About Me

My Photo

Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Walk the Wight #IsleofWight


Today, I walked the 4 mile Schools Walk with my 7 year old daughter to support the Mountbatten Hospice. We had already walked the 26 miles over the past month getting a sticker for each 30 mins. It was a great incentive to keep her going...


My husband & 13 year old son walked the entire distance of over 26 miles. My 12 year old daughter did about 15 miles!


My new walking boots caused me some problems, but the pain is nothing compared to the work this wonderful charity does.


If you are inspired by any of the stories and by our walking please donate to the Mountbatten Hospice now via their website => CLICK HERE OR Facebook Page

Thursday, 5 May 2016

I need your help!

I NEED YOUR HELP! Pretty please...

I have never been in the top 100 with my free eBook, HYBRID, in the USA. I am SO close today at no. 103! Please help me to get there and download it now. It would mean a lot to me.

Thank you SO much

#USA https://www.amazon.com/Hybrid-Evolution-Trilogy-Vanessa-Wester-ebook/dp/B0081EV8Z8

If you are in UK please help me get there too - currently at no. 620

#UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hybrid-Evolution-Trilogy-Vanessa-Wester-ebook/dp/B0081EV8Z8

I paid for a promotion yesterday and it has gone really well compared to other times. This might be down to the new covers? I hope so...

Either way, I refuse to let go of my baby.


<= Find out more about my trilogy, THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY

LET'S GET DOWNLOADING... Woo hoo

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Amazing Carian Cole @CarianCole

I first came across Carian Cole and her novel, STORM, via a Takeover on Facebook held by Bella Jeanisse. I was completely won over by Storm and have pimped it on my Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Groups, etc since then. I have not read the next books in this series, Vandal & Lucas, mainly because I was into other books. But, when I followed Carian on Amazon I found out she had a new release and I had to have it.

Not only is her new book, TALON, amazing… but, I now have the pleasure of introducing the author to you. I am thrilled she agreed.

Welcome Carian, and thank you for letting me interview you.

As you know, I just read “TALON” and loved it. I was sad when it ended. When I read a good book and I get involved with the characters I hate to say goodbye.


For the benefit of my blog readers, here is the synopsis and my review…

SYNOPSIS for TALON

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL PARTNER:

Caring. Hard-working. A devoted family man, loves kids. Clean cut, funny, smart, quiet, but a good communicator.

~ Asia Jenson

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL PARTNER:

Independent. Tall, blonde, sexy. Outgoing. Intelligent, neat. Unslutty. Confident. Loves to travel. Committed.

~ Talon Valentine

A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT.

The concept was scary but exciting...

Marry a total stranger.
Live together for six months.
Journal everything. (Feelings. Fights. All of it.)

After six months, we each get $50K in trade for our journals, whether we stay married or not. But the goal is to commit to the experience and see if the relationship experts could put together the perfect matches.
I have never been lucky in love. This was my chance to find my soulmate.
I couldn’t wait to meet the man the experts felt was perfect for me.

My hopes were immediately dashed when I saw him at the altar.

Shit. I married my worst nightmare.

Right?!


“I absolutely loved this book. Again, I was impressed by the style of writing of Carian Cole and this book was the perfect companion for STORM - a book I also loved.

Asia (love the name) is a woman with a troubled past who seems unable to meet her dream man. Talon is a rock star known for his "reputation" with women, who is fed up with the usual one night stands and disappointments that follow from them.

Both are ready for a new start and become willing guinea pigs for a social experiment. They agree to marry without meeting first... it's a modern "arranged marriage" come science experiment. The idea is funny and interesting. Trademark to the previous book I read, Storm, the attraction at first is non-existent, but as they get to know each other sparks fly - sizzling in some parts!

But, the story, which has an unexpected twist, and writing is fantastic and I got drawn into this world SO easily!

I would personally LOVE to see the whole Ambers & Ashes series as a TV series and hope someone takes note. It's time for a new kid on the block - move aside vampires, open the doors to rock stars! As far as I know it has never been done and I think its time for stereotypes to be cast aside.

