29 days and counting

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The mood has been low at the Crazy Cat Camp, very low so yesterday, we went for practical solutions and built a bed off the floor and levelled it out. We’d been sleeping on a 1:6 hill we worked out so, last night was positively luxurious…though we were awake half the night as the rain and wind battered the tent.

Some evenings are beautiful though and we’ve enjoyed sitting outside until either the rain, cold or insects drive us in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we’ve got our sleeping conditions as best as we can and our attentions will be turning to the awning where we are cooking. At the moment, we’ve a double burner on a low table with plastic legs and it’s served us well but it’s buckling. The ground slopes even more than the sleeping tent so Mike wants to lay a floor(!) and build some shelving which will accomodate the cooker and the sink.

We’ve had lots of one pot meals tarka dahl, stir fry and vegetable curry. I’d bought two jars of curry sauce but we’ve only eaten one and I’m now cooking from scratch, having located a box with some spices in. Keeping food cold is a real problem (a kind neighbour refroze our blocks once but we feel awkward keep asking) so food has to be bought and eaten quickly. Mike’s almost given up on milk in his tea and we’ve abandoned cereal as we can’t get through a pint or a carton of soya milk quick enough.

Mike is The Toast King (thank you Lisa and Deana of Tribal Unity for our camping toaster…and replacement) and we have toast with everything. Weight watchers tomato soup has been my saviour while Mike enjoys mushroom while dessert has been restricted to frozen mixed berries with meringues or chocolate. We bought a box of salad today and ate it all for lunch.

Meals depend on the weather and how we feel. We adore jacket potatoes and sweetcorn cooked in the fire but, if the wind is too strong, the cinders and ash are blown out of the fire pit and leave nothing to cook on.

The photo is of hazelnuts, abundant in the hedgerows but already being scavanged before they are ripe, which is a shame. The blackberries are also beginning to grow, though we munched a couple on a walk the other day and they’re very sour.

We’re washing ourselves in a large purple trug and it works quite well though it’s only just possible to sit down in it. The sun needs to be on the tent though or you’re shivering too quickly. I can wash my hair in it too and there’s a clothes line up in the awning which dries towels really well.

At the moment, we’re washing up outside and putting clean stuff in the trug before drying…as we’re on a slope, everything slides off the outdoor table and if the wind is blowing, you don’t stand a chance!

We’ve been really lucky with the weather through August but now September is here, the evenings are getting colder.

The cats are loving snuggling up with us and have been exploring all around the farm, especially Rowan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiggy prefers the bed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything takes twice as long to do in a tent. We fetch our water from the dairy down by the front barns and the kettle is boiled often and our flasks filled. There’s been many evenings we’ve realised the sun is setting (about 8.30pm here) and we haven’t had dinner…or washed up from lunch so we end up blowing out dinner and having soup and toast instead! Washing ourselves needs even more planning as you need two flasks full and a kettle plus cold water to execute the full works.

We’ve found a fabulous shop in Lampeter that does service washes and they wash and dry our clothes and bedding in a day and are very reasonable. I’ve done washing in the trug twice but you need a really hot day to get the clothes dry and jeans were hanging in the awning for days so I’ve given up on that idea.

So, what do we do in our tent? If we organise our power, we can get an hour or so on the internet each day, sometimes more so, we can watch an episode of QI, a spot of athletics or I can get online here. We’ve played cards and yahtzee but not scrabble as the cats love to join in. We’ve joined the library and are reading oodles of books.

Next time I hope to have uploaded more photos from my new phone and can show you the new bedroom so do join me again.

 

We’ve arrived!

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Many apologies for the delay in getting these posts to you but it has taken us a while to balance technology in our field. I’ve powered the laptop up on a trip to and from our nearest town, Lampeter, fifteen minutes away, this morning and the dongle was powered overnight from the car battery.

 

So, we arrived in our field at 8.30pm on Friday 9th August after a six hour journey. We put up our tent and unpacked some of the car so the cats could see what we were doing and at 9.00pm, opened the back door of the car. Three wide eyed cats slowly emerged, ignored the food we’d put down for them and began to explore. Tiggy found a lap to sit on while Olly and Rowan, sniffed and skitted in the grass as new smells and noises bombarded their senses.

We were soon off to bed…and the cats joined us.

 

Moving day had been a long one, up at 5.30am to hopefully feed all three cats and get Rowan into Mike’s Mum and Dad’s spare room for the day…we knew Tiggy and Olly would stay close to the house and would come if we called but we knew Rowan wouldn’t so this was the only way to ensure we took all three cats to Wales.

The move went well and we would recommend Reliable Removals as they were friendly, fast and efficient. All went smoothly until 1.30pm when a friend arrived, the new owners arrived and we realised how much was still left to pack into the car and clean…and then we had to gather the cats.

Our original plans had been altered so we only had one car to pack camping and cats, the removal van not arriving until the following Monday afternoon so it was a bit of a squeeze. The new owners were really patient as we ran around and then attempted to get three cats into the car at the same time. It was stressful but, with hugs and tears from Mike’s Mum and Dad and Dan, Mel and Emmy, we finally set off at 2.30pm.

We were so relieved to all arrive in our field but there are some downsides to camping with cats….

A tent is a cat’s playground….this is Tiggy the next morning, attempting to carve out for himself a cat hammock between the two layers of the tent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cats like to be as high as they can so they will sit on anything. This is Rowan on my coat and Olly on Mike’s guitar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cats take up all the bed… we’d forgotten how restrictive cats on the bed are and, as we are sleeping on a slope, covers and cats tend to gravitate to the bottom leaving Mike and I quiltless and on the floor. They snore too and are in and out all night. Having to leave the inner tent flap part open also invites insects (I’ll expand another day on what I’ve disliked most about camp living!)

 

 

 

Tiggy thinks he is ‘people’ so even with the whole bed to lie on, he insists on getting up close…and trying to eat our meals. We’ve been feeding the cats first, the opposite of home, in an attempt to eat our meals in peace. We’ve been lucky to eat most outdoors on our laps but a couple of times we’ve had to come in and, because we are effectively on the floor, the cats are bemused as to why our plates, therefore, are not for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our first week, Reliable brought up our possessions, my great mate Peter Jones brought my car up and Mike drove him back in his car with a borrowed car trailer, to collect his old Triumph Vitesse and we added to our camp.

We began with one tent…the house we are buying is to the right of this photo….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanded by erecting our old campa van awning for cooking in which, as you can see, is on even more of a slope than the tent (when we viewed the house this field was chest high with grass so we didn’t realise how sloping it was!) We expanded again…

 

 

 

 

…with an awning. We were really disappointed with the quality and knew immediately that it wouldn’t make the ensuite bedroom we had hoped but we thought it would be good for storage and drying the washing…

 

 

 

 

 

So The Crazy Cat Camp looked promising…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…for one day! We had a windy night and the gazebo poles snapped. We were gutted, all our plans gone, but the silver lining is….the poles will make a great frame to put netting over when I start growing soft fruit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we’re down to two tents, both holding up to the weather (and cats!) pretty well but what is it really like to try to live in a tent? How does it change the things you normally do? How do your priorities change? Join me again and find out.

 

 

 

The final days…

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This moving lark is hard work. Physically, it’s tiring but emotionally, I’m starting to wobble.

Last week I mixed box packing with visiting friends and family and though it was sad knowing I wouldn’t see my tribal sisters and loved ones so regularly, it didn’t feel like ‘goodbye’ but ‘see you later’.

This week, as the final boxes came down from the loft, I was confronted by a life time of memories.

We keep treasure boxes in our house. We each have a box in which to keep our memories in which we can drop a concert ticket, special stone or photo. Resurrecting my boxes and repacking them for safe storage in a barn took me back….first baby outfits and shoes, letters, photos, Mother’s Day cards and little notes have emerged having sat for fourteen years below the roof.

As I repack them, I’m looking to the future….when will these treasures emerge again?

But I’m not alone on this adventure. My partner Mike and I have taken time to look back at the wonderful times we shared with the children and our friends and family in our little house…the birthday parties and Christmas celebrations, the addition of kittens and the loss of beloved old cats, achievements made and lots and lots of fun.

So here is a small selection of the past fourteen years and we hope some of you remember these occasions, people and animals as fondly as we do………………..

 

 

 

 

 

Our beloved Ronnie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….and Merlin, now together chasing butterflies in the Summerlands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaz’ first dance show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the beach at Borth, Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mothering Sunday Walk at Warley Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Mum and Dad in their garden in the sunshine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fancy dress birthday party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belly dance

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first ever bellydance class celebrating at our Christmas Hafla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas….

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Dad singing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy days with Tribal Unity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy camping…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…more happy camping….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….and more……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swanwick Writer’s Summer School….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destiny of Angels arrives in paperback

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and finally, Penlon Capel Isaf……..our soon to be new home in Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will be my final post until after we move but please pop back to read more on  ‘living in a tent with three cats’ .

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Sinfully Delicious to Naughty Delights

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In April this year I interviewed Kameron Brook who, working with her man Dirk Taylor, are the driving force behind Razor Edge Press. They publish erotic short stories for adult readership and I gave you details of the Sinfully Delicious series ….and now there are more! Let me introduce you to ……………Naughty Delights!

 

 

……………..and here’s a taster for you!

 

This is it, Elizabeth thought as she pushed through the door to deliver a large batch of chocolate and vanilla sugar cookies to the display case. It was grand opening day for Guilty Pleasures, and she couldn’t be more excited or more nervous. Years of scrimping and saving had accumulated to this day. In a matter of minutes the bakery would be open for business, and their city would officially have their first taboo sweet shop.

Elizabeth took one final look around, making sure everything was perfect, when Felicia, her business partner and friend, appeared next to her, chomping on a fornication cookie.

Out of all the sugary creations crafted for the shop, Elizabeth and Felicia would agree these were the most fun to develop. They spent many wine-filled nights brainstorming and researching ideas for the inserts.

What’s it say, babe?” Elizabeth asked, nodding toward the paper in Felicia’s hand.

Felicia laughed and read the naughty message, “Two heads are better than one, but three, now that’s what I call a party!” As she tucked the paper into her back pocket, she asked, “I forget. Was this yours or mine?”

I actually think your man deserves credit for this one.” Grinning, Elizabeth grabbed the sampler plate off the counter and walked toward the front door, turning to take one final look around before the place filled up. She couldn’t be any prouder of the decor in her little slice of heaven. She glanced to her left and smiled proudly as she admired the photos on the wall.

The food photographer they had hired did a fantastic job capturing the beauty and sexiness of several corset cakes available for purchase. But the icing on the cake, so to speak, was the mural to the right of the entrance. A local artist painted “What Are Your Guilty Pleasures” but the letters were actually naked people in compromising naughty positions.

Felicia giggled. “Oh yeah, it’s all coming back to me now. We definitely drank way too much that night.”

Nodding in agreement, Elizabeth turned on the neon sign and opened the doors for business.

Already, a few eager customers were waiting by the window. They actually applauded when Elizabeth stepped out of the shop door. She greeted them with a smile and offered them their choice of iced cocks or boobs. She wasn’t surprised the guests blushed when they made their selection and bit into the cookie. She expected to witness many rosy cheeks in the hours ahead of them—giggles too.

As the streets began to fill up with people going to work, Elizabeth tried to coax even more passersby into the shop with her funny shout-outs such as: “I bet our peckers taste as good as your man’s. No wait, even better!” And, “Our breasts are fantastic and all natural.”All the while she held up a naughty treat.

After the bell dinged behind her a couple dozen times, she realized the humorous approach to draw in customers was working like a charm. Now with them inside, she had no doubt every person who’d entered the shop erected from her dreams would be a repeat customer. And with this thought, she knew the many dinners of Ramen noodles were well worth the discomfort it cost her over the years.

I’ve just purchased my copy and you can download yours here…

http://amzn.com/B00DELSA9K or for UK readers http://www.amazon.co.uk/Naughty-Delights-ebook/dp/B00DELSA9K/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374505442&sr=1-3&keywords=naughty+delights

Here is all the contact information for Kam and Dirk …

Blog: http://www.dirkandkam.com
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DirkandKam

Goodreads’ links: 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5781386.Kameron_Brook

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5120666.Dirk_Tyler

Amazon Author Pages:

http://amazon.com/author/kameronbrook

http://www.amazon.com/Dirk-Tyler/e/B00A8IDHMC/

 

…and look out for my review of Naughty Delights. Enjoy!

Meet the Author Maggie Cobbett

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Welcome to another ‘Meet the Author’ and today I would like to introduce you to Maggie Cobbett who I met at Swanwick Writers Summer School (http://www.swanwickwritersschool.co.uk)

Maggie lives in Ripon, North Yorkshire with her husband and two elderly feral cats, Thomas and Tabitha. She has two grown up sons who are frequent visitors to her home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like all sensible cats, Tom and Tabitha have shunned the radiator cradle they’ve been bought and prefer to lie on hot metal!

 

 

 

So now you’ve met Maggie and the cats, let’s find out more about her….

 

 

1 How do you write? Is everything planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

It depends what I’m working on. Non-fiction generally lends itself to a pre-made plan, although I don’t follow it slavishly. Travel and local and/or family history are favourite subjects, although I’ve also written about the pros and cons of computer software for language teaching and translation, working as a film & television ‘extra’ and family matters. Local amateur dramatic and operatic groups sometimes call upon me to review their shows as well.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I like to be comfortable when I write, which generally means wearing an old pair of jeans and whichever casual top is appropriate for the temperature in the house. I don’t exactly meditate but I do a lot of thinking with my eyes shut and probably drift in and out of full wakefulness at times.

Tea is, of couse, essential and I have a stock of big colourful mugs with their own lids from a Chinese supermarket in Leeds. They keep the drink inside hot for a long time, which saves a lot of running up and downstairs.

As often as not, I have at least one cat beside me on the desk to bounce ideas off. Humans, on the other hand, are definitely persona non grata when I’m writing and I have a fierce sign on my study door to warn them off. Fortunately, I have an understanding family.

 

3 Aside from writing, what make you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

That’s a tough one because I don’t know how much you’ve gleaned about me already from the Internet. I like to think that I could have been the next Barbara Taylor Bradford or Jilly Cooper if my parents and headmistress in Leeds hadn’t dissuaded me from leaving school at 16 to join the Yorkshire Post as a cub reporter. As it was, I went into teaching after university and spent more years than I care to remember teaching modern languages and EFL in classrooms at home and abroad. Amongst several other jobs, I’ve also spent time as….

a camp counsellor (US spelling) in a resort very like the one depicted in Dirty Dancing

an interpreter/tour guide in Germany and Morocco

(very briefly and disastrously) a cocktail waitress

My current day job as a ‘village regular’ on Emmerdale is somewhat different, as I’m sure you can imagine, and I’ve also taken part in one off television dramas, a few rather unmemorable films, the odd commercial, The Weakest Link and many episodes of Heartbeat, The Royal and A Touch of Frost.

I’m still a fan of trad jazz and some folk music but salsa (the dance, not the sauce, although I like that too) has become a passion in recent years and is popping up increasingly in my writing nowadays. For example, my eBook Had We But World Enough includes a story about someone who comes back from a salsa holiday in Cuba with far more than she bargained for.

I’ve been a regular Swanwicker since 2006 when I won a free place in the poetry competition and I was lucky enough to win again in 2008, that time in the children’s story competition.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

A docile young cow. I’m vegetarian but not a vegan.

One of Trevor Baylis’ wind up radios in case I’m close enough to land to get a signal.

A guitar and playing manual. I’ve always fancied learning how to play properly but never managed to stick at it long enough to master more than a few chords.

A First Aid kit.

A selection of everyday medical remedies to keep me going until I learn how to make my own (See below)

 

 5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson for inspiration and to keep me optimistic. Also ‘how to’ books on animal husbandry, cheese making and natural medicines.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Ian Hislop. Behind that innocent baby face lurks one of the keenest intellects and sharpest wits of our time.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

I’m working on my third eBook collection, some new ideas for women’s magazine stories and dusting off a novel I’ve been writing for several years. Set partly during the German occupation of WWII, it explores the repercussions of that tragic episode in French history for the guilty, the innocent and the generation yet to be born.

8 Other published work and links…

Most of my writing so far has been for magazines, newspapers and journals – read one week and used to line the hamster’s cage the next. That is why I decided at the beginning of this year to group some of my many short stories into collections and upload them to Amazon as eBooks. Both these include some previously published stories and competition winners and are available from any Amazon website. The UK Links are below:

 

Anyone For Murder? also includes some stories inspired by my days on set. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anyone-Murder-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B00AW28FOE/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

 

 

Had We But World Enough focuses on people moving, some willingly and others not, to new countries. Some of the backgrounds and characters reflect my own experiences, although I’ve added many a twist to the original events. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Had-But-World-Enough-ebook/dp/B00BKPRB9C/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

 

 

I am indebted to my son Richard for putting my stories into a suitable format for uploading and also for the cover designs of both books.

 

 

My website is www.maggiecobbett.co.uk and I tweet as @MaggieCobbett

 

 

 

Thank you so much Maggie for sharing with us. Please check out Maggie’s website and her wonderful collections of stories.

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview – Kameron Brook

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Today I’m interviewing the author Kameron Brook who I met on Facebook a few months back. She and her man, Dirk Taylor,  are the team behind Razor Edge Press, publishing erotic short stories for an adult readership.

 

Read on to find out about a couple who work and play together….

 

 

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever

 

change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

 

 

(KB) It depends on the story. Sometimes, we type and tweak after it’s completed. Other

times, we plan out what we want to happen and when.

 

 

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing

 

trousers?

 

(KB) Dirk and I usually sit on the sectional, tv on, and type what comes to mind. A bowl of popcorn is close at hand for me. Him, a dew.

 

 

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we

 

probably don’t know.

 

 

(KB) I love to read and review other people’s stories. It keeps me motivated.

 

 

Five things people don’t know about me? Hmm, I’m really an open book. I will say jack in the boxes and gnomes freak me out. I’m addicted to the food network channel. Oh and I can’t wink.

 

 

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5

 

items would you want with you?

 

 

(KB) Since people are not items, I will want the following.

 

 

1. Razor- for sure! When I get rescued, I don’t want to look like Sasquatch.

 

2. Body wash

 

3. Cell phone with a signal. That way help will arrive sooner than later. 

 

4. Any book so I will have something to read while the rescue team arrives.

 

5. An air mattress because I hate sleeping on the ground.

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 

(KB) Picking five authors would be easier than selecting only five stories.

 

Pamela Palmer, Lara Adrian, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, and Lora Leigh.

 

 

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 

 

(KB) Male – Joe Manganiello Female – Ellen DeGeneres.

 

 

7 Your current writing projects?

 

 

(KB) We have two. “Jasmine’s Delight” – sequel to “Sinfully Delicious” (M/F erotic romance) and “A Weekend in the Burbs” (M/F, F/F and M/F/F erotic romance)

 

 

 

 

8 Other published work and links….

 

 

Sinfully Delicious - Dirk and Kam (newest release)

 

 

Christine’s been without a man for far too long, so she lets her BFF Jasmine talk her into speed-dating. Unfortunately, far too many of her dates are romantic non-starters — in the worst way. But all it takes is one… and when the right man comes along, he’s Sinfully Delicious.

 

 

Buy from: [changeling]

 

Goodreads Link

 

 

Dreams Really Do Come True – Kam & Dirk

 

 

Angi didn’t plan on sleeping with her co-worker. She was still getting over a failed relationship. However after a night of movies, and too much wine, Angi passed out and then the most vivid dreams occurred. When she woke, she didn’t fight the spark brewing all night. Angi took the initiative and made her dreams come to life.

 

 

Buy From: [kindle]

 

Goodreads Link

 

 

Welcome to the Neighborhood – Kam & Dirk

 

 

Whit and Miguel are happy together, but when Meaghan moves in next door they decide they’d like to add a third to their household.

 

 

Buy From: [kindle][nook][changeling][ARe]

 

Goodreads Link

 

 

New Beginnings – Dirk & Kam

 

 

Eileen and Mitch have a happy marriage, but they’ve decided it’s time to spice things up. Ashley and Travis seem like the perfect match.

 

 

Buy From: [kindle][nook][changeling][ARe]

 

Goodreads Link

 

 

Girls’ Night Out – Kameron Brook

 

 

 

Emily’s never been the daring type. Nor the kind of woman who does public displays of affection. But Neeka’s order awakens the thrill-seeker hidden deep inside. For three long weeks, Emily has kept her crush on Neeka a secret. Tonight she’s going to act out her fantasies and claim the woman of her dreams.

 

 

Buy From: [kindle][nook][changeling][ARe] [kobo]

 

Goodreads Link

 

 

 

Voyeur – Dirk Tyler

 

 

After a long day at a business conference, Nate meets Jay over drinks. Then Brooke, Nate’s wife, gives him a devilish idea. What happens next is beyond anything Nate could have imagined. Brooke’s sexy, playful mind sets the stage for an encounter Nate and Jay will never forget.

 

 

 

Buy From: [kindle][nook][changeling][ARe]

 

Goodreads Link

 

 

 

 

Contact information for Dirk and Kameron

 

 

Blog: http://www.dirkandkam.com
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DirkandKam

 

Goodreads’ links: 

 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5781386.Kameron_Brook

 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5120666.Dirk_Tyler

 

 

Amazon Author Pages:

 

http://amazon.com/author/kameronbrook

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dirk-Tyler/e/B00A8IDHMC/

 

Fantastic News! “Sinfully Delicious” is now available at Amazon and B&N.

(kindle) http://www.facebook.com/l/tAQG4DuBiAQGEGZXKTce6KV9Tnl3zyhcTzy0HH_qS7zbguQ/amzn.com/B00CHBZ3AC
(nook) http://www.facebook.com/l/7AQF6O4UqAQGoao0UMbYGjNEfqefEd1Y8AKeIwzdcw2c3OA/www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinfully-delicious-dirk-tyler/1115164188?ean=2940016695990

 

 

Thanks so much Kam for sharing with us today…I can’t wink either! Do check out Dirk and Kam’s website, pages and work and watch out for those new releases.

 

 

 

Meet the Author – Sarah PJ White

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I met Sarah at Swanwick Writers Summer School two years ago and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Here’s her author profile…..

Sarah PJ White was born in Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom in 1972. She is author of numerous online and offline articles and is also a qualified Life Coach and Alternative Therapist.

Sarah is currently writing her second fiction novel – book two in ‘The Account Trilogy’ – a fantasy novel based on the pretext that the Bible is actually a cover-up for the real, much more sinister truth about Earth and our existence; and who really is in charge.

The founder of ‘Self Confidence Workshops, Sarah writes the material for the courses and articles on her self confidence building website for adults (http://www.selfconfidenceworkshops.co.uk) in her spare time.

Sarah now lives in Thatcham, Berkshire, with her husband, teenage daughter and their rescue pets – two cats (Badger and Fizz) and a hyperactive German Shepherd called Bear.

 

As Sarah was releasing her first work of fiction, I invited her to share more about herself and her writing on my blog….

 

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I always spend ages writing a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of my book. I state exactly what is going to happen in that chapter, and if I need to add details later (such as places, names or discussions etc) I’ll put ‘whatever the so and so place is called’, or ‘whoever this person is’.

 

Once I actually start writing however, the characters tend to take over and the story goes in a completely different direction before going back on track at the end! I guess that this appeals to the rebellious side of me – the OCD organised side gets to plan everything to perfection, and the rebellious side tramples all over it! They’re both happy though, knowing it starts and ends where it’s supposed to.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I have a mug I won as part of Ezine Articles ‘100 articles in 100 days’ challenge. It’s probably one and a half times the size of a normal mug, so I get to drink lots of tea whilst I’m writing. I also have to light a candle and have it burning whilst writing fiction – I can stare at the flame whilst thinking my way through things.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Well, I love chocolate éclair toffee sweets (I have a stash of them in the drawer in my office. I always have to collect a couple of shells and stones when we go on holiday & they’re in a heart-shaped dish that sits on a shelf behind my laptop. I’m actually a hopeless romantic and cry over the slightest hint of anything lovely or sad on the television. I’m obsessed with writing in black ink pens – blue will just not cut it and absolutely hate raspberries – the smell, texture, look of them – everything about them!

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My two cats, dog, husband and daughter – or if that’s not allowed – a toothbrush, deodorant, second pair of knickers (my gran always said you should have a clean pair of knickers!), an educational course/book (like learning mandarin or something else that would take ages) and some paint to make said island look appealing.

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

The fore-mentioned educational book as I always love learning new things, fly-fishing by J R Hartley (as I always wondered about this one, after watching the Yellow Pages ad!) and Unlimited Potential by Anthony Robbins and Conversations With God: Book 1 (Neale Donald Walsch), because I find both of these incredibly inspirational. The final book I’d have to take is probably one on public speaking – as I’m forever an optimist I’d like to be ready to deal with the paparazzi once I was finally rescued.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

I’d love to have dinner with Richard Branson, as he’d have lots of things to talk about and I could pick his brain about his entrepreneurial skills.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

Following the release of ‘The Last Angel’, I’m currently working on the chapter breakdown for book two of ‘The Account Trilogy’. I’m also planning a couple of articles and am converting a six week self confidence course into a follow-up to ‘The Self Confidence & Self Esteem Bible’.

 

8 Other published work and links….

The Last Angel on UK Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Last-Angel-Account-Trilogy/dp/0957367929/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361998788&sr=8-1

 

The Last Angel on US Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Angel-Account-Trilogy/dp/0957367929/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1361998830&sr=8-3

 

The Self Confidence & Self Esteem Bible on UK Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Confidence-Esteem-Bible-Understanding/dp/0957367902/ref=la_B006A5Q0KS_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361998924&sr=1-2

 

The Self Confidence & Self Esteem Bible on US Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Self-Confidence-Esteem-Bible-Understanding/dp/0957367902/ref=la_B006A5Q0KS_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361998902&sr=1-1

 

My website:

http://sarahpjwhite.com/

How lovely to find out more about Sarah….I had no idea about the chocolate eclair toffees! Do check out her website for all that is happening and new in her world.

 

Life…

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In a moment of calm, a time of reflection, I look back at 2012…….

As a child I loved writing, telling the stories that came into my head and this year I’ve seen my childhood dream recognised with five of my books published for readers to enjoy…I am a writer.

Each stage of the writing, editing, publishing and promoting process has been a challenge. Some bits I’ve enjoyed more than others but, when my first paperback arrived through the post, all 322 pages of it, I knew all the angst and hard work was worthwhile.

 

Writing, but more so promoting, took up a big chunk of my time in 2012 and I will need to work this year on redressing the balance.

I’ve begun some plans on redistributing my workload, speaking to others about joining me on my writing journey so I’ll keep you posted as the plans unfold. If they work, they will leave me much more time for writing.

 

My birthday kindle has been well used already! The first book I read was ‘The Ritual’ by Mark Barry, a highly recommended read and the second ‘The Pet Washer’ by Jennifer Alvarez, a beautifully written story I finished in three sittings. My wonderful children bought me a cover for my kindle in my favourite purple so it was a very merry holiday in our house. I bought a number of Indie paperbacks as gifts this year including ‘Make a Joyful Noise’ for myself and this too was a lovely, well written story I would recommend.

It’s been an amazing dancing year too. It’s been my busiest year of performing and I’ve loved it. We’ve danced outdoors at school fetes, indoors in theatres, outdoors at picnics, indoors at gigs…indoors in tents and, the craziest of all, outdoors ankle deep in mud…brilliant!

Tribal Unity, my tribal sisters, are my family and I love them all. 2012 was a wonderful year for getting closer to those I love most.

It was a year for making new friends and though most of them were online, there have been one or two I know I will stay friends with forever as we support each other on our writing path. I’ve met amazing, wonderful people this year and I hope to make more new friends in 2013.

For the second year, we celebrated Yule with the children and their partners and my wish for this year is that we will do it again….but in Wales. For me, Yule is the beginning of the new year as the days become longer and we look forward to the sun. I’m glad we had a lovely Christmas Day too since my mum has been in hospital since Boxing Day and there were times I felt it may have been her last Christmas but she is getting better with the fabulous care of the reablement centre and I’m looking forward to taking her home on 28th January.

So my hopes for 2012 of writing and dancing have been more than fulfilled while our house move has still not happened..maybe I couldn’t have everything and the universe decided I needed to write and dance? Whatever the reason, we survived… just and now my focus has to be on selling our house and moving, giving my partner and I the opportunity to start again, build a new life together among the mountains we adore, working towards our future together…a future of writing, dancing, creating, friends, family, music and peace.

Looking back over my half century of life, I need never be scared of the future or of anything. However challenging life is, I’m equipped to cope.  With a wealth of experience and with the support and love of my friends and family, I can do anything.

 

 

Making plans

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It’s a cold January morning…. snow is frosting the roof tops…it’s a great time to make plans and sew your seeds for the Spring.

In ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles’, 6 Sow seeds for Spring, is a useful way to start…..

These are metaphorical seeds, the ones you may have been germinating from last year. (see October)

If you haven’t started to plant your ideas and goals seeds yet, you can start now, no problem.

 

We all have wants, desires and ideas in our heads; ‘I’d love to visit Egypt/South America/Snowdonia’, ‘I wish I could play the piano/guitar/French horn’ or ‘I’d love to be able to wear shorts in the summer’ but, unless these ideas are committed too, that’s how they remain, just ideas and wishes.

 

To turn our wants and desires into attainable goals, we need a plan. I’m not keen on the word ‘goals’. It worries me that if you spend too much time reaching for other things, you forget to live in the now. However, I have attached a ‘Wendywooism’ to this process which helps me get over the goal thing: ‘If you don’t have a plan, you can’t change it.’ For me that means, I can make a yearly plan, or a monthly or weekly or even daily one but as long as I have one, I always have the opportunity to change it. For example, my plan was to carry straight on and write the sequel to ‘Destiny of Angels’ as soon as it was available to download. For the following month, I planned out how to ‘create’ three full writing days in my week to write ‘Wrath of Angels’. However, an e book won’t sell itself and I decided to write ‘A pocketful of smiles’ before the second novel so, though my time has been spent on writing, it wasn’t on the book I had planned but because I had made the original plan and allocated my time, it gave me the opportunity to use that time writing a different book and promoting the first. Without the original plan, I would be panicking about not having time to do everything.

 

I found two books useful when attempting to find time in my life to achieve more balance. The first was a tiny book from the library on allocating time and the second is Peter Jones’ book ‘ How to do everything and be happy.’ http://www.howtodoeverythingandbehappy.comYou can follow and copy all of Peter’s ideas or just dip in and try the ones that seem appropriate to you and your life. It’s easy to read and makes good practical sense.

 

Once you know what you hope to achieve this year, this is a good time for research. If you would like to visit Egypt, check out the cost of flights, decide if you want a hotel based holiday or a trip down the Nile, bellydance lessons or an all inclusive package. If costs look steep, you could start a savings account and plan to go the following year. If you want to play the guitar, do you have one? If you do, check out local teachers, groups and evening classes. If you don’t, start researching possible second hand ones from local music shops or online.

 

This is the time to start sowing seeds for the spring and the year ahead.

Last Friday, I spent a chunk of the day sharing with a friend what I would like to do this year. This is a great way to find out what you really want. Last year with all it’s ups and downs, is also worth reflecting upon as it gives an incite into what worked, what didn’t and why.

Today I’ve a meeting at my mum’s re-ablement centre when I will find out when she will be returning home, hopefully with a new care package in place. Once I have this information, I’ll be able to organise my time better. I’m also looking forward to getting together with Mark Barry, a fabulous author from the Midlands who I met online, to discuss our past year’s successes and disappointments and throw ideas about for our forthcoming year of writing.

The one thing I do know is I will be focussing on writing….Wrath of Angels will be finished, as will a friend’s book I’ve been helping with.

We WILL sell our house and move to Wales…..it’s been tough waiting for this to happen but I do believe my future is in the Welsh mountains.

Instead of making resolutions, sow the seeds for a happy, successful future

 

 

Blog share with Aurelia B Rowl

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Over the past few months I’ve taken part in blog chains and blog hops but I think blog shares are my favourite.

Author Aurelia B Rowl very kindly hosted me during my Big Birthday Promotion but, due to technical difficulties, wanted me to hold back her share until her new book was up and ready to share with you all so, for your delectation….meet Aurelia.

Aurelia B Rowl is a contemporary romance author but you can also find her masquerading as Allie A Burrow, her raunchier alter-ego.

 She lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband and their two fantastic children aged 5 and 3, along with their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. They are all used to her getting too caught up with her latest writing project… or five!… and she is guiltily counting down the months until she has both kids at school full-time.  

Aurelia took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions that will help you to get to know her better…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I’m what I would call a ‘hybrid’ as it seems to depend on the book…my mood…the initial spark. Some of my projects are plotted in their entirety, others are completely off the cuff, but most are a bit of both. I might have an idea for an opening, or even a resolution, and then wing it for the first few chapters. At that point, knowing the characters so much better, I can try and plot the rest but even then, my characters have been known to surprise me and demand things their own way.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I once read a phrase by Wendy S. Marcus—which incidentally, she’d ‘borrowed’ from somebody else whose name escapes me—with the words, “writing as the bullets fly”. That’s basically me. My ritual is to cram as much writing as I can in the two hours I get alone each day, during term-time only, and then have to muddle along as best I can whilst entertaining my pre-schooler as best I can. There is generally coffee and/or diet coke involved, chocolate, and I quite often have the radio on too.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

What makes me tick? Hmmm… tricky one.
1) Obviously, my family – it has always been a dream of mine to be a stay-at-home-mum, and although my children often drive me batty, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2) I am a voracious reader, so if I’m not writing something, you’ll find me with my nose stuck in a book instead.
3) I’ve been vegetarian for over twenty years now, initially because it made me poorly but now I couldn’t imagine ever eating an animal. The rest of my family eat meat though, it’s not something I wish to force on them, although they often have to eat veggie meals as I won’t cook meat for fear of poisoning them.
4) I need a landscape to be comfortable—whether it be rolling green hills or the ocean—but I don’t do so well in cities, which tend to make me feel claustrophobic, or very flat places where there is nothing to see beyond what is right in front of you.

5) I enjoy music and am often caught listening to Classic FM. Many many years, I played the violin in my school orchestra, and my love of classical music has stuck with me. In a similar vein, I also love singing, purely in the comfort of my own home, but it seems to have rubbed off on the kids too.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

On the proviso I already have my family and mad mutt with me too, I’d have to have my laptop, kindle, smartphone, solar-powered electricity generator (to recharge said items), and my memory foam pillow.

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Am I allowed omnibuses? Mind you, I’ve already snuck in my Kindle. Umm…
1) Harry Potter omnibus,
2) Twilight Saga omnibus,
3) the complete works of Shakespeare,
4) 2-in-1 dictionary and thesaurus, and…
5) Hunger Games omnibus.
I’ve read them all before, but could happily re-read over and over to while away the time. And I couldn’t be without a dictionary and thesaurus with all the writing I’d be able to crack on with.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

My initial thought was Zac Efron—think guilty pleasure—but actually, it could be really interesting to have dinner with Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

Oh, they are far too numerous to mention individually, but there is one I’ve been trying to finish all year that keeps getting shoved aside called Their Last Goodbye. Plus there is the series I’m working on called Peer Pressure, which so far is made up of five titles. Then there are other stories, without even touching on the projects my raunchier alter-ego Allie A Burrow is working on. You can find out about all of my writing projects over on my website.

 

8 Other published work and links….feel free to add as many as you like.

Christmas is Cancelled is my debut, and has come much earlier than I ever envisaged. I also have a story being published by Breathless Press in March as part of an anthology, writing as Allie A Burrow.

Thank you so much Aurelia for sharing with us…I’ve learned loads…a fellow veggie and another lover of the British countryside! Please check out and follow Aurelia at the following places…..

www.aureliabrowl.com

Blog – blogspot.aureliabrowl.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/aurelia.b.rowl

Twitter – @AureliaBRowl

Google+ – +AureliaBRowl

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/aureliabrowl

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/aureliabrowl ………………….. and here is more about Aurelia’s new book!

 

About Christmas is Cancelled…

 

Matilda ‘Tilly’ Carter didn’t think her day could get any worse, but even Christmas had just been cancelled.

The one girl Dean Watson has sworn never to have—never even expected to see again—just flared back into his life and into his home—his sanctuary—like she belonged there. Christmas would certainly be more bearable with Tilly around though…

As the chinks in Dean’s armor appear, Tilly seizes the chance to win her knight once and for all. She’s not about to take no for answer—not this time—but Dean must resist, even as his heart rebels and temptation threatens to undermine his resolve.

Win or lose? Love or honor? Which will Dean choose? Assuming he gets a choice…

Excerpt

Tears welled in her eyes, clouding her vision. She turned and wandered blindly toward the exit as the first tear escaped, forging a track down her cheek for the rest to follow. Tilly took in a lungful of air and then another. Having made a spectacle of herself once already, she really didn’t want to be the cause of yet another scene.

The crowds swarmed around her, with students and family members heading home for the holidays only adding to the usual rush-hour melee of commuters. They jostled past, threatening to swallow her whole, as they rushed en mass in the opposite direction, using their briefcases and suitcases as a battering ram.

It was suffocating. She had to get out of there. Breaking into a run, broken heel or not, she raced through the doors and out into the biting December chill. Her waterlogged eyes struggled to adjust to the dark, dreary sky after the bright station lights, but she didn’t dare slow down, desperate to escape the throng of festivities and merriment.

Carol singers assembled outside burst into a jovial rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” full of joy and happiness. Didn’t they know Christmas had just been cancelled?

“Ooof!” Tilly smacked her shin against the edge of a low bench, too dark to see as she tried to dodge the growing audience. She ended up sprawled across the bench, dropping the handle of her suitcase with a loud clatter.

At least the pain shooting down her leg gave her an excuse to be crying. Unfortunately, it meant she had to stop running too. Not good. Whenever things got too tough, too intimate, or too confrontational, you could rely on her to make a run for it. Running away was what she did best…

A tall figure loomed in the edge of her vision, something vaguely familiar about the man’s loping gait. In an effort to see him more clearly, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hands, then cringed inwardly at the black streaks now etched all over them. Great. She could add impersonating a panda to her day from hell as well then.

The mascara stung her eyes, rendering her unable to focus properly. She blinked furiously as the man strode past her, talking into a mobile phone in a deep voice that resonated throughout her body and made the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. A surge of adrenaline rushed to her legs, numbing the pain as her subconscious told her to run. Now!

The cloaked figure stopped mid-stride as if he’d heard her gasp. “Mike, I’ve gotta go,” he barked into the phone, hanging up instantly. He backtracked until he was standing right in front of her, his tone changing from a growl to one of surprise. “Basmati?”

Great. She hadn’t heard the nickname for years—nine years, four months and…sixteen days, to be exact—and even then, only one person had ever actually used it. She screwed her eyes tightly shut, shaking her head from side to side. No. No way. There was absolutely no way this could be happening to her. Not now. Not today of all days… Talk about kicking a girl when she was down.

Links

Buy links -  http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&products_id=407

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16284007-christmas-is-cancelled