WIP Wednesday…

I did wonder how long my calm exterior would last, but I did hope it would stay a little longer, at least until Friday morning and my cardio appointment. I have no idea what they will decide to do about the blockage in my artery; I just hope it’s something simple. All though I have a sneaky feeling it won’t be.

When I woke up this morning, I knew my patience had gone the way of all good things. I wasn’t exactly chewing my nails, but I wanted to.

We all have our own problems, so revealing my shredded emotions was not the way to go, so I had to find a way to keep busy and out of trouble.

I spent the best part of yesterday checking all the links on our website and finding several that were broken. I also found that all of our book images that occupied the right-hand toolbar had no links. I was puzzled, as I knew I had done this at the time.

This problem segued into another, as I discovered that Booklinker, the very useful company supplying writers everywhere with universal book links, is no longer operational. At least, not for me yesterday.

Luckily, our books are on D2Digital, and their links are supposed to be universal. Just a matter of checking and double-checking all of them.

That was yesterday, so what could I do to keep myself quiet and out of trouble today?

Probably not the best time to dive into the current WIP, but that was my first choice. Side-stepping into someone else’s life (and problems) has to be better than anything else I can think of right now.

But wait, I could finish reading Letting Go by Jacquie Biggar. The story of two sisters that I am really enjoying at the moment. As a sister, I can relate to their problems, especially now.

I know what I mean by that; you will just have to guess!

Letting Go Book Description

A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them.

When life gives you lemons…


Izzy

Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean.

I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.

I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway.

If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much.

Renee

The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since.

Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.

My sister hates me. My little brother barely knows me. And Simon… is engaged.

None of it matters- or so I tell myself. I’m here to make amends and face a past haunted by regret.

As long as I can convince myself to stay.

Letting Go is a young adult romance dealing with tragedy, restitution, and love in all its aspects. The story relates to sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.

Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon… #Fiction

Annie’s life in Virginia at the turn of the century was perfect until she discovers a nasty family secret. Something her parents have been doing for years.

Now she knows, she cannot continue to live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears.
How can she hope to change what has become a way of life for her family?

Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse, forcing her to try to escape. How far must she run to escape the truth?

Can Annie make a new life for herself, or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

The writing of Bad Moon

(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me. I haven’t done anything like this before. I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the people from West Virginia in America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon? Was it just your imagination, or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life, and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive. You can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing what I was writing was not real helped me. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother inspired the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. And Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, and unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I have always loved the macabre, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. It can be a natural occurrence, as your love for someone – brother or not – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person, too. We do it all the time.

Your next book, ‘Simple’, is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

Will you ever write another story like these two?

Maybe, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

John W. Howell

 An Unusual Story Not to be Missed.

Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2022

After reading the book’s blurb, I picked Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. The part that got me was. “Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.”
I was intrigued by the idea of a story about someone coming of age in a family with some dark secrets. I expected maybe some unusual sexual activities or maybe abuse. These would be bad enough, but it turned out undoubtedly mild compared to what Annie had to discover and overcome.
The story is told in the first person by Annie herself. Although not unique in point of view, the author crafts the narrative so the reader not only sees the world from Annie’s perspective but identifies with the struggles Annie must overcome. Even when Annie is at her worst, I was always rooting that she would find her way to happiness.
Although the setting is the backcountry, the emotional turmoil and the depth of character development give the reader the feeling that this story could have taken place anywhere. This fact is where the quality of the author’s storytelling skills shines. Using the backcountry setting as an excuse for what transpires in the plot would be easy. However, that would be a disservice to the story since the action gets down to fundamental human issues and predispositions that are not necessarily only the purview of uneducated backcountry folks.
There are examples that I would like to cite, but each would be a spoiler. So I guess I will leave it at this. Once you start reading Bad Moon, you won’t be able to stop. The story is well-crafted and moves at just the right pace. If you like well-written human drama stories with a lot of action, this one is for you.

Too Cold for Comfort…

Image by Susanne Jutzeler, Schweiz, from Pixabay 

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

This is a continuation of my recent post about how pleased I am that I am writing again.

And I really am, but there is something else going on. Or not, depending on how you look at it. Something I am having trouble coping with.

I didn’t mention it at the time in case it was a temporary thing.

I have been up with the lark, writing my socks off and enjoying every moment. Followed by busy mornings, catching up with all the routine online stuff.

All good, right?

But my afternoons couldn’t be more different. I have always regarded the afternoons as my time, where I get creative making new posters, book covers, trailers and new posts.

Since having covid, which was a nightmare, I am far from back to normal and try as I might, I cannot conjure up any magic.

