My Books

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.





8. Vlog Time · Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #21 Vlog Time #76

Am back!

Did you miss me? What can I tell you am back, my hair has gone alarmingly pink lol but I am feeling really good. I needed to take a step back to make some decisions about my personal life or to be fair my lack of it, so I made some changes, joined a dating site, despaired of the human race and came to some conclusions but this is not the place to talk about those but I will post at a later date about some of the conclusions I reached.

So lets get this done. I am heading out this afternoon to the cinema with the kids to see this film…

So for now a couple of blog posts to share and a vlog then back to normal from tomorrow…

  1. It seems so long since I had an away day, really feel the need for one growing especially after seeing posts like this
  2. I personally try not to put too much faith into statistics, after all I have never actually met anyone who has taken part in one but regardless of the inspiration this post is still genius
  3. As you know I do love my notebooks and keep a rather sporadic journal, however although I can see the merits of this particular technique I fear it is not for me however I thought I would share it just incase it is the right fit for any of you



Catch you all next week for coffee and a chat and scheduled posts in between xxx

Glossybox Monthly Review

Glossybox Review – July 2016

I know it must have seemed from the last few boxes that the number of negatives had been increasing, and I confess when I first opened this box my heart sank a little but stay tuned for what turned out to be possibly the best item I have ever received.


First glance I was not impressed so I will start with the thing I knew I would not like…


Soft & Gentle Hair Minimise Anti Perspirant

You might wonder why this is top of the dislikes, the reason is simple, every time I use Soft & Gentle I feel like I have been gassed with a talc bomb, I find it powdery, that it often leaves marks and in the interests in fairness I have been using this and cannot say my hair has been minimised. This cannister is huge, okay at £2.99 you want a big can in terms of value but it is a pain to lug round and I just cannot really say I like anything about it, that is not to say others won’t love it but I think Soft & Gentle as a brand is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, there is no in between.

Next up…


Utan And Tone Nourishing Night Creme

I have to be honest I was skeptical I have tried a couple of these things before and after a day or two you look orange but I have to say I actually quite liked this one, it builds gradually, and I used it for three nights running, then every other night for a few more days, and did not feel like it was going patchy or streaky. At £12.50 it is quite pricey in some respects but if you self tan and want a good quality tan for your face I would certainly consider it, for me I would not use it, as I don’t self tan, well at the minute anyway there is no point having a tanned face with a white body, arms and legs. I am also really rubbish at remembering to always put it it so again, without setting constant reminders I would end up fading before I built colour up, but as I say none of the faults are with the product, that delivered and if I ever start self tanning I would probably buy it.

Next up…


Icona Milano Emotion Allowed Mascara

This is a 50/50 product, on the one hand it did what it said on the tin but on the other it failed to impress. Let’s start with the positive, this is waterproof, I mean out in a downpour waterproof, it lasted really well with minimal smudge, though it also means it is a nightmare to get off.  What lets this down is the actual lash effect, even after a couple of coats it looks like they have hardly been touched, okay they look darker but there is no volume or lengthening effect. At £13.04 this is pretty expensive if you want long, thick lashes and would find yourself needing to double it up with a different mascara, however if you are into sports, want a day time mascara for the beach this would do the job. I will be using mine up wearing it through Winter on wet and snowy days as I head to the day job but I probably won’t buy it again unless I take up serious sports lol

Two left and again it is looking rather disappointing but that is about to change…



Blank Canvas F20 Flat Brush

I loved this brush, at £11.95 it is half the price of the Real Techniques brush I have that is almost identical to use. This has synthetic fibres and is so soft to use…

DSC02020I loved the way it looks and felt, and you will also note I use the term in past tense as I was not the only one who loved it and my daughter relieved me of it the first chance she got. It is a make I had not heard of but I loved this so much I am going to leave the link to their web site here so if you want to look at the range of brushes for yourself you can, they even do vegan friendly brushes.

You might be forgiven for thinking you had seen the item I fell in love with but nope here it is…


Hairon De-tangle Brush

There are a lot of these tangle teaser type brushes on the market and I had not been impressed by the look of them…

DSC02012I mean look at it little plastic spikes, nothing special to look at but I swear they are made with fairy dust embedded into the spikes because it goes through your hair like a hot knife through butter. Maybe it was a fluke, maybe it was my hair is too thin, not tangled enough, so we tried it on my daughters hair, her hair is thick, curls and requires an anaesthetist for someone else to brush it for her. Or it did until we put this on her head and its magic powers caused it to glide through her hair. I cannot believe now that I have been missing out on this for so long, I even considered trying it out on my old lilac wig, though I think that may be beyond sorcery of any description, I cannot recommend this highly enough and may have to buy my daughter her own just to stop this one going walk about.

Now because I am behind I have also tried out the next box and is another mixed box for you too look forward to xxxx

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #18 And An Olympic Hangover

Around 3am I climbed into bed exhausted, while I may not have run 5000km last night, or 800m, or even one leg of the 4 x 400m, physically, let me tell you mentally I ran every single one! I bounced in my seat cheering Team GB on  to what has been our best ever medal haul at an Olympics. For this lazy Sunday I will share a couple of blogs still but I want to talk about sport first.

At school they try to tell you it is the taking part that counts not winning and, to an extent that it true, but once you reach the levels these athletes reach winning means performing to the very best of your ability, we have seen elation and heartbreak, and we have heard athlete after athlete, swimmers, cyclists and representatives from every sport thank the National Lottery who fund many of the projects. I have also seen on FB people complaining the lottery money is being used in this way and that saddens me, it saddens me they are so short sighted they do not understand how the success of a small group of individuals can inspire hundreds of children to decide they want to give a sport a try. We live in a time where schools and councils have sold off playing fields, free sports other than football, cricket and rugby are becoming fewer, and at a time when the world is in such turmoil and hate seems some days to get the upper hand they dismiss the way in which sport bring people together. Maybe this more than any other image sums up to me the lessons are youth can learn from the Olympics, that even in your own quest for success and glory, compassion, camaraderie, and decency bring you just as much respect if not more.


One of our greatest athletes, Mo Farah was born in another country and there are those who would argue that he should not be here but I guarantee you not one of them feels the same pride in our country as he does, they would not be willing to put in the hard hours, gruelling training sessions to pull on that vest and represent us all, anyone who questions if an immigrant should represent a country only needs to listen to him talk about how much the British shirt means to him.

Sport brings together people from different countries, backgrounds and beliefs together and I think even more so at this games we are seeing a break down of barriers, people challenging taboo subjects…

The last video there features a controversial character because of a medical condition which means her body produces high levels of testosterone, she has had to fight to compete and if you consider her appearance she does indeed appear masculine, but so do some others without any genetic reasons, there is an argument that it gives her an advantage but if that were true she would never have won a silver previously and would all the records, she has proved medically she fits the criteria to compete and that should be enough.

Sport is the one thing that has the potential to bring equality, understanding and friendship between nations, both teams and fans, okay some sports such as football the rivalries get out of hand but think rugby, think of those who cheered Michael Phelps on to his final golds, we should encourage anything that promotes healthy activity, team work and harmony.

So it is evening now, my daughter has been here all day, she was supposed to be going out with a friend but a cancellation saw her show up on my doorstep and we have spent the day watching wrestling and sorting out book shelves, I swear even I wonder at times if there is such a thing as too many books then realise I just need a bigger house and it will all be okay. As it has got so late I am going to just share a couple of blogs then head off to write a book review for tomorrow before watching the closing ceremony in bed…

  1. First up your chance to grab a free book over on Mel’s blog, not only is she a brilliant writer she also designed my Voices cover so I may be biased
  2. I have never been to the Edinburgh Fringe but blogging means you can often live vicariously through others

Going to hit publish now and get off to bed I really will be back to normal soon I promise, but at least this week I can get back to sleep properly.


8. Vlog Time · Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #13 & Vlog Time #67 – Getting Back In A Rhythm

Well let’s be honest still struggling with the rhythm otherwise you would have got the vlog on Friday, however it was actually filmed in time this week I just forgot to edit it then there was writing, and football, and the day job, well you get the drift.

So it is Sunday and I have been up since silly o’clock despite the monster having a lie in, why is it when they finally do lie in you are always wide awake, I have had a coffee and now have a diet coke opened, however I have invested in some different Twinings herbal infusion things to try including the nettle one which the monster really wants to try after I told him all about nettle tea, I will be more careful what I talk about on the walk to school in future. I don’t actually like tea, and I have always had a mental block when it comes to the fruit tea type things but I am trying really hard to think of them as fruit infusions, if you want to take a peek at the range you can find them here.

I just went and made myself a pomegranate and raspberry infusion so lets get a move on with this weeks blog posts and I will let you know how I do with it once it cools a little…

  1. The first blog I am sharing today is by someone whose black out poetry always blows me away but today’s selection from sharing is an update and a reminder that sometimes you have to walk away from a project to be able to come back with fresh eyes and enthusiasm
  2. This blog has featured here a couple of times for various reasons, today there are four reasons this post qualifies, first she is the only person I know who takes as many photos as I do when she goes places, secondly she goes to quite a few stately homes I have not visited yet so I can see them through her eyes, thirdly the bakery van reminds me of when I was a kid growing up in the village and we actually used to have one come round (slightly bigger it was in the back of a box van, you stepped in and it was lined with shelves) and the final reason there is a dalek, need I say more?
  3. Now this one is actually something I should do, it would make so much more sense to organise the people I follow into authors, Doctor Who related, charity related, celebs etc just need to find the time, maybe this post will give me the final push
  4. Book covers are becoming a big business, everyday I see more people who have just grasped the basics of photo-shop launching themselves as cover artists but I believe that some of the best covers are those that authors turned cover artists create and non more so than this lady, I maybe bias because she did the Voices cover for me but I am in the process of buying a design from her for The Dragon’s Mark so when I recommend her you know I am putting my money where my mouth is
  5. The final one is a little different, I love the idea of interior design, of course the reality with pets and kids will never be those rooms looking back from magazine pages but this blog is actually a really great way to take a peek at how those rooms get designed, about the influences in colour choice and design, this post is about the influence colour in nature has in the design world

So before I go let me tell you this infusion smells great, however it tastes strange warm to me and I can’t help think it might taste better ice cold, I might leave a little and try it that way later just to see, but I think this might be ne I could get used to drinking in time. So now a quick vlog and then I shall see you next week…

8. Vlog Time · Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #9 & Vlog Time #64 – Introducing Miss Molly

Hello, or even good morning as it is still morning as I sit down to begin this, I have just stuffed my face with a bacon butty and m now sipping my mocha although it is so warm here today I could happily swap it for a nice iced vanilla latte. I have had a week off work and while you would think that would have given me lots of extra time I seem to have been really busy with family and have achieved very little this week, though I do have sore ribs now from laughing so much playing a board game called Vampireology with my daughter and her boyfriend last night, the game took four hours though we hope it will become quicker to play once we stop having to refer to the rule book every other move lol.  But you are not here to listen to me rave about a game you want to know what I have been reading so lets make a start…

  1. First up is a lady who has become a friend, she like so many of us us struggling with getting the breaks and initial sales and reviews to get going with her writing career in terms of making a living from it, so she has decided to treat everyone with excerpts on a Sunday in the hope you will like what you read, I have a couple of her books waiting to be read something I really need to remedy, if the excerpts intrigue you please consider either buying the books or even approach her about a trade for a review, without those Amazon reviews getting your work noticed is almost impossible,
  2. I confess I am sharing this mainly for one photo in it although it is of course a fascinating post, however the mural painted on the end of that building took my breath away and makes me think in an age of so many high rise buildings why do more companies not commission this sort of work
  3. I am sharing this just because it is Monday tomorrow you might just need an extra smile
  4. Next up a post from my dearest friend Rhonda, she is developing an incredible talent with her camera, the only downside being we seem to be seeing less of her talent with words, however this post is something dear to my heart, that precious gift of being able to wander with your camera and capture a unique moment in time,
  5. THe next up is something that plagues every creative person at some point, the spectre of self-doubt this is a great post about trying to get past your inner demons
  6. If you have been around Facebook or read certain other blogs you are bound to have come across this story in the last week or so but just in case you missed it…

So that concludes the reading portion for this week now onto the vlog which I am afraid is very short this week and you do not get to see me at all, I had intended filming more and adding this footage to the end of a vlog but it was a little longer than expected and she is cuter than me…

One last thing I am going to leave you with is if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me playing with a new app on my phone to create photo collages, the perfect excuse for me to take more photos but here are a few I have made so far the app is called Phototastic, enjoy and I shall see you next week xxxx

2016-05-04 23.10.06 2016-05-05 14.10.50 2016-05-05 14.22.22 2016-05-05 17.55.18 2016-05-05 21.43.52


A - Z Challenge 2016

A – Z Challenge 2016, A is for…

Ais for  Amigoni, Jacopo (1682–1752), also known as Giacomo Amiconi,  he was born in Naples or Venice in the late-Baroque or Rococo period. He is thought to have begun his career in Venice, but is known to have been well travelled and was prolific throughout Europe, where his portraits were in demand. Jacopo_amigoni,_il_cantante_farinelli_con_amici_(detail)

Amigoni initially painted both mythological and religious scenes before becoming sought after to decorate the homes of the wealthy. In 1717, he is documented as working in Bavaria in the Castle of Nymphenburg (1719), and yes part of the reason I picted him was because I love that name lol. then in  in the castle of Schleissheim (1725–1729); and in the Benedictine abbey of Ottobeuren. He returned to Venice in 1726. His Arraignment of Paris hangs in the Villa Pisani at Stra. From 1730 to 1739 he worked in England, in Pown House, Moor Park Wolterton Hall and in the Theatre of Covent Garden. I love the fact that he painted in such diverse places from theatres to monasteries in a time where you would have though that doing one would exclude you from another.

