About Me

My photo

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

Saturday, 31 May 2014

LES MISERABLES

This is a post I wrote on a blog I am currently getting rid of... enjoy! :)

LES MISERABLES

When I first came to visit England in 1988 I watched the musical 'Chess' at the West End.  I was blown away and fell in love with musicals...


The poster shows a young girl in the background of a dark night. Text above reveals the cast listing and text below reveals the film's title.I have watched many in my time, and one of my favourites is Les Miserables. I have not talked much about my love of music and singing, but I have to admit that one of my passions was song writing. I have not written songs for many years now, I might just get inspired again.

Anyway, I had heard that the movie Les Miserables was amazing and had been waiting to go to see it. Tonight, I finally got my chance.

Well, what can I say... SENSATIONAL! I am traumatised, in shock almost. I have not cried that much in years. It has inspired me to write something deep and meaningful, and believe me when I tell you I will.

So, let's talk about the cast...

Jackman at the Sydney premiere for Real Steel on September 2011Hugh Jackman is sensational as Jean Valjean, he plays the part to perfection. He gave Jean Valjean the right depth of character, compassion and determination.

Rusell Crowe excels in the role of Javert. The perfect counterpart. Stern, rigid and cold hearted. It is difficult to understand this character, but he represents the bloody mindedness of those in a position of power, who believe they are in the right, because they have the Law on their side.

Anne Hathaway blew me away, her performance of Fantine was immaculate, and I will never forget her interpretation of I dreamed a Dream, breathtaking and incredible. It was at this point that I knew I was done for, the tears started and they never ceased.

Amanda Seyfried was well cast as the adult Cosette, her voice sweet and innocent. Isabelle Allen was outstanding as the young Cosette, I will watch her acting career with interest. Personally, I believe Cosette represents everything that is good about the world, what we should fight for.

Samantha Barks role as Eponine was sensational, beautiful voice and fantastic portayal of a character heart broken, yet willing to give her life for the one she loves.

Eddie Redmayne, as Marius, matched Cosette's innocence, even though determined to make a difference. The rebellious, optimistic view of freedom.

As for the rest of the cast, each brought something to the story. The humour of the characters Madame & Monsier Thenardier (played by Helena Bonham Carter & Sacha Baron Cohen) brought some much needed laughter and smiles to the experience - I was grateful for this, and they were VERY funny.

Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche was extremely cute (a version of the Artful dodger). The rest of the cast was incredible... I can not fault any of them. The visual effects & interpretation of the "musical" was incredible. It was a long film, but I could watch it again and again. I am curious though of what anyone who has not seen the musical will make of it. Since I was at one point even singing along (so was someone sat behind me...) I experienced the musical through the eyes of a movie.

Personally, I could relate to the characters so much more since you could see there faces so clearly. It is very different to watching actors from a distance.

 Anyway, I obviously recommend that you go and see this movie. Any men out there, please take your girlfriend, partner or wife (and tissues) and be prepared to hold hands. In a way I was glad I went alone, I was a wreck, but a hand to hold would have been great for those special "moments."

I hope you enjoy my take, the only thing I would have liked would have been an interval of 15 minutes half way through (with a nice cup of tea).

I leave you with the plot breakdown (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Thanks for reading, Vanessa :) xx

And the plot (as per Wikipedia) - DON'T read if you would rather not know what happens!

In 1815, convict Jean Valjean is released on parole by prison guard Javert after serving a nineteen-year sentence. He is offered food and shelter by the Bishop of Digne, but steals his silver during the night. He is caught by the authorities, but the Bishop informs them that the silver was given as a gift, giving him even more, securing Valjean's release. Moved by the Bishop's grace, Valjean breaks his parole vowing to start an honest life helping others under a new identity. Javert swears he will bring the escaped convict to justice.
Eight years later, Valjean has become a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-MerFantine, one of his workers, is discovered to be sending money to her illegitimate daughter, Cosette, who lives with the unscrupulous Thénardiers and their daughter Éponine, and is dismissed by the foreman. In a desperate attempt to support her daughter, Fantine becomes a prostitute. She is arrested by Javert after she attacks an abusive man, but is saved by Valjean, who has her hospitalised. Later, Valjean learns that a man believed to be him has been arrested. Unable to accept that an innocent man is condemned, Valjean reveals his identity to the court before departing for the hospital. There he promises a dying Fantine that he will look after her daughter. After escaping from Javert, Valjean finds Cosette and pays the Thénardiers to allow him to take her, and promises to be like a father to her.

Nine years later, Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic toward the poor, is nearing death. Students Marius Pontmercy and Enjolras, together with street urchin Gavroche, discuss revolution. Marius later catches a glimpse of Cosette, now a young woman, and instantly falls in love with her. Meanwhile, despite Cosette's questioning, Valjean refuses to tell her about his past or her mother.
At a café, Enjolras organises a group of idealistic students as Lamarque's death is announced. Meanwhile, Éponine, now Marius's friend, leads him to Cosette, where the two profess their love for one another. Lamenting that her secret love for Marius will never be reciprocated, Éponine fatalistically decides to join the revolution. Later, an attempted robbery of Valjean's house makes him mistakenly believe that Javert has discovered him, and he flees with Cosette. As they leave, Enjolras rallies the Parisians to revolt, and Marius sends a farewell letter to Cosette. The next day, the students interrupt Lamarque's funeral procession and begin their revolt. Javert poses as a rebel in order to spy on them, but is quickly exposed by Gavroche and captured. During the ensuing gunfight, Éponine saves Marius at the cost of her own life, professing her love to him before she dies. Valjean, intercepting the letter from Marius to Cosette, goes to the barricade to protect Marius. After saving Enjolras from snipers, he is allowed to execute Javert. However, when the two are alone, Valjean frees Javert, telling him to run.

With the Parisians not joining the revolution as the students expected, they resolve to fight to the death. Everyone is killed but Marius, who is saved when Valjean drags his unconscious body into the sewers. Thénardier, scavenging the dead bodies, steals Marius's ring. Valjean recovers and escapes the sewers carrying Marius, but is confronted at the exit by Javert. Javert threatens to shoot Valjean if he refuses to surrender, but Valjean ignores him. Unable to reconcile the conflict between his civil and moral duties, two things which he always considered the same, Javert commits suicide.

Later, Marius mourns for his friends but Cosette comforts him. Revealing his past to Marius, Valjean tells him he must leave because his presence endangers Cosette, and makes Marius promise never to tell her. Marius and Cosette marry; the Thénardiers crash the reception and testify that they saw Valjean carrying a murdered corpse through the sewers. Thénardier unwittingly shows Marius the ring that he stole from him as "proof." Recognising the ring, Marius realises that it was Valjean who saved his life. Being told Valjean's location by Thénardier, Marius and Cosette depart to find him.

As Valjean sits dying in a local convent, he perceives the spirit of Fantine appearing to take him to Heaven. Cosette and Marius rush in to bid farewell. Valjean hands Cosette his confession of his past life, and joins the spirits of Fantine, the Bishop, Enjolras, Éponine, Gavroche, and the other rebels at the barricade.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

KDP Promo can work...

Selling books via Amazon has its highs and lows! The effectiveness of the KDP scheme has been questioned by many over the last year. To be honest, I have rarely had many sales as a result. I think the conversion of free downloads to sales is very low overall. This is the reason I have kept HYBRID free permanently - it is the only way to get noticed in this world of overflowing cheap eBook supply.


Saying this, after running a free promo of FIRST DATE for two days, I got over 700 downloads in the US and yesterday had 9 sales already! Trust me, this is short of amazing! Highest my little book has ever been in the US! 



Check it out here via Amazon... UK US 



Now compare to my promo with A TEST OF TIME. I have posted on the same sites, tweeted and mentioned it on Facebook and Goodreads, yet, I have barely had any downloads... I think for the first day I had 10!

I guess romance sells, maybe? 

It is a shame since it really is a fantastic collection. I think many readers (like me) don't tend to go for short stories... and yet FIRST DATE is a collection of only 3 shorts (one being over 9000 words)!

I have to admit that I have given up on publishing anthologies now. The time and work involved to produce them does not seem to be worth it. I think I would raise more money for the charities by running a cake sale! 

However, I did learn a lot by doing them so I have no regrets, and on this one I even published a piece written by my dad.. so win win!


Another theory is that children's ebooks are not as popular. From my existing promotion for READING IS MAGIC, it seems to be another flop! I think the KDP scheme has run its course for the anthologies.

Anyway, I'm extremely grateful to anyone who gives my writing a go. 

Thank you. You keep me smiling... I hope my stories give you some enjoyment too.

All the best,
Vanessa

p.s.
For those interested, the final downloads were as follows:
FIRST DATE = over 750 :-) US ... 720 downloads!
A TEST OF TIME = under 50 :-( US ... 35 downloads!
Current promo for READING IS MAGIC = 39 :-( UK ... 22 downloads! (Beating the US downloads for once)

For comparison, this month HYBRID has had 2550 downloads in the US (helped by FREEBOOKSY) versus 191 in the UK... I guess people in the UK don't like FREE eBooks?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

FREE eBooks

I have some promotions running this week... free eBooks via Amazon! Hope you get the chance to take a look. If you do, I hope you enjoy!
All the best,
Vanessa

SATURDAY 31ST MAY & SUNDAY 1ST JUNE

READING IS MAGIC - Perfect for the Summer!

FIVE STAR REVIEWS

"This is such a charming, funny and uplifting bunch of stories."

"This is a delightful collection of stories intended for children, but very enjoyable for anyone who likes a good read. There are a real variety of styles and themes here and genuinely something for everyone, from the fantasy realism of The Mermaid by Vanessa Wester to the Sci-Fi whimsy of Mr O' Rourke's Shed by Stephen Mark and the fairy-tale adventure of The Magpie Witch by Baz Baron. All the stories are highly enjoyable but there are some standout examples - No One Rides Red Horses by Jules Anne Ironside is one of the best stories I've read in ages and could do well in major competitions. Thoroughly recommended..."

"...a wonderful collection of short stories which, if nothing else, highlights the diversity of
the human imagination. As a hobby writer, I shy away from writing short stories simply because I struggle to present a well-rounded idea in so few words. All of those involved in this book, however, seem to possess the ability to quickly draw the reader in to their respective worlds, making us feel quite at home from the very first line. There is a story in here to suit everyone."

Lose yourself in a world were colour starts to vanish, a little girl's imagination runs wild, a cloth that considers itself ugly finds beauty, a cloud discovers magic, children thwart the witch, a teacher chats with school children, a mango seller finds and loses her fortune, humanity remembers the importance of birdsong, a mysterious neighbour disappears, and a knight arrives from the past...

All in all, a wonderful collection to read at your leisure whilst enjoying school holidays, waiting for a friend or unwinding after a busy day.

Dip into our world...

HYBRID (Still FREE on Amazon)

Steven Thorn has no trouble settling in at university. He is confident, hardworking and intelligent. When Caitlin Chance catches him off guard he is bemused by the instant attraction, and the more he gets to know, the more he likes.

Yet, Steven has a secret past that is destined to reveal itself, and he is soon to become a stranger to everyone. The wheels are set in motion for his radical upheaval. But first love is a powerful thing, and the connection forged between Caitlin and Steven is not easily broken.

The impossible is only the beginning...

Vanessa Wester's debut novel takes you from the University of Southampton to the depths of the Amazon. An imaginary citadel is waiting to be discovered full of interesting characters, traditions and cultures. There are so many twists and details you will not be able to put this book down.

*****

"A very original paranormal novel with great romance and a unique story-line..."
Christopher Fischer, TOP 500 REVIEWER

"When you first start getting into the story you automatically think Vampires, but as you discover more, Vampires is not the correct term for Steven's new family... It's well worth the read and as I got to the end I was frantically swiping my kindle screen looking for more as I wanted to know what happened next. I will definitely be reading the next book and would highly recommend it."
Orchard Book Club

"Not usually the kind of book I like to read, although I was a big fan of Anne Rice in my youth. The unexpected twist in the tale made for compulsive reading, literally forcing you to discover what happens next. This story had it all, brilliantly written, loads of interesting characters, mystery, romance with an unsettling undercurrent of tension. I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy!"
A Dawes

"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!"
Charlotte

"This is a captivating work that crackles and pops off the page with sparkling originality, wit, and insight into the larger themes of love and the human condition. Do yourself a favor and read it.
D. Byron

"Although the author is inspired by novels in the same genre there is nothing wrong in that - most of us take inspiration from one source or another. Vanessa Wester has clearly taken inspiration from her own life and from her imagination. She has clearly spent time creating the imaginary citadel and understands its geography and customs which are made clear to the reader. The story-line flows smoothly... I always think there must be something to recommend a book which you would not normally select..."
Christine Thompson, Gibraltar Chronicle
Full review at theevolutiontrilogy.blogspot.com

*****

HYBRID IS A NEWADULT PARANORMAL ROMANCE RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 12 & UP. 

The Evolution Trilogy continues with COMPLICATIONS & RETURN.

A BOX SET IS NOW AVAILABLE... read THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY


***PROMOTION ENDED - NO LONGER FREE***

FIRST DATE (Love & Regrets)

FIVE STAR REVIEWS: 

"This is Chick-Lit with a twist, and a squeeze of class. The style is comfortable, fluid and at ease with itself." 

"...a lovely little bite size treat easily devoured in a single sitting." 

"It is young love so fresh & new with all the trappings of heartache & embarrassment that can go with it." 

"three delightful shorts, each approaching love from a different angle. The first reminds us all of how tumultuous young love or "infatuation" can be, never knowing how your heart truly feels until it's forced to decide. The second was my favorite because it threw a bit of otherworldly interest into the mix. I loved the idea of a cupid sent from above to help us out. And the final short reminds us that what once was can never be again. This book was a great way to spend some down time without having to get embroiled in complicated subplots and character analysis. Easy beach or before bed read!"

In FIRST DATE, when Alice gets invited to a ball, on Christmas Day, she is bowled over. No-one had ever asked her out on a date before, let alone invited her to a ball. However, the bubble bursts too soon. It turns out she is filling in for an ex-girlfriend. Even so, she puts on a brave face and heads for the ball. She can have a good time even if it does not lead to love. A ball is still a ball after... (based on a true story)

In CARELESS CUPID, a mission becomes harder than expected... you are not supposed to fall in love with the person you are trying to help.

In THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY, Rachel might get a lot more than she expected on her big day. A stranger from the past flushes out feelings she had put aside. A lost love is hard to forget...


A TEST OF TIME is a fantastic anthology of short stories inspired by the theme of past, present and future.

Lose yourself in stories that bring together different generations through time travel as well as exploring futuristic ideas. Explore worlds where determination and resolve overcome impossible feats. Let your imagination go as you read about adventures under the sea, a magician's chair, dragons, and mischievous girls on a mission to prank their teacher.

All in all, a wonderful collection for children who are mature readers and adults.

Dip into our world of short stories...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

STOCKHOLM... and ABBA!

I am lucky enough to be going away with my husband tomorrow... without the kids! I am really looking forward to it, but have to admit that I get a bit stressed. Mainly due to the fact I rarely ever go anywhere. Having to pack, think of decent stuff to wear, and include things like make-up are alien to me! I also had to ensure everything was ready for my sister when she arrives on Friday - yes, I have to clean the house!

So, yesterday I went shopping, did all the laundry, cleaned up... and today I have to vacuum, etc. But, first I thought it would be therapeutic to spend some time writing (this blog, for starters).

Yesterday night I managed to also upload two new covers for my Evolution trilogy box set & First Date - they are now on this blog...

<=<=<= Do you like?

Anyway, since I never got round to posting pictures when I went away with my husband a year ago... I thought I would do it now.

I give you Stockholm & ABBA! ENJOY :0)



Vasa museum

Can you see me?


I want to wear them...


Time for some singing therapy (I got got an applause!!!)

Awesome...


The vikings are coming... RUN!

A band in the middle of the day... heaven.

Delicious meal... hmmmm

I am loving my new look!
He's a comfy lion...

The day comes to a close.

Friday, 16 May 2014

***MY WRITING PROCESS***

I have not been on many Blog Tours, so I do not know how successful they are and whether readers actually follow the hop… I guess the amount of comments I get on this post will be my answer. This is a way for people to find new authors and genres via authors they currently read and follow – sounds like a good plan to me.

So, here goes… welcome to my post on the ‘Writer’s Blog Tour’. I was invited by an author I know very well since she submitted stories to two of the charity anthologies I have published, OUT OF DARKNESS and A TEST OF TIME.

You should head over to her post along this tour to find out more about her… the wonderful MADELINE DYER

As you are on my blog, I suggest you click on the 'ABOUT VANESSA WESTER' sign => => => to find out more about me... ultimately, my Twitter description says it all!

Author who is either being Mum, reading, writing, walking, teaching, or watching TV! Phew... #TETrilogy http://www.theevolutiontrilogy.blogspot.com

Now for the serious stuff... (really?)

MY WRITING PROCESS

What am I currently working on?

I am currently writing a historical fiction novel based on the life of my great, great, great grandparents who were born in 1841 & 1837 in Burnley & Liverpool, Lancashire, England!

I also have few other novels partially written & glaring at me for ignoring them… mainly romantic fiction, although one is for children! Whether they ever see the light of day is another matter - too many ideas, too little time J

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I have not read a book like the one I am writing so I figure that makes it unique. Also, it is going to be based on a true untold story and therefore can’t overlap with many others.

Why do I write what I do?

This is a good question, but personally I prefer to think of it as why do I write at all? The answer to this (for me at least) is pure escapism. The ability to create a world that is all mine is slightly selfish. It allows me to leave reality and pretend I am someone else. 

The range of topics and characters come about from things I am passionate about (for example, relationships & history), as well as the exploration of science and supernatural powers - I always wanted to be Spiderwoman as a child!

How does my writing process work?

Again, a valid question… the problem is, do I have a process?

Personally, I just have an idea… I sit down and write it. As the story unfolds and develops, I start to make notes to ensure what I am doing works. I rarely plan ahead and know what I am going to write, although for my latest project I do actually know what happens since it is based on truth. So, this time I have an outline, but the way the characters interact and develop happens as I write.

I am still a relatively new writer since I only started in 2010, after a break of nearly twenty years since I sat my English exams! I have not attended many courses or been told how to write… I just do. It works for me, and it does not hold back my creativity.

Once the story is written, then the work really begins. I check it a LOT of times for errors, plot & character consistency, grammar, formatting issues, etc… then I send it to some trusted proof-readers and beta readers. The process repeats after I get their feedback.

I also find it helps to not read it for a month after completion, and then look at it with a fresh pair of eyes to make sure I am happy with the different settings.

It all takes time, but what’s the rush?

As an indie author, I have done most of the work myself. After completion, I have to sort out the formatting for the print version separately and the covers. It takes ages! Read my full story HERE. Maybe one day I’ll get snapped up by an agent & publisher? I am allowed to dream…

Now, to continue the tour, I give you Gary Henson (a fantastic Twitter friend who always gives me AMAZING support) and Michael Holley who, like me, also currently lives on the Isle of Wight. Both of these authors have also been involved in the Charity Anthologies.

As always, thanks for reading & have a fantastic weekend.
Vanessa :-)

Gary Henson was born in Levelland, Texas, among the dust storms, tumbleweeds, swamp coolers, cattle ranches and oil fields.  His family moved to Boulder, Colorado in the mid 60’s and yes, he does remember it.  He joined the US Nuclear Navy at 17, married his lovely, childhood sweetheart, Debbie, and then ‘saw the world’ for 9 years.  It was a somewhat oddly shaped world; seen through the periscope lens of a submarine.  He was also a software developer for over thirty years.

Storytelling is an everyday part of his life.  He has a tiny, but insistent, muse sitting on his shoulder always feeding him new and sometimes ‘challenging’ ideas.  The good ones he tries to put to paper, the rest he tries to bury very, very deeply.

Gary enjoys reading and spoiling his granddaughters.

Michael J Holley writes comedy fiction. He is the author of Plaster Scene, The Great Corporate Escape and The Christmas Number One (and other Christmas Stories). He was born in Southampton, England in 1977, and since then has moved to Liverpool and Manchester, but now he lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight with his wife and two children.
Having been the taller half of the rhythm section for the indie-rock band Aura4, Michael still enjoys listening to proper music and tinkering around on his guitars. He also loves watching and playing football, watching comedy, reading (of course) and drinking coffee.

His next full-length novel, Blind Faith, will be out in the summer of 2014.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Mystery solved!

On my previous post, I let you all know about the amazing downloads for HYBRID last Friday... well, it wasn't Goodreads!

It was FREEBOOKSY - Romance Kindle books for FREE

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a featured author. I must have put in a request ages ago and totally forgot about it... imagine my surprise when the downloads rocketed in!


To submit your own request to be featured on this site click HERE for a bunch of links kindly provided by the AUTHOR MARKETING CLUB for FREE (thank you)... may the odds be truly in your favour! :)

Right then, I am going to get some writing done today... oh yes I AM!

Have a great day, week, etc...

Vanessa :) xx

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Another stroke of luck...

Yesterday, my jaw nearly fell out as realised that I had had 600 downloads in the space of an hour for my FREE debut novel, HYBRID, via Amazon US! (The total downloaded yesterday was nearly 1400!)

Imagine my surprise when I saw it had rocketed to just over the top 100! Highest I saw was 140... like WOW!

Seriously... look at the screen!
No, not Nemo...
I think this is due to the fact I put myself down for a Q&A session via a Goodreads group - NEW Adult Book Club

But, the strange thing is I have not had a single question and according to Goodreads it has only had 10 views... so perhaps something else happened? It's a mystery...

Either way, I am thrilled to see a massive upward spike in downloads! I just hope the people who downloaded it enjoy... I dread feedback sometimes!

Have a great weekend all...

Vanessa :) xx