Free Today!!!!!!

 

 

****48hr Flash Freebie****

Chance to grab a great beach read in time for your holidays and even better it is free!

If you are coming along to one of the signings this is a great introduction to the way my mind works before delving into the darkness of my novels.

Audiobook Review – The Vanishing Witch By Karen Maitland

I picked this up as part of a two for one offer so was not sure what to expect other than it sounded interesting from the blurb…

The Goodreads blurb says about the book…

The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It’s a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust? The dour wool merchant? His impulsive son? The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes? Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones?

And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it’s time to fight back, it’s all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.

First, let’s deal with the facts

I really enjoyed this book, first, the narrator, though many of the characters were female the actor reading the book was able to perform each part in a way which allowed you to differentiate between them and not be distracted by the fact it was a man. He read it was enough passion to draw you into the story without distracting from the actual words and I have to say that is something I am discovering to be incredibly important when coming to audiobooks and have already changed my mind about buying some books based on listening to a sample of the narrator’s voice.

I love the overall all story, which I am not going to spoil by telling you, let us just say it is a nice tale of witchcraft. lust and murder. The balance between historical influence and plot is nicely done, I especially like the snippets of witch lore at the beginning of the chapters. The perspective switches from one character to another as you go through the chapters but at no point do you feel like it is repetitive as it can be telling a story from multiple viewpoints, the fact that the speaker is named at the start of each chapter also aids in keeping the story straight.

So the score, part of my wants to give it full marks, but there is something which holds me back, I think it is in part pacing, there are periods where the story moves slower, then you reach the end and it seems to fly through complex revelations, there is a lack of resolution regarding certain characters, which though not affecting the storyline you do wish you had more knowledge of their fates. I decided, in the end, to log it as a four on Goodreads but for this blog, I am going for 4.5 stars out of 5 and would recommend this in audiobook form.

 

Glossybox Review – April 2017

Sorry for the delay in posting these, like everything else I am so far behind it is crazy!

I am going to say when I first opened this I was a little underwhelmed by the contents I was not sure a hand sanitizer was appropriate as one of the five and had concerns about some of the others which as you will see were in part justified.

ModelCo Contour Stick

We may as well start with my biggest concern on initially opening the box, I saw the colour of this and thought they had misread my file and thought my surname was Kardashian, as you can see from this hand swatch it was not a great colour match…

Now the thing is I don’t fake tan, well not more than once a decade, I don’t use creme blushers or contours but I thought I have to give it a go and to be fair when buffed in properly it does actually fade down to quite a nice glow but it did require a lot of buffing. I like my make up to be quick to apply, I do not contour as much as I probably should so I am doubtful I will use this for everyday make up, however as with many things I am sure it will get used up at some point even if it is only as part of a Halloween look. It costs £17 so not exactly cheap however a little goes a long way and if you love sculpting out those cheekbones might be one to try.

Next up…

Elgon Deliwas CleanisingConditioner

This was the one product I was really excited to try this month, it is a two in one type product which promises to be less drying than normal shampoo, it does warn that this will not lather as much, so did it work? Nope! First, it did not lather at all, and I know the lather is psychological to an extent but it does also allow you to be sure you have covered your whole head, especially when you have long hair. Afterwards, my hair felt drier than it does using the two separate products, and to be honest, I felt it needed washing again a lot sooner than normal. I had hoped this product would be everything it claimed to be, if it had, I might not have minded the £14.50 price tag but I certainly would not pay that for it

after this performance.

Next up…

SPORTFX Shape Up Brow Pencil

Okay, this really is a mixed review because, in theory, I loved the concept of this product, it just didn’t quite deliver for me. First the colour…

they sent blonde because that was what my hair colour was when I filled in the forms, and I have not changed it as there is no purple option so most times this still fits with my colouring, but the colour pay off is weak which means lots of going over your brows to really feel like you have made a difference. This leads to my other issue with it, to really be able to use it you need to wind it out a little, but you also need to be very careful as if you wind it out then apply too much pressure it snaps off. I think this could be fixed but just not sure how. What I did like was this bit…

At the opposite end of the powder pencil is a spoolie, I find this so much easier for shaping my brows than a straight brown brush or comb, I also feel it helps brush powder more evenly through the hairs for better coverage. At £7.99 it is not overly expensive, or wouldn’t be if you didn’t waste some getting the application process perfected. I have not checked on the number of shades available so while at the minute I will not be rushing to buy another I would not write it off completely. I should also mention that my daughter has also tried this and she really liked it though the shade was far too light for her.

