Focus Friday – To Have And To Haunt Cover Reveal!

Title: To Have & To Haunt

Series/Volume: The Possess Saga / #4

Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Release date: October 4th, 2013


Ghosts aren’t the only thing that can haunt you…

Nolan and Harley have been in paradise for the last year, head over heels in love. When Nolan proposes and they find out Harley is expecting, it seems they both will have everything they ever wanted.

Or will they?

Nolan’s kept the horrors of his past locked away. After all, he has Harley and Finley’s Pub is doing great. None of it matters anymore, right? But when the news of nuptials and babies has the opposite intended effect with his estranged mother, the ghosts of his past come rushing back, and the memories of them are terrorizing him nightly. But he can’t tell Harley. On the verge of marriage and parenthood, Nolan must figure out a way to deal with his past, or let it consume his future with Harley.

Harley’s always known she wasn’t normal. Seeing Brody’s ghost only confirmed that. But now a killer is on the loose in Midtown and she’s having visions of each victim’s death. Will she be able to help them and accept just how different she truly is? Pregnant, engaged, and contending with an overbearing mother-in-law, Harley isn’t sure she can take on the responsibility and the future laid out in front of her.

They say love conquers all. But as Nolan and Harley struggle with their own secrets, will their love be enough to keep them together?

Or will the things that haunt them finally tear them apart?


Book Trailer:

The Possess Saga on Goodreads:

Author Bio

J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.









Focus Friday – Relative Deceit Release!

Welcome to the blog tour of Relative Deceit! This wonderful novel is being re-published through Moon Rose Publishing on the 30th August 2013, and is a crime thriller that will have your brain in knots. A fortune, a family, and one man greedy for it all. Scroll down to find out more, and get ready to add this to your summer reading!


The Blurb!

Sir George, Baronet of Bancroft Hall, has run his family and their fortunes into the ground. All seems hopeless, until they are visited by their cousin, Gregory Rogers. He promises to return the family to their former glory, but is he all he seems?

Driven by jealousy, greed and desire, nothing will stop Gregory Rogers from taking that which he believes is his. He’ll do anything to gain money, Bancroft Hall and the power that comes with the title of Baronet.

Even murder.

Until his eyes fall upon the beautiful Jane. Clever, intelligent, and beautiful, she finds herself the unknowing victim of a vicious plan to dispose of her parents and brothers. With no one standing in the way of Gregory’s plans, can she rescue him from himself?

Will she be the one thing that he cannot ruin, in order to have?

More About The Author


Karen Aminadra is an English author who can usually be found with her head in the clouds and muttering inanely to herself.  She mostly resides in her writing cave, and is occasionally allowed to come out to eat.  Her love of reading, writing short stories and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels.  Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by  winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since.  Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.  She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work.  Today, with her feet firmly back in England, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.

Links For The Author


Facebook Author Page


 Moon Rose Publishing

Links For The Book

Amazon UK

Amazon US



Moon Rose Publishing

Teaser Thursday – Creator Of Shadows!

Hello, lovely peeps! 😀 I know, I know what you’re thinking…no, not that thing about the cookies. That I was going to put up a snippet of Daughters Of Brigitania today? Well…I’m not. Muhahaha! I’ve decided it might be nice to give you guys a peek at Creator Of Shadows instead, the third in my Scarlet Rain series. Enjoy! 🙂 

*And as always, this is from a WIP, so remember there might be a few editing errors. 😉

If she tried slamming herself against the door one more time, she was going to break something vital.

Lorenna gave a grunt, and slid down against the polished wood, landing heavily on her butt. She lifted a grubby hand and ran it through her stuck-together hair, rolling her eyes in disgust at the tatters. She slumped back and roved her eyes around her cell, taking in the broken bed and bench. The floor was made up of grey slabs of stone, cold and unforgiving as she perched herself on it.

“You could have at least left me with some water!” she cried out, twisting herself so her shout could be heard outside. Lorenna sighed to herself, and leaned her head against the door once more. She didn’t have a clue where Feoran was. Or why he had taken her—well, no, that wasn’t strictly true. It was because he had the hots for her. Unrequited hots, I’d like to add. But it still didn’t explain exactly why he thought locking her up would help her see him in a romantic light. Stockholm Syndrome might be the closest he would get, and that wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

Receiving no answer, the witch rubbed her hands together, firing up her magic. Thrusting her hands out, she attempted to blow a hole through the stone walls…succeeding only in making a few small sparks jump away from her fingers. “Bloody hell!” she yelled in frustration. There seemed to be some kind of barrier in the room, preventing her from casting any spells. Perhaps snatching her away from battle hadn’t been a spur of the moment thing, after all. Feoran had obviously planned this for some time.

As if on cue, keys rattled in the lock above Lorenna’s head. She jumped up in readiness, cursing the lack of protection she had for herself. Her violet eyes drifted over to the bed, a brief thought about trying to snap off a leg floating past. But there wasn’t time. She shuffled backwards as the oak door shuddered open, revealing the ominous silhouette of Feoran.

“Hello, little witch. Enjoying your stay?”

Lorenna gave a sneer. “The views aren’t much, and the food is terrible. I’d rate it a sh***y experience so far.”

Feoran strode into the room, the sconces from behind him casting light across the sharp planes of his face, black eyes gleaming like hot coals. A slow grin crossed his face, and he shrugged casually, meandering across the stone slabs until he halted in front of her. Lorenna flinched, but kept her features cold and unafraid. “Little witch, you’ll find you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you know. I have much more comfortable rooms than this.”

“I’d rather jump in a pit of snakes, thanks.” Lorenna’s mouth drew in a hard line.

Feoran hid a snigger. “That can be arranged.”

Lorenna gave a dry laugh, and tossed her hair over her shoulder, folding her arms. “So what do I owe this immense pleasure to? I’ve got a busy day, you know.”

“Doing what? Making sparks?” The vampire jerked his finger towards her hands. “You can’t do much else in here. I had it specially made for you.”

“How kind,” Lorenna spat, her breathing speeding up with her rising fury. “Let’s cut to it. What the f*** do you want, Feoran?”

He twirled around and made his way to the bed, seating himself on it heavily. Lorenna’s eyes flickered over to the open door, but she knew better than that. Feoran followed her eye-line, clearing his throat to attract her attention back to him. “If you want to put it so bluntly, a f***. What do you think I want, Lorenna? A cosy conversation?”

Taken aback by his words, the witch swallowed anxiously, trying to coax some saliva back into her dry throat. She shook her head resolutely, tightening her grip on her skin. Her violet eyes darkened to purple as she innocently replied, “You know what, Feoran? I think you’re a lot like the Phantom of the Opera.”

