Archives for the month of: December, 2012

For the last guest author post before the Christmas holiday we have wonderful writer Barbara Phinney who will tell us how and why she writes and a little bit about herself.

Without further delays, here is Barbara!

Let me introduce Barbara Phinney.

Tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m 53 years old, married, and living in a big empty nest since our son joined the military. Both my husband and I served in the Army and have since retired to a community where his grandfather used to farm. We do a lot of volunteering, and every chance I get. When the house is quiet, I write.

What type of genre do you write?

I write in a number of different genres. My favorite is romantic suspense. But I have published romantic comedy, science fiction romance, and will have published in March, my first historical romance, set in the 11th century in England. All of my books are what we would consider “sweet”. That is, there’s very little or no sex in my books. I’m really not very good at writing a love scene.

What genre to you personally read?

My favorite genre to read is romantic suspense, but I do enjoy historicals in atypical settings and time periods. I don’t mind reading something a little different, a little quirky, or of the mixed genre. I don’t read paranormal, and while most of my books are Christian inspirational, I do not read a lot of preachy books. I love a good comedy.

Tell me about your latest book.

I always have a number of irons in the fire, so to talk about my latest I would have to say there are two in particular. One is an inspirational romantic suspense set in Bolivia, (remember, atypical settings) and the other is an inspirational historical romance that I am going to present to my editor. Both books are in the editing stage now.

Where is your book available?

My historical romance won’t be available until March, at places where you’ll find any Harlequin romances and also online. My other books are available here at Amazon

and at Barnes & Noble here

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story?

I think my parents, especially my father, instilled the love of reading. You have to remember that years ago, most places in Canada would only receive two or maybe three television stations and your parents often supervised the amount of time you sat in front of the television. My father always enjoyed reading mysteries and science fiction, so I grew to love books, too. As for the idea of a good story, I think I learned fairly early on the importance of having a well-rounded story arc. I think that aspect came from reading wonderful stories by Farley Mowat and Stephen Leacock.

What was the first book you wrote?   

The first book I wrote was when I was 14 years old and so in love with the Gothic romance that made people like Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt so famous. Well, with a friend, I sat down to write this grand story of a woman fleeing across Europe for some reason that I can’t remember. I even drew pictures of her and made up the cover, and never got past the first scene. Like any 14-year-old, I gave up on that dream for a while. Then the years and years later my friend sent me my manuscript. All handwritten and folded up neatly. She’d found it in a book.

It was screamingly bad, horrible, and I laughed all the way through it. My next attempt to write was when I was an adult, and I entered it in a contest. It was a time travel, and when I had returned to me, the judge had scrawled in large letters across the top of the cover, the word “clichéd”. I was mortified, but laugh at it now, because it was indeed very clichéd. So much so that if I was to describe it to you, we’d both be on the floor laughing.

What was your inspiration for your latest book?

If we consider my latest book to be the romantic suspense set in Bolivia, then I would say the inspiration for this story was reading about the kidnapping of a child in the newspapers. In my story. the single mother must approach the estranged father, in order for them to find the teenaged boy who is missing. Missing children, anguished mothers, all tugged at my heartstrings.

What has been your best moment as a writer?

There are lots of really great moments when you’re a writer, and some of them can only be understood by other writers. Most of the time, it’s that moment when your story really starts to gel and the words just flow down your arms and through the keyboard. They are exciting moments for an author. But a more outwardly moment that’s the best would have to be when I first sold to Harlequin. We were in the middle of building our home. I lived in a little trailer, 26 feet long, with my husband and two kids and no furniture, no phone, and I’ve received the “call” by a registered letter. I ran in my sock feet all the way next door to my sister-in-law to give her the good news. She laughed at my excitement!

Do you have a beta reader/s, or a critique group?

I have a number of beta readers and a critique group, but we try not to exhaust ourselves too much. We don’t run every single thing past each other, but I’m grateful for them just same. I haven’t used them for a while, but this week I asked them to read over a synopsis. The feedback is brutal, honest, and absolutely necessary. I value every word. The rest of the time my critique group becomes a support group.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

I see myself in all my characters because I take parts of myself and my own experiences. Even when I am asking myself, what would this character do under the circumstances? I think even the most prepared and most plotter-oriented writer will give her characters a little piece of herself. Sometimes there’s more of myself in my heroine, but sometimes when my hero does something very physical or even violent, you can be guaranteed that there’s a lot of me in that. I’m gregarious, wild and sometimes angry person. A lot of time though, when my heroine is feeling insecure, I see myself in her.

What does your workspace look like?

My office is a lovely, sunny room at the front of my house that looks out into our front yard, and the pasture beyond. It’s a very peaceful scene. Other than that, it’s pretty utilitarian with a lot of hand-me-down furniture, a junkie desk, and a huge map of the world right above my monitor. I have lots of little pictures of my kids and my family, sticky tacked to the wall.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I think about writing!

What are the most important tactics to remaining sane as a writer?

If you’re a writer there is a good chance that a big part of you is not sane. Nor will it ever be sane. One of the most important tactics a writer can use to remain sane is to just simply get up and leave your writing and do something else. I own chickens and barn cats, I have the house to clean, and volunteer work to do, so I have lots of things that can keep me busy and insanity at bay. And if that doesn’t keep a person grounded, there’s always family. But will they keep you sane? The jury’s still out on that one!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Aspiring authors need to take lots of courses, read lots of books, especially highly acclaimed ones, and just keep writing. It will take you years to master your craft. In this day and age of self-publishing, it’s easy to get published. And the glut of e-publishers out there make it even easier to find a home for your book, but never give up trying to improve your writing.

Who is your favorite character in your current release?

In Bound to a Warrior, due out in March, my favorite character would have to be the hero. He is the quintessential knight on a white horse. After studying the Norman conquest of England, I came across a number of real people from history and my hero is a mix of all of them. He’s a Norman Knight ordered to marry the abused widow of the Saxon nobleman. But his honor won’t allow him to hurt her further. Slowly, he earns her love through gallantry, humor, honor, and love.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

I think names are very important in a story. The above hero was originally named Prades, but it’s so unusual that my editor asked me to change it. He became Adrien, instead. But not willing to give up the name Prades, I made it his childhood nickname. Names are often associated with personality types, but you have to be careful not to overdo it, or else it will become clichéd. I’m very careful about thinking out the names of my characters. And it gets worse as you get older. You meet more people. You’re bound to know someone with the same name!

Do you travel to research your books?

I would love to travel to research all my books! I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, having been to Bolivia twice, and to England many times, but sometimes you must rely on the Internet, tourist information and locals that you’ve been able to connect with.

Does the weather play in your books?

I live in Eastern Canada, where the weather changes by the minute. Many people in the world don’t really understand the Canadians’ fascination with weather because of their weather is fairly predictable and constant. In my stories, the weather is character onto itself. The weather can put a damper on a scene, creative mood, or force the characters to act and react in different ways. Not using the weather is similar to having a story take place in a single room over the space of 80,000 words. You’re cheating your readers and you’re cheating yourself at the excitement of using the weather.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I find the most rewarding part about writing is simply selling books. Knowing that someone has been interested enough in my books to purchase them is a huge reward for me. I’ll never get rich, but I’ll always have fun.

What does your family think of your writing career?

My immediate family are very supportive of my writing, and my husband often hears me say, Get out of the office! The rest of the family are less supportive because none of them read. Not a single word. They barely read the local paper, they hate reading that much. But I’m fortunate that the friends I have are very supportive.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

This is an excellent question! My favorite restaurant of all times? I love The Keg steakhouse, but there is also this little Mongolian restaurant in the nearby city that I like. It’s more important to me that there be a quality of food , rather than quantity, or setting or price. Oh yes, there is this restaurant in Cochabamba Bolivia, called Castors that make the best saltañas in the world!

After this book, what is next?

My upcoming jobs will consist of sending in a proposal for my next historical and publishing my Bolivian story. Since I also write science fiction under the name Georgina Lee, I hope to get to the next installment of my short novellas in The Twin Planets series. I have lots on my plate and hope someday to catch up!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my answers, and have been able to get to know me a bit better. Stop by one of my sites to say hello!



Twitter: @BarbaraPhinney




And some announcements: During the Christmas holidays I’ll do some posts collecting the best of guest authors and of my usual posts…Yes, Christmas is  time for TV repeats, so I thought post repeats were also appropriate. A good way to catch up if you’ve missed any posts.

I also published 3 new novellas last weekend. They are all in the series ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ about Mary a psychiatrist and writer who gets involved in  a number of cases whilst trying to build up her writing career.

The first one, Cannon Fodder is FREE  in all amazon stores this weekend (from 14th to 16th December inclusive). CannonFoddertitle

Click here to go to the Amazon page and download!

The second novella: Teamwork

Teamwork2 V 0065

Is available here:

And the third one, Memory


Available here:

And don’t forget my book THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS


And check ‘The Man’ page in BookClub Reading List:

Thanks for reading!


My book is now in Book Club Reading list. Pay it a visit please!


The Man Who Never Was | Book Club Reading List.

