My December 2018/January 2019 Reading list. Better late than never!

December was a hectic month as I was busy completing edits for my upcoming book Fire & Ice which was due for release in February 2019. I actually completed all revisions on ChristmasEve.In spite of being busy, I still found some time to read. This time it’s more a list of the books that I  read than in-depth reviews. Some books were for research and some were for pleasure and relaxation. January 2019 and I  was still busy promoting the book, organising the book launch and even thinking about a sequel.

 

books on bookshelves
it was busy two months of reading.

 

It Started in Paris by Cathy KellyIt started with Paris

I ‘d had this book for ages and as I was busy and not even taking the time to visit the library I picked it up to read. I found the book initially confusing as it moved from character to character. Once I had got my head around all the various people then I was involved and wanted to know more about each individual story. It is the first Cathy Kelly book that I have read, but it won’t be the last. Warm, engagingly and a reminder of the Irish ability to tell a tale, reminiscent of the much missed Maeve Binchy

Return to Roseglen By Helene Young.

Return to Roseglen

A real heartwarming story of family ties, rural Australia and resilience. Having an older woman as  a  major character gave the book more depth

Buried in Books by  Kitty Carlisle.

Buried in BooksI was attracted by the premise and the cover but I found the story slightly confusing.

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine.

Women of the Dunes

For me, this book was a standout! I enjoyed this book so much. A triple timeline made for interesting reading. The times spanned early Viking incursions into Britain, Victorian times and the present day in each instance, a woman was central to the story. The moody atmopsheric cover capture perfectly the isolation of the place.

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith

Could this be as good as the first book? Yes, it is. Of course, you have to embrace the spirit of’ wunder’ and fantasy but go with it and I think you will enjoy the book. Although complete in itself the book cleverly leads onto book three. Ezra Squall makes an appearance and new magic and mysteries are added. Lots of fun

The Magical Christmas Cat

Magical Christmas Cat

Again an appealing cover that drew me in, I usually enjoy the combination of magic and cats but the stories were more far out than I had imagined.

Eyewitness Viking by Susan Margeson- photos Peter Anderson.

eyewitness VikingsWonderful photography adds to the ability to  imagine how  the Vikings lived

Dirty Rotten Vikings by Sertori &Mungo Mazzega. Dirty Rotten VikingsA  resource full of facts and great illustrations, your older kids will lap this up.

Passages a short story collection.Assorted authors Serenity Press.

passages - proud author

I am a contributor to this anthology and attended the book launch on December 2nd. A varied mix of stories by talented writers.

A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

A girl called Jack Innovative and imaginative and with plenty of veggie-friendly recipes too. Some recipes are so persuasively simple that you will want to try them. I am not surprised this book was such a success and that there was a follow-up book.

January 2019

The Four Tendencies  by  Gretchen Rubin

The four Tendencies

An interesting premise and could be useful for character development too. Rubin says all people have one of four tendencies which are  Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger.  Full of information and easy to read.

A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany.

AScandal in Scarlet

I love this series and this one did not disappoint me, easy reading with an intriguing plot.

The Little Broomstick By Mary Stewart.

.The Little Broomstick

Another children’s book – by a favourite author-her Arthurian series is full of mysticism and magic while her romantic suspense was popular way back when. This is a simple story and full of humour.

The Lost Book of Salem by Katherine Howe.

The Lost book of Salem.jpg

A descendant of one of the Salem ‘witches’ writes about the events of the past in a historical mystery. As a PhD student tries to find documents to bring past events to light. I found the last third of the book didn’t quite live up to the earlier writing, but overall I enjoyed it.

Withering by the Sea by Judith RossellWithering by the sea

Stella Montgomery is a disobedient child at least her ancient and disapproving aunts think so. Somehow she manages to get embroiled in a murder and is in danger – her only helper is a boy who her aunts would totally disprove of, and he too is in danger. Id have loved this when I was about ten and enjoyed it now

Fear; Trump in The White House by Bob Woodward.Fear

Ever wondered what it’s like inside the White House under Donald Trump? Investigative journalist Bob Woodward has an impressive track record and here he names and cites sources. The picture he paints is one of confusion and chaos.