“Not quite what you would expect under the surface and into choral music?” he smirked back, letting his tongue run over one fang.

Lorenna’s lips twitched, and she retorted, “No. Just as ugly under the mask and twice as unlikely to get the girl.”

Like this snippet? Why not sign up to my newsletter here, where you can be kept up to date with all my releases, including Creator Of Shadows. 😀

(Taken from ‘Creator Of Shadows’, Copyright © 2013 Miranda Stork. Do not reproduce, use, copy, or include in any way in any format, digital or print, without prior permission of the author.)

Writer Tip Wednesday – The Dreaded Rewrite

Morning, lovely  people! 🙂 Okay, so maybe the title of today’s post makes it sound a bit more ominous than it really is. But sometimes, the rewrites can be the toughest – if easily the most creative – part to do. It can be the part where you up the gears of your book, and turn it from a sow’s ear into a silk purse. And yes, I did love the movie Mulan. What of it? LOL

So where do you start? Let’s take a peep at the different steps, because it’s certainly not a job to be done quickly.

1. Where will the reader struggle with what’s in your head?

Take another read through your whole manuscript, and imagine you know nothing of the world you have created in your book, nothing of the characters. At what points would you think it had jumped too quickly? Compare events to real life – would it happen so quickly. It no good having your character escaping from somewhere and turning up in the next town, all within the space of one paragraph. The reader will get bored with things jumping so quickly, and it makes it much harder to lose themselves in the storyline. Mark out all these places, putting notes as to why a certain section needs expanding.

Especially the mud on the face. Why would you put mud on your face?

Especially the mud on the face. Why would you put mud on your face?

2. Expand upon the expansion.

Now that you’ve marked out where you need to fill in the details, read through each one carefully. is it a character? How does it need filling out? Be careful not to fill out parts about characters with too many details of how they actually look. These are things which come later. But perhaps there was a conversation you missed out, a scene where more of the storyline needed explaining through dialogue? What are the important parts of your story, how will this link to them? There’s no point your characters having a conversation about the weather if it’s not integral to the plot. If it makes you bored, it will make your reader bored. Keep the tension running through the whole book, even if at times it’s only a fine thread.

If it’s an event that needs filling out, think of my point above – how would this happen in reality? Not to say you need every tiny detail in there, but a character escaping, an explosion going off, a fight – all of these things would not be over with quickly. Think of it this way, you’re building the tension until the reader is right on the edge of their seat. If it helps, even imagine a fight scene from a movie you watched – a good one. Did you watch the main character with bated breath? Were you wincing with every weapon that was swung or fired? All of that happened because it took a few details to get to that point. The character picked up a weapon – but then it was knocked out of their hand. The secondary character nearly gets to them to help, but he gets pulled back from behind, and slung into a wall. The main character runs for the enemy, but they trip halfway and nearly get killed by someone else. Fill out exciting scenes with extra details, moment by moment. This can really help to expand and build up the anxiety.

Look, the Doctor can get away with it. You can't. Unless you're the Doctor.

Look, the Doctor can get away with it. You can’t. Unless you’re the Doctor.

3. Check the facts

Does everything in your story match up? If one of the characters stormed off in chapter ten, due to disliking the main character after an argument, it’s no good them then turning up in chapter twelve having a hug with the main character, with no explanation of how  – if they did – make up again. Watch out for inconsistencies, and check them against what you would need to put in. This is an opportunity to do another part of rewriting – possible deleting. If something is unnecessary, or if it would be an info dump, consider deleting that part altogether, if it makes the story flow better. Check for time, as well. If an event was due to happen in a month for your characters, then suddenly it all kicks off three days later, you need to go back and change something. Create a story that flows easily from one part to the next. Think of it like a stepping-stone waterfall. One stone is different from another (chapters, if you will), but the water flows across all of them, joining them together. This is your plotline.

Don't leave your readers doing this. It's just not fair.

Don’t leave your readers doing this. It’s just not fair.

4. Be ready with the red pen

This is possibly the hardest part. You’ve constructed your tapestry of a story, woven the threads so tightly it’s like the Fort Knox of books…and now you’re going to tear it apart. Lots of first-time writers will not wish to delete anything, and you’ll fully believe everything should be left in. Not so. Are there any parts where the story drags on? Do you really need that conversation about the garden, if it doesn’t add anything to the characters or the story? What about the long description of the kitchen that goes on for two pages, too much maybe? Delete parts that don’t help keep the pace bubbling along, or where you’ve ‘filled in’ purely to plump out the word count. trust me, a reader can spot where you had that mental block and panicked with the wordage.

Luckily, you don't have to go to these extremes. Hitting the 'delete' button should do. Hopefully.

Luckily, you don’t have to go to these extremes. Hitting the ‘delete’ button should do. Hopefully.

5. Do your edits first

Lots of people will finish up on Step 4, and send it straight across to the editor. DON’T. You have to do your own edits first. There is nothing worse for your editor than picking through a totally unedited script. It shows both that you’re not serious about your talent as a writer, and that you would rather someone else did it. Your editor is there to give your manuscript a polish, to pick up the stray ends you didn’t spot. So remember to start with spelling and grammar – and don’t use Word’s ‘Spellcheck’. Ever read a book and come across a ‘form’ where it should have been a ‘from’? That’s because it won’t get picked up, as it’s still a word. Do it yourself, boring and laborious though it might be, and feel great at the end, knowing you’ve gathered up most of the escapees of good spelling and grammar. 🙂 Remember to check everything, from the right character’s name attached to speech, to a run-on sentence. Then, send it across to the editor for that final spit and polish.

Yeah, don't be this dude. Just don't.

Yeah, don’t be this dude. Just don’t.

Hopefully these little tips might help if you’re in the middle of writing your first book – or even if you’re onto your next one, and still learning all the time like me. Happy writing, lovely peeps! 😀 Don’t forget tomorrow is Thursday Teaser, so keep an eye out for another snippet of Daughters of Brigitania!

Top Ten Tuesday – Some More To Look Out For!

Good morning, folks! 🙂 Yesterday was a bank holiday in the UK (re: Day Off! Woot!), so Manic Monday was spent with family members until my ears zoned out with all the chatter. LOL But today we have our second Top Ten Tuesday, where I feature another ten authors and their books for you to check out! So without further ado, in no particular order, here are this week’s must-have-on-your-virtual-bookshelves…


Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Price: $2.99

Blurb: Your first job out of college. It’s supposed to be a stepping stone or a transitional job, not the single defining decision that will alter the course of your entire life. Sienna Kennedy never signed on for the craziness, danger and even love that her new job thrust into her world.

But she didn’t run either.

Assigned to a maximum security floor of Western State Hospital for the mentally ill, the last thing she expected to encounter was a reminder of her past.

Cade Collins’ animal magnetism draws her into an unseen world filled with creatures from her wildest imagination. Discovering his story, as well as the very institution in which she works, becomes her obsession. Her every waking moment is consumed with unearthing a way to free the man that has stolen her heart, body and mind.

The secrets Sienna finds will free them of their bonds…or lead them to their doom. Fate flung the two destined souls together, but how can any love survive in such a demented place, filled with peril and danger?


Genre: Erotic Romance

Price: $4.81

Blurb: A love at first sight story. Two people hungry for love. Something draws Cassie
to Dominic and it’s not just that he’s gorgeous.
Dominic struggles with a secret and the intoxicating degree of his love for Cassie.
A winter warmer. A delicious love story with a twist.
Cassie and Dominic’s love is written in the stars.

When Dominic Reed looks out of his study window and sees Cassie, he’s not sure what to make of her at first. That’s before he sees her lovely gray eyes and pretty skin. He’s a writer and works alone, which to his sadness has become his way of life.

When he asks Cassie to have coffee with him, it’s the start of an intoxicating romance for the both of them. If only Dominic didn’t have to hide some of his writing, if only he hadn’t inherited a strange gift from his great uncle Aubrey.


Genre: Erotica/Horror

Price: $1.15

Blurb: Pomba Gira Mysticism. Creole Voodoo. The zombie apocalypse. Sex, drugs, magick. Paranormal erotica.

Meet Pierre von Minzle and Mary Moore. They are the Adam and Lilith, definitely not Adam and Eve, of today’s zombie apocalypse. Fables of the Reconstruction is a playful yet graphic sexual adventure consisting of what might have been, combined with what possibly might be happening now. It contains Pomba Gira mysticism, Creole voodoo and the seeds of the zombie apocalypse set in Victorian London’s notorious Whitechapel District. Sex, magick , zombies. This ain’t your daddy’s shotgun zombie story. Mature content warning.

Genre: YA/Romance/Magical Happenings


Blurb: Alyssa Worthington is the daughter and sole heir to the most prestigious coven in the witch world. Her childhood has been spent in the mundane human world learning to blend in and hide who she truly is, and it is here, during her last year that she meets a striking ex-high school quarterback from a small town in Montana who will turn her world upside down.

Alyssa holds the element of fire, unlike her best friends Lisa and Megan, who are both air elementals. It is the elemental powers that reside inside which require positive thoughts and positive actions in order to maintain this magickal connection. What would happen to a witch that let this get out of control? How can evil become the driving force behind revenge and death?

Dark secrets, dark magick and a desperate desire for revenge will bring Alyssa to the brink of destruction. She is being chased, but this pursuit is a silent one and her chaser has but one goal, Alyssa’s complete and total destruction. Will she overcome this dark threat and begin to live out her destiny? Will she survive and if so, will she lose herself as part of the price for being alive? Or, will her destiny rest on being crescent bound?

With all these dark forces creeping around silently in Alyssa’s life, her coven pushes for answers, some of the answers about an eighth and missing coven, in the witch world, lie with her new interest. Marcus may be the key to unlocking the mystery of the silent darkness threatening the seven remaining covens.

Genre: Crime Thriller

Price: $2.99

Blurb: A cult has been killing children for its rituals and only one cop knows who they are. Detective Stan Brookshire knows but his past keeps people from believing in him. Can he rise above the stigma that shrouds his past and stop a cult from taking yet another innocent child from her mother’s arms before it’s too late?

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Price: $3.99

Blurb: The Evil Trilogy
Despite growing up together in their trendy Beverly Hills neighborhood, three best friends hide dark childhoods. The lives of Kit, Baylee and Quinn have been anything but perfect. Little do they know a stranger is about to unravel long, buried secrets, bringing the past back to life with a vengeance.

Just Evil 
Kit Griffin has finally overcome a painful childhood at the hands of her mother, former actress Alana Stevens. No longer living in the grasp of the cold, tyrannical woman, Kit’s life is finally on track. That is, until Alana is found brutally murdered on Mother’s Day, pulling Kit back to the dark horrors of her past. To make matters worse, the police consider Kit the prime suspect.

Jake Boston is an old family friend and the man Kit has loved since she was a teen. He’s fighting his own demons as a suspect in his wife’s murder two years earlier. Despite his past, he’s determined to win Kit over once and for all. But before that can happen they need to convince the police there’s a killer working his way down a list with cold-hearted vengeance in mind.

Forced to delve into Alana’s dark past, Jake and Kit uncover a forty-year-old double murder leading them straight to the door of a legal dynasty. Soon they find out just how far the heirs will go to keep the past buried.

Genre: Anthology/Asian Literature

Price: $1.18

Blurb: Stirring Winds is an Asian Literature Anthology, centering on the theme of life changes and significant moments. It contains six stories ranging in length from 900 – 3000 words.

Two stories included have won prizes and have been previously published: The Wind Blew the Wrong Way (First Prize, Five Stop Story, Sep. 2011) and Ice Walls (Third Prize, Meridian Writing, Spring 2012).

Three Ballerinas and The Smell of Peaches were both shortlisted in online writing contests (Meridian Writing and A Very Short Story). Sapporo Skies and The Waiting World were written exclusively for this collection.

Three Ballerinas: Elise left Japan nine years ago, but still regrets the decisions she made then. She hopes that returning to Nagoya will set her heart free.

Sapporo Skies: Masa and Hikari celebrate their anniversary every year with a hot-air balloon ride in Hokkaido. This year, a long-kept secret is revealed.

The Smell of Peaches: Mayumi is a new mother recovering from childbirth. She prays her son will chase away the ghost haunting her dreams.

Ice Walls: Two Russian ice-sculptors compete in the annual ice-sculpting competition in Harbin, China. Will Katinka and Aleksei finally overcome their rivalry and be friends?

The Waiting World: From behind the veil between worlds, a man watches his beloved wife celebrate his birthday at Matsumoto Castle.

The Wind Blew the Wrong Way: Junko is turning thirty. While visiting her favorite temple in Kyoto, she has a second chance with an old lover, but will fate bring them together or keep them apart?

Genre: Thriller

Price: $3.94

Blurb: Nick Hunter used to be a contract killer. Now he’s cut all links to his former lifestyle and can at last relax and live a normal life. He settles down to married life. He has a son. He adores his little family. Unbeknown to him, shadows from his past step forward to shatter his short-lived peace. His wife is dead, his four-year old son kidnapped and it looks like someone is trying to frame him for murder. Under pressure, broken, is there anything Nick wouldn’t do to rescue his son? Would he kill the villains, despite the promise to himself to stop his life of crime? Would he kill innocents? Would he hurt the people he loves most in his need to protect his son? A fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read that will keep you turning the pages to the very end.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Price: $3.10

Blurb: A funny, hot, and sexy new release from N.M. Silber

Once upon a time two lawyers fell in love across a courtroom …
Gabrielle Ginsberg was a public defender with plenty of nerve and Braden Pierce was an assistant district attorney with a whole lot of swagger. Gabrielle wanted Braden and Braden wanted Gabrielle.
And Cameron wanted Gabrielle.
And Marla wanted Braden.
And Cole wanted Gabrielle.
And Mrs. Mason wanted Braden.
And an anonymous letter writer wanted to keep Gabrielle and Braden apart.
Together Gabrielle and Braden discovered many important things, like which doors at the courthouse actually locked, and that desks could be useful for more than writing. They also found out that the path of love was not always smooth, and it was sometimes tread upon by some really wacky people, like a confused fanny grabber, an eighty-two year old pothead and a gentleman who threw a wine and cheese party in his pants. Could true love overcome a lack of privacy, interference by jealous rivals and the insanity of the criminal court system?

NOTICE: This book contains explicit descriptions of sexual situations and mature language. It is intended for readers over the age of eighteen.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Price: $2.99

Blurb: After literally bumping into a gorgeous stranger, Mackenzie succumbs to a night of passion with him. When she wakes up, he’s gone. But that’s only the start. Three years later, the stranger, Drew, shows up—and she’s pissed.

Drew isn’t all he seems, either. An evil greater than he can battle alone wants something that belongs to both Mackenzie and himself. Their daughter. They fight to find a way to keep Drew’s master from taking Sophie, while battling his fellow soul brokers who are fighting for their freedom.

Unable to defeat his master alone, Drew asks his father for help. Will they survive long enough for his deal to be brokered? Or will they succumb to the evil of Drew’s master?

As always, I hope you do decide to pick some of these great books up – if not all! – and hopefully enjoy them! Remember, an indie author puts a lot of work into a book that will cost less than that coffee and chocolate bar you were going to pick up – yes, I know! – and it’s going to leave you with that happy feeling for an awful lot longer. Plus you get to go back to it if you really loved it, and you’re never going to make that chocolate bar come back. So go on, grab one of them before your sugar craving kicks in. 😉

Feature Friday – Soul Broker By Tina Pollick!

Hello there, everyone! 🙂 Yes, yes…what happened to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday? In a word, WORK. Ugh, right? But it has to be done. But not to worry, next week, normal service will be resumed. And today is normally Focus Friday, but one of the authors through Moon Rose Publishing has released her newest book today, so it’s Feature Friday for one time only. 😉 Enjoy!

Welcome to the blog tour of Soul Broker! This awesome novella is being published through Moon Rose Publishing  on the 23rd August 2013, and is an amazing ride. A demon, a soul broker, and a witch with attitude, you’ll be hooked from the first page! Scroll down to find out more, and get ready to add this to your summer reading!


The Blurb!

After literally bumping into a gorgeous stranger, Mackenzie succumbs to a night of passion with him. When she wakes up, he’s gone. But that’s only the start. Three years later, the stranger, Drew, shows up—and she’s pissed.

Drew isn’t all he seems, either. An evil greater than he can battle alone wants something that belongs to both Mackenzie and himself. Their daughter. They fight to find a way to keep Drew’s master from taking Sophie, while battling his fellow soul brokers who are fighting for their freedom.

Unable to defeat his master alone, Drew asks his father for help. Will they survive long enough for his deal to be brokered? Or will they succumb to the evil of Drew’s master?

More About The Author


When Tina Pollick isn’t writing paranormal romance about Heavenly hunks, and smart, sassy women, this RN enjoys a quiet home life with her husband, children, two horses, two dogs, cat, chickens, guineas. Well, sort of quiet.

Links For The Author


Facebook Author Page




Links For The Book

Amazon UK

Amazon US



Moon Rose Publishing

Manic Monday Once Again!

Merry morning, everyone! 🙂 Well, I was away over the weekend, and WP didn’t bother to put up my scheduled posts. Will I ever get the hang of this internet thing? LOL So, anyhoo, the Manic part of Monday is…that Scrumptious Saturday and Sunday Snippet are both part of today’s post! Scrumptious Saturdays will be from some of my favourite book-related recipes, and Sunday Snippet is…well…a snippet. And it’s from Daughters Of Brigantia again, as this WIP seems to be taking over for now. Well, let’s move on! Or should that be backward? Anyway, enjoy! 😀


Scrumptious Saturday

Two of the books I loved most as a child were Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass. (Not to mention pretty much every other book and poem by Lewis Carroll, but that’s for another day.) A recipe mentioned within, that was a firm favourite with the Victorians, was Mock Turtle Soup. Now, I’m not about to get a turtle, OR a chicken for today’s dish, so vegetarians don’t worry! This is 100% veggie-friendly. 🙂 (However, there ARE eggs in the recipe. Please use a vegan egg substitute for a vegan-friendly version.)

Mock ‘Mock Turtle Soup’


  • 1 lb potatoes, or other starchy vegetables
  • 3 qts water
  • carrots (chopped)
  • 3 stalks chopped celery
  • onions (chopped)
  • 12 ozs catsup
  • 21/2 ozs worcestershire sauce
  • lemon (quartered)
  • 11/2 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • flour (browned)
  • hard-boiled eggs (chopped) (Or use Vegan Egg Substitute)


  1. Boil the potatoes to a firm but soft-at-the-edges consistency; add all ingredients to the potatoes in a large pot; cook 1 to 1.5 hours.
  2. Keep lid on for first 1/2 hour.
  3. Add browned flour gradually, stirring constantly.
  4. Add 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs; cook another 1/2 hour.
  5. Browned flour: Brown 10 tablespoons flour in a skillet, stirring constantly. Add a little water to make a thick paste.


Enjoy your literary soup! 😀

Sunday Snippet – Daughters Of Brigitania


*Please bear in mind there may be some errors, as this is still a WIP. Enjoy! 🙂


Darting into her roundhouse, Aiia was glad to see it had been left as how she remembered it. Snatching up a fresh change of clothes, she pulled them on and reached for a jug of water, splashing it into a bowl. As she attempted to clean up her face and hair, a jolt of panic ran through her again. Of all the people who had been in that crowd, only Aiia understood the curious look Cartimandua had given the messenger. She’s going to say yes to their truce. Yes! To the same bastards who killed Gaisio, and would have killed any of us when they landed. After scooping up a hammered bronze mirror to check her reflection, she ran back outside, to make her way into the great hut. Cartimandua would not be happy to see her, but she had little choice—she had to be there.

Two guards were stood to attention at the main doors, but neither of them even blinked when she sped past, keeping her eyes downcast to prevent them recognising her. As she slipped into the darkness of the roundhouse, she ducked in behind the servant girls, perching herself in a dark corner to listen to what was said. Cartimandua and Venutius were seated in their thrones, the messenger sat on a bench the other side of the fire. It crackled and jumped, an unwelcome addition to the hot day, but necessary for the feast to be laid out in the evening.

After making sure that the messenger was given wine and food, Cartimandua settled back into her throne, and fixed him with a wry smirk. “I suppose you have been told we are barbarians and savages, yes?”

The messenger looked up from his drink with a stutter, feigning surprise. “Indeed not, your majesty. We have no knowledge of yourselves, with the exception of our late emperor Julius Caesar’s writings. He merely mentioned how your land was triangular was was at least two-thousand miles across.”

Venutius gave a frown, interrupting, “Excuse me…miles? What are these?”

Coughing on his bread, the messenger hid a smile, replying, “It is a unit of measure, your majesty. For example, it is about a mile from your gates to the very bottom of the valley below.”

“Ah, I see.” Venutius leaned back into his chair, stroking his moustache thoughtfully. Waving an arm he continued, “So I suppose you mi—“

“We did not come here to talk about measurements,” Cartimandua reminded him tartly, turning her attention back to the messenger and adding, “And my husband is not ‘your majesty’, he is merely Prince Regent. You may refer to him as ‘my Prince’. Now, what of these gifts? Are they to bribe us, then?”

The messenger scoffed at the statement, choosing to ignore Cartimandua’s jibe about her husband. Venutius himself bristled at the statement but said nothing, simply sending a dark glare into the back of the queen’s head. The messenger leaned up with a smug lilt to his dark eyes, and crooked a finger at one of the soldiers. They jumped up smartly and strode to the chest, bending down only to click the lock open.

Even Aiia let out an awestruck breath at the sight. Bright terracotta pots lay within, filled to bursting with glass beads in every hue, amphorae of wine and oils. Cartimandua tried to appear unruffled, but she slid forward on her seat to better view the luxuries within the chest. It appeared all the more like a treasure trove for the current situation the tribe was living through. She held her hand out as the soldier passed over a string of amber-coloured beads, running them through her fingers like a gift from the gods. “And all of these…are if we choose to join your empire, I presume?” she responded, ruefully placing the jewellery back down again and staring quizzically at the messenger.

He shook his head. “No, these are yours to enjoy. Rome does not offer up toys as if you were spoilt children. We merely wish to show you what Rome could give you. If you were to sign the treaty…there would be many more gifts.” He gave a charming grin, his stern countenance momentarily shattered. “Rome does not forget its friends. But, I should warn you. Neither does Rome forget its enemies.”

His words were not taken lightly, and the Queen rose her gaze to his, the fires casting dark shadows across her eyes. “Is that a warning?” she answered quietly, her tone ominous.

The messenger’s chewing slowed once more, and he gave a slow swallow, leaning forward on his worn seat. The fire reflected off his brass armour, giving him the impression of being made of fire. “Only if you choose to be an enemy.”


Like this snippet? Why not sign up to my newsletter here, where you can be kept up to date with all my releases, including Daughter Of Brigitania. 😀

(Taken from ‘Daughters Of Brigantia’, Copyright © 2013 Kathryn Northwood. Do not reproduce, use, copy, or include in any way in any format, digital or print, without prior permission of the author.)

Focus Friday – Dealing With Depression (Or How To Start Beating It)

Morning, folks! 🙂 Well, we’re finally at the last day of the week, such a fun day that it’s practically the weekend anyway! On Fridays, we’re going to have ‘Focus Fridays’. These are going to be my only blog posts about things that are not book-related. Today I’m ‘focussing’ (see what I did there! LOL) on depression.

I don’t think I’m the only writer I know who has this horrible illness either – and it is an illness. Depression is not the same as feeling ‘a bit out of sorts’, or ‘a bit down in the dumps’. Depression can be debilitating, and you feel like you need to retreat into the safety of your own world, as if ignoring all the stresses of life will make them hold off for a while. I never understood what ‘feeling nothing’, and ‘having an empty mind’ truly meant until my first bout with it. But everyone is different. Some people with depression may feel incredibly unhappy, others will feel completely numb. It can be tricky for people around the person too, as depression makes you snappy and annoyed with everything – it’s not us at all, it’s simply that everything seems to have a negative side, with no positive side.

And it can be difficult when well-meaning people around you try to make you feel better as well – not that it’s wrong at all! We know it means that you care, but sometimes what seems the best way of dealing with it can be the worst. Don’t try to force someone with depression talk about it, and don’t do that thing of flinging of flinging the curtains wide to the sunshine either! 🙂 Sometimes we really do need to be alone. Depression is very personal, and sometimes we need to sit and work things out in our heads – it really depends on the person. Instead, just let them know you’re there when you need to find them, and don’t make them feel neglected. Remember, someone with depression is already at their lowest, so the last thing they need is reminding just how ‘lazy’ or ‘silly’ they’re being. I have in the past being accused of just moping around and not doing anything constructive. When you already feel like a failure, despite whatever is going on in your life, this only serves to make you feel worse. So remind them you’re there, that you care about them, and remember to make them feel as though you’re not going to just get exasperated and annoyed when they don’t come around straight away. It can be a long process to push off a bout of depression.

Obviously, if you think someone is so depressed that they might do harm to themselves or others, it’s a little more serious. Make sure to still let them know you’re there. Don’t dismiss or trivialize any thoughts of suicide or self-harming they may have, as this can minimize the person’s pain and shut out any communication whatsoever. Listen to what they have to say, and be genuine. Eliminate any access they may have to dangerous items, if it’s truly serious – so any knives, razors, etc. – take them out of reach, out of the house, if necessary. Give them hope, let them know that they’re not the only one who has felt like this, and that others have gone on after these thoughts to have fulfilling, happy lives. If it is a real emergency, ring your emergency services straight away, whether that be 911, 999, or whatever your country has.

I’ve also got some helplines at the bottom of this post, so if you or anyone you know would like to talk to someone about feelings of depression, self-harming, or suicide, go ahead and talk to someone. You’re not alone, and your feelings won’t be blind-sided.

Now, onto the happier part of my post. 🙂 Last night, I felt the lowest I have in a long time. I hadn’t realised I’ve been going through another bout of depression until last night, and it hit me, making me feel like I just wanted to crawl into a ball and disappear. But, I know this doesn’t help me, from past experience. And while what I did may not be the same as what you yourself need (remember, it’s all personal), it may help in some small way. 🙂 So what did I do?

Step 1. Get YouTube going.

The first thing I did, was listen to a piece of music that never fails to boost me up again. Music is an incredibly useful tool with depression, as the right music can lift something inside you and make you feel a little bit brighter. It’s different for everyone, but for me, it’s Jim Noir’s ‘My Patch’. I love the funky, up-beat music, and the words are good too. ‘If you ever step on my patch, I’ll bring you down, I’ll bring you doooown’. It may not sound like the most likely lyrics, but in my mind, it goes something like this. (Blame it on being a writer). Depression is like those games where you used to have to hit down moles, or whatever they were. And (you can blame Little Big Planet for this imagery too) depression is almost like moles popping up in my garden. So every time the lyrics merrily sing out, ‘I’ll bring you down!’, I imagine banging it on the head with a large mallet – I’m basically telling the depression to back off, and it’s to an awesome tune. Here’s the music for you to listen to yourself. 🙂

Step 2. Decide what you desperately need to get done that day, scrap the rest.

It can be tricky to juggle depression and all the everyday things we need to do, especially if you feel bosses/colleagues/family are not as understanding of it as you would like. BUT, you should not allowed yourself to get stressed. Decide what you really need to do (I mean REALLY need to do. Can it wait? Chances are most things can, at least for a few days. Most people ARE understanding when it comes to someone being ill.), and for everything else, let people know that it will take a while. Be honest, no matter how difficult it is, about why you have to leave it for a few days. The large majority of people are understanding about something that isn’t urgent, so leave it until you feel stronger in yourself. Take the things you really need to do, and schedule them into your day, leaving plenty of breaks in between. Even if your break is just going for a walk, taking a five-minute snack break, or running to the loo for some peace and quiet if you’re in an office, anything can help you deal with the day as it goes on. Make sure these tasks are set within a normal day of work, and don’t allow any overtime for extra work – don’t argue with me! This is part of what isn’t helping, so just for today, you can chill out about it. Dr. Miranda says so. 😉

Also, if you’re like me, and have to use the internet for any of your work, try to use it as little as possible. Try not to go on Facebook, and Twitter (If you need to put in an appearance, limit yourself to a set time, and log off when it’s up), instead concentrating on what needs doing that day. The less you’re putting things off and getting on with them, the quicker they’re done, and the less stressed you will feel.

Step 3. Remember what you enjoy doing.

Preferably, remember what you enjoy doing that is as far removed from the stressful activities as possible. For example, today I’m going to bake cakes. 🙂 Absolutely nothing to do with writing or publishing at all (my day job). I’m also (secret confession time here) a bit of a gamer. I know, I’m a little geeky. LOL 😀 So maybe I’ll blow the dust off my PS3 and have a bit of escapism. Remember all the things you enjoy when you’re not working, the things that are an escape. That might be jogging, going for a walk, baking, singing, or even just snuggling on the sofa and watching a movie. Whatever it is, ENJOY it. I’m officially giving you a special ticket for today. It’s a ticket that says you are allowed to forget all about anything stressful, so once you’ve finished all your work, you can chill out and enjoy your day. I’ve even popped a print-out label for this below (don’t judge me, I love Photoshop 😛 ), so you can print it off, and stick it wherever you have to. Heck, use these if you just want a bit of peace from the rest of the household. 😉 Today is your chill-out day, so do whatever you know makes you feel better. I know I need baking, gaming, and fresh air, and for you it’s something different. Enjoy it. 😉

Step 4. Don’t repeat yesterday. Repeat TODAY.

This is the most important step. You’ve had the best chill-out day ever, and now tomorrow is looming. NO. It’s not ‘looming’. Tomorrow is another day of good stuff. Go on, say it out loud. GOOD. STUFF. All day. It’s important not to go backwards, but to go forwards. Use your scheduling technique for work every day. Sift out the important stuff, schedule it, come back to the other things tomorrow. Make sure you stick to deadlines so you don’t get stressed. Give yourself enough time to do these things, and remember to give yourself plenty of breaks when you start to feel the Stress Gremlin hopping on your back again. If you feel your symptoms making a come-back, whack on your ‘happy song’ and listen to it, even if you have to put headphones in. Recognise your symptoms and nip them in the bud, changing it for something you know will make you feel better. Give yourself time every day to truly relax and do something you enjoy, that has nothing to do with whatever makes you more depressed. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Lots of people forget this step, but make sure you do it, so every morning you can wake up with a smile. Or at least a half-smile. 😉 Put your ‘happy music’ on a music player, and leave it on your bedside table. Make sure it’s the first thing you listen to when you wake up. Leave yourself plenty of time in the morning to get ready and have a full breakfast, chilling out before work starts. Spend time with loved ones and friends, but don’t feel pressured to go to any invites you don’t feel up to.

Step 5. Shit does happen.

It’s an unfortunate fact, that the best laid plans, are often covered in cow-muck. But this is life, and we have to accept it happens – but not accept that we want it. When something happens that you weren’t expecting, or something that ruins something you were doing – computer running slow, I’m looking at you – just smile and DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. The world will not stop turning, nothing bad will happen, and everything can be fixed. Accept that it’s happened, don’t allow yourself more than a second’s thought on it, and move on. Always be moving forward. It’s the best way. 🙂

Do all these things, and hopefully, you can feel a little better. HUGE HUGS to you, whoever you are. ❤

The Print-Off ‘I’m Chillin’ Right Now’ Sign

Here’s what it looks like! And right here, I’ve got the link for you to print your own off: Click me here for the link! Print me as much as you like! 🙂 Feel free to print as many as you need, and delete whichever bits don’t apply to you on the poster. 🙂

Depression begone! You're not wanted around here.

Depression begone! You’re not wanted around here.

And you want to talk to someone, you’ll find them all here. Don’t forget the most important thing: you’re not alone. 🙂
Helplines UK

Rethink Mental Illness

Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927

Depression Alliance

Charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups.


CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.

MDF: the bipolar organisation

A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.


Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline)


Charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness.
Phone: 0845 767 8000 (daily, 6pm-11pm)
SANEmail email:


Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393

The Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.


Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544


Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141

*From the NHS website

Helplines US

U.S. Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433

NDMDA Depression Hotline (support group): 800-826-3632

Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline: 630-482-9696

AAA Crisis Pregnancy Center: 800-560-0717

Child Abuse Hotline (support and information): 800-792-5200

Crisis Helpline (for any kind of crisis): 800-233-4357

Domestic and Teen Dating Violence (English and Spanish): 800-992-2600

Parental Stress Hotline (help for parents): 800-632-8188

Runaway Hotline (all calls are confidential): 800-231-6946

Sexual Assault Hotline (24/7, English and Spanish): 800-223-5001

Suicide and Prevention Hotline (Covenant House): 800-999-9999

National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-422-4453

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

National Domestic Violence Hotline (TDD): 800-787-3224

National Youth Crisis Hotline: 800-448-4663

24-Hour National Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-3000

Covenant House Nineline: 1-800-999-9999

Abuse / Violence Child Protective Services: 1-810-412-6109

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Referral Network for Kids and Adolescents In Crisis: 1-800-543-7283

Alateen/Al-Anon for the friends/family of alcoholics: 1-800-813-3105 or 1-800-356-9996

Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 1-800-821-4357

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependancy Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255

Marijuana Anonymous: 1-800-766-6779

American Council for Drug Education: 1-800-488-3784

Eating Disorders Information and Referral Line: 1-800-931-2237

National Crisis Line – Anorexia and Bulimia: 1-800-233-4357

Overeaters Abuse Hotline: 1-800-888-4680

National Eating Disorder Hotline: 1-800-248-3285

Food Addiction Hotline: 1-800-872-0088

American Cancer Society: 1-800-ACS-2345

American Lung Association: 1-800-586-4872

Hotline for Teens Who Cut: 1-800-366-8288

National Depression Association: 1-800-826-3632

Boys Town Hotline (for Girls AND Boys): 1-800-448-3000

Gay and Lesbian Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Hotline for Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgendered Youth: 1-800-347-8336

PRIDE Institute for Lesbian and Gay Mental Health: 1-800-547-7433)

National Alliance for Mentally Ill: 1-800-950-6264

Planned Parenthood (connects you with your local clinic): 1-800-230-7526

Emergency Birth Control: 1-800-584-9911

National STD Hotline: 1-800-1-227-8922

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic: 1-810-573-2090

AIDS Hotline: 1-800-872-2497

NO MEANS NO: 1-877-666-3267

RAINN – The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network: 1-800-656-4673

Family Youth Interventions: 1-810-758-7040

Runaway RAP Line: 1-800-292-4517

National Youth Crisis Helpline: 1-800-999-9999

National Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 1-800-621-4000

Teen Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-949-0057

*From the website

Thursday Teaser! Daughters of Brigantia

Hello, lovely folks! 😀 Today is Thursday, and it’s not as easy with the alliteration on this day! Thursdays will alternate between teasers from my current WIP, and ‘Take Over Thursday’, when another author will have a guest post up instead. 🙂

So for today, enjoy a teaser from Daughters of Brigantia, the historical novel I’m working on under my pen name, Kathryn Northwood. Enjoy! (Also, bear in mind this is a WIP…there may be a few typos I’ve missed at the moment. 😉 )


© Wikicommons

© Wikicommons

Venutius stared down into the valley surrounding the fort, watching the men steadily building up the wooden posts at the far end. It grew every day, and made him worry more about the advancing Romans. Cartimandua seemed to keep more and more secrets to herself every day, and as merely a prince regent, he had little say in the matter. Taking in a deep breath, he let it out again over the early morning mist floating over the landscape.

The sound of someone approaching made him twist around, his heart plummeting like a stone within his chest. Closing his eyes for a second, as though to shut himself against the world, he summoned his courage and turned to face the messenger he knew had brought the bad news. To his shock, Aiia stood with clenched fists before him, her red hair flying wildly in the wind that whipped the strands across her neck.

“Aiia…my boy. Is he…?” Venutius let the sentence sit, his tone tense as he held back his sorrow. He already knew her answer.

Her clear eyes seemed to flicker with something, and she gave a glance to the bodyguard by his side, stood silently with folded hands. “I have something delicate to tell you. We need to be alone,” she replied.

He motioned the guard away, who strode far enough away to miss the conversation, but still close enough to run over if needed. Watching the man as he walked away, Aiia bit her lip and slowly made her way across to her brother-in-law, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. She barely came up to his chest, but there was something very adult in her stance. “I’m afraid…the child has not made it into the world.”

Venutius’ face paled, and he took a staggering step backwards, huffing out a breath. His world collapsed around him and fell into the valley below. My boy…

“There’s something else, which I feel you should know. It…” Aiia licked her lips in a nervous gesture, and paced to his side, placing a soft hand on his arm. “I’m so sorry, Venutius. The child wasn’t yours.”

Thinking perhaps he had misheard her, Venutius laughed dryly, and shook his head. “I beg your pardon, Aiia. I’m afraid I do not understand your meaning.”

Peering up at him with soulful eyes, Aiia repeated, “The boy was not your son, Venutius. My sister has lain with another man, and deceived you.”

A hand flew to his mouth in shock, but a second later it fell to his sword hilt. Dark bark-coloured eyes burning with rage, he hissed, “Who is it? I’ll cut him from limb to limb for this. Tell me, by the gods, tell me!”

“Please, Venutius! It’s not important, he’s just a boy. It was my sister who led him on, not the other way around. She lied to me as well, told me nothing had happened. But the boy…he held his colouring, Venutius, not yours. She admitted it to me.”

Ignoring her pleas, he grew more irate, sliding the sword out with a measured pull. It glinted in the early sunlight, bouncing off the blade with a dangerous ferocity. Aiia drew herself in front of him once more, grabbing both of his arms with a pleading gesture. He glanced down at her worried face, and shook his head, trying to remove her arms.

She clung to them tightly, and only let go of one arm to cup his face with a gentle hand. She pulled his face down to hers, and whispered, “Please, leave the boy be. Do not cause strife because of my sister’s wrongdoing.”

“You’re…you’re right. I am mourning, Aiia, that is all. I apologise.”

“I do understand, Venutius. She lied to me too.” Aiia stared up into his emotion-filled eyes, his strong jaw, his giving lips. Before she knew what she was doing, she let her hidden feelings for him erupt in a passionate press of her own mouth against his. His musky scent surrounded her, and she let out a soft moan.

Venutius pulled back sharply, gasping and holding his sister-in-law back. “No, Aiia, you mustn’t,” he hoarsely managed.

Her lip wobbled, and she clutched his head in her palms once more. “But Venutius, she has betrayed you! I love you, I would never do what my sister has done.”