I met Susana Araújo when we were both working on our PhDs at the University of Sussex. She was working on the short stories of Joyce Carol Oates and I was writing about the films of David Mamet. We shared our joys and frustrations, taught the same courses on film, and noticed how both of our authors were very prolific and it was difficult to keep ahead of them (when you thought you had finished, they published something else and/or made another film!). We also were both legal aliens in the UK, Susana from Portugal and I from Spain and we had lovely conversations about what gets lost in translation, the weather, Brighton…Yes, we liked to chat (we still do).We both used to write too and would talk and comment on our writing.

My friend is back home in Portugal and a lecturer in Lisbon. When we re-established contact again (it’s amazing who quickly time can go!) and I was telling her about my book she send me her collection of poems. Dívida Soberana. The first two parts are exclusively in Portuguese but the third one about ‘Global Warming’ contains poems in both Portuguese and English. I’m including here the first of them, that like all in the series, are not only beautiful but critical and throw a few punches.

I’m very please to host her work in my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and it makes you think, that is what Susana wants.


Tu vacilas, não queres ouvir e eu

não vou ter contigo a meio caminho

deposta, abandonada e irrisória

a ponte de ferro quebra-se

assim que o FMI avança

Um casal ainda criança

já refinancia

os seus juros

Não há compensação

para quem sonha severamente

enquanto espera pelo autocarro

durante o horário de Inverno

Vê agora, lá fora: uma

família que forja falsetes

tenta agarrar-se à rede,

frívolos esforços em que

os nossos filhos falham

O estímulo ao investimento

de iniciativa privada promove

a utilização proveitosa dos nossos

recursos: como esta faca de cozinha

que avança para nós com serrilha, sorrindo

combinação certeira entre a ergonomia

o melhor design e a qualidade

Todas as domésticas suturas serão

submetidas a uma rigorosa

análise de sensibilidade

Dorme bem, meu amor e

deixa a manhã reestruturar

a nossa dívida.


I will not meet you, halfway

teetering, you will not listen

deposed, derelict and derisory

the iron bridge breaks as

the IMF rides in

A couple aghast


its bounds

The test was trust it hurt

because I needed you


There is no compensation for

dreaming hard as winter hours

See outside: a family of falsettos on tricottine

facetious, our children fail

Official incentive to private investment

promotes the profitable use of resources

like this kitchen knife that moves toward us

with serration which trims down and back, smiling

the right combination between ergonomics

quality and design

Domestic sutures should be submitted

To severe sensitivity analysis

Sleep tight my love and

let the morning restructure

our debt.

Check to order some copies.


And I know you are expecting ANNOUNCEMENTS. And today there are many…On Friday, the last guest post for the year, wonderful author Barbara Phinney tells her about…well, read it and you’ll see!

During the holidays I intend to create one or two posts a week (my parents are coming for a visit so this might have to be flexible) with the best in the series, both of posts by characters in ‘The Man Who Never Was’ and especially by my wonderful and talented guest authors.

As I’ve been promising, I published my three novellas in the series ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ last weekend. They are all linked through the main character, Mary, who is a psychiatrist/writer who wishes to make a living by writing but keeps getting involved in a number of cases through her expertise in psychiatry.

‘Cannon Fodder’ (Escaping Psychiatry 1) is FREE TO DOWNLOAD THIS WEEKEND (14th to 16th December inclusive).


‘Teamwork’ (Escaping Psychiatry 2)

Teamwork2 V 0065

And ‘Memory’ (Escaping Psychiatry 3)


And, I couldn’t leave you without reminding that ‘The Man Who Never Was’ is also available here:



Thanks for reading and many thanks to Susana for her poetry and sharing it with us.

No voy a intentar presentar a Vanessa que ella se explica muy bien y nos cuenta como llegó a autopublicarse (y sin necesitar traducción).

Mi Viaje Hacia Publicación

 Vanessa Wester

Por Vanessa Wester

Cuando era una niña devoré cuentos de la compañía Ladybirds. Mi favorito era probablemente Rapunsel.  La idea de que un príncipe trepara a lo más alto de una torre usando su cabello, para salvarla de la malvada bruja – ¡que fantástico!  Entonces descubrí el mundo de Enid Blyton, con hadas, duendes y animales parlantes.  Mi papá ama los libros y no tenía nada mejor que hacer que llevarme a la tienda de libros o librería local.  Rara vez compré libros nuevos (¡eran demasiado caros!) pero me encantaba tocarlos y tenerlos en mis manos.  Y sabía que podía ahorrar o tal vez conseguir uno para un cumpleaños o Navidad.  Los libros eran cosas especiales, atesoraba cualquiera que poseía.

