Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Fire is being Featured on Wattpad

As of last Thursday, Fire is one of the featured books on Wattpad. The book is now online in its entirety (and completely free) so make sure you check it out if you haven't already. Fire will be promoted on the front page for a week and then appear on the featured list.

However, in order to be featured, I first needed to design a new cover. I'm still not really sure why, but I have fun doing it and thought I would share the result with you here.

This is the shiny new, Wattpad edition cover for Fire:

Tada! I hope you like it. It's very different to the original. Unlike the official cover, it doesn't feature my own photography. I found the image on Pinterest, where the source link annoyingly leads to a dead page, so I can't give credit to the photographer.

Please let me know what you think. Can you imagine covers for Water and Air in the same style?

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pins of the Week

My top book/writing related pins this week are:

This is going on a poster in the library once I go back to work. 

If only it were that simple...

Harry Potter humour. I did get Hufflepuff on Pottermore though...

The original is a good opening line to know for quizzes!

And I'm finishing this week's selection with a book cover, because Kiera Cass' covers are gorgeous and I'm looking forward to this coming out soon. 

Let me know of your top book-related Pinterest finds in the comments. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Harry Potter Gift Guide

Following on from Tuesday's post, here are my favourite Harry Potter related gifts.

DFTBA - £14 - If Hermione and Luna ran for the US Presidency... 

DFTBA - £7.50 - They're fair trade and they come with trading cards. I need these! They're also a lot cheaper than the ones they sell at the Studio Tour...

DFTBA - £19 - Snape, Snape, Serverus Snape...

Etsy - £16.16 - This is quite subtle

Etsy - £18.32 - This one is less subtle!

Etsy - 16.36 - They make Felix Felicis and Veritaserum versions too

Etsy - £16.36

Not on the Highstreet - £8 

Or, if you really want to blow the budget, there is this amazing Wizard Monopoly set from Etsy

Or anything from the new MinaLima stationary store. I would love the Alphabet Poster for the nursery. 

Plus there's also always those pretty new editions of the books.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Hunger Games Gift Guide

At the weekend I went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One. I wasn't sure about the book being split into two films at first, but I now actually think it worked really well; there are lots of great scenes in the film which would have been lost/rushed if there was only one movie. I'm also not a big fan of three hour long films, which is what probably would have happened if they had only made one. They also still managed to include a decent amount of action. It was a bit strange to only see about five minutes of Peeta though. 

Inspired by my trip to the cinema (my first since my daughter was born!) and because it's getting close to Christmas, I have compiled a list of Hunger Games related gifts which are all under £10. 

Etsy - £9.82 - This seems like such great value; it's huge!

Etsy - £9.16 - I could see my sister wanting this for Christmas

Cafe Press - £9.50 - If you love the boy with the bread

Etsy - £3.27 - A temporary tattoo of the Hunger Games equivalent to 'Okay'

Etsy - £9.82 - Because it made me laugh
Or you could always make your own.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Pins of the Week

As I have mentioned on the blog before, Pinterest is one of my favourite places to find writing inspiration. I probably pin around 50 new things a week, organised into various boards for different story ideas. Here are my top five book/writing related finds of the week. 



1) This is a Yosemite Firefall. It reminded me of the landscape I imagined for the Helian Realm, particularly the area around the volcanic city Kalme. 

2) This image is just beautiful. You can't help but let your imagination run wild: where is she falling from? What is the city below her like? Is it really underwater, or a cleverly concealed entrance? 

3) This is from a Buzzfeed article where they have changed book titles to accurately reflect the content of the story. I love this 'truthful' title for The Fault in Our Stars. What do you think Fire's would be? 

4) Veronica Roth on heroines. I guess this is why Tris is such an awesome character. 

5) This made me laugh a lot. I'm rereading some of the Harry Potter series at the moment, too. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014


November has come around again and NaNoWriMo has begun once more. I have 'won' NaNo three times now: when writing my very first drafts of Fire and Air and when working on a dystopian story, Amber & Ice, which you can read some of on Wattpad

I'm not taking part this year though. Between my daughter, editing Air, getting back to Amber & Ice and working on a few new ideas, I've decided I won't have time to work on a completely new novel. I do hope to write 50,000 words this month, they just won't all be for the same project.