Next up…

RODIAL Glamolash™ Mascara XXL

I had high hopes for this after the eyeliner, (the one my daughter ran off with) so I was disappointed that really this did not deliver. Don’t get me wrong it was an okay mascara and had I paid high street prices for it I would not have been bothered but this one is £24 and for that price, I expect better. Now because I am biased in favour of certain other mascaras I also got my daughter to test it but she agreed, it took several coats to build up to what I would expect of two coats of most mascaras, but maybe if you are looking for something lightweight and natural looking this might do it but when it says Glam I expect lashes to die for.

And finally…

MERCI HANDY Love And Hand Cleansing Gel

Now let’s be honest I was not happy to see this as an item in my box, not because of the quality of the product but you know… beauty box! I would have been happier to see this as a bonus item but and this is a huge but I love it! At £2.90 it is expensive as cleansing gels go, you can pick them up at pound shops or supermarkets cheaper but this one smells great and also makes my hands feel good after applying it, no stickiness, no slimy feeling, it just rubs straight in leaves you with an almost velvety feeling.

So that it is for this review, my favourite product ended up being the one I was least excited about.

 

 

Still time! 

Look how many amazing names there are on there, if you can get there you should! Then come say hello to me!

Hourglass events

It’s not to late, you still have time to grab a ticket and Come and meet all of these fabulous authors at Darker on Saturday 7th October in Peterborough…..,, why not stay for the Darker evening charity event!
Attending authors
A.Giannoccaro

A.Meredith Walters / A.M.Irvin

A P Bateman

Adrian Martin

Amy Plum

Apryl Baker

C J Daugherty

Carmilla Voiez

Charmain Marie Mitchell

Chris Turnbull

Claire Marta

Claire C Riley

D H Sidebottom

D M Wolfenden

D S Wrights

Dianna Hardy

Frank Westworth

Gina Dickerson

Glenn Haigh

Helen Bright

Hemmie Martin

J G Clay

Jamie Summer

Jane E James

Joey Paul

Juliet Cromwell

Katie John

Katie Young

Ker Dukey

Laura Morgan / L C Morgans

Lavinia Urban

Martin Tracey

Mary E. Palmerin

Max Hardy

Muriel Garcia

Paula Acton

R J Truman

Raven Anxo

Rebecca Sherwin

Rob Shepherd

Ross Greenwood

Rumer Haven

Shani Struthers

Simon Parker

Sloane Murphy

Tracie Podger

Victoria L…

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June & July Resolutions

I know I said I would be back to the proper resolutions set up but to be honest the last couple of months have been a nightmare.

First, there were the issues with my son which I discussed in a post you can read here, then my dad was in the hospital.

There have been times the last two months where I have felt like throwing the towel in, my writing has suffered, most of what I have written over the last couple of months has basically just not been good enough which leaves me two months to complete two novels before Darker. Can it be done? Well. yes, but it is going to take a lot of focus

Can it be done? Well. yes, but it is going to take a lot of focus because it is the school holidays on top of everything else. The reality is this means so much to me that I really don’t want to fail. I have worked out if I write 4k a day then I can still do it, this will mean some late nights no doubt, as given the speed I can type it will equate to around three hours a day on top of other things I need to do.

What does this mean, for me overall, first less time messing about doing other things, I am also guessing a build up of house work lol and less chatting on social media, though I will still be around for various events and to promote #Darker. You will probably get shorter blog posts, though there is a good chance you might get more on time as it will be in my interest to be organised and schedule ahead. There are times I find I work better to a deadline and right now life has given myself a bloody tough one.

I have put some weight back on, so that is something else I need to address, when I am stressed I eat or rather I don’t eat properly and nibble on crap, I lose faith in myself and look for comfort in the wrong ways, it is also school holidays so I don’t have the school run for exercise, struggle to find time to swim and dancing is sporadic. I need to make a point of getting up every half hour/hour and walking about even if only a hundred steps or so at a time.

The last few months life has run away with me but now it is time to grab hold of the reins and regain control.

Let’s Talk Clothes!

Okay so you are lucky enough to have got a place at a signing event, you have the books, the swag and are ready, so what is left? Well, what are you going to wear?