“No, Aiia.” His tone was firm as he gently removed her hands, placing them back by her sides. Taking a deep breath, he avoided her yearning gaze as he added, “I love your sister. Whatever wrong she has done me, I owe it to my people—and yours—to rule by her side. I cannot pretend I shall forget this transgression of hers, but I must live with it.”

Aiia snapped her wrists away from him, her passion melting into dismay. “Even after what she has done to you?”

Her brother-in-law hung his head. “Perhaps it is partly my fault. I have still not given her a child, and she has gone elsewhere to produce an heir for the Brigantes. You must understand her position, Aiia, it is not her own.”

She let out an anguished hiss, rounding on him, her cloak and nightdress billowing out in the cold wind that picked up. A rumble of thunder sounded in the distance as dark clouds slowly took their place across the sun, as if the gods were agreeing with her case. Venutius gave them a nervous glance, but Aiia never flinched. “I would give you everything I am, Venutius. And yet, you remain with my sister! You deserve to have her. May the gods give you everything you both have coming!” Her voice rose to a hysterical pitch as she finished her curse, turning and sprinting in the direction of Moonbourne. Venutius didn’t even try to run after her, simply letting her go without a backward stare.

She raced faster through the grass and mud, her cheeks flushed with the embarrassment of being rejected, her eyes shining with dark purpose. Meddu ran out from her sister’s roundhouse and tried to stop her, but she simply shook her head and carried on running. Making her way up the hill, she ran full tilt into Gaisio, stumbling drunkenly out after another night of songs and beer.

He frowned when he saw she was still not dressed, and in such disarray. “What on earth has happened, Aiia?”

Ignoring his direct question for the moment, Aiia breathlessly asked, “Where you serious about going to fight back the Roman invaders with our Catuvellauni cousins?”

“Yes. Why?”

She took a careless glance over her shoulder, towards the hut of her sister, and over to the other side where Venutius could still be seen staring out over the valley below. Determination was etched on her face as she replied, “Because you were right. And I’m coming with you.”

Like this snippet? Why not sign up to my newsletter here, where you can be kept up to date with all my releases, including Daughter Of Brigitania. 😀

(Taken from ‘Daughters Of Brigantia’, Copyright © 2013 Kathryn Northwood. Do not reproduce, use, copy, or include in any way in any format, digital or print, without prior permission of the author.)

Writer Tip Wednesday

Morning, lovely people! 🙂 We’re halfway to the weekend! *does fist-pump in the air* And today we continue the week of alliterating titles with Writer Tip Wednesday. Each Wednesday, I’m going to pop up a few tips that I’ve been lucky enough to learn so far in my publishing journey. So hopefully they can help you guys too! 🙂

To Plot Or To Pantster? That Is The Question

Now this post will come from someone who has literally been both a pantster, and is now a plotter. In case you’re wondering what on earth those terms are, they are the kind of writer you might be. A pantster literally writes ‘by the seat of their pants’, and can knock up a plotline on the fly, adding all the creative parts later in editing. A plotter will plan the storyline first, writing out the novel as it follows the pattern of events.

I’ve done both of these methods now, and can still see the benefits of both. For my paranormal novels, I’m a pantster all the way. The beauty of these novels is that it can be completely imaginative and free. Things that defy physics can happen (Take that, my old teacher, Mr. Stevens! Gravity does not ALWAYS work!), and you can twist events so sharply it creates hairpin turns. It can be fun to not even know where your characters are heading yourself, and to find out the same way as a reader would can tell you if it’s good enough or not. The downside to this kind of writing is that you must do a lot of editing. Inevitably, as you go back over the novel in the editing process, you may find you forgot to tie up a loose end, or something no longer makes sense to have. But as long as you have a keen eye before sending it off to the professional editor, you can do this method with no problem.

And what of the plotter? Recently having started on my first historical fiction, I’ve found it necessary to plot the story out, as part of it is based on a real person. (I’ll be doing another post at some point on plotting out a historical novel, as it’s very different from some other genres!) If you have a set timeline in your mind, then you can mark it out in order of events, filling the sections in between with action and dialogue, bridging each gap from A to B. This method is the one most used by new authors, and it allows for almost a ‘how-to’ of the storyline. The only downside of this method is that you may find your creativity more limited than the pantster when it comes to the editing process, as you are locked into an unchangeable (without a lot of extra work, anyway) series of events.

So, you’re new to the world of writing. You’ve got an idea of the storyline, it came to you in a dream…now what? You’re going to have to pick a method, but which one?


This can be the easiest method to launch into, as you get straight into the process of your idea. But you will need at least the barest of notes first. Your main characters must be well-defined. No matter what your timeline does, they should be well-defined and clear before you start, because they are the backbone of your novel. You can always add to them later, and even drop in extra characters, but the main characters will drive what happens. Have a rough idea of three points; the beginning, middle, and end. Everything else can be filled inbetween. Your story essentially needs to have the protagonist(s) hitting a problem near the middle. The beginning will set events in motion to create that problem, and the second half of your book will go towards resolving the problem. (I won’t go into detail, but I explain more of how to create your plot ‘pantster style’ over at The Book Maven’s blog here.) This method is best for paranormal, romance, and humourous genres.

Not to be confused with a scenario like this, you can actually keep your pants on for the whole pantster process.

Not to be confused with a scenario like this, you can actually keep your pants on for the whole pantster process.


This method is more difficult, but depending on your novel’s genre, you may find it a lot more helpful than winging it. Historical fiction and crime thrillers often benefit more from this process. The first thing to do, is your research. If it’s historical, find out as much as you can about the period you wish to write about – and indeed the characters, if you’re basing it on real people. Crime thrillers will require research on weapons used, crime investigation, and much more. Once you have compiled all the research to start yourself off with (you will do more during writing the novel itself!) you can move onto the novel planning. Where is your story going to end up? Will this be a series, or a one-off book? This can determine the end as much as all the other planning. As with the pantster process, work out your beginning, middle and end. However, you must work out and add on all the events in between. Don’t worry too much if you can’t figure out a section between two parts, this is where your writing itself will come in. Once you have a firm timeline, well-defined characters, and research, you’re ready to begin your novel. Although you have to craft your words as creatively as possible, be careful not to stray too far from one point to the next, as otherwise you may add unnecessary words.

You don't have to look quite as mad as this or wear a blazer when plotting, but it may help.

You don’t have to look quite as mad as this or wear a blazer when plotting, but it may help.

So although it’s only a brief introduction to writing methods, hopefully this might help you to decide which you want to use, if you’re just starting out. Which one do you think you would go for, or if you’re already writing, which one are you? 🙂