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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cakes and Carol (Hedges that is...)

I love Twitter (love is a strong word, I know) but seriously what a fantastic place! I have made many friends and I do have so many laughs... yes, it is terribly addictive - I could have written 3 novels by now (wishful thinking), but it's all worth it in the end!

Through Twitter I met Carol Hedges... and I was lucky enough to have her interview me on her blog. I snuggled up on her Pink Sofa and made myself comfortable. There were not too many crumbs either, which was impressive since we share an afinity for CAKE...

Anyway, before I share with you my latest invention - BANANA & CARROT MUFFINS - here is the link to the interview... The Pink Sofa Welcomes Vanessa Wester

My highlights:

"I had permission to write - I was not being silly if I wrote."

"The best thing about writing is the complete and utter escapism that comes with it."

"The worst thing about writing (since I am self-published) is the EDITING."

"Thanks Vanessa. And a special thank you for bringing a lovely selection of tempting home made cakes and mince pies with you."

Anyway, the CAKES... My own invention (I love being SCIENTIFIC!)

RECIPE

1. 3 eggs
2. 125g soft margarine or butter
3. 75g muscovado or brown sugar
4. 50g caster sugar
5. 175g Self raising wholemeal flour
6. Teaspoon of vanilla essence
7. 1 teaspoon baking powder
8. 25g mixed dried fruit
9. 1 carrot, grated
10. 2 ripe bananas, mashed

METHOD

Measure out 1 - 7 in a mixing bowl and whisk together (I could be bothered to do them separately).  Then add 8 -10 and mix well.  Place in 12 muffin cases (deep ones) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for approx 20 minutes (check for a golden colour).

ENJOY! Let me know if any of you make these...

Vanessa :) xx

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

James Smith's First Interview...With ME

When it rains, it pours... (and it really did this afternoon - no snow today, just heaps of rain for us on the Isle of Wight!)

I have been interviewed again, this time by my good friend James Smith, who I have known via Twitter for quite a few months now. 

A bit about James:

James Smith has been making up stories for as long as he can remember, but only recently decided to write them down.  He was born and bred in Derbyshire, before moving to Newcastle Upon Tyne to complete a degree in Genetics.  He still lives and works in the North East, having refused to move away from the area. 

He is currently a Secondary School Science Teacher and spends his days attempting to enlighten 11-18 year olds about the wonders of science.  It’s a tough job but someone has to do it…he would write a series about his experiences, but is afraid no one would believe him.

When his imagination is not allowed to run riot he is a devoted, loving husband and taxi driver to three fantastic boys.

James is a keen runner and has completed a number of charity runs. His most recent was to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation – having undergone open heart surgery, it was the least he could do.

James is also the author who introduced me to short story writing (I am very grateful) and who I liaise with regularly on the seasonal short story compilations for the Short Stories Group

He has also read my book, Hybrid, which is a bonus.  Hardly any of the people who have interviewed me before have read my writing, and so even though they ask good questions, they don't get into specifics as James did.

I found some of the questions pretty hard to answer - he sure did a lot of digging. I guess Hybrid is my baby, I put a lot of me into it. I doubt that will happen as much with other stories (okay, I admit it Caitlin is a lot like me! LOL...)

My highlights:

"I love the idea of humans being superhuman… and I find the science behind their change particularly interesting."

"Facts have a way of changing via Chinese whisper, and even with the advent of TV nothing is ever exactly as it appears."

"I researched as I wrote, it was a “I wonder if this is possible?” … “Oh, it is! Excellent” kind of writing."

"I also had some amazing friends & family who read it, spotted things and helped me improve it."

"I do believe in love at first sight, I did fall for my husband as soon as I saw him. The fact he also fell for me was short of miraculous..."

"I have taken some real scenes and situations and used them, but honestly they are from many different men/ teenage boys I have known in my time…"

"I can not predict the ending, but I have a reasonably good idea about where it is going."

"I think a passion for words is really important to be a good writer."

Keep reading & writing...
Vanessa :) xx

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Interview by Skelat

I have been interviewed again, this time by Skelat. Please go to Skelat Author Interview to read the full interview.

For those of you who have not been interviewed before I thought I would explain the process.

On Twitter you may get approached, or other times they will ask if any authors are interested and you can simply reply and express an interest. This is what happened in this case.

I got a range of questions, targeted specifically at my book (which was great) and answered. Other times, it may be the case of getting a question at a time, it is entirely up to the interviewer.

Personally, I enjoy doing interviews, they allow me to question my reasoning for decisions I have made whilst writing, and I have come up with some great summaries in the process. So it is a win-win situation. My advice is, if you get asked, go for it... what have you got to lose?

I hope you get the chance to read my latest efforts, thanks a lot,

Vanessa :) xx

Monday, 14 January 2013

I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award 200

I was nominated by Kaykay Obi for the Liebster Blog Award, an award designed for upcoming bloggers that have less than 200 followers.

The purpose is to find out about new bloggers... The word “Liebster” is German and means favorite (fancy that people actually think my blog is good...)

I have actually been nominated before, so I am game for another challenge...

Anyway, in order to accept and participate there are some steps:

1.    Tell 11 things about yourself.
2.    Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
3.    Post 11 questions for those who will be nominated by you.
4.    Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
5.    Get in contact with those 11 bloggers in order to inform them that you nominated them.

11 things about me

I am a redhead (smiles...)
I have blue eyes (chuckles...)
I love to read (serious expression...)
I represented Gibraltar in competitive swimming (determined stare)
I am a Secondary School Teacher of Maths and a Teacher of Swimming (obnoxious shrug)
I speak Spanish (striking a Flamenco pose)
I love walking (power walk stance)
I enjoy sitting back and watching a movie (hypnotised expression)
I have two sisters (grins)
All my grandparents have passed on... (puppy dog sad face)
I volunteer a lot (rolls eyes)

11 questions from Kaykay:

1.    How would you describe your blog?
I have several, this one is one of those ... anything goes! ha ha

2.    Has blogging made you a better writer?
No, I spend way to much time playing, and less time writing! Lol (But I do have a lot of fun...)

3.    What inspired you to start writing?
Watched an interview by Stephenie Meyer and thought I'd give it a go - I challenged myself to write a book (basically I was a bored stay at home mum)

4.    Have you published any book, if not do you plan to publish soon?
I have published two novels for my Evolution Trilogy, two collections of short stories (with other writers - join us?) and a short story based on a true experience.

5.    Define what success means to you as a writer?
That someone enjoys my books...

6.    What do you do in your free time?
Reading, Walking, Swimming, Cooking, Crafting (I have kids!), Talking...

7.    Favorite movies?
10 ways to lose a guy, The Shawshank Redemption, The Sixth Sense, What lies Beneath, Superman... do you want me to go on?

8.    Which is your favorite book and why?
At the moment "You don't have to say you lve me" by Sarra Manning. I love the way the main character finds love in a quirky, unbelievable and yet delicious manner.

9.    Favorite authors?
Agatha Christie, Jeffrey Archer, Sarra Manning, Stephenie Meyer, John Grisham, Ken Folett, Leon Uris...

10.  What are your hopes for this year?
To finish my Trilogy

11.  Which five words describes you best?
Friendly, Confident, Helpful, Insecure, Busy


11 questions for my fellow victims, I mean bloggers...
  1. Describe yourself in one sentence
  2. What was your highlight of 2012?
  3. Name 3 things you will try to do better in 2013.
  4. What would you eat as your last supper?
  5. What is the main thing you would find hard to give up?
  6. Name something you can do really well (keep it PG please)?
  7. What is your favourite Season?
  8. Give a reason for your answer to 7.
  9. Who is your favourite musician?
  10. Who inspires you?
  11. If you could change anything at all, what would it be?
11 bloggers I nominate...

James Smith http://JamesSm1th.wordpress.com/ (@James_Sm1th)

Gary Alan Henson http://Garyalanhenson.blogspot.com/ (@GaryAlanHenson)

David P Perlmutter http://thewrongplaceatthewrongtime.blogspot.com) (@Davidpperlmutter)

Karen Einsel http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com/ (@K_Einsel)

Connie J Jasperson http://conniejjasperson.blogspot.co.uk/ (@cjjasp)

Timothy http://anovelistblog.blogspot.co.uk/ (@cooktmd)

Craig Hallam http://craighallam.wordpress.com/ (@craighallam84)

Carol Hedges http://carolhedges.blogspot.com (@caroljhedges)

Lynn Gerrard http://thegrumblinggargoyle.blogspot.com (@LynnGerrard)

Gary Henry http://honestindiebookreviews.wordpress.com/ (@LiteraryGary)

Ant Lewis http://kingtaff.wordpress.com/ (@KingTaffWrites)

Have fun guys! :) xx
Vanessa

7 Writers Challenge

I have been nominated for the 7 Writers challenge TWICE... thank you guys!

So, I will do 7 lines from each of my novels...

The idea of the 7 Writers Challenge...

Go to line 7 on either page 7 or page 77 of your manuscript and do a post with the next 7 lines, then tag 7 people to keep the challenge going. 

I was nominated by Gary Alan Henson, one of writers featured in the Short Stories Group 

First... PAGE 77 of HYBRID (THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY) 

‘It’s always entertaining,’ he smiled.

 

His smile sent her stomach off on more acrobatics.

 

Caitlin was having a silent discussion with herself.  Half of her was screaming at the fact he was asking her out.  The other side was saying he’s just being friendly.  Either way, she wanted to go with him. Her mood lifted and she replied, ‘That’d be great.’ Self consciously, she trailed, ‘I don’t know if I’d be good company at the moment.’

 

‘I promise not to talk about it. I’m not the gossiping type,’ he said, he leant in conspiratorially.



I was also nominated by Charlie Plunkett, author of ‘100 Little Words on Parenthood' (I happen to have added 100 little words of my own...lol)

Second... PAGE 77 of COMPLICATIONS (THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY) 

‘Oh no,’ Judith sighed, easing her arm into Jeff’s for support.

 

‘But, what,’ Jeff interrupted as he patted his wife’s arm. ‘What excuse could you possible have?  We trusted you.’

 

‘Look, I didn’t kill anyone.  I just …’

 

‘Just what?’ Jeff stressed, impatient. ‘If you drank someone’s blood you broke the rules. We should have been there. What happens if she behaves like that girl in Manaus?’

 

‘I’m sorry okay.  I know it was stupid.’




The batton now moves to ...

Connie J Jasperson http://conniejjasperson.blogspot.co.uk/ (@cjjasp)

Timothy http://anovelistblog.blogspot.co.uk/ (@cooktmd)

Craig Hallam http://craighallam.wordpress.com/ (@craighallam84)

Carol Hedges http://carolhedges.blogspot.com (@caroljhedges)

Lynn Gerrard http://thegrumblinggargoyle.blogspot.com (@LynnGerrard)

Gary Henry http://honestindiebookreviews.wordpress.com/ (@LiteraryGary)

Ant Lewis http://kingtaff.wordpress.com/ (@KingTaffWrites)

I hope you have fun doing this (my computer was having a bad hair day so it took me a lot longer than I hoped...)



Thanks for reading,
Vanessa :) xx

Saturday, 12 January 2013

"My daughter's birth changed my life" & Author Interviews

Tomorrow is my youngest daughter's Birthday - she is going to be 4! I am amazed 4 years have gone by so quickly - I have done a lot in that time. I owe a lot to the arrival of my youngest, in fact I would go as far as to say that if she had not come along I might never have become a writer. I'll explain...

I already have 2 children (only 19 months apart in age) and I had traumatic pregnancies (both unplanned C-Sections). I found being a mum difficult (soul searching even), but I embraced it all - I did the craft, played, went for long walks, did puzzles, read stories, cooked... I became a stay at home mum!

We lived abroad and going back to work was a difficult option. I also had no network of friends or family to help me (it was quite isolating, if I'm honest).

Anyway, we moved to the Isle of Wight and I was a lot happier, but I still needed a "mental" challenge. I volunteered at Pre-school, became Treasurer & Secretary, started Teaching Swimming as a volunteer for a local club, then helped at school, and did a little supply work ... but I only considered going back to work when my second child was going to start school.

So, I applied for job and found I was in demand! All the schools needed Maths Teachers. I was sucessful in getting a part time job and I breathed a sigh of relief - I was joinng the adult world again.... And then I found out I was pregnant again. Truthfully, we were in shock! But, I did take it as a sign, I was not meant to go back YET...

I think the fact I managed to get a job did help my confidence... I knew I could. A part of me had started to think no-one would ever employ me again. Anyway, I actually had a great pregnancy and even though my youngest was born with breathing problems, she is now as healthy as a horse!

The first year of her life sailed by, I read a lot and enjoyed the time I had with her. Then I watched TWILIGHT... I was HOOKED (besotted more like) and I watched the interview with Stephenie Meyer, and as I have said before it started my writing career!

So, I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little girl! I might never have found my voice were it not for her... I will always be grateful that she decided to come along!

You can find out a little bit more about me in my latest interviews...

I was lucky enought to be featured by... Carol Hedges: The Pink Sofa

...And by Indie Author Land
Thank you so much for reading,
Vanessa :) xx

Monday, 7 January 2013

New reviews make me smile...

Over the past few months I have spent a LOT of time on Twitter. I have blogged about cakes, outings, my books, the Writers Festival I attended, books & movies I enjoyed, general stuff. I have edited my books and stories extensively and even edited other authors work in the Short stories Group (they actually trust me? lol)

Anyway, are you getting the picture? Yep, not a lot of novel writing going on! I have had many requests for me to complete my Trilogy and that is the plan... when I DON'T GET DISTRACTED! Stay away from the internet, step back people...woman on a mission!

So, I plan to spend the next few months (after the next book of shorts is published) getting my head down and staying FOCUSED ... like they say on the Word Cloud ... WRITE THE DAMN BOOK!

Anyway, as means of motivation let me share with you me latest reviews... Sometimes I wonder if they got the wrong book! ha ha

Thanks for reading folks, I hope your 2013 has got off to a great start!

HUGS
Vanessa :) xx

REVIEWS FOR COMPLICATIONS (THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY)

5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution Series, 7 Jan 2013

By 
Mr. Frederick Johnson "Fred Johnson" (Epsom England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Complications is book 2 in the trilogy. Book 1 "Hybrid" started slowly developing the characters and grew to an interesting finish. This book continued from there and just kept on going.
Complications continues the story of Stephen and his search for the girl of his dreams. The complication being, he is a Hybrid Vampire. The highs and lows of the story are dealt with in a very believable way and the climax has left me impatiently waiting for book 3.  All I can say is that it should not finish there.

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed..., 7 Jan 2013


Enjoyed this book a lot, maybe even slightly more than Hybrid. I think now the characters are established, the story rolled freely. It was very easy to follow. I don't want to put any spoilers in, but I think I can smell a conflict in the air, and I hope I'm right.

The story moved quickly and I wasn't left hanging, waiting for an outcome for too long - I liked this and will look forward to the third book (drums nails).
5.0 out of 5 stars eat your heart out twighlight, 7 Jan 2013
A brilliant sequel to hybrid, this novel followed on well in story and character.
I read the entire book in one sitting (when i was meant to be sleeping) as it had me gripped the whole way through.
Roll on number 3, I await with baited breath!

REVIEWS FOR HYBRID (THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY)

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut, 23 Dec 2012
Hybrid is a compelling and highly creative read from author Vanessa J Wester. The character portrayal comes to life off the page to ensure the storyline entices the reader to the end. The author's mastery of language and description simply excels!
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put this book down!, 12 Dec 2012
I was not sure that this book was going to be my thing, but I couldn't put it down. I loved the characterisation and Vanessa's style of writing - these are 'unbelievable' characters made completely believable! I cannot wait to start reading the second book in the trilogy 'Complications.' A really great read which I would highly recommend.


REVIEWS FOR FIRST DATE
 Chick-Lit with a twist. 6 Jan 2013 By scribbler

This is Chick-Lit with a twist, and a squeeze of class. The style is comfortable, fluid and at ease with itself. As a bloke it's probably not really my preferred genre, but then, that said, I read Daphne Du Maurier, The Bronte's, Mantel, Emily Dickinson, Beecher Stowe, Zora Neale Hurston etc.,so why should the genre (or the gender) pose an obstacle.The story is crisp, well constructed, and not quite, (in the end)what one would expect. Wester is a class act with a knack for descriptive form. It is difficult to create layered characters in a short story, but she achieves characterisation with a deft touch.If there has to be a criticism,(and it does not detract from my 5 star rating), it would be that the whole thing is (very slightly) constrained by an innate political correctness which limits impact in some instances, e.g. Brenda is a "BARMAID", not a "Bartender", big guys named George with sweaty armpits and fat fingers are Bartenders; but this is a very minor criticism, and the storyline is good, solid and well developed. I would have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone, (male or female), its a damn good read, and wholly enjoyable. Keep it up Ms Wester.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Story of Teenage Years December 28, 2012  By AirCharcoal

First, this review may contain spoilers.

I read this story from a point of view that probably wasn't the author's intention. I thought it was a loving yet satirical look at teenage years, the emotional cravings over boys and girls who in later years seem so ordinary. Because both the boys in this story are somewhat undesirable: Derek is a flake and Ben a self-absorbed tool who flirts with girls and leads them on for the sheer joy of it. Yet although it's written from a teenage girl's point of view, who can't relate to those years, when feelings ruled, we desperately wanted to be noticed by the opposite sex and did all kinds of goofy things for it. That wasn't the time for deep character analysis! The author conveys that sense very beautifully. As well as some family dynamics that happens during that period of our life. But in the end in my opinion the valued kiss is really ephemeral and empty and that's where the satire comes in. Although the author may be hinting at a happily-ever-after romance, I don't know, but that's OK, readers see different things in the same story, right?
5.0 out of 5 stars First Date December 7, 2012 By Sweet

What. Cute HEA Christmas short story. It is young love so fresh & new with all the trappings of heartache & embarrassment that can go with it. She is a rebound date for one man but then finds out someone loves her that she never saw coming.
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely bite size treat 12 Dec 2012 By lec

I very much enjoyed this short story, a lovely little bite size treat easily devoured in a single sitting. The ending was a nice touch that I didnt see coming.