In 1739 he returned to Italy, perhaps to Naples and surely to Montecassino, in whose Abbey existed two canvases (destroyed during World War II). Until 1747, he travelled to Venice to paint for Sigismund Streit, for the Casa Savoia and other buildings of the city. In 1747 he left Italy and established himself in Madrid. There he became court painter to Ferdinand VI of Spain and director of the Royal Academy of Saint Fernando. He died in Madrid.

Jacopo_Amigoni_-_Juno_Receiving_the_Head_of_Argos_-_WGA00272This painting is entitled Juno Receiving the Head of Argos (1730-32) and I have a couple of reasons for picking it first I love the fact it is mythical rather than religious but also having seen this type of work in real life you know that it will be a substantial piece and a photo will never do it justice.

I also love peacocks which of course are depicted here as a sign of the wealth and extravagance of the patron for whom this painting was commissioned. I love the fact there was no question of body shaming that having saggy boobs and love handles was totally okay, although I will say the cherub on the floor looking up does look a little creepy, like an old mans face on a babies body.

I could discuss more the technical aspects, there are issues with this painting in terms of multiple light sources and a couple of anatomical abnormalities but the fact is sometimes you just have to over look the details to enjoy the big picture something that in today’s society has become increasingly difficult for a lot of people as everything is placed under a microscope and scrutinised.

One thing I am going to do with each painting I feature is consider what type of book would it fit on the cover of, I think this would be a story of revenge and betrayal, the scorned woman receiving the head of her murdered lover for whom she feels nothing but contempt, in the story the messenger would be the new lover who has acted on her wishes but of course she would in turn betray him and it would be a he said/she said case for justice to determine the true criminal before they are both condemned, she going to her fate with a hard heart him heartbroken still at her abandonment of him.

(I have taken some of the facts and the images from Wikipedia for speed but the thoughts on the paintings and emotions and ideas provoked are entirely mine)

4. Thursday · Glossybox Monthly Review

Glossybox Review – March 2016

I am going to be honest my heart totally sunk at this months box and it was probably the most disappointed I have been to receive one for a while, was it all bad? Well let’s see…


So first up…


417Catharsis Vitamin Mineral Shampoo and Conditioner

Lets start with a positive, I really appreciate the fact the seem to have listened and started sending these in travel size rather than sample size, and also that they send both shampoo and conditioner rather than one or the other. I did give this a good go using both the shampoo and conditioner in place of my normal ones for a fortnight, sadly for my hair this just did not do anything. At a price tag of £16.89 each for the full size I feel there are lots better products on the market for much less. On paper it does seem like it should be a great product but for my bleached/colour damaged hair it just did not do the job and I was happy to swap back to my usual Tresemme and using the Naobay hair mask.

Next up…


Olay Regenerist Luminous Skin Tone Perfecting Cream

I have tried a few Olay products and they really do not work for my skin. The first couple of days it was fine and seemed like this might actually work but then I started getting spots in the more greasy parts of my skin. While it would be possible to use this in conjunction with a second product I prefer creams which I can use all over without having to mess about and at £29.99 the price tag is too high for something which I need to double up with something else.

As you can see so far not a very good start, next up…


Hey Honey Good Morning Honey Silk Facial Serum

sometimes the problem is even when you like a product you already have things which are similar or you prefer and this is one of those products. I like serums and have a few, I do really like the finish this one gives you which is more or what can only be described as a waxy finish rather than an oily one, sadly not very good for under make up. It is not a miracle cream it does not make all my wrinkles disappear but it does give my face a nice healthy glow so I will use it up on days where I don’t need to wear make up. At £28.81 for full price it is on the more pricey side and I would probably not buy it again however I will use this one up unlike some others I have received previously.