Wakestone Hall By Judith Rossell.Wakeston hall

This was book three of the Stella Montgomery series. although I hadn’t read book two it didn’t really matter as I soon picked up the story thread. Stella has been sent to school, a place where discipline is rigidly enforced. In spite a strict no talking policy she manages to make friends. When one of her friends disappears – Stella is bound to investigate.

The Well-Spoken Woman by Christine K Jahnke.The Well spoken woamn

With a public speaking appearance ahead of me, I wanted to get a  few pointers. This is a helpful guide.

Words from My Heart.

My new book Fire & Ice is a book straight from my heart, one that I hope will find its way into yours. It is ready for Valentine’s Day.

 

wrte what you love and love what you write!
Write what you love and love what you write.

I’ve written a few books. Often, they reflected a popular trend or were something that I felt that I ‘ought’ to write.

This changed in September 2018, when I began writing the story that I wanted to read. It was sparked by watching the ice dancing at the Pyeong winter Olympics. What fascinated me as a writer was how much emotion the skaters expressed, through facial expressions and gestures. As I learnt more, I understood how partnerships were formed, and the idea of an Australian ice skater was born.

heart shape multicolored stand
Two hearts that beat as one.

I decided she’d travel to Bergen Norway to meet a partner. I’d visited Bergen and it made me think of Vikings. Soon I had two stories to tell, a contemporary one and one in the distant past.

Research gave me insight into Viking customs and lives, but most of all I wanted to establish the emotional connection, love that lasts through time, soul mates. I wasn’t writing to a formula I wasn’t writing to please anyone else, just for my own enjoyment.

brown book page
Reading for research.

As the story grew, I mentioned it to a few other people, it was now    October and one of them asked to read a chapter. She offered me a  contract to publish my yet unfinished book.

Suddenly, my dream was becoming reality, I had to finish the book. There were about thirteen chapters still Continue reading “Words from My Heart.”

Author or Writer?

I have been quiet on the blog this past month, first, there was the thrill of getting my book Fire & Ice accepted for publication by Daisy Lane Publishers. Its a romance with paranormal elements it is due out in February 2019. I can hardly wait!

close up of human hand
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

So excited to see my upcoming book being promoted. And I am waiting to show you the cover. it’s beautiful and I had a choice of six to choose from.

For now, here are some images of Norway

 

Daisy Lane Publishing.

Coming February 2019. Olympic ice dancer Blaise Daniels partner has just called it quits – leaving her with no chance of competing at the Winter Olympics. Determined not to give up on her dream, she travels to Norway to meet legendary skater Kristoffer Erikson. After a bumpy start, they connect both on and off the ice. Their partnership seems assured, but why do they both start having dreams of a mysterious Viking past? Can an ancient love be rekindled, or will an old tragedy complicate their present?
https://daisylanepublishing.com/product/fire-and-ice/

group of people dancing
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

While this picture captures the spirit of ice dancing

Then I have been incredibly busy with edits and falling in love with my characters all over again. I will write more about edits and editing in my next blog post

Like many other writers it has been a longtime dream of mine to publish a book and now it is becoming a reality. Finally, I feel able to call myself an author.

There is an ongoing debate in writing circles about the terms – for some calling themselves an author, even if they haven’t yet published a book seems natural.

Others, like me, feel uncomfortable with the term and stick to a writer. After all, if you write you are a writer no one can dispute that.

So, writer or author, what do you think and why?

 

 

 

The Books That I read in November 2018

November was a month where I didn’t get much reading done, most of the time was spent either on writing or on research. I think I have mentioned that my book Fire & Ice was accepted for publication. Of course, I am thrilled, but a lot of hard work is needed to get the book out into the world. So I have spent time working with an editor rather than reading.

woman reading a book sitting on mattress near the blue string light inside the room
Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius on Pexels.com

A Question of Thyme by Jan Jones

An easy to read and appealing story. Jen’s herb and garden business make her the least successful of her siblings, but an opportunity to create a 1915 herb garden for a tv show is too good to miss. Drama doesn’t just happen on TV, but when making it too. While the rather reclusive next door neighbour Theo could be a help or a hindrance.

 

A question of thyme

How to Hygge, The Secrets of Nordic Living by Signe Johansen

 

How to Hygge

Hygge- cosiness- a feeling of comfort.Simple practical advice about reconnecting with ourselves, getting back into nature, eating and cooking for pleasure styling a house and living a more authentic life. Enjoyable and part of my research into the contemporay Nordic culture.

 

The Viking World by James Graham Campbell

Interesting, packed full of details of Viking life, whether as raiders or farmers.  Well researched. With lots of detail of voyages and sailing,. a scholarly book. I was researching  Viking culture

The Viking World

The Age of The Vikings by Anders Winroth.

 

Age of the Vikings

The plentiful illustrations are a bonus to the text in this book and showcase Viking Art and craft as well as jewellery and rune stones. Interesting and of course – research.

 

The No Spend Year-How I Spent Less and Lived More by Michelle Mc Gogh

The No Spend year

The author set herself a challenge not to spend any money beyond things like housing costs and essential bills. The chapters cover beauty, food, travel, having fun. More useful to a UK reader than to me – but she did make impressive savings

 

Hygge a celebration of simple pleasures by Charlotte Abrahams

In contrast to the previous book this author is not Nordic but was interested in the concept of hygge. She concentrates far more on design and lighting and takes a more scholarly and idiosyncratic approach.  I didn’t find this book particularly useful but of course, if your interests are more in design then it could be a winner.Hygge

 

I also started a book which I discovered was mid-way in a series- it was too involved and intricate to pick up the story thread, so I gave up. In fairness to the author, I was reading out of sequence so I will not name it.

 

 

 

After ‘Scared’ -What Happens When Your Book is Picked Up by A Publisher?

The beautiful cover of my soon to be released( February 2019) book. I am thrilled with this design although I had a few to choose from.

Fire & Ice 1

 

As I wrote in an earlier post Scared- it is exhilarating and slightly scary when your dream of publication comes true. You may think that your hard work is over- well as I have learned it isn’t, the hard work is just beginning!

You get a contract and you need to read and understand it and agree to the terms before you sign it. I was fortunate that my publisher used a reputable contract from The Australian Society of Authors. (ASA)

Then the publisher emailed me to say ‘can we have a blurb’ sometime today. A ‘blurb’ is the enticing text on the back of a book that influences a reader to buy it. I’d never written a blurb before but by serendipity, I had downloaded an article on how to do so. It took a few attempts to produce one that I liked, with input from some writer friends. When finished the publisher liked it.

Coming February 2019. Olympic ice dancer Blaise Daniels partner has just called it quits –  leaving her with no chance of competing at the Winter Olympics. Determined not to give up on her dream, she travels to Norway to meet legendary skater Kristoffer Erikson. After a bumpy start, they connect both on and off the ice. Their partnership seems assured, but why do they both start having dreams of a mysterious Viking past? Can an ancient love be rekindled, or will an old tragedy complicate their present?
 https://daisylanepublishing.com/product/fire-and-ice/

Having poured your heart and soul into the book – now it is the hands of an editor. Soon you will have pages of queries and notes and suggestions to think about and incorporate.

notebook macbook pro designer technology
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

At the same time, you need to sort out the business side of things, like applying for an Australian Business Number if you are in Australia or complying with your area’s legal requirements.

Now comes the shared task of promoting your book. How will it be launched? My publisher is in the Eastern stares I am in Perth.

As it is my first book I am loving the idea of a physical book launch, so that means thinking of an affordable venue and wondering how to make the event stand out.

There is also an online launch to plan and a blog tour too. More about those as I gain more insights

Writing the book is just the first step., and how many more exciting steps are to follow.

The book is available for preorder through Daisy Lane Publishers.

Scared!

woman wearing pink top
Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

Have you ever had a dream so big that it scared you?

Dreams are personal I know, and one person’s dream may be another’s nightmare. My lifelong dream is to write and publish a book and not just any book, a novel. One that I am proud of.

A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to do just that. Out of the blue, I was offered a chance to have my (yet unfinished book) published. No strings attached, I wasn’t having to pay them, it was a genuine offer.

I was overwhelmed, excited, thrilled, exhilarated. What I hadn’t anticipated was that my writing would slow up. I liked my story premise, I thought I can pull it off so why did I find myself procrastinating? The simple answer was that I was scared. Scared of not measuring up to my own ideas of what a writer should be.Scared of failure and of success.

After much soul-searching, I realised that I was scared that I was not the person I thought I was, ‘a writer’ Since that realisation I have faced my fears and showed up at the keyboard daily. I will finish the book. How can I not? I have people counting on me.

I’d love to know what scared you, did you face your fears or not? .

 

What Did I Read in October 2018?

First a disclaimer- I have been busy writing a novella and doing some research and that has taken up a lot of my time but of course, I still found time to read! My choices have been perhaps more relaxing than normal, as I was reading for escapism.

 

adult beautiful blue eyes book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Dancing over the Hill by Cathy Hopkins

dancing Over the hIll

Cait’s thirty-year-old marriage is ho-hum, Matt her husband is as exciting as an old sock- They are ‘comfortable ‘together. If occasionally she wonders ’is that all there is?’ She accepts that yes, it is. Then she hears from a sexy old flame Tom and remembers the person she used to be, impulsive, a free spirit. Can she recapture that, and does she want to?  Witty and wise, with heaps of practical advice- better and cheaper than marriage guidance! I really enjoyed this new to me author

Death on The Menu by Lucy Burdette

Death on ther Menu

Actually, number eight in this foodie series about Key West, but I was able to read it as a stand-alone, I found the descriptions of both the food and Key West appealing. The mystery kept me guessing, the recipes sound delicious and it was a painless way to learn about the Hemingway legacy and The Truman Little White House as well as the links to Cuba.

Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins

Kicking the Bucket list

Three sisters are reluctantly reunited by their mother’s death and her last wishes contained in her will. Daisy, Fleur and Rose have grown apart and it appears their mother’s last wish is to reunite them. They have to follow the terms of her will for a year and complete the tasks she assigns in her ‘bucket list’ before any of them can a collect their inheritance. Fleur is well off, Rose appears to be doing well but Daisy (Dee) really needs the money. If the three don’t all complete the list, then no-one gets anything. Throw in the charming and elusive Daniel who administer the bucket list and adds a little charisma to the task. At times funny but also sad and thought-provoking, it may get you to contemplate your own bucket list.

The Book Ninja by Ali Berg And Michelle Kalus

Book Ninja

If you love books, then can that love for books help you find love? Frankie Rose certainly hopes so. She leaves books on trains all over Melbourne with her name and contact number. The man of her dreams will be sophisticated, cultivated and well read.

Meanwhile, she goes on numerous dates with men who don’t fit the bill. Then she meets Sunny on a train, his quick thinking saves her from embarrassment and she could fall or him. But for his disastrous (in her eyes) taste in books.

Original, funny, quirky and quite delightful.

The Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova

Kicthen Tarot

Interested in Tarot? Ever wanted to learn more? This is the book to provide the answers- I read through the information and did my first simple Tarot reading for myself. To make it easier, I noted down the cards as I turned them over and if they were the right way up or inverted After that I wrote down the meanings and found that I had a perfectly acceptable Tarot reading. If Tarot interests you, then this could be the book to get you started in doing readings.

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

moon & Back

An easy to read romance.  Ellie is trying to get her life back on track after the tragic death of her husband. But he is still very much in her heart and occasionally in her living room talking to her. She knows he’s not real, but she doesn’t want to let him go. Is she missing out on life by clinging to the past and what happens when she feels an attraction to someone else?

The Perfect Location by Kate Forster

The Perfcet location

Even seemingly perfect lives hold traumas and secrets– an easy to read tale of three famous women who appear to have it all. Had a bit of fun ‘star spotting’ and wondering if I was right! Fast paced and reminiscent of Jackie Collins

1001 Ways to Be Creative by Barbara Ann Kipfer

 1001

At times our creativity can be elusive, but with 1001 ideas you are bound to find at least one or two which help you rekindle that spark of creativity. Ideal to dip in and out of, some ideas will make you giggle, some may well inspire you, and there are some great quotes about creativity too.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Molly RinglandTeh Lost flowers of Alice Hart

Very much a publishing sensation the cover imagery, as well as the almost fairy-tale beginning, seemed to promise a whimsical and intriguing tale. At times there was an almost dark fairy-tale quality to the book- I’d describe it as veering towards the more literary end of the spectrum. There was so much sadness that ultimately, I had to will myself to keep reading and finish the book. I know many have loved it and the prose is engaging. As others have commented the last third didn’t sit so well with the first two-thirds of the book, it felt like a different story