Coming soon… Village girl Julie Compton couldn’t wait to leave Potterspury, neither could she wait to turn her back on her mum, boyfriend and best friend when they cruelly conspired against her and turned her cossetted life upside down and inside … Continue reading
‘I’m not angry, moody or resentful. I just don’t like people.’ – Valerie Anthrope. ‘Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! comes a warm, tear-jerking story of strong women, bad-turned-good men and the power of friendship. Valerie’s life has been one of … Continue reading
A Proper Charlie is a contemporary romance and sums up what the genre is all about: fun, ‘finding yourself’ and relationships. Charlie Wallis is a ditzy redhead but her heart is in the right place. Without a family, she was … Continue reading
season, the schools are back and summer seems but a distant memory. We all look
forward to those weekend escapes and week-long holidays but do they live up to
the great expectations? Sometimes yes – but, it seems, most of the time, no
they don’t. Am I the only one who finds
there is an inexplicable and confusing difference between how a hotel/holiday
cottage looks in the photos on the internet or in the brochures compared with
the view you get when you’re actually standing in the property?
stayed in during a break in Norfolk looked fantastic on the internet, the
reality was unfortunately quite different. The lounge sported an ultra-creepy
ancient lace and white silk christening robe pinned to the wall which gave the
whole place a very unsettling ghostly atmosphere – we avoided the lounge and
sat at the dining table in the kitchen all the time instead!
added extra which wasn’t welcome – a mouse which liked to come out for a night
time stroll. The whole place had laminate floors so you could hear it scuttling
around everywhere – we didn’t get much sleep and left after a few days. Then
there was the barn conversion near Ambleside which sported a dilapidated
caravan right outside the kitchen window – needless to say that didn’t feature
in the internet photos!
rather unpleasant smell which refused to dissipate even with all the windows
open and a bracing Scottish gale whistling through the rooms. It also had a
bathroom which you felt grubbier, not cleaner after visiting – I still shudder
at the memory of that one.
convenience of the railway line ten foot from the lounge window, all the
crockery in the kitchen rattled alarmingly from the vibrations of the high
speed trains en route to Holyhead.
UK either. In Greece there was the studio apartment with a bathroom not much
more than a hole in the floor, ripped sheets on the bed and a grapevine so
overgrown you had to fight your way through to the front door like a fairy tale
prince trying to machete his way through the forest to rescue his princess. In
Romania – when it was still under the old Communist rule – our flight was
diverted from Bucharest due to fog and our plane instead landed in Timisoara and
was immediately surrounded by armed guards. We were herded onto a bus like
criminals and put up in a dingy tower block of a hotel with mould all over the
walls, damp bedding – with 10 people to a room!
successes scattered in amongst the never-again- hols, so in the interests of
presenting a balanced view of vacations here are some of my holiday highlights:
Canada, breath taking scenery, excellent standards of service, friendly people
and the most gorgeous and romantic B&B on Vancouver Island which only had
one room – a whole suite with its own sundeck right on the water’s edge.
looked even better than the internet pics (!!) had stunning views of the mountains and a
little study/writing room with views of said mountains.
Scotland – step out of the door and there was the sea – spectacular and
blissfully peaceful too.
jams on the M6 or flight delays at the noisy airport one of our best holidays
was barely four miles from our own home! We house (and pet) sat for some
friends who own a barn conversion set in 2 acres of grounds – the sun shone, we
sat out in the gorgeous gardens all day loving having all that space around us,
read, ate, chatted, walked the dogs and totally and utterly relaxed. There was
no urge for frantic sightseeing, no unfamiliar surroundings in which you
struggle to settle or sleep, no long journeys or having to pack everything but
the kitchen sink ‘just in case’.
Holidays can come in all styles, lengths and budgets, and sometimes they
even manage to be relaxing…
wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry
and needs a place to escape to for a while.
time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown
in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to
star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme – two weeks of
luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and
romance in wildest Scotland.
the Highland estate – she thinks she may have found the love of her life but
who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life? When she
discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back
Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul,
with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?
