Cover Reveal!!!! Queen Of Ages: Ascension

I am really lucky to have some fabulously talented friends, I had very specific ideas for the covers of my Queen Of Ages Trilogy and I had made a decision that I wanted something different to the normal computer manipulated images that grace the covers of most books these days, I love the copies of Tolkien I have with hand illustrated plates and maps and also the covers of the Terry Brooks books I possess so I ambushed a dear friend and talked over my ideas with her.

Stage one was persuade her to take on the project, thankfully she was excited as this was her first foray into cover design.479968_10151512765564076_2079061210_n So let me introduce you to Debra Arnott, a woman of many talents.

Stage two was the creation of the three idea boards for the individual book covers, thankfully Debra completely understood where I was coming from with the random pictures, scribbles and poorly explained half ideas. She took the patchwork of ideas and skilfully merged them together to create a fantastic piece of art for me. A couple of tweaks were needed along the way including discussion of one or two elements that would be digitally enhanced but the result is amazing and something I look forward to hanging on my wall as soon as I get a frame. if you would like to see more of her amazing art work you can check out her page DA Creations here or my personal favourites are her paintings on wood which you can find on her page Wood Winked Art On Wood here.

Stage three was photographing the art work and adding the text, a process which was very hit and miss and was again inspired by the fantasy novels in my bookshelves. So without further ado I would like to share the cover art with you first the kindle version, second the print version (minus the blurb at the minute and finally the actual original painting so you can see you how wonderful it is minus the text.

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Glossybox Review – September 2016

I was thrilled to discover a vibrant red box when I opened up the outer packaging this month…

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I opened it up and had mixed feelings out what I saw, I was thrilled to see my MUA palette but disappointed to see two facemasks

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So first up let me show you the palette I chose for last month…

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MUA Eyeshadow Palette

As you can see although it does have one or two neutral colours the rest are a mix of shades which can be mixed or matched with each other or the neutral shades to create more dramatic style, like the other palette this s only £4 so great value for money.

So the first real product of this box lets start with one of the face masks…

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The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying glow Mask

I think this was more of a sample than a product, there were no details for it on the card I looked it up on line and found it had great reviews and a tub was priced at £15. Now you guys know I do try these things for you even those I am sceptical of but this I was looking forward to, right until the point I put it on my face. I did my best to keep it on for the minimum five minutes suggested but lasted only two as it felt like my face was on fire. as I say it has great reviews and my skin is not usually the type to react so strongly but obviously something in this did not agree with me, so I would certainly suggest calling into a store and maybe asking if they have any samples to try before buying.

Next up…

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RODIAL Smokey Eye Pen

I was confused at first by this, the description seemed to suggest it should have a smudger at one end which it did not and it is a definite pencil rather than a pen. I have to be honest it was a good pencil bt not sure it justified the £17 price tag, however I did not get to test it for how long wearing it was as my daughter stole it.

Next up handy for Winter…

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THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Antioxident Lip Balm

When you first put this on it does make your mouth feel a little oily, but it soaks in after only a few minutes to give a rather nice moisturised feeling, I love the fact that it is organic and that it doubles up really nicely as a top coat on top of lipstick which can be quite drying especially in Winter, so this gives dual possibilities for use. At £12 there are of course a lot cheaper lip balms about but the antioxident properties might just be the added value that justify the price tag.

Next up something else I was a little disappointed to see…

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REVLON Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat

I was disappointed to see this because I have numerous top coats already of various makes that have been bought on their own or have come as part of sets and to be honest I very rarely use them. This one is priced £7.99 but to be honest I cannot honestly say it made much difference to how long my nail varnish lasted, I have yet to try one that really blew my mind and this was no different.

Next up the second mask…

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VITAMASQUES Hydro Face Mask

You will remember a few months ago I received a similar mask and struggled to keep it on for the required time as it did not fit well and kept sliding down, well, this one has one design feature that is a definite improvement…

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The mask actually comes in two parts which does mean it gives more flexibility in terms of fitting to different shape faces, I did still end up having to lie down while wearing it but that was due to how much product there was on the mask. The mask costs £7.99 so it is more expensive than some other masks but it did work in that my skin felt wonderful after, though I cannot honestly say the feeling lasted 120 hours but if I came across it in a shop I might buy it again especially during Winter months where the skin takes a hammering from the weather.

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The one thing I would say is the feel of this mask may not be for everyone, it does feel as slimy as it looks and feels very cold when you first put it on, it has so much product on it I did even contemplate trying to put it in a sealed bag and see if I could get more than one use out of it but decided not to try in the end.

The final product…

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TOO FACED Better Than Sex Mascara

Occasionally you receive a product and end up being so glad you got is for all the wrong reasons! I have come so close to buying this mascara on numerous occasions based on all the times I have heard people rave about it, however the price tag put me off they lis the RRP here as £19 but if you look on Amazon you will see the price on there around the £26 mark, now the price itself is not really an issue I pay around the same for my Tarte mascara but if I had shelled out that money on this I would have been crying, and had track marks down my cheeks.

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The wand was okay, obviously as this is a trial size it is rather short but I didn’t mind the applicator what I did mind was three layers later I still didn’t feel like my lashes looked anywhere nearly as long and full as I like them, if the seriously believe this mascara is better than sex they have led a very sheltered life. Normally I would be gutted to have received a mascara that did so little for me but the fact this saved me a wad of money made up for it.

Overall not a great box for me and if my eyeshadow palette had not been in it I would have been very disappointed at the contents but it was a lesson learned about the mascara at a fraction of the cost of buying it.

So Thoughts On Thursday!

I haven’t really done one of these for a while so it seemed like a good way to have a quick catch up.

Lets start with the fact it is 12 months to Peterborough and #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017, I am so excited and now really it is my main focus for the future, I had planned on doing The Dragon’s Mark as stand alone book next however as I worked on the project it became clear it has the potential to be a series with a various characters taking the leads at different time, this means I am going to go straight ahead with the Queen Of Ages Trilogy, I shall be doing a cover reveal next Monday as well as announcing the launch date next in next weeks vlog.

OF course the writing is the most important thing but I cannot help but take a look for ideas for swag and of course the search for the perfect ball dress has begun.

If you are on FB you can keep up with the Darker Side event here…https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/

And the 2018 event here (as it stands I am not signed to be a signing author at this event but I will be there at the evening event for certain it is just too good to miss) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1541707772746487/

And if you are interested in coming to see me in Peterborough then this is the link you need… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-darker-side-of-fiction-2017-author-book-signing-event-tickets-24955322040

I am so excited about the future and feel more positive than I have in a long time, make sure you sign up to the newsletter for your chance to get your hands on some bonus give away prizes and be first to know what is happening, I know I have not been very good at keeping up to date with them but I will be sending them out from now on the first of each month and every month one person who opens their newsletter will win a prize though the prize will change from month to month, so anyone opening the November newsletter will go into a draw to win a signed print copy of Voices Across The Void.

Right need to finish editing tomorrows vlog, had a slight technical issue as my memory card slot on the computer decided to die this morning so had to find the camera cable, I will not say how many wrong cables I picked up before finding the right one but I will say I swore.

Take care and if you dress up for Halloween post your pictures to my FB page I will set up a Halloween thread there.

Excerpt from The Fix, Nightlong Book #2

Am incredibly busy today but luckily I came across a post by a fellow Darker Author sharing an excerpt from their new book to share with you, it does sound rather exciting and I may just have to add it to my want list

Sarah Michelle Lynch

nightlong2As the orangery filled, I counted at least double the audience I had last time.

I had also got rid of my skirt and blouse combo in favour of a tight latex dress. No point in hiding what I was.

“Good afternoon, ladies.”

“Afternoon,” they replied collectively.

“Apologies that I missed a couple of sessions, but I had to go out of the country for something that required my immediate attention. You’ll be glad to know I’m back now and going nowhere.”

I hated talking publicly; it felt like I was talking to myself.

They all smiled politely in response, eager for the lesson to begin.

“So last time I talked with you all about safe words and my colleagues have informed me that you’ve since covered ropes and spreader bars, am I right?”

Some nodded, while other women mentally groaned. I saw it amongst them.

I grabbed my whip…

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Welcome To The Dark side With DM Wolfenden

Today I am lucky to be able to share a Q & A with my fellow Darker signing author DM Wolfenden, she is into Vampire’s, Werewoves and Zombies and taking readers on a walk into the darer side of fiction so without further ado lets get to the questions…

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1)      When did you first decide you wanted to publish your work? What was the reaction of your nearest and dearest?

2013 I decided I would go ahead and write. When I told my family they were shocked, they knew I had a crazy imagination but never thought I would put pen to paper.

2)     Do you have a writing routine? Do you find you need to write at set times in a fixed place or is it a case of fitting it in around daily life?

I have a hectic lifestyle, I work away for 6 months of the year and when I am home there is a lot of catching up to do (as you can imagine), I write whenever I get a spare hour or two.

3)     Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, and as a bonus give us the name of the song that would be the perfect theme music to it?

My latest release is a collection of short stories; they are all dark and have an element of mystery about them.  The perfect song would be Cry Little Sister would probably fit well with the most of the stories.

4)     Where was your first signing event and how did you feel in the run up to it?

I haven’t been to an event yet, 2017 will be my first.

5)     Are any of your characters based on people you actually know, even if only loosely? And if so do they know it is them?

I hope not, they are evil little …

6)      Now a bit of a silly one, as frequently seen on FB, the zombie apocalypse has begun, stick your hands out and tell us which two items you grab, and how you are going to use them to fight off the starving hordes.

Rather embarrassing, first thing is a jar of Vaseline (I’ve just had a Zombie tattoo, honest). Maybe I could smear all over myself and be too slippery for them. Second is my Frankenstein bobble head. Let’s face it, I’m dead.

7)     If you could see any celebrity reading one of your books who would it be?

Quentin Tarantino, he is so talented. Love him

8)     What is the last sentence you wrote in your current WIP?

“You need help, you need to sort your anger issues out. If you don’t we won’t survive.”

The knife clattered in the sink. “I promise I’ll see someone, babe.”

You better had, I won’t do this again. “Okay,” she said and walked away.

9) How do you celebrate finishing the final draft of a manuscript?’

I celebrate by sending of to an editor then sit there biting my nails.

10)  Do you have a secret talent or claim to fame you are willing to share?

Yes I was on the grassy knoll.

11)  If your books were going to be made into films do you have any ideas in your head who you would like to see play any of your characters?

It would actually be my short story, Carly. She is one bad arse. I love Jessica Messenger and Helena Bonham Carter to play the two female roles. For other books they would include Tom Cruise, Anotiono Banderas, Johnny Depp and Quentin Tarantino. (psst, I’m bigging you up here Quentin, call me).

12) What one piece of advice would you give to anyone sat at home, finished manuscript in front of them, debating hitting that publish button?

First of all I would say, get beta readers on it, if they love it, you are halfway there.

 If you would like to find out more about DM Wolfenden then hit the links below…
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Book Review – Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone By JK Rowling

I decided to reread this series in the lead up to getting and reading the new releases so let’s see how it lived up to memory…

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So as always we will begin with the Goodreads blurb…

 

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

First thing I have to say as a reread this was a little bit of a shock to the system. You might ask why, after all the book has been around for ages as have the films but that is exactly what the issue was. Over the years I have watched the films with the kids far more times than I have read the books, and the films are so well done gradually you forget what was left out of the films from the books or added in. First I have to say the writing style is really simple, no frills, exactly as it should be for the age group it is aimed at, it is of course now impossible unless you have been living under a stone not to visualise the characters as those portrayed by the actors in the films, this does make it harder to now regard the book as an individual entity.
There are a few things that I realise I had maybe not really noticed for example, I am now convinced Mrs Weasley was out to sabotage Ron’s Hogwort’s education from the start, when we know how important it is ‘The wand chooses the wizard Harry!” So the fact poor Ron is sent to start his wizarding education with his brothers second hand wand which was obviously faulty otherwise he would not have replaced it. My theory is she knows she cannot keep any of the others at home with her, especially her strong willed daughter and Ron seems like the best bet for her to be able to keep with her to mother.
The best thing about these books is the fact it made reading cool with kids again, it made parents who maybe didn’t bother take the time to read the stories with their kids, have to be honest no idea why people felt they needed an adult cover on the books, if you are going to read something don’t be afraid to let people see what it is. The style is fairly simple and yes you can pick out influences from other works but I feel that criticism is unfair, after all every thing we read influences us in one way or another.
So scores, what else can I give this other than 5 out of 5, my daughter loved the books as they came out, my son now enjoys them via audiobook and I am enjoying revisiting them.
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Lazy Sunday #24

It has been a strange week I have been trying to sort out a few things in my own head emotionally which I won’t go into here, but they are the usual things, what do I want, what will I accept, what will I settle for?

In my case I have never been one for settling, I am very much an all or nothing person, I would rather dive in and fail than dip in a toe and back off scared of the water, but with age you realise the risks more, and taking that plunge becomes more difficult, you know what you have to lose, possibly have already come close to drowning, and fear the experience being repeated. But the idea of settling, over short changing yourself and in turn others does not appeal to me, maybe I have an inflated sense of my own worth but I do think we all deserve to be happy, to find someone who makes us happy that we can walk side by side with as equals, am not sure if there is anyone out there who will fill all my criteria but I know I would be much happier alone than trying to make do with the wrong person.

But enough of me, it is Sunday so you are here to share blog posts so here we go…

  1. The first blog I am sharing is from a FB friend and I love the fact this lady is getting her well deserved success but she also brings home the realities of being an author, that unless you actually have lots of money, a rich husband or a Hollywood film deal the chances are the life of an author is far less glamorous on most days than people think https://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/champagne-or-black-gunge-on-the-washing-machine/
  2. The next post I am sharing deals with a similar subject in some ways, how do you write and earn a living at the same time, if you hit hard times is it okay to ask for help? Some people have been slated for setting up Kickstarters, Patreons and other fundraising things to help pay the bills while they write, personally I believe that as long as you are being honest about what you are asking for the money for it is totally up to individuals to decide if they wish to give, so I am sharing this post you can take a look for your selves and make up your own minds https://slstacy.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/antici/
  3. The next blog is one of my favourite bloggers for sharing insights into their personal life, I love his humour and he is a very special friend, always ready with hugs and a smile, if you don’t follow him already then you should, https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/shopping-inspiration/
  4. Next a a blog post from a lovely lady who frequently visits me here, she sells exquisite hand made jewellery but it was the sentiment of this post that caught my attention today https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/shopping-inspiration/
  5. Finally a free book, and one I just grabbed for myself as given my own experiences with a dating site recently I can see the potential humour, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/freebie-alert-my-chick-lit-novel-ebook-the-serial-daters-shopping-list-is-free-sunday-23-oct/

And don’t forget you can still get my book for free today if you have not already grabbed one…

Amazon UK

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Glossybox Review – August 2016

I have a few of these to catch up on and they really have been a mixed bag the last few months so lets get started…

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The first thing you will notice is the cool packaging, now I must confess this box arrived just as the Olympics were getting going (seems like so long ago) and Ithought it was a tribute to the ladies of Team GB then I realised of course the GB was for Glossybox, so after my excitement at the box I opened it up and saw these…