I cannot emphasis enough how amazing NaNoWriMo is and how much fun it is to take part. Here are my top five reasons why:

1) No more excuses. For anyone who has ever expressed an interest in writing a novel, NaNoWriMo provides the perfect opportunity to stop thinking about writing and start doing it.

2) Peer pressure. Or maybe peer mentoring. NaNoWriMo will give you plenty of support to keep writing once you've started. Pep talks and writing sprints will have your word count soaring in no time. 

3) Time Pressure. The thirty day time limit forces you to stop stressing over every detail of your plot and the nuance of every sentence. Instead, it encourages you to get words on paper. It's amazing what you can come up with under these conditions. And even if you're certain it's rubbish, you just have to remember that editing is what December is for.  

4) Social media is going to be saturated with mentions of NaNoWriMo over the next thirty days. Don't watch from the sidelines feeling envious or wondering what's going on. Take part and join the fun!

5) The sense of achievement you will feel when you make it to the end is immense.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Autumn Reads: Board Books Edition

My daughter may be too young to even focus on the pictures, but that doesn't mean that I haven't already stated reading to her! It's really important to me that books and reading are a normal part of her life and that she grows up learning to love them. Besides, she shares her birthday with Harry Potter, so it's clearly meant to be!

Her introduction to books came courtesy of the amazing Booktrust, who give two free books to every newborn. This is a fantastic initiative, just like the free books they send to schools, which I have taken advantage of in the library. Booktrust have even put together a great 'Baby's First Books' reading list, which I will definitely be consulting when I'm out buying books. We were given these books. 

Both are picture heavy, routine/sleep focused and very sweet. 

Last weekend, I also went to Waterstones to buy my first baby books! I bought two cute, Usborne lift-the-flap books, which are bright, colourful and baby friendly. 

I also bought one of my favourite classics - We're Going on a Bear Hunt. The beauty of this story is that you don't even have to look at the book for it to be enjoyable as it can be acted out and sung around the house.

A kind colleague also bought us Dr Seuss' Sleep Softly Book

I wasn't a big Dr Seuss fan growing up, but this book is really lovely. It's definitely a bedtime read I will make frequent use of as my daughter gets older. The rhythm makes it a lot of fun to read and there are lots of textures on the pages for her to explore. 

What are your earliest book memories? I can still fondly remember stories about Old Bear, Paddington, Winne the Pooh and 'Can't You Sleep Little Bear' (which my mum is sick of reading after three children!)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Summer Reads Part Two

I can remember buying this on the strength of its cover. It looked like a cool, Legend-style dystopian novel. I didn't realise that it was actually about vampires. And parallel universes. Not two subjects I would have thought to put together, but they actually work really well. Evangeline is a lonely and some-what naive character who suddenly find herself in the employment of the mysterious Sophie and is whisked off to New York where she travels each night to a parallel universe inhabited only by vampires. Protected from them by an enchanted necklace, she makes friends with a (really fun, Twilight-esque) group and quickly falls for Caden. Only his clingy, evil girlfriend Rachel and the fact that he lives in a parallel universe stands in their way...

One of the main strengths of this novel is that it's really hard to work out who to trust and which of the vampires are going to turn out to be 'good' or 'bad' (one of the overarching messages is that you can never trust any vampire completely, which adds a good deal of tension to the novel). It's a fun read and worth checking out. I will definitely continue the series at some point. 

I'm determined to vary my reading slightly and not just exclusively read YA novels over the next few months (as fun as that sounds!) As a result, I'm also throwing in the odd classic from my tbr list. It's been a few years since I read the Great Gatsby (and I still haven't seen the film!) and Tender is the Night so I was eager to start TBATD. It follows educated, wealthy and extremely lazy Anthony Patch and his beautiful but vapid wife Gloria, who are waiting for Anthony's grandfather to die so that they can inherit his vast wealth and live an even more lavish lifestyle than they do at the start of the novel. It had elements of a 1920 Wolf of Wallstreet in its excess and I felt completely immersed in Fitzgerald's world due to his fantastic writing. Neither character is particularly redeemable and I spent most of the novel waiting for them to meet a nasty, but well deserved, end (you'll have to read it to find out if they do...) It was enjoyable, but not as good as Tender is the Night.  

The third installment of this superb series does not disappoint! It follows Celaena as she travels to Wendlyn, meeting the stern, but handsome Rowan (can this series really handle any more eligible male characters? The love triangle was difficult enough!) and learning how to harness her magic powers. However the books also features plenty of action from Adarlan through the story lines of Chaol and Dorian (where yet another male character is introduced - seriously, how is she going to choose!) I LOVE this series - it gets better with every book. When I first read Throne of Glass, I wasn't totally convinced by Celaena's character, as she seemed a bit too perfect, but with each novel she becomes more realistic as her background is revealed and her flaws are exposed. There are even more fantasy elements this time, which was great, as well as plenty of action. I don't know how I'm going to wait for the next installment and I'm also really looking forward to quizzing the kids on it when I go back to work, since I know a lot of them were really looking forward to this book being published. 

Another self published book, this one about fairies. Allison lives with her grandparents and schizophrenic mother. She has never met her father, but she's pretty sure he is partially to blame for her mother's mental state. When he mysteriously appears on her doorstep, she tells him to leave. But then strange things start happening; things only he can explain, and Allison finds herself travelling to the land of the fae to rescue her mother before she looses her completely. The Forgotten Ones has a gorgeous cover ad I haven't read many fairy stories. It was good and the characters were convincing. Ethan and Allison's relationship felt very natural and worked well. But the plot sometimes felt rushed and I never felt gripped by what was happening. 

I can see why a lot of people would really rate this book, since it's very well written, but really wasn't for me. It was just a lot more graphic than I was expecting. Not that I necessarily have a problem with sex scenes in books - I love A Song of Ice and Fire and was a huge Chuck Palahniuk fan when I was a teen - I just found them OTT in this book and didn't enjoy reading it as a result. It had some great writing, a really strong plot and an unexpected ending, but I won't be continuing the series any time soon. 

Glamour has a lot of promise. It's another fairy story, but set in a world where demons have taken over and the dwindling human population have been forced to cower behind walls. Only the situation isn't as clear cut as many humans have been led to believe - as Rae discovers as she ventures outside the walls. There were elements of this book that I loved, particularly the concept. However the plot sometimes felt underdeveloped and, as a result, confusing and the romance forced and instantaneous. I think Glamour was the first book Fletcher published and she has written many more since, so I'm tempted to try one of her more recent novels next, as there was a lot I liked about Glamour, it just felt like it needed more polishing. I think my own writing has grown a lot stronger with each book I've written (largely due to the feedback I've received in reviews helping me to pinpoint what I need to work on), so I would like to see where Fletcher is at now, as I think it will be pretty great.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Meet My Villain Blog Hop

Since a) Halloween is coming up, b) Cinaer is my favourite character to write about and c) I'm on a bit of a Wattpad binge at the moment while I wait for my next lot of edits to come back, I have decided to take part in Erin Latimer and Kyra Nelson's 'Meet My Villain' Blog Hop.

1) What is the name of your villain?


2) What motivates him?

Power. Although he comes from one of the Helian Realm's elite families, he has only ever been on the fringes of true power outside of Kalme. Cinaer has his sights set firmly on ruling the entire Helian Realm.

3) What is the villain's relationship with the main character?

Roxy and Cinaer are informally betrothed. At the beginning of Fire their relationship is already fairly heated, but they do get on. By Air however...

Jasmine is certain that he is a danger to Brae and her friends and tries to stay out of his way.

4) What is one thing your villain is afraid of? What is their weakness?

In Fire, Cinaer's greatest weakness is his vanity; something Roxy is only too happy to exploit during training. He'll lose fights in favour of protecting his appearance. 

5) What is their greatest strength

Cinaer knows how to make prudent alliances and how long to keep them going before until he needs to jump ship. When he needs to, he can turn on the charm and manipulate those around him to get what he wants. 

6) Does your villain have any romantic entanglements? 

Well, there's his complex relationship with Roxy. However (Air spoiler alert!) there may be someone else back home in Kalme that the girls should watch out for...

7) List one random fact about your villain

He wasn't in the first draft of the book and became more evil the more I redrafted.

Elements of Power fans should watch out for even more Cinaer in Air. I really missed him in Water and was disappointed that I couldn't fit him into the plot. I've made up for it with lots of great Cin scenes in the final installment.  

Monday, 29 September 2014

Summer Reads Part One

Since my daughter's birth my Kindle has fast become one of my most treasured possessions. Being able to use it one-handed has made it invaluable when it comes to nighttime feeds and I now do most of my reading at 2am! As a result, I have been able to read a lot of books this summer and I'm writing a mini review of each below. I don't normally write reviews and there are a lot of books for me to catch-up on, so they are going to start quite brief and will hopefully get longer as I go along.

I never knew where this book was going to go next! The plot had so many twists and turns and it was entertaining throughout. I particularly liked all of the historical references and how Allan's life intertwined with real-world events. 

Whoa. Where to start with this one? I really loved the writing style, It was distinctive and definitely makes me want to check out more of Lockhart's work (is it bad that I can't write that without my mind going off on a Harry Potter tangent?). I guessed half of the twist right at the beginning of the book, but not the specifics and the writing was good enough to make me doubt myself on a few occasions. Read this book if you like Gossip Girl. 

I started this ages ago, got distracted by other books, and have only just gone back to it. The series is really strong, although I still think the first book - Poison Study - was the best. Fire Study was possibly lacking in Valek a little for my liking. Read this if you like Throne of Glass: it has a strong heroine, magic and lots of action (and read it for Valek, who is one of my favourite male characters).

Another one I started then came back too. I wish I had read this without hearing all the hype first, since I think it set my expectations too high and I was disappointed to start with. It did grow on me though and by the end I found myself eager for book 2. I sometimes felt like there was too much going on and the world (and brilliant concept) might have benefited from a simpler plot. It might also be nice to have some Throne Of Glass-style prequels to better establish Paige's life before the events of the novel. 

I think I bought this when it was free or 99p and it has been sat on my Kindle for a while. I love Greek mythology and this is a clever reinterpretation of the myths, although not as good as something like Sarcrossed by Josephine Angelini. I only gave this three stars on Goodreads and I honestly can't now remember why... Perhaps it's just that it hasn't left me particularly interested in continuing the series. It's good, just not particularly special. 

Another bargain pick-up which I've only now found time to read. I like stories with twins, so that was a major plus for this book and the evil twin concept made it even better. This was a quick, fun read with a good plot and fun characters. It's also self-published! I'm definitely going to continue with the series at some point soon. 

These are just the first six - I will post about the next six (Anathema, The Beautiful and the Damned, Heir of Fire, The Forgotten Ones, The Last Werewolf, Glamour) next week.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Air: An Update

Sorry I haven't posted in quite a while. Don't worry, I haven't vanished, I've just been incredibly busy. At the beginning of the summer I became a mum! I've been rushed off my feet for the past month, but loving every second of it. However, as a result Air has been somewhat neglected... 

I'm slowing mastering the art of using my laptop while my daughter sleeps on my chest, so should be getting back to work in earnest over the next few weeks (between feeds, changes and inexplicable burst of crying, that is!)

In the meantime, I thought I should give you all an update of quite where I am up to. The good news is that Air is finished and edited. It now just needs to be proofread to get rid of any pesky errors. I also need to start working on the cover, which might prove slightly more tricky. I don't want to put to much pressure on myself at the moment, so I'm not setting a release date yet, but Air is coming. Hopefully soon. And if the initial feedback I've been getting on the drafts is anything to go by, you're hopefully going to enjoy reading the trilogy's conclusion. In the meantime, please bear with me and I'll update you whenever I have news. Cover reveal and release date coming soon...

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 9: Cinaer

"I don't have long. We're leaving in a few hours … No, she's got no chance, I'm sure of it … Let's just say I've got a… contingency plan in place. You don't need to worry. I'm certain she'll fail.” I patted the knife at my hip as I spoke, smiling. “How are our pets doing? Not causing you too much trouble, I hope?” As if eager to answer my question themselves, I heard a high, blood-boiling roar in the background. The smile on my face only grew wider. “I should let you go – it sounds like they’re getting hungry.”  

This is the last of my planned prequels and hints at a few things which will prove very important in Air. If there are any other characters you wanted prequels for, post a comment below and I'll see what I can do. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 8: Brody

Okay. Deep breaths, Brody. You can do this. You’re just asking if she needs help, not if she’d like to go out for dinner. She won’t say no. She won’t think the request is strange. She will be grateful you offered. Then, once you’re there, you can show her how amazing you are. She’s have to notice you. You’ll be the hardest working volunteer she’s ever had. Maybe she will be so pleased that she’ll even ask you to dance… No. Stop. That’s thinking too far ahead. Just focus on now. You can cope with now. You can-

“Hi, Devon!”

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 7: Vincent

I would never get away it. As soon as she heard the faintest hint about being sent home there would be no stopping her. She wouldn't stop asking until she wore me down. She was infuriating, my Firefly. But there was no reason why I should give into her. I was her mentor. Her superior. If I refused to tell her she would be unable to find out any other way. The king had trusted me to keep this a secret. And that’s exactly what I was going to do. There was no way she was beating me this time. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Future Learn: Challenging Stereotypes

The challenge for this piece was to take a character stereotype and alter it in an interesting way. When ever I think of artists, I think of mess and chaos as an integral part of their creative process, so I decided to write about a painter who didn't like mess:

Hazel brushed a stray blond hair from her eyes to clear her vision, before blinking her bright blue eyes. Leaning back, she was able to take in the image before her: a lilac skyline, a cerise sun and indigo sea. She glanced back to the real, live sunset happening on the other side of the cottage's window. Perfect. 

Paint pots were scattered around the room, the lid of each placed cautiously beside it, with the wooden floorboards beneath them remaining remarkably spotless. Between her pristine fingers she slowly twirled a freshly washed paintbrush before dipping it into a small pot of ruby red paint. She flicked the excess back into the pot, then used it to add heat to the rays of the dying sun. As she lent towards the canvas her spotless white shirt billowed forwards, coming perilously close to an aubergine pot before she glanced down and noticed it. A slight frown on her face, she moved the pot further away. 

In her oasis of clean, Hazel could be happy. The paint could blend and splatter as much as it needed within the confines of the canvas before her. But not on the floor, or on her skin; she couldn't bear the mess. She didn't like the feeling of dry paint on her skin or the constant sight of green matted in her hair. She couldn't even stand to see the old grey floor spotted with colour or splodges on her clothes. 

Everything had its place and paint belonged in its pots or on a canvas. Anything else was a mess and unnecessary waste.  

I'm going to expand on this idea and use this character as the basis for the short story I have to write for the course this week. Coming up with these stereotype-challenging characters is quite fun once you get started and I definitely recommend giving it a go. I also imagines a pianist who only liked listening to metal music and an eco-warrior with an addiction to long, hot baths and paperbacks. I liked the idea so much that I'm trying it out with my creative writing group on Thursday. I'm sure they'll come up with some even better ideas. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 6: Devon

Oh air, this was hopeless! I was never going to learn to control my Powers. Not before I took out the entire Realm with an out of control whirlwind, anyway. It shouldn't be this hard. None one else had struggled like this and I had the benefit of watching them all go through it. This should have been a breeze for me. Instead, I was causing disaster after disaster. Yesterday there had been a mishap with that bridge, today it was the banners for Brae’s party, which was going to be a failure if I couldn't get myself under control. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Future Learn: Creative Writing

At the moment I am taking part in an online creative writing course, provided by the Open University through a fantastic initiative called Future Learn. There are all sorts of completely free courses you can sign up to take part in and I am really enjoying the creative writing, which I'm now just over half way through. Since it seems a shame to have all this new writing saved on my computer and not share it, I'm going to post a few of my assignments as I go. This challenge for this first example was to expand an idea from my writing note book into a 200-350 word short story. Here it is:

The low moan of centuries past drifted across the rolling waves, up the cobblestone path and through the cottage window, into the ears of a little girl who really should have been asleep. Instead, she swung her torch, which had been poised above a dog-eared book, towards the window.
“Hello?” she whisper-called out into the garden outside.
The moan continued, grumbling through the floorboards beneath her feet as she padded over to find its source.
“Who is there?” she called again to the bushes and the trees and the nesting pheasants who hadn't so much as ruffled a feather at the groan.
When no reply came, she pushed her glasses back up her nose and swung her leg over the sill and down onto the ground outside.
Clutching her torch tightly she climbed all the way out, seeming not to notice how cold the floor was beneath her bare feet, or how the chill night breeze permeated her summer pyjamas. Unperturbed, she headed over to the garden gate, pausing only to tuck her book under the arm carrying the torch so that she could swing it open. Then she was outside and heading towards the shore – and the source of the groan.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 5: Cameron

I breathed a deep sigh of relief as Arcan winds enveloped me; we were nearly home. I had enjoyed my trip to the Brizan Realm – they had been welcoming, kind and courteous. But they had been very different to the people of the Arcan Realm and I was desperate for the familiarity of home. I was more than ready for a rest, too. Brae was my friend, but that didn't make guarding him any less of a job. I was in need of some rest and relaxation… and a few high energy games of ice hockey out on the lake.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 4: Avery

Fire filled my palms, blazing with a ferocity a drakon would envy. A careful flick of my wrists sent the flames careening towards a slate circle fixed to a distant tree. It hit directly. Well, it was slightly off to the right, if you were being picky – which I definitely wasn’t. It might not have been Roxy’s standard, but I believed that toasting a target was all the precision I needed: burnt was burnt; dead was dead. I rolled a small flare between my fingers before popping it in my mouth, inhaling deeply and exhaling a cloud of scalding smoke. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 3: Imogen

So many sparkles! This store was an Arcan paradise from the doorway to the cashier’s desk. I could feel the grin stretching across my face as I pushed open the heavy white door and entered a haven of tranquility. Well, okay, maybe tranquility was stretching it – particularly when there were quite so many Arcans filling the store with chatter and bargaining. But when my eyes zoned in on a floor-length sequined gown that inane sound faded into the background. As on so many trips before, the world became just me and the dress. I had to have it. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 2: Tristan

Goodbyes had never been my thing: they were too messy; complicated by too many emotions. No, it was much better to leave like this. For everyone. And it wasn’t like I would be gone forever. I would return, eventually. And when I did, I would be far more successful than anyone in this tiny town could ever have imagined for me. I would no longer be Tristan Terra, the illegitimate cast off of some unknown, deadbeat Protector. When I returned, I would be President Terra, the ruler responsible for bringing respect to our Realm for the first time in centuries. 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Flash Fiction Prequel 1: Brae

I’ve never felt more alive than with the wind racing through my hair, swirling around my body in an icy torrent of power. Sailing was an excellent way to connect with the element; even if the air was tainted by sea salt. We were almost home. And home meant the Arcan Realm: the land of the Air god, my family and my very best friend, Jasmine. I sighed as her name ran through my mind for the hundredth time that day. I had so much to tell her about my trip… and what I might have learnt about her heritage. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014


I am currently in the middle of a reorganisation of my writing inspiration boards on Pinterest, which has led me to think about how I use the site and the way I organise my notes and ideas more generally. There are a few different formats I use:

I use Pinterest for ideas on character appearance; locations; book cover ideas and (this is what it's the most useful for) outfits. Usually, if I go into detail on a particular dress or outfit, I've pinned a picture of something similar to it. I have boards on Arcan (including some great photos of silver hair), Helian and Brizan style on Pinterest. There are also a few images of Sephan style in my board for Water. Sometimes, however, I use Pinterest more to capture a particular mood or setting and there are lots of pictures of roaring flames on my board for Fire and the sea on my board for Water. Of course, Air has it's own board too, with some inspirational pictures of the sky and snow as well as this and this, which I won't explain just yet, but will become clear when you read Air later this year...

One Note/Scrivener
I use One Note and (for my new novel, Amber & Ice) Scrivener for more general plot notes: chapters to rewrite, ideas to work in, chunks of text that I've taken out for the time being, but might want to re-read at a later point. Both programs make notes easy to organise and find at a moment's notice. I also use these to keep track of name ideas, which is something I love researching and listing. For Elements of Power, I have a table full of different name ideas for different Realms. Most of them have been taken from baby name forums for unusual names. For Amber & Ice, I have a long list of classical Greek names which I check whenever I want to introduce a new character. 

Not all of my note keeping involves technology and I have countless different notebooks filled with ideas formed when I am away from my computer. This is also where I have drawn my maps of the Elements of Power world, which have been invaluable when writing the series (and for planning a few novellas too). 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

500 Word Stories

Thanks to my awesome day job as a school librarian, I was lucky enough to get to spend today judging entries for Radio 2's 500 Word Story competition. 

I really enjoyed getting involved with this competition this year; there were so many original, well written entries and I was excited by the quality of the work. Writing a complete story in just 500 words is difficult to do, but is also a lot of fun. I think that after reading through my entries, my top tips for anyone taking part in this sort of competition in the future would be: 
1) Focus on originality - I read quite a few entries with similar plot lines
2) Make sure your work has a complete plot structure.
3) Just because you've only got 500 words, don't forget to put some effort into characterisation. 

If all of the entries were as good as the ones I was sent, I'm excited to see the finalists for this comp - they are going to be brilliant!

As someone who likes to enter my writing into competition myself, I feel like I've learnt a lot from getting the opportunity to do some judging. Hopefully this will help me to improve my writing in the future.

Reading back through Air (my first job of the day) I definitely came up with some ideas which would make some good 500 word stories (and much longer ones if I could find the time). 

I have now finished editing my first print copy of Air and have lots of adaptations to start adding in on my laptop. I'm extremely excited as Air is getting very close to a point where I can share it with some beta readers for feedback; and I can't wait to find out what they think!

However, following the beautiful weather we've had in the South East today, I think my chances of getting some snow for the front cover photography are growing increasingly slim...

Monday, 3 March 2014

Read an Ebook Week

It's Read an Ebook week over on Smashwords, which means that until the 8th March, you can download both Fire and Water for free!

You can get hold of Fire from here and Water from here and the code you need to enter at the checkout to get them completely free of charge is RW100.

Once you've downloaded the Elements of Power, you can check out the other novels enrolled in the scheme here

I've gone on a downloading spree and have picked up Falling by Amber JaegerThe Fallen Star by Jessica Sorensen and The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton. And I'm still busy looking for more. 


On the subject of ebooks, the current novel I have open on my Kindle is Fire Study by Maria V Snyder. It's the final novel in the Snyder's Study Series and features one of my favourite ever heroes: Valek. If you haven't checked this series out yet, I really recommend it. 

Happy ebook reading! Let me know in the comments if you come across any bargains you want to recommend.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Half Term!

One of the best things about working in a school is getting plenty lovely holidays which give me lots of time to catch up on writing. 

I have been putting this half term to very good use and am now one chapter away from finishing my second draft of Ari {spoiler: this chapter contains a date and lots about Arcan and Helian clothing} Once it is written, I can then go all the way back to the start and try to see if all my latest editions make sense with the original story.

A few things I can tell you about Air so far:

1. It will be longer than Fire or Water. Not massively longer (unless my next read through leaves me with lots of holes to fill!) but it will be longer. 

2. Roxy is very much back to being Roxy, but she is still showing plenty of development and is continuing to progress towards becoming a less awful person!

3. Tristan is great. Really, he is. 

4. Brae has some very tough decisions to make and a lot to deal with on his return to the Arcan Realm. 

5. Cinaer is even more awful than before and I have had immense fun with him in this book. 

6. Jasmine probably has the most growth in this book and you're going to get her to see her becoming a lot more comfortable with who she is and what her powers mean for her and the world she lives in. 

I hope this gives you a little bit of a taste of what is to come! I was hoping for a summer release for Air, but a happy yet unforeseen circumstance has meant that I haven't been able to spend as much time writing over the past few months as I would like and also means that my summer is going to be a lot busier than expected. I'm still aiming for summer at the moment though and will just have to see how it goes! I think you can definitely expect to get hold of Air within the next 6-9 months. I'm also still hoping for a bit of snow over here in the UK, as I want some on the front cover... (Plus snow days: writing days!)

In non-writing news, I have just finished Wonder by RJ Palacio. It's an utterly amazing and extremely moving novel. I really, really recommend reading it if you haven't already. I've now started An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, which I am hoping is going to be a bit happier than TFIOS and Looking for Alaska...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Fire is one year old!

A year ago today, I clicked 'publish' on Amazon, sending Fire out into the world in the hope that other people would read and enjoy it. The response has been amazing: I have received so many wonderful reviews and lots of positive feedback. So much so that I was able to follow it up with the release of Water a few months ago and I'm currently hard at work on finishing up Air, hopefully for a release this summer. This has been an unforgettable year and I have had so much fun - and I have many, many more plans for 2014!

To say thank you for all your support, I am having another giveaway, for 10 copies of either Fire or Water (depending on whether you have yet to start the series, or are still waiting to read the second installment).

Happy New Year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway