A book advisory service can make or break you. Don’t let it become the latter.

A Day in the Life of… 
Louise Wise

March 8th 1999 was the day I BECAME an author.

I’d been writing a long time before that, but that was the defining moment in my head and where I received the most horrendous review on my precious novel. I’d sent it for analyst to a well-known (shall remain nameless because I’m still scared of them) book advisory service.

I paid my money (over £400) and waited for them to fall over themselves in recommending me to agents and publishers (we’re dreamers, us authors).

Nook | Kobo
Apple iStore

Four months later, I received my ms back (in those days it was all done via the old fashion postal service) and I opened the brown package with eager fingers. The smell hit me first: cigarettes. But I wasn’t deterred. I sat down with my smelly ms to read the advisory’s review, digest their suggestions and to feel warmed by their encouragement.

What I got was wriggly red lines underlining sentences, red circles around paragraphs and lots of exclamations or question marks in the margin. There was no explanation to these marks, but there was a one-paged mockery analyst of my work. It was handwritten with very bad handwriting at that.

Of course, I was devastated, and my husband suggested I not contact the advisory until I calmed down. But name me a woman who listens to her husband! Oi, put your hand down, you.

The advisory was blunt, unapologetic: “Welcome to the writing world, dahling, this is what it’s like, get used to it.” They blamed the smell of the ms on the ‘cheap’ (their words) ink I’d used, and said the wriggly lines and circles should be self-explanatory. 


They offered to take the ms back and re examine it ‘providing I pay the postage costs’. But I was so shocked and demoralized by their attitude I declined. 

The report could have broken me. It was more than harsh, it was nasty. In hindsight, I think I was sent the note version of the analyst although this was never admitted. But you know what, that day something clicked in my head and my backbone strengthened.

I put the ms aside and began another book. This time though, I used another advisory service: Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. This book wasn’t ready either, but the service was encouraging, patient and most of all, a learning experience.

The moral? 

There are some nasty people out there. Be strong.

Louise Wise has written two comedy romances, two science fiction novels, a collection of short stories and a non-fiction novella.

craziness assured 
A Proper Charlie 
romantic comedy
She’s losing her job.
She’s losing her boyfriend.
She can only afford to eat spaghetti hoops on toast.

She’s called Charlie… or Charlotte, or ginger, ginge, Duracell,

Yet with all these odds against her, she pushes forward to
take the lead story on her paper at London Core. 

Shame no one knows. Shame she’s the office general assistant and not a real journalist.
 it’s on missing prostitutes and Charlie thinks pretending to be a ‘tart
with a heart’ will get her that story.

She doesn’t just get a story.

She becomes the starring role.
Purchase links
The Fall of the Misanthrope: 
I bitch, therefore I am 
dark comedy

‘So where would you have taken me on the drive?’

‘A place where we could walk along the Thames just by ourselves; it’d be beautiful watching the silver moon dance on the surface. I’d have taken your hand…’

‘Yes?’ My heart was thumping; the menu – my guard – was lowering from my face.

‘Kissed each one of your fingers, and told you how beautiful you looked.’ His honey-coloured eyes were watching me intently. ‘I’d lean in, you’d lean in and we’d kiss. Gently. Softly. You’d look shocked, maybe embarrassed, and then I’d say, let’s walk. And we’d walk along the river bank. My coat around your shoulders. We’d hold hands, you’d relax. Then, beneath the moon, I’d stop, pull you against me and kiss you again. This time you wouldn’t be embarrassed.’

I couldn’t believe this. He was doing it again!

‘Did you have lessons in seduction?’

His mouth twitched. He sat back, and picked up the menu. ‘Admit it, Velvet, you were falling for it.’

Insufferable, but correct, man. He was good, I’d give him that. Playboy at his best. I’d have to stay alert. Maybe I shouldn’t drink anything alcoholic tonight. Just in case.

Ooh, they had cocktails! I love cocktails. I snatched up the cocktail menu and, yep, they had my favourite – Fuzzy Navel.
One wouldn’t hurt.

Purchase links

science fiction romance

Jenny was hurled to the floor. Winded, but managing to crawl out of the spaceship, she glimpsed Bodie turning to look and calling for her to run. Matt picked up a rock and threw it at the alien as it ran towards them.

She began to stand, but dizziness swamped her. Trying to ignore the sensation, she staggered away from the spacecraft, but the ground shifted under her feet. Time was measured for Jenny, yet around her things were moving fast.

‘Jen! Move!’ yelled Bodie. The alien was in between her and the two men who, by now, were at the top of the crater.

sequel to Eden
(new release – links to follow)

‘I’m scared’, he’d said. 

He was never scared. He was her hero. Her rugged hero made up from all the romance books she’d read. Big, bold and beautiful—in an alien kind of way.

Beauty has tamed her beast. Jenny and Fly live on Eden, a planet where they were both marooned. They’ve come a long way since then: farming livestock and living a perfect life on their idyllic world.

But signs were all there that their world was changing–only they didn’t notice it at first. 

And when they did, they didn’t have much time to prepare.

Fly and Jenny become HUNTED.

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Do you have a memorable day as an author?

This month authors have an opportunity to write “A Day in the Life of…” and this needn’t be an average day! I could be a special day they’d like to share: the day it hit them they were an author, the day they met their editor, the day they realised becoming an author wasn’t easy…

It’s going to be fun. So, not in any order, the authors who have booked their slot are:

Cindy MacDonald
Lynn Marie Hulsman
Karen Martin
Joan Porte
Elizabeth Myrddin
Carmel Harrington
Louise Wise

What about you? Do you have a memorable day you’ll never forget, or an unusual writing ritual? We’d all love to hear about them. Remember to leave your purchase links if you leave a comment!