So the night do is usually easier, it is normally formal and many times has a theme to help you decide on your outfit this was me with my daughter at the Leeds Event last year…

But it can get expensive, as you start attending more events you will meet up with the same people numerous times which means you cannot invest in one little black dress and re-wear it.  On the other hand, unless the day job pays really well or you have hit the jackpot with a best-selling novel you probably don’t want to be buying new dresses every few months that you can only wear the once or at least only once for now and then put to be rotated in a wardrobe. So the alternative as I have been looking into is eBay,  as I mentioned on Sunday I have found it to be a treasure trove of dresses bought for weddings, cruises and other suave social occasions that one has the excuse to dress up for. Worn once or twice these end up going for a fraction of the price of the new dress, likewise new clothes with tags show up in abundance, I am guessing like some of the clothes in my wardrobe these are bought but don’t fit and kept with the intention of fitting them one day or they just don’t get round to returning them within the correct time frame.

However, it is not just the ball/evening dress you have to consider, let’s start with travelling, you obviously need something comfortable but also some thing that will make the right impression at the hotel when you show up, then the evening prior to the signing you will need to eat, probably meet a few of the other authors in the bar or just hang out with them.

Then the big one your signing outfit, now I am pretty sure smart casual is the standard, it has to be comfortable enough to wear all day and practical, you don’t want to wear linen and look all crumpled after five minutes. There is though a secondary consideration, and that is your brand, does the way you dress reflect your work and personality? I am not for one second suggesting fancy dress, but if you write medieval fantasy would your readers really expect to see you in a floral, floaty dress. just as you work to bring your image together in terms of covers complementing each other, business cards matching other PR materials then you want to present an image of yourself that will both stick and be engaging. In some ways, it seems to me that it is almost like creating your own personal work uniform, it is the clothing you wear to put you in author mode when you are public.

I have bright purple hair, or to be fair this week it is the end of a dye cycle so it is more a mix of lilac and grey, so I am not what you would consider to be conventional, however, being plus size I am also acutely aware that not all clothes suit me or look good on me,  I am also aware that some of the things I might like the idea of wearing would not fit with my writing. While I am not saying that you should role play your characters I do think common sense comes into play, I write medieval fantasy, wearing Steampunk style clothes would possibly send confusing messages even though I love the style.

So what am I going to wear? For me I think it is looking like trousers suits with shirts or blouses, I like the idea of the traditional tweedy look against my purple hair, it allows me to show my personality with my hair but the suit gives a level of professionalism, and, rather than go for plain black, the idea of the tweed or possibly brown pinstripe appeals because it is the twist on the expected.

Of course, I don’t rule out the thought that I am over thinking this, but for me, I like the idea of having separate mix and match type items for wearing to signings.

Lazy Sunday #45 & Vlog Time #105 – Swag Tales

I am late once again , a whole day this time and you will notice that the Vlog is also a couple of days late, if you follow me on other social media you might have spotted me in Leeds a few times over the last week or so, this was as my dad was in hospital there which has of course meant you have not heard from me. He is home now and hopefully will manage to stay there, but, you never know these parents are as hard to keep an eye on as toddlers, always up to mischief the minute you turn your eyes away from them.

I just finished watching Season our of Game of Thrones, I wish I had started it earlier so I could have got involved more in discussions about it as it went along but I am determined to be completely up to date ready for the final season so I don’t have to quick scroll past posts on FB, as it stands at the minute I am supporting the Mother of Dragons of course lol. So let’s get on with what we are here for…blogs!

  1. First up is a blog I have been following for quite a while and love, having a son a similar age I can relate to a lot of the things she posts, love her lego hacks here though I just generally avoid lego lol but we also love playing board games and the monster is a monopoly master http://www.chiswickmum.com/2017/07/29/lego_hacks/
  2. Next up is one that hits close to home because I remember with my grandma there were times where it felt like the woman I had known had left before her body left but at others she wuld tell me stories of her childhood, though she was never quite sure who I was at times, she knew I was related she just lost track of how https://jmgoyder.com/2017/07/29/a-person-with-dementia-is-not-a-person-who-is-dead-and-gone/
  3. The next two posts are related, both deal with how a story comes to life, this post by the lovely Stephanie discusses how her novel came to life for her https://stephanie-hurt.com/2017/07/29/when-you-dream/
  4. The last one shows more of the process, how an idea comes to you but then you are left with the question of what that idea should be turned into

 

 

Book Review – The Couple Next Door By Shari Lapena

This was a book I bought purely based on the blurb…

As always we begin with the Goodreads blurb…

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing. You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

****

‘How well do we ever know those around us? THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR will keep you glued to the pages in search of the answer. Even then, you’ll never guess the truth…until it’s too late’ LISA GARDNER

‘I thought the read-it-in-one-sitting thing was a cliche. Not any more’ LINWOOD BARCLAY

‘Meticulously crafted and razor-sharp. THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR lingers long after you turn the final page’ HARLAN COBEN

***The Sunday Times bestseller***

PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF ALMOST ANYTHING.