The weather here in the UK has been brutal. I have been so cold; it has just added to my woes. All I really want to do is curl up under a blanket and read. The temperature is set to rise a little tomorrow, and I hope this will warm up my brain too…

We haven’t had any snow, which hasn’t helped my mood either…

Jaye’s Days… No Time for Planning…

I keep telling myself that it’s nearly Christmas and time to think about winding down the year and making a few plans for 2023.

Not sure why, but for some reason, I wasn’t listening. Among other things, I have been busy writing. After long months of dragging my heels (for so many reasons,) the words have been pouring out of me at the rate of more than a thousand a day. I am really enjoying feeling like a writer again.

But planning? Surely there should be more than enough time for thinking about new projects next year…

I have been threatening to learn how to use Scrivener for longer than I care to remember, and something about this new burst of enthusiasm has made it seem essential, so I am following my instincts here.

The fact that Microsoft Word has been tinkering again and made some changes that are definitely not helpful might have something to do with it.

My first attempt went pear-shaped very quickly, even with the Scrivener for Dummies handbook! But instead of stomping off in frustration like I usually do when faced with complicated techno jargon, I became obsessed with finding a solution.

I spent the afternoon on YouTube, looking for someone to unlock my stupid brain.

Thanks to Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn, and William Gallagher, I seem to have grasped the basics. It may take me a while to use the system for my current WIP, but it looks hopeful.

I recently promised a post on my progress, which will follow soon. How’s that for optimism?

We hope you are all managing to keep warm in these freezing times…

#Silent Sunday… A Time of Melting…

Image by experimentMR from Pixabay 

I am feeling much like this poor rose.
The relentless frost has wilted me too
I am having trouble keeping warm
I have watched the flowers and plants
in my garden end up like this
melting, like ice cream
on a summer's day

©JayeMarie2022

Haloed: Grafton County Series, #5 ~ Review #CrimeThriller @SueColetta1

She may be paranoid, but is she right?

A string of gruesome murders rocks the small town of Alexandria, New Hampshire, with all the victims staged to resemble dead angels, and strange red and pink balloons appearing out of nowhere.

All the clues point to the Romeo Killer’s return. Except one: he died eight years ago.

Paranoid and on edge, Sage’s theory makes no sense. Dead serial killers don’t rise from the grave. Yet she swears he’s here, hungering for the only angel to slip through his grasp—Sage.

With only hours left to live, how can Sage convince her Sheriff husband before the sand in her hourglass runs out?

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer’s Digest “101 Best Websites for Writers”) and Writers Helping Writers.

Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, Mayhem Series and Grafton County Series (Tirgearr Publishing) and is the true crime/narrative nonfiction author of PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs (Rowman & Littlefield Group). Sue teaches a virtual course about serial killers for EdAdvance in CT and a condensed version for her fellow Sisters In Crime. She’s appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion. In October 2022, she’s filming three episodes of Homicide: Hours to Kill for Cineflix. Learn more about Sue and her books at https://suecoletta.com

Our Review

The mysterious red balloon that suddenly turns up in Sage Quintano’s bedroom triggers panic, setting the scene for a promisingly terrifying story.

Years might have passed, but the fear and the awful memories have not.

I have always loved the relationship between Sage and her husband, Niko, but this time, life might just give them more than either of them can handle. Worrying about them will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The tension in this story never ceases; reading it is like running a nightmare marathon. But I loved every word!

Haloed is one of the best thrillers I have read this year…

Silent Sunday… Autumn in waiting…

Image by yoshitaka2 from Pixabay 

Today will be a good day… I am writing the new WIP!

Jaye’s Journal… From a Reader to a Writer…

From a Reader to a Writer

I have always enjoyed reading books. Mainly for the sense of escapism involved. Somewhere you can forget about your own life and live someone else’s, albeit vicariously.

It has been a blessing, sometimes more than at other times, depending on how my own life was going at that moment.

I honestly believe that reading books has kept me sane. They have taught me practically everything I know, for if I need or want to know how to do something, I turn to books to find out. Nowadays, we have the internet, but in my youth, all we had were books.

These days, something else has been added to my enduring love affair with the printed word. Putting it quite simply, they have inspired me to write. You could say that the art of reading could do this anyway, to anyone. But up until a few years ago, I was unaware of this. They were my retreat, my sanctuary. Nothing else.

But then everything changed.

I had always been a compulsive reader, consuming anything I could get my hands on. I didn’t discriminate and read everything. If asked to list my favourite authors, I would have been hard pushed, for I loved them all.

Somewhere along the way, I have developed a ‘criterion’. I no longer just read a book. My brain seems intent on sifting the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Who knew it could have that kind of opinion?

Two pages into a book, and if it is not talking to me by then, I discard it and try another. These days I love the kind of books that inspire me and make my fingers want to pick up a pen. Not to copy or emulate but to write down how the author has made me feel. Sometimes I find myself with a book in one hand and a notebook in the other.

It’s as if a doorway has been opened in my mind. Artists say colours work for them; for me, it’s the power of the words and how they are used.

Something else has changed in me. I have always considered myself reasonably adept with the English language. It was my favourite lesson at school, and over the years, as I have said before, it has saved my sanity on many occasions.

For the first time in my life, I have doubts, and they are growing all the time. I have helped other people edit and proofread their books and have been totally convinced I was good at it. Many people (including an agent) once said that I was. I have also reviewed dozens of books along the way.

But that was before I picked up a pen and wrote a story of my own. I never expected it to be as hard as it was, for words usually came easily to me. But I discovered a very important fact about writing a book. Not only must it have a beginning, middle and end, but it must also flow, make perfect sense and be interesting to read.

It also has to have structure and subplots; the list was endless. I discovered to my horror that I was not as clever as I thought when the pen was in my hand! Words tend to come at me in a rush, short spasms of prose that seem quite eloquent at the time but appear quite truncated when you attempt to join them all together. So much so that I nearly gave up several times.

I began to seriously doubt I could ever be a writer, that this wasn’t something I could simply learn how to do. But I persevered, did my absolute best, and after my edits and even more soul searching, I uploaded it onto Amazon, thinking my work was done.

But I was wrong.

In my haste to achieve something that will hopefully outlast me, I forgot the most important step of all. Someone else should have read it first. Someone objective, who would come to it afresh, with no desire or agenda to bin it at the first error.

I learned that I can’t see my manuscript with a subjective eye. You cannot possibly hope to, really, because you have lived with it for so long. I wrongly assumed the reverse would be true, that the fact you created every word would make you more than qualified.

This was all so long ago, and I have learned so much more since then…

New Review for Bad Moon… Yay! #Fiction #FamilyHorror @HowellWave

Book Description

Growing up, Annie’s life was perfect
She loves her parents and thought she knew them
But when she discovers a nasty family secret
Her perfect life becomes a nightmare
Her struggle to change everything makes life so much worse,
how far must she run to escape the truth?
Can Annie make a new life for herself? 
or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

The Latest Review

John W. Howell rated it really liked it  ·  

After reading the book’s blurb, I picked Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. The part that got me was. “Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.”

I was intrigued by the idea of a story about someone coming of age in a family with some dark secrets. I expected maybe some unusual sexual activities or maybe abuse. These would be bad enough, but it turned out undoubtedly mild compared to what Annie had to discover and overcome.

The story is told in the first person by Annie herself. Although not unique in point of view, the author crafts the narrative so the reader not only sees the world from Annie’s perspective but identifies with the struggles Annie must overcome. Even when Annie is at her worst, I was always rooting that she would find her way to happiness.

Although the setting is the backcountry, the emotional turmoil and the depth of character development give the reader the feeling that this story could have taken place anywhere. This fact is where the quality of the author’s storytelling skills shine. Using the backcountry setting as an excuse for what transpires in the plot would be easy. However, that would be a disservice to the story since the action gets down to fundamental human issues and predispositions that are not necessarily only the purview of uneducated backcountry folks.

There are examples that I would like to cite, but each would be a spoiler. So I guess I will leave it at this. Once you start reading Bad Moon, you won’t be able to stop. The story is well-crafted and moves at just the right pace. If you like well-written human drama stories with a lot of action, this one is for you.

This lovely review from our friend and fellow writer, John Howell, came as a wonderful surprise, just when we needed a lift.

We really appreciated the time and care involved in such a detailed and well written review for Anita’s story.

Huge thanks again, John, from both of us!

Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie # Psychological Fiction #Review

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Book lovers are welcome to contact her on alexcraigie@aol.com

Our Review

Gwen Meredith’s life seems typical of many families, all trying hard to care for an elderly relative and a family.

Add to the mix a demanding job at the local school, and Gwen’s life has all the stuff of nightmares.

Her life would be a nightmare without her best friend, Cat, and the arrival of a new neighbour, Ben, a kind, good-looking man.

All the interesting complications of her life are revealed as the story heats up. The brilliantly written plot gradually becomes terrifying as tensions rise, creating an ending I really didn’t see coming!

Right from the beginning of this story, I loved how the author gradually reveals the character’s true emotions effortlessly and accurately.

This is the first book I have read by Alex Craigie, but I know it won’t be the last.

Means To Deceive is a master class in how easily life can mess with your head, leading you to distrust everything and everyone…