It’s the beginning of the end now as this is the last week of this series. However it’s ending on a high. Kicking off the final week I have posts from the lovely Daisy James and Jeannie Wycherley.
My New Year’s Resolutions – Daisy James
First of all, a huge thank you to Sandra for featuring my guest post on her January Resolutions blog. I’m really excited to be part of it and Sandra has inspired me to really take the time to think about my goals for 2018.
Every year I try to make my resolutions as diverse as possible – not too easy, but certainly not too taxing either. I print them out on a piece of brightly coloured paper and put the list in a pretty frame on my desk to remind me to maintain my focus.
I’ve looked back at my 2017 goals and think I did okay, not brilliant, but at least I was able to tick off seven of the ten resolutions I made. The one I’m most proud of is the one challenging me to take a new class. I wanted to come up with something completely different to the courses I usually pick like creative writing or crafting. So, for the last twelve months I’ve been learning archery. It’s fun, but it’s a sport that requires precision, a steady hand and in my case an ability to laugh at your mistakes.
So, for 2018 I asked myself the same questions as I did last year to help me to select my resolutions and here are a few I’ve decided on.
What are your career goals?
I’m thrilled to be having a brand new series called The Paradise Cookery School published this year. It’s set in the tropical paradise of St Lucia in the Caribbean and follows Amelia (or Millie as she prefers to be known) as she struggles to get to grips with setting up a cookery school there. The first in the series is called Sunshine & Secrets and is due out on the 9th of March. I love the cover! I have to admit that like Millie I’m a confirmed sunshine addict and prefer holidays that involve lying under a palm tree with a book and a cocktail in hand. The second story is called Confetti & Confusion, which will be published in June, and the final instalment is Mistletoe & Mystery, out in September. I can’t wait to invite everyone in!
What are your learning goals?
After writing about cookery schools, I really fancy taking a cookery course myself. I love baking and can often be found sprinkling icing sugar and edible glitter on cupcakes and whipping up a batch of apricot and blue cheese scones. So, to challenge myself, I’ve signed up for an Indian cookery class.
What are your exercise goals?
Writing is a sedentary life, as well as quite a lonely way to make a living. Along with continuing to improve my archery skills, I intend to work on upping my step target to 10,000 a day. I got a step counter in my Christmas stocking so this will definitely help to keep me motivated.
What are your lifestyle goals?
I eat far too many cakes and biscuits than is healthy! Because of my love of baking there is always temptation in my kitchen. So, I resolve to replace the mid-morning treats with a plate of healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggie sticks and dips. I think this is going to be the hardest resolution to stick to, especially when I get the afternoon munchies.
I love going to the theatre so I hope to try to get there more often this year. A member of my family volunteers at a small local theatre that puts on regular amateur performances and we do go as much as we can – even to the shows we’re not sure about which often turn out to be more interesting than we expect. I was lucky enough to be given tickets for The Jersey Boys for Christmas and I’m really looking forward to that night out!
Of course, I love reading and my resolutions always include a goal to read more widely and try new authors, and to expand into non-fiction too. I don’t put a number on how many books I will read over the next twelve months, but I do try to get through as many as I can.
I’d love to hear what’s on your blog readers’ resolutions list!
Once again, a huge thank you for having me, Sandra. It’s been great being here.
About the author:
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
About the Books:
Blurb: She might be the most famous person in the country, but no one even knows her name…
Callie’s exquisite, glittering silk gown has been shortlisted for the celebrity wedding of the year. But just as all her dreams are coming true, disaster strikes!
Leaving behind the bright lights of London, Callie is forced to return home to sleepy Althorpe. And there’s one man she hopes to avoid – the childhood sweetheart who turned her life upside down. But now she’s back, is it finally time to stop running?
Yet, as Callie faces her past, a Cinderella-like hunt begins for that perfect, pearl-embroidered dress, mysteriously submitted without a name…
Blurb: A knight in a shining camper van!
Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…
Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.
Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?
Amazon UK page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daisy-James/e/B015ECQG7E/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Jeannie Wycherley – Decisions, decisions!
2018 is going to be huge! Or it might not be. It’s a trifle difficult to tell, because as I write this, from this side of the countdown to New Year when I’m feeling frumpy, pale and worn out because 2017 has been such hard work, I just don’t know what will happen. But oh the plans I have!
I set myself goals for 2017 and to be fair I hit most of them, but in the midst of that, life did what it does best – it got in the way. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February and had surgery at the end of March, so he was off his feet for several months recovering, while I desperately tried to keep our gift shop open and self-publish Crone, my debut novel as originally planned, and keep hubby on the road to recovery of course. I’d wanted to publish Crone by Easter but in the end we went live in May. I felt like I was juggling a million balls.
In the meantime I shelved the second book I had planned, and instead I began writing a novel version of a short story that was published by Bards and Sages in February. For some reason this story, The Municipality of Lost Souls, set in Durscombe, a fictional coastal town in East Devon, UK during the 1860s, just enthralled me. At its heart it is a story of good and evil. No surprise there, I write dark fantasy and horror generally, but this is a departure for me because it is historical and more ‘Victorian Gothic ghost story’ than gory scares. In The Municipality of Lost Souls, three women, cousins in their thirties, the granddaughters of a woman renowned for witchcraft, each confront evil and inequity in their own way after the municipal officers (men in charge of local government) take it on themselves to use the wrecking of ships as a means to swell the town’s (and their own) coffers. I fell in love with the characters when I wrote the short story and I wanted to explore their world some more.
I am a definite plotter when I write. I find flying by the seat of my pants uncomfortable, and I have a greater tendency to avoid writing and procrastinate if I don’t know what I should be writing. But what I will say is as true for The Municipality of Lost Souls as it is for Crone, is that occasionally a character comes along and they just … take over. In Crone it was the magical and mysterious book shop owner, Mr Kephisto. In The Municipality of Lost Souls, it’s a local Lord of the manor, probably related to royalty somewhere along the line, named Phineas. He is based on an ex-colleague of mine, and his compassion and love shine through, and add a different, more human, dimension to what could be an otherwise rather obvious class divide in the story.
In the meantime, Crone was getting wonderful reviews and people were asking me for a follow-up, so I rather reluctantly looked at what form that could take. It was while I was playing with some ideas for a series that Beyond the Veil began to take shape. In December 2016, I lost a friend (cancer again), and her husband announced her passing by telling us she had ‘stepped through the veil’. I loved this gentle image so much, I kept it in mind.
Having not really shaken off The Municipality of Lost Souls, I decided to set Beyond the Veil in the same location, 150 years on, so the town of Durscombe gets another outing, and there are a few references to previous characters. In Beyond the Veil, the main character, Heidi has a cycle accident and is clinically dead for 183 seconds. However, before she can step through the veil to the other side, someone pushes past her in a furious rush to return to the land of the living, and in the commotion Heidi is sent back too. When she is found at the scene of a murder she protests that supernatural powers are at work. Trying to unravel Heidi’s story, a fraught detective reluctantly enlists the help of local oddball, Cassia Veysie, who claims to be descended from witches (yes, the ones we met in The Municipality of Lost Souls) but her inexperienced meddling with the world beyond the veil simply makes matters worse. After all, there are some doors that should never be opened.
Theoretically then, 2018 could be a brilliant year if I can get both of these out into the public domain. I also have a third novel that I keep rewriting, called The Jumpers, but honestly it’s such a horrible beast of a story (it’s a story about loneliness and the desire to be someone else but the jumpers of the title are people who jump off buildings so it’s a little grim) that it may never see the light of day.
In an ideal world, Beyond the Veil will be out in March 2018, and The Municipality of Lost Souls will follow in August or September, but that depends on finances/covers/editors etc. I’ll probably start writing the follow-up to Crone If you’d like to be kept up to date with these projects please join my mailing list, or my author Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.
Look forward to chatting with you!
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Jeannie Wycherley leapt at the chance to write when she was made redundant from lecturing in 2012. Since then she’s been honing her craft, learning as much as she can from other writers, and scribbling short stories as Betty Gabriel. She finally took the plunge with her novel Crone in May 2017. A repackaged anthology of her short horror stories, Deadly Encounters followed in August. Her short story, ‘A Concerto for the Dead and Dying’, is included in the bestselling vampire anthology, Mrs Dracula.
Jeannie’s inspiration is largely drawn from the landscape where she lives in East Devon: rocky coast, pebble and sand beaches, winding lanes, picture perfect cottages, cliffs and forest. She lives with her husband and three dogs, make a lot of soup in her cauldron, is a terrible insomniac, and plays a lot of Runescape.
About the book:
Blurb: I stood in front of the tree once more, the bark rough beneath my fingertips. This time I knew the truth. I swore on my son’s life that somehow, someway, I would have my revenge.”
Heather Keynes’ teenage son died in a tragic car accident. Or so she thinks. However, deep in the wilds of the Devon countryside, an ancient evil has awoken … and is intent on hunting the residents of Abbotts Cromleigh.
No one is safe.
Heather is drawn reluctantly into the company of an odd group of elderly Guardians when she delves into a series of coincidental deaths. Who are these Guardians, and what is their connection to the Great Oak? Why do they believe only Heather can put an end to centuries of horror? Who is the mysterious old woman in the forest and what is it that feeds her anger?
When Heather determines the true cause of her son’s death, she is hell-bent on vengeance. Determined to halt the march of the Crone once and for all, hatred becomes Heather’s ultimate weapon. Furies collide in this twisted tale of murder, magic and salvation.
Crone is available: