Friday, 30 December 2016

Happy New Year

To all my family and friends...

All the best for 2017!

Hope 2017 is full of unexpected surprises and smiles.

2016 has flown by for us again and I have to say that my life has changed a lot. 

I seem to have lost my "stay-at-home" mum status by going back to "work"... not sure how I feel about that now?!

As a mum, I have never stopped working. And becoming a writer there never seemed to be a time when I actually switched off. However, going back to teaching means I have set hours I have to be somewhere, and I have a lot of planning to do in the background.

Structure in life is helpful. Also, being in a "role" give you a sense of belonging. But, for all the writers out there... your work is brilliant and at times totally unappreciated - just like being a mum!

So, let's all keep our heads held high in whatever we are doing and take pride in what we achieve.

I hope anyone reading this keeps in touch and sends me books that I must read. I will find the time!

All the best,

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Back to School... #Writing versus #Maths

My mind is full of numbers at the moment... I have gone back to teaching maths and although I am enjoying it my mind boggles. Words have left and numbers have taken over!

Writing seems like a million miles away and I find it hard to believe that I wrote several books and published them not that long ago.

I am still working on my historical fiction book, but am apprehensive about publishing it until I am completely satisfied that it works. I also need to finish it since I decided not to make it a series.

The truth is that I still hold on to the dream of a publisher... my new book would really benefit from the advice of an agent.

So, my challenge for 2017 is to...


If all else fails, I will publish it myself... when I finish it!

It seems strange to think that I started this writing journey 7 years ago... and now it feels like nothing more than a dream.

I wonder how other self-published authors have done? Have any, like me, lost heart and decided to go back to the "day-job"?

After being a stay-at-home mum, I lost faith in my ability and hope that by teaching I can help some children to aspire to be more, to want more, and to achieve more than they ever dreamed possible.

It seems that nowadays it is easy to lose heart, to give up, and yet we have so much to smile about.

Happy Christmas to all!

Let's think about what we truly consider important next year.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

#BLOG TOUR with @SilverDaggerSxx 3rd Nov - 3rd Dec

I was approached recently asking if I wanted to put my books on a blog tour. Since I recently given up on paid advertising, etc, I agreed to let Silver Dagger feature the books. What do I have to lose after all? I have given copies of my eBooks for free. Time will tell whether it is successful.

What is helpful is if any of you visit the pages and comment - especially those of you who have read my books. So, if you have time, do you mind going to these sites?


Tour Dates & Sites...

Nov 3rd- kickoff at the Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Nov 16 - Mel's Shelves
Nov 17 - Author's Blog
Nov 21st - Travelling Through Pages - review 
Nov 22 - Mello & June
Nov 23 - Rainne's Ramblings -
Nov 25 - Bound 2 Escape
Nov 30 - Cat's Reviews
Dec 2nd - The Booklandia - review
Thank you for your support. I know that there are many more books out there and appreciate you taking the time to support mine!

Enjoy the rest of your day,

Monday, 10 October 2016

Countdown DEAL!

My Trilogy is now only 99p. That's 4 books for a £1!

Can you share please? Amazon UK only.

Thank you :)


"The Evolution trilogy was so much fun to read! All the components of a good series are there and I found myself thinking about the characters constantly. For me that is the sign of a good book - I can't get the characters out of my head, they come to work and the gym with me and I try to figure out what will happen next.

I fell in love with Caitlin and Steven, the main characters in Hybrid, joined in on their adventures in Complications, and was rewarded with a finale that tied up all of the details and loose ends in Return book 3... A very satisfying ending! I highly recommend this trilogy."

"A great set of books. A must read for all. Imaginative story somehow believable. I would like to visit the community myself."
Lovely Lane

"Really enjoyed all 3 books, find them so readable and hard to put down. As soon as you start reading you feel involved in the story."

"I loved the entire trilogy and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a paranormal story with a twist and some romance. I am impressed that the scenes that could have quickly turned these books into erotic were kept "clean" and "classy" while still bringing all of the emotion of the action between characters."
My Book Fairy

"... while I'll be sad to see it go, how thrilled I am to have any sort of melancholy feeling about saying goodbye to characters I've worried over and rooted for so long?

The truth is that I've been rather disappointed in the final book in trilogy series of late, so it means something to me that Ms. Wester has taken great care not to make a cookie cutter everyone-gets-everything-they-want-in-the-end final book; nor does she envision the alternate gloomy world which has also plagued trilogies of late (Allegiant or Mockingjay, anyone?)

As a matter of fact, Ms. Wester derives a way to both answer our must-know questions while also leaving a decent bit to our imaginations, an approach I appreciated...and one that will no doubt lead me towards reviewing more of this talented author's work in the future."
Lydia Aswolf via Goodreads

Visit to find out more.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

October 2016 already?!

I can't believe the time has gone by again SO quickly. Last year, I remember thinking that 2015 was a blur, but 2016 is like an afterthought!

Saying this, my life has changed a lot and I am constantly trying to balance what I do so that I am happy and my family is settled!

Writing took up too much of my time. It engulfed my every thought, and the need to keep up-to-date with social media to see sales, comments, etc, became an obsession. Yet, there has never been a more exciting time to be a writer.

Now, both paperbacks and kindle books are sought after. There are so many ways to get your words heard. And recently, I saw an online friend of mine get incredible success with her debut novel, SAVING SOFIE, which I read and enjoyed immensely.

Amazing to think that I published her short story first via a fundraising anthology! To read some of the author's earlier work download her short story collection and our anthologies... Amazon link

Read my review of Saving Sofie via GOODREADS

This gives hope to all aspiring writers. Just write your bestseller and submit. You never know - yours could be the next big read!

I have to complete my novel - a labour of love which has truly caused me to reflect on my life, the past, and the events that have shaped the world.

But, until my writing muse visits me again I head back to the world of mathematics! I am actually enjoying teaching A level and am shocked that I actually remember it after so many years. I can only strive to do my best, as we all should...

This weekend I was struck down by the dreaded winter flu... but, I managed to read again and devoured 5 books! Sometimes, it is easy to forget the power of a great story.

Keep reading & writing everyone,

p.s. If you have not read my work yet, please click on the links on this blog. 3 of my books are now free. I wrote them so they might as well be shared.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A New Beginning...

As you can see from the lack of blog posts of late, I have been very busy... and writing, blogging, and basically having an online presence have proved difficult. To be honest, the fact that my iPad is old and no longer lets me use many Apps has made it harder.

Time for a new direction...
But, after going back to work as a Teacher this year for a few hours, I decided to apply for a new job and was lucky enough to get it! I am slightly apprehensive on this new post. I enjoy teaching a lot, but time will tell if the "call of the pen" returns.

For a while, I honestly thought writing would keep me happy for many years. But, I have found that writing is a lonely experience on the whole and even though I have developed a thicker skin I do care what readers think way too much. Many writers say to ignore ratings, etc, and this is true to an extent but the bottom line is that all low ratings mean is that no one is reading your books. Which makes me wonder what the point of it all is?

I wrote my books because I needed to use my brain and do something with my creative mind. Now, I want to work with people again and use my mind elsewhere. It's time to get back to the real world and stop living in a virtual place where the smallest things can get to you.

I admit that I have made some amazing friends online and learnt SO much via social media. This is something I intend to pass on to the students I teach. This world is ours for the taking... you have to fight for your convictions, live to your full potential, and never give up against adversity.

A new journey begins...
The world is slightly broken and via books and stories we can heal or come to terms with what is going on around us. People should read for fun, to learn, for escapism, or just to pass the time. Television stifles the mind in many ways - you are not allowed to create your own character or location from the vivid description on the pages - you are just shown! As much as I love the visual in SciFi, I know some books do it better! I have been reading Harry Potter to my youngest and then watching the film and she kept saying the book got it wrong - I was quick to correct her!

Education though is what makes us stronger... and, even though this is strange for a writer, I enjoy working with numbers! Mathematics has changed the world we live in today. Sometimes, not in a good way. But, advances in medicine, transport, technology, and accountability would be nowhere without numbers.

So back I go... to the land where children question the why, what, and when of everything. even if you occasionally get the odd "I can't be bothered!"

Like my coach used to say... "No pain, No Gain!" If the world was easy, life would be boring!

