Guest Post: The Books I Love Reading With My Boys

Today’s guest post is from the lovely Deb Sharratt from My Boys Club who is kindly sharing with us the books that she’s loved reading with her boys …

 

@MyBoysClub is a lifestyle, travel and food blog by Deb Sharratt all about enjoying life in a family of boys. Follow at www.myboysclub.co.uk or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

  

The books I’ve loved reading with My Boys …

There are so many reasons why reading to and with your children is a good thing. Helps them learn to read, improves concentration, teaches them new things, improves vocabulary, encourages creativity, can develop empathy and is calming and relaxing. However as well as all this it’s fun. It’s a special time between parent and child and I’ll really miss it when my boys no longer want to read with or to me or indeed no longer want a bedtime story.

Maybe that’s the reason why I’m a keen buyer of kids box sets and series of books  – I’m trying to make the bedtime story last forever! Anyway here are my top seven series of books sets.

 

Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child have been read and spoken so many times in out house that my boys can recite the entire books perfectly without having to read them. The books have inspired trails, such as this one in Hamsterley Forest,(http://www.myboysclub.co.uk/2016/10/all-leaves-are-brown.html) but other stories such as Tiddler, Stick Man, Monkey Puzzle and The Smartest Giant in Town too, with their flowing, soothing, rhyming stories are a favourite with toddlers and are just as delightful for older children as well.

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My Boys receive their first ‘Wimpy Kid’ books as a reward for having 100% attendance at school and they have been hooked ever since. With both typed text and comic strip style illustrations, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney are all about a kid called Greg who fills in his journal (not a diary!!) of all the misadventures in his life. Everything Greg seems to do has hilarious consequences and his family are very funny.

My Boys couldn’t stop reading these books and thought they were funny and fun to read. They also laugh out loud at the films too.

Michael Morpurgo

Any collection of books by one of the nation’s favourite storyteller is one to treasure. The former British Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo is known best for

children’s novels such as War Horse (1982) but has written over 100 books. His work is noted for its “magical storytelling” but also for recurring themes such as the triumph of an outsider or survival, for characters’ relationships with nature, and for vivid settings such as the war. We are now on our second collection of books. I was a little worried about the subject matter at first – the books cover wars, morality, death and what is deemed right and wrong but in doing have provoked many questions about so allows my boys to learn to share and express their thoughts.

 

Mr Men

Ever since the first books were published in 1971, Roger Hargreaves’ Mr. Men have been an enduring favourite with children (and parents!) of all ages. The likes of Mr. Happy, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Bump and friends must rank as some of the most famous characters in children’s books – and the boys love reading them as much as I did when I was a child. There are so many to enjoy and we love the bold, bright illustrations and simple storylines that make the Mr. Men stories fun and appealing for my boys to read over and over again. Every Mr. Men character has a key personality trait that provides huge entertainment as they head off on a variety of adventures but my favourite one remains Mr. Tickle.

Dr Seuss

Well, what can you say about Dr. Seuss’ wild, wacky and energetic creations? They are amazing. Entertaining. Loveable. And tell a great story too in rhyme making them easy to read and even easier to listen to. From The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, these are timeless books of crazy rhymes and weird and wonderful characters that we never tire of reading.

 


Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children’s books for their unsentimental, macabre, often darkly comic mood, featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters. His books champion the kind-hearted and feature an underlying warm sentiment. Some of his best-known books for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine.

Read about our year of celebrating 100 years of Roald Dahl

(http://www.myboysclub.co.uk/2016/12/2016-year-celebrating-roald-dahl.html).

 

His stories have gone on to capture the hearts and imaginations of children and adults across the globe, Matilda has always been a firm favourite with me and my boys.

 

How to Train A Dragon

These books inspired the Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon films. It is a series of twelve children’s books written by British author Cressida Cowell. The books are set in a fictional Viking world and focus on the experiences of protagonist Hiccup as he overcomes great obstacles on his journey of becoming a hero the hard way. The books have some illustrations, activities and also teach you how to speak Dragonese and train your own dragon to do tricks!