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Hmm an interesting mix but I was actually really annoyed for reasons I shall explain shortly, but lets dive straight into the box and discuss the items…

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Rae Feather Mini Monogram Pochette

Now I confess when I first saw this I though make up back, cool but don’t need it and dismissed it then I read the card and was shocked to find the value of this was £20! Apparently the designer who created this for the box has created a range of Monogrammed products in the same material loved by celebs, maybe if I paid more attention to celebs I would have been more excited, as it is I now have a very expensive pencil case. I can’t say whether I would buy anything else from the range as the chances are I will never be able to afford to.

Next up…

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Cowshed Wild Cow Invigorating Body Lotion

Sometimes you get a product and whether you like it or not is not a simple question. This product feels so good on your skin, it tingles slightly as you apply it, then soaks in beautifully leaving your skin feeling soft and luxurious, what the problem I hear you ask? Sounds great what’s wrong? In a word the SMELL you can smell a little of the lemongrass and rosemary but the overpowering aroma is of ginger! I feel like I smell like I have bathed in Chinese food, now I have to be honest I don’t like ginger, I don’t cook with it, don’t like gingernut biscuits or gingerbread men, so that may play a part in why I dislike this smell. The price for full size is £20 so I will not be buying this as the smell puts me off too much but I would love to try other things from this range, anything less smelly basically.

Next up…

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MUDMASKY Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask

I love mud masks, I find on my skin I usually get better results than a peel off mask so I was excited to slap this on and see what happened, now for the scary picture and please be aware I was wearing a dressing gown but I had it wrapped round under my arms to avoid getting mud on the neck and hood bit…

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The mask did take a long time to dry and then took some removing but I like the results, infact I liked the results so much I thought about buying it until I saw the price! The RRP for a full size tube is £53, now I may happily pay £65 for my moisturiser but for a mask I am sorry but I cannot afford to pay those prices, yes I liked the results but have had similar results from far cheaper products, so while I liked this and will use it up I shan’t be replacing it once it is gone.

Now the cause of my annoyance…

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MUA Eyeshadow Palette

Now I can imagined the puzzled looks on your faces, how could receiving an eyeshadow palette annoy me, it’s eyeshadows, they are colours you would use, nice neutral shades. The problem was they were not the shadows I chose! Glossy box gave the option to select between several palettes and because I already had a brown palette by this brand I chose to go for something different, the problem was they sent the wrong one. However I have to give credit where credit is due, within 24 hours of my box arriving I received an email apologising and explaining the realised their error and that I had been sent the wrong one and that I would receive the correct palette in my next box as a bonus item. Happy at this offer I tried out the colours and they were lovely…

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However because it was so similar to the one I already had my daughter decided to take this one off my hands, I have to say these palettes are priced at £4 and I have lots of much more expensive shadows that could learn from these in terms of colour pay off. You will see the palette I chose in the next box.

And finally…

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Spa To You Deep Pore Facial Cleansing Brush

I picked this out of the box and sat staring at it perplexed for a minute or two. I had seen several Youtubers trying out electric cleansing brushes but this one is basically a scrubbing brush for your face and reminded me of a large bent toothbrush. As well as bristles it has rubber prongs embedded in their midst…

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It also comes with a handy little stand type thing which is also designed to let water run out to allow the brush to dry after use…

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For me this really does not work as I don’t generally use a cleanser as such rather I use my Naobay Moisturizing Peeling which is an ex-foliating face scrub, then I tone and moisturise so because of the abrasive nature of my routine this does not work very well, but I did try it with a normal cleanser and a standard face wash, both of which worked well with it, at £6.99 it is not expensive but I do feel it is a bit of a gimmick and you are not missing out if you don’t own one.

So verall not a bad month I shall post the next one next Saturday!