Read an extract of The Love Programme below:
get the stupid thing shut!”
case so Lucy could tug the zipper to close it up, said, “I can’t believe you’ve
agreed to do this. You’re going to be on a TV show about love! Won’t you be
embarrassed having everyone know all your business?”
and, thankfully, managing to win, Lucy shook her head. “No, it’s all for a good
cause. Where else could I get a few extra weeks off work and live the life of
luxury whilst a man tries to impress me with extravagant dates? Plus, I’ll be
getting relationship coaching from a top expert.”
forgotten anything. “Do you think I’ve packed the right clothes?”
arms out around her as though she was making the duvet version of a snow angel.
“How should I know?”
home of some Scottish laird. It’s a real mansion with a spa and acres and acres
suddenly all attentive. “A laird, eh? Sounds interesting. What else do you know
all excited. He’s just rented his home out to the TV production company. Apparently
he’ll be away on business most of the time we’re there, so we probably won’t
even get to meet him.”
have been? Meeting a real life laird would be amazing.”
is tall and arrogant to boot.”
me. I was just picturing him as about our age, the classic tall, dark and
handsome type. Big brown eyes…” She sighed happily. “Is it just me or do you
find all those green wellies and Barbour jackets the country gents wear
little country gent fantasy, Lucy flopped down onto the bed. “Do you think I’m
doing the right thing?”
guilty about Marcus all the time.” Sighing, Lucy added, “I want to be free to
have relationships like everyone else does.”
doing the right thing? You have to go to Scotland. You know you do.”
you with your wedding just weeks away. There’s still some preparations to do
and I am chief bridesmaid. Maybe I shouldn’t go. This is all crazy, I won’t go.
I must be mad even contemplating it.”
perfectly managed by my mum and by Luke’s mum, so no worries there.” Fiona
hauled Lucy to her feet. “What time’s your train?”
and then Craig, the TV guy, is going to meet me at the station and drive me to
the country estate.”
the corner of the duvet around her fingers.
Read more here: BigAl’s Books and Pals: A Proper Charlie / Louise Wise
Tell us the background for The Curse of Fin Milton about?
paranormal romance follows the quest of a young man, Fin Milton, who carries a
curse that condemns him to a life without the woman he cares for most in the
world unless he can lift it. Fin has supernatural abilities and has never been
able to lead a normal life. Initially he is unaware that he has been living
with the curse or that it would be his destiny to be torn away from his lover
every ten years.
local family with a history of criminality and violence, Fin has to ward off
paranormal forces as he seeks to unshackle the restraints of the curse that
keeps the two lovers apart.
Curse of Fin Milton?
mind is separated from its body) and went to a party at this grand house in
Surrey and met a lovely guy (I used this in the book, albeit briefly, with the
party at Eel Pie Island).
hit by a train. It was unreciprocated, which was hard, but I had to get on
with it. I began to think I was cursed because I could not explain why I felt the way I did about him, it made no sense. However, I drew
from this experience and wondered to what extreme could I take this theme: what
if someone was cursed to love someone they couldn’t be with? With this premise
on board, the story snowballed and I started writing it from Fin’s perspective.
It then became his story and it really grew legs, taking on a life of its own.
lots of punchy dialogue, helping to establish the personalities. I wanted to
create a hidden world where good people live normal lives with concealed
extraordinary abilities, and where bad people with similar powers never get
caught. Hence the talisman/cloak (hiding in the shadow of Etherea) and the
overseers: the Sentries from Etherea – who are like the cosmic police. It then
all tallied with a cold act of revenge and the design of a curse. I created
family trees, which are still growing and will intersect more in Book 2.
characters. How did you deal with all the personalities? Did you write plan for
I have a Facebook page where it will have a list of all the characters and
their attributes, relationships, powers etc. I spent over ten years working on
this and it evolved. I enjoyed it so much, I had a plan for each character. I
wanted to create something big so that it felt multi-dimensional, more real. I
am doing the same for the sequel and there are new characters. In the print
edition there are family trees. These are currently on my Facebook page.
magic and witchcraft aplenty, it is a great place to let your imagination go
wild. I grew up here. I wanted to base it in here because I love it so much. I
invented all the characters (none are based on anyone I know), drawing on my
own personal feelings and experiences. It helped to create a fantasy cast so
that I could visualise the characters, even though it was only the look I was
after, not the personality, which I created myself.
the lyrics of Better Man & Get to You is a big influence on Fin; David Gray
– Please Forgive Me; The Doors – LA Woman; Coldplay – The Scientist &
Shiver; Dido – White Flag; James Blunt – High and Goodbye My Lover; Vangelis
– soundtrack theme of The Bounty; to name a few.
struggle as such, it was more about making him manly. I think it is fair to say
women writing about male characters can sometimes make them sound camp or too
feminine (because most women don’t think like men) so I had to revisit the
personality of Fin many times, weeding out the flowery bits and making him more
selfish and manly – not that I think to be a man means you have to be selfish
of course. It helped having a couple of men to read it and give their opinions
and it made a big difference. While Fin is affected by the curse, I wanted to
make him scatty, mixed up and unpredictable, so by the time the curse is
lifted, a brand new personality emerges in the last two chapters. I am happy
with Fin’s development and hope that others like him too.
opening chapter, when he wandered down the road drunk! That was a typical male
who’s worse for wear. So how many unpublished books do you have lurking under
and The Moth, which is currently “in production”. I am hoping to have this
ready later this year for editing, and then I may write a third but I am not
sure at present. It all depends how much closure I get with Book 2. I may start
something new next time.
on Amazon [after hiring an editor] and on http://www.lulu.com/gb where I have created
a hardback version for global distribution. This is available through Lulu and
will be on Amazon within a month.
How did you find the publishing process on Luly?
If you can do the artwork it cuts down the expense of it. It suited me because
I didn’t have to hire anyone to help with the production. Print on demand is
better now than it ever has been. I published through Blurb as well, in the
early stages, and even if you do it for yourself, it is a quick inexpensive way
of seeing your book in print without being published. I would recommend it
I decided to self publish because I wanted to get my book out there,
and it has never been easier if you can do it yourself. Having said that I have
had to learn the hard way with typesetting an ebook. The software is improving
as it becomes more in demand, but it is still quite tricky and time consuming.
Without the print on demand services and Kindle making itself available to
anyone, I would still be printing out submissions and trying to find a literary
agent which can become soul destroying after a while. I offer inexpensive
typesetting and book cover design on a freelance basis, and can be contacted by
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Does that mean you designed your own book cover?
is about the tenth incarnation of it. The latest cover came about working with
feedback from my editor and some of his colleagues. So having it critiqued is
essential, although everyone has their own opinion about what they envisage.
The cover is the first point of sale so I hope it attracts readers. I designed
a new cover for my editor’s book last week, How To Write A Book or Novel – AnInsider’s Guide to Getting Published by Jonathan Veale, this is on Amazon and
is a very good source of information for authors.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
passionate about my story and my characters. It is like being a mother and the
story is my child. The worst part is not having enough time to satisfy my
appetite for writing. The dream is to be published then I will be able to do it
full time. At the same time, I adopt the attitude that if it is meant to be,
then it will happen. If it doesn’t, then I have had a great time playing in my
from 7.30am in the morning or late at night—it is random. Sometimes I find
myself writing because I simply have to. A laptop makes this very easy.
much research as I can. I live in my location, so I spend a lot of time
experiencing the place and knowing it well enough so when I come to write about
it I feel confident. I have taken loads of photographs of locations, where I
have based my story like Penberth, The Lizard and St. Ives. This really helps
me visualise. I lived in London and spent a lot of time in Camden and the house
in Sussex is based on a friend’s house. It helped to create a complex piece
having research notes. A lot of the houses exist. I am working in the same
manner with the next one, especially when it comes to the plot and family trees.