Keep in touch via Twitter & comment on this blog. I have not vanished... just taking a new direction.
Vanessa :)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Walk the Wight #IsleofWight

Today, I walked the 4 mile Schools Walk with my 7 year old daughter to support the Mountbatten Hospice. We had already walked the 26 miles over the past month getting a sticker for each 30 mins. It was a great incentive to keep her going...

My husband & 13 year old son walked the entire distance of over 26 miles. My 12 year old daughter did about 15 miles!

My new walking boots caused me some problems, but the pain is nothing compared to the work this wonderful charity does.

If you are inspired by any of the stories and by our walking please donate to the Mountbatten Hospice now via their website => CLICK HERE OR Facebook Page

Thursday, 5 May 2016

I need your help!

I NEED YOUR HELP! Pretty please...

I have never been in the top 100 with my free eBook, HYBRID, in the USA. I am SO close today at no. 103! Please help me to get there and download it now. It would mean a lot to me.

Thank you SO much


If you are in UK please help me get there too - currently at no. 620


I paid for a promotion yesterday and it has gone really well compared to other times. This might be down to the new covers? I hope so...

Either way, I refuse to let go of my baby.

<= Find out more about my trilogy, THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY


Monday, 2 May 2016

The Amazing Carian Cole @CarianCole

I first came across Carian Cole and her novel, STORM, via a Takeover on Facebook held by Bella Jeanisse. I was completely won over by Storm and have pimped it on my Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Groups, etc since then. I have not read the next books in this series, Vandal & Lucas, mainly because I was into other books. But, when I followed Carian on Amazon I found out she had a new release and I had to have it.

Not only is her new book, TALON, amazing… but, I now have the pleasure of introducing the author to you. I am thrilled she agreed.

Welcome Carian, and thank you for letting me interview you.

As you know, I just read “TALON” and loved it. I was sad when it ended. When I read a good book and I get involved with the characters I hate to say goodbye.

For the benefit of my blog readers, here is the synopsis and my review…



Caring. Hard-working. A devoted family man, loves kids. Clean cut, funny, smart, quiet, but a good communicator.

~ Asia Jenson


Independent. Tall, blonde, sexy. Outgoing. Intelligent, neat. Unslutty. Confident. Loves to travel. Committed.

~ Talon Valentine


The concept was scary but exciting...

Marry a total stranger.
Live together for six months.
Journal everything. (Feelings. Fights. All of it.)

After six months, we each get $50K in trade for our journals, whether we stay married or not. But the goal is to commit to the experience and see if the relationship experts could put together the perfect matches.
I have never been lucky in love. This was my chance to find my soulmate.
I couldn’t wait to meet the man the experts felt was perfect for me.

My hopes were immediately dashed when I saw him at the altar.

Shit. I married my worst nightmare.


“I absolutely loved this book. Again, I was impressed by the style of writing of Carian Cole and this book was the perfect companion for STORM - a book I also loved.

Asia (love the name) is a woman with a troubled past who seems unable to meet her dream man. Talon is a rock star known for his "reputation" with women, who is fed up with the usual one night stands and disappointments that follow from them.

Both are ready for a new start and become willing guinea pigs for a social experiment. They agree to marry without meeting first... it's a modern "arranged marriage" come science experiment. The idea is funny and interesting. Trademark to the previous book I read, Storm, the attraction at first is non-existent, but as they get to know each other sparks fly - sizzling in some parts!

But, the story, which has an unexpected twist, and writing is fantastic and I got drawn into this world SO easily!

I would personally LOVE to see the whole Ambers & Ashes series as a TV series and hope someone takes note. It's time for a new kid on the block - move aside vampires, open the doors to rock stars! As far as I know it has never been done and I think its time for stereotypes to be cast aside.

Another fantastic novel - a MUST read in my books. But, take note this is for 18+ only due to the sexual nature and swearing! (I might add that even though I hate swearing in this case it makes the main character, Talon, cute & funny at times - weird, I know!)”

So, on to the questions… what did you think of my review? Fair?

I absolutely loved your review!

Do you base your characters on real people?

Usually yes, however, this book was actually inspired by a relationship between two of my cats. Crazy, I know. But, I’ll take creative inspiration from anywhere!

Who was your favourite character in this book, Asia or Talon?

I loved them both, but Talon became my favourite. I really fell in love with him as I was writing him. I love a sarcastic bad boy with a hidden sweet vulnerable side.