My boys love them all but they are perfect for children of any gender. Whichever books you choose to read, enjoy, it’s a very special time.

What’s your favourite book to read with your children?

Deb x

 

Guest Post: Park Life

Wednesday 9th November 2016

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Today’s Guest Post is by Cat from RockandRollPussyCat.co.uk

The North East is home to a great selection of parks which are perfect for toddlers. Since the birth of the little man I’ve pretty much worked my way round most of them. Here are some of my favourites : –

Saltwell Park

Missuswolf Saltwell Statue

With plenty of free parking around the perimeter of the park and a large free car park Saltwell Park is perfect for a free day out with the whole family. It’s my go to place for a short notice day out and always seems to be a hit with my toddler.

The park, set in the heart of Gateshead has picturesque grounds and is filled with lots of things to do.  There’s a small animal corner, two large well kept children’s play areas, a large lake that you can take boat trips on in the warmer months and a little train that drives round the park for just £1.50.

There’s plenty of space to walk with good ramps and flat paths for wheelchair and pushchair access. It’s a haven for wildlife and I’ve managed to capture some great photographs of both animals and flowers and it’s a great scenic backdrop for any photoshoots for little people.

There are facilities within the park, with toilets located in both Saltwell Towers and a block near the play parks. Saltwell Towers also has a reasonably priced cafe but you can also eat at one of the picnic benches outdoors or plonk a rug down on one of the large grassed areas.

If you haven’t visited Saltwell Park before I’d urge you to give it a go. It’s a beautiful space which is well worth a visit.

Barnes Park

Missuswolf picture of Barnes Park sculpture

Barnes Park is a recent rediscovery for me. I used to visit as a child but it became quite run down with very little to do, but in recent years it’s had a complete overhaul. It’s located just outside the centre of Sunderland and has free parking, though the car park is pretty small so parking isn’t always guaranteed, especially on sunny days.

Missuswolf Barnes Park

There are lots of walks which meander through the overhanging tree’s and along the lake edge, it’s a very pretty place to spend time when the weathers nice.

There are two modern play areas, one for little ones and one with climbing equipment and a huge slide for the older ones. There’s a beautiful sensory garden which is great for photographs, well used bowling greens and tennis courts and a small café with outside seating.

There are toilets are changing facilities right next to the children’s play are that are free to use, modern and clean. They even have adult changing facilities with a hoist which I think is a fantastic addition.

Herrington Country Park

Missuswolf Herrington Park picture

Herrington Park is a vast space in Penshaw, built on top of an old colliery site.  It’s overlooked by Penshaw Monument which at 70 foot high stands high on a hill and dominates the local landscape.

The park has plenty of open space for kicking a ball around or learning to ride a bike and with a large lake there’s plenty of opportunity to feed the ducks or watch the model boats being sailed.  There sculptures dotted round the park and lots of wildlife to see and a good sized BMX park for the more adventurous among us.

Penshaw nurseries and tearoom is located on the other side of the main road to Herrington Country Park and is worth a visit – their scones are delicious!

Do you have a favourite park?

Where you’ll find RockandRollPussyCat:

Twitter:@Catherine212

Facebook: Rockandrollpcat

Instagram: catherine212

 

Guest Post: Simple Autumn Recipe

Monday 7th November 2016

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Today’s Guest Post is from the lovely Ruth of Pretty Little Gym Addict sharing with us her yummy Autumn recipe.
Missuswolf Pretty Little Gym addict soup in a bowl with crusty bread and a drink
Such a simple recipe for a warm meal in the autumn months. It may not look very appealing but tastes lovely with a nice kick to warm you up.

Ingredients needed:

1/2 Pumpkin cubed
2 Sweet Potatoes cubed
2 Large Carrots cubed
1 Large White Onion
1 Litre of vegetable stock
1/2 red chilli
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. mild chilli powder
1 tbsp. vegetable bouillon

Instruction:

Firstly chop up your root vegetables.
Missuswolf Pretty Little Gym Addict chooped veg
Place the pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season.
Missuswolf Chopped veg drizzled with olive oil
Roast in the oven at 180 degrees for 35 minutes or until soft.
While the veg roasts in the oven, brown off the onions in a large saucepan, once golden add the chilli, turmeric, cumin and chilli powder, stir and let the onions soak in the spices. This should smell amazing.
After 2-3 minutes add the vegetable stock.
Missuswolf Veg in a pot with stock
Once the veg is roasted add it to the vegetable stock, with vegetable bouillon and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Blitz the soup with a hand blender and serve with some crusty bread.
Missuswolf blitzed veg and stock
Perfect on a cold afternoon!
You can find out more about Ruth here:
Facebook: Ruth Bracegirdle
Twitter: @PLGymAddict

Friends of Jesmond Library: Creative Writing Competition

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Wednesday 19th October 2016

Today’s Guest Post about the Jesmond Library Creative Writing Competition is from the lovely Victoria Watson of ElementaryVWatson:

Missuswolf - Poetry

In 2013, Newcastle City Council announced it would be closing several libraries in a bid to reduce costs.

One of the libraries to face closure

was Jesmond Library.

However, a group of residents decided to open the library on a volunteer basis.

Friends of Jesmond Library is now a limited company and registered charity. The library runs solely thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and the generous donations received from the public.

Missuswolf - Creative Writing Friends of Jesmond Library

As a lover of words and books, I wanted to do my bit to help Jesmond Library remain open so I volunteered my time and knowledge to help set up and run their Creative Writing competition. In July 2015, I launched the first competition along with members of my writing groups who took the time to perform their original works at the launch and Dan Smith.

Missuswolf Friends of Jesmond Library 2015 launch of Creative Writing comp - line-up of people

2015 Launch of Friends of Jesmond Library Creative Writing Competition

The entries were received were varied and plentiful and they certainly gave Dan and I food for thought. Dan very kindly gave up time to not only co-judge the competition but to also present awards to the lucky winners. Prizes were donated by local businesses including Caffe Z, FPP, Seven Stories and Mo Hair. The awards evening was fantastic as we got to meet the brains behind the imaginative stories we’d read. The younger writers, aged under ten, were particularly impressive.

This year, the theme of the competition is ‘Jesmond’

so your entry could be a short story in any genre.

This year also sees the inclusion of poetry so if you’d like to submit a poem to the competition, please do!

It’s £3 to enter and proceeds go to the library which receives no council funding and relies solely on volunteers. Jennifer C. Wilson, author of ‘Kindred Spirits: Tower of London’ is co-judging the competition with me.

There are categories for children and adults with fantastic prizes including book vouchers. You don’t have to be a resident of Jesmond to enter, last year saw submissions from around the world and we’re keen for the same to happen this year.

The closing date is midday on 1st of November so there is plenty of time to submit something. Good luck!

Download your entry form here.

Thanks Vic!

And best of luck to those of you who are entering.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Elementary V Watson: Up and coming Halloween Events 

Monday 3rd October 2016

Today on the blog I have Victoria Watson who is a copy-editor, writer and Creative Writing tutor.

 

Funnily enough,

Halloween

is my busiest time of year.

OK, you may think that with a face like this one, I must get plenty of work as a witch but thankfully that’s not why my diary is so full.

Missuswolf Elementary V Watson

As a Creative Writing tutor, I run two weekly groups in Newcastle (Mondays, 7-9pm at Quilliam Brothers Teahouse) and Whitley Bay (Thursdays, 4-6pm at Di Meo’s Delaval Ices) and members of my groups – the so-called Elementary Writers – have been giving performances at different events and venues for a few years now.

In October 2013, we put on ‘Thrills ‘n’ Chills’ at the Avalon in Whitley Bay. Members of the group were tasked with creating original horror stories to perform in front of an audience which included writers Zoe Sharp and Rod Glenn. Well, that evening went so well that Wild Wolf Publishing offered to put together an anthology of the poetry and short stories featured at that event. To launch the book, ‘Thrills ‘n’ Chills’, readers performed their works at the historic Lit and Phil to a packed audience.

Last summer, I was approached by The Cumberland Arms to produce their Halloween show. The brief was simple: create original gothic horror stories and get dressed up. We were asked to write ghost stories as opposed to graphic horror. Candy skulls and gore were out, old fashioned Victorian gothic was in. The set, designed by the incredibly talented Ian J. Young, was beyond what I could have ever imagined and the lighting added to the atmosphere of the evening. I even got to lay flowers on my own grave! The writers who were involved thrived on the challenge and their original stories and poems got the attention of Wild Wolf Publishing once again. ‘Blood from the Quill’ was released in April this year and, finally, Elementary Writers will officially launch the book at October’s Stanza (Thursday, 20th October at Beldon’s at The Exchange in North Shields).

Following our sell-out performance

at the Cumberland last year,

we were in demand for this Halloween.

Our gig at Old Low Light – ‘The Visitation’ (Saturday, 29th October) – was booked in March and we’ve since added ‘After Dark’ at Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade to our listings for Saturday, 5th November. Earlier this month, I had someone asking me what we had planned for Halloween 2017!

All of this has made me reflect on why Elementary Writers are so popular at this time of year. Sure, we have other gigs throughout the year as a collective and as individuals, but October always seems particularly busy.

Many of the writers who attend my workshops like to write sci-fi, horror and fantasy which seem to inspire strong ghost stories. However, even the writers who often write historical fiction or contemporary tales relished the challenge of producing something original to a specific brief.

I’m very lucky that the writers who attend my workshops are open-minded and willing to experiment. And many of them really seemed to enjoy the performance element of picking costumes and being onstage.

So, whether you’d like to hear ‘Blood from the Quill’ works read aloud or if you’d like to experience original Halloween stories for 2016, get yourself along to one of the performances coming in October and November, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Missuswolf Elementary V Watson Bloof From The Quill

Blood from the Quill launch at The Stanza: Thursday, 20th October – Beldons at The Exchange, Howard Street, North Shields. NE30 1SE. Doors open 7pm. £3 on the door.

Missuswolf Elementary V Watson The Visitation

The Visitation at Old Low Light: Saturday, 29th October – Old Low Light, Clifford’s Fort, Fish Quay, North Shields. NE30 1JA. Doors open 7pm. Tickets can be bought through Eventbrite or by emailing admin@oldlowlight.co.uk

After Dark at Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade: Saturday, 5th November – Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House Museum, Spanish Battery, North Shields. NE30 4DD. Doors open 7pm. Email enquiries@tvlb.org to book tickets.

You can find out more about Victoria’s business, Elementary V Watson at www.elementaryvwatson.com

 

 

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Kristina Gause Stutts

WEDNESDAY 22nd APRIL 2015

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

Today, I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Kristina Gause Stutts, author to Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss, the first book in a Sci-fi romance series.

~Author Bio~

K.G. Stutts is the author three sci-fi romance series as well as several romance stories. She has a degree in massageKristen author photo therapy. As a contributor to Independent Writers Association (IWA) her insights can be seen regularly there and on her own blog at kgstutts.blogspot.com and her website at kgstutts.webs.com

When she’s not weaving words, she enjoys reading, playing RPGs, hockey, wrestling, and football, and is a big sci-fi nerd. Currently she resides in North Carolina, USA with her husband, Brad.

~Synopsis~

Amethyst is a secret team of genetically enhanced humans which is Earth’s greatest defensive weapon. Leading the team of super soldiers is Ember Wilson, a tough woman with a huge chip on her shoulder. The team gets
their name from the after effect of the Genesis Project which turned their eyes and even their blood purple.

amethyst pictureFor decades, Earth has been ravaged by unpredictable weather which began to cause crops to fail. Most of the planet’s food sources have deteriorated. Dr. Clayton Rudo has proclaimed he has the means to save the soil. He has created a weather machine to regulate and help replenish. But Ember knew the truth. He didn’t want to save the planet. He wanted to control it. Amethyst destroyed the machine, but was placed in stasis. Two years later, Rudo recreated the device and has frozen Washington, DC.

General Tom Blanchard brought Amethyst out of stasis to work with an elite Air Force team, led by Major Liam Ross. Tensions between Ember and Liam rise as they butt heads. Can they work together before Earth is completely under ice?

Grab that cuppa and get settled as we catch up with Kristina Gause Stutts … 

coffee and cream

 

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

Thank you so much for having me!

Where did you get the inspiration behind this novel?

I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon. He writes these incredible, tough, kick-butt women. I wanted to develop a character worthy of that. A woman who can fight as fiercely as she can love. Someone that readers can look up to, inspire to be, and root for. And then came Ember Wilson.

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

Oh, gosh. The Amethyst Chronicles is a bit different than my other books. It’s definitely less science-y than my Mirror series and more action. But I keep the humor and both series are very character driven.   

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

I started writing in high school. Started off with little songs and poems. I began to write fan fictions and plots, but it didn’t reallyMirror Image go anywhere for a long time. I started to have a dream a couple of years ago about a woman who found out she’s actually a clone. I went to bed every night hoping to pick up where I left off and I got really excited. So I started writing it out and that became my first novel, Mirror Image. It’s getting ready to celebrate its first anniversary published.

How do you organise your writing time?

I work in a call center so often times I’ll write in between calls. I always have a notebook with me so I can jot things down when I can. Sundays are a big writing day for me, but I do try to write every day.

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?

Sometimes it’s just sitting down with a pen and a notebook and write. I don’t have a set place really. Life is too busy to schedule things like that.

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

I used to referee independent wrestling matches on the weekends. Had to stop after a back injury. I’m still at CWF Mid-Atlantic. It’s definitely a passion of mine that I miss, but maybe one day I’ll get in the ring again.

Thank you for being here today Kristina.

Thank you for having me!

~Where to find Kristina~

amethyst picture
Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-Up – An Author Interview with … Paula Daly

WEDNESDAY 11th FEBRUARY 2015

Cuppa and a Catch up pic

 



In my last blog post What I’ve been reading – January 2015 I briefly touched upon a book that I fell head over heels in love with.

That book was Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly.

Well, I’m utterly delighted and honoured that she’s agreed to feature on my blog today! I finished her second book Keep Your Friends Close last night and it didn’t disappoint! But first of all, let’s find out a little bit more about Paula Daly …

Paula Daly pic

 

~Author Bio~

Paula Daly was born in Lancashire. She was a self-employed physiotherapist before beginning her first novel JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? Her second novel KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award and her work has been translated into fourteen languages. She lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy. You can find her on twitter: @pauladalyauthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Daly/490968164379299

 

 

 

~Synopsis – Just what kind of mother are you ~just what kind of mother

No family is perfect.

A husband, three children and a full-time job, so many plates to keep spinning.

No wonder you forgot you were supposed to be looking after your friend’s daughter.

But no one has seen her since yesterday.

And she’s not the first to go missing from your small town.

So who’s hiding something?

~Thoughts~

There are few books in our journey as readers that burrow beneath our soul and remain with us for life.

This is one of them.

The Hunger Games and The Collective Works of A.J Fikry have now been joined by Just What Kind of Mother Are You? in a little bookcase in my head and in my heart.

The reality of this book is stark. We all lead busy lives, juggling work commitments with family and, like Lisa, we’re desperately trying to keep those plates spinning. But what happens when one of those plates falls? That plate of responsibility for caring for another’s daughter – that’s now missing? You can only begin to imagine that kind of predicament. Paula Daly brings this to life – her words get into your head and make you think, they make you consider that in times where we overstretch and over-exert ourselves, that this could potentially happen – this could happen to me.

This book is the definition of a page-turner, I picked it up on the Saturday and finished it on the Monday. It was a constant case of ‘just one more chapter.’

The character’s are realistic, Daly has you engrossed with their lives and gripped as to what becomes of them. I laughed and cried with them. Her dialogue stirs up emotion and you’re desperate to find out what’s happened to the missing girl.

But I won’t spoil it.

You’ll have to read it for yourself.

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE~Synopsis – Keep Your Friends Close~

Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty’s oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears – just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France – Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.

Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty’s husband has fallen in love with Eve. He’s sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.

With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.

And then she receives the note.

Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences…

~Thoughts~

A Pyschological 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.

Now to get cosy with that cuppa as we chat to the lovely Paula Daly …

Hi Paula and welcome here today.

Firstly, here did the inspiration behind Just What Kind Of Mother Are You come from?Paula Daly Just What

This book came about directly from an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Overwhelmed, working mother of two, Brenda Slaby, forgets to drop her baby at the babysitter’s, and poor Cecelia dies as a result of heatstroke in the hot August sun.

I was heartbroken by this poor woman’s story, and as I watched, I thought: That could have been me. I, too, was once so overstretched with full time work and children that I could have made a similar mistake.

The more I thought about this awful turn of events, the more I wanted to write about it. But I write thrillers, I could not do Brenda’s story justice. And so it wasn’t until I met a particularly difficult woman, a woman who is in the habit of making a person feel bad about their life, that the story popped into my head. Because I thought: What if you lost her child? What if you were so busy, that you took your eye off the ball, and her child went missing?

This terrified me.

How would you compare writing this book with Keep Your Friends Close?

It differed in two ways. Firstly, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? was much faster to write. I completed it in four months because there was nothing else I needed to attend to – such as interviews, contracts, and all the day to day stuff that occupies an author. Secondly, even though a mystery is harder to construct – making sure all pieces of the jigsaw fit together – it’s actually easier to write than a thriller. Because you don’t have to worry so much about keeping the tension going and holding the reader’s interest. If a child is missing the reader wants to find out what’s happened to that child. This tension is much harder to sustain in a thriller. Which Keep Your Friends Close is.

How do you manage your writing time?

I get the children off to school, put the washing machine on, walk the dog, and then start writing. I aim to write 800 – 1000 words before lunch and I generally don’t switch the Wi-Fi back on until I’m done. I have to be really strict about this as I know after one-thirty P.M. I’m pretty much brain dead. So I don’t answer the phone unless it’s one of the kids calling in distress or some other emergency.

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

I'm about halfway through this - very insightful and useful

I’m about halfway through this – very insightful and useful

I read Stephen King’s book – ‘On Writing’. King encourages you to just start writing and to see what comes out. I began as soon as I finished the book and was surprised to find I didn’t want to stop. I found writing thrilling and knew immediately I wanted to try to make a career out of it if possible.

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 write in my bedroom overlooking Lake Windermere (although I have to pull the curtain across a little to shade the laptop screen). When I’m stuck I stare out the window and when I’m tired I have a sneaky nap. It is the BEST job.

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

I used to clean a brothel.

Thank you for being here today Paula.

You can grab both Paula Daly’s books on Amazon now. Go on – lose yourself for a few days in someone else’s shoes.

I promise you it’ll be worth it.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

ARC

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

 

Cover Reveal: Nature’s Unbalance: The Chosen, book 2 by Andrea Buginsky

TUESDAY 12th MAY 2014

 The lovely Andrea Buginsky, an author who is a regular to my Cuppa and a Catch-up feature, is re-releasing Nature’s Unbalance: The Chosen book two with a fabulous brand-spanking new cover …

 

chosen book two

 

~Synopsis~

During a time of celebration for The Chosen, a mysterious force appears on Phantasma, threatening to destroy Nature and all of her creatures. Will The Chosen find and defeat this force and save Nature before it’s too late?

