Friday, 31 August 2012

The Indie Exchange #FlashFiveFriday: Myths

It's Friday Flash time again...

The prompt is...

#FlashFiveFriday is a weekly flash fiction/flash blogging prompt run by The Indie Exchange.
The rules are very simple if you’d like to take part:
1) Write for no longer than five minutes;
2) No upper or lower word limits;
3) You must write something new;
4) You can prepare your post ahead of time but the 5 minute limit still applies; and
5) If you add your blog post to the weekly linky you must visit five other blogs that week too to show your support.

Why not give it a go?

I did three, allowing up to five minutes for each one.

Two haiku

Enwrapt we hear dark
Tales of Ancient Greece and Rome,
Laden down with myth

A ball of twine led
Theseus from the deadly
Cretan Labyrinth


In legends of old we read of heroes
Racing to the fore to save damsels
Green men with bows robbing the rich
To give to those without a stitch

Cruel Minotaurs roam dark labyrinths
Where heroes escape by a thread
Poor Arachne spins a web of beauty
Only to grow long spidery legs

Randy Greek gods chasing nymphs
Only to see them turned into trees
Where Narcissus lies and stares and dies
We see reflected these ages of old

Truth to tell or written from the pen?
Are we hearing histories or only myth?

Monday, 27 August 2012

Words with... Kevin Tomsett

Thanks to Kevin Tomsett, author of Revenge, for this interview

All Daniel wanted was a happy life with his new wife and children, but his ex-wife destroyed that dream. Now he's won the lottery and all he wants is revenge...

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?
My day job is working for my local co-operative.

What books have you written so far?
A short story called Revenge.

What works in progress do you have?
I have a thriller called The Train and some fantasy ones as well.

How long did it take you to write your book/s? 
Revenge didn’t take long ­ about two weeks.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?
I write from the seat of my pants

Why do you write? 
That’s easy -­ it’s fun!

How long have you been writing? 
About a year.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?  
I write whenever my two boys will let me.

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?  
None yet.

What / who inspired you to write and still inspires you? 
William Shatner and Kristina Jackson.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story? 
Not sure, I will let you know when I find it!

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them? 
Um, yes, and, um, no, not yet!

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?
Animal = cat.
Food = pizza.
Drink = Jack and coke.
Film = 40-year-old Virgin and The Love Guru.
Colour = neon green.
Band = Take That.
Song = Kidz by Take That.
Place = Stubbington (where I grew up).
Item of clothing = my red jacket.

When you were a kid, what did you want to do / who did you want to be when you grew up? 
Like most little boys, I wanted to be a policeman.

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them? 
Still working on it.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you… 
Simple -­ five books by William Shatner.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?  
Robert Langdon - ­the way Dan Brown writes him makes him so compelling.

Who is your hero / heroine? 
Former WWE wrestlers Shawn Michaels and Billy Gunn.

Which book do you wish you had written? 
Harry Potter.
Which three authors would you like to take to the pub? 
Kristina Jackson, Sean Sweeney and Amanda Hocking.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience? 
Self-published. It’s hard, but rewarding.

How do you find the marketing experience?  
Very hard work and time-consuming.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out? 
Take your time and don’t rush it.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about? 
Yes, but I don’t use it much.

What other hobbies do you have?
 My Xbox 360.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years? 
To be the next Amanda Hocking.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh? 
Well, I would buy a house in the States, as well as a car, and season tickets to the Anaheim Ducks.

What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer? 
The last one, as I’m no good when put on the spot.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sample Sunday: excerpt from Day of the Living Pizza

For Sample Sunday, here is an excerpt from my short story, Day of the Living Pizza. All profits go to children's charities.

Length: almost 9,000 words.
Age group: age 10 up.
Genre: comedy horror.
Cover: Jennifer Bastow

Book blurb:

Detective Smarts of Crazy Name Town has a problem. Doctor Boring and his receptionist have been bumped off, and the only clues at the scene are some olives, tomatoes, mushrooms and a sprinkle of oregano. With the townsfolk dropping like flies and strange figures stumbling down the streets, Officer Dewdrop has an idea.

Book excerpt: Chapter 6

“Oooh,” squealed Alice, looking around. Had someone seen her tomato-shaped nose?
“Andy’s hungry!” yelled a voice from nowhere.
Alice spun round. In the other direction, she could see a figure, walking at a slow speed and staggering a little. Perhaps he was a little bit drunk? But it was the afternoon. Who would be drinking in the afternoon? Didn’t people read about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol? Alice tutted to herself. The figure seemed to be moving towards her. Alice felt a twinge of fear. Whoever it was wasn’t wearing any clothes, except for shoes. Black shoes. And he was red, very red indeed.
“I’m hungry...” shouted the weird man, looking straight at her.
“Pizza!” he screamed, even louder, his arms outstretched towards her. “Pizza!”
Agreed, thought Alice, he definitely resembled a pizza. A pepperoni pizza with bits of pepper, mushroom and... were those olives? Staring wide-eyed, she realised how close the man now was and his fingertips were outstretched towards her. Closer and closer! Suddenly, she regained the use of her legs, which had seemed to freeze, and her heart started beating loudly in her chest.
Alice could see that the man’s eyes were small and yellow... Ahh! She felt like she’d just woken from a dream. I don’t even like pizza that much, she thought, and started running back towards her house. She sped round the corner, without looking back.
“Pizza!” the voice grew fainter, though more desperate, in the background.
Alice raced on as fast as her legs could carry her.
“Alice, you look like you’ve seen a ghost! What’s wrong?” It was her friend, Barbara, the post office assistant. She must be on her break, thought Alice.
“There’s a strange man following me,” stammered Alice. “Please, don’t ask, just run...”
“But... but,” asked Barbara. “What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” mumbled Alice, turning her head. The strange-looking, walking Pepperoni  Man appeared around the corner. “Run!”
Barbara followed Alice’s line of sight. “What... the...?”
Alice started sprinting towards her house. Barbara didn’t need a second to think. She ran after her friend as fast as her legs would go.
“Pizza!” came the yell of the thing behind them.
Barbara screamed as she ran. She couldn’t help it. She felt foolish, but the scream came anyway. Her mother had told her when she was a child to scream if she was in trouble. Someone would hear and come to help. Or even better, she said, shout “fire” as someone would be bound to come out. Her mother had also told her never to speak to strangers. Good advice. And advice that she still followed to this day. There was no way she was going to give Mr Pepperoni directions to the nearest pizza.
“Fire!” screamed Barbara, chasing Alice down the street.
A neighbour opened his door and looked out, scratching his head. “Are you alright girl?” he called. Then he clapped sight of a strange, stumbling man who resembled a Meaty Feast Pizza. He slammed the door shut, and bolted it. “Edna... Edna, love... phone the police!”
People opened their doors as Barbara screamed her way down the street. As soon as they saw Pepperoni Man, they gulped, shook their heads, ran back into their homes, and locked the doors.
At Crazy Name Town police station, the phones were going crazy.
“I’d like to report a man...”
“What kind of man sir?”
“A man... a man who looks like a pepperoni pizza... he’s naked and angry looking...”
“Yes,” replied the policewoman laughing. “Alright sir, please. Don’t call us unless you have an emergency. We don’t have time for fake calls.
“Goodbye sir...”
After the tenth call about a Walking Pizza Dude, the policewoman decided to give Inspector Smarts a call. Before doing so, she sent two police officers round to Cheesy Terrace to find out what the problem was. She asked them to give whoever it was who was dressed up like a pizza a big warning not to take up valuable police time. She sighed to herself and realised she was a bit on the hungry side. Must be all this talk of food, she thought. Now where did she put that pizza delivery number?

Click to buy this ebook:

All profits are going to children's charities.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Interview on YA Promo Central

Today I was interviewed on YA Promo Central. I'm talking about the Kiwi Series and writing in general, plus some sillier things. Thanks Amanda! 

Here's a preview... 

YAPC: What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Vickie: Watching Buffy kick some vampire butt while eating Milky Bar chocolate.

YAPC: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Vickie: Yes, since I was a kid. I always had my nose in a book and when I wasn’t reading, I was daydreaming. My head was always in the clouds and imagining things. I used to think that books could come true. That one day I’d be wandering through the woods and if I was very lucky I’d find the giant tree from The Faraway Tree and meet Moonface in his round house! Sigh! I remember writing a story in Junior School. The class was reading Miss Pepperpot and our homework was to write something similar. I wrote one starring my classmates and the teacher read it out. Maybe the buzz started there.

You can read the rest of the interview, if you like, here...

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Indie Exchange #FlashFiveFriday: Woods

It's Friday Flash time again...

#FlashFiveFriday is a weekly flash fiction/flash blogging prompt run by The Indie Exchange.
The rules are very simple if you’d like to take part:
1) Write for no longer than five minutes;
2) No upper or lower word limits;
3) You must write something new;
4) You can prepare your post ahead of time but the 5 minute limit still applies; and
5) If you add your blog post to the weekly linky you must visit five other blogs that week too to show your support.

Why not give it a go?

I had three goes, allocating the five minutes to each one.


Flying through the woods
Robin tweets, searching for food;
Hopes between branches

Into the woods

Under the branches they walk
Arms entwined through autumn leaves
They make a new path, running
In between trees laden down
With promises and a night escape,
Dancing in between glances

A cool breeze pulls them sideways
As if the wind is keen to part them
The lake sparkles as they greet it
Halfway round the endless woods
Offering a silent sanctuary, away
From the bustle of yesterday

Elfin green

Elfin eyes stare in forest glades
Where the green days run deep
Linger long in the summer sun
Warm rays twinkle upon leaves
A rush of cool air soon ruffles 
The rough fingers of twigs

Smell the glistening rain
As it pelts its way through
Trickling into earthy puddles
It twirls and glitters merrily
Birds sing as they ponder
The elfin eyes that stare

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Feed Your Reader Giveaway Hop

Co-hosted by Books: A True Story

Welcome to the Feed Your Reader Giveaway Hop

I'm excited to be involved in this hop and will be giving away 3 sets of these books:

Kiwi in Cat City
Kiwi and the Missing Magic
Day of the Living Pizza

All of these books are suitable for readers aged 9 up, teens and adults.

What are the books about?

Kiwi in Cat City 
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 world of Cat City, the budding detectives help Inspector Furrball to solve the mystery of the missing catizens and find out what happened to Madame Purrfect.
17 5-star reviews on

Kiwi and the Missing Magic
James and Amy embark on their second adventure with their black cat, which will take them to the Land of Giant Mice in search of the missing Magic. They return to Cat City to help their friends and meet some new characters along the way, including the Worry Bee, Whiskers and Moggie. Can James and Amy help Kiwi save the day? More importantly, will James' pet hamster find his true calling in life?
9 5-star reviews on

Day of the Living Pizza 
Detective Smarts of Crazy Name Town has a problem. Doctor Boring and his receptionist have been bumped off, and the only clues at the scene are some olives, tomatoes, mushrooms and sprinkles of oregano. With the town folk dropping like flies and strange figures stumbling down the streets, Officer Dewdrop has an idea.
4 5-star reviews on

How can you win them?

Simple click on the Rafflecopter and answer the question. Good luck!

What then?

Then scroll down to the Linky of all the other participating blogs. Click on the links to check out what great prizes they are all offering. Lots of luck and happy reading!

Thanks for entering. Have a cool week! :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Guest Post: Gabriel Rheaume

The Shores We Walk

Gabriel Rheaume reveals the issues and inspiration behind his novel,
The Shores We Walk; a tale of addiction and hope

I came to write The Shores We Walk from a statement I made to my girlfriend, who is now deceased. I told her that her family was so dysfunctional that someone should write a book about them. As time passed, I became more interested in the idea and of pursuing it myself. When she took her life at the age of 19, I made a vow to myself that this book would transpire. So I took a creative writing class in college and it all started from there.

Her death led me to alcoholism and drug addiction. As my addiction became worse, my writing style transformed into surreal and delusional accounts of memories and life itself. As time progressed, my best friend died of a heroin overdose in my apartment while I was sleeping, and another one of my close friends passed away due to unexplained causes. All of these things continued to come out in my writing, so I decided to write the book as a tribute to all of them, and to write it in a way that felt like being on drugs, as well as bouts of psychosis, and visits from beyond the grave.

The book grew while I was in and out of rehab, but it wasn’t until I got my own addictions under control that I was able to wrap up the story, get an editor and self-publish The Shores We Walk.

Although it is a tragedy, there is a ray of hope. I recommend the book to those struggling with addiction or have a family member who is an addict, and those just curious about the lifestyle of a junkie. It is a fast-paced read, which is brutally honest and painful, but also written in lyrical prose.

What is the book about?

When all of the people close to Francis end up dying, a lot of questions are left in the air while he falls into a deep psychosis. The story is written through a veil of drugs and visits from beyond the grave. It is a love story and a tragedy; a struggle with faith and some brief moments of hope. Through the darkness there is also much beauty.

“In The Shores We Walk, Francis, based on a postmodern St Francis of Assisi, narrates the story of four people as they slowly self-destruct and battle drug addiction, homelessness and poverty. While Gabriel attended Wayne State University, he saw such tragic things every day.  He was inspired by the fact that even though these people had nothing, they never lost sight of what really mattered to them. He realised that life contains more joy than sorrow and wished more people would recognise that simple fact. When asked about his experiences in downtown Detroit, he simply says, “When you see a homeless man with a larger smile than a rich man, you have to question what’s actually important in your life.” Sandusky Tribune


If the weathered barns along the road did not reveal their age, it would seem like going back in time. He had not visited her cottage since the snow had fallen. It is off one of Michigan’s Great Lakes with a beach that has a coast with no near end. There is no view beyond the lake and sky. Sometimes freight ships sit near the horizon, slowly drifting in time with the clouds. At times the sky and the lake become indistinguishable. There is not a better easel for the sunset than the framed sky above this vast oasis. To sit afloat in the center of any large mass of water has an unfathomable magnificence. It is like analyzing the one infinite living second that is recognizable as life. The horizon can be divided by two shades, that of the water, and of the air. There is no end to this one-second as there is seemingly no end to the polar vision of the water and the sky.
     Each season is equally enchanting. Lake Huron in winter is deep blue with waves frozen to the white beach. The barren rolling, snow-covered hills are like a desert. The wind forms drifts that are small cliffs.
     The spring is a time of new life. The green is so vibrant that plants glow in the daylight. Blossoms decorate trees like white and pink ribbons. The air is as fresh as rich, black, soil.
     In the summer, the purple chicory grows in fields of grass. Queen Anne's Lace makes groups of wild plants flowers look like bouquets. The breeze from the lake is cool and comforting.
     The colors of the leaves in autumn are almost unnatural. A rainbow falls from the sky and the land becomes a palette of trees.
                                                                     (This excerpt is unedited, as supplied, Vickie)

What else are you working on:

Right now I don’t have a work in progress, but I've been writing short stories and poetry. I've been more focused on marketing this work. That's why I'm putting The Shores We Walk on sale for 99 cents on Kindle.

What writers or books do you love?

I have a long list of favourite authors and books, so, I think I'll just narrow it down to my top reads of all time. So, in no particular order:
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters;
Bret Easton Ellis, Rules of Attraction;
Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates;
Jack Keroauc, On the Road;
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin;
Allen Ginsberg, Howl;
T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland;
William Faulkner, The Sound and The Fury;
Aldous Huxley, The Island; and
William Burroughs, Junkie.


Facebook book page:

Twitter: OscarOptimism


You can read an earlier interview with Gabriel here:

Friday, 17 August 2012

#FlashFiveFriday: #2 – Graveyard

#FlashFiveFriday is a weekly flash fiction/flash blogging prompt run by The Indie Exchange.
The rules are very simple if you’d like to take part:
1) Write for no longer than five minutes;
2) No upper or lower word limits;
3) You must write something new;
4) You can prepare your post ahead of time but the 5 minute limit still applies; and
5) If you add your blog post to the weekly linky you must visit five other blogs that week too to show your support.

Here's mine...


Between the fields where no one goes
Sits a graveyard, dank and grim
All alone the blades of grass blow
Back and forth in the chilled breeze

Nothing speaks in the distancing
In between the jagged thin stones
Memories lie undisturbed here
At peace, longing no more to breathe

I step a while through these places
Tracing a path that never was
I can feel the echo of my yesterdays
Now I wonder if they feel me too

Does my warm breath tease them?
Can they hear my every step above?
The hour ticks forth into a new day
Past the witching time to my dismay

My hands are cold, my fingers stiff
Worn, my feet are tired of treading
But here I go, round and round
Tracing this never ending circle

This dance of mine will never end
This life of mine I cannot spend
For it is gone, vanished a while
In the distant past it fled 

I cannot find my shadow here
Bereft I no longer have my voice
Between the grave stones I dance
Alone on this empty uneven path.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Week 8: The Next Big Thing

Thanks to Donna Huber (Girl Who Reads) for tagging me for 'The Next Big Thing'!

This is a bit like that playground game Sticky Glue, but without the energetic racing around, which is great at my age. If you're tagged, you're 'it' and you have to answer 10 questions about your WIP (work in progress) on your blog and then pass the baton on to 5 author volunteers who will answer the same questions the following Wednesday on their own blog. And so it goes... 

Below I've answered the questions and linked my volunteers so you can head over to their blogs next Wednesday (22) to read their answers. Hey, it's a Wednesday thing :)

Happy reading...

The ten questions... 

What is the working title of your book?

Kiwi in the Realm of Ra.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I'm writing a series about a magical black cat who takes her two human friends on adventures. In book one, the children, Amy and James, discover that Kiwi can talk to them. The book I'm working on now is book five. It just needs final editing and a reread, and maybe a chapter added, I think. The Realm of Ra is set in Egypt because it was my favourite part of history when I was at school. History was one of my fave subjects and all that stuff about pyramids caught my imagination. All those gods and goddesses, hieroglyphics and mystery rocked. A totally different world.

What genre does your book fall under?

I wrote the series for readers aged 9 and up, so that's kids, middle grade, YA and, yep, even adults. And it's the fantasy genre as cats can't talk. Alas.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow. Erm. Well, I guess it would be a cartoon, so let me think about voices for some of them...
Kiwi - voice of Buffy! Aka Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Inspector Furrball - Kirk Douglas. 
Siam - Ewan MacGregor or Jensen Ackles.
I'm so not sure about Amy and James - I can't think of any kid actors off the top of my head!
Amy - Jodie Foster as a kid.
James - a very young Michael J Fox.
Moggie - Meryl Streep.
Delphinius - Tommy Lee Jones.
Bes - Mark Blucas, who played Riley in Buffy - I used to have a massive crush on him! or Will Smith cos he's just brilliant.
Imhotep - mmm, not sure.
Dev - James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy. He'd have that cheeky, bad guy edge.
So, it's a totally star-studded cast!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Magical cat called Kiwi takes friends on an adventure to Ancient Egypt to find the naughty tom cat Dev, who has changed history, before it's too late and she ceases to exist.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I have a small-press publisher called Inknbeans Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started it in April and finished at the start of this month (August). Normally, the first draft of a Kiwi book takes me six weeks, but I kept running out of time to write and I had to do a lot of research to make sure I got things right.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Maybe The Folk of the Faraway Tree or The Chronicles of Narnia, as there are many types of creatures and talking animals, and kids go on an adventure that grown-ups don't know about. I only wish I could write as well as CS Lewis!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The idea for the first book in the Kiwi Series, Kiwi in Cat City, came when I was made redundant in 2002, and I had a lot of free time on my hands. It was the first whole book that I wrote and finished. The heroine is based on Kiwi, a cheeky cat I had at the time. The book began with just a description of her and then grew into a world populated by cats. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It's set in Egypt, so if that part of history grabs you, you might like it. Also, I try to make my books funny and add some mystery in there. If you like books starring talking animals, who live their own lives, or if you ever wished you could communicate with creatures, you might like it. Also, if you don't want to grow up and want to go on an adventure in a fantasy world, maybe pick it up.

The Rules for The Next Big Thing...

Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress) on your blog on the Wednesday, updating the number of the week when you are running it.
Tag five other writers/bloggers, and add their links so readers can hop over and read their answers to the same questions.
In turn, the new five will choose another five volunteers.
And so the chain goes on, hopefully.

Who's up next?

Jt Sather

The amazing Nikki McBroom is creating the illustrations for the Kiwi Series. This pic is from Kiwi and the Living Nightmare. I love her pictures because she totally 'sees' the scenes I write about and captures them, as if by magic.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to check out these five writers next Wednesday!!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Great review for Life's Rhythms!

Thanks to Ey Wade for this awesome review of my haiku collection, Life's Rhythms. It made my week! Apart from the fantastic Olympics! :))

5.0 out of 5 stars Life Flows August 13, 2012
By Ey Wade

I grew up disliking poetry of any kind. Couldn't ever get into the short rhyming lines that seemed to be just thrown together but with Vickie I took a chance. I have already read two of her novels and loved her style of writing so when the chance to review Life's. Rhythms appeared I jumped to it. I was not disappointed. Life flows through Vickie's words. Each haiku is a novel, a story within itself. Vickie's words are picturesque. I could 'feel' the rain as it fell on the leaves and remember how green smells when the rain touches the earth. Thanks to her easy way of writing, I think I may try more poetry. I recommend everyone take a chance and read Life's Rhythms.

Here is a sample from inside. Thanks for reading, Vickie.

Rain fallen like stars
Sprinkles silver-like touches,
Dancing beside me

Some distant day she’ll
Return when she sees beauty
In a rainbow sing

Under sparkling stars
She laughs like water cascades
Rippling endlessly

Raspberries blood red
Ripe, soft and so succulent
Chilled ice-cream slithers

The sheltering moon,
Beneath her glimmer they roam -
Free, the wild wolves howl

In the dry still heat
The lizard basks, eyes aloft
Watching out for lunch

Eyes turn to the sun,
River of blue-black shimmers
On peacock feathers

Leaves hurtle, twisting,
Dropping without an echo –
Curved, their hands open