The writing is done on either my imac or my powerbook if I am writing in bed. I
how she created a world where her immortal characters live, over a long period
of time, centuries even. I love anything that takes me away from the normal
humdrum life. The more fantastic the better.
didn’t like the ending, it became too religious, but the first two books were
of Five, although directed at a teen audience, I really admired how fast the
pace was and it is the story, the conflicts and the characters that grabbed me.
imagination—Howl’s Moving Castle is so different to the film.
theatre plays, TV, books—everywhere. I am a huge movie fan and love being
visually entertained, especially with stories that are pure escapism. I cried
at how creatively stunning Avatar was on the Imax. I was more impressed with
that than the actual story. I think this must be my inner artist.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
scene. I try and find time every day to write, if I
manage to write 5,000 words, I am very pleased. If I don’t, it doesn’t pressure
me too much. Some days I write more than I do on others. A lot of it depends on
how quiet the house is. The more time I have to myself the more I write.
Milton. I call these ‘words’ my deleted scenes but keeping them slowed the plot
and some of it (although it pained me to remove it) needed to come out.
meeting at 20 years and some of it is quite funny including a food fight with
lobsters and a tussle in the rain with lots of mud, so it was hard lopping this
out because it gives you an insight into Fin’s sense of humour. Still you never
know, if I am lucky enough to get published, maybe I can have a special edition
where it goes back in. Being my first novel I was advised to keep it to 75,000
is called The Flame and The Moth. It continues on from the events of the first
book with Fin and Ellie. It has familiar faces and introduces new characters,
one of which proves to be a new protagonist for Fin. The Moth (without giving
too much away) is a very dangerous man with a cloak, hiding him from Etherea.
from my manuscript being non-edited. I realise now this makes a lot of
difference, but I haven’t submitted any since because I am now self-published.
After I employed an editor to help with my bad use of adverbs, dialogue tags
and lack of commas, it made me feel a lot more optimistic. I am in a strange
position whereby I would love to be published in the traditional sense, yet I
have taken it upon myself to self-publish because I wanted to get the story
“out there”. Unfortunately for me, many literary agents and publishers will not
touch self-published authors until they have some decent sales, so I will have
to wait and see if anyone finds my novel interesting enough to invest in it.
Fingers crossed it will take off. Either way I am working on the next one and
not worrying about it. If it happens, it happens.
tells me if it is too dark, too silly or if it is good or not. He has been very
supportive as a critique. I think to the best part of my ability, self-belief
helps. A while back, I emailed the first 3 chapters to Jane Johnson, a
published Cornish author and editor, who thought it grabbed her attention and
she encouraged me to keep working on it. Feedback like this is invaluable.
You mentioned an editor before, can you reveal him (authors are crying out for good editors!) and is he well-priced?
Guardian by Anthony Horowitz about the importance of publishing and having an
editor. I have had no luck with literary agents, and I decided to self-publish
but sales were slow, so I thought I would search for someone to help me.
Jonathan’s website leapt out, I emailed to enquire about using his talents to
edit my book and he responded quickly, and worked with me on grammar and
dialogue tags. I didn’t pay for a full-blown edit.
His website is www.WriteAway.co.uk. It has been a
learning curve, a very welcome one, and hopefully, will lead to more people
reading my novel and hopefully the next one as well.
I started to think about my favorite websites to visit, I was stuck. I never
realized that I have been taking it for granted the wealth of information now
available to society due to the internet. I am 41 years old. Yes, I can tell
people that I was an adult before the internet was invented and easily
accessible to everyone.
information available twenty four hours a day. I feel fortunate to be able to
do so much research at home. I teach wellness care to health care professionals’
part time. It is important to have access to medical data bases 24 hours a day.
wealth of information about health, seminars and various topics without ever
leaving my home. I feel blessed that I can work in the middle of the night if I
am unable to sleep. Time is never wasted.
available to us and we have to learn how to turn it off sometimes and tune into
our environment. We see people everywhere who can’t stop talking on their cell
phones. Our present day lifestyle has caused us to be comfortable with have so
much easy access to people and information. Everyone has a website. I can Google
any topic and find a seminar relating to that topic.
is so hard to decide which website is my favorite to visit. I visit so many
quite often. I have narrowed it down to Amazon as my favorite site. I love
Amazon because of the fact that I can buy just about everything I need. A lot of the individual sites that I like do have a store on Amazon. I
am able to have my payment information in one place instead of posting my
personal information on several sites which increases the risk of my personal
information being hacked.