Things are still not looking good in this box so one to the next…


So Susan Light Diffuser

I like So Susan products generally and usually they come in the most fabulous packaging so given how pretty the box is you can imagine my disappointment to find this inside…

DSC01747Not good, but just as they say you should not judge a book by the cover I have some very pretty make up products which I do not like so I opened it up and tried it…


I do actually really like this, I like the shades, the contour shade is not so dark that you have to worry about looking like an over-baked loaf, while the highlighter illuminates but is not shiny like some of the others I have and more suited for daytime use, it provides an alternative to all out glam. The fact it is small and compact makes it good for taking with you the down side is you have to be careful not t get both on your brush at the same time. So Susan products can sometimes seem a little silly on price but at £14 this one is actually not bad especially considering you get two in one. Over all I like this I just wish they had used one of their other packaging styles rather than this one.

And finally…


Luxie Rose Gold Large Angled Face Brush

I never like to spend a lot on brushes for myself, it is one of those things I tend to feel guilty about. At £10.42 this would be on the border of what I would spend on a brush but given that it is a brand I have not heard of I probably would not have picked it up myself. The fibres are synthetic and lovely and soft, they pick up a nice amount of product, I like the angled head which I find a real help adding contour.


One thing I will say is until recently watching beauty vlogs and videos I never paid a lot of attention when they were reeling off names and numbers attached to brushes, to be fair I still don’t but for those who do…

DSC01753For me what matters is how the brush feels when I hold it and how it works, if it does the job I want it for it does not matter to me what is was technically designed for. I do love this brush and can see it becoming part of my make up routine for years to come, so far I have not experienced and shedding of bristles the nly thing I have yet to try is washing it and that is because I am bad and only wash my brushes when I really have to rather than regularly like I should.

In all the last two products made up for my disappointment in the others I hope next month will start on the road to spring/Summer looks in terms of make up but we shall see.

8. Vlog Time · Vlogs

Vlog Time #60 – Busy Days

Well no Lazy Sunday yesterday as basically that was what I had lol, sorry for the delay in the vlog going up as well I have had a couple of technical issues with my editing software but hopefully it is reselved now, just have to fix the DVD burner issues…

Without further ado here is the vlog plus a look at what has kept me so busy all week…

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday #4

It has been a strange lazy day here, I actually awoke quite early but decided to lie in bed and watch the wrestling I had intended staying up to watch last night. Then I got up and did a load of washing which I was thrilled to discover I could peg out and allow to dry in the sunshine.

This was the point when I should have sat at the computer but instead I got it into my head to decoupage an old bathroom cabinet, which turned out to be rather messier than expected.

It is now mid afternoon as I finally sit latte in had and rugby on the radio (the Giants are playing) though at the minute they are not doing well and I might wish I were not listening soon.

So I shall begin our wandering through a few blog from this week, so if you have your beverage of choice in hand and are sat comfortably…

  1. If you have followed this blog for any length of time then you will be aware I hail from an Irish heritage, like so many others. I love this blog because even though the photos are taken all over the Emerald Isle it is easy to dream that ancient ancestors may have strode across the fields or over the streams so often featured, plus the addition of great info and poetry is a bonus,
  2. I don’t write poetry very often, but that does not mean I do not enjoy reading it so I have several blogs I follow from which I take my poetry fix and one for today is this one which, as someone who enjoys a good soak, I can totally relate to
  3. Another of the blogs I really enjoy is this one which is a specialist photography blog which concentrates on close up photos. Like writing everything can appear so very different when taken out of perspective and this blog constantly reminds me how many things you can miss if you only look at the big picture and not the details
  4. Sometimes you read blogs where the writing expresses feelings that are so raw that you feel the pain and can empathise from your own experiences, life sometimes deals us hands we would rather dismiss, rather not deal with, bury under a million different excuses, to take responsibility for your own life is not an easy thing but I have so much respect for this lady and her journey
  5. Not much to say about the next blog, if is dark and macabre and he is talking about vampires and mentions my favourite vampires, those created by Anne Rice of course
  6. Finally a post written by a friend, she was the first blogger turned friend I ever had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, just wish she had not moved so far away as to make coffee meetings rather difficult but I chose this post for her honesty which I have come to know is completely genuine. This post is a little different from most of the stuff she posts, if you are easily shocked you might want to put the cup down away from the computer before you explore her blog further but this post I think relates to many of us and to different aspects of our lives. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and I cannot help think of a certain timelord and the words, “Physician heal thyself” while knowing we never do

So myfriends I shall leave you now, my cup is empty and shortly I shall wander to the kitchen to see about making dinner, the monster is watching Pokemon and I really should get a little more house work done, I hope you enjoy this weeks choices and will join me again next week for another coffee time xxx