What I’ve Been Reading – February 2015

SUNDAY 1st MARCH 2015

Happy Sunday folks! We’ve just returned from a weekend away in beautiful Ambleside in the Lake District. The excuse was to celebrate my (belated) birthday as the hubby was away for my actual birthday.

Five mile walk at Elterwater certainly blew away a few cobwebs

Five mile walk at Elterwater certainly blew away a few cobwebs

However, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for us both. After a particularly stressful week at work – hubby on call and I dealing with one of many urgent projects – getting away from it all was the breath of fresh air we needed.

And it doesn’t get much fresher than at the Lakes.

Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness

Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness

Recharging our batteries with the obvious indulgence in food and drink, we justified it all with a five-mile walk around Elterwater. We played our role as tourists by participating in the red cruise from Ambleside to Bowness and tapped into a more sophisticated side of us both – listening to live music at the Jazz café Zeffirellis.

I managed to squeeze some reading in yesterday morning at the lovely B&B we were staying in – Lacet House – when hubby had to make an emergency trip to Asda (something to do with forgetting a suitcase. Now that’s a different story). And since this blog is about stories, I won’t waffle on about our trip

I’ll cut to the juicy bits.

Here’s what I read in February:

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

Renee Knight – Disclaimer

James Patterson – Mary Mary

But first – let’s see where January ended …

Lee Child One ShotI ended January’s reading list half way through Lee Child’s One Shot. I finished this book early into February and I can confirm that I was pleasantly surprised. It all comes together in the last 100 pages where the pace really picks up and my heart was in my mouth, I couldn’t put it down. The slow start was worth persevering with as the action toward the end of the novel more than makes up for it. A clever concept.

 

Paula Daly – Keep Your Friends Close

SynopsisKeep Your friends close

Your best friend isn’t who you think she is.

You’ve been friends since university, when you became the people you are today.

You don’t see each other enough but when you do it’s as if you’ve never been apart.

She’s one of the family. You would trust her with your life, your children, your husband.

And when your daughter is rushed to hospital, you’re grateful that she’s stepping in at home, looking after things.

But your best friend isn’t who you think she is. You’re about to find out just how wrong you were.

Thoughts:

A Psychological thriller that’s wickedly clever. You can’t help but fall in love with Natty’s control freak nature as she’s like many of us – striving for perfection, to have it all; the husband, the children, the business. But when her daughter takes ill and she rushes to France to be by her side, we see Eve, her friend from college, prey on her weakness – her absence from her already neglected husband.

We’re so wrapped up in Natty making sure that her daughter’s alright that when we get to Eve and Sean’s antics, we’re devastated. Daly builds up the tension from start to finish, with the sexual tension between Eve and Sean, to the volatile feeling Natty has towards them and the effect this has on her daughters. We follow this tension to an intense finale.

There are underlying stories from other characters such as Natty’s father. We also see the return of Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall, who appeared in Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?

Daly has again written a page-turner and Eve is a character that you love to hate. The character’s are realistic and the emotions that they experience, particular Natty, you feel with them.  Daly builds up the frustration and anger wonderfully and there’s a scene where she has no means to pay for petrol. It’s a small, but significant scene. A point where we could all relate to the circumstance in one way or another and in this story, it’s like the straw that broke the camels back. Something minor in the grand scheme of things but tips you over the edge.

We’ve all been there in some way shape or form.

I was lucky enough to host Paula Daly last month on my Cuppa and a Catch Up feature. You can read the full interview here.

Renee Knight – Disclaimer

Disclaimer Synopsis

When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine’s bedside table, she curls up in bed and begins to read.

But as she turns the pages she is sickened to realize the story will reveal her darkest secret.

A secret she thought no one else knew…

Thoughts:

This is a debut thriller from Renee Knight and she’s joined Paula Daly in my shout-through-the-rooftops love for books that I can’t recommend enough.

The snappy synopsis is short but once those three lines were cast, they hooked themselves into my mind from the moment I read them.

What an interesting concept – a story within a story. I was intrigued as to where this novel would take me.

Catherine Ravenscroft has the perfect life; a successful career, a doting husband and a grown-up son who is finding his independence in the world. After moving house, things are just about settling down and, like many of us, she picks up a book for a bit of escapism.

However, the book (The Perfect Stranger) does not provide the kind of escapism Catherine is after.disclaimer 3

The structure of Disclaimer works wonderfully; the chapter’s flit between the present and the past, following both Catherine and the author of the book she’s reading. Disclaimer is written in such a way that you become attached to both character’s at different stages throughout the story, the words leading you into changing your loyalties. I found my perspective of Catherine changing and I was horrified to find myself feeling like that. It made me want to read on – to challenge why the author of the book she was reading had written it. And if it indeed was true.

And this is where Renee Knight has you gripped.

Disclaimer has an undercurrent of suspense throughout the novel leading to a very tense finale. My heart raced as  I stayed in bed for an emotional two hours on a Saturday morning, the household chores and plans for the morning completely cast aside as I simply had to read on, to find out if the ending of Disclaimer married up with the ending of The Perfect Stranger.

That’s an outcome which you will just have to establish yourself.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Transworld Publishers. Disclaimer is released on the 9th April 2015

James Patterson – Mary, Mary

Mary MarySynopsis

This is the eleventh book in the Alex Cross series

Somebody is intent on murdering Hollywood’s A-list. A well-known actress has been shot outside her Beverly Hills home. Shortly afterwards, the Los Angeles Times receives an email describing the murder in vivid detail. It is signed Mary Smith. More killings and emails follow – the victims are all major Hollywood players. Is it the work of an obsessed fan or a spurned actor, or is it part of something far more terrifying? As the case grows to blockbuster proportions, Washington, DC, FBI agent Alex Cross and the LAPD scramble to find a pattern before Mary can send another chilling update. Filled with the ruthless and shocking twists that make his fans hunger for more, MARY, MARY is James Patterson’s most sophisticated thriller yet.

