Friday, 21 March 2014

Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles Theme Reveal for A to Z Challenge 2014 - Ghosts

The A to Z Blogging Challenge starts in just a very small number of days (there's still time to sign up) and there are loads of folks already signed up, so it should be an interesting month! :) And, to kick start this little venture and to remind me to get all my ducks in a row, I'm joining in the A to Z Theme Reveal Blog Hop (for more entrants to this hop, check out the main post)!

So, ta dah - my theme is:
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!

Ghosts stories are one of my favourite genres to read and watch: I love being spooked :). I have a large collection of ghost books, both fictional and factual, and if there's a ghost story on TV, or in the cinema, you can bet I'll be there watching it. I have been fascinated with phantoms since I was very young, even though I can scare myself silly with such stories. It probably has something to do with growing up in a haunted house, but I'll save that story for the A to Z ;P. I'll be sharing that story, and lots of other ghost trivia in my posts throughout the A to Z Challenge.

I'm a writer too, and I enjoy writing ghost stories as well as consuming them, and so I'll be talking about different aspects of the ghost story genre and how it appeals to me.  I'll be taking my inspiration from the greats such as M R James, Dickens and Susan Hill, but I'll also be creating a new ghost story for my blog readers as the month goes on, each post providing a new instalment.

I hope you'll find my theme engaging and will pop by and share your own ghost stories as well. :)

Ghost Posts Schedule

Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
A is for
Apparition, Gertrude Atherton, Anne Griffiths
B is for
Backdrop, E F Benson, Borley Rectory
C is for
Contrast, Wilkie Collins, Chilham
D is for
Disturbing, Dickens, Dean Castle
E is for
Endurance, Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards, The Enfield Poltergeist
F is for
Friend, Anatole France, Annie Farie
G is for
Gift, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sir Fulke Greville
H is for
Human, Susan Hill, Hairy Hands Ghost
I is for
Is It Real?, Peter Ibbotson, Islay
J is for
Jeopardy, M R James, Jamaica Inn
K is for
Kick, Rudyard Kipling, Knebworth
L is for
Love, Sheridan Le Fanu, Ladies
M is for
Mystery, Louisa Murray, Mother Leaky
N is for
Nuances, E Nesbit, The Nag's Head
O is for
Obscure, Vincent O'Sullivan, O2 Millennium Dome
P is for
Pause, Edgar Allen Poe, Pluckley
Q is for
Queer, A T Quiller-Couch, Queens
R is for
Risk, Mary Raymond, Raynham Hall
S is for
Secrets, Bram Stoker, Thomas Skelton
T is for
Tension, Mark Twain, The Tower of London
U is for
Urgency, Peter Underwood, Uley
V is for
Vacuum, Pamela Vincent, Verdley Castle
W is for
Wrong, Edward Lucas White, Wittersham

X is for
X marks the spot, X?, X-roads
Y is for
Yield, You, York
Z is for
Zing, ?, Zennor
All the links will become available to view on the days specified.

A few of us discovered that we all had supernatural themes for the AtoZ so we got together and did a mini list. If you also have a supernatural theme (ghosts, monsters, witches, spells etc), please feel free to add yourself to the list.

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Thursday, 20 March 2014

My GoodReads Review of The Mist In The Mirror by Susan Hill

The Mist in the MirrorThe Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, this was a good read, it kept the tension going and I wanted to finish it. The only problem for me was the ending.

Susan Hill has a gothic ghost story, a modern version of M R James, in my opinion. Her main character in this story is James Monmouth, a man who, at 40, has returned to England after spending most of his life abroad, including most of his childhood. He has no memory of his time in England before he was 5, and therein lies a mystery that leads to a ghost boy and nightmares for Monmouth as his memory tries to emerge. This is a really great premise, if a teensie bit slow at the beginning for me.

I liked James, he's direct, self-possessed and a gentleman. I wanted to discover his story at his side. His discoveries lead to more questions and Susan Hill gradually builds the tension, leading to what feels like an inevitable confrontation between past and present. I was really looking forward to finding out the truth as we headed towards the climax of the story.