love Amazon the most because it has made it possible for so many people to not
only buy goods but also has allowed the same access for an individual to sell
products to the masses. I personally know of several people who have made a
wonderful income from selling products on Amazon.
to stay financially afloat in hard economic times. Many people have learned how
to work for themselves and have found great reward in self-employment because
is a blessing to authors. Especially indie authors. I feel blessed that I can
self-publish a book and be able to have a market like Amazon that reaches the
masses in several countries.
their books which is a dream come true. So many authors have tried to go the
traditional publishing route only to be rejected over and over. Some authors
have done so well on Amazon, which has made publishing companies take a second look
at their work and they have been offered book deals with large sign on bonus. Amazon
has leveled the writing field for both traditional published and indie authors.
I had to pick a second website I would pick Facebook because it has allowed me
to find old friends and to stay in touch with my family. Let’s face it that it
is impossible to have time to call everyone and have an individual conversation
which each person that we care about.
|Link to Tour on Main Site|
great thing about Facebook is that individuals and companies can have a
business page which increases the opportunity to reach more people around the
world. I have benefitted from having a Facebook page. It has routed people back
to my website www.drdonnalee.com. More people have been
visiting my website and reading my blogs.
spiritual growth issues. I enjoy writing about the topics that affect us on a
daily basis. I blog about every issue from relationships to boundaries.
Facebook has expanded my business and my exposure to people who did not know
that I existed.
I think of my favorite websites, I think about the site has more than one
benefit for people who use it. Amazon and Facebook have done so much for so
many people in so many ways. I feel grateful to live in a time that has allowed
me to live a convenient life.
‘Ever since I was a young girl, I wanted to be a doctor. The reason why is because I thought that that was the only way that I could take care of people. At first, I pursued pre med which led me to to want to become more holistic. I decided to become a Chiropractor. While in Chiropractic school, I learned the most about myself. I was exposed to many people. My fellow students were from all around the world. I was no longer in my little bubble. I realized that every belief that I had about myself was not unique to me. My greatest life lesson is that everyone has a journey of self acceptance. Race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc had no effect. We were all the same. Humans trying to get through life and search for happiness and peace.
While in Chiropractic School, my peers who were all so amazing with their various knowledge on different techniques and their openness to differences. They encouraged me to explore my intuitive self. I was uncomfortable but I did it and I knew it was who I really was. I knew from that point that I would finish Chiropractic school but I would take on a different career. Chiropractic opened up my world and changed my life.
After school, I decided to work as an intuitive. I was then led to spiritual coaching. I decided to get a doctorate in metaphysical sciences. I enjoy having a career of intuitive spiritual life coaching. I have clients all over the world that I coach on the phone. As I helped my clients, I was being healed. I learned so much about the human journey. I learned how to bring a new approach to helping people to learn compassion for themselves and others which will lead to healing and forgiveness.
My life has not been easy. I grew up very poor. I was a teen mom at age 13. I had my precious son for 23 years. I lost him when he was age 23. He had a brain tumor. He was the greatest gift in my life and the source of inspiration for me. By age 12, both of my parents had passed. I was in foster care. I had a brother murdered. I have siblings that I love but two that do not interact with the family. I was bit by a dog on my face and had to learn to speak again. I have experienced sexual and verbal abuse.
I am like everyone else. I am not a fluffy life coach without the true life experience. I had to learn to not feel cursed and to find a way to forgiveness for situations that I thought to be hurtful so that I can live a life without anger, hurt, bitterness or self destruction. I want to give people the same gift that I have due to coaching others. Compassion for myself and others.
I used techniques B.E.S.T. and PSYCH K to help myself remove limiting beliefs so that I could create a new perception of life. I spent so many years not understanding my personal power and how my beliefs and actions affected my quality of life. As I desired to change my perception of my life experience, I attracted techniques that would assist me in healing myself. As I healed myself, I attracted clients who wanted the to heal themselves and were also open to understanding their personal power. I constantly experienced more and more awareness.’