~Excerpt~

Suddenly, as if someone had cast a freeze spell, everything stopped. As everyone looked around, they saw the shamans and druids gather together nervously and look up at the sky. Everyone else’s eyes focused upwards to see what was going on; chatter and screams could be heard as the sky suddenly darkened out of nowhere. Day became night in an instant. Now in a near panic, everyone shouted out assumptions.

“It’s Gastle! He’s back!”

“That’s impossible! This must be a new monster.”

“Perhaps it’s Gastle’s descendants seeking revenge for his death.”

“Or an old enemy trying to replace him on the throne.”

“Everyone, please, stay calm,” Striker spoke up. As the head of The Chosen, he normally took command, and it was accepted by those around him. “Let’s try to get some answers before we make assumptions.” He turned to the druids and shamans, who talked animatedly with each other while they pointed to the dark sky. “Red, any idea what this is?”

“It’s definitely not Gastle, or any other creature in Phantasma. There’s something off with the elements. Whatever caused this is a natural entity, and comes directly from Nature herself. There is a definite shift, and it’s unbalanced. We can all sense it.”

“Any idea what it could be?”

“No, but the strongest feelings we received are coming from the North, in the Polard region. We need to go there and see the situation for ourselves.”

Halli glanced at Queen Laurali who stood nearby and listened to the conversation between Striker and Red. The queen came toward the group, and Halli knew what she would say.

“I know this is a day of great celebration,” the Queen said, “but under the circumstances, I think it would be best if The Chosen headed out at once to seek some answers.” She turned toward the bride and groom. “Halli and Silvor, I will send a replacement healer and mage, of course, so you two can start your honeymoon. Until we know more, there’s no reason for you to cancel your plans.” But Halli and Silvor wouldn’t hear of it.

“We go with our family,” Silvor said. Halli nodded in agreement. “We can celebrate our honeymoon once we know what’s happened.”

Queen Laurali bowed her respect to them.

“Very well,” she said. “The Chosen, in its entirety, will head out right away toward Polard to see what you can find out. You may change in my tower while your horses are prepared.”

~Coming soon from Amazon~

Andrea HeadshotAndrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author. The Chosen, a middle-grade fantasy novelette was her first book, and was followed by My Open Heart, an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. Andrea released Destiny, the first book of her New Avalon series, in 2013. She is currently working on more books in both series. You can find Andrea on her website. Her books are available at Amazon. Remember to sign up for Andrea’s newsletter to stay up-to-date on all of her exciting events.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cuppa and a Catch-up – An Author Interview with … Sheryn MacMunn Homewood

WEDNESDAY 16th APRIL 2014 Cuppa and a Catch up pic

I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Sheryn MacMunn Homewood, author to ‘Finding Out’ and currently in the process of writing her second book.

~Author Bio~

Author PhotoSheryn always dreamed of writing a book but didn’t know how to start. While dating her husband, she shared her dream to write a novel. He gave her a notebook and a pen and said “Start now.” When she became a working Mom, the book was put on hold but stayed in her mind, along with ideas for more novels.

Like all mothers, Sheryn wants her children to live their dreams, so she led by example. After a few workshops and courses on writing, long days and nights, and many rewrites, she published FINDING OUT which became an instant Amazon Kindle bestseller.

FINDING OUT hit the Bestseller lists on Amazon as #1 in Literary Fiction, #1 in Women’s Fiction Friendship, #1 Single Women Fiction, #2 in Contemporary Fiction, #3 in Romance and Top 10 in Historical Fiction.

When not behind her computer, you will find her reading her favourite authors, playing tennis, or laughing with her husband and children.

You can find out more on www.sherynmacmunn.com, www.facebook.com/sherynmacmunn, www.goodreads.com/macmunn, and follow her on Twitter @sherynmacmunn

Her second novel will be released in Fall 2014.

~Synopsis~

Finding Out

Getting dumped on the sidewalk by her live-in boyfriend of seven years and realizing that he nearly emptied their savings account is the first of Sheila Davenport’s problems. At thirty-six, Sheila had thought her life was on track. But life no longer makes sense. Now she’s saddled with a mortgage that’s about to skyrocket, a psychotic boss, and a new employee who is unqualified and hell-bent on messing with the company’s rules. Her friends advise her to date immediately, preferably someone rich and successful, or risk being old and alone. But Sheila needs to figure out what went wrong and how she got to this place. Since Prince Charming has ruined Sheila’s life, who can save her now? Help comes unexpectedly from her elderly neighbor, Ruth Grey, who has had her own share of ups and downs. As their friendship grows, Ruth reveals her deeply moving story of survival in WWII Germany. Ruth’s mesmerizing past is a powerful tale of love and revenge that provides the perspective Sheila desperately needs to put the pieces of her own life back together. Will Sheila succeed at work or walk away? Can she save her home? And why do her friends think they have it any better? A story of love found and lost, true friendship, and how the human spirit endures.

Grab that cuppa and get all cosy as we catch up with Sheryn.

Big Mug

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

Where did the inspiration behind Finding Out come from?

The inspiration for Finding Out came from missing my grandmothers and a good friend who was like a third grandmother. Their advice and life lessons had carried me through so much and then they passed away within a few years of each other. I missed them terribly. I also realized that there weren’t any books that spoke to a single woman in her thirties who had to deal with life on her own. Most fiction at the time focused on younger women just figuring out the balance between relationships and career with her friends. However, my friends and I wanted to read stories about women at that middle point of a career and relationships when major decisions need to be made that can truly affect the rest of your life. So I created a story that focused on a woman who is trying to navigate today’s world by learning about the past. It sort of brought my grandmother’s back to life.

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

Finding Out was my first novel. I’m writing a second one now which should be ready by fall 2014.Finding Out  

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

I always loved to read and dreamt of writing a book one day. When I started dating my husband, I told him this and he urged me to start writing immediately. Since I hadn’t written any other novels, I went to writing conferences and workshops and edited Finding Out many times. I then got married and had children, so it took years to write. Regarding books, Gone with the Wind is my favourite. I read it first when I was fourteen and have re-read it every ten years. Each time I read it, I come away with a different take about life and love. For instance, as a teenager, I thought Scarlett was amazing and Melanie was drippy and I believed that Ashley was in love with Scarlett. As an adult, I can see many of Scarlett’s flaws and that Melanie is truly the intelligent one. And that Ashley just used Scarlett for his ego boost.

How do you organise your writing time?

I have children and work full time, so my writing time has to fit between everything else going on in my life and my family’s schedule. I’ve tried to wake up early but my kids just wake up early with me, so that’s out. Now, I pick times to write every day whenever I can sneak time alone – and that can change every day. Sometimes I write before work, at lunchtime or just after putting my kids to bed. The best time is when everyone is asleep so I can take time to get into the setting of the book and then the writing flows. Unfortunately, I’ll end up writing into the early morning hours, so the next day can be exhausting.

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 can write anywhere. When I wrote Finding Out, I often sat outside with a notebook and also went to the Rose Room of the New York Public Library. I also did a lot of writing on Amtrak because I travelled to Philadelphia for business a lot. Back then I had a BlackBerry, so I would also type out scenes on that. I could type so fast on that keyboard! I can pretty much block out the rest of the world and get into my story anytime and anywhere. I’m not sure if that’s a result of being an avid reader or having noisy kids around me.

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

I’m a massive technology geek. I started programming computers in 1981 and worked in high tech for years. When I’m not reading or outside with my kids, I love figuring out new gadgets and all the new tools on Google. In my house, my husband sits back while I program all our devices. I love it.  

Thank you for being here today Sheryn.

~Where to find Sheryn~

Facebook

Twitter: @SherynMacMunn

Goodreads

Amazon

Finding Out

***********

FINDING OUT, an Indie Book of the Day Award Winner, hit the Bestseller lists on Amazon as #1 in Literary Fiction, #1 in Women’s Fiction Friendship, #1 Single Women Fiction, #2 in Contemporary Fiction, #3 in Romance and Top 10 in Historical Fiction.

Love Missuswolf xxx