Cuando me convertí en la bibliotecaria escolar aproveché la oportunidad para buscar nuevos tesoros.  Nancy Drew fue mi siguiente obsesión.  Después leí todo tipo de libros hasta que Agatha Christie entró en escena.  Yo miraba la serie en la TV, pero también leí todos sus libros y hasta compre su autobiografía.  Mi sueño era ser la próxima Agatha.

Fue cuando comencé G.C.S.E. (14 años) que empecé a pensar que yo no tenía un futuro de escritora.  Trabajaba duro, me encantaba explorar mi creatividad, pero nunca me pareció que obtenía notas altas.  Me fue muy bien en el examen final, pero mi confianza en mí misma sufrió.  Me concentré en las Ciencias y me olvidé de mi sueño de ser una escritora.

Salto de casi veinte años…

Después de siete años como ama de casa encontré mi amor por los libros otra vez.  Después de pasar muchos años vegetando frente al televisor viendo cosas descerebradas y aburridas.  Claro, desarrollé obsesiones por series de TV que me encantaron y han inspirado algunos de mis escritos.  Heartbreak High, Roswell, Buffy y Héroes son algunas de las muchas series que me obsesionaron con los años.  Pasé por diferentes fases sobre mi lectura.  Tengo que admitir que encontré a Leon Uris convincente.

Y un día, mientras dormía mi bebé número tres, estaba cambiando canales y me encontré con el final de Crepúsculo.  Me encantó la banda sonora, y parecía interesante.  Un par de semanas más tarde vi Luna Nueva, lo compré, y mi nariz no dejó el libro hasta que lo terminé.  Me llenó de alegría saber que también podía leer Eclipse y Breaking Dawn.  Me había enamorado. Más tarde compré Crepúsculo, que se convirtió en mi favorito de la serie. ¡ Fue sólo después de que me enamorara de The Twilight Saga, que me dí cuenta de que existían los fans!  Sentí que pertenecía a un club.  Las mamás leyendo Crepúsculo en sus coches y yo compartíamos una sonrisa, y rápidamente nos hicimos amigas.

Cuando compré el DVD de Crepúsculo y vi la entrevista con Stephanie Meyer, tuve mi momento bombilla.  También era una madre educada que se dedicaba a estar en casa con un celebro desesperado por pensar y tenía tiempo en mis manos mientras mi bebe dormía o mi esposo estaba trabajando.  Quería intentar escribir una novela.  La pregunta era: ¿podría?

Le contesté un par de meses más tarde, cuando terminé mi primera novela romántica, entonces sólo 67.000 palabras.  Lo compartí con unas amigas y les gustó.  Me animaron a seguir. Tengo que admitir que les debo mucho a mis amigos.  La escritura era tosca y no muy buena realmente.  Pero, lo que les gustó y lo que parecía que yo tenía era un ‘don’ para crear una historia rápidamente.  Me pierdo fácilmente…

Ya empecé ha pensar cómo podría publicarlo.  Compré el Manual de escritores y artistas. Empecé a buscar agentes y editores, y envié algunas cartas.  Esto me hace reír ahora. Obviamente, me enriaron cartas de rechazo.  Me puedo imaginar a ellos echándolo en el montón  de manuscritos rechazados: “otro que se cree escritor.”

La modifiqué algo y después compartí mi historia en Booksie e hice amigas y amigos, pero fue cuando me uní a ‘The Word Cloud‘ que tuve la idea para HYBRID cuando realmente comencé a crecer como escritora. Publiqué algunos extractos, obtuve respuestas excelentes – positivas con consejos y análisis fantásticos.  Y empecé a remodelar.  Ese año  edité HYBRID a fondo y comenzé a trabajar en COMPLICATIONS, los dos primeros libros de la trilogía de la evolución (que entonces iba a ser una serie).  Empecé otras historias por diversión; la mayoría de ellas siguen sin terminar.

Entonces intenté contactar a  algunos agentes de nuevo en diciembre de 2011, ambas respuestas en enero de 2012 fueron rechazos pero con comentarios positivos sobree la escritura.  Se tomaron la molestia de poner mi nombre en la parte superior de la carta y comentaron sobre la novela – progreso!  Fue entonces cuando pensé… ¿por qué gastar sellos intentando  encontrar un agente que posiblemente tenga acceso a un editor?  Seguí las entradas del blog de David Gaughran con interés y decidí explorar la ruta de auto-publicación.

En marzo de 2012, publiqué HYBRID en Smashwords.  Sólo vendí a familiares y amigos pero fue muy útil, me ayudó a encontrar los errores y editar más.  Luego me tomé unos meses para publicar en Amazon y luego me di cuenta que tenía que promocionarme e intentar vender mis libros.  Así, descubrí Twitter, comencé un blog, me volví más activa en Facebook y me apunté ha un curso de escritores en York.

