Julia Hughes - writing thrilling adventures - time after time after time.
Last chance today to grab your free copy of "Crombie's Christmas" and of course the excellent duo of short stories by Jenny Worstall, "Infant Barbarian".
But the good news is that "Make A Joyful Noise" Jenny's debut full length novel will be free on New Year's Day – from January first, until midnight January third – a brilliant start to the New Year.
Here's what others are saying about this brilliantly observed look at an English Choir as they rehearse their big number:
"A lovely "boy gets girls" romance set around William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast... "The author is clearly a perceptive musician who describes her characters with precision, charting their adventures in a most amusing style. The mix of romance and music is delightfully handled with a great sense of fun and humour. Michelle,UK"
"A Bridget Jonesian affair (in third person) in which the protagonist must choose between her Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver. An enjoyable read which I would recommend. Steph,UK"
"I didn't want to put the book down...C.Plunkett"
"As a music teacher, choir member and mother, the various characters in this story couldn't have ticked more boxes for me! Lucy, UK."
"A sweet tale which cracked along at just the right pace. The characters were well drawn, vivid and amusing. Ellen, Croydon."
Jenny will also be making a guest appearance on this site on New Year's Day, so please drop by and say "Hi" – and be sure to download "Make A Joyful Noise" for free – you really don't want to miss this one! Here's a suggestion – why not download a sample now, then you're ready to rock with the choir on Jan 1! Make A Joyful Noise in the USA: Make a Joyful Noise in the UK.
I love this period in between Christmas and the New Year – all the gifts have been unwrapped, and oohed and ahhed over, memories of a sumptuous Christmas feast are still fresh – with no guilty feelings because we're all joining a gym or changing our eating habits in the New Year – right? Right! Walking the dogs and meeting others wearing their brand new Christmas jumpers, hats and scarves and exchanging cheery greetings – I could live in this part of winter forever, or at least until Spring bounces in. Best of all, there's still boxes of chocolate to eat. I'm delighted to report that my two sons listened carefully to my hints, and I've literally got a chocolate hamper. Hand on heart, I wish I could hand them around to each and every one of you – it's like a little piece of heaven – chocolate is food for the soul. Instead I'm offering a free short story for your kindle – it's a little piece of fun, dedicated to Doreen, whom most of us know as "Dody"; with my sincere thanks; this lady is a constant source of support and encouragement not only to me, but many other indie authors too. Maybe next year I'll throw a huge party and invite and meet many of my cyber pals for the first time, until then, I hope you'll accept this little story with my best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to you and all your loved ones.
I'm all behind like a duck's tail, so instead of wishing all a Merry Christmas, I'm hoping that as always your Christmas time was spent with loved ones, with wonderful presents to open, great food and drink, and lots of laughter.
I've got an excuse – well three actually – in addition to getting ready to eat drink and make merry, I've also been deeply engrossed in Alesha Escobar's fantastic novel, Dark Rift, you can read my review on this site and of course my interview with Alesha. A magnificent imagination, a brilliant story.
To entertain my young neighbour, I also downloaded a copy of "Lionel's Christmas Adventure" – while her mum and I chatted, Molly giggled out loud as she read on my kindle. As soon as they were gone, I had to read this one – Paul Hewlett has created a delightful character in Lionel, and I thoroughly recommend downloading this to your kindle to share with young friends and family. Not last, and definitely not least, the fantastic Charlie Plunkett (of True Diaries fame) published a tribute to children – her "100 little words on Parenthood" was published – at time of writing this blog it's currently free – so grab a copy. An amazing idea to round up parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts and collect their best memories of the significant children in their lives – all captured in 100 words, and Charlie has not only sorted these into easy to dip in and out of chapters, but she's also added apt quotations from celebrities and authors, past and present. Don't miss this one!
Last, and least! I spent some time when I should have been wrapping presents polishing off a short story – Crombie's Christmas – the bane of the Celtic Cousins' lives is stuck in Italy for Christmas – when all he wants to do is go home – told in 3,300 words with a humorous slant – Crombie picks a fight with the wrong cat, finally thinks of the very last word – too late – but then gets the best Christmas present of all!
Right now, Crombie's Christmas is free & will be until midnight 30th December – a belated present from me to you! Thank you to everyone who's taken time to review or tweet via twitter that you've enjoyed reading my little stories – believe me it's even more fun writing them!
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year, let's hope 2013 is one of the best yet!
These past few days the cyberverse has been on fire with chatter about the Mayan Calendar, which ended on this particular date. Although as the Mayans themselves were quick to point out, just the calendar ended – no way were their ancestors predicting the end of the world!
It is though, the beginning of the end of winter: today is the smallest day of the year –tomorrow the light lingers a few minutes longer as we turn and face the sun once more. Down in Wiltshire, where my ancestors also made a calendar, the usual suspects celebrated the sun rising in the magnificent framework of Stonehenge. Like the Mesoamericans, ancient Britons knew the value of time. We created something a little less complicated, and while it might not look as pretty as some of the ancient Mayan calendars; because the sun still sets and rises in the sky, the grand old bluestones and sarsens continue to mark the seasons.
Experts know what Stonehenge is constructed from, but can only make an educated guess why our ancestors needed these particular stones, in this particular pattern. If you research "Stonehenge" on the internet, you'll discover a thousand theories – but the truth is we may never solve this ancient mystery. I know this much though – my dad's always been fascinated by Stonehenge, and driving along the A303 on our way down to Cornwall, the car would stop, and we'd be herded out to stretch our legs. After a wild game of hide and seek, we'd perch on the Altar Stone, and listen wide eyed to dad's wonderful stories about Merlin, and absorb the romance of the stones.
Growing up, I learned some of the facts behind the myths and Stonehenge became more awe inspiring than ever. Prehistoric, maybe post-historic, Stonehenge might be around to witness the end of the world. If so, will the first rays of that very last sunrise reveal the true purpose of this enigmatic time machine? Mystic portal or solar calendar, if you ever get the chance, visit this wonder – make up your own mind, and weave your own stories – but one thing's for certain – the haunting beauty of the place will stay with you, and a little part of you will remain with Stonehenge.
Forever and ever, until worlds end!
As "The Griffin Cryer" is a young adult fantasy, and since I have two young adults in the house, both sons were bullied into reading one of mine for the first time. Comments like "I can't believe you wrote this" and "this is quite a good story" (said in tones of disbelief) were duly ignored. But then the eldest took my kindle to read the last few chapters at work (he wasn't skiving – they have regular breaks)! A lifeguard at his pool approached him and asked if he could see how the kindle worked – they're still a little bit of a novelty here in the UK! "Sure" #1 son said, handing the kindle over to his colleague. Within ten minutes his colleague had devoured the last few chapters, and handed back the kindle remarking "That's not a bad book". "Not bad" said #1 son. But he must have secretly been proud of his old lady, at any rate, he reported the "not bad" comment back to me. I choose to think that any "not bad" book might also be described as "good"!
Happily, my advance readers enjoyed their review copies, and "The Griffin Cryer" already has two glowing reviews on the "product page" – but as always the opportunity to download a sample and decide for yourself is available free of charge – so if you fancy a flight of fantasy on the back of a griffin, why not check out the links below, and you can judge for yourself!
"The Griffin Cryer" (£2.05) can be sampled on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
that for a hermitage.
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty." Richard Lovelace 1618 – 1657
Those words written centuries ago continue to resonate – minds and imagination cannot be imprisoned by physical restraints. Conversely, the prisons we create for ourselves, inside our own minds can become fortresses and are the hardest of all to escape from – the guard is always present and vigilant. Sometimes we need someone from another world to help us escape from our own self imposed prisons, we call comfort zones. And that little voice you hear saying "it's called the "comfort zone" for a reason" might just be your own personal jailer denying you the freedom to try something new. Don't listen: give yourself permission to be free.
Wren Prenderson; "A Ripple in Time" best hero.
"The Griffin Cryer" best Urban Fantasy. Thank you to the hard working judges and everyone who voted at the eFestival of Words, organised by Julie Dawson, of Bards & Sages.
A Raucous Time, A Ripple in Time, and The Griffin Cryer. Thank you to Julie and her hard working panel of judges and reviewers.
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