‘2016’s most talked-about new thriller’ Stylist

‘A twisty, utterly riveting tale that will send readers on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Shocking revelations kept me turning the pages like a madwoman’ TESS GERRITSEN

As you can see this book sounds amazing and has some high profile writers championing it, the blurb fascinated me, but I was dubious, generally I find very few books live up to their hype.

I am going to confess half a dozen pages in I nearly ditched the book. It was something about the style it was written in, if felt a little stilted, disjointed but I was intrigued enough to give it a little longer and I am so glad I did. The style fits the story perfectly, as the storyline unfolds you understand more why the disconnect and slight disjointedness is completely appropriate. I hate spoiling stories so I am going to be really careful here because the plot twists are a total delight, but if you just go from the blurb as I did when I decided to read it the whole idea of worrying about what could be found in your own home is something I have considered before. Okay, I amy have been joking when I have said previously that if anyone ever checks my google search history I would be in trouble but think about it, if something tragic happened what do you have on yours or what books and films do you have in your house that someone could read a different meaning into? Scary isn’t it.

I read this book in a few days, a very rare thing for me these days, so you can tell how much I enjoyed it, I whole heartedly give this book 5 out of 5 stars and say if you pick it up, and struggle in those first few pages as I did, stick at it!

Lazy Sunday #44

It has been a stressful week, my dad is in hospital, am not going to go into the whys on here just know it is one of those weeks where you feel like you are banging your head against a wall. On the plus side, I have won a couple of dresses for really good prices on eBay! You might wonder what that has to do with writing but the fact is that a lot of these author events have an evening do to go with the actual signing, many of them will be ones where I see authors I have previously met and hopefully become friends with. You see the problem here, a girl cannot possibly be seen wearing the same dress each time! Now if I had actually lost the weight I have been threatening to for the last couple of years I might be happy investing in dresses to wear then recycle a couple of years down the line but so far I haven’t, but I still want to, so instead of spending £90 a time n a new dresses I have been checking out ones on eBay and I have to say looks like a lot of others already did it. There are so many dresses bought for weddings, trips to the races, cruises and other events, worn once then selling for a fraction of the price on there so it makes sense for me to  save money and spend it on the accessories, plus after they have been worn if I lose weight I won’t feel guilty trying to alter them because if it goes wrong I am not wrecking an expensive dress. I am going to talk more about that on Tuesday so don’t miss that post.

For today let’s get to the blog sharing…

  1. The first one is something I have been thinking about this week, it is easy when everything is getting to you to doubt yourself, wallow in self-pity and basically give up, this post is about believing your fate is in your own hands https://lindaghill.com/2017/07/22/socs-setting-a-ceiling/
  2. I love the sea, I would love to go diving in various places, so I am really jealous about some of the photos in the post, however, relating back to the first blog post I shared I know there are always going to be physical limits on doing things like this because of my spinal surgery but I love in the hope of finding ways to get round that http://www.tmupchurch.com/2017/07/22/wearing-the-sea/
  3. The next post is a little about pushing your boundaries but this time for me it is about stepping out of my comfort zone. I studied art at college, I love classical art, my favourites are the Impressionists, I can understand modern art often on a conceptual level but it does not grab me and evoke emotions in me, one thing I am trying to do more is to try to see things through the eyes of others and blogs are a great way to do this  https://andytownend.com/2017/07/22/in-wetin-you-go-do/
  4. The next one is an article rather than a blog post as such, when you first start out as an Indie author it is easy to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the fact everyone else seems so far ahead of you in the game, remember it is a earning curve and evntually you will catch up, I have been lucky tohave a lot of good people will ing to help but sometimes you still don’t want to ask questions for fear of looking stupid but here is something that helped me finally work out one of my questions today https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/promote-your-book-better-with-universal-buy-links
  5. And I am going to change things up from now on and the final link of the day is going to be a FB page or group, usually it will be one I am actively a part of so today I am going to start with the one for my first live signing event, The Darker Side Of Fiction 2017 if your not in the group come and join us, the giveaways are piling up over there plus it will be the place to see photos and videos from the event as it happens https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/

Taht is it for this week sorry it is so late I just kept getting distracted lol