 

 

Thoughts:

My love affair of James Patterson’s novels continues in the form of Mary, Mary.Mary Mary 2

Written in his usual short chapter structure, with the last sentence always begging you to turn to the next chapter, Mr Patterson tells us the story of a murderer going by the name of Mary Smith.

Mary Smith is an arrogant killer that leaves no trace, creating their own story by murdering Hollywood A-lister’s and taunting the FBI and LAPD by sharing the details with the press.

Mary, Mary is a typical James Patterson page turner and has all the right ingredients for a crime thriller, right through to a decent and satisfying ending. I did enjoy this book and it had me hooked, but the concept of the storyline wasn’t up there with some of the books that I’ve read recently.

 

Spring has sprung and I can’t wait to see what books March has to bring …

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

 

Reading and Writing: Back To The Study

 THURSDAY 22nd JANUARY 2015

Well, there you have it.

New Year's Eve 2015 - a cosy night in with the hubby, Queen and a glass of fizz. The quietest New Year in over a decade!

New Year’s Eve 2015 – a cosy night in with the hubby, Queen and a glass of fizz. The quietest New Year in over a decade!

Another year over, another year older (I reached the anti-climax age of thirty one on the eighteenth of this month. Turning thirty is fab, but thirty one’s rather drab).

Am I wiser?? That’s always one to debate.

I suppose what I’m saying is a belated Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all enjoyed the festive season – I know we did. A chaotic Christmas day hosted at our house (nine adults, four dogs, two children and a partridge in a pear tree) followed by a nonchalant New Year. It certainly was a quiet affair for us Wilford’s; after years of hard-core partying (then last year we were both hard-core working) this year saw a rare night in – eating Chinese while watching Die Hard 2 and Queen.

With New Year come’s resolutions. The usual ‘eat more salad’ ‘hit the gym’ and ‘drink less alcohol’ (guilty of making and breaking all three just twenty two days in).

Seriously though, one resolution I always stay true to is to make sure that I never lose sight of what I love; reading and writing.

Over the past couple of years, I suppose I’ve struggled to be as regimented as I first was when I started this blog. Everyday life got in the way – we moved house, said house needed to be furnished and decorated and by the time we finished (well, got two-thirds of the way through) I got a new job and then my dad moved in for four months.

Why am I using these as excuses?

Moving house is an obvious time-thief so no explanation required.

The new job catapulted me from the lonely world of shift work to the chaotic Mon-Fri regime. Suddenly days off were no longer quiet weekdays tucked away with my laptop and books; they became noisy, chaotic weekends. The two fastest days in the week where you catch up on sleep, cleaning, shopping and most importantly PEOPLE. You get invited out to the pub/cinema/bowling alley and you go – because you can and because you now have what is called a LIFE.

However, the lonely world of shift work’s advantage to a reader, writer and blogger meant that I could do just that – focus on what I loved. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not ungrateful for the job that I now have; it’s Project Managing and I’m finally doing something I love for a day job (spread sheet heaven!). I still get to read a couple of chapters before bed – I just struggle to create precious time to write.

Why is my dad moving in an excuse? Well, the room I use for my study became his store-room. And yes, I know I could snuggle on the settee with my laptop like the good old days in the flat, but there was too much going in the house to distract me. Then Christmas came and we hosted. ’nuff said.study2

The point I’m getting at is that as I type this, I’m wistfully sat back at my desk, in my study, tucked away from the world listening to my ‘writing’ playlist all chilled out. Sure there’s piles of books surrounding me (thanks Mr & Mrs Harvey for some of those) waiting for a bookcase to love them. Oh and have you checked out Mrs Harvey’s fab blog ‘Marrvellous Things’? It’s an insightful look into a mommy’s world. Check her out here –

So what do I have planned for this year? Well, I would like to finish the historic novel that I’m ghost-writing and I think I’m going to revampDying to Sin Ruby (again!)

But for now, as ‘Once Upon a Time In The West’ glides out of my speakers, I’m going to sit back in my writing sanctuary and read a few more chapter’s of Stephen Booth’s ‘Dying to Sin’ .

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Lucy Diamond

WEDNESDAY 08th OCTOBER 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

 

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Lucy Diamond, author to several chick-lit novels including The Beach Café, Me and Mr Jones and Sweet Temptation. Lucy’s new novel ‘Christmas Gifts at The Beach Café’ is available to pre-order on Amazon now. I’ve got my order in – get yours here.

Christmas Beach Cafe

~Author Bio~

First of all, a confession. My name isn’t really Lucy Diamond at all, it’s Sue Mongredien. I’ve used a pen name because Author Pic Lucy Diamond‘Diamond’ is a lot easier to spell and pronounce than ‘Mongredien’ and also because I’ve written lots of children’s books too and wanted to keep the genres separate. (There is actually another Lucy Diamond on Amazon who writes religious children’s books. That isn’t me, though.) I was born in 1970 and grew up in Nottingham. I read English at Leeds University then moved to London and worked for various publishers before I packed it all in to go travelling around the world for a year and a half. When I came back to the UK, I worked in publishing again, then moved to the BBC.

I now live in Bath with my husband and three young children and divide my time between writing and looking after them. You can have a look at my children’s books here.

I would love to hear from you so do say hello if you’re on Twitter. You can find me @LDiamondAuthor. Otherwise you can email me via the Contact Me page.

Grab that cuppa and get snug as we catch-up with the lovely Lucy Diamond.

Cuppa and fire

Hi Lucy and welcome!

 The below are questions asked by my Aunt, Tracy Wilford, who is a huge fan and has introduced me to your books.

In Sweet Temptation your main characters, Maddie, Lauren and Jess meet at their local Fatbusters. I Sweet Temptationreally enjoyed their struggles with food and the reactions of those close to them to their weight issues. Why did you decide to write about a weight loss club?

First of all, thank you for having me here – and for reading my books. It’s much appreciated!

Sweet Temptation is a book that’s very close to my heart. Although I have never been to a weight loss club myself, I was quite insecure and self-conscious through my twenties – and it was only when my body produced three beautiful babies in my thirties that my attitude changed, and I started to feel proud of what my body had achieved, rather than fretting about wobbly thighs!

But then I joined a gym and the instructor did that horrible fat-pinching test and told me I was ‘verging on obesity’ (I was a size 10-12!) and all the old insecurities rushed back. In tears, I went home and wrote a blog about how upset I felt, and had the most amazing outpouring of support from readers, most of whom I didn’t know. And even in the depths of despair and angst, I thought – There might be a book in this…

 

In ‘Me and Mr Jones’ the character Alicia is married to dependable Hugh and as she approaches her 40thMe and Mr Jones birthday she becomes restless and yearns for time to herself. This storyline resonated with me, who was your inspiration for this character?

The inspiration was me! I found turning 40 quite difficult. I had enjoyed my thirties so much that I felt somewhat apprehensive about leaving them behind. I think there’s a tendency to assume that life will suddenly change quite dramatically once you pass these milestone birthdays… funnily enough, it doesn’t. I am happy to say I am enjoying my 40s enormously – I’m sure Alicia is too!

Why did you decide to include recipes for beauty products, breakfasts, summer cocktails, and other plot related information at the end of your books? Have you tested all of the recipes yourself?  

I think it’s nice to add a few extras at the end of a novel – and yes, I always test the recipes. I had particularly good feedback regarding the extra material at the end of Summer With My Sister – one lady wrote to tell me she had enjoyed making the beauty products so much, she’d actually started her own business (which has been a great success, and is still going from strength to strength!)

The below questions are from myself, I’d love to hear more about how you work …

The Beach CafeHow do you manage your writing time? 

I tend to write while my children are at school. I warm up by reading through and editing my previous day’s work, then push on with new pages. I write fairly quickly but edit many times before anyone is allowed to see a single page. My favourite part of the process is when I have completed a first draft – I’ve actually made it to the end! – and I have the pages printed out, ready for me to read the book through in its entirety. I do a HUGE edit at this point – whole chapters cut out, whole characters sometimes, I am absolutely ruthless. For me, it’s only when I’ve got to the end that I can see how the book needs to be balanced, and how it’ll ‘work’ as a whole.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on? summer with my sister

I have always written: diaries, short stories, bad sixth-form love poetry… but it wasn’t until I was working at my first job in publishing that I fell in love with the idea of actually becoming an author myself. Until then, I’d kind of assumed that ‘people like me’ didn’t get to do things like that – but then I started meeting ‘real’ authors and realised that they didn’t conform to a type whatsoever, and most of them were very nice (and quite ordinary!) people. It was really only then that a little daydream became a possibility in my mind, and I thought, Why not?

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow? 

Hens ReunitedI have a lovely little office at home, which is full of books and nice things my children have made me, and a very comfortable armchair for reading page proofs. However, at the start of this year, I began working a day or two a week at a shared office in town. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write with music playing, and other people around me, but I actually love being back in a proper office and feeling as if I have ‘colleagues’ again. (Plus it’s right in the middle of town and I kind of love a bit of lunchtime shopping too…)

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

I can’t resist a bit of karaoke… Don’t judge me!        

Thank you for being here today Lucy

~Where to find the author~

Facebook

Twitter: @LDiamondAuthor

Email: Lucy@lucydiamond.co.uk

Website: http://www.lucydiamond.co.uk/

Blog

Love Missuswolf xxx

Fate Blog Tour – with Andrea Buginsky

TUESDAY 30th SEPTEMBER 2014

Fate Blog Tour Banner

 

~Fate Blog Tour with Author Andrea Buginsky~

Andi’s Realm

It’s launch day! I am so excited! When I started writing my first book seven years ago, I never dreamed it would turn into a full-time writing and self-publishing business. But here I am, five books published, my own website, business cards, the works. It’s a little business I like to call Andi’s Realm.

Andi’s Realm was the name I came up with for my first blog. It was a simple website where I could post my book and write some blog posts. I chose the name because I’ve always lived in my own little realm. I’ve been daydreaming and making up stories my whole life. I find myself talking to myself many times, when I’m watching TV, reading, napping, or going to sleep.

Well, to others, it would appear I was talking to myself, but I’m not. I’m talking to at least five very special people who have been with me my whole life. When I was little, my family and I called them my pretend friends. Now I know they are characters I created when I was very young. I just didn’t know it. And they became some of my best friends who have stuck by me my entire life. I can’t get rid of them…even if I wanted to, which I don’t.

When I started to sell my books, I decided why not bring some of that imaginary world to life, and Andi’s Realm was born. Although I don’t use that name as my business name, I do refer to my writing space as Andi’s Realm. When I have guests on my blog, I feel as if they’re visiting me in my realm.

So, what does Andi’s Realm look like? I picture a fairy garden with a swing hanging between two trees, lots of flowers in every color imaginable, comfortable chairs set around a fire circle, and tons of books lined up on wooden shelves. It’s my own fairyland, and I love it. Someday, I hope to have an office all to myself that I can decorate to look somewhat like my realm. For now, my desk does very well, and has some of the aspects of the realm sitting on or around it.

My realm has served me well the last seven years, and today, I’m proud to see the fifth production from it. I hope you enjoy reading Fate as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to see you at the realm very soon!

Fate: New Avalon, book 2

by Andrea Buginsky

Available September 30, 2014

Fate (2)

 

Elena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon may be more challenging than her first. The demons she was warned about show up, a visitor who greatly affects her arrives, and her best friend, Izzy, has to deal with her painful past. Can Elena survive everything that’s coming at her at once? Or will the future Lady of the Lake take on more than she can possibly handle?

 

 

 

Fate: New Avalon, book 2


Excerpt

In Alchemy the next day, Elena could tell Izzy was still distracted. She never did that well mixing the potions, but she was getting better studying with Elena. Today, however, everything she mixed kept exploding. Elena knew she was still preoccupied with their conversation from the other night.

“Damn!” Izzy coughed as her third attempt to mix the potion exploded in her face.

Elena ran to her side. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

The rest of the class rushed over to make sure everything was OK.

“You alright, Izzy?”

“Yeah, Mia. Just ticked. I can’t get this to work right! Lady Bittle, what am I doing wrong?”

Lady Bittle sifted through the ashes in Izzy’s cauldron. “I don’t think you used the right amount of herbs. Remember, you need to be very careful when tossing each one in. You don’t want to add too much or too little of any herb.”

“I know that! I’m a third-year. I’ve been mixing potions for over two years now. I know I’m not the best at it, but this is ridiculous!”

“Izzy, is everything OK? You know you’re powers are linked to your emotions, and you seem to be in overdrive right now. Perhaps you should stop for the day. I’ll still give you full credit for your attempts.”

Izzy looked like she was about to explode. But a scream from Elena broke her out of her anger.

“What’s wrong?”   “I don’t know…” Elena stood there, holding her head in her hands, nearly collapsing. “It hurts!”   “What hurts, Sweetie?”

Mia tried to calm her down, but they were all freaking out over Elena’s outburst.   “My head! It feels like it’s going to explode.”

Lady Bittle rushed to her and took her by the elbow. “I’m going to take her to Isabel. The rest of you can use the remaining class time to work on your own potions, if you’d like. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

“Wait! I want to go with her.”

“No, Izzy, that’s not a good idea. You’ll see her later, back in your room.”

She led Elena out of the classroom and down the hall to Isabel’s office.

Isabel was waiting for them. She sensed something was wrong, as she always did, and helped Lady Bittle carry Elena to the couch in her office. She gently caressed Elena’s head, her eyes closed, her lips moving.

Finally, Elena calmed down enough and took a deep breath. “What was that?”

“Tell me everything that happened.”   Elena told Isabel about Izzy’s trouble in class and her outburst. “I know she’s been upset lately, but I’ve never seen her like this. She just became infuriated, like she was about to explode!”

“And then you felt like your head was exploding?”

Elena looked at her, shocked. “Yeah, how did you know that?”

Isabel sighed. “Lady Bittle, I’ve got this now. Thank you for bringing her to me. Will you return to the classroom and let the other girls know Elena is just fine?”

Lady Bittle nodded, touching Elena gently on her shoulder. She left her in Isabel’s capable hands and returned to her class.

Isabel gently stroked Elena’s hair. “I think congratulations are in order.”

Amazon Barnes & Noble |Print

Tour Dates

September 30: Missuswolf’s Storyland

October 1: Bonnie Trachtenberg

October 2: Sheenah Freitas

October 3: Confessions of a Reader

October 4: Sheila Deeth

October 5: UnorthodoxBlog

October 6: Regan Black

October 7: Emerald Barnes’ Dreaming Awake Blog

October 8: Annamaria’s Writing Corner

October 9: Belinda Witzenhausen

October 9: Ignite Your Creativity

October 9: WriterzBlox

October 10: Martha Emms Cognitive Dreamer

October 11: Teen Books and Other Stuff

October 11: Brandi Breathes Books a Rafflecopter giveaway

My HeadshotAndrea Buginsky is a freelance writer with a BA in Mass Communication-Journalism from the University of South Florida. She has always wanted to be a published writer, and decided to try to write children’s fantasy books. The Chosen is her first book, and was released on December 14, 2010, to her delight.

 

Andrea has written four more books since:

 

* My Open Heart, an autobiography of growing up with heart disease.
* Nature’s Unbalance: The Chosen, Book 2
* Destiny: New Avalon, book 1, a YA fantasy
* Fate: New Avalon, book 2, a YA fantasy
She is currently editing the third book of The Chosen series, and writing the fourth. Andrea lives in Kansas with her family, which includes her two precious puppies.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | G+

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Fate (2)

Happy Third Birthday Blog!

SATURDAY 23rd AUGUST 2014

It’s three years ago today since I made myself comfortable on my corner sofa in our little flat, fired up the laptop and created Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Blogging

We’d not long been back from a fabulous holiday in Mexico, where I’d been a bridesmaid to one of my best friends. Despite the high of that holiday, I’d come home to discover there was trouble in my parents’ paradise. That August, I was also in my third month of being redeployed into a job working shifts in a role that I didn’t want to be in.

Seventy ThousandBut it gave me the time to focus on my reading and writing, and so this blog really did become my world – my distraction. I’d always read books, usually a couple of chapter’s a night before bed. I found that I started to read a lot more and used books as a form of Ruby Competitionescapism.

It gave me the drive to self publish the paperback version of ‘The Ruby of Egypt’ in December 2011. The kindle version shortly followed in January 2012.