Después de eso, el cielo es el límite.  Todos mis blogs hablan de mi viaje.  Desde unas primeras semillas, a conocer a nuevos autores, discutir libros que he leído, incluso de publicar libros de historias cortas para recaudar fondos para caridad.  Nunca me he divertido tanto.  Es más fácil dirigirte a mi blog que intentar resumir las historias que siguieron.

Vanessa Wester’s Blog

A Reader’s Perspective

The Evolution Trilogy

Short Stories Group

Diary of the Festival of Writing, York, 2012

Echad un vistazo y seguirme en Twitter @vanessa_wester, siempre me apetece charlar cuando estoy conectada.  Todo lo que puedo os puedo aconsejar es que sigáis vuestro sueño y estéis preparados para trabajar duro.  Lo he hecho todo.  He diseñado mis propios cubiertas, formateado mi propio trabajo, editado y corregido mi obra (con la ayuda de algunos lectores de beta increíble y queridos amigos), cortado y reescrito escenas y me he dedicado a la comercialización de mis libros.

De momento, estoy viviendo el sueño.  He recibido comentarios increíbles, por lo que estoy muy agradecida.  Pero, soy realista.  Para ser un escritor conocido se necesita escribir, exponer tu obra y conectar.  Los lectores serán los que decidan si vas a ser el próximo “bestseller” – nadie más.

Personalmente, quiero volver a escribir y dedicar menos tiempo a la edición y comercialización.  Algún día, encontraré el equilibrio adecuado.  Sólo han pasado menos de tres años desde que mi viaje comenzó, no puedo esperar milagros…pero bueno, se acerca la Navidad – ¡siempre puedo pedir un deseo de Navidad!

Espero que todos tengan una Navidad fantástica y que usen mi historia como ejemplo… todo es posible cuando pones tu mente a trabajar.

Gracias por leer y gracias Olga por acogerme,


Autora de HYBRID & COMPLICATONS (The Evolution Trilogy), FIRST DATE (A Short Story), y cuentos e historias cortas incluídas dentro de OUT OF DARKNESS & A FESTIVE FEAST.



HYBRID front cover










Y como siempre ANUNCIOS. La semana que viene otra vez tendremos dos autoras invitadas. El martes, mi gran amiga Susana Araujo me ha prestado dos de sus poemas para que los presente (en Inglés y Portugués). No intentaré traducirlos, pero espero que los disfruten. Y el viernes…Ya se lo diré el Martes, no sean impacientes!

Y mi otro anuncio es que si la tecnología está de mi lado este fin de semana publicaré 3 historias (novellas) en versión electrónica (Inglés sólo de momento) que pertenecen todas a la misma serie (Escapando Psiquiatría) y que tienen como protagonista una psiquiatra/escritora, Mary.

Y mientras tanto, sólo recordarles mi novela: El hombre que nunca existió

El hombre que nunca existió (cover)

Gracias por leerlo y gracias a Vanessa.

My Journey into Self Publishing

Vanessa Wester

By Vanessa Wester

When I was a little girl I devoured Ladybird tales.  My favourite was probably Rapunsel.  The thought of being saved from the wicked witch by a Prince who climbed up a tower using her hair – how cool was that?  Then I discovered the world of Enid Blyton, with fairies, goblins, and talking animals.  My Dad loves books and he had nothing better to do than to take me along to the library or local bookstore.  I rarely bought new books (they were too expensive!) but I loved to hold them in my hands.  And I knew I could save up or perhaps get one for a Birthday or Christmas.  Books were special things, I treasured any I owned.

When I became school librarian at eleven I embraced the job and used the opportunity to hunt for new gems.  Nancy Drew was my next obsession.  After that I read all sorts until Agatha Christie came on the scene.  I used to watch the TV series, but I also read all her books and even bought her autobiography.  My dream was to be the next Agatha.

It was when I started G.C.S.E.’s (aged 14) that I started to think I was no good at writing.  I worked hard, I loved to explore my creativity, but I just never seemed to get the high grades.  I did very well in the end but my confidence was knocked.  I focused on the sciences and forgot my dream of becoming a writer.

Roll on nearly twenty years…

After seven years as a stay at home mum I had become a voracious reader.  I had rediscovered my passion for books after spending many years vegetating in front of the TV watching brainless and uninspiring stuff.  Of course, I did develop a few TV series obsessions which I loved and have gone on the inspire some of my writing.  Heartbreak High, Roswell, Buffy and Heroes are some of the many series I became obsