Monday, 25 March 2013

The Streamline Book Birthday Bash!

Streamline by Jennifer Lane turns a whole year old this week! To help Jennifer celebrate I'm taking part in her anniversary giveaway and birthday bash tour.

Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He's captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother's crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father's abuse, battered and alone.

Leo's girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida's top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there's an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number one supporter--her father--is in prison for murder.

Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything's on the line...streamline.
Once I got to reading this book, I really couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved it, everything down to the cover. The characters were brought to life so vividly you couldn't help but get involved in their story.
The sense of a father's infuence over his children is seen from two different sides, in both Audrey and Leo. I felt so emotionally drawn into the battle between Leo's father and the rest of his family, willing someone to tell the authorities about his treatment of his family.
This book was well written, and all of the characters in it were given equal time at the forefront of the story. There was plenty of time to get to know them all, sympathising with each in their own situation.
The setup for each event in the storyline was brilliantly dealt with. It struck just the right level of hinting at what might be coming without giving it away too obviously. 
The story sees the lives of three military families all intertwined, and it's remarkable the effect that a single person can have on so many people in the name of what he believes to be love. 
I'm not going to spoil any of the details for you, you really need to get a hold of a copy for yourself and read it. 

And here is your chance! To celebrate Streamline's first anniversary Jennifer is giving away a signed print copy and three ebook copies. All you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter form and enter. Go on, you know you want to, you won't be disappointed!
Just head on over to Jennifer's blog for the details.  Go on, do it now!!!


Friday, 22 March 2013

Friday Celebrations!


This post is part of the 'Celebrate the Small Things' blog hop hosted by VikLit, and is for celebrating even the smallest of victories during the week. Head on over to her blog to check out more people taking part in this hop.


 This week I'm celebrating:

  • Signing up for my next Open University course.  It's on creative writing and I'm very excited! Just two assignments and an exam left for this one, then I can enjoy the summer break before getting to the good stuff.
  • Revealing my A-Z Blogging Challenge theme. There's no going back now, eek!
  • Finally getting round to sitting down and watching the first episodes of The Killing. My friend has been raving about it and has given me the box set to watch, and it's really good. My husband and I have written down who we think it is and put them in an envelope, to be revealed at the end of the series. We live a wild and crazy life!

What are you celebrating this week? Have a great weekend everybodies!


Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Big Reveal Hop-within-a-hop!

It's not long now until the A-Z Blogging Challenge begins. I really need to get a move on with posts before it descends on us and it turns into a big mad rush.

Who am I kidding? That's probably how it'll end up for me so I might as well just go with it.

So this little hop-within-a-hop here, hosted by Mina Lobo and David Macaulay, is a brilliant place to announce whatever theme you've chosen for the Blogging Challenge. Of course, by announcing to the world what you intend to post about pressure is on to stick to it. I have been back and forth over several things but keep coming around to the same idea.

My theme for this years Blogging Challenge is my Open University course, Reading and Studying Literature.

It's been a brilliant course to study, introducing me to authors and stories I would never have read if not for the set reading list. It's been a complete change for me, having spent six years studying science, but I've enjoyed the challenge.

Writers in the course include William Shakespeare, James Joyce, Emily Bronte and Aphra Behn. Each of my daily blog posts will cover something from the course, hopefully helping with my revision for the exam which is in June.

I hope you enjoy my posts, and good luck to everyone else for the challenge!


Monday, 18 March 2013

Ninja Captain Alex's Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest!


The host of this hop really doesn't need any introduction, such is his presence in this here blogosphere. If you've not come across his blog yet you must have been living in a cave. So, welcome back to the world and head on over to the Ninja Captain's blog, you won't be disappointed.

So this fest is exactly what it says on the tin, just list your top ten movies that you love.

Here's mine, in no particular order:

  1. Superman - The Movie


2. Smokey and the Bandit II

3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy


4. Paul

5. Skyfall

6. Back to the Future

7. Pirates of the Caribbean

8.  The Grudge

9.  I, Robot

10. The Young Frankenstein


Friday, 15 March 2013

It's time to celebrate, it's Friday!


This post is part of the 'Celebrate the Small Things' blog hop hosted by VikLit, and is for celebrating even the smallest of victories during the week. Head on over to her blog to check out more people taking part in this hop.


 This week I'm celebrating:

  • Pub lunch today, nom nom. Lovely beer battered fish and chips with mushy peas. Mmmm, mmmm. A lovely treat after a busy week at work.
  • I finally got my assignment finished and sent off. Only two more to go!
  • I've made a start on my A-Z Challenge blog posts. Not long to go now folks!

I missed last weeks Friday celebrations, but it's been a good week this week and I'm back on track,

What are you celebrating this week?


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Everybody in for the Blog Blitz!

In my travels through the blogosphere over the last few days this little blog hop has come up quite a few times, and I just had to get involved.
The blog hop has been put together by DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude and is intended to spread the word for bloggers everywhere. All you need to do is head on over to the linky list and sign up your blog, making sure to include your email address.
Every so often the host will select a blog, and email the rest of the Blitz Team with the choice and a date. Then we all make the effort to visit and spread the word about the chosen blog, and also hop over to leave a word or two of encouragement in the comments. Brilliant!
If you're intrigued and want to get involed just hop on over to DL's and get signed up. You can then post the button on your blog and spread the word too.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

It's National Wormhole Day!


Today and tomorrow we are celebrating National Wormhole Day in honour of Albert Einsteins birthday, which is tomorrow. This little blog hop is courtesy of Stephen Tremp, Laura Eno and L G Smith.

This is a great little blog hop, and it'll only take 100 words more or less, unless you're feeling particularly creative of course.
What would you do and where would you go if you had a fully functioning wormhole, through which you were guaranteed to return home in one piece and to your own world, you know not like they did in Sliders.


I think if I had a wormhole like this I would take a trip back in time. My daughter is nearly five now, and at times she is just the spitting image of me. It really can be freaky how much of a mini-me she is.
My dad also takes great pleasure in telling me (all of the time) just how much like me she is in character too. She's very fond of dancing around like a twit, singing a lot and talking constantly throughout the day without taking a breath.
I find it hard to believe though that I was as crazy as she is (honestly!) so I'd like to take a trip back to see myself at the same age to satisfy my own curiosity. She must get some of it from her father, surely!

Here is a picture of me and my daughter at a similar age:



Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Setting myself free - an IWSG post


  This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG), a great place to share troubles and triumphs with fellow writers. To find more blogs on this hop, and to sign up yourself head over to Alex J Cavanaugh's blog to find out more. He's definitely one worth following.


Although I like to be as organised as I can, setting deadlines, writing lists, keeping track of my progress, etc. I actually find for my writing this kind of behaviour is counter-productive. 
With a full time job, a four year old, OU study and a house and husband to keep I need to be fairly organised to keep on top of everything, and in this context having lists all over the place works well.

But not so for writing. I've tried so many times to come up with a structured and methodical way of going about writing for competitions, or starting on something longer, getting ready for NaNoWriMo so many times but eventually failing. This year I tried doing the Don't Break the Chain Challenge and the Writers Book of Days, and if I look closely at the statistics for both then I'm failing miserably at those too.

I'm feeling down because I'm not achieving these goals and I'm doing it to myself. I'm beginning to realise that writing should be the one area of my life where I can feel completely free to be and do what I want to, but instead I'm trying too much to control it like everything else going on in my life.

Last week I decided to abandon these challenges, even logging my word count for each day, and my mind felt a lot freer and my writing flowed more easily. I've been so busy scheduling and keeping track of my writing stuff I'd lost sight of the actual writing and why I wanted to do it in the first place.

So, this is my new strategy (for now), to let go of all this administrative stuff and just get on with the writing. I'm still learning the skill and finding my voice as a writer. Once I'm comfortable with my style and my stories then I can go to the next level of submitting and setting deadlines.

There's a long journey ahead of me and I'm going to enjoy the early stages of finding myself. When I let myself go it's much more fun anyway!

What stage are you at on your journey? Are you organised or do you just wing it?


Monday, 4 March 2013

A Liebster double!

It has taken me way too long to get around to doing this post, but I've finally made it!

Last month I was lucky enough to be nominated twice for the Liebster Award, by both Click's Clan and Lara Lacombe. I would like to express huge thanks to both of you for this award and urge you all to visit these gals to see what they're up to.
The award is to help spread the word of blogs that have fewer than 200 followers, to get their name out to new quarters of the blogosphere and get more people interested.
The rules for the award are simple:
  1. Thank the people that nominated you. Check!
  2. Post 11 random/interesting facts about yourself that may not be commonly known.
  3. Answer the questions set by the blogger that nominated you.
  4. Choose 11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers and link them in your post.
  5. Come up with 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  6. Go to their blog and tell them you have nominated them.