Another fantastic novel - a MUST read in my books. But, take note this is for 18+ only due to the sexual nature and swearing! (I might add that even though I hate swearing in this case it makes the main character, Talon, cute & funny at times - weird, I know!)”

So, on to the questions… what did you think of my review? Fair?

I absolutely loved your review!

Do you base your characters on real people?

Usually yes, however, this book was actually inspired by a relationship between two of my cats. Crazy, I know. But, I’ll take creative inspiration from anywhere!

Who was your favourite character in this book, Asia or Talon?

I loved them both, but Talon became my favourite. I really fell in love with him as I was writing him. I love a sarcastic bad boy with a hidden sweet vulnerable side.

I love the humour in your novels. Both in STORM and in TALON the female MC is SO funny in how she reacts when she first meets her man. I will never forget Evie in Storm thinking he was a hobo! Is it important to you that people smile when they read your books?

YES. I want readers to smile, and to feel all the feels if possible. Reading has always been a sort of escape for me -- to get lost in another world for a little while and that is ultimately what I want for my readers.

Obviously, you are tackling some prejudices in the way the female MC’s perceive their ideal man. Do you think how a person dresses, chooses to express themselves, defines them? Are you glad your books might help people overcome their ideas?

I’m very glad that my books may help people overcome their initial judgment of those that have long hair, tattoo’s, piercings, maybe dress a bit different, etc. I’ve personally always dated men with long hair – starting in high school. 

My father would immediately think these guys were junkies, poor, bad news – you name it. He wanted me to date the guys with short hair, clean cut, wearing nice clothes and not ripped up jeans and work boots. However, I am happy to say that most of the guys I dated proved my father wrong – they were nice guys that treated me good, had good jobs, didn’t drink or use drugs, and had hearts of gold. 

I don’t think appearances define a person, but it definitely gives us a glimpse of their personality, individuality, and creativity.

I have to ask because some of the scenes are pretty HOT. Many movies have sexual scenes that are explicit and work for the plot, yet I never think anything of it because you know by the rating it receives. Do you think books need to have a warning? Are you careful who you promote your books too? I know there are many books classed as YA, which sometimes cross the boundary and get away with it.

Being a new author, I have to admit I really didn’t think about putting a warning on my books. In hindsight, I think I should probably add a disclaimer to each book to avoid any confusion. There are such mixed reviews about what a reader perceives as romance and erotica. I’ve had readers tell me that Storm didn’t have enough sex scenes, and others say it had too much. It seems to vary per reader and every day is a learning process!  I certainly would not want my book to offend anyone.

I love the family aspect to Ashes & Ambers series – it remind me of classics like Dynasty & Dallas – just a Rock & Roll version. I seriously think it would be fantastic for TV. Have you considered submitting it anywhere? Will we see your books on the screen?

Eek that would be an unbelievable dream come true for me. I haven’t submitted my books anywhere for TV and honestly wouldn’t even know where to start.

Without sounding like a stalker, I have noticed that TALON is doing extremely well in both the US and the UK! Congratulations. Even though most of your reviews are amazing, some will always be disappointing. How do you deal with critical reviews?

Thank you!!  I love stalkers!  (Phew...)

I read all of my reviews and I have to admit that I’m a sensitive person and bad reviews hurt. I am extremely grateful that my good reviews far outnumber the bad, but those bad ones really dig deep. I know that we can never please everyone, but of course we want to. I’m a pleaser and a giver by nature, so I feel bad if someone doesn’t like my book. I’m trying to develop a thicker skin because as long as I continue to write, I know there will always be bad reviews. It comes with the territory. I try to at least learn from every review – whether its good or bad, to help myself grow as an author. 

In fact, one of my very best beta readers came from leaving me a low review. I respected her opinion and the points she made were all valid, and she has become a valuable member of my team as well as a good friend.

I don’t want to give anything away, but your plot was incredible. What gave you the twist idea? Let’s try not to reveal any spoilers!

The twist in Talon was my first major idea for the story. I was very intrigued with a young musician who had everything he could ever want suddenly faced with a life altering issue that could take everything away from him. Because I also like humor and ‘what if” situations, the marriage experiment seemed like a great way to bring the characters together in a unique way that gave me a lot of room for humor, sexual tension, a true falling in love story, and also to explore how far a person will take their commitment to someone.