I love the humour in your novels. Both in STORM and in TALON the female MC is SO funny in how she reacts when she first meets her man. I will never forget Evie in Storm thinking he was a hobo! Is it important to you that people smile when they read your books?

YES. I want readers to smile, and to feel all the feels if possible. Reading has always been a sort of escape for me -- to get lost in another world for a little while and that is ultimately what I want for my readers.

Obviously, you are tackling some prejudices in the way the female MC’s perceive their ideal man. Do you think how a person dresses, chooses to express themselves, defines them? Are you glad your books might help people overcome their ideas?

I’m very glad that my books may help people overcome their initial judgment of those that have long hair, tattoo’s, piercings, maybe dress a bit different, etc. I’ve personally always dated men with long hair – starting in high school. 

My father would immediately think these guys were junkies, poor, bad news – you name it. He wanted me to date the guys with short hair, clean cut, wearing nice clothes and not ripped up jeans and work boots. However, I am happy to say that most of the guys I dated proved my father wrong – they were nice guys that treated me good, had good jobs, didn’t drink or use drugs, and had hearts of gold. 

I don’t think appearances define a person, but it definitely gives us a glimpse of their personality, individuality, and creativity.

I have to ask because some of the scenes are pretty HOT. Many movies have sexual scenes that are explicit and work for the plot, yet I never think anything of it because you know by the rating it receives. Do you think books need to have a warning? Are you careful who you promote your books too? I know there are many books classed as YA, which sometimes cross the boundary and get away with it.

Being a new author, I have to admit I really didn’t think about putting a warning on my books. In hindsight, I think I should probably add a disclaimer to each book to avoid any confusion. There are such mixed reviews about what a reader perceives as romance and erotica. I’ve had readers tell me that Storm didn’t have enough sex scenes, and others say it had too much. It seems to vary per reader and every day is a learning process!  I certainly would not want my book to offend anyone.

I love the family aspect to Ashes & Ambers series – it remind me of classics like Dynasty & Dallas – just a Rock & Roll version. I seriously think it would be fantastic for TV. Have you considered submitting it anywhere? Will we see your books on the screen?

Eek that would be an unbelievable dream come true for me. I haven’t submitted my books anywhere for TV and honestly wouldn’t even know where to start.

Without sounding like a stalker, I have noticed that TALON is doing extremely well in both the US and the UK! Congratulations. Even though most of your reviews are amazing, some will always be disappointing. How do you deal with critical reviews?

Thank you!!  I love stalkers!  (Phew...)

I read all of my reviews and I have to admit that I’m a sensitive person and bad reviews hurt. I am extremely grateful that my good reviews far outnumber the bad, but those bad ones really dig deep. I know that we can never please everyone, but of course we want to. I’m a pleaser and a giver by nature, so I feel bad if someone doesn’t like my book. I’m trying to develop a thicker skin because as long as I continue to write, I know there will always be bad reviews. It comes with the territory. I try to at least learn from every review – whether its good or bad, to help myself grow as an author. 

In fact, one of my very best beta readers came from leaving me a low review. I respected her opinion and the points she made were all valid, and she has become a valuable member of my team as well as a good friend.

I don’t want to give anything away, but your plot was incredible. What gave you the twist idea? Let’s try not to reveal any spoilers!

The twist in Talon was my first major idea for the story. I was very intrigued with a young musician who had everything he could ever want suddenly faced with a life altering issue that could take everything away from him. Because I also like humor and ‘what if” situations, the marriage experiment seemed like a great way to bring the characters together in a unique way that gave me a lot of room for humor, sexual tension, a true falling in love story, and also to explore how far a person will take their commitment to someone.

What is the most important thing you have learnt, as an author, since you published your first book?

Not to rush. I learned I have to write my books in my own time, without strict deadlines. Some authors do great under the gun, but I am not one of them. I wish I was! I am a slow writer. I need to put a lot of thought into my writing before I’m ready to let it go. So now, I don’t give definite publish dates until I’m confident I’m ready to let the book go out into the world. I know that lack of a date can frustrate readers, and I feel bad for that, but I hope in the end the waiting is worth it for them.

I hope I inspire my children too :)
Growing up did anyone inspire you to write, either an author you read or someone in your life?

My mom was an avid reader and encouraged me to read a lot when I was young, and I fell in love with books. I started writing at a very young age and my mother always supported my dream of someday becoming a writer. 

Sadly, my books were not published until after she passed away. I wish I had taken the leap sooner in life to pursue publishing.

Where we can find out about you and buy your books?

You can check out my web site at  I am also very active on Facebook and welcome friend requests. I do a lot of giveaways and I usually have some pretty cool swag. I donate a portion of my sales to pet rescue, so you’ll see a lot of pet-related stuff on my social media pages, but most of my readers seem to enjoy it.

Thank you again for letting us find out more about you. Readers – buy the book! You will not be disappointed.

Thank you so much for reading my babies. It means the world to me!

It was an absolute pleasure

Saturday, 30 April 2016

My Guest Column via @LJ_Frank

At the Eden Project, Cornwall
Over the years, I have been able to express myself via an Author Interview. This week I have posted two after not being asked for a year! I have also had another request this week. I do enjoy doing them since it gets me thinking about why I write, what I get from the process, and what I have learned.

If you want to read any of them you can visit my Author Interview Blog via these two links. you will find links to the interviews on my post. I hope you read & enjoy.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW with the Infrasonic Detective


I was also asked to write a column for the NP Journal and have now become a contributor.

For a direct link to the column, click on the link GUEST POST COLUMN

My favourite bits...

"As a reader, I want to be shocked. I want to laugh, cry, feel loved, everything... Human nature dictates that we seek these emotions. Safer in a book than in real life, don't you think?

I think that children need to be encouraged to discover books. Libraries need to stay open and investments in education need to continue to secure the future development of our children. Saying this, Goodreads is a great site for readers to discuss books, meet other readers, and share. Social media is a powerful tool for any author. If you master it, you are on the road to success.


Becoming a writer has enabled me to use my skills and imagination. To create something that I can be proud of. It has also made my children aware of how hard it is to create a book - to write it, edit it, make covers, promote it, etc... I am hoping my daughter will be an agent one day! She is very critical. The fact they also see me read, blog, use social media, also means that I am closer to the world they are growing up in. I am not a complete dinosaur!

To conclude, can I challenge anyone reading this and wondering to just go for it? Write down your ideas, work hard to make it come together, have patience, and one day stand back and say to yourself, "I did that." That’s when you allow yourself to smile."

Friday, 22 April 2016

KINGS AND QUEENS by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

Today, I introduce you again to Terry Tyler. Read on and find out why she is such an awesome author! 
Vanessa :)

As I said the last time I interviewed you (it was a year ago already!)… When I joined Twitter, you were one of the first authors I came across and I loved the way you came across. Straight-talking, friendly, and approachable. Your blogs portray the same image. And over the last year, nothing has changed! You are one of the nicest authors I have met online!

So, when I saw your book was up for grabs via Rosie’s Book Review Team I was in there in a flash!

You kindly let me have a copy of Kings & Queens and Last Child. I read both back-to-back! Here are my reviews…



“This book is intense!

For anyone who has watched series like Dallas, Dynasty, The Colbys or Falcon Crest (yes, I admit it - I have) this brought back so many memories! My grandmother was obsessed and I remember coming home from school and watching Falcon Crest with her, or when I was sick watching Dynasty. Dallas was much discussed at school! Yes, I am going back approx 30 years!

There was something about characters like Joan Collins, who nearly slept with her son and seduced anyone in sight that made for addictive viewing! As well as the alcoholics and drug addicts! (The rich have it SO tough)

So back to the book. Kings and Queens is all about this & more!

Romance, adultery, suspense, a lot of death and heartache, "fit" men and women, and also (which was nice to see) normal boring characters that fit in nicely to the massacre that is the old-fashioned Lanchester mentality!

Lanchester's Empire is a male dominated family business which relies on the family "male" heir to provide continuity.

Things do not go well from the start though. The first born, Alex, dies in a rock-climbing accident and the second son, Harry, takes the reins of the business at the age of 18!

The saga that continues as his love-life goes on the biggest roller-coaster EVER is extreme.

Personally, I found many of the scenarios to be unbelievable but this is the beauty of fiction! Perfect escapism into a world where many are crooks, adulterers and ruthless murderers!

I highly recommend this if any of what I have rambled on about makes you think, "This is for me!" I must add that having read several of Terry Tyler's books before her style is definitely makes for addictive reading, even though at times some of the character changes left me slightly disorientated.”

Rated: 4 Stars


“I have to admit that having read Kings and Queens I was immediately drawn to read the sequel. This is the great thing about reading a book after the next one has already been written. I have on many occasions waited for the next book in a series to be sorely disappointed.

This was not the case here, and I have I say I actually enjoyed Last Child even more than reading Kings and Queens.

There are a few reasons for this. Historically, Henry VIII has always been an interesting historical characters because of his many wives. Personally, I found History boring at school and never connected. What did I care that someone had so many? Seems like a bit of an idiot to me! So, when you read historical fiction written in a contemporary setting it brings everything to life. It makes you think, "Wow! Now I get it!" This is what Kings and Queens did - it made the illogical make sense.

But, in Last Child you see the consequences of someone so promiscuous and irrational via his offspring. The good and the bad. From the pampered male heir who wants to get everything his way (to dire consequences), to the deranged unwanted daughter who feels neglected and abandoned because her father rejected her via her mother, to the younger more exuberant child who had oodles of character and does not care what is expected of her, she just gets on with it.

The way in which we get to eavesdrop on their thoughts and actions again explains historical facts in a way that allows for compassion. I mean, seriously, I would never had thought a man who has an affair with a woman half his age would be rational. Yet, in this story it sound plausible (not for me personally, but I got how it happened).

So many details and actions that have so much relevance to society today. Again, it is like watching a TV soap - everyday events are embellished with tragic consequences.

However, in the end Terry has left us with some inner peace. Everything does not always go to plan, but you can make the most of a bad situation. She has also left an opening for another book - I practically screamed at the book at the end! More twists to come I think...

Anyway, if you have not read this author's books before you really should. She has a way of drawing you in, of getting you involved, of sympathising with characters you thought you hate, and feeling annoyed at characters you thought would be great. I love that. I want to be sent on a roller coaster ride when I read a book and this was definitely up, down, sideways and over!

One thing I will say is that the Lanchester family actually made me think of the Kennedy's not the British Monarchs. I guess it's really sad when a family seems to be so jinxed. Even the best of people have no guarantees in life. I guess we all have to live life to the maximum and make every day count, regardless of what the social niceties dictate.”

Rated: 4 Stars

So, what did you think of my rambles?

It's always interesting to see what people think of your books, Vanessa, as you know.  Everyone reads them so differently.  I will say, though, that Henry VIII did not take six wives because he was an idiot (though, indeed, that may be up for discussion!), but because it was important for him to produce a male heir, and marriage in those days was as much a political move, to form allegiances with other countries/noble houses, as to do with love.

I am in awe of you for the way in which you manage to keep the books coming. What or who inspires you to continue writing? My own muse goes for very long walks at the moment!

It's not always easy.  What keeps me doing it is simply that I feel a bit empty if I'm not currently working on a book.  I have had one on the go constantly for the last five and a half years; I at least plan out the next while the current one is being made ready for publication.  My 'to be written' list is always about four books long!

Which characters did you like and hate the most in these books?

My favourite characters in Kings and Queens are Hannah (everyone's favourite!), Annette and Kate, and I couldn't stand Jenny Seymour!  In Last Child I loved Erin, Jim and Raine; the only one I really disliked was Phil Castillo.

How did you go about doing the research for these books?

I was already pretty well versed in that period of history, but I also read David Starkey's book about the six wives, and also The Watchers by Stephen Alford, and The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory, and watched quite a few documentaries.

What is the most important thing you have learnt, as an author, over the last year?

Over the last year?  Hmm.... reading improves your writing, if you take note about why your favourite books work so well.  I also learnt, when writing my second novella, that writing one of these is not just a matter of writing a shorter story, it's a different process.  I've read novellas that should have been novels; the story has to suit the novella size.  I think I did a better job with my second than my first. 

What advice would you give to new authors starting out now?

  • Make sure your book is as good and as professionally presented as it possibly can be; the market is saturated and competition is enormous.
  • Write from the heart, not what you think sounds good.
  • Do thorough research and make sure you have genuine, personal recommendations before spending money on advertising, marketing services, proofeading, critiques, editing, etc.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that signing with a small, independent publisher means you have 'made it'; this is not the same as being traditionally published and you may find that you sell less books and make less money than you would if self-published.  Any publishing house that charges you for any aspect of the publishing process is a vanity publisher, and should not be touched with a barge pole.
  • Make friends with lots of nice book bloggers!

Does it differ from advice you would have given when you started?

Not a great deal, no.  Promotion is a whole different ball game, though; what worked 4 years ago would have little or no effect now.

Thanks, Vanessa, I hope this has been of some interest to you and your readers :)

Where we can find out about you and buy your books?


Book Review Blog

Facebook page:


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Holiday in Bude, Cornwall

This Easter I went to Bude, in the North of Cornwall for our family break.

We stayed in a lovely house with a hot tub, within a working farm! The cows mooed constantly, the chickens pecked outside, and we had cats meowing outside the kitchen window (I am allergic to them so I was not letting them in).

It was a fantastic family holiday where we walked, played board games, saw beautiful new places, and even saw new life being born!

I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful English County!

Eden Project

The first day trip was to the Eden Project.

The site itself is fantastic and I was impressed by the facilities, activities for children, food, service, and views.

I even did an assault course - on a bouncy castle, nothing too strenuous!

It is amazing what an idea can start... the people who built and thought of this project should be thrilled!


Look out for those rocks...
I was terrified going down...
The second day we visited Tintagel - the ruins of a castle built around the 11-12th Century.

Stunning views, which unfortunately nearly scared me to death at times due to my fear of heights, were all around and I could not even begin to imagine how the place was fortified and used hundreds of years ago.

Human beings (some of them anyway) really are capable of magic...

Surfer dude!

I never imagined there would be SO many surfers in April in England!

It is obviously a massive sport in Cornwall and I took some great shots of them over some decent sized waves.

If the water had been warmer I would have joined them, but funnily enough I was happy to sacrifice myself and watch!

Ha ha...

The Big Sheep - Devon
New life born in front of us!

Since we had children in tow, (aged 7, 12 & 13) we had to visit a theme park and we decided to go to The Big Sheep in Devon!

We had a great day and even managed to watch a live birth... the kids thought it was disgusting!

My daughter & I did the egg hunt and got some prizes for our efforts - they did not make it easy!

A fantastic show rounded up the day... loved the sheep with the dreadlocks!
The Big Sheep - Fantastic day out..

We arrived in the morning and were one of the last to leave. We made the most of the visit and loved it! I am glad we had no more buggies or young children - makes life so much easier...

We ate some Cornish pasties, did some sightseeing, relaxed and spent time together as a family. Perfect!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Thank you to the family in Scorsham Farm in Bude

Luxury accommodation... :)

Monday, 11 April 2016

ASTARTE RISING by Greg Thomas @InfrasonicGreg

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Greg to my blog, after reading his novel, Astarte Rising. 

I have not read a SciFi book of this nature in a long time and have to admit that I loved it. 

This was my 5 star review...

"An action & adventure read based on the premise of the discovery of a time travel source, or Time Faeder. Having not read a book of this kind in ages, I thought it was great. 

I always rate a book highly that I could see as a film and this would be brilliant.

A lot of characters in this, but the main ones I liked were Harry and Rosa. Add some zombies brought to life by an evil demon and the rise of Astarte and you have a cracking read. Highly recommend."

So, Greg, how did you come to write this novel?

I’ve always had a love of books and admiration for the writers who create them, and Astarte Rising is my attempt to contribute to the multitude of fictional worlds and dreams that are available for readers to enjoy.

What inspired you? A book, film, or both?

It would be difficult to single out one book or film, but rather the works of authors such as Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy), Ursula K Le Guin, together with humour inspired by Terry Pratchett.

Tell us more about your characters. Which one was your favourite and least favourite to write and why?

It’s hard to pick favourites, but I do like the main character Harry Bonneville, as he’s a good guy trying to do the right thing in extraordinary circumstances.

I’d like to mention Professor Rowan Forrest too. He’s partly based on a very kind, intelligent and incredibly curious old family friend. He wasn’t a professor, but he was an engineer, and that’s pretty good in itself.

My least favourite character would be the cruel Captain McVelley. But we’ve not seen the last of him yet…

Do you think time travel will ever be plausible?

Professor Stephen Hawking has just materialised from the future and told me to keep quiet, so as not to alter the timelines. OK, seriously, I’m no scientist but Professor Hawking maintains it’s theoretically possible, and who am I to argue?

For a writer, it’s a very useful device to move your characters to unusual places, and I needed a mechanism to do just that. I tried to dream up an original, hopefully believable, way this could be done and decided on the part-organic Time Faeder. However, as will be explored in future books, time travel by this method comes at a great cost.

Why did you choose the destination and how did you research the past? A few times, I wondered if Rosa would have been so easily accepted, as a woman in that time?

The destination of ancient Israel (or Palestine) was chosen for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted the team to carry out “the strangest rescue mission of all time” where it was especially important to never alter the timelines. This area has seen incredible cultural and spiritual change and has witnessed the passing of the old gods, for example Baal and Astarte who later became demonised as part of that process. The “divine feminine” seemed to become suppressed as monotheism became accepted and so I developed a story whereby our heroes not only struggle to complete their rescue mission, but there’s another rescue that involves Astarte, once known as “the queen of heaven” being seen in a more positive light.

To answer your question with regards to Rosa: you’re absolutely right to doubt that Rosa would not have been so well received, but it was important for the character to be strong even in a very male-dominated world, and so I guess historical accuracy lost out to story and character. Rosa has her faults, but she’s incredibly intelligent and more than a match for anyone. She just wouldn’t have accepted anything less than equality with men.

Some of the names are familiar, e.g. Herod. Did you do this on purpose?

By choosing ancient Israel at around 7 B.C. as the destination of the rescuers, old Herod invited himself into the story as he was responsible for creating a magnificent city, the ruins of which can still be seen today. He did many, many bad things, but if it’s any consolation to anyone, he seemed to die from a variety of nasty and embarrassing illnesses.

One of the helpful characters is named Joseph, and there is absolutely no connection with any other Joseph who may have been around at this time.

The strange female character, Frau Schalke, was interesting. Tell us how she came about. I want to know more about her... Will you use her again?

I absolutely love Frau Schalke, and yes, she is strange isn’t she? Firstly, I wanted strong female characters, and there are no stronger characters than our beloved Western Valkyrie who brings solace to the living and the dead. She is a guardian-type figure who derives from Norse mythology, but instead of the traditional Valkyrie who would choose the souls of fallen warriors to be escorted to Valhalla, I’ve adapted her so that she helps all people – the living as she offers physical protection - and the dead as they need to find their way home. I’ve mostly kept Harry’s adventures distinct from those of Frau Schalke and her friends, but they can and do intertwine. She’ll be back…

I am not sure your cover is as striking as it could be for an action & adventure book of this kind. Would you change it? I have changed my covers loads of times!

I’ve seen your new book covers and they’re stunning. As for my relatively stark cover, I’m hoping that it doesn’t put readers off, and I guess it doesn’t communicate all that the book is about, but it represents Astarte Rising out of the darkness, which is a vital part of the story.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us to make other readers take this book up?

I’d like to think that Astarte Rising is, first and foremost, a good adventure story, but it also has humour, and re-visits an old goddess.

How have you gone about marketing your book?

So far, I’ve set up a website, joined Goodreads and set up a Twitter account. I realise there are other social media tools such as Instagram and Pinterest, but I don’t quite feel ready to join those yet. I was delighted to accept your offer of an interview on your blog.

Would you ever write in another genre?

Possibly yes, because I think it shouldn’t really matter what the genre is, provided you write stories that your reader will enjoy, however we all have our favourites and mine would be SciFi & fantasy.

Where can my readers buy your book and find out more about you?

Astarte Rising is available for Kindle via Amazon and it won’t be long before the paperback is out. In a month or so I’m looking forward to releasing it into the wild on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, anywhere I can.

Should readers want to get in touch, I’d be delighted to answer any questions on Goodreads or twitter @InfrasonicGreg.

Thank you for answering my questions and I wish you all the best with sales and the rest of the series…

My pleasure, thank you so much for inviting me.