Category Archives: Writing

Guest post by Erika Gardner: Everyday and Not-so Everyday Magic & Miracles

I am a big believer in miracles and magic. Yes, I write about fantabulous things, magical creatures and wondrous sorcery, but I see quieter magic all around us. People can do great things on a daily basis. The power of a hug, the comfort of prayer, and the outcome of a sympathetic ear all have a ripple effect upon the world at large. One person holds a door for another, then that second person picks up something someone dropped, the third subsequently compliments a friend on something and so on. The positive vibes flow, changing each person’s day for the better.

It’s no less special than the stuff in my books though it’s easier to miss the power of a kind word than a dragon appearing in the sky before. And on that note I’d like to share exactly that. This is an excerpt from my new novel The Dragon in The Garden. This is Daisy coming home. Please enjoy.


“Siobhan,” Turel said. The intensity of his tone caught my ear, and I turned to him. He lingered a few feet away from me, his eyes fixed serenely on a point far away.

I joined him, my eyes on the horizon. The setting sun painted the sky a vivid seascape of blues, pinks, violets and oranges. As the sun lowered to the lowest point in the sky, in the instant before its rays spilled over the back of the world, there shone a beam of concentrated light, as precise as a laser. After a second, the light expanded, becoming a brilliant, white ray. It continued to grow, morphing into a tunnel in reverse, but instead of darkness, it blazed a corridor of light. The white light became prismatic, flickering with a rainbow of dancing diamond sparkles, splashing colors of all hues in front of my dazzled eyes.

Turel enclosed one of my hands in his warm grasp. “It is something to see, yes?” His tone reflected true awe.

“Is this your first time seeing this?” I asked in a whisper. The tunnel became larger, dwarfing us. With my free hand I shielded my eyes. Leia sat at my side, gazing in the distance.

“No, I have seen this many times.” He held out his other hand and waved it at the mighty light show. “But a miracle is no less glorious for having previously happened.”

To my left Tim and Alex continued their ridiculous rock throwing competition. Their stones sailed right through the expanding brilliance they could not see. “Guys, are you kidding me?” In the emotion of the moment, my voice growled, low and hoarse.

They stopped and gave me matching blank expressions. “What?” Alex said.

“Hey, what are you guys staring at?” Tim sounded defensive.

Before I could answer their questions, I heard it. A sweet sound, soft at first, barely a whisper, carried on the breeze. Turel’s smile grew even brighter, matching the shining portal. “She comes.” His eyes shone as they met mine.

Alex glanced this way and that. “Does anyone hear that sound?” he asked.

Tim craned his head. “I hear it. It sounds like bells.”

“Wind chimes,” I corrected, still staring straight ahead. “It’s wind chimes.” The air shimmered. Light danced in an intense aurora borealis. Patterns of colors streaked and swooped in a heavenly painting. One hue dominated the others. The deep shade of jade green spread. An enormous form took shape, dressing itself in swathes of color. The huge outline solidified: graceful wings, a serpentine neck, and a curving tail. Two amber lights appeared like jewels in the viridian air. Everything intensified, heightening each of my senses; the lights pulsed. A beautiful, green dragon hovered in the air. With two mighty beats of her massive wings, she crested then landed behind us. I ran forward with a cry. “Daisy.”

“Damn it,” growled Tim. “I can’t see anything even a bit like a dragon.”

“Unless it’s a super little one,” said Alex, his face downcast.

Turel laughed— a big, belly laugh full of joy. “Gwyrdd, you sly minx, show them. Drop the glamour and let our friends see you.”

Daisy twisted her head to one side in a coquettish gesture and in that voice I had never forgotten said, “Certainly, Turiel, dear one.” Suppressed mirth laced her tone. “How’s this, children?”

When she spoke these last words the music of wind chimes came again, louder this time. As their bright notes sounded around us, I saw the precise instant when both my brother and my first love, the two who believed in me all these years, finally saw my dragon.

TheDragoninTheGardenbyErikaGardner-200To purchase The Dragon in The Garden please see:




erikagardnerauthorpicThis post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.


Picking Character Names

Thicker_Than_Water_by_Mary_OSullivan-200Today, we have Mary O’Sullivan who will be talking about picking character names, and about her new novel, Thicker than Water. Welcome, Mary!

There’s a rafflecopter contest too, look out for it!


Picking Character Names

So what’s in a name?   Not a question you would normally think about a lot – until you find yourself having to pick a name for your baby – or character names for your latest story.

I always had the belief that children grow into their names. A traditional name, one that has been in a family for generations, gives a child a place in the family history. It says this child belongs. The problem is, it also imposes obligations, a duty to carry forward history and traditions not of that child’s making.  So Jeremiah Puddleworth the Fifth would most likely be obliged to attend the same school, play the same sport, follow the same career as his ancestors. His other option would be to rebel completely against tradition and take the Puddleworth name to a place it had never been before. Whichever path our Jeremiah the Fifth takes, his given name has a big influence on his future.

Then there is the common name. The run-of-the-mill, every second person name. Mine for instance. Mary. I remember thinking in my teen years that if I had been christened Avril, Jane, Ruth , Hanna – anything but Mary- my life would have been so much more exciting. To compound the solidity and lack of any pretension, my parents chose Brigid as my second name. A Mary Brigid treads carefully through life, not taking too many chances, rarely raising the head above the parapet. Yes, there were and are adventurous and successful Marys. Here in Ireland we have had two inspirational Presidents named Mary; Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese. Marys have excelled in all walks of life ; Mary Quant fashion, Mary Berry cookery, Mary Shelley writing, Mary J Blige singing, Mary Queen Of Scots a powerful monarch , and many more. Yet it is still my belief that these Marys are outstanding individuals despite, and not because of, their given name.

When my writing was first published, I had the option of choosing a pen name. I thought long and hard about that one. Belinda, Amanda, Jacintha, in fact any name ending in ‘a’ appealed to me. Something that would immediately stand out.  In the end the Mary Brigidness of my character won through. How could I hide behind a glamorous name when that would be the antithesis of what I am? In fact why should I hide at all? There is of course, the awful possibility that a newly published book will be slated by critics. The author may even be ridiculed and shamed. But that, said the Mary Brigid in me, is the chance you take when you decide to make your work available to the public. Besides, I suspected then, and know now, that the most likely outcome is that the work you have slaved over for the longest time will barely tickle the public consciousness as it takes its place with the hundreds of thousands of other new publications.

Given my belief about the influence of name, I attach utmost importance to naming my fictional characters. For each of my novels, the main character appears in my imagination, complete with hair and eye colour, height, weight, occupation, history – and name. And so before I put pen to paper , or typed a word, I knew that Claire (Parting Company) would be clever and practical; Robyn(Time And Tide) would be  a successful career woman ; Ella ( Ebb And Flow) would be sensitive and have a tragic history. I get to make the choices for the ancillary characters. I like short names like Zack, Fred, Frank, Martin for the men simply because I have to type them so often over the course of a 120,000 word novel. Laziness if you like. I keep the women’s names short also for the same reason – though if I felt a character needed a long and complicated name with umlauts and acutes, I must of course, allow them to have it. For the most part, I never name a character after someone I know personally. Safer, in case the character turns out to be a nasty piece of work. I am, needless to say, influenced by people in my circle, but I have never deliberately based a character on someone known to me. That is the glory of creative writing. It allows you, in fact it requires you, to use your imagination. To be creative.

Thicker Than Water, my latest novel, is built around the story of Maeve, Jan and Linda, friends for twenty years. Their lives are profoundly affected by a tragic twenty four hours in their home town of Ballyderg. Maeve was the first character to introduce herself to me. I saw her dark curly hair, brown eyes, figure still good but softening into middle age. I felt her vulnerability, understood her love for her husband and children. Yet I felt a strength in her and knew she would do anything to protect her family. The name Maeve, the one she already had, to my mind reflected all those qualities. And so I embarked on teasing out the awful events of the blackest day ever to hit the town of Ballyderg. The friends, Jan, an independent business woman, and Linda, the snobby wife of entrepreneur Gerard, were side by side with Maeve from page one through to the end.  As with real-life characters – which fictional ones have to be for the author during the twelve months it takes to write, rewrite and edit a novel – they grew into their names. It is my hope that people read and enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you to malikagandhi.wordpress for hosting me today and to Lucy Felthouse (Writer Marketing Services) for organising my visit here.

Excerpt from Thicker Than Water

Gerard Shannon felt the tic beneath his left eye begin to beat a rhythm to his impatience. The Town Hall, an impressive granite-stone building from the outside, was a claustrophobic rabbit warren on the inside. To add to the unease of pale green walls, wilting yucca plants and vertical venetian blinds, the Planning Officer’s deep bass bounced off the ceiling and rolled in waves around the room. He spoke in sound bites.  Gerard smiled at him because Phillip Long was an influential man. An essential cog in the slowly turning wheel of commercial life in the rural Irish town of Ballyderg.

“So when do you expect full planning approval through?” Gerard asked.

“Next planning meeting.  Trust me, I’ll have the objectors on-side. Everyone wants to see Ballyderg recover and this development is the way forward.”

Gerard nodded but said nothing. Another block of retail units in the town centre was not, in his opinion, what Ballyderg needed.

“I’ll let you know about the meeting,” Phillip said. “Give you time to work up an ad campaign for letting the units.”

Gerard stood. As the only letting agency in the town his business should automatically get the contract without having to kowtow to councillors but that is not the way things worked.  At this moment he didn’t give a damn about the units or even about Ballyderg. He offered his hand to Phillip Long.

“Thank you. I appreciate you keeping me in the loop.”

“No problem. No problem. We’ll touch base when the planning’s through.”

Gerard made his way as quickly as possible down the once stately staircase. Outside he checked his watch. It was time. Leaving the town he headed towards the hills and the appointment he had to keep.


Blurb for Thicker Than Water :

When local teenager, Keira Shannon and her father, business man Gerard Shannon, go missing, the town of Ballyderg unites to search for them.

 As the search continues rumours of domestic violence, extramarital affairs and criminal behaviour are rife. The crisis causes families and life long friends to doubt each other.

 The only certainty left is that the town has been visited by evil. Or has it? Could it be the evil one has always lived there sharing history, laughter and tears? And if so, who could it be?

 Buy Links

 Amazon buy links :            

Tirgearr   Publishing                 

 Amazon Author Page:              

Author  Biography:

maryosullivanauthorpicMary worked many years as a Laboratory Technician. Her hobby, her passion, has always been writing. Busy with family and career, she grabbed some moments here and there to write poetry and short stories. She also wrote a general interest column in a local newspaper.

As the demands on her time became more manageable she joined a local creative writing class. It was then, with the encouragement of tutor Vincent McDonald, that the idea of writing a novel took shape. She began to expand on a short story she had written some years previously. It was a shock for her to discover that enthusiasm and imagination are not enough. For the first time she learned that writing can be very hard work.

Mary now has six traditionally published novels, nine eBooks and hopefully more to come, inspiration permitting.


Social Media Links

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To or not to self-publish?

10353184_10204372130369223_1878311095685583151_n (2)Today, I have the marvellous Mary Wood on my blog today. She will be talking about self-publishing and traditional publishing. Over to you, Mary!

Hello Malika, nice to be here, thank you for asking me.

To introduce myself, I am Mary Wood. I am a published saga author of Pan Macmillan Publishing House. I began my career as an Indie author and I hope my blog about my different experiences is interesting to you.

Let me explain the terms of the title: An Indie author is a term given to an independent author who publishes themselves, mostly on ebook outlets. A traditionally published author is one who is published by a publishing house and their books are in paperback and hardback in the shops as well as on ebook outlets.

  • Of course there are some things that are the same for authors in both fields: Firstly, however we are published we are all authors.
  • Secondly, we all have to work extremely hard to become successful.
  • Thirdly, we all have a readership, something that amazes us and pleases us all.

As an indie author: I was on my own. I wrote my books on what subject I wanted to. I wrote them in my own time. I had my own style, length and chose location. I paid to have my books edited. I designed, or when I could afford it, paid to have a cover designed for me, and promoted myself and my books with limited outlets and no help (I’m not talking about the wonderful support other authors, family, friends, or indeed my amazing readers were, but about practical and financial help.) And, lastly, financially; I did really well as an indie author, and my royalties came in every month, which was very nice. All of this can be summed up in one word, freedom – freedom to make all my own decisions. Freedom to determine my own success.

As a traditionally published author, I find every process that I have mentioned above very different. It took me a while to get used to some of them, but I can say that though I loved being solely an Indie author, I wouldn’t want to go back despite losing the freedoms above. For me I have swapped freedom for verification. I had this from my readers, but now I have it from the most respected professionals in the publishing industry as well. I still pinch myself every time I wake up. It is a dream come true. All of this I say with fingers crossed as not being in charge of my own fate, I rely on being offered a new contract every time one comes to an end and that isn’t guaranteed. When authors were dropped by publishing houses in the past, that was it. Now I have the security of knowing I can go back to being a full time Indie author.

The differences outlined: I will list each process that I have mentioned above and explain how each is different in the trad pub world to the Indie pub world.

  • Being on my own: As a traditionally published author, I am not on my own. I have an agent, who does so much for me and is in my corner. It is sometimes like having my own union rep as all of my interests are taken care of. Financial matters are in her hands. The correctness of contract. The fighting for new contracts and making them as flexible as she can to fit me. Also as lucrative as she can. She is concerned for my welfare and often telephones me if something is going to change to make sure I am alright. When I have to go to London she will meet me at the station and make sure I don’t get lost. She advises on plot if she thinks I am not on the right track. She checks that my statements are correct. And, she is a friend. She is paid 15% of all I earn but is well worth it. Besides her, I have a whole team of people in the publishing house, my own Editor, who works closely with me. She commissions my work – or could reject it – not happened so far, thank goodness. She guides and advises me and also supports me in any way needed. And is also a friend. I also have a dedicated publicist and both she and my editor have a team who are there to support help and advise me as well as to do all they can to further my career.
  • Subject: There is quite a leeway with this, but within a framework. For instance, at the moment, my novels are set in wartime and I have two world ones to choose from. This gives me a massive scope as I have chosen to write about women’s roles in the war and the family and personal toll on those who stayed behind and those who went to fight, or took up war work.
  • Timeframe: I have a stipulated deadline now and have to meet it. Mine is in November for a book that will be published the following November.
  • Style: Every publishing house will have their own style. Mine uses the ‘z’ spelling as in realize etc… Chapters are presented in a certain way and layout is special to the house too.
  • Length: For a saga, such as I write, there is a stipulation of minimum of 100.000 words. And this is a figure they would really like you to keep as near to as possible. Most of my indie books, which are gradually being published traditionally, are at least 20.000 words longer than that and I often find myself writing an epilogue in my new books to tie all the ends rather than give everything wordage. It is a process that I rather like as all my sub stories are drawn into it and it gives a lovely rounding off to the novel.
  • Location: I have been given a main setting for my books. This is because we authors cannot be all writing about the same things and the same area. We need an identity. Our readers need to know that Mary Wood books will be set in London and the North, and may take you to other countries. Whereas, Diane Allen books will be set in the Yorkshire Dales, and Annie Murray books in Birmingham etc: I found this particularly difficult to adapt to as I knew very little about London and had thus far had set all but one of my indie books around Leeds. It was the one that I didn’t, venturing out from the North to London and back, that won me the publishing contract and set the seal on my location. However, my subject helps with this as people travelled all over during the wars. Londoners went north, west, and east to become Land Girls, Special Agents went to France. Factory girls went to cities, so I can still have London based characters, but can mix them with Northerners.
  • Editing: This is a very difficult discipline for authors in traditional publishing as your editor and her/his team strive to give your work its very best face and to keep the pride of the publishing house standard too. A book can have several edits before it is ready to go. A structural edit is the first and the most painful. A first chapter may have to be moved to 4th (all authors will know what disruption this could cause!) Scenes can be cut, or elaborated on. Detail is scrutinised – in the sense of giving a grounding to where the characters are, what time of day it is, are they sitting or standing, and all has to be subtly written in so it doesn’t appear that you are stage managing your characters. Next will come a line edit, when punctuation is looked at and correct use of words etc… Next will be an edit that picks up on research, and if names are spelt the same throughout, and situations that couldn’t happen, or that deny something that has already happened. And finally there is the proofread edit. This is the last chance to put anything right that is wrong, and usually done by an independent reader followed by the author giving it a last sweep. A long process that often has you thinking that you cannot possibly read your words through again! But a very worthwhile one that makes your work sing off the page.
  • Cover: The author does have some input, but not the final say on the design of the cover. Portfolio pictures of models who might fit the bill are sent to me and I choose the one I think looks most like my imagined main character. Next there is a photo shoot in whatever costume has been decided upon. I am sent the photos and I get to pick the one I like best. The background, font and colour are the editor’s choice. Though there was one of them that I thought too light and said so, and this was changed. So, all in all very much a partnership choice.
  • Promotion: This is where I have felt an amazing change. Yes, there is still social media for me, but beyond that, I have been featured in a national magazine twice (People’s Friend). For each book I have an expenses paid book launch party and book tour. There are opportunities to have your name on other author’s books in the form of a comment about the book. I am featured on Margaret Dickinson’s next release The Buffer Girls. My books are visual as physical copies in supermarkets and leading bookshops. Local papers want to feature me. Papers from other areas review my book. I am suggested to bloggers as someone to feature.  I co-authored a book of Christmas short stories with four other very famous authors. And I’m featured in and often write a piece for Pan Macmillan’s own publication Tales from the Heart, an annual publication which gives news from Pan MacMillan saga authors, and showcases their next publications. Most of this is exposure I could not get as an Indie author.
  • Finance: I think this is where the biggest difference is between the two modes of publishing. I loved knowing exactly how many books I had sold and being able to see my royalties growing on an hourly basis. I also loved having a good payday every month. And with the kindle books I still have published, I do get this, only on a much smaller scale than I used to earn as the number of books that I own the publishing rights to gets less and less. Also they have been up for a long time and their popularity is diminishing. In traditional publishing finances work in a very different way and I have to wait six months before I receive a statement of sales and any money due to me.

I welcome your comments, and if there are any authors reading this who would like further information on any of the aspects I have talked about above, please ask the questions, I don’t mind sharing with you more about the finance for instance as that was always a mystery to me.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell, but just before I go a quick note on ‘Tales from the Heart’ magazine. Besides the features I have mention above, there are also competitions to enter and special offers on books. If you would like to receive this free magazine write to: Pan Macmillan, Saga Newsletter, 20 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RR give your name and address and tell them you read about it in a guest blog written by Mary Wood, on Malika Gandhi’s Inspiration blog.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I have very much enjoyed exploring this subject with you. Much love to all, Mary x

Thank you, Mary, for a brilliant in-depth explanation of the ins and outs of traditional and self-publishing. It surely is an eye-opener, and I am sure, it will be very beneficial to my readers.

Author Spotlight: Caroline Bell Foster

Author Image - Caroline Bell Foster (2)Today, in the Author Spotlight is Caroline Bell, a successful East Midlands (UK)  author of many novels, including her recent book Feline Fix. Let us find out more about her, and her inspirational success!

  1. Please tell us a little about yourself and your books

Firstly, thank you so much for having me. I live in Nottingham, England, with my husband, two children and lady of the house a cat called Naomi.
In my early teens my family went on what should have been a six holiday to Jamaica, but we ended up staying. It took me almost 18 years for me to return to England, with long diversions through Canada and Kenya.
I like romancing and exploring different cultures. I write contemporary romantic fiction and my work reflects all that I am and my many travels.


  1. Can you tell us something quirky about yourself?

Hmm, hard one. I look forward to one day being called ‘The mad Cat lady down the street.’ I can belly dance? Is that considered a quirk? I love wine gums, Jamaican and Moroccan food and always always have music playing in my house.


  1. What is the name of your recent release, and can you tell us a little about it?

The Feline Fix, is my latest novella. It is part of the Valentine Pets & Kisses boxed set, alongside 13 other
The Feline Fix Book Cover
The Feline Fix
authors from around the world and is available to pre-order right now.
I loved writing it as it combined two of my favourite things. Romance and cats and although it wasn’t planned, it followed on from The Cat Café, although it is a stand alone novella.


  1. What new releases are you planning this year?

Aside from The Feline Fix, I have two full length novels.
Distracting Ace (Spring) and the follow up novel Convincing Kyle (Autumn) Both are set primarily in Derbyshire and then go over to different parts of the world. In both, I’m exploring disabilities and how people manage and are treated by others, although still very romantic.


  1. This blog is all about inspiration. Where do you find your inspiration from to write?

Someone once said, whatever you were doing before the age of 10 is what your were destined to be, before the noise of the world intrudes. I have two distinct memories.

The first, was seeing my name in print. It was under a photograph of myself in the Derby Telegraph celebrating Victorian Week when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I remember looking at my name, seeing the black fuzzy script and liking the feeling.
The second memory, was when I was around 11 years old. I had this crush on a boy and wrote him a love letter. In that cruel way of kids, he’d posted it on the blackboard for everyone to see! But to me, I was really proud my romantic words were actually being read! Unofficially, that love letter was my first ‘public’ works.
But I’ve always written in some capacity and inspiration is all around. I’ve learned to look at everything and everyone with a writers eye. I’ll be out shopping and see someone with an interesting face, and then match them with someone else, give them a history, and thus, a story is born. My characters are diverse and I like that I have an international fan base.


  1. Are you a self-published or traditionally published author? What do you like and dislike about it?

I’m what is called a Hybrid Author. I’m contracted to a publisher and I also self publish some of my own titles. I have the best of both world’s. My publisher is like family and we discuss titles and time frames and see what works for both of us.
I do like self publishing though and have a lot of fun doing it. Call me a control freak, but there is something very satisfying about being in charge of an entire project, right up to release day and beyond.


  1. In the current publishing era, it is known that all authors, new and established, have to do a lot of their own legwork to get their books out there to the readers. What is your best marketing strategy you have used, and did it bring in the results you wanted to see?

 Be yourself. I’m very personable online, well I hope I am (smile). I don’t spread myself too thinly across social media, and concentrate on my Facebook pages, as well as Twitter and Pinterest to ensure I have enough time to interact with people online and of course have time to write. I have found that my fans like when I do a Facebook page for a single title and when I host online parties. But mainly, I’m just me.


  1. Now let’s find out about some fun facts about you. What is your all time favourite novel and why?

Not a fair question as I love and cherish practically every book I’ve ever read, too many to name and most of the authors’ are now my friends.
Although, as a little girl I read the Milly Molly Mandy series and loved them and also a series about an old man who had a black and white cat. I don’t remember the name of that series but I do remember one story where he picked up the glue instead of toothpaste and glued his mouth shut. He couldn’t talk to his cat and started crying. His tears dissolved the glue and he and the cat lived happily ever after! Ah so sweet. I must have been around 6 years old when I read that.
As an adult, whenever I want time to myself I usually read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I’ve read it countless times and still find it fascinating and entertaining.


  1. Who is your all time favourite author and why?

I have two answers to this. The first is longevity and who I will always read. Throughout my teen years I read every novel by Johanna Lindsey. I loved her writing style and the way she could write in various genres from historical romance, to futuristic and everything in-between. Her writing has always inspired me.
The second answer, includes all the various authors who champion diversity in not only romantic fiction, but all fiction. For years an entire demographic had been ignored by publishers and agents. I am so proud of the likes of Delaney Diamond, Brenda Jackson, Harper Miller and JL Campbell to name but a few. These ladies ignored the rules and like me, defied convention to ensure readers have a choice.


  1. Any last inspirational words from you?

 Find the time to do what you are passionate about. New writers always say they don’t have time to write. They are in school, have full time jobs, a family and say there just isn’t enough hours in the day.
I write in the wee hours of the morning, for a few hours everyday and when I’m not writing I’m doing something writer relate, to ensure I’m always moving forward and following my bliss. Always make time to follow your bliss.


  1. How can we find you?

Amazon Author Page:
Available to Pre-Order from Amazon!

Two Realms

realmToday, I welcome Marcia Carter on my blog, Inspiration, today. She will be giving us an insight into her books, Realm of Miotas, and Realm of Bynthcahal, and her inspiration behind it. Over to you, Marcia!

I’ve always been captivated and enamored by the many mystical places of the world. My favorites happen to be Stonehenge and Easter Island. I was amazed after completing and publishing my first book, Realm of Miotas, to find that in fact, there are many similar structures all over the world, but Stonehenge seems to get the most recognition. The Maoi statues that litter Easter Island, standing tall and proud, with little to no true explanation as to their creators or purpose, have also intrigued me. Their presence in our world has sparked my creativity and flow from their esoteric origin. Maybe I am a vivid dreamer, but I invite you to read about my dreams.

Realm of Miotas – Miotas is Gaelic for Myth – so in translation it is really Realm of Myth.

I have utilized a structure that was in ruins and reaffixed by Druids similar to Stonehenge in a forest. They unknowingly reassemble a portal to another realm. It only opens for a few hours, once every twenty years, when the hunter moon lies above the entrance, and aligns in the center of the stone formation. When it becomes close to dawn the doorway closes. All but one of the Druids crosses back and forth, until the doorway closes, leaving only one man to carry the tale of his friends disappearances. No one believes him and the man is deemed crazy.

The structure conceals itself in the forest to hide against anyone who is not true in heart. A group of gypsies later discover it, only to carry on the tale of the structure, until it is discovered again in the 1800’s by a couple families fleeing for their lives, hoping that the structure will be as it has been fabled about, a doorway to a new and magical world.

When the portal opens, the families enter, and they experience for themselves a world that Earth has been long disconnected from, Miotas. There they encounter many creatures and beings, such as fairies and odd looking creatures that resemble nothing like we’ve ever seen here. Also they meet the natives and begin to learn of their culture. A few surviving Druids that had long since crossed over to Miotas crave to return to Earth.

They find and reassemble another structure in Miotas; only to find that instead of being a portal to bring them back to Earth, it leads to a long closed Dark Realm, Druneul. Upon it’s opening, evil creatures cross over to Miotas to destroy and be released from confinement. Dormant guardian’s of the Realms of the Universe, Zemaxians, ten foot beings with Angelic features, awaken to aid the Miotian people, to fight against the darkness and try to close the doorway.

I do go into great length to build the plot in the book, for you to really get to know the main characters well, because many appear in its sequel, Realm of Bynthcahal.

Realm of Bynthcahal – Realm of Bynthcahal is the Realm of the Zemaxians.

I have given the Maoi definition for their creation, purpose, and value. In this story I was able to introduce many more creatures, fictional, as well as I used actual animals that have long been extinct in our world. My thoughts are, if a doorway did exist once, that they could have traveled back and forth between the worlds and could still exist there. Since the basics of the portals have already been explained in the first book, I dove into deeper depths with another world long disconnected from. One that has even more marvels than Miotas, but is an integral part to all of the Realms.

Thank you so much, Marcia. May I take this opportunity every success in your books, and writing career.

If you would like a copy of Marcia’ books, please click below:

41EiRgyf5nL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Get it here on Amazon – Realm of Miotas



yantA6NW-webGet it here on Amazon – Realm of Bynthcahal

Inspiration on Writing that something

Do you love to write? Do you want to write? What are your excuses? Can’t find the time, I have kids, I have … and the list goes on.

Well today, I have Katherine Garbera, a very successful author with 75 books published, here with me today to tell us how she organises her workload and how she manages to write every day! Over to you, Katherine!

Katherine Garbera

For the majority of my adult life (since I was 23) I have been writing.  I’ve been published since I was 26 and have made writing my daily life.  I set goals so I stay on track and accomplish the things that are important to me.  Goal setting and daily writing go hand and hand for me.  And I hope these tips will help to achieve your goals as well.

 Goal Setting

  • Write it down. There is great power in words. We already know this, it’s why we are writers, but when we think we want something but we only keep it in our mind and never write it down, it isn’t concrete.  By writing it down and looking at it every day, it helps to focus the mind and gives you the motivation to ensure you do are working toward your goal every day.
  • Make your goals achievable.
    It’s easy to get excited when making a list but if you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t. So pick things that you can accomplish.  One of my goals is to write every day.  I can easily do that and some days, if I’m honest, writing feels like a job and not fun, so putting down a goal of writing every day makes it easier for me to do.
  • Small steps = success.
    Once you’ve written down your goal then figure out what steps you have to take to make it happen. For example if your goal is to finish a book this year, then think what do you have to do every day to make it happen?  Probably write a certain number of pages/words a day.  Then you make that your daily goal and finishing the book your yearly goal.
  • Put things on the list that are easy i.e. write every day.
    Don’t make your list so big that the thought of looking at it makes you shiver with dread. Put on things you can easily do.  One of mine is stand up for 15 minutes every hour.  This is something I really should do, but don’t.  For health reasons I really need to start making it happen, so by adding it to my list, I’m making it happen.  But it’s easy and achievable as well with very little effort from me.
  • Make it measurable.
    How will you measure you steps to your target? Taking our earlier goal of finishing a book in year, then the daily goal of writing each day, you should have a check in at the end of every week and month to see if you are getting closer.  It might be that your book is going faster than you thought and you might finish it early.  Or you might find that you have to write more to make your goal.  Whatever happens adjust accordingly.

Daily Writing:

  • All you need is 5 minutes.
    A lot of time it’s easy to make excuses not to write. Writing is hard and sometimes scary.  So we tell ourselves that we can’t write because we don’t have a dedicated space (go to the library or coffee shop), it’s too noisy (use headphones and some soothing sounds i.e. rain forest or ocean), I don’t have a huge block of time (you only need five minutes to write a sentence).  This is the inner creative child who is afraid of failing stopping you from writing.  You can calm it by sitting down and saying I’m only going to write for five minutes and then stop.  Usually, that will jump start the creative juices and lead to writing for much longer.
  • Log your writing and find the time that works best for you.
    This is sort of fun if you like graphs and spreadsheets. I don’t but I still like doing it.  You try writing at different times during the day. Some of you (like people with demanding day jobs and moms) won’t have the luxury and you’ll end up writing like I did when I worked fulltime…in my car on my lunch break and then when I had two toddlers at night after they went to bed.  But you will find the time that you are most productive by logging the amount of pages/words you get done in a writing session.  Then you can focus your efforts to writing during that time.
  • Set your timer: Write 15 minutes, break 10 minutes, Write 15 minutes.
    Try the timer. It’s kind of like the only 5 minutes things but this is for when you are on a deadline and you have to get a certain number of pages done in order to turn your book in on time.  You can adjust the timing to whatever works for you.  This is my current set up and I really like it.
  • Set achievable expectations: 500 words, 5 pages, 1 chapter.
    It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to write 50 pages in one day unless you’ve done this before. So set goals that make sense to you and realize they will grow the longer you are writing every day.  I think of this creative part of my mind as a muscle that gets stronger the more I use it.  When I first started writing I could do one chapter a week.  That was it.  I had a full time job, two kids and a husband—more than that simply wouldn’t work for me.  But once I started writing full time I found I could write a little bit more and now I write a chapter a day and still have time to do fun things!
  • Use an affirmation that jump starts your writing session.
    This only works if you believe in affirmations.  But I always say “Writing is fun and easy for me.” Makes the writing session more like fun than work.

Thank you Katherine! I know what my goals are going to be!

To purchase her latest release, Eye Candy, click here: Eye Candy

To purchase her upcoming release, His Baby Agenda, click here: His Baby Agenda

Comments below very much appreciated.

A war story

Today, I welcome to my blog, Sue Wilkinson who will be telling us about her children’s book Bombs and Bunting, which she also illustrated. Over to you, Sue!

Sue Wilkinson picI’m Sue Wilkinson, a retired primary school teacher, drama enthusiast, lifelong Elvis fan and now, at last, an author!

It’s not that I have only just started writing. In fact, I have been writing plays for as long as I can remember: for schools to perform, for local drama groups, as festival entries and alongside my husband for his touring theatre company. I have also written lyrics and the occasional poem but never a novel, or even a short story. Far too daunting! Too long and so many words! I was used to dialogue and the barest of description in my stage directions.

Not that I didn’t want to write a best seller. Of course I did. Everyone does. It’s just that I thought I had nothing to say. Well, nothing that would take 80,000 words! So I snuggled down into my comfort zone and continued to write plays.

Last year, I wrote a play to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of VE day, for a  group of children to perform in a local drama festival. There could only be one set and, although I wanted a Victory Street party to be central to the play a street scene presented too many difficulties.

Imagine the props needed and The All England Festival rules only allow ten minutes to set up! It also had to be somewhere where a group of children would congregate and the idea of a bombed out house came to me after seeing photos of children playing on city bomb sites. Much easier to set, without the fear of being disqualified because we failed to strike the set in the required time!

There were five characters in the play, which I called ‘Spoils of war’. They were all children aged between ten and fourteen years of age, living in the same terraced street in a northern city and all had reason to avoid the celebrations. Each had suffered in different ways, as a result of the war.

The play won two awards and afterwards the adjudicator happened to mention that he would love to know more about the characters’ back stories and what happens next.

Flushed with success, I decided to write a short story based on the play and armed with the script, attempted to change it to prose. What a challenge that turned out to be for someone used to telling the tale almost entirely through speech! However, after many attempts, I had something resembling a reasonable piece of prose and then wrote a story for each character.

To my delight, I discovered I had written about twenty five thousand words – over half way to a children’s novel! But all I had was five short stories. It lacked structure. Back to the drawing board. Actually, it was more a case of back to the whiteboard because I bought some self adhesive whiteboard paper, for the office wall, before covering it with a plan, a street map of the area and a timeline. I started again.

Four months later, I had written and illustrated my forty one thousand word novel called ‘Bombs and Bunting’!

What I hadn’t bargained for was the sheer enjoyment of writing about these lives and others from the same street. I recalled sayings from my own childhood in Leeds and remembered with great fondness, old friends and the imaginative,exhilarating games we played outside in the street from dawn to dusk in the school holidays. The dialogue was a pleasure to write and caused me to chuckle on many occasions, when I remembered the dry Yorkshire humour of my hometown.

Now, what shall I write about next?

Thank you, Sue, for telling us about your inspirational journey of writing. We wish you all the best in the future for your books!

If you would like to buy Sue’s book Bombs and Bunting, please click here!  Available as a paperback. Bombs and Bunting