What is the most important thing you have learnt, as an author, since you published your first book?

Not to rush. I learned I have to write my books in my own time, without strict deadlines. Some authors do great under the gun, but I am not one of them. I wish I was! I am a slow writer. I need to put a lot of thought into my writing before I’m ready to let it go. So now, I don’t give definite publish dates until I’m confident I’m ready to let the book go out into the world. I know that lack of a date can frustrate readers, and I feel bad for that, but I hope in the end the waiting is worth it for them.

I hope I inspire my children too :)
Growing up did anyone inspire you to write, either an author you read or someone in your life?

My mom was an avid reader and encouraged me to read a lot when I was young, and I fell in love with books. I started writing at a very young age and my mother always supported my dream of someday becoming a writer. 

Sadly, my books were not published until after she passed away. I wish I had taken the leap sooner in life to pursue publishing.

Where we can find out about you and buy your books?

You can check out my web site at www.cariancole.com.  I am also very active on Facebook and welcome friend requests. I do a lot of giveaways and I usually have some pretty cool swag. I donate a portion of my sales to pet rescue, so you’ll see a lot of pet-related stuff on my social media pages, but most of my readers seem to enjoy it.

Thank you again for letting us find out more about you. Readers – buy the book! You will not be disappointed.


Thank you so much for reading my babies. It means the world to me!

It was an absolute pleasure

Saturday, 30 April 2016

My Guest Column via @LJ_Frank

At the Eden Project, Cornwall
Over the years, I have been able to express myself via an Author Interview. This week I have posted two after not being asked for a year! I have also had another request this week. I do enjoy doing them since it gets me thinking about why I write, what I get from the process, and what I have learned.

If you want to read any of them you can visit my Author Interview Blog via these two links. you will find links to the interviews on my post. I hope you read & enjoy.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW with the Infrasonic Detective

AUTHOR INTERVIEW with LJ Frank

I was also asked to write a column for the NP Journal and have now become a contributor.

For a direct link to the column, click on the link GUEST POST COLUMN

My favourite bits...

"As a reader, I want to be shocked. I want to laugh, cry, feel loved, everything... Human nature dictates that we seek these emotions. Safer in a book than in real life, don't you think?

I think that children need to be encouraged to discover books. Libraries need to stay open and investments in education need to continue to secure the future development of our children. Saying this, Goodreads is a great site for readers to discuss books, meet other readers, and share. Social media is a powerful tool for any author. If you master it, you are on the road to success.

...

Becoming a writer has enabled me to use my skills and imagination. To create something that I can be proud of. It has also made my children aware of how hard it is to create a book - to write it, edit it, make covers, promote it, etc... I am hoping my daughter will be an agent one day! She is very critical. The fact they also see me read, blog, use social media, also means that I am closer to the world they are growing up in. I am not a complete dinosaur!


To conclude, can I challenge anyone reading this and wondering to just go for it? Write down your ideas, work hard to make it come together, have patience, and one day stand back and say to yourself, "I did that." That’s when you allow yourself to smile."

Friday, 22 April 2016

KINGS AND QUEENS by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

Today, I introduce you again to Terry Tyler. Read on and find out why she is such an awesome author! 
Vanessa :)

As I said the last time I interviewed you (it was a year ago already!)… When I joined Twitter, you were one of the first authors I came across and I loved the way you came across. Straight-talking, friendly, and approachable. Your blogs portray the same image. And over the last year, nothing has changed! You are one of the nicest authors I have met online!

So, when I saw your book was up for grabs via Rosie’s Book Review Team I was in there in a flash!

You kindly let me have a copy of Kings & Queens and Last Child. I read both back-to-back! Here are my reviews…

*~*~*~*

KINGS AND QUEENS by Terry Tyler

“This book is intense!

For anyone who has watched series like Dallas, Dynasty, The Colbys or Falcon Crest (yes, I admit it - I have) this brought back so many memories! My grandmother was obsessed and I remember coming home from school and watching Falcon Crest with her, or when I was sick watching Dynasty. Dallas was much discussed at school! Yes, I am going back approx 30 years!

There was something about characters like Joan Collins, who nearly slept with her son and seduced anyone in sight that made for addictive viewing! As well as the alcoholics and drug addicts! (The rich have it SO tough)

So back to the book. Kings and Queens is all about this & more!

Romance, adultery, suspense, a lot of death and heartache, "fit" men and women, and also (which was nice to see) normal boring characters that fit in nicely to the massacre that is the old-fashioned Lanchester mentality!

Lanchester's Empire is a male dominated family business which relies on the family "male" heir to provide continuity.

Things do not go well from the start though. The first born, Alex, dies in a rock-climbing accident and the second son, Harry, takes the reins of the business at the age of 18!

The saga that continues as his love-life goes on the biggest roller-coaster EVER is extreme.

Personally, I found many of the scenarios to be unbelievable but this is the beauty of fiction! Perfect escapism into a world where many are crooks, adulterers and ruthless murderers!

I highly recommend this if any of what I have rambled on about makes you think, "This is for me!" I must add that having read several of Terry Tyler's books before her style is definitely makes for addictive reading, even though at times some of the character changes left me slightly disorientated.”

Rated: 4 Stars

*~*~*~*


“I have to admit that having read Kings and Queens I was immediately drawn to read the sequel. This is the great thing about reading a book after the next one has already been written. I have on many occasions waited for the next book in a series to be sorely disappointed.

This was not the case here, and I have I say I actually enjoyed Last Child even more than reading Kings and Queens.

There are a few reasons for this. Historically, Henry VIII has always been an interesting historical characters because of his many wives. Personally, I found History boring at school and never connected. What did I care that someone had so many? Seems like a bit of an idiot to me! So, when you read historical fiction written in a contemporary setting it brings everything to life. It makes you think, "Wow! Now I get it!" This is what Kings and Queens did - it made the illogical make sense.

But, in Last Child you see the consequences of someone so promiscuous and irrational via his offspring. The good and the bad. From the pampered male heir who wants to get everything his way (to dire consequences), to the deranged unwanted daughter who feels neglected and abandoned because her father rejected her via her mother, to the younger more exuberant child who had oodles of character and does not care what is expected of her, she just gets on with it.

The way in which we get to eavesdrop on their thoughts and actions again explains historical facts in a way that allows for compassion. I mean, seriously, I would never had thought a man who has an affair with a woman half his age would be rational. Yet, in this story it sound plausible (not for me personally, but I got how it happened).

So many details and actions that have so much relevance to society today. Again, it is like watching a TV soap - everyday events are embellished with tragic consequences.

However, in the end Terry has left us with some inner peace. Everything does not always go to plan, but you can make the most of a bad situation. She has also left an opening for another book - I practically screamed at the book at the end! More twists to come I think...

Anyway, if you have not read this author's books before you really should. She has a way of drawing you in, of getting you involved, of sympathising with characters you thought you hate, and feeling annoyed at characters you thought would be great. I love that. I want to be sent on a roller coaster ride when I read a book and this was definitely up, down, sideways and over!

One thing I will say is that the Lanchester family actually made me think of the Kennedy's not the British Monarchs. I guess it's really sad when a family seems to be so jinxed. Even the best of people have no guarantees in life. I guess we all have to live life to the maximum and make every day count, regardless of what the social niceties dictate.”

Rated: 4 Stars

So, what did you think of my rambles?

It's always interesting to see what people think of your books, Vanessa, as you know.  Everyone reads them so differently.  I will say, though, that Henry VIII did not take six wives because he was an idiot (though, indeed, that may be up for discussion!), but because it was important for him to produce a male heir, and marriage in those days was as much a political move, to form allegiances with other countries/noble houses, as to do with love.

I am in awe of you for the way in which you manage to keep the books coming. What or who inspires you to continue writing? My own muse goes for very long walks at the moment!

It's not always easy.  What keeps me doing it is simply that I feel a bit empty if I'm not currently working on a book.  I have had one on the go constantly for the last five and a half years; I at least plan out the next while the current one is being made ready for publication.  My 'to be written' list is always about four books long!

Which characters did you like and hate the most in these books?

My favourite characters in Kings and Queens are Hannah (everyone's favourite!), Annette and Kate, and I couldn't stand Jenny Seymour!  In Last Child I loved Erin, Jim and Raine; the only one I really disliked was Phil Castillo.

How did you go about doing the research for these books?

I was already pretty well versed in that period of history, but I also read David Starkey's book about the six wives, and also The Watchers by Stephen Alford, and The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory, and watched quite a few documentaries.

What is the most important thing you have learnt, as an author, over the last year?

Over the last year?  Hmm.... reading improves your writing, if you take note about why your favourite books work so well.  I also learnt, when writing my second novella, that writing one of these is not just a matter of writing a shorter story, it's a different process.  I've read novellas that should have been novels; the story has to suit the novella size.  I think I did a better job with my second than my first. 

What advice would you give to new authors starting out now?

  • Make sure your book is as good and as professionally presented as it possibly can be; the market is saturated and competition is enormous.
  • Write from the heart, not what you think sounds good.
  • Do thorough research and make sure you have genuine, personal recommendations before spending money on advertising, marketing services, proofeading, critiques, editing, etc.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that signing with a small, independent publisher means you have 'made it'; this is not the same as being traditionally published and you may find that you sell less books and make less money than you would if self-published.  Any publishing house that charges you for any aspect of the publishing process is a vanity publisher, and should not be touched with a barge pole.
  • Make friends with lots of nice book bloggers!

Does it differ from advice you would have given when you started?

Not a great deal, no.  Promotion is a whole different ball game, though; what worked 4 years ago would have little or no effect now.

Thanks, Vanessa, I hope this has been of some interest to you and your readers :)

Where we can find out about you and buy your books?


Amazon.com

Blog:

Book Review Blog

Facebook page:

Goodreads:

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Holiday in Bude, Cornwall

This Easter I went to Bude, in the North of Cornwall for our family break.

We stayed in a lovely house with a hot tub, within a working farm! The cows mooed constantly, the chickens pecked outside, and we had cats meowing outside the kitchen window (I am allergic to them so I was not letting them in).

It was a fantastic family holiday where we walked, played board games, saw beautiful new places, and even saw new life being born!

I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful English County!


*~*~*
Eden Project

The first day trip was to the Eden Project.

The site itself is fantastic and I was impressed by the facilities, activities for children, food, service, and views.

I even did an assault course - on a bouncy castle, nothing too strenuous!

It is amazing what an idea can start... the people who built and thought of this project should be thrilled!


Tintagel

Look out for those rocks...
I was terrified going down...
The second day we visited Tintagel - the ruins of a castle built around the 11-12th Century.

Stunning views, which unfortunately nearly scared me to death at times due to my fear of heights, were all around and I could not even begin to imagine how the place was fortified and used hundreds of years ago.

Human beings (some of them anyway) really are capable of magic...



Beaches
Surfer dude!

I never imagined there would be SO many surfers in April in England!

It is obviously a massive sport in Cornwall and I took some great shots of them over some decent sized waves.

If the water had been warmer I would have joined them, but funnily enough I was happy to sacrifice myself and watch!

Ha ha...

The Big Sheep - Devon
New life born in front of us!

Since we had children in tow, (aged 7, 12 & 13) we had to visit a theme park and we decided to go to The Big Sheep in Devon!

We had a great day and even managed to watch a live birth... the kids thought it was disgusting!

My daughter & I did the egg hunt and got some prizes for our efforts - they did not make it easy!

A fantastic show rounded up the day... loved the sheep with the dreadlocks!
The Big Sheep - Fantastic day out..

We arrived in the morning and were one of the last to leave. We made the most of the visit and loved it! I am glad we had no more buggies or young children - makes life so much easier...

We ate some Cornish pasties, did some sightseeing, relaxed and spent time together as a family. Perfect!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Thank you to the family in Scorsham Farm in Bude

Luxury accommodation... :)