A new project and a great new cover

With little time for writing these days, I have been editing or working with editors (to be more truthful).  Love Struck, is a contemporary romance story. While the book is being edited and structurally worked on, my friend Constantinos Karentzos has been busy.

This is what we have finally decided on.

Please let me know what you think.

Romantic Irish novel with a dash of humour

Romance

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Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Constance Claus loves Christmas as much as she loves her husband but, every year from November until December 26th a disaster happens. And at his tremendous age, Santa hated problems. Constance tried to plan ahead as, let’s be honest; most people like to have a trouble free life.

Last year it was the missing gingerbread recipe. The recipe was ancient, almost as old as the cook who had the job of baking five million perfectly formed gingerbread houses. Every inch of the North Pole was searched. This meant the elves were hungry, a lot more than usual and so Constance spent most of her days cooking and preparing meals. If, she often reasoned afterwards, if she hadn’t been busy feeding the hungry elves, then she would have solved the puzzle earlier.  She found it – under the cook’s hat. It had risen as high as his pastry and was stuck to the top of it.

This year she began her anti disaster plan in July. The first thing she did was to make certain there was a copy of the recipe on her tablet. Next, she checked there was an awesome mountain of buttons for the Minion’s dungarees,then, enough paint for the rocking horses and on and on her list went. But she with the help of chief elf Enda,  worked their way through it.

So by the second week of November she was wondering if she could finally relax.

The workshop was thundering through the long menu of toys and electrical gadgets that needed to be made. The new computer department was turning out to be a great addition as the technicians had rigged up a mechanical serving belt which brought the food straight from the kitchen to the tables at lightening speed.

“Too fast for me,” moaned Santa as yet again he was too slow to collect his dinner off the moving belt and it whizzed on to Slim who snagged it.

But dear you are looking all the trimmer for it,” Constance said.

She was sitting before a pretty log fire with Summer, her cat, snoozing on her lap, when her walls began to shake and rumble. Strange, thought Constance. However, when the rumbling increased she jumped to her feet and went to investigate. Summer slid to the ground, shook himself and went off to find a more reliable less jumpy cushion to snooze on.

Constance wondered if Santa and the elves were playing a trick on her so she was a little wary of opening her front door. This was just as well, because when she opened it a chunk of snow slid off the roof and landed on her doorstep.

“This won’t do,” Constance muttered and picked her way through the mountain of snow.

Then she stopped and stared. She giggled because she couldn’t help it. The reindeers were playing dodge the snowball. And due to their very heavy appearance they were making the ground shake and groan under their hooves.

She frowned. “This is terrible, Rudolph you are looking a little chunky tonight.” She mused and then stopped and sniffed the air. He smelt of chocolate and something else. She stared at him.

“Is that marshmallow sticking to your coat?” He backed away and looked at her with huge sad eyes.

She went back inside but instead of sitting in her comfortable chair she peeped out the window.  She noticed some of the reindeer sniff the air and stroll off towards the elves living room. Constance decided to follow.

In the  elves living room she discovered the elves were having a snack. They had taken their shoes off and were sitting before a huge fire toasting smores. “Where did you learn how to do that?” She asked Santa who was managing to toast four at a time.

“Internet.” He said, “Try some. They are delish.”

She tilted her head to one side, “how long have you been doing this?

“Oh only a week or two. It’s just that we get so hungry with the extra work. It is a nice way to relax and we tell stories then head to bed.”

She looked around the room and noticed many of the elves were already asleep in their chairs. Just then the door opened and a young reindeer entered. He walked straight to a sleeping elf and very gingerly took the uneaten smore from the elf’s hand before moving to the next elf.

Constance did not want to be a spoilsport but she was worried. The reindeer needed to be fit and Santa, she knew would eat until his suit was close to bursting.

Over the next two weeks no matter what she did, the reindeer always found a way into the elves sitting room. She wondered if they were paying the elves to leave a door open. No, that is totally silly, she decided.

It was December and the workshop was producing toys at a frantic rate.

There was a “bang” followed by a “pop” and everything stopped. There was a shocked silence. Enda shouted, “lets find the fault.” An hour later they knew the problem. The generator couldn’t produce enough electrical power.

“We need to produce more electricity.It’s knackered.” Was the final statement from their workshop maintenance team.

“Right early lunch and lets chew on it.” Santa said.

Constance went for a walk. She always thought better when left to think by herself. Rudolph accompanied her, with Summer sitting on his back.

“I know you are trying to get fit and slim Rudolph but it is not working. You need a high intensity work out. Cross fit for Reindeers, I think.”

She let the thought rattle about in her head for a while and when she returned to the workshop she called the maintenance team to her.

Three days later the workshop was breaking all production records.

Enda said, “Thank you Constance for your brilliant idea.”

Constance beamed at  him. “You are welcome. I think almost everyone is happy.”

Enda grinned. “Well if Santa insists on eating so much then he has no choice. He can’t have it all his own way, even if his name is Santa.”

They both looked over at the line of reindeer waiting their turn to get on the exercise wheel. Beyond the exercise wheel there was another line of reindeer happily munching on smore flavored hay.  Santa walked alongside the reindeer. A giant pedometer declared, “well done Santa just 5,000 more steps to earn a whole smore this evening.”

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Santa wasn’t too worried as he had a date on the 25th with a dog called Bob who was currently stashing marshmallows in his Christmas stocking in exchange for jelly babies.

 

 

 

A learning curve – being published.

As some of you know, The Runaway Schoolhouse is in print and on kindle for the past few months. (The first few pages are here on this site for you to read, if you like).runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

I believed, foolishly, that this achievement was 9/10’s of the job done.

I was wrong. It is the first step.

I have received much help, thanks to all who have offered advice and support to me. And I have learnt that in today’s world. a writer has to become a Jack-of-all-trades. The greatest hurdle is Marketing and in this I thank Emu Ink.ie and Laurence O’Bryan, the founder of BooksGoSocial.com

But I still have to spend time, marketing the book. I have also been told that book reviews are gold to writers. Hence the Giveaways and the pleading or requests for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon etc.

I have given away 15 books, in the hope reviews will result.  But I am curious as to how other children’s writers find book reviews. So any help, or advice will definitely be appreciated by me.

Blogging delights me and writing is a passion. I consider myself lucky if one or two people read a post and am amazed if the stats alert me that a post is doing well and 15 + readers have been on my site.

Life is funny isn’t it, some of us dream of winning the lottery but bloggers simply dream of being acknowledged and read.

Think You Couldn’t Possibly Lose Your Amazon Publishing Account? Think Again.

If, like me, you are a writer who publishes on Amazon, you need to read this account of what happened to Pauline Creeden.

The Active Voice

There’s this indie author I know a little bit from the Kboards.com forum. Her name is Pauline Creeden, and she’s an ordinary midlister, like so many of us. I remember PMing her some time ago and gushing about how particularly beautiful one of her book covers is — the one for Chronicles of Steele: Raven.collection Here, I’ll include an image. Gorgeous, eh?

Anyway, today I tuned in to Kboards and noticed that Pauline had started a thread. It contained what’s surely the worst news possible for an indie author: Amazon had closed her publishing account. All her ebooks had been taken off sale. Permanently. Here’s the email she got from Amazon:

We are reaching out to you because we have detected that borrows for your books are originating from systematically generated accounts. While we support the legitimate efforts of our publishers to promote their books, attempting to manipulate…

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The Runaway Schoolhouse Book Launch Night

It was a great night, and everyone seemed to have fun as you can see by the pictures I was supported by family and friends, and some of my Facebook friends surprised me by dropping in.

Thank you everyone and a reminder it is for sale as an e-book and you can rent it  which is an unusual option but one worth considering: http://www.emuink.ierunaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

 

 

 

 

 

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maria and family (minus niall)

 

But there was someone missing who needed a hug, but he got plenty when we got home.

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Bob’s Diary: If an Ogre can do it – can I?

I know I haven’t written about the Ogre from the wood for a while but really an Ogre and a Fairy in a book for children? I wonder if anyone would like to read stories about me? Or am I losing my good looks and sociable friendly personality?

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I know Maria has an idea rattling around in that big old empty brain of hers, but, please let me know what you think.

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Bob’s Diary: Maria’s Kindle Deal

Hi, I have been asked to remind everyone that

 

E-Book Cover

 

Maria’s first book is on Kindle Countdown deal from the 10th of November to 17th November.

Amazon.co.uk : Here

amazon.com : Here 

 

 

 

 

Not that I would be caught reading it.

(Though she said I’m in it – so where is my picture?)

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Maria’s stuff: A forgotten sketch

Tired after a late night / early morning I resorted to cleaning out a file and found this, a sketch of my husband and daughter. They were always close from the get go. If he was fixing a car or truck she was by his side handing over the necessary spanner, parts etc.

And some twenty years later though it has changed a little, as life dictates, they are still great buddies.sara and pat

 

Maria’s Stuff: The fight against evil.

John walked into the lecture room and every one in the audience focused on him. He often wondered if people were disappointed when they saw him. They expected a knight in shining armor what they got was a nondescript man.

John was neither tall , nor an impressive man. He knew he would be skimmed over in a crowd. But here, he was regarded with awe. He held power. Here his past victories reigned. He had experience in the world of tracking down evil. His greatest wish was to pass his knowledge on to others in an effort to rid the world of as much insanity as possible. Each day began with this lone thought rattling around in his brain: Imagine a world where everything is as it should be. How wonderful and amazing would it be to have evil fade into insignificance and be forgotten?

Eilis sat among the audience. She had one thing in common with John. She was as ordinary as ordinary can get. She wore nothing startlingly out-of-place. Dressed in scruffy jeans, checked shirt and long hair framing her ordinary face. She was careful to don a normal expression, one of an audience of two hundred all wearing the same benign look, striving to understand the words being delivered at a precise rate.

John took a deep breath and before he began his lecture he scanned the group before him. It was always this way, deliver your lecture to an unappreciative looking group of students and then hope that one of your points would stick with even one of them. He was hoping for a miracle. Still, as he continued on delivering his lecture he wondered which one it would be and what they would get from it.

What he failed to realise was the miracle would take his world in a direction he had never thought it capable of.

Maria’s Stuff. Short and sweet.

This post will be really short and sweet. The reason is simple, I can’t make the hours stretch out to do all the things I need to do.

I suppose most writers suffer the same dilemma – shortage of time. Though now both asthmatics are grown and moved out I should have more time. I don’t have to spend my days chasing dust or any of the other housework chores but still I don’t have enough time.

The reason why is simple I am an idiot. I volunteer and I love volunteering to help but that gobbles up time. Though this week I enjoyed the training I was pulled into.

On Tuesday night I was helping find others to volunteer as models for a fundraising fashion show between 6 and 7 pm. Then on the way home I dropped into the boathouse and was told, “we are training on the river, you coming?”

I only hesitated for a second. The hesitation is due to the narrow neck of the dive suit which turns me into a headless ninja.

350px-Diving_suit_neopreneOnce the ordeal of getting into the suit was over I sat back in the jeep and learned that the exercise we were going on was searching the river bed.

It was a glorious warm evening as we trawled the river and weir.  The icing on the cake was the swim back to the bank. The night sky was dotted with stars, the water warm and I was tempted to stay there floating staring up at them. I knew I should have been home doing chores or writing but heck how often would I get to experience this?

I think or hope I will be forgiven for writing such a trivial blog post but Bob and I will be back to business as normal asap, whenever that is.