That year, I wrote the first draft of my novel ‘Little Miss Pooshoe’ in January and February, attended creative writing classes at the local high school (which became my Creative Writing Café feature), joined Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF in the September and my nephew was born in the October. During all of this, the author interview feature ‘Cuppa and a Catch-Up’ was born. It was a hard year as my parents separation became final.

Go Team PIF2013 was a busy year – after eight years of waiting we finally managed to sell our flat and buy our house. This left little time for writing. It wasn’t for the want of trying – I did try to complete NaNoWriMo in the November however there was too much to do around the house and general day-to-day life got in the way. On a positive note, it gave me the makings of a Science Fiction novel ‘The Arm of Northumberland’ which is a longstanding WIP. It’s a story I need to tell as it all stemmed from an Cuppa and a Catch up picextremely vivid dream …

Oh – and Ruby’s book trailer was created in February 2013.

Ruby of Egypt Cover 2013The Ruby of Egypt was also revised and revamped with a new cover, courtesy of Carl Harvey.

The start of 2014 was a struggle as my working lifestyle really did get me down. Fast forward to August and I’ve got a new job, two new nieces, set up my own freelance writing business and I’m now ghost-writing a historic novel for a family member. My parents sold the family home yesterday and officially went their separate ways – which all seems so fitting now.

 

Life has a funny way of just falling into place.

Today, I had the wonderful surprise of meeting up with my grandparents (from Nottingham) whose mystery tour bus holiday they were on brought them to Gateshead.Freelance Bus Cards

The last three years have been a chapter of my life that have moulded me. There’s been difficult times but there has also been really good times. I’ve surrounded myself with other people’s stories by constantly immersing myself in books. Looking back I’m proud of the work that I’ve accomplished. Here’s to the next three years and what opportunities they may bring.

So thank you for reading and thank you Charity Rattiner for pointing me in the direction of wordpress.

This really has been Missuswolf’s StoryLand.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

A Chapter Excerpt from ‘Closure’ – a novella by Sylvia Stein

WEDNESDAY 20th AUGUST 2014

sylvia stein pic

 

Author Sylvia Stein began her path to writing when she joined the Writer’s Group on Linked in 750 in 2012.

She continued her journey by creating short stories, which were published, in the Giant tales Anthology series.

While obtaining her Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University online author Stein built a solid foundation with her colleagues who encouraged her to continue on her writing. That’s when Closure was born.

With the help of her editor Closure grew from a short story to a full novella that Author Stein is excited to share.

Closure is her debut book as a solo writer.   To quote author Stein,  “ This is the first of many to come.”

Closure-Amazon

CHAPTER ONE

Oct 15, 1999

Dear Diary,

I will never forget the day my mother passed away. I can recall that moment as if it were yesterday.

My life changed forever.

There was once a time when I thought life was perfect. After all, my mother and father were high school sweethearts. It seemed like they would be together forever.

Or so I thought.

Sadly, for our family, it was not to be.

Her death was the beginning of a nightmare . . . my nightmare.

Like most children, I did not understand the concept of time. There were many nights when the side effects of my mother’s chemo woke our family. I could hear her coughs and knew she was in pain. She attempted to mask it from us, but there are some things you cannot hide.

Mother developed breast cancer. It runs in her side of the family, and something I must watch for. Breast cancer is not the monster of my nightmares. That monster is my father.

One day, my mother was there, and the next day—I am walking into a big home and facing a large box.

For the longest time, I stood holding my father’s hand while looking at our reflection on the shiny wooden box.

The room began to fill with noise.

Confused, I looked over my shoulder and faced a dark, blue curtain.

“What’s that Daddy?” I asked.

“Everyone is coming to say goodbye.”

“Who’s goin’ away?”

He picked me up.

Inside was my mother, she looked peaceful.

Mommy is sleeping, I thought.

Delighted to see her with color and resting. I turned and whispered into my father’s ear, “Ssshhhh! Mommy is sleeping. Daddy, she’s not sick no more.”

“Sweetie,” he whispered. A jagged breath and wet heat caressed my ear.

Daddy’s crying?

Lost for words, I patted his back.

His sobs deepened.

“Oh, Sara. Mommy’s going away, but don’t worry, we’re still a family.”

Young and confused, nothing made sense. My father was crying, my mother was in a box, and people behind a curtain were there to say goodbye. Mother looked good, happy and without pain. How could someone who finally looked peaceful decide to leave?

The curtains opened.

Lost and confused, I searched the room for help.

Father carried me to the first seat and sat me down.

A strange man stood and described how wonderful my mother was. The air, the room, and, well, everything felt wrong. 

Mommy is there! Why does he keep saying she is with God? I want my mom! my mind shouted.

I tried to talk but tears and the world consumed me.

Then I saw a man with a collar come up to my father and whispered something in his ear. Moments later, the man closed the lid to the box my mom was in.

Five men and my father picked up mommy’s box and began carrying it out of the room. Angered by strangers carrying that infernal box, I ran in front of their path and tried to stop them.

Before I could say a word, a large, warm hand swallowed mine.

Startled, I tried to scream, but saw into my father’s heartbroken eyes.

“It’ll be alright,” my father assured me.

He lied.

Thanks to him and his abuse, I live with night terrors, have panic attacks, and suffer from stress-induced grand mal seizures. Over time, I have lost hope, and do not know if I will ever feel normal again.

~Sara

~If you would like to be known more about Author Stein’s books here is a link of them~

Closure

Giant Tales Beyond The Mystic Doors

Giant Tales From The Misty Swamp

Giant Tales World of Pirates

Lava Storm in the Neighbourhood

Giant Tales Dangerous Days

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Mischaela Advani

WEDNESDAY 13th AUGUST 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Mischaela Advani, author of ‘How To Run In Heels’.

~Author Bio~

authorphotosMischaela Advani is a writer, businesswoman, and UN advocate working to advance women’s rights and equality. She studied Business with a focus in Marketing and Finance at the prestigious Indiana University Kelley School of Business. While in college she was the official liaison between the United Nations Association and Indiana University, and the editor of Primary Source, the university’s oldest student run scholarly publication.  She writes for a variety of publications on business development, women in business, and emerging technology. Mischaela sits on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Fashion Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting Chicago’s thriving fashion community and organizing runway shows and fashion events all over the city. She is married to a hectically busy entrepreneur, and resides in the heart of downtown Chicago with her husband and their English Bulldog Sir Wimbledon.

 

~Book Overview~

How To Run In Heels inspires women to “run in heels” in business and in life. Through the life stories of 30 lady moguls, women can bookcovermockadopt the “running in heels” mentality….which boils down to living your life with power and purpose without compromising what makes women inherently powerful. It might still be a man’s world in many ways, but through learning how to “run in heels” women will discover how to harness their unique gifts and lady power to make 10,000 little cracks in the glass ceilings of politics, business, and the world at large. Running in heels means running the world or running your business with the confidence that comes with owning who you are, as a professional and as a woman whether your heels are Prada or Payless…maybe they’re  even cross-trainers (ala trailblazer and filibuster wonderwoman  Governor Wendy Davis). Glass ceiling…meet stiletto

Now grab that cuppa as we catch up with Mischaela Advani.

cuppa

Hi Mischaela and welcome! It’s great to have you here.

Where did the inspiration behind this book come from?

The inspiration for writing this book came from a few different places. I have always admired the witty “chick lit” writing of Plum Sykes (author of cult classic Bergdorf Blondes) and have always torn open my letterbox when the latest issue of Vogue was in it just to read her pieces. Ever since developing an appetite for her work, I’ve wanted to write something in a similar vein. On a separate note, as a woman in tech and a businesswoman, I’ve seldom come across books that are substantial and smart as well as stylish and fun …they are always one or the other. So I decided to pair traditional business literature with what is often known as “chick lit” to speak to a generation of Millennial women who are making their own rules in business and in life.

I’m inspired by women who create the world they live in, and these women run the gamut from Madame CJ Walker to Lady Gaga. I wanted to distill their life stories and words of wisdom into a beach read, a light hearted and fun book that women can read on their planes or in their salons.

How would you compare writing this book with anything you have previously written?

This book is definitely a departure from my previous pieces, as I’ve never written anything slightly humorous. I’ve done a great deal of fashion journalism, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Fashion Foundation and as a writer …but this is my first venture into the business coaching/self-improvement arena. It’s definitely my authentic editorial voice, which was really cathartic to get out …too often I’ve had to write for a more conservative and affluent reader who is a bit older. I’m glad to be able to be a bit audacious in my first book.

How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurned you on?

As a child I was enamoured of writing, and always knew I’d be an author. I’ve written or edited semi-professionally since college. I was the editor of my university’s oldest scholarly journal, Primary Source, a publication that has been around since the 1820s. It was through reading all of the beautifully written research and op-ed pieces that I truly dug into my love of words.. As I said before, Plum Sykes is one of my biggest inspirations in terms of writing. I truly identify with her editorial voice and feel a lot of her influence in my own writing. Through reading her pieces in Vogue and re-reading her novels, the fire within me to write grew bigger and bigger.

How do you organise your writing time?

I tend to organize my writing time based on how creative I am feeling at the time. For me, it doesn’t matter how busy I am or what I have going on. Some days are just “writing days”, as most writers would probably also say. Some days the words pour out like a monsoon, and other days you’d be hard pressed to squeeze out a sentence or two.

Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?

I might be the oddball, but I tend to love to write in public. Give me sidewalk or terrace seating at a little café and I’m set. I think the energy of people working and chatting around me helps me focus on what I want to say. The change of scenery as opposed to the same navy blue walls of my apartment helps me crank out good work. I realize I’m in the minority, as most writers tend to write by candlelight at their wooden desks late at night, but I’m happiest with a cappuccino and a laptop in the sunshine.

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.

Not many people know that I’m a speed reader. I can read, on average, about 600+ words per minute and definitely go much faster when I’m in a hurry or very engaged with a book. I’ve finished entire novels in 2 hours or less. In college, it definitely came in handy both at Primary Source and in my coursework.

Thank you for being here today Mischaela.

~Where to find Mischaela~

Twitter: @mischaelaadvani 

Web: http://www.mischaela.mobi/

Blog: http://howtoruninheels.tk/  (the blog ties in with the book)

Book Twitter Handle: @runinheelsbook

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 Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Chrissie Parker

WEDNESDAY 06th AUGUST 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

 

I would like to welcome back the lovely Chrissie Parker, who has just released her second book Among The Olive Groves.

~Author Bio~

Chrissie Parker Author PicChrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry.

Chrissie is also an Author. Her thriller Integrate was released in October 2013. Chrissie is currently working on two sequels to Integrate called Temperance and Retribution. Both will be released in 2015.

Other written work includes factual articles for the Bristolian newspaper and guest articles for the charities Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation. Chrissie has also written a book of short stories and poems, one of which was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.

 

Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two six-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University.   She also likes to read, collect books, make bracelets and listen to music. To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com

~Synopsis~

Elena Petrakis adores living on the Greek island of Zakynthos. When World War Two looms her way of life is threatened. Left with noATOG_Amazon_Small choice she joins the island’s resistance to fight for what she believes in; her family, her home, and her freedom.