And that was the problem - loads of build up, and then when we hit the final confrontation it was wham, bam, done in a few pages. Frankly, I felt cheated, especially when Susan Hill mops up the whole aftermath in a few tell-not-show pages as well. We didn't even get a clear explanation of James and his connection to Conrad Vane, an important background character. I know in real life that sometimes a partial answer is all that is available, but not in fiction, not when so much effort has been put into wanting the reader search for answers with James.

So, after an enjoyable read, which scares with skill, this book left me disappointed by a lack of pay off :(

View all my reviews

Monday, 17 March 2014

TLW Lexicon 2014 - What a Great 2 Days - Teaching & Learning About Writing & Publishing!

I am only slowly coming down from a brilliant weekend of writing, reading and publishing chat and presentation at the TLW Lexicon 2014 in Faversham UK. What a great way to spend two days!

I met some great authors, Cherry Potts, Katy Darby and Stephen Deas among them, and got a chance to listen to them talk about their writing and publishing endeavours. I also have one of his books, Through The Square Window, signed by the wonderful organiser of the event and author too, Graham Guy.

Tasha and I, I hope, gave some useful advice on indie publishing, it's ups and downs and challenges, to a receptive audience during our own panels. We collated the information from our talks about Indie Publishing and World Building and Audience Building on our website under pubtips if anyone is interested. It's actually a collation of what we've learnt over the last three years of publishing our own eBooks and links to useful posts by the wonderful people out there who share their experiences on their own blogs. :)

It was great, exhausting fun and the TLW Lexicon is going to one to watch for 2015! :)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Interview with Author Vanessa Wright about her book, Twisted

Today, I am welcoming author, Vanessa Wright to my blog to answer some questions and talk about her book, Twisted.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Vanessa is a 47 year old visual artist, author, mom and pug breeder. Two of her Afrikaans short stories have recently been published in My kort vir jou sop available on as an e-book and released in soft cover at  She has taken part in Nanowromo 2012 and 2013 and reached the target on day 26. She has also published a collection of short stories on Smashwords, titled Twisted:

She has written the winning Christmas story in Wordpress’ competition:

She has her own blog at, appropriately named Humouring the dark where the muse has captured many readers’ attention and a book about the character is in the offing. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter and is a member of a writing group. She leads her own book club and is a true bookaholic. Writing has always been her passion, however the timing always seemed incorrect as daily life interrupted more frequently than not. Now, she has decided to go big or go home.

Tell us about your book, Twisted.
A collection of 22 short stories from the bizarre to the truly chilling as the author takes you along for a roller coaster ride, welcoming you to the darker side of humanity. She delves into the shadowy world of obsessions, addictions, death and the loss of innocence and imagination. She takes an honest, in depth look at things that happen all around us, yet we tend to ignore. Here we are forced to look at the pain of what it means to be human in all its various facets and to truly explore the face that looks back at us in the mirror. No one is truly good or truly evil; nothing is exclusively beautiful or ugly, we are a sublime mix of the two, walking the tightrope median between the two opposites. The author expects the reader to think about what he has just read and to question the so called normalcy of everyday life. She peels back the layers to reveal the hidden skeletons in the closet. Fear, doubt, depression, loneliness, bulimia are only some of the elements which are open for discussion. As a society we have shied away from the darker aspects that are certainly part and parcel of who we are. Surely the path to true wisdom and resolution of these issues is in the enlightenment thereof, the dusting off of the cobwebs in the cupboard.

Buy link

Excerpt: Bright Lines
The pain was so excruciating that the primitive, instinctual mind swept in and strangled her hold on the cold, metal object in her hand; survival being paramount.  She endured a few agonizing seconds before euphoria washed her away and out to a sea of peace.

She could feel her mind escaping the confines of her body; the binding chains were thrown off, liberating her imprisoned soul.  With a sigh of relief she became a light, downy feather abreast the rising air currents.  She bobbed rhythmically to the deep internal breathing of the earth.  She held her own breath, afraid of disturbing the feeling of inner peace and warmth that suffused her body. It broke through barriers and walls that were cemented into her soul by time; shattered her strongholds and allayed age old fears of insecurity and worthlessness. In this second, now, she was more than worthy.

Colours appeared brighter as if life had been washed back into them.  The bleach had leeched out and leaves on the elm trees outside ran green with the sap of life.  The sky seemed to bleed blue into the day.  She exhaled slowly, carefully and watched her breath become kaleidoscopic reds, greens, yellows and shiny purples.  Tentatively she reached out and touched the brittle clouds of vapour and dissipated them into slithering ribbons of light.  Their beautiful reflections made her eyes hurt and her heart contract with sadness and loss.  

Her body became weightless, tethered to the earth by a gossamer spider’s thread.  Threadbare she had come into this earth and threadbare she would escape its confines.  Her thoughts scattered and twisted, undulating lazily around the idea of living and surviving.  Perhaps and perhaps not she thought, giggling giddily.  Control was hers to keep or to release.  How easy it would be to allow her life to slip silently away.  Allow it to be carried away on sea breezes and on the white feathers of barn owls.

Her outer shell could then become one with the earth, decomposed and nutrient rich. Her bits and pieces gnawed at, secreted away by chipmunks and field mice; becoming part of a shelter here and the lining of a cosy nest there. Scattered and mindlessly free she would roam the earth, and her life’s circle would close, ending where it had begun…..dust to dust. At this thought a lazy self-indulgent smile curled at the corners of her wide mouth.

Writing – why?
I write because there is no other choice, it is the only way to get the characters to shut up and leave me alone.

Is there any genre you won't write and why?
No I cross genres so many times that my head spins and am a sucker for pleasing readers.

What is your favourite genre and why?
My favourite genre would be psychological thrillers. I love getting into the heads of the murderers.

Do you have conversations with your characters?
I constantly have conversations with my characters which is why I argue with them when they make a choice that I have not foreseen. They say the test for insanity is when you answer back.

If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

If you could invite one character from your books to dinner, who would it be?
I would invite my muse- she is even crazier than I am and a hoot, which is guaranteed to liven up any dinner party.

Are you a dog or a cat person, why?
Both a dog and a cat person- 3 cats and 9 dogs.

Thanks for joining me today, Vanessa.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Guest Interview with Authors Julia Matthews & Vickie Matthews

Today I'm welcoming back one of  my previous guest posters, Julia Matthews, and, accompanying her is her writing partner, Vickie Mathews. They're here to promote their upcoming release (12th March 2014) Witch & Wolf,  and before I give the details of the book itself, I had a few questions for Julia and Vickie.


Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Julia (daughter) and Vickie (mother) are a mother/daughter writing team. Guess you could say Julia does the writing and Vickie does the story telling. We both work on the editing, cover designs, and other marketing aspects. Vickie loves to watch Julia sit and turn an idea into an amazing scene that she can envision without being in front of a television. Julia loves the time that they spend together working out how the story needs to go. Julia’s say the best part is when Vickie is editing and she runs across one of her major blooper typo’s and burst into a hysterical fit over some part that was meant to be dead serious, but the mistype makes it hilarious.

Tell us about your book. 
Witch & Wolf is an adult paranormal romance about Randal Wolf who wants Joslyn safe from the Other Kin Elders, because they wish her to fulfil only part of a prophecy about her, but when they get to close to her he finds out she’s his natural mate. Going against one’s natural instinct isn’t easy, which is what Randal is faced with when Joslyn asked to fulfil the entire prophecy about her own self, so they can seal their natural mate connections.

Do you have a favourite character from your book? Why? 
Surprisingly we agree that Joslyn is their favourite character, because she’s a survivor and keeps her eye on the overall main goal.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Julia says don’t let the unknown hold you back. You won’t be able to know what you are truly capable of if you don’t try it a couple of times. Vickie says don’t give up on your dreams. You never know when, where, or how they may come true.

What is your favourite genre and why? 
Vickie doesn’t have a favourite genre to read in. To her if it can gain her interest in the first couple of pages then the book is a hit. Her writing preference is in Adult Paranormal Romance. Julia reads in pretty much any genre, except non-fiction. Prefers to write in M/M Paranormal and Adult Paranormal Romance, as well as adding in some Sci-Fi/Fantasy aspects into her stories.

Do you have conversations with your characters? 
Vickie and Julia both do. Julia not only conversations, she will dream about the characters. In fact when she was writing Witch & Wolf, one of the scenes with Randal came to her while she was asleep. She was exhausted and didn’t want to get up to jot it down, so she tried to ignore it. Big mistake. Randal turned into snarling half human half wolf figure who was screaming line after line of dialogue at here. Needless to say she got up and wrote the scene so she could get some sleep.

If you could invite one character from your books to dinner, who would it be? 
Both Vickie and Julia say Joslyn. Vickie, because of her never roll over and die attitude. Julia would also want to figure out how she got the courage to bide her time to face off with the Other Kin Elders.

Are you a dog or a cat person, why? 
Either, but Vickie has two dogs and Julia has one dog.


Witch and Wolf Novel by Julia and Vickie Matthews
Witch & Wolf
by Julia and Vickie Matthews

Randal Wolfe goes on a hunt for the Other Kin Elders; only to find out they are liars. He goes from a hunter of Other Kin to a full time proctor from afar. When the from afar becomes impossible, Randal realizes that the Witch Other Kin he’d been watching was his natural mate. Were Other Kin nature demands he claim her. Common sense says wait until threat is eliminated. Which will win out?

Other books by Julia & Vickie Matthews

Journey To A Mate (Book 1 of Journey Series)

Every panther shifter dreams of finding their Mother Earth mate. Some never do. Tally King, the son of the Pride Master of London Pride knows he's to mate to daughter of Miss Donna. Problem is, she's not contacted him. He knows something is wrong. When he finds her, and his mate will his mate have chosen another or will she be his one true love?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

TLW Lexicon - A Literary Festival for Readers & Writers! 15th & 16th March 2014

TLW Lexicon 15th & 16th March 2014
Next weekend is going to be fab, because it's the event I've been looking forward to since Graham Guy announced it - The TLW Lexicon 2014 is upon us.

A literary festival for both readers and writers, the TLW Lexicon boasts a great line up: screenwriter, Christopher Colton; editor, writer, tutor Katy Darby; best-selling author, Stephen Deas; author and editor Cherry Potts; prize-winning author, Stewart Ross; author Bartle Sawbridge; author, screenwriter Ben Slythe; and, of course, author, photographer and the man responsible for the festival, Graham Guy.

Plus, another reason I'm really excited about this event is that my sister, Tasha, and I, who run Wittegen Press, are also featuring during the festival. We're going to be on the main stage both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, we're, talking about Self-publishing vs Indie Publishing, where we'll be discussing why we set up our own publisher, and some hints in and tips on going it alone in the publishing world. On Sunday, we're talking about Building Worlds and Building Audiences. Plus, of course, we'll be hanging around the festival at other times, joining in the start of the day panels and listening to the other panellists. Plus, we'd love to meet people and talk about books :).

I'm particularly looking forward to the screening of Wilds a film by Ben and Graham, at lunchtime on either day and the screenwriting workshop by Chris on Sunday afternoon, since it's not an area of writing I'm familiar with. All the other panels sound interesting too and there's some great readings and plays going on the performance stage throughout the day.

There's also signings, a chance to meet all the authors and business stalls as well, and it's all for only £1 to get in.

Oh yes, finally, you probably want to know where all this is happening: The TLW Lexicon is taking place on 15th and 16th March 2014 at the Alexander Centre Faversham, Kent, UK. There's a great train service to Faversham, straight down from London, and also it's just off the M2.

For more details of how to get to the event, and much more information about all the happenings, check out the TLW Lexicon's website.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Guest Post: Author Danielle DeVor Writing Horror is Different (Constructing Marcus Book Tour)

Today, I am hosting author, Danielle DeVor, on a stop of her Constructing Marcus Book Tour. She's talking about writing horror, or rather, not writing it. So, without further ado, over to Danielle. :)

Welcome to the Book Tour & Giveaway for Constructing Marcus by Danielle DeVor. You can find Danielle's complete tour schedule at MythBehaving Book Tours.

Writing Horror is Different

I kind of always set out to write horror, but in my brain, something isn’t horror unless it scares me. So, by that rule, I have, so far, never written anything horror. But- other people disagree.

My publisher first listed Constructing Marcus as horror and coming of age. Well, that surprised me because, to date, it is the least scary of all of my books. The main premise is the love between Emma and Marcus, so that makes the book a YA Paranormal Romance in my mind.