So, my random fun facts:

  1. My husband and I have been together for 11 years now, although we only got married last year. I was 19 when we got together, and I can't quite believe where the time has gone.
  2. My favourite Disney film is Aladdin, which I've recently introduced to my daughter. I scared myself a little when I realised I know it line-for-line all the way through.
  3. As you are reading this I am at a robotics conference in Brussels for three days.
  4. I graduated with my first degree from the Open University when I was 29, and I'm now in the second year of my second degree.
  5. When we were at college a friend and I took an Out of Order sign off the girls toilets and put it on the public toilet. The next day DynoRod had to come out and we went into a panic about getting caught. (We never were!)
  6. When I was little I wandered off in the supermarket out of my parents sight. After a frantic search they found me in the toy department holding a pink umbrella.
  7. My husband looks like Michael Owen.
  8. Apart from all you lovely folks that follow my blog, only two people in my life actually know that I'm a writer.
  9. I made Alexander Siddig (Dr Julain Bashir from Star Trek Deep Space Nine) laugh once at a convention. I'm quite well endowed shall we say, and was wearing a t-shirt with 'What a lovely pear' on it, with a picture of a pear beneath. It took him ages to get it and was all sheepish when he realised 1, he'd been staring so long and 2, I had noticed!
  10. One of my proudest moments is giving birth to my daughter without using any pain relief whatsoever. I was in labour for over two days, and she was totally worth it.
  11. The first thing I said when they handed her to me was 'My precious!' Now I can't watch the Lord of the Rings without thinking about it and laughing!

As I have two nominations, that means two sets of questions to answer. I contemplated doing a selection from each, but once I got going I was answering them all, so here are my answers:

1. How old were you when you first started using the internet?

I don't recall using the internet properly until I had my own computer, which would have been when I was about 19. That seems really old considering it's used do much in schools now!

2. What’s your favourite memory from school?
Probably leaving! There were some pretty awful people in my year at school and I wasn't sorry to see the back of most of them. I take great pleasure in declining their Facebook friend requests. You didn't like me then, why are you bothered now?

3. You can invite five people, living or dead, to a fantasy dinner party. Who do you invite?

Patrick Stewart, Jon Bon Jovi (love him!), Gene Roddenberry, Sheldon Cooper (does he count?), Wil Wheaton (just so he can battle with Sheldon!)

4. If you weren’t doing your current job, what job would you be doing?

Probably running a pub somewhere.

5. What is your favourite photo or picture? (If you can’t share it, describe it).

This is my daughter on the day she was born when we'd just got her home for the first time. I can't quite believe she's now four and a half.


6. What is your favourite room in your house?

My bedroom, when it's clean and tidy.

7. Why do you blog?

I like to have a platform where I can share my writing experiences, such as they are at the moment, with others that have similar interests. I can also share my writing with people who will take it seriously, rather than those that may think I'm just playing.

8. Who was your first crush on?

Michael Knight, but I'm not sure if it was more KITT than him.

9. Do you still have your first teddy/stuffed toy?

I have two, given to me for my very first Christmas. My sister stole one from me, put a dress on it and called it Betty, but I finally got it back when she moved out.


10. Where in the world would you like to visit?
Australia, I want to see what all the fuss is about.

11. What is the worst book you’ve ever read?

Fifty Shades of Grey. I read them all to see what all the fuss was about but found them truly awful. The only good thing to come out of it is that I can have a valid opinion on how rubbish it was.

12.What's your favorite writing/reading snack?

I don't eat so much but can drink endless cups of tea.

13. Where have you always wanted to visit?

See above.

14. What's your favorite accent?

Scottish, but not too strong, I have to understand what's being said!

15. What movie do you always watch when you find it on TV?

Back to the Future!

16. What's your favorite hobby?

Reading – especially when I get to sit and do it for a nice length of time.

17. Say you can quit your day job and do whatever you want.  What would you do?

I think I would concentrate on writing, but also work in a primary school as a teaching assistant too.

18. What made you want to start writing?

I have a very active imagination and I have to get things out of my head to make room for the next thing. I have lots of notes for story ideas, I just need to sit down and turn them into something.

19. What is your favorite genre?

Science fiction and fantasy

20. Where is your writing/reading nook?

We don't have a very big house so I don't have a proper space all to myself. In the evening I get my pillows all plumped nicely, put the lamp on and read or write in bed. It's where I finally relax.

21. What book do you wish you had written?

That's a toughy, there are so many. Probably the Harry Potter books, they were so clever and J K Rowling will never have to work again.

22. Early bird, night owl, or something in between?

Early bird, but preferably when I'm getting up to do my own thing rather than having to go to work.

I'm being very lazy with my selection of blogs to nominate as time is currently running out, so if you follow me and like this post consider yourself nominated! Feel free to take the badge and display it on your blog.

You must answer these questions though:

1. Do you share your birthday with anybody famous?
2. If you had the chance to go into space and could only take one other person, who would it be?
3. What are your favourite crisps?
4. Tea or coffee?
5. Who are your inspirations?
6. What do you believe in?
7. Are you happy?
8. Are you doing what you thought you would be when you were younger?
9. Any plans for this weekend?
10. Are you sporty or geeky?
11. Team Sheldon or Team Leonard?

Have fun everybody!


NB This post was finished in a big mad rush at the end so if there are any errors then, well that's why. Thanks for listening!

Friday, 1 March 2013

It's Friday, field trip day ...


This post is part of the 'Celebrate the Small Things' blog hop hosted by VikLit, and is for celebrating even the smallest of victories during the week. Head on over to her blog to check out more people taking part in this hop.


This week I'm celebrating:

  • Pay day! Of course, half of it has gone already but it was nice for the couple of hours it lasted.
  • I've come to some conclusions about my overall approach to writing, which I hope will make my life a bit easier and stress-free. More on this on next weeks IWSG post.
  • I think I'm firmly committed to my A-Z Blogging Challenge topic. I've managed the whole week without any alternatives presenting themselves. I'm planning the big reveal of my theme soon!
What are you celebrating this week? Have a great weekend everybodies!


Back from the Future has landed!

Da Da Da Daaa Da-Da Da-Da Da- Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I know you all recognise that as the theme from one of my favourite movies ever, Back to the Future, upon which this little blogfest is based.

It's being hosted by M. Pax, Suze at Subliminal Coffee and Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep Toughts and if you want to check out what everyone else has posted head on over to these guys and have a little peek.

Here's what it's all about:

 You’re up before dawn on a Saturday when the doorbell rings. You haven’t brewed your coffee so you wonder if you imagined the sound. Plonking the half-filled carafe in the sink, you go to the front door and cautiously swing it open. No one there. As you cast your eyes to the ground, you see a parcel addressed to you … from you.

You scoop it up and haul it inside, sensing something legitimate despite the extreme oddness of the situation. Carefully, you pry it open. Inside is a shoebox — sent from ten years in the future – and it’s filled with items you have sent yourself.


What’s in it?


This is my contribution to the hop, enjoy!

Until I have my coffee in the morning I walk around like a zombie, aimlessly knocking back and forth until the caffeine purges my system of grogginess and I can begin to function normally.
The coffee wasn't quite ready as I brought in the package left on my doorstep. Had I been more aware of the morning I would have noticed the lack of a postal van anywhere near the street, and wondered to myself at the oddity. It was still very early though so these particular details were easily missed.
Putting the package down on the coffee table I headed back into the kitchen to get my fresh morning coffee. The smell of it was already filling my senses, brushing away the cobwebs of disturbed sleep. I closed my eyes as I took the first sip, embracing the sensation as my head began to clear and my attention sharpened.
Glancing at the parcel as I sat on the sofa, I noticed for the first time how familiar the handwriting was. It looked like my own, but I certainly hadn't sent myself anything. There were no postmarks, and no stamps, and the enormity of these facts suddenly struck me; this parcel had been hand delivered to my house.

I opened the front door again, looking about to see any signs of anyone but knew that it was futile. Whoever had left it was now long gone. I sat down again with the package on my lap, an internal battle deciding whether or not to open it. I had no idea who or where it had come from, it could be anything.
I fumbled the tape as I tried to remove it, scrabbling at the lid to take it off. Inside there was simply a picture, set on a bed of white soft tissue paper. Sitting back deeper into the sofa I tried to comprehend what it might mean.
Tearing my gaze from the picture in the box, my eyes began to roam the living room. The infertility books I had been reading until 1 o'clock this morning were still laid out on the dining table, surrounded by notes I'd made, research I'd been doing. The post it note for todays appointment seemed to shout itself out at me from the pages. The circle around the date emphasised its importance, and it drew my eyes in. Not that I needed the note as a reminder, I'd had a fitful nights sleep just worrying about it.
I seemed to be the only one concerned though, my husband had slept like a baby. The irony of that thought made me chuckle.

The worry had been setting in for a little while, deep down, that maybe he didn't want this quite as much as I did. After all the years of trying, his heart simply wasn’t in it and I wondered how much of that was contributing to our failure.
But the appearance of this box had set my mind going, and something in my heart had fluttered for the smallest of moments. The picture in the box was of hope.
I picked it up now, holding it in my hands to feel its presence, to know that it was real and not a dream. My eyes were drawn to the two boys in the middle of the picture, their eyes and smiles beaming. They were so much alike they were undoubtedly twins, and they were so much like me I knew they were mine. Sitting in front of them was a birthday cake with a big blue number five on it, with candles burning ready to be extinguished.

I grabbed the box again to see the writing on the top. There was no doubt in my mind now, somehow I had found a way to send this to myself. Oddly though, the how and why didn't bother me at all, I just kept looking at the boys. My heart filled with so much joy, I knew now that my prayers would be answered, I'd have my own babies to cherish.

There was still a puzzle though from the picture. Looking at the person next to me in the photograph was presumably the father of my beautiful boys. The only problem was I had no idea who he was ...