Monday, 7 April 2014

Still Life with Strings BLOG TOUR

The SLWS blog tour kicks off today!! It's being hosted by Pump Up Your Book and runs all the way until the end of the month. Check out the schedule below for details. Also, go enter this cool giveaway I'm doing over on Facebook for fans of the book.

Speaking of, if you're a super duper fan you might like to pick up one of these pretty Still Life with Strings t-shirts over at Redbubble:

To celebrate the tour, the book is available for just 99c on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes.

Monday, April 7
Interview at Examiner
Tuesday, April 8
Book Review at Living Between Books
Wednesday, April 9
Book Featured at Fallen Over Book Reviews
Thursday, April 10
Book Review at What’s On the Bookshelf
Friday, April 11
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Monday, April 14
Guest Blogging at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 15
Interview at Booklover Sue
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings
Wednesday, April 16
Book Review at Literary Assassins
Thursday, April 17
Book Trivia with L.H. Cosway at As the Page Turns
Book Featured at I Heart Reading
Monday, April 21
Book Review at Not Everyone’s Mama
Tuesday, April 22
Book Featured at The Opinionated Me
Wednesday, April 23
Book Featured at A Day in the Life
Monday, April 28
Book Review at Margay Leah Justice
Book Featured at Deal Sharing Aunt
Tuesday, April 29
Wednesday, April 30
Book Featured at Rose & Beps Blog

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Florence Vaine Trilogy: An Update

From time to time I receive a message in regards to the final installment in my young adult paranormal books, The Florence Vaine series. So, I thought I'd write a blog to address the issue.

As of today I've officially taken the first two books down from Amazon (the only place they were available.) This is for three reasons. Number one: these books were never professionally edited and I'd like to re-release them at some stage once they have been. Perhaps with some nice new covers to boot. Number two: I started writing this series a good few years ago and my creativity isn't really flowing in the direction of the YA paranormal genre right now. I'm sure my excitement for this genre will return, but I don't want any more readers to start the series and then find themselves waiting for that ever illusive final installment. I've never been an author who could force myself to write something I wasn't feeling the urge to create, and I need to stay true to that. Otherwise writing becomes a chore rather than an enjoyment and I'll just end up writing a book I'm not happy with. And number three: this series only every garnered a very small readership compared to my other books. Unlike when I started publishing, the income from my books now makes up the main portion of my income. I'm a slower writer than most and it can take me anywhere between two and four months to complete a book. Therefore, I can't afford to spend that long of a period writing a book that only a tiny portion of people are going to buy. It kills me to be so capitalist, but ya know, I have to pay the bills too, lol.

I apologise profusely to the small few readers who were waiting for the last book. My readers mean everything to me, each and every one of you. You are the only reason why I can spend my days doing what I love instead of being stuck in a job I hate. The final book will be written one day, just not in the near future. 2015 is a definite possibility. If you'd like to keep up to date with what I'm publishing, you can sign up for my mailing list. I only send out messages when I'm releasing a new book so you don't have to worry about me bombarding your inbox if you do sign up :-)

Thanks for reading and (I hope) being understanding about this setback.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Still Life with Strings is LIVE!!

It's release day for Still Life with Strings and the book is now available for purchase almost everywhere. Below are the buy links. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the blogs that are featuring the book today and most importantly all the bloggers who have supported me in the run up to this release. Your kind words and enthusiasm are what keeping me going! Also, a massive thanks to Pump Up Your Book for hosting the release blitz and tour :-)

Where to buy:

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Still Life with Strings Excerpt + Teaser

There's less than a week to go before Still Life with Strings is released! Anybody in the mood for an excerpt? Read on for a sneak peak of chapter one, plus a pretty teaser pic below :-)