I did have them change that listing.

Why? Because horror is in-your-face-scare-the-pants-off-you stuff. It can be psychological, like The Shining, or full of gore like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

So, that makes writing horror different than writing other genres. Instead of creating a good feeling, you set out from the start to incite fear, disgust, angst, and melancholy. You are not writing a book that is supposed to make someone feel better. You are writing a book to create a very specific response.

So far, the closest I’ve come to true horror is Sorrow’s Point, but even then, I don’t think I’ve made it yet.

So, that’s what makes Constructing Marcus so different. Almost all of the violence occurs off-screen so to speak. It has one very minor part that could be considered gory, but it is so minor that most people probably won’t notice. And, above all else, I want you to care for Emma and Marcus, not be afraid of them.


Large Base Consstructing Marcus Working copy
Sixteen-year-old ghost hunter, Emma Hoffman thought that moving into an old Victorian was going to be awesome– ghosts galore.

Much to her delight, she discovers that the house is haunted—not by a ghost, but by a construct (a spirit created to be a servant). As she gets to know Marcus, the construct, he asks her to help him avenge his maker and find her killer. Emma’s not too sure this is a good idea, she’s a ghost hunter after all, not a detective, but she agrees to help him anyway. While trying to discover more information about the killer, Emma begins to have feelings for Marcus- feelings she isn’t ready to admit. Then the sorcerer who killed Marcus’s maker shows up at Emma’s house with an insane plan to capture Marcus and absorb his power- Emma isn’t having it. Marcus is hers. When the killer performs a spell that begins to steal Marcus’s life force, Emma risks losing him. It’s a race against time for Emma to figure out how to stop the sorcerer and his spell before Marcus fades away and disappears from her life forever.  

Danielle DeVor

DanielleDeVorAuthorPhotoDanielle DeVor spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. After living briefly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved back to her hometown to write. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino. Danielle has been on a writing roll this year! With the release of Tail of the Devil, Constructing Marcus and Sorrow’s Point she already has three books out. You can find Tail of the Devil and Sorrow’s Point at Amazon.  

Buy Links for Constructing Marcus



Win one of two prizes:
ONE - $10 Amazon Gift Card
ONE - eCopt of TAIL OF THE DEVIL by Danielle DeVor
Must be 13+ to enter.

  Danielle's links:

This tour is brought to you by

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Themeing is more difficult than it sounds!

So, I've mentioned before that I'm doing the Blogging From A To Z April Challenge for a second year in a row. For anyone who doesn't know what this is, it's a month-long (April) blog hop, where bloggers all join in and post a blog post every day (except Sundays), and each post is inspired by a letter of the alphabet. Then, during April, everyone hops around to other people's blogs (the organisers recommend about five bogs a day), checking out what is going on and interacting with loads of great blogs. Personally, I found a good selection of new blogs to follow last year, some were other writers, but others I'd never have even thought of visiting without the A to Z.

Anyway, last year, I did a bunch of random posts inspired by different words starting with each letter of the alphabet, which was tough enough, but really, really fun. This year, I've decided to aim for consistency, I'm going to theme my posts. I'll be revealing my theme on 21st March as part of a one day A to Z blog hop, entitled, funnily enough, The A to Z Theme Reveal. However, before that, I've got to organise my posts around my theme and prepare the content. I'm finding this takes a lot more organisation than last year.

I want my posts to have a consistent look and feel, so I started with the easy bit, I created a theme banner while I was mulling over the alphabet-inspired posts themselves. I even came up with a format for my posts i.e. what sections are going to be in every post - I'm mixing my own fiction in the form of an original serial for the month with some fun facts around my chosen theme.

However, post design was very much displacement activity for the difficult bit, collating information and putting together content for each of those sections. X and Z are proving especially tricky! I have recently found myself consulting word lists and synonyms, trying to find appropriate words to go with each daily entry. FB3X Drabble Cascades have made me better at this, I feel, since I am used to working with a weekly idea which inspires, but doesn't necessarily have to be taken literally. However, it's still proving tricky to fill every single letter of the alphabet :).

I hope other people's preparations for the A to Z are going well. 
If you haven't signed up yet and want to, the list is still open here.