Decades later, thousands of miles away in the Cornish town of Newquay, Kate Fisher prepares to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, but her joy is fleeting when she learns she is adopted. Abandoning life in England, Kate flees to Zakynthos, where she is forced to acknowledge a life she has struggled to come to terms with, one that will change her future.

From the beautiful crystal turquoise seas of the Ionian Islands to the rugged shores of the Cornish coast, ‘Among the Olive Groves’ is a story of love, bravery and sacrifice.

 

Grab that cuppa as we catch up with the fabulous Chrissie Parker.

CUPPA

Hi Chrissie and welcome! It’s great to have you here again.

Thank you Gemma it’s nice to be back again!

Where did the inspiration for behind Among The Olive Groves come from?

The idea came from a conversation I had with a local when visiting the island about nine years ago. They talked to me about the war, and told me about something very specific that happened (I can’t tell you what, as it’s a spoiler for the book!). It made me want to write about the island during that time. I also love the island of Zakynthos (Zante) and Greece has been going through a bit of a hard time, so wanted to write something about the island to show how lovely it is.

How would you compare writing this book with writing Integrate?

Writing this book was completely different. Among the Olive Groves is historical fiction, set during the second world war, as well as in the 1990’s/2000’s. I had to do a lot of research on the war, and learn about what happened to people who lived during it. The book is also set on the Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante), so I had to do a lot of research about the island and Greece in general. It was a mammoth task, but also great fun. With Integrate I could just write the story, it was completely fictional. Among the Olive Groves was very different, I wrote, planned, researched and then repeated the exercise a few times!

What research was involved in writing this story?

I read a lot of books and watched a lot of documentaries about world war two. I also visited a few war museums to get a feel for what happened during that time. I also did a lot of research about women in Greece during that time and what they went through during the war, which was essential for my character Elena Petrakis who ends up joining the resistance. I read some very brave accounts, and also some very sad ones. I can’t even begin to put into words what some people went through.

You’re currently working on the sequels to Integrate. How are these coming along?

They are coming along well. Integrate will now be known as the first book of a trilogy called ‘The Moon series’. Book two will be called Temperance, and the third book will be called Retribution.

I have written the full draft of Temperance, and worked out the story plan for Retribution. I’m really enjoying it and there will be a few unexpected surprises in store for the readers!

You have completed an Archaeology and Egyptology course at Exeter University. Have these influenced any of your writing?

I have and I’m hoping to try and do another course soon. I am a huge lover of history and archaeology and quite a bit of what I have learned from the courses about researching/finding information has really helped during writing Among the Olive Groves. Some of the historical and technical information I learned has also helped me with writing two future books that are set in Egypt and Jordan.

As a reader, what should we expect from Among The Olive Groves?

It’s a powerful and emotional story, with strong identifiable characters. It’s about family, change and learning to adapt. It’s also about fighting for what you believe in and having the strength to see things through.

Stepping away from the fact that I wrote it, I would say that it’s definitely a book that will keep you hooked, and the description of the island is likely to make you want to pack your bags and take the first plane out of the UK to soak up some Greek sun!

Thank you for being here today Chrissie and best of luck with the new release!

Thank you Gemma, and it was nice to be back on your lovely blog!

~Where to find Chrissie Parker~

Facebook

Twitter – @Chrissie_author

Blog

Pinterest 

Goodreads 

ATOG_Amazon_Small

 Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Michelle Betham

TUESDAY 15th JULY 2014

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Michelle Betham, a fellow North Easterner and Author to numerous romance novels, including Bon Voyage and Unbreakable.

~Author Bio~

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, so it stood to reason that, at some DIGITAL CAMERApoint, I’d start writing some of them down. I currently have ten novels in total to my name, ranging from the sweet to the really quite steamy – which is my favourite kind of romance!  When I’m not creating hot heroes and sexy scenarios I like to read everything from erotica to horror. I’m also a bit of a TV addict with a penchant for “binge-watching”, I love football, darts and rock music, have a slight obsession with Timothy Olyphant, and I’m also an unashamed ‘Breaking Bad’ geek!

 With a string of steamy novels under her belt, including her current football based trilogy ‘The Striker Series’, Michelle is who I liked to refer to as the North East’s answer to Jackie Collins.

 Today she is discussing ‘Extra Time’, the second book in the trilogy.

~Synopsis~ 

Extra Time begins just a few months after Striker, Book #1 in the trilogy, left off, and the lives of Amber, Jim, Ryan and Ronnie have all moved on…

*May contain slight spoilers if you haven’t yet read Striker*

Extra Time CoverProfessional footballer Ryan Fisher is determined to show the world he’s a changed man. But moving on isn’t easy, and leaving his old life behind isn’t something he’s coping all that well with, especially when so much of it is still so close to home; when a life he didn’t realise he wanted until it was far too late is still right there in front of him. Does he reach out and try to grab it a second time? Or does he make a decision to leave it all behind in the only way he knows how? Before temptation becomes too hard to resist…

Amber’s life is moving along at breakneck speed. In every aspect. But is everything as happy and settled as she’d like it to be? Has she finally found her happy-ever-after? Or is the past just waiting to creep up on her?

At the age of forty-nine, Jim Allen feels as though his life is just beginning. He’s in love, and his career as one of the country’s most successful football managers is on the ascendant. But Jim knows all is not as it seems. He knows there are more secrets just waiting to come out, secrets that could potentially damage his new life. And this time, they’re secrets he isn’t sure he can control. Is a past he’s spent so long trying to hide finally starting to catch up with him?

As those secrets slowly start to reveal themselves, everyone’s lives once more become entangled as faces from the past and dreams of the future collide, and sex, lies and betrayal all play a part in turning everyone’s worlds upside down. All over again. And when a secret of her own adds to Amber’s heartache, is running back to her old life the best way to escape the pain? Or just the easy option. Is she really strong enough to let go of a man whose hold over her is something she just can’t break? Even if everything inside of her is screaming at her to do so.

But when that old life starts to take hold in a way no one could have envisaged, the game changes once again…

Extra Time – The game continues… but just who is winning…?

 

Hi Michelle, it’s my pleasure to have you here again!cuppa

Where did the inspiration behind the ‘Striker’ books come from?

I’m a big football fan. I always have been. And I’ve always been fascinated by the world that surrounds the top flight players – that world of excess, money and glamour. I was also a HUGE fan of ‘Footballers Wives’ when it was on TV. I loved that show! But, surely, that glamorous, glitzy world they all live in, it can’t be THAT perfect, can it? After reading a book called ‘I Am The Secret Footballer’ I realised it wasn’t. Written by a real-life Premiership footballer, it gives readers an insight into his life as a top-flight player, both on and off the pitch – the good bits, and the bad. It was certainly an eye opener, and proved to be an invaluable research tool for me as I created the character of fictional bad boy footballer Ryan Fisher. Nothing I wrote in any of the ‘Striker’ books is too far fetched, believe me. Because, as far as these players are concerned, anything goes. But money can’t always buy you everything, as Ryan soon finds out…

As a reader, what can we expect from ‘Extra Time’?

Michelle was recently featured in The Sunday Sun. Click here to view more

Michelle was recently featured in The Sunday Sun. Click here to view the interview with Ian Robson on Highbeam.com

Well, as the story continues here in book 2, the reader can expect a few more secrets to come to light, a lot more scandal, and a great deal more action off the pitch that’s guaranteed to get the heart racing! These books definitely aren’t ones you’d give to your granny, that’s for sure! I even nicknamed them “Fifty Shades of Football” because they can get a little bit hot in parts! You have been warned…

You like to do a lot of … ahem … research into characters for your stories. Who was your inspiration for Ryan Fisher?

I certainly DO like my research! But actually, Ryan Fisher wasn’t really inspired by any one particular individual. I kind of looked at professional Premiership footballers on the whole, and mixed it all up a bit. So Ryan has a little bit of everything going on, really. Yes, he’s a bad boy, but there’s also another side to him that really starts to come out more in books 2 and 3.

Which football team do you support?

Tricky one this. I used to be a season ticket holder at Newcastle United back in my teenage years, but after marrying a Sunderland supporter I hate to admit that my loyalty is shifting somewhat. And I know that, coming from a Geordie, that could almost be considered treason to even just think that. But it’s really hard to live with a Sunderland fan and NOT get sucked into the drama that team can sometimes create! Am I a full-blown Sunderland fan, though? I’m getting there…

I know you can’t give too much away, but what can we expect from the third book in the trilogy?

It’s quite difficult to say a lot without giving too much away, but, let’s just say there is some kind of conclusion to the trilogy in book 3. But not before yet more drama ensues, and another character gets to show us a side of him that we may not have seen before. It was a really emotional experience for me, writing that final book, because I’d grown so close to the characters in the Striker Series. And it was hard to let them go. But, again, without giving too much away, it may not be the last we see of them…

Thank you for being here today Michelle.

~Where to find Michelle Betham~

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Extra Time Cover

Click here for your copy from Amazon!

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Engage Magazine – have you got your copy?

THURSDAY 10th JULY 2014

One of the day’s that I’ve been waiting for these past couple of months arrived yesterday.

Engage Issue One Copies

I got to collect my very own copy (and a few extras) of the brand new lifestyle magazine for Newcastle and Gateshead: Engage Magazine.

After an invigorating morning gym session, I pottered on with some errands then planned my route to James Tennant’s (Director of Engage Magazine) office in the Team Valley Industrial Estate. Due to my lack of Sat Nav possession, I fiddled on with the Google Map’s App on my phone before hanging a washing load out and setting off; the sea breeze and glorious sunshine making for perfect ‘drying conditions.’

The drive was uneventful and I located James’  office with ease – despite the chaotic road works. Upon arrival, I realised that my dad worked in the same industrial estate and I fired a quick text to see if I could swing by afterwards. Daddy Gray was only too happy to accommodate this request and gave me directions to his office.

I met James in the plush air-conditioned reception area, where I was greeted with a smile and a stack of magazines.  We had a brief conversation about the sales I had been working on and then I scooped up the magazines, headed  back to the car park and off to meet my dad.

Turns out I didn’t have to go far; he was literally just down the road and waiting for me on the corner.  I didn’t want to intrude too much on his working day, but he seemed only too happy to show me around his place of work and explain what he did. I was intrigued yet ashamed that I’d forgotten just how clever my dad is (a dab hand at Science homework back in the day).

After the grand tour and meeting some of my dad’s colleagues, in what felt like a delayed bring-your-daughter-to-work-day, we settled down in his office where he browsed through a copy of Engage Magazine. He was suitably impressed and requested a couple of copies for the refreshment area. We caught up on life in general before I made my exit into the sweltering heat of the afternoon, looking forward to sitting reading my copy of Engage in the garden.

Which I did.

Engage garden pic

And thoroughly enjoyed.

If you haven’t got your copy, and you’d like to ensure you receive a copy every time it comes out, you can subscribe on the website.

Also, if you are a local business and would like to feature in Issue Two, we are taking advertisement bookings now so please don’t hesitate to get in touch gemma@engagemagazine.co.uk.

There’s also a daily blog that has just been launched too called Engage Tyneside – why not take a peek?

Happy Reading 🙂

Love Missuswolf xxx