They call me the Blue Lady.
The more poetic would say a dark angel, or an unexpected, fantastical surprise standing upon the mundane street. I wear a long midnight blue dress, a matching wig, white paint on my hands and face, and glorious, feathery blue wings affixed to my back.
I feel like a gap in reality, a moment where people can pause mid-stride and say in a breathy, wonder-filled voice, wow, look at that. For the more cynical, wow, look at that nutjob.
Perhaps for a moment someone will think that they’ve stepped into a world where normal is not the rule anymore, that the extraordinary is. That my wings aren’t false but real, that my skin is really this white, my hair really this blue.
Unfortunately, none of it is real.
But it’s nice, isn’t it, for a brief moment to imagine that it is?
In reality I’m a twenty-six-year-old woman with a stack of bills I’m struggling to pay and two younger siblings who are reliant on me to keep a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their bellies.
I do this living statue act whenever I have the free time. It gives me an artistic outlet, while also making me some much-needed cash on the side. Admittedly, I don’t normally do it at one o’clock in the morning in the middle of Grafton Street, but it’s a Saturday. That means there’ll be lots of tourists. More to the point, lots of drunk tourists with loose pockets and even looser inhibitions about who they hand over their cash to – such as women who stand very still while dressed like a Manga fairy.
I stare directly ahead, unblinking, controlling my breathing using a qigong method, just as I hear the recognisable loutish shouting and laughter of a stag party up ahead. When they come into my line of sight, I see that they’re all wearing black T-shirts with their nicknames written across the back and Jack’s Stag Weekend across the front.
No shit.
I am an island, an inanimate object among the to and fro of humanity. I brace myself for the possibility that the stag party is going to be trouble. Moments later, one guy stands in front of me, waving his hand in my face and trying to get me to blink. How original.
Sometimes I feel like those guards who stand outside Buckingham Palace. And like those long-suffering buggers, I have also perfected the art of remaining still and giving no reaction at all.
“Are you blue all over?” he slurs with a drunken sideways grin.
As a street performer, you have to take the rough with the smooth. When you put yourself out there, you’re going to encounter every facet of society: the good, the bad, and the drunk off their arses. Kids are the best. They haven’t yet lost the sense of wonder that makes them stare up at you and truly believe you’re some sort of blue-fairy-bird-woman-thing.
“That’s a real nice rack,” says another of the stag partiers.
Yeah, you try carrying it around all day and dealing with the back problems, and then tell me how nice it is, I think. Soon they lose interest and continue on their way. A half an hour passes, and several more pedestrians throw some coins into my hat.
The moon is full tonight, a round white orb perched amid the stars. I want to go up there and see what everything looks like from on high. I flutter my wings and prepare for flight, flapping them through the air and then leaping into the sky. My ascent is an easy one. I pluck a star out of the blackness and stick it in my blue hair as an adornment. When I reach the moon, I find a comfortable spot and sit. Leaning my chin on my hand, I gaze back down at the street. The people look like tiny black ants, the buildings like less brightly coloured blocks of Lego.
I blink, and I’m back on my box, back on the street. I was never really on the moon. My wings are a pretty accessory, but they’re useless for flying. Sometimes I can imagine things so hard that I feel like they’re really happening.
My eyes catch on a group of people I recognise. They all play in the symphony orchestra at the concert hall where I work as a ticket attendant and bartender. I don’t talk to most of them, but I’m friends with a couple of the ladies. I know that one of the violinists is leaving to move to Australia with his family, so tonight must be his big send-off.
Often on my breaks I’ll sit at the back of the hall and watch their rehearsals, allowing myself to be swept away with the music. My favourite sound is at the very beginning of their performances, when all the instruments clamour together to get in tune. It builds up this addictive sense of anticipation.
I envy their lives as musicians, travelling the world and playing for amazing audiences in historic venues. It’s so much more beautiful than the life I live. I think a lot about the fact that I’m constantly near these people, and yet my reality is so far removed from theirs.
None of them even know that the woman with the painted skin dressed all in blue is the same inner-city girl who sells tickets for their concerts and serves them drinks at the bar after their practices.
In a way it’s quite a wonderful feeling. For a moment I am unchained from my own humdrum identity.
By the time I withdraw from these thoughts, the orchestra musicians are gone. Slowly, I turn my head slightly to the left and find a new position. I stand in the same pose for fifteen minutes at a time, and then I’ll make an almost imperceptible move to ease some of the strain. It takes willpower and the patience of a saint to do this. Fortunately, I’ve had years of practice being responsible for my younger siblings.
I’m all about the willpower, especially since I’m a recovering alcoholic who works in a bar. Most people say that to properly get over an addiction, you have to purge all presence of the drug from your life. I take a different approach. The fact that I can be around alcohol and not drink it, well, I like to think that makes me stronger. It’s been five years, and I haven’t touched a drop.
Anyway, what with jobs being so thin on the ground these days, I can’t exactly afford to be picky. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve when necessity sets in.
Once I settle in my new position, I notice a man standing by the shuttered window of a shop on the other side of the street. He’s got brown hair in what my mother would have called a “gentleman’s haircut” when she was alive. It’s all neatly combed and swept to the side. His facial features are exotic yet not, giving the impression that he was born of a white father and an Asian mother — or vice versa.
He’s just standing there staring at me, looking fascinated and a small bit lost. I sometimes encounter people like this. Adults who see me and are touched by whatever emotion my appearance has managed to evoke in them.
These are the things I live for. Aside from the money, it’s the main reason why I do this.
Up until this moment, though, I’ve never had someone I’m attracted to show a similar sort of wonder. His eyes crinkle in a smile. I think he knows that I’ve noticed him. A couple who have also been watching me for several minutes finally drop some money in my hat, and I give them a small bow for their generosity.
My legs are starting to get a little too stiff, so I decide it’s time to call it a night. Stretching my arms up over my head and stepping down off my box, I pick up my money hat, fold it in half, and shove it into the box.
The beautiful man across the street stands up straight when he sees me move. I pull off my wig and stick that in the box, too, loosening my real hair out of the tight bun I’d had it in under the wig. Making sure not to damage the feathers, I shrug out of the wings and place them inside as well.
When I glance up, the man is standing before me, too close almost. His eyes are a deep golden brown, like a glass of fine brandy, and his features have a delicate masculinity. Strong yet vulnerable.
“Hello there,” I say with a hint of amusement, pulling my long cardigan from the box and shuffling out of my blue dress. I always wear a light slip underneath.
“Hey,” the man replies, watching as I fold the dress neatly and place it in the box before ducking into my cardigan. “You’re blonde,” he says then, eyes on my hair.
I’d expected him to be foreign, given his semi-exotic appearance, but his accent is middle-class Dublin through and through.
“That I am,” I answer, giving him a look as if to say, are we done here?
It’s almost two in the morning, but the street still has quite a few people on it, so I don’t really feel on edge about this stranger standing near enough that we’re practically touching.
His gaze travels down to my feet, a wry smile shaping his lips when he takes in my black biker-style boots. As he scans my bare legs, I feel a shiver run down my back, lingering erotically at the base of my spine.
Hmm, it has been a while, and this man is utterly gorgeous. He’s wearing a dark suit with a white shirt, no tie. He hovers over me, standing only a couple of inches taller. His breath whispers across my skin, smelling faintly of gin.
“Would you like to have a drink with me?” he asks, reaching out to run a hand through the waves at the end of my long hair.
Despite his forwardness, it feels good to be touched. Sometimes it seems like no one ever touches me like this — just for the sake of it. I had a really stressful day with my younger brother Pete acting the brat; a little relief would be nice. A bit of physical interaction. Some skin on skin.
Something thickens in the air between us as we make eye contact. The man sucks in a quick breath, his gaze flickering back and forth over my features.
Once I have everything put away, I close my box, pulling it along on its wheels.
“How about a quick shag instead?” I ask back, uncharacteristically brazen.

Pre-order links:

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Still Life with Strings COVER REVEAL + Signed Paperback Giveaway


I have the cover for my upcoming contemporary romance, Still Life with Strings to share with you all today and I think it might be my prettiest cover yet. This novel was a real labor of love for me, at times I was plagued with doubts and insecurities, unsure if I could finish it, but I got there in the end. Anyway, I like to hope I become a better writer with each new book I finish, and all the struggle and strife is worth it when you've something new and shiny to share with the world. Ya know, even though I'm technically an established author I sometimes feel like a little toddler who's still learning how to crawl.

So, to celebrate the reveal I want to do an extra special competition. I'm going to give away THREE signed paperback copies, all of which will contain a personalized message from yours truly. I'm giving away paperbacks on Goodreads too, but you should enter this one as there will be far less entrants and therefore you'll have a far greater chance of winning. I'll also give ebook copies away to three runners up and you'll receive the ebooks prior to the publishing date, which should make you feel all special and shit :-D

Okay, so how do you enter? Just use the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winners will be selected on March 16th, one week + one day before the book gets published. I was gonna do it exactly a week, but that would be March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, and I'll be too busy trying to navigate crowds of parade people blocking my street on that day, lol, so March 16th it is ;-) The giveaway is open internationally, so it doesn't matter where you live you can still enter. I hope that's simple enough. Any questions, just ask!

Now that's all taken care of *dusts hands* here's the cover for your viewing pleasure...

I'll be posting a couple of sneak peeks here on my blog in the run up to the release, so be sure to check back. Tomorrow I'm off to London for the London Author Fair on Friday, so wish me luck! I'm hoping to learn lots of publishing/writery type stuff.

Until next time!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Still Life with Strings Writing Scrapbook

Right now I'm living (mostly) like a hermit so that I can finish writing my newest romance novel, Still Life with Strings, which is a story about a concert violinist and a living statue set in Dublin. It's always a fun activity to put together these little virtual scrapbooks, not least because it helps me to visualise. I think I might spend more time visualising a story than I do actually writing it. It's not as weird as it sounds, lol.

So, to begin, this novel has a touch of magical realism, which I've always been fascinated with but have never had the courage to write. Just to be clear, this isn't a fantasy book. It's a contemporary romance; there isn't any actual magic. If you've never heard the term before, magical realism is when an element of the fantastical is woven into an ordinary, completely realistic setting. If anybody's ever watched the UK version of the tv show Shameless, in the episode where Frank has conversations with himself as a young boy, that's magical realism. Or in Sons of Anarchy where that homeless ghost woman keeps showing up randomly, that's magical realism too.

In the case of my book, my heroine, Jade, has quite a vivid imagination and often sees things from an unusual perspective. Classical music is a big part of this book, and I guess that's one of the main reasons why I chose this style of writing. For me it has this dreamlike quality that really opens up the imagination and makes you feel like anything is possible. Sort of like...

Here are some character pics.



And now for some music. It will quickly become apparent that I'm a huge Joshua Bell fangirl.

And a Charlie Siem fangirl...who by the way I would probably be a fan of even if he didn't play the violin. Because, well, he has those Robert Pattinson eyes.

Oh, and let's not forget the rock star of the violin, David Garrett.

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, it's not all about the hot male violinists. Well, maybe it is just a little bit ;-) But mostly it's about the music.

and the art...

a touch of magic...


And a whole lot of love...

Nothing is set in stone but I have a tentative publishing date in mind for March 24th. We'll see. I also haven't starting planning the tour yet so if you're a book blogger and want to get involved send an email my way at I'm hoping to do a cover reveal some time in February, so keep those eyes peeled :-)


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

My Top Reads of 2013

I went through my kindle library this morning to pick out my favourite reads of the past year so that I could share them with you lovely people. For someone with an online presence, I'm terribly guilty of reading books, absolutely loving them but completely forgetting to recommend them to others. Usually I pick my books based on people suggesting them to me, other times I'm ashamed to say I just scan the Amazon bestsellers and see what tickles my fancy. So, these are the ones that tickled my proverbial fancy this year.

Horns by Joe Hill (Horror) - This book was one that I couldn't put down, kind of in the same way that you can't stop staring at a car crash. The main character wakes up one morning with a hangover, looks in the mirror and finds he's grown two horns on his forehead. From there on out whenever he talks to people they can't help but to tell him their deepest darkest secrets and desires. Also, the author is no other than Steven King's son, so you know it's gonna be good.

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson (Historical Romance) - Edenbrooke was one of those throwbacks to the Jane Austen days books and I loved every minute of it! It has a very Darcy-esque leading man and will leave you feeling completely satisfied, loved up and generally happy about life by the end.

Vain by Fisher Amelie  (New Adult Romance) - Oh, how I loved this one and how I was envious of what a beautiful writer Fisher Amelie is. The title alone sucked me in. Vain tells the tale of Sophie Price, a rich girl who has it all, loses it and then realises that everything she ever wanted never cost a penny to begin with.

Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills (New Adult Romance) - This one reminded me a little of Vain, but it was very much its own unique story, too. Nora Blakely is a girl who on the surface seems like she has the perfect life, but underneath it is a broken, hurting soul. This book was pretty steamy in that kind of way where the hero and heroine are dying to be together but keep denying themselves...and then when they finally get together? EXPLOSIVE. I really loved it.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid (Romance) - Aw, this one put a smile on my face so many times while I was reading. Janie was certainly my kind of heroine and I laughed out loud more times than I can count. In the space of a day she loses her boyfriend, her job and her apartment, but all is not so bad as the hot security guard from her workplace keeps showing up and helping her out.

The Artists Trilogy by Karina Halle (Romantic Suspense) - I'm putting this entry in as the whole trilogy because I seriously loved it and now that it's over I'm still missing the characters. These books are so action packed that you won't want to stop turning the pages to see what happens next. They also have a whopper of a love triangle, which is always fun!

Bet in the Dark by Rachel Higginson (New Adult Romance) - This book has a great sarcastic and funny heroine. Ellie Harris' college roommate steals her identity, drums up a shitload of debt and then disappears, leaving her to face the consequences. And those consequences come in the form of sexy Fin Hunter who shows up demanding his money be paid back. Teehee!

The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simmons (Historical Romance) - I read all three of these books in the space of about a week and a half, which given that they're so long means I basically neglected my entire life because I couldn't stop reading them. They broke my fucking heart a million times but I just. couldn't. stop. The first was definitely my favourite. The next two left me sort of emotionally scarred, but you know what, that's the sign of an amazing writer. I was so engrossed in these books that I literally felt like I was living them. When Tatiana was starving I felt like I was starving, when she was heartbroken I left like I was heartbroken.

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley (Fantasy Romance) - This story was realllllly long, but it was fun every step of the way. It kept me brilliantly entertained for a good few cold winter nights. Finnie decides that she wants an adventure and that adventure entails switching places with her twin from another world and living her life for a whole year. What she doesn't know is that her twin is a princess who is set to marry The Drakkar, a gorgeous scary powerful man, who also happens to hate her twin with a vengeance. For some reason I kept imagining Daenerys and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, lol.

So, there they are, my top reads of 2013. Fingers crossed I read some great ones in 2014, too. Right now I've sequestered myself away to write my next book, which is a contemporary romance called Still Life with Strings and is set in an orchestra. More details on that to come!