Best wishes,

Horror in literature needn’t be about monsters

Horror in literature comes in all guises. You have the old-fashioned
monster books to the psychological thrillers that play with your mind.

I prefer to read (and watch) thrillers that force your
mind to imagine the worse: the wind outside becomes someone searching for a way
into your house, the innocent cat that meows just to go out suddenly becomes an
animal escaping something that you, a mere mortal, can’t see.

I don’t write horrors per se, but in Eden there are some scenes where the
character, Jenny, is very much in a psychological horror movie. She’s stranded
on a hostile planet and has no way of getting home. She has no communication and
no provisions. She is forced to live like her prehistoric ancestors.

Eden focuses on the human’s fear of solitude 

A clever writer will dig deep into what a person fears the most, magnify it and then plunge the reader straight into its core. And you needn’t be reading a horror book: 
  • Loss of a loved one – The Lion King
  • Loneliness – Home Alone
  • Rejection – Hitch
  • Death – Schindler’s List
  • Pain – Saw

As previously said, I chose ‘loneliness’ for Eden’s theme, and asked the question: what happens when you’re cut off from civilisation? 

In the books closest related to Eden, the characters didn’t act that different:

Tom Hanks
playing Chuck in
 Cast Away went crazy and made best friend called
Wilson out of a football.
 Robinson Crusoe had his legendary friend, Friday, and
both resorted to Christianity. The sweet love story of
 Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields and Christopher
Atkins had one another, and later, a baby. They grew up on the island and
barely knew any different but they still feared solitude and when the
baby ate the poisonous berries they ate them too rather than be left alone.

Happy reading!


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What kind of driver are you?

Louise Wise

I’m a placid type of person. Not easily riled. But inside a car I’m a MONSTER! If someone cuts me up, sits on my tail, hesitates too long, I turn in to Mrs Hulk! I wind down the window, stick my head out and yell like a fishwife.

If they are on my behind I flash my fog lights (they think I’m braking and pull back), or I become Driving Miss Daisy and refuse to go above 10 mph.

My husband, in the passenger seat, makes strange hand movements, usually with clenched fists and white knuckles. My particular favourite gesture is when he cowers down in the seat and covers his entire head. So sweet.

But, hey, it isn’t my driving that’s the problem. It’s the others. I’ve compiled a list of road users:

Middle Lane Hoggers: You know the kind, they sit in the middle lane so if you want to overtake you have to move two lanes just to get in front of them. Grrrr

Sunday Drivers: They drive slooooowy, looking at scenery, pointing out things of interest to their passengers and suddenly stopping when they spot a landmark.

Boy Racers: These undertake, cut you up, drive with their music blaring from an open window. Don’t give them eye contact. It’ll make them think you admire them. 

White Van Drivers: These are closely related to Lorry/Truck Drivers. Very arrogant with their large vehicles and their ability to look down on other road users–literally. Overtake them, accidentally or not, and they’ll NEVER forgive you. I watched Duel and, trust me, these things could happen!

Mummy Drivers: These are usually turned the other way with one hand on the stirring wheel the other holding a tissue and wiping snot or vomit from a child on the back seat.

Chick Lit Readers: Perfect.

Get it for 77p or 99c while you can…
A Proper Charlie

A British contemporary romance novel…
jolly good fun!

What happens when prostitutes go missing, and Charlie’s shy boss, Ben Middleton, is a suspect? 

What happens when Charlie pretends to be a hooker for the newspaper story she’s working on, and is “picked up” by Ben? 

What happens when she is abducted and only the handsome Ben knows where she is? 

Poor Charlie, she only wanted recognition. She should’ve stayed home. 

Available in many formats:

http://amzn.to/14JZWEj (full price)
iStore: http://bit.ly/1d4XaC1

Three Wishes Blog Blitz – There’s always one person to put a damper on things!

Today, I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison and from  2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including this one! It also opens my September theme of chick lit. Yes, all through September writers of chick lit/contemporary romance have been invited to write in with their funnies–can’t wait!

All you have to do to win my prize is share this article to your social media (*Twitter, Facebook etc) and post the link of your share in the comment section below, then tell me your wishes. TWO people drawn after September will have a choice of prizes (scroll to the bottom, or better still, read to the bottom for the prize list).

*To link direct to a tweet you need to click on the actual tweet (anywhere on the tweet to enlarge it slightly), then click on ‘details’ and there you have your direct link. Copy and paste it into the comment section below and bingo.

So, why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be… sounds fun, right? Well, I’ll be reading. 

There’s always one person to put a damper on things.
three wishes blog post 
Louise Wise

There we were, sitting at our desks and waiting for five o’clock to strike so we could leave off work, and to pass the time we were asking one another what we’d wish for if we were granted with three wishes.

James from accounts is the smart arse and asked for unlimited wishes. Janice undid another button on her blouse, her fingers lingering in her cleavage as she gazed at him, told him he was a naughty boy.

Baby Karen (so-called because she was the oldest person in the office only no one was supposed to know) said she’d have: 1. A house by the sea. 2. A win on the lottery. 3. Good health.

‘That all?’ scoffed James. His eyes on Janice’s cleavage. He dragged his gaze away to continue, ‘A house by the sea could mean you’ll lose it to a cliff fall. A win on the lottery could just be a tenner, and good health will mean you’ll miss out on flu this winter. You have to be more precise.’

‘Like my wishes are really going to come true,’ said Baby Karen, looking hurt that her wishes weren’t good enough. 

James’ eyes reverted back Janice’s cleavage, and I caught Baby Karen looking at her own chest, pulling back her shoulders and pulling down the zip a little on her cardigan.

‘You have to be careful with wishes,’ Big Barry said, and we all nodded in agreement. ‘I know someone who wished to be thin and they died. Starved to death.’

We all ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’. 

‘What are your wishes, Louise?’ asked someone asked me.

‘Goes without saying, I’d like to be rich. Then a long and healthy life for me and everyone I know and my third, hmmm, I dunno. Once you have money and good health what else is there?’

‘World peace?’ said Janice. She sucked on a finger whilst looking suggestively at James and the words came out “Dorld’s Deace”.

‘That’s similar to my wish,’ said Baby Karen glaring at me, ‘but no one complained about her wish.’

‘I was more specific than you,’ I said. Karen could argue with a door.

‘Well, ‘rich’ could mean a ‘rich chocolate cake’ or a ‘rich sauce’. You know, something that’s strong in flavour.’

‘OK,’ I said remembering I was dealing with a middle-aged woman with a mind-set of a toddler—and she wore a cardigan. Believe me, never argue with people who wear cardigans (they don’t get out much and could therefore argue for Britain—and every other country). ‘I wish that I had enough money to buy whatever I wanted, when I wanted and for whoever I wanted and would never have to worry that it would run out. Better?’

She sniffed. ‘Better.’

Despite our squabbles I loved my work colleagues. We had such a giggle! Janice and James flirted like crazy, no one wanted sit beside Karen, and Big Barry moaned a lot but otherwise we were a happy bunch.

‘I’d wish for a cure for cancer,’ Mandy the Mouse whispered from the corner. We all turned to look at her. ‘I lost my parents to that awful disease and wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I went through. A cure for cancer,’ she confirmed, ‘and I’d gladly give up the rest of my wishes.’

As I said, there is always one to put a damper on things and make you feel badddd.


For my part in this three wishes blog blitz I am offering a choice of prizes for one person drawn from the comments after 6th September:
Once you’ve entered my competition why not visit Juliet’s blog and enter her giveaway, then visit any or all of the other participating blogs to win more prizes! 

You could potentially win loads! Remember, it begins 2nd September and lasts only to the 6th. Click to visit the official Blog Blitz post.

A Proper Charlie

For the rest of the summer 2013 less than a dollar
Purchase links:
Apple iStore

Charlie watched as he fell back onto her settee,
and then straddled his lap. Oh my God! What was she doing! She was having an
out-of-body-experience, she thought. Only she wasn’t dead. She was alive. Very
much so. She wriggled against him wonderingly and excitement flared in her body
as his own rose to her teasing.

Charlie Wallis has everything a girl
could wish for. A loving boyfriend, a nice flat and a fantastic job as a
journalist for London Core. Trouble is, Charlie’s boyfriend isn’t at all
‘loving’, her job title really reads ‘office assistant’ and her flat, at the
top of a high-rise, isn’t that nice either.
Her new boss, Ben, is a huge bear of a
man. A gentle giant, with chocolate brown eyes that hold a secret.
While London Core investigates the disappearances
of local prostitutes, Charlie wants in on the action, deciding that dressing as
a hooker and walking the streets is good research.
Bumping into Ben was the last thing she
Read more about this book here


The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am

“They say I’m ‘as hard as my acrylic nails’ but what they don’t understand is I have to be. It’s called self-preservation.”- Valerie Anthrope

Purchase links:
Apple iStore

What happens when Cinderella is brought screaming into the 21st century,
where the ugly sisters are Valerie’s thoughts and emotions, and the
fairy godmother is a middle-aged busybody from hell.

The fairy godmother bursts into Valerie’s life with her magic wand
(AKA interference) and insists that she can help Valerie–whether Valerie
asks for help or not. And she most definitely does not.

Then there is playboy Lex. The flirty Prince Charming whose “bed ’em
and leave ’em” motto applies to ALL women–until Valerie fails to
fall at his feet as he expects. 

A concoction of fun, tears and cocktails.

Read more about this book here


exploration from 2236 Earth to the newly discovered planet, Eden. The animal
life on Eden is on the brink of evolution and humankind wants a first-hand
Available in the following formats:


space explorers are separated and Jenny, the only female of the group, is on
her own.
from the planet Itor, is the lone survivor of his crashed spacecraft. He’s been
on Eden for years. He’s watching Jenny–and sees the others leave without her.

has food, shelter and weaponry against the hostile animals on the planet–just what Jenny needs. It’s buried deep in the human psyche to do anything to keep yourself alive, but does that includes sleeping with the enemy? How far will Jenny go to survive?


Don’t judge until you’ve read her story. You’d probably do the same.

Read more about this book here

It’s not all about shoes, handbags and glitz, you know!

Crazy fun from us to you

For the whole of September WWBB has been taken over by authors of chick lit. They’ve been invited to blog about anything, and I assure you it isn’t going to be all about girlie stuff… well, that’s to be seen, but nevertheless it’s going to be fun.

It’s going to be a crazy, crazy month and I hope you’ll join them, and me, for what’s sure to be a fun event.

Order of appearance (so far): 

Introduction to the madness
Juliet Madison’s blog hop
Lara Barnard
Zanna Machenzie
Monique Mcdonell
Marylu Zuk
Nicky Wells
Amy Baker
Patsy Collins
Janet Eve Josselyn
Deb Nam-Krane
Lizzie Lamb
More authors to come end of the month

And to give it a kick start A Proper Charlie is on sale (only on eReaders) all through September. It’s pink, flirty and fun.

A Proper Charlie
only 77p or 99c for the rest of September.

A British contemporary romance novel…
jolly good fun!

What happens when prostitutes go missing, and Charlie’s shy boss, Ben Middleton, is a suspect? 

What happens when Charlie pretends to be a hooker for the newspaper story she’s working on, and is “picked up” by Ben? 

What happens when she is abducted and only the handsome Ben knows where she is? 

Poor Charlie, she only wanted recognition. She really should’ve stayed home. 
Buy A Proper Charlie in ANY eFormat for 77p/99p

(paperback isn’t included in the discount)

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are TWO groups of authors:

Before Internet and With Internet
Are you a BI or a WI Author?

reading writer forums and listening to various authors over the years, I’ve
realised that authors come in two groups:

Group 1 are those before POD and the eBook revolution (BI has nothing to do with sexuality but all to do with ‘before Internet’). 

The BI authors have done their time in sending out submissions (after finding
suitable publishers/agents in the Authors and Agents Handbook bought from a
brick and mortar shop, or hired from a library [(noun) (plural libraries) a building or room
containing reference or borrowing
]. They have hoards of rejection slips. There were no
email submissions and it was trips to post offices, standing in queues, postage
paying, and waiting for a reply (if lucky) before starting the submission all
over again.

They know the newly discovered best-seller is an author who has been struggling for decades before his or her ‘over night’ success.

Group 2 are the authors who
grew up with POD and eBooks and where
publishers are easily accessible by email (or social media ie Twitter,
Facebook) and their guidelines are clearly visible on the Internet at the click
of a button (WI authors—with Internet). 

They grumble about no
sales, they feel like giving up, moan about Amazon ‘not helping’ and are upset when
they get ‘rubbish’ or no reviews.

They dump their book’s title with its companying link all over social media sites without as much as a reading the host’s guidelines, and their cheery salutation ‘enjoy’ sounds like a threat.

authors have grasped this publishing opportunity and are/have studied the
‘author platform’ and/or are making strides in developing one. They know
‘success’ isn’t over-night, they know if the book isn’t selling AT ALL then
something is wrong: wrong cover, blurb, the hook in ‘look inside’ isn’t strong
enough, stale tags, wrong marketing strategy, or worse, not using social media at all (palpitations!). 

The BI authors know
that once their book is published their work ISN’T over, but only just
beginning and it DOESN’T stop. 


are you a BI or a WI author?

Chick Lit Authors Confess!

  •  Confessions, confessing, confess . . .

    When I’m alone in the kitchen, I sometimes pretend that I have my own cooking show on the Food Network and I speak to my “audience” in a fake British accent as I go through a recipe. That’s not weird… right? – Cat Lavoie

  • Amazon.UK

     I got a cat recently. Most of the time, while I write, she’s sitting on my chest with her cat behind facing me. It’s lovely. (Not really.) About three weeks ago, while I was working on my second novel, her tiny little paw inadvertently highlighted a bunch of text and deleted it. I laughed, knowing I’d be able to undo the delete.

    The next day, I reviewed what I wrote, with my cat on my chest again. When I got to the part she’d deleted, I told her it was the part she didn’t like and I am not kidding, she deleted the section again! I decided there was a reason that part shouldn’t be in the book and rewrote the entire scene. I thought it was much better, too! – Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

    Hubby and I were going to a black-tie event, which involved sitting at the ‘top’ table with his boss and wife. He wanted to make a good impression, but on the way the car broke down. He mended it, but forgot about his tie, and when he was bending over the engine it became covered with oil. 

    We had left early to make sure we weren’t late, but would be very late if he went back to change. So in the car I took off my patterned black tights and secured them around his neck so they looked like a tie. I’m just glad I shaved my legs! – Louise Wise


    My novel Tear Stained Beaches is a fictional story. However, Chase, the main male lead is based on a person I know from real life. Originally, when I wrote the story I wrote him more true to his real persona, and as I wasn’t too happy with him, he came across a little more arrogant, disrespectful and just not so nice.

    Once I stepped back, I realized that I needed to tone it down a notch. So I began to rewrite his actions and settle his personality a bit to create that character I really wanted. It’s not always true what they say ‘write what you know’, in my case it was ‘write cautiously what you know’! – Courtney Giardina

    I must confess that when I was 11, in the 6th
    grade I had a HUGE crush on a Franciscan priest who regularly came to my
    all-girl’s Catholic school to hear confession. 

    It was the 1970’s so confession
    consisted of sitting in a room across from this lovely, kind man telling him
    your sins – no old school confessional for us. So how could you get more time
    with such a man? Obviously you lie and make up sins! 

    All the other girls in my class were jealous of my ‘extra time’ with
    him. It was hard to think of sins back then and his penance was appropriately
    seventies…help your mum with the washing up, be kind to your sister. I’d
    already lied in confession. I was burning in hell, no penance would cover it,
    not of course that he knew that! – Monique McDonell

    I wrote a novel about life in an upscale suburb of
    Boston (Dover, MA, where I actually live) and the title is THIN RICH BITCHES.
     Apparently some people in Dover think they know who the characters are
    based on, although I have never revealed that in any interviews, and never
    will. While it is a work of fiction, I confess that almost all of the
    characters in the book are based on people I rub elbows with every day in town,
    at school and at social and athletic events. – Janet Josselyn

    Meet the chick lit writers on Twitter see their books on Book Junkies’ chick lit section

A regurgitated novel that was originally meant for the Mills & Boon market.


When I get an idea I don’t automatically head to my computer. I’ll play with it in my head and if it sticks around, gets bigger or I develop a character out of it, I’ll write a couple of chapters and see if it gains momentum.

With my latest release, The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am was originally for the Mills and Boon market. I wrote it years ago (somewhere in the darks ages of 1990s), but today’s Misanthrope you wouldn’t recognise from yesterday’s. Back then it was called Please Don’t Fall in Love, only 55,000 words and my leading lady, Valerie, was roll-over-and-smile type of woman who’d do anything for her man. 

When it was rejected, I stuck it in my drawer and forgot about it. Then, years later in a house move I discovered it and felt I could do something with it. Instead of a roll-over-and-smile woman Valerie became as hard as nails and suffered no fools… unfortunately she became wrapped up with her inner demons and allowed the ‘fools’ to run her life but with surprising consequences. 

The male lead isn’t cold and ‘aloof’ as most Mills and Boon characters were back then, but cheeky and flirty. Because Valerie is such a dark character I needed that balance of fun, fun, fun!

My leading man, Lex Kendal, is rich and successful (I kept that from M and B) but he stopped being a caricature character and more of a blokey bloke: he got things wrong with women, including his daughter. He tried to be romantic with Valerie and ‘woo’ her but kept getting it so wrong.

Then, I injected my third character: Ellen. Even though she’s one of the minor characters she is the book’s glue. She introduces Valerie and Lex and she sorts them out when the relationship goes pear shape. She’s the one who also discovers something mystical about Valerie and Lex’s ‘destined to meet’ relationship.

I also added an epilogue and a prologue. They say that readers, agents and publishes don’t like these, but I’ve done something different with mine that I’ve not seen done before and I’m a little proud of it (self congratulates). 

The opening epilogue is Valerie as a child and the closing prologue carries up where it left off and completely wraps up the book with a little twist.

I could say this book took thirty years to write, but I won’t. You wouldn’t recognise the old M and B book to this one, so from the moment I pulled the old MS from the drawer in the house move I say it took two years of rewrites and editing using Cornerstones and Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau for editing and advisory services.

I labelled it ‘dark chick lit’ but it’s been slow to build its audience in that genre, so now I’ve labelled it as ‘dark contemporary romance’ and slowly but surely it’s moving.

Chick lit has a dark side:

The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am

Valerie Anthrope doesn’t believe in happy-ever-afters and has no time for relationships. Her heart is as hard as her acrylic nails. She runs a small back-street brokerage, happy with her own company and financial reports.

But she has a secret. She doesn’t admit it to anyone–even herself. She’s depressed. And her lack of sleep and too many caffeine pills are beginning to have an effect. She has dreams that don’t make sense, but know they hold the key to her illness.

Ellen Semple is a middle-aged busy body who thinks a ‘nice cup of tea’ is the cure to all ills.

Lex Kendal is sexy and rich, and thinks he can have any woman he wants–and he wants Valerie.

Would a one-night stand matter? After all, Valerie isn’t into relationships. Could she remain disinterested enough, and keep her secret away from the ever-prying Ellen?

I’ve been awarded a Reality Blog Award

Thank you, Anita Stewart for nominating me for an award. I don’t get nominated often so forgive me for blowing my own trumpet here.


Anita has asked me a few questions. Check out her blog www.ancientbreeds.co.uk and her answers to the below questions. My questions and answers are below:

Q: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
A: I wish I’d been this dedicated at writing earlier. I’m sure I’d be ‘doing lunch’ with Marian Keyes if I had.

Q: If you could repeat any age which would it be?
A: Ten years old. Wouldn’t it be fun to live the childhood years again? Wouldn’t want to stay there, mind, but to relinquish all responsibility for a day. Bliss.

Q: What really scares you?
A: Losing my parents. I’m at that age now where I realise they won’t be around for ever.

Q: If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
A: Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. I’d like to know what’s going on inside his head. 

Thank you, Anita. That was fun! And to keep the ball rolling I would like to nominate fellow chick lit authors Francine LaSala and Sarka-Jonae Miller head to their blogs for their answers to the question.

How flash fiction could help with writing a full novel

Christopher Savio

I have to admit that when given the theme
of this blog I had to look up flash fiction. 
Maybe I have my head so buried in the books I read, writing and
marketing that it passed me by.  Perhaps
I am just out of the loop?  Whatever the
case, upon finding out I have quickly grown a deep
respect for it.

As an author I know how hard it is to get
just the right word on the page.  Many of
us live by the notion that we should use one word where others may use two or

When painting a picture within
the reader’s mind, we must be complete, yet concise.  Only a few authors can get away with
overdrawn descriptions.  Not everyone is
Steinbeck and able describe how brown the corn was in the 1930’s setting of The Grapes of Wrath.  With all due respect to one of the all
time greats, that doesn’t work for every author or every reader. That being
said, enter flash fiction.  A genre
where one has not only to tell the detail but develop the story in less
than one thousand words or less.  Some people ask
me how I can write a book of 90,000 words, and most authors can accomplish that with ease, What would be hard for me would be to write a short story.

Even though, I would find it difficult to
write a short, but complete, story, I truly feel that flash fiction can be
an incredibly important tool for any author.  
In the name of making one’s writing more concise, I feel that if each
scene in a book were to be written as a series of flash fiction stories that
linked together, the end result would be an incredibly fast paced and engaging
After all, we all know that some
authors (not trying to be critical simply stating
what we all know) can drone on and kill a scene because they lack sufficient

I hesitate to use one of my
favorites as an example, but Stephen King has been criticized for his
most recent release of 11/22/63.
personally loved the book, but when his
character falls in love with a fellow school teacher in Jodie Texas it seemed to be a never-ending two or three hundred page act.  
If flash fiction had been employed here, the act would have been trimmed down (but then again who am I to judge? He’s sold millions of books and I
haven’t. Yet!).

Looking at The Daguerreotypist  I feel
that taking elements of my book and making a series of flash fiction could be interesting.  My favorite scenes were those that dealt with Isaiah Whitfield and The Devil.  I made The Devil less scary on a physical
level and brought it to more of an emotional level. 

The Devil likes to play
mind games with my antagonist  (I got a chuckle out of the scenes as I wrote). Taking these
two characters, Isaiah Whitfield and The Devil, out of the book and creating a piece of fiction story with them could be a very interesting enterprise. 

Imagine the stories one can come up with
involving a paranoid serial killer lamenting his choices in life and a
character who has the power to mess with the other’s mind!
They would make very dark and entertaining short-stories.


When caught between love, murder and Hell, a serial killer’s next decision could be his last.

Funny thing about life is that people seldom recognize its beauty or what they have until it’s gone. In 1842 New York City, Isaiah Whitfield, a pioneer in photography (daguerreotypist) and a religious zealot, is no different. Incapable of recognizing anything but the bad in the world, he embarks upon a crusade to perfect society and to bring about the Second Coming. If he can scare people away from sin, even if he has to kill the sinners to do it, Isaiah is certain that he alone can bring about Christ’s return. That is until Satan makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
In 2012, Rachel and her fiancé occupy Isaiah’s old apartment. Rachel, outwardly happy with her life, deep down wants something more. When an undeveloped daguerreotype is found hidden in her studio’s wall it sets her life and the fate of New York City on a collision course with disaster. Rachel falls hopelessly in love with the man in the old picture, but unwittingly frees the now demonic serial killer, Isaiah Whitfield, from Hell. True to form, he immediately goes on killing sprees in two different centuries.
As Rachel finds out, loving a time traveling serial killer straight from Hell has its downsides. For Isaiah, complete blindness to the wonders of this world may have ruined him for ever. Can the power and beauty of love change a demonic serial killer? Can Rachel come to her senses before she loses her fiancé and possibly her own life in the process? In the summer of 2012, the fates of many in New York City depend upon it.

Author Christopher Savio
About author Christopher Savio in his own words: 
‘I spent my life bouncing back and forth between
Southern California and New Jersey. During my elementary school years I
discovered that I have dyslexia. Therefore, I learned to read with a lot of
help from my parents and eventually got good enough to read novels. With the
influence of my father’s interest in horror movies and history, I read two
things, Stephen King and history books. It’s no surprise my stories, have a
touch of both in them.

Working with the public, including the
rental car business, my father’s diner, and later evolving into a teacher of
Native American history, criminology, and special education, has allowed me to
draw upon experiences that reveal much about human behavior. My writing
reflects many of the different personalities and settings have I’ve come to
know first hand. Of course I’ve never come across a demon, witch, the devil
himself or a serial killer, but the personalities and people I’ve met are
represented within each one of my characters.

On a personal note, I have a family, a
house and the white PVC picket fence. I graduated from college and have a dog
my kids call Roscoe. (Max from The Beckoning) What’s of more interest to you is
that my favorite hobby is writing, the scarier the better. If you love stories
that will scare the pants off you that are priced for the 99 per centers like
myself, then you have come to the right website.’

Follow The Tour

Depression can hit any one of us. Even celebrities.

Valerie Anthrope

JK Rowling, Jim Carrey, Hugh Laurie are
just a few stars who have suffered with depression. It can hit us unexpectedly
or develop over time.
Mine developed over time. Crept over me
like a fungus.
Valerie Anthrope

I’d always known my mother was
‘different’. Highly strung, neurotic and impulsive are the few words I learned
from a young age. I think I was more like my dad: quiet, shy and preferring
books to going out; Mum was always dragging Dad somewhere.

She had fads. Obesity in children had reached
the headlines in the early 90s, and she was determined I wasn’t going to become
one of them and put me on the Rosemary Conley’s Hip and Thigh Diet.
I was five years old.
A normal, healthy little girl who
weighed barely fifty pounds (3.5 stone). She bought exercise videos and insisted
I did them with her. If I didn’t work hard enough she’d cry.
If it wasn’t for Dad’s stabilising
influence I’m sure I’d have issues with my weight today. Though some would say
I did have a poor body image. I wore
dark colours, and high-necked blouses, and tons and tons of makeup. When I was
dressed in my uniform of black and thick makeup I ceased to be the vulnerable
and hurting Valerie, and instead I became a cutthroat business woman.
I can remember exactly the day my life went wrong: August 17th 1994. It
was Wednesday, and half-way through the school summer holidays. I had a new
baby brother, and Mum had transferred her irrational behaviour onto him, so for
a few short, sweet months I was free.
Dad persuaded her that we all go to the
funfair that was travelling the region that fatal day. Telling her, I deserved
a treat.

It became a nightmare.
Sean, my brother, was normally a good
baby, but he wouldn’t stop crying. Mum was fussing, but Dad chose that day not
to pander to her.
During their row and Sean’s crying, I became separated from
I was eight years old and terrified. The
funfair was crowded and noisy, and no one noticed my plight—except for an old
lady who beckoned me over. I followed her up a few steps into a caravan.
A fortune teller’s caravan.
My mind is slightly blank after that.
I’m having counselling now. I can remember her telling me I was cursed, and
that the curse would follow me until everyone I loved would die.
I don’t remember Dad finding me, all I know was that I was taken home and Mum, as ever, was fussing was over Sean. I was
completely ignored,
not because she was angry with me but because Sean was
taking all of her attention. I think Dad was determined that her obsessions
wouldn’t affect Sean’s childhood like it had mine
. Boy, did he choose the wrong
day to put his foot down! They argued. Sean cried, and I stewed alone in my
Then, that night, Sean died.

The sheer horror of it all made me
forget about the ‘witch’ in the caravan. I had to forget to look after Mum. Dad
withdrew and was no longer the stabilising influence I needed.
He became a shadow.
A thin, gaunt shadow with a sickly pale complexion and hollows beneath his
eyes. Mum became more fixated on health. Vitamins and the latest health pill
were often hidden in my food. If I rebelled, she would cry and Dad would just
pat my head and say, ‘Just do what your mother wants.’
So, for the next eight years I bent to
her will.
It was easier that way.
When I was sixteen, she committed suicide.
We could see it coming, Dad and I. Probably why we let her get away with so much,
had we not, her death would have been sooner. Dad had a heart attack a week
He died too. I was devastated. My nan, his mother, came to live with me
but she was crushed by his death. I think I felt I couldn’t grieve because I
didn’t want to upset her. But, anyway, she died a year later. It was a bit of a
relief, to be honest. God, that sounds awful.
At seventeen, I was all alone in the
world, and I decided being alone was the best thing for me. A lot less painful,
anyway. But you can’t stop teenage hormones! I met a boy called Matthew. He was
everything to me. But then I began getting strange dreams, and for the life of
me, I could never remember them when I was awake. My sleep was disturbed, and
I’d be lying if I said it never affected me.
I had a strange notion that the dreams
were linked to Matthew with the horrid feeling that something bad was going to
happen him. We had a row one night, mainly because I was cranky through lack of
sleep, and I told him that I didn’t want to see him any more.
He stormed out, and on his way home he
crashed his motorbike. Oh, he survived, thank God, but I was convinced it wasn’t fatal because I’d finished with
. I think he was expecting I would rush to his house with grapes, chocolate
and apologises, but I didn’t. I blanked him. We were over, and guess what?

The dreams stopped.
I had a few short-term relationships
after that. They didn’t last; I didn’t let them.
Read the rest of my story in the novel: The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch
therefore I am.
Available in most stores:
It’s funny, heat-rendering, and so true
for many suffering the infamous Black Dog. It was therapeutic writing it, but
it’s not a story just about me. Lex Kendal was a big-headed playboy with too
much money and an ego the size of The Statue of Liberty. 
I guess we both went on a journey in
those hectic few months of meeting.
Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am

is cheaper than the energy pills I used to pop.
Thanks for reading

Valerie Anthrope.


by Jen Fleming a character from Dangerous Deception (Unbridled series)
Cindy McDonald

It is late fall. I have never visited the beaches of Presque Isle this late in the year, after the leaves have abandoned the trees, and their sinewy branches reach toward the grey skies like dark skeletons. The waves crash into the shore, as the seagulls dip and dive over the vast water of Lake Erie. I loved this place growing up. I still love this place—almost as much as my mother loved it. There is something mysterious about Lake Erie, especially standing here among the silent beaches, void of children’s laughter, lifeguards blowing whistles, and parents calling after their youngsters to stay within a certain distance of the shore. It is surreal. It calls to me.

My name is Jen Fleming, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Eric West suggested a trip to Erie, Pennsylvania to visit the wineries, stay at a lovely Bed and Breakfast, and walk the beaches of Presque Isle during the off-season. Eric is an imposing man. His life at Westwood Thoroughbred Farm leaves him little time for such getaways. He is also a very observant and caring man, and I have no doubt he could see my melancholy. He wrapped his arms around me in my office at the racetrack where I am a nurse, and whispered in my ear, “A trip through Pennsylvania wine country and a walk on the beach should perk you right up.” Hmmm, as a matter of fact just the suggestion was enough to perk me up. I hugged him tightly swallowed up by his warmth and sensitivity to my needs. 

We arrived in Presque Isle Saturday morning. I wasn’t prepared for the power it would have over me, the emotions that would coil through me, when I realized that my mother would never again see the lake, walk the shores, or build sand castles with her grandchildren. You see my mother is eighty and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

I can still see my brothers and me jumping the waves, and running to the old battered blankets lying in the sand that were designated for the lake. My mother would tell us about her childhood. She used to come to the lake every year and spend several weeks with her cousins who lived in Erie. She would tell us how they swam in the lake until their lips would turn blue from the chill. She has no recollection of her cousins now. She barely recognizes me or my brother when we go to visit her at the nursing home facility once a week. My mother never accepted the death of my father seven years ago. And I watched helplessly as she fell farther and farther into the abyss of confusion and denial. My older brother and I tried to get her involved in church activities or community service projects. The answer was always the same: “No, I don’t care to do that.” My mother was always a rather standoffish person. She didn’t have many friends—my father was her world.

As time went on she became more and more reclusive and aloof and confused. My life is crazy and my brother’s work schedule is nuts. We did our very best, but she was so very obstinate. Finally my brother, who lives next door to my mother, would call me with frantic stories of finding my mother in the yard looking for my father. Her hairdressers and manicurists would contact me as well to inform me of her confusion, and their concern for her driving. I had to take her car keys—she was furious. I wanted to keep her in her own home as long as possible, but it was becoming impossible. She hated the day nurses we hired to care for her—she only became more agitated and hard to deal with. My brother insisted that she needed more care than we could provide. He was right, only I felt that I had failed her on some level, that I hadn’t done enough to keep her mind healthy.

The day we took her to the nursing facility was one of the worse days of my life. No matter how lovely the facility or how wonderful the staff, a daughter’s place is in the guilt and the guilt consumed me. I would visit mom two and three times a week only to face an angry woman who couldn’t remember or focus on anything. She would insist that I call her dad and tell him where to come pick her up. She was worried that she would be late for school. She wanted to know why her mother hadn’t called in days. I was beside myself at how to respond. At the end of my visits she would chase me to my car screaming, “You get me out of here, Jennifer! You’re heartless!” The staff would have to gently subdue her. It was horrible to say the least.
Finally the big melt-down happened. I had gone to New York with some girlfriends to see some shows and take in the city. My brother assured me that all would be fine while I was gone, and that I really needed time away. Mom was very rough on me, and yet kind to my brother when he visited. The very first night that I was away the nursing home called—mom was out of control—hallucinatory. They had moved her to a psych ward at a nearby hospital for counseling and medication adjustments. I was horrified. The guilt welled inside me like a swollen spitting volcano. They said she had been transported by ambulance. My mother had never been in an ambulance or in a hospital for that matter—I could only imagine how frightened and confused she was by it all, and my guilt ripped viciously at me once more. And then the second phone call came—my brother had had a heart attack. I thought I would split in half with angst.
When I returned from New York I visited my brother who was doing just fine—he would make a full recovery. Thank you, Lord. It was time to visit mom—alone. I met with her counselor in his office for an hour and a half before being escorted into the psych ward. Her counselor stayed for the visit as a mediator. I was relieved. Overall our visit was pleasant—the counselor saw to that. When it was time for me to leave she became agitated, but the counselor insisted that she remain in the room until the nurse came for her—I didn’t think that would work. It didn’t. As we approached the nurse’s station I could hear her calling my name. I turned to find her pushing her walker down the hall calling out to me, “Jennifer! You come back here! You take me home right now!” Anxiety churned inside me. I turned to the counselor and asked, “What do I do now?” He simply said, “It’s time for you to leave.” He took me by the arm and shoved me into a supply closet. Seriously? When I turned, I came face-to-face with a nurse who seemed very accustomed to the sight. Moments later, the counselor joined me in the closet. Really? Smiling he waved at me, “This way.” I followed him to the other side of the closet to a door that led into another part of the hospital, and back to his office where we talked for an hour more.
My mother stayed in the ward for one week. They completely changed her meds and I was informed by her counselor that I was a “trigger”. I filled her with the need to go home. I was told that I should only visit once a week and never alone—I should visit with my brother. Oh yeah, that was a huge guilt trip for me, but its working. I visit mom every Wednesday evening with my brother. The visits are pleasant. She is calm and the staff says she is much improved. I’ve let go of the guilt—I had to or it would’ve eaten me alive. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease—not only for the patient but for the family as well, and learning to cope with Alzheimer’s is almost a disease in its self.
The breeze from the lake is chilly, and Eric pulls me close. My eyes betray me, filling with tears. I wish mom could see the lake like this—she would love it. I must hold on to my memories of mom and the lake, for in the end it is the memories that we cling to—the happy times that help to fill the darkest moments of Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses I know that I will have to cling tightly to those memories—memories of walking the shores of Lake Erie hand in hand with mom.

Dangerous Deception
Old Age Ain’t for Sissies!

Vic Deveaux’s glory days as a winning jockey have ended, but he refuses to accept that pile of horse hockey! 

When the West family asks Vic to take an easier position at their Thoroughbred farm, Westwood, he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap the youngest son, Shane. 

Things turn ugly when Vic discovers that his new-found friends have murder on their minds. Suddenly Vic finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has betrayed his good friend, Eric West, but will he participate in his son’s murder as well? 

Not content to sit at home and wait for her men to bring her brother home, Kate West convinces homicide detective, Carl Lugowski, to check out a hunch at an old abandoned mansion. Soon they’re trapped in a hornet’s nest of a notorious biker gang. 

Oh yeah, Vic’s deception has placed the West family in more danger than they know what to do with!

Author Cindy MacDonald
with her mother.
For the past twenty years
Cindy has helped her husband raise, train, and race Thoroughbreds at their
forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables near Pittsburgh.
those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at
the back-side of the track.  She found the situations and life style most
intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into
writing about this life that few understand.

Cindy has
recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer. She owned
and operated Cindy McDonald’s School of Dance since 1985. 
She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh
Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few.  She has
choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.

A world where people are deemed worthless and profit rules.

by Kianda Mala
from the book The Edge of Extinction by
Kristen Stone

Hello, my name is Kianda
Mala. I am leader of Chachinka people in the Amazon jungle. I sorry if my
Ingerlish no very good, I only learn a little time ago.

    My people have always lived in jungle. They
knew of no other people. We were happy, life was simple, hunting for meat to
eat, picking things that grow in jungle. My good friend, Hannah, say we are
   Then the river that gives us fish and water
turned bad. Hannah call it pollution. All fish die. Many people die. Our
children and old people die. Worst of all, new born babies die. It was I,
Kianda Mala, who went to find out why.
    The people look to me for all things. They
think I am a jungle god because I have a tail. I tell them this is not so but
they no listen to me. They want to believe.
    I leave our village and search the jungle
to find why river has turned bad. What I find is a strange thing called a mine.
It is putting bad things in the river. Hannah say we must move the people to a
new village.
       Hannah tells me there are many people in the
world. People who do care about what is happening. She tells me I must tell
everyone what has happened to my people. She says I should use something called
‘the internet’ to ‘blog’ about what has happened.
   I no sure I understand what she means. There
are many things I no understand but Hannah says it doesn’t matter. Not
understanding does not make me stupid, it is just that I have not grown up with
these things. Not having these things does not mean we should not be allowed to
live the way we have always lived.
   Why should people from other parts of the
world come and make my river bad? Would they let other people do the same to
their homes?  Can talking about these
things on this strange internet make things better. Do other people really read
what I say? Will I truly have friends around the world, or am I only talking to
   Hannah has great faith in the internet but I
not so sure. When I left jungle to look for help I saw the internet, but I
could not see the people who are 
supposed to be there.
   All I want is for my people to be safe and
happy. To live in the jungle the way we have always lived. We do not need
magical things like electricity, computers and televisions. All we need can be
found in the jungle if it is left alone.
   Here my words are no very good. I have
written them myself. But Hannah has taken my words and made them good in the
story of my fight to protect my people from the people who would rape the land
without care or thought for the people who live in it.
   My story is here in The Edge of Extinction.
Edge of Extinction
Feel the heat of the jungle, the joy of life and the despair
that death brings to the indigenous people of the Amazon when a mine pollutes
the river on which they depend.

The Chachinka people have never met anyone from
outside the jungle. To them there is no ‘outside the jungle.’ They are led by
Kinda Mala, a golden-haired, amber-eyed foundling who MUST be a god because he
has a prehensile tail. When things start to go wrong it is to him the people

Ms Stone takes the reader on a journey through Kianda’s
eyes, out of the Rainforest and into a world that is beyond his comprehension.
A world where his people are deemed worthless and profit rules. 

This beautifully written story touches on some
thought provoking issues without ever preaching about what should be done.