Category Archives: Novels

These are the novels that I’ve written.

Discover Cynthia A. Morgan

Charlie meets Sasha

Guess what I have for you?! A never shown before piece of writing in which one of my favorite characters from Book 1 and 2 of my Suckers Trilogy, Charlie, meets Sasha, a character from Book 1 and who will also be featuring in Book 3. Isn’t that exciting? I was asked for this guest blog by Cynthia A. Morgan and you can find the text (about 1000 words) I wrote on her blog ‘Booknvolume’ here. Go check it out! The meeting happens before the virus outbreak and Charlie is still a silversmith. It gives you more background about villainous Sasha and the reason she does what she does. I hope you like it.

Discover Cynthia Morgan

Cynthia_A._Morgan.jpgWhile you’re there, why not check out some of Ms. Morgan’s poetry. She is a wonderful writer with an eloquence in word choice that you don’t come across often. On her new website, All Things (Dark) Fey, you can find out more about her books of the Dark Fey Trilogy. Her first book, The Reviled, has received the 5 Star Review by Readers Favorite and the 2016 New Apple Literary Agency’s Fantasy Book Award for Excellence. the sequel, Standing in Shadows, also has received the 5 Star Review by Readers Favorite. If that doesn’t tell you her books are a must-read, I don’t know what does. They are an epic story about the mystical realm of Jyndari, where Light Loving and Darkness Revering Faeriekind, or Fey, exist. Book 3 is on its way and will be out soon.

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You can find The Reviled here and Standing in Shadows here.

Why not sign up for my newsletter (on my Home page) to receive awesome freebies, including some from this wonderful author?

Discover Ivy Logan

I met Ivy through the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook Page. She contacted me and asked me to write a guest blog for her website about writers and technology. As I was just told by crime writer Wendy H. Jones at the creative writing workshop in Elgin ‘say yes to everything,’ I said, “Yes, of course!”

I had asked Ivy to give me a week to write the article. The next morning I was still in bed when inspiration hit me and I wrote three-quarters of the text. I had wanted to finish it two days later, but my back pain stopped me from sitting behind my computer. It actually stopped me from sitting and I spent most of the day lying in bed. Yesterday, I finally got some painkillers that worked and I was able to finish my article. I enjoyed writing it.

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The article is called ‘Do writers need to be tech-savvy?’ and you can read the full article on Ivy’s blog here.  She also has another website (this one) where you can find out more about her books and the characters in it.

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Ivy is a passionate character that likes a good laugh and lives for her storytelling. As my father took his time when tucking us girls in at night to answer our questions like ‘why does the world turn?’ and ‘how can fish breathe under water?,’ Ivy’s father would mesmerize his daughters with stories of fantastical worlds and mystic creatures (bless our fathers). She has taken all that on board and is now telling stories of her own. Have a browse on her website and find out more about this new upcoming author.

Image by Anton Ponomarev from Unsplash, edited by Jacky Dahlhaus

Anton Ponomarev

Meeting Wendy H. Jones, Scottish crime writer

I just got back from a creative workshop in Elgin. It was organized by the Elgin Writers and the Scottish Association of Writers. The whole Meldrum Writers’ Club was invited, but unfortunately, I was the only one that attended from our group.

The morning started with a talk from Wendy H. Jones, a Scottish crime writer from Dundee. I was surprised to see her here. I knew her through the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Group but had never met her in person. She was fun to listen to and had some interesting insights into marketing. The talk about marketing was the reason for me coming to the workshop and I’m glad I did as I learned some new marketing strategies from Wendy. It was also great to find out what a fun person she is.

You can get Wendy’s first book of the DI Shona McKenzie mysteries here. There are five books at the moment and the sixth one coming out soon!

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Before lunch, we had a talk from a poet (unfortunately I didn’t catch his name) and were given some insight into how to write a poem. We had to fill in the blanks in a cathartic poem and some people read out what they had written. I found it way too personal and nobody is ever going to see what I wrote. Sorry 😀 .

After lunch, we had a talk from Claire Wingfield, a writer and editor. She didn’t have any visuals with her talk and it made it unclear what she wanted us to do in the workshop part of her talk. We figured it out when others began to cite their answers. She also gave us some insight in how she edits writers’ work and this was eye opening.

All in all, I had a great time, met some lovely people, made some connections, and learned some more on the business side of writing.

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Banner photo by Thought Catalog at Unsplash

Thought Catalog

Fun Friday!

I have mixed feelings about the past week. The worst thing about it was that I did my back in. I had gone to the gym on Tuesday. Had no problem doing my exercises at the time, but on Wednesday my back was killing me. I kept getting spasms in a muscle on the left-hand side with minuscule movements. Extremely painful. I didn’t get much sleep that night. I took ibuprofen which helped a little, but it didn’t stop the spasms. I got my husband to pick up some diazepam from the pharmacy, which my GP prescribed me, which would function as a muscle relaxant. I am very happy to say it worked. I only got up twice last night 🙂 .

What were the fun things? Well, I got some feedback back from my beta-readers. Only four typos found so far. Pretty chuffed with this as I think it could have been far worse. I chatted with someone I met via Twitter. He started reading my book and said he found it a good read. Music to my ears! Last week, I forgot to mention, another author told me she revised her book after my review. I was very humbled that she took my words to heart.

I’ve also figured out how to work with Amazon Associates. I may start to earn something now. For a change.

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I’m still listening to the ‘Good Omens’ audio book. It’s too good to put away. My daughter actually began reading the book when I started listening and she’s finished already! We had to get the box with Terry Pratchett books from storage for her. She’s totally hooked on his humor now. You can get ‘Good Omens’ here.

I’m looking forward to the weekend as I’m attending a creative writing workshop in Elgin and we’re filming with AFP again. Busy, busy, busy. On top of this, I am getting some unexpected visitors from down south for lunch. I haven’t seen them for a year, so I’m looking forward to catching up. I better go make my house a bit more representable 😀 .

I’m not forgetting the memes. Here they are:

From Russia with Love: Movie vs. Audio Book

I finished the audio book of ‘From Russia with Love’ surprisingly fast. I listened to it during my gym trips and as I go there three times per week, it was over before I realized. It appears I listen faster than I read 😀 . It was the second audio book I listened to and I must say I like it. It is not a perfect way to ‘read’ the book, as I often find myself losing concentration which makes me miss little bits here and there. With Ian Fleming’s story, I didn’t find this a problem, I didn’t miss the line of the story. I have immediately got myself a new book, Good Omens, written by the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gayman in 1990 and I find their writing not suited for audio. Too much happening, too many references to past text. I need to get another one.

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Back to From Russia with Love. I listened to the story before I (re)watched the movie. I was surprised about the detail Fleming gives in his story. I always had the impression that his writing was ‘below average,’ that it was ‘cheap’ and ‘full of action.’ This didn’t mean there is little information in his writing. The first chapter describes one of the scenes which appears later in the movie. It’s the one where the assassin is being massaged by a pretty lady in her underwear. In the scene, no one talks. Not one word is said, but Fleming details everything. In particular, the girl’s thoughts are described, how she despises the man her hands are working on for no apparent reason. How he terrifies her without ever having said something to her. Fleming describes extremely well what sort of a man he is. After all, he is an assassin (but the girl doesn’t know this). I liked this opening of the book.

There is a lot of telling instead of showing. Every person and every scene are described. I didn’t mind this, but I guess that is partly the director in me. I suppose it helped when they made the movie. Fleming also used a lot of adverbs and adjectives. Again, I didn’t mind this, but I did notice.

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When I watched the movie, the first thing I noticed was that they didn’t follow the book. The sequences were different, scenes were added, helicopters and explosions were added. Another big difference is that SPECTRE replaced Russia as the ‘bad guys.’ I’m not sure if this was done because the relationship with Russia was precarious, but it was a surprise. I hadn’t realized when I read the book. Then again, it had been ages since I watched the movie. As the movie was made in 1963, Sean Connery is very young in the movie. So young, I almost didn’t’ recognize him 😀 . I was annoyed when I was watching him and his co-actors on the screen. I missed the information provided by Fleming in the book. The backgrounds, the character traits, the details; they were totally dismissed. The movie seemed like a very cheap copy.

My conclusion is that I preferred to read the book over watching the movie. But I guess you already knew I was going to say this 😀 .

Fun Friday!

This last week has been a great week. Not because of the weather. The weather has been dreadful. Rain, rain, and rain again. We didn’t have the basement fill with water for a change though. My husband must have fixed the leaking gutter drain properly earlier this year. The man is so incredibly handy! At the moment he is working on the basement bathroom. The plumbing for the laundry in the dressing room is ready and we’re working on the painting now. Progress!

Spent nearly all day yesterday with my son. He had an appointment with a new orthodontist. This was orthodontist #3. Fortunately, the woman agreed that my son does have a dental problem. His top and bottom teeth are not touching except for the very back molars. Orthodontist #2 didn’t see an issue with that. Orthodontist #1 acknowledged the problem but had an issue communicating. So glad we finally have someone who knows what they’re doing and can explain what needs to be done. Which is not a lot for now. Next appointment = next year.

I have been going to the gym, following instructions of my trainer, and it seems to be paying off. I’m sure I saw the outline of some biceps in the mirror. It takes a lot of time and stamina, but I’m still losing weight while gaining muscles. I must be doing something right.

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Talking about muscles… I lied last week. I said there wasn’t a movie out worth seeing. How wrong was I! We went to see Wonder Woman and it was great. As I have been so incredibly busy, I haven’t been able to write a review yet, but will do soon. For the moment, have a look at those biceps of Gal Gadot. They’re almost like mine 😀 .

The best thing of all last week is, of course, that I finished editing Book 2 of the Suckers Trilogy! I finished it on Monday, but couldn’t send it out to my launch team until yesterday. Even then I had to wait till the afternoon as my son’s download that was supposed to happen overnight (some game or other) didn’t happen overnight due to an obscure reason and took up all of our bandwidth the whole morning and early afternoon.  But the Book is out the door now (not yet on Amazon!). If you’re interested in becoming part of my launch team and receive the book for free, sign up on my Suckers Trilogy website. You can actually read a preview of my first book when you click on the preview button to the top left of my page. Nifty widget, if I may say so myself.

Another fun thing that happened this week was my meeting with two brand new actors, Calum and Katy, for our shoot on the 18th of June with AFP in Belmont Film House. It was so nice meeting them and going through the script. It wasn’t my script this time, but another AFP member’s one. Couldn’t have written it better myself though. It’s going to be such fun.

I must admit I haven’t been sending a lot of memes this week. Too busy. I still found some great ones that could have been applied to certain situations 😀 .

PS: I’ve been tweeking my website look again. I hope you like it 🙂

Fun Friday!

This week has been a productive week for me. I had set myself the goal of prioritizing my editing and I have, apart from Wednesday, edited at least three hours every day. I now have only twenty pages to go. There is light at the end of the tunnel! I found I use ‘just’ and ‘again’ too often and need to erase almost every single entry. Thank heaven (and Al Sendall) for that macro that picks up my ‘unwanted’ words! Let me know if you’re interested in it and I’ll give you the ins and outs of it.

The other positive thing this week was the news that our film ‘Busted!,’ a little brain child of mine, has been chosen to be screened (on Friday the 28th of July during the 8-10pm block) at the Loch Ness Film Festival. That was such a boost! Of course, I don’t know whether they want to promote the local film industry or had nothing else to show 😀 .

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They asked me for promotional material and it took me a whole afternoon to make this poster. I had worked with Adobe Illustrator before, but it is frustrating when you’re not familiar with the controls. I’m very proud of my ‘vampire teeth though. The good thing about Illustrator is that it’s a vector program and you don’t get the fuzzy edges when you rescale the image. I did make the poster A3 size, just to be sure.

What else has happened? I officially lost 5kg since I began my weight loss program six weeks ago. Partytime! I can’t see it in the mirror, but it must have disappeared from somewhere. My belt definitely is noticing the difference. I’ve been going to the gym and eating healthy. You can find my meals on #micvinnyfooddiary. Making photos of your food and posting it on social media is a very good stimulant to eat healthier. No more cheating with a slice of cheese for lunch 😀 .

I’m listening to Ian Fleming’s ‘From Russia with Love’ at the moment. Usually during my trip to the gym. It’s my second audiobook (the first one being ‘The Hostile‘ by Joy Mutter) and very different from the movie as I remember. When I’ve finished the book I will watch the movie again and give you my review of the book. I’m also trying to finish a book I bought in a review thread on osfarg. It’s a lovely story, but the grammatical mistakes and punctuation errors are tremendous. I can’t understand people don’t see this themselves. One of the reasons I’m not promoting my books at the moment is because they’re not perfect yet. I don’t want to have my name associated with something that is mediocre. But that’s me for ya.

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On Wednesday, I went to the Meldrum Writers’ Club. It was nice weather, I felt great, and… nobody else turned up. That was a bit of a shame as I had busted my guts to finish this lovely story for it. But I can’t blame them. When the weather is nice in Scotland, you have to make use of it. It could be a while before it returns, a whole year perhaps.

I am a bit frustrated with people not contacting me back after I have asked them to contact me. As you may know, I’m not a very patient person. This doesn’t mean that I’m punctual and without fault myself. I run late for meetings and forget to send people stuff (anxiety plays a role here too). Hence, I (usually) don’t comment on it when people finally do get back to me. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t frustrate me though. If I know them well enough, I do let them know and they can take it or leave it. That’s who I am. After nearly fifty years, I don’t think I’m going to change.

No going to the movies this weekend. At least, not that I know of. Maybe we’ll go and see Baywatch, maybe not. I’m not aware of any other movie that is a must see at the moment (that we haven’t already seen). What we do have planned is painting the dressing room. Finally! All that prep work is done (after a few touch ups today) and we can show it off soon. Next weekend IKEA?

So, what have I been sending meme-wise? Here they are:

Book Review: The Demon of Devilgate Drive, by Colin Garrow

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‘The Demon of Devilgate Drive’ is another great story by Colin Garrow. It’s my third book I’ve read by this wonderful author. This time, the protagonist is a boy, Jeff, who, together with his pal Suzi, goes looking for a school pal named Jimmy. Jimmy is often ‘missing’ from school, but this time it’s different. Jeff and Suzi seem to stay ahead of police investigations and stumble upon a dead body. But is he really dead? Did Jeff hear the dead man talk? More than one ‘mysterious’ occurrence happen to Jeff and Suzi, but together they face all kinds of danger.

I love the way Garrow describes his characters. They are so endearing. Like with ‘The Hounds of Hellerby Hall: Volume 1 (The Christie McKinnon Adventures)‘ and ‘Death on a Dirty Afternoon: Volume 1 (The Terry Bell Mysteries),’ you can immerse yourself into the story without a problem. This time, you’ll be transported back to the seventies, when children played outside until dark and nobody had a phone on them. As is Garrow’s calling card, the people in the story speak with accents which helps you with your travel to a different location. When you time travel, you may as well go some place nice 🙂 .

Even though the protagonists are children, this doesn’t by any means mean this is light reading. Your children will be biting their blankets while you read to them with a spooky voice about the things that are lurking in the dark!

Check out The Demon of Devilgate Drive

Friday Fun Day!

Yay, another weekend ahead of us! What are you guys up to? I’ve got Comic Con planned for the whole Saturday. My daughter and I are going with some friends. I’ll be the only one not dressed up, for a change. I have plenty of costumes, but none are of a comics character. Oh well, I guess I’ll be the only one without going-to-the-loo problems 😀 .

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We have a dilemma regarding our planning. There are three movies in the cinema this weekend we’d like to see. The first one is ‘Whiskey Galore,’ a movie with Eddie Izzard and filmed here on the north coast of Scotland. The guy who did the wallpapering in our living room told us his boat features in it. How cool is that? The other two are ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ and ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.’ For a change, they’re all movies my daughter wants to watch as well. I guess we’ll have to pick two and watch the other one next weekend, together with ‘Baywatch.’

I’m sorry for not blogging more this week. I have a good reason though: I have an editor! She’s a friend of a friend. As always, it isn’t what you know, but who you know. She has already finished editing my book and came back with very good questions and suggestions and corrections. Now I have to thoroughly go through my work and make it better. I’m hoping to do this within the next two weeks. I wished I could do it faster, but life has a habit of getting in the way.

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Last Tuesday, we had the first AGM of our film club, Aberdeenshire Film Productions. We have accomplished quite a bit over the past year. With a sad heart, I have thrown in the towel regarding my producing/directing role in the group and we are now looking for someone to take my place. Even though I liked directing very much, I hated the producing part with a passion. Getting a producer without them directing is hard, so I have sacrificed my directing role in the hope to get someone who is willing to be a producer as well. Apart from the fact that I want to focus on my writing. It was just a bit too much to try and do it all.

Regarding getting more done, I have good news too! We had set our alarm for 6 am this morning. It was very much a case of going cold turkey and we managed to finally drag our bodies out of bed at 6:50 am. I don’t know how your marriage works, but we are almost joined at the hip. My husband is a lot stronger than I am though and normally gets out of bed before I do (and brings me my coffee). Getting up at 6 am, though, is very much like torture for the both of us (yet), and I’m dreading what will happen at 10 pm tonight, but we hope to get used to it soon and get more done. We went for a walk with the dogs this morning, which was very pleasant. We still have to figure out what to actually do so early 😀 .

Last, but not least; memes! Here are the ones I gathered this week:

Finding an Editor

As I am in the process of editing my second novel for a relaunch, I thought it would be a good idea to hire an editor to make it the best it can be. I know I fall into repetitions when I say my English is not my first language, but it really sucks at times, particularly regarding tenses (pardon the pun 🙂 ). I also realize you need an editor because you can never edit your own work.

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So where to find one? For my first book, I used someone from Canada (my book is in US English). She wasn’t a professional editor but offered her services to me for a fair price. She did a fantastic job and we have become close friends, still chatting on a daily basis. I don’t know if I got spoiled, but that’s what I’m looking for in an editor. It needs to be a relationship that ‘clicks.’ They need to feel where you’re going to with your story and help you make it better and help you become a better writer as well. Unfortunately, my friend is no longer available for editing due to time restraints and I need to look for someone else.

Usually, recommendations are the best. So I went with such a recommendation. I contacted this editor and she agreed to work with me on my novel. She said she would get a quote to me within the next 24 hours. That was Sunday. After prodding her three days later, I finally received her quote. It was near twice the price quoted on the website where her services were advertised. Two things happened. First of all, there was a short communication on excuses and, of course, her pricing. As the prices on her own website weren’t current either, she agreed on an (above) mean price. The most important thing for me, though, was that the vibe between us was gone. How could I work with her when she didn’t think my work was important enough to keep her word? Even though her pricing was still fair, I had to decline her services.

Trust

So I am looking for another editor again. Someone who likes what I write and feels the same way about it as I do, someone I can ‘click’ with. Anybody?

(Trust image from memesuper.com, by mrs marcia hunter)