie, sighing.
“I do! But I’m not sure he’s seeing it.”
Josie giggled. “And she’s seen it far too often!”
Ben laughed and put his coffee mug down.
“What’s so funny?” asked Kay.
“Nothing,” said Josie, biting her lip.
 “Well, do you want to meet Glen, our fourth housemate?” asked Ben, winking at Josie.
“Sure do,” said Kay. “I want to see this big, hairy guy. I bet he doesn’t snore!”
Josie laughed. David looked confused, but managed to flick his hair back neatly anyway. She noticed how the guy didn’t have a single flaw or wrinkle on his face. Maybe he was some kind of beautiful android that had travelled back in time. Some crazy old scientist somewhere was now looking for his long-lost dream project...
“Hey, dreamer!” called David. “Are you coming?”
“Oops, yes,” said Josie. “Daydreaming is my favourite pastime. You’ll get used to it!”
Josie swept out of the room behind David and up the stairs. Ben and Kay were waiting. Kay adjusted her skirt and pouted her lips. Josie smiled. That effort was sure going to be wasted on Glen! Her friend was so man crazy all of a sudden. The brave explorer of Testosterone Mountain – never to be defeated, she would climb every...
“This is Glen!” announced Ben, opening the door to his room. It swung back, revealing two big brown eyes, two soft and erect ears, and a goofy grin. Glen didn’t need to be announced twice. He bounced out of the room and straight into Kay. Up he went on his hind legs and out popped his glistening tongue in a friendly attempt to lick her face.
Josie grinned. “Hope you put your best lippy on!”
“Ooh, you trickster!” sighed Kay.
David emitted a deep-throated, sexy laugh. Josie tried to ignore it and focused on stroking the animal – that animal! Stroke it, she told herself, and don’t even think about the sexiness of his laugh. She didn’t dare look at Kay because she knew her friend was thinking the exact same thing and she would go as red as a beetroot.
“I think he really likes you too!” said Ben, unaware of the sparks of sexual electricity pinging round the room. “Sometimes Glen’s a bit too friendly and he can be a bit much for some people. He’s just enthusiastic.”
“He’s lovely!” said Josie, and this time she really was focusing on Glen.
“Right,” said David. “It was nice to meet you two. I’m off to make some music, so I’ll catch you later.”
If only he was making music with me, thought Kay, watching the departure of David’s perfect bum in his perfect jeans. She had goose bumps.
“Bye,” said Josie, not looking up from the dog. He was so soft. His big eyes were really brown and dreamy.
“Think you’ve found a new friend,” said Ben.
Josie was pretty sure she had found two new ones. She had a feeling that she was going to be really good mates with Ben. He seemed really easy to talk to.


Humpf! I thought he was never going to open that door! I thought I was going to be locked in there all night, running around and chasing my tail. That gets boring after ten minutes. If only he’d left a stick and his room was the size of a football ground – now that would have been a fun-packed afternoon.
Josie seems nice. She was stroking me for a long time. Though I thought my eyes were going to pop out when Kay kept patting my head over and over again. Something tells me she was not expecting a four-legged fellow. But it was voofing funny seeing the look on her face when I tried to lick it!
I bet Ben likes Josie. He always likes the sweet, pretty girls. But why has she got red hair? It doesn’t look real. I like her big green eyes. She looks like a dreamer and Ben is definitely one of those. He dreams too much for his own good, but he’s a good soul. Ah, I could see that Josie didn’t want to turn round when David said goodbye. Maybe that’s not so good. Voofing not good. If she likes him, that’s not good at all. Anyone but him! “Voof!”
Right, that’s my dinner finished. I always have my big thoughts when I’m eating. Ben says he thinks in the shower – I wonder what that’s like. A big doggy bath, maybe? Water from the sky! Think I’d prefer the river. It smells better. And you get to shake it, really shake it – shake that water off, baby. “Voof, voof.”
“Are you still hungry, Glen?”
Ben’s staring at me. He’s always worrying if I’m eating enough. “Voof”, I say. I try to smile, but it probably doesn’t look like one. Probably makes me look a bit goofy and weird. “Voof,” yep, I’m okay. I’m doggy okay. I wag my tail. Ben likes that. Now he’s smiling. I’ll just wag it again. Whoa, I like it too. Waggy, waggy, waggy. Look at my bum go!
“Ready for walkies?” he asks.
Ah, the magic word! Now I’ve got to muster up as much enthusiasm as possible for this so he doesn’t change his mind. “Voof voof voof!” Now for a quick chase around of my tail and that should do it. Wooosh. Wooosh. “Voof voof.” Oops, now I feel a bit dizzy. Dizzy doggy. “Voof.”
“Come on, you old thing,” he says, bending down so his face is right in front of mine. I don’t mind. Ben is great and I seem to make him really happy by doing the smallest things. “Voof.” He grins. See what I mean? But, less of the old, I’m not old. I’m six. That’s okay for a doggy. I’m still fit. I think. I hope.
“Come on, let’s go to the park,” says Ben, opening the front door.
Ah, the magic words! I speed down the steps, my ears flapping in the breeze, all of the lady doggies looking my way – in my head. In reality, I walk slowly down the steps, side by side with Ben, who is gripping on to the lead like I’m going to rush off and send us flying into a tree like I’m riding some magical skateboard. There was one in that film, Back to the Future. Now I know I’m just a dog, but I really fancy myself riding one of those – whoosh I’d go, and I definitely wouldn’t hit that tree.
Pad, pad, pad down the street, avoiding the small piles of other doggy doo doo. Yikes. “Voof.” Some dogs like the smell of it, but not me. Does that make me a strange doggy? Am I weird? Ben, I really don’t wanna sniff it! Too close, too close, toooo close! Ah, a near miss! I just avoided that one. But the smell, yikes! Doggie, what are you eating to do doo doo like you do?
“Come on boy, what a lovely day,” says Ben, looking down at me.
“Voof.” I look up and smile. Well, you know the score by now, I do a goofy kind of smile. Don’t know what I look like when I’m doing this because I’ve never seen myself doing it in one of those mirrors...  they really scare me, mirrors. Like, is that really me? I know it’s meant to be me, but are you sure it’s not just another dog? A big dog – one with some crazy, problematic grinning action going on! It beats me. Who invented mirrors anyway? They’re just confusing.
Now we’re heading into the park. Heading, heading... Yep, we’re in the park. I love the smell of those flowers and the trees. Ah, I could stay here all day, but I count my pleasures here by the hour. It’s the best part of my day – my walkies with Ben.
“Voof.” See, he’s smiling again because he knows I love it here. I hope he brought the Frisbee. Oh, no, he didn’t bring it! “Grrrr.” Sorry Ben, I’m not angry, really. Don’t look at me sadly. “Voof Voof,” wag, wag. Now I’m totally overdoing my enthusiasm. I hear bees. Buzz buzz. Ah, not so close. Get away! Good bees. Yikes! “Voof.”
Ah, now we’re talking. Looky, lady doggy, look at her! She’s here every time I come here. She’s a golden Labrador, just like me, but I think she’s a bit younger, maybe four, and so much better looking! So much! Ah, off she goes – every time, every single time, she just walks on by, never noticing. Her owner looks a bit of a hippy girl. Wonder what Ben thinks. Ah, he’s staring. He must like the hippy girl. Wonder why she never notices me? We’re both golden labs. We’re the best dogs around. “Voof!” Nope. She didn’t even blink. I’ll try a bit louder – “Voof!” Not even one ear perked. Off she goes. Guess I’ll have to live with that beautiful memory until tomorrow.
“You okay, boy?” Ben asks, bending down again. He gives me a tickle under the chin. I love those tickles! As long as she didn’t see! Not too doggy manly!
“Do you want to go home, Glen?”
No, no, nooo! “Voof, voof, voof!” I start chasing my tail again in some crazy circle, which makes me feel slightly woozy, but it works because he’s smiling again and letting me off the lead for a run. Cool!
Whoosh! I’m off, hurtling across the grass as fast as my paws can carry me, but not in her direction. No way. That would make me a doggy stalker and I’m not one of those. I’m not desperate and I’m running. Freedom! I’m running with the breeze lifting my ears, my tongue hanging stupidly out of my mouth and my tail whirling in funny circles behind me.
Doggy cool!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Congratulations! Summer Reads Giveaway winner!

Hi guys and girls! Thanks to everyone who took part in the Summer Reads Giveaway Hop. I hope you found some great new blogs to follow and some cool books.

Congratulations to Teresa Thompson, who wins a paperback copy of Kiwi in Cat City. I hope you enjoy the book, Teresa. I'll be emailing you as soon as I jump off here! :)

Thanks to everyone who entered the Rafflecopter question and posted their answer in the Comment section where I could have a nose!!

The question was: what was your favourite book as a child and why?
The top 3 choices turned out to be: Dr Seuss, Charlotte's Web and Little House on the Prairie!

Check down 2 posts for the original post and all of the comments... :)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Blog Tour: Laxmi Hariharan's debut, The Destiny of Shaitan!

Today, I am hosting Laxmi Hariharan
in celebration of her new release, 
The Destiny of Shaitan.

Check out the guest post below and be sure to 
enter the giveaway at the end of this post 
for a chance to win either a $15 Amazon Gift Card 
or an autographed paperback of 
The Destiny of Shaitan.

Young Adult Forever by Laxmi Hariharan

My sister-in-law turned to me, “when Naman married you, I thought you might lick him into shape. Little did I realise he was marrying someone just like himself.” She was, of course, referring to the ‘happy to spend life in pursuing my dreams’ traveller who never wanted to settle down in one place ­ me.

Coming from a conservative, South-Indian family in suburban Bombay, my biggest fear as a teen was to be ‘trapped’ in an arranged marriage. I always knew I would wait until I found the one; a partner who would accept me for what I am ­ a free spirit, an easy rider kind of person.

So, when my then-to-be-husband woke up one morning and didn’t blink at my, “Uh, how about we just spend the day walking around Singapore, doing nothing... just being?” suggestion, I knew that was him.

It took me a few more years to realise that I was firmly in what the world now calls the Young Adult space. I not only write YA, I am YA. In fact, I have my own quiz to help you figure out if you are also YA.

1.   Do you have more in common with your girlfriend’s fourteen year old (especially your love for Hunger Games, Twilight, et al)?
2.   In workplace meetings, at ‘grown up’ parties or in the pub, are you the only one who knows Formspring (or, for that matter, twitter)?
3.   Are you health conscious (in fact, probably vegetarian) and love to overdose on vitamins in the hope of staying perpetually young?

If you ticked even two of the above, chances are that, like me, you are YA forever.
So, this is how I realised that I write in the YA fantasy space. Then, the biggest surprise was discovering how inspired I was by Indian mythology.

Me, the one who left my home country of India due to wanderlust, running away from the constraints that the Indian society of the 80s placed on its women; the uber Go West kinda gal now churning out fiction inspired by the East ­Indian gods and goddesses, and their adventures? 

I paused, and dug into my memories, going back in time to when I was a little girl of perhaps five in Bombay. Remembering my grandma - Periamma, I called her (literally translating from Tamil as 'Big Mother') - wrapped in her ultra-traditional, nine yards of silk-cotton saree, narrating stories from ancient Indian epics. I had absorbed them wide-eyed, becoming one with them in my dreams, believing I could overcome demons in the real world, and that nothing could stop me. It was these stories, which portrayed powerful goddesses who were stronger than the mightiest gods, who were my role models.

In embracing my roots, I had found my voice.

Through The Destiny of Shaitan and my future books, I hope to share these delightful stories from the rich tradition of Indian mythology, presenting them in a cool, futuristic and simple to understand setting, so that people of all ages, everywhere, can enjoy them.

The Destiny of Shaitan and my next novel, The Seven Islands, will particularly resonate with young adults and the YA at heart, for we dare to dream. We are the imagination engine who sees the future.

If my readers feel just a little of those wonderful emotions that Grandma shared with me, then I will be ecstatic.

 Story summary

Partially set in a dystopian Bombay of the future, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming-of-age story, painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.

Yudi, Tiina and Rai embark on a mission to save the universe. Sent to retrieve the Isthmus from the ruthless Shaitan, Tiina seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. 

Shaitan is determined to stop them at any cost. The three friends must learn to trust one another and overcome their fears as they fight towards the ultimate showdown. 

The universe is at stake and the combatants are determined. Will Shaitan’s ultimate destiny be fulfilled?

Author bio

I am a writer, technophile and, dare I say it, a futurist, with a penchant for chai and growing eye-catching flowers. 

Wanderlust drove me out of my home country of India and I travelled across Asia, living in Singapore and Hong Kong before coming home to London. 

I am inspired by Indian mythology; I draw strength from the stories my grandmother narrated to me as a child. It is by acknowledging my roots that I found my voice. 

When not writing, I love walking in the woods with my soul mate and indulging my inner geek.

I would love to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or my website.


“The Destiny of Shaitan is mind-blowing, dark, humorous and clever. It took me on a powerful journey inwards, which was a surprise as I'm not generally drawn to Sci-fi or fantasy.”
- Sonia Ducie, Dip.CSN.AIN, mumerologist and author of 11 numerology books.

“The low-key humour that runs like an undercurrent through this delightful, gripping adventure had me chuckling from page one.”
- Pippa Merivale, author of Rescued by Angels.

“A truly refreshing approach because it is inspired by Indian mythology, direct references to which are few in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. That aside, Shaitan is a ripping yarn and a gripping read and a must-have for every fan of the genre. Besides, it’s bound to win more fans from across genres too. The character of Rai, in particular, is the most fascinating, but that's not to take away from the other players in the narrative, especially Yudi and Tiina and, of course, the titular evil Shaitan himself, who makes Darth Vader look like a kindergarten wimp.”
- Amazon Review by Moviescriptwriter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Summer Reads Giveaway Hop!

 Co-hosted by Rex Robot Reviews

Hi guys and girls! I'm delighted to be taking part in the Summer Reads Giveaway Hop.
Lots of blogs are taking part and offering some great prizes.

As this is a YA-friendly hop, I am giving away a paperback copy of Kiwi in Cat City. There are four books in the series so far. Good luck to you! If you win, I hope you enjoy reading it! I wrote the Kiwi Series for readers aged 10 up, but quite a few adults have read them!

Ok, so all you have to do is to answer the question in the Rafflecopter. If you like, add your answer to the comments too, as it will make fun reading for me (!) and other visitors! Okidoki... off you go... and don't forget to check out all of the other great blogs via the Linky! 

Cheers and purrs,

Question for the Rafflecopter: What was your favourite book as a child and why?

Some of my faves from kiddie-hood include -
- The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
- Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
- Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
- Winnie the Pooh
- Sleeping Beauty

What is Kiwi in Cat City about?

One dark night, Amy cannot sleep and she looks out of the window into the garden to see her cat, Kiwi, transfixed by the moon, which is glowing brightly like a cat's claw. Waking her brother, James, Amy suggests they follow Kiwi to see where she goes - whether it involves a hunt for mice or something else. Little do they know that, with a flick of her tail, Kiwi is going to magically change them into kittens and lead them on the adventure of their lives to a land they never knew existed in their wildest dreams. In the blue-lit Cat City, the budding detectives help Inspector Furrball to investigate the mystery of the catnapped catizens and find out what happened to Madame Purrfect.

- “Bravo on a superb book!” – Donna Brown, Amazon reviewer

Illustrations by the talented Nikki McBroom!

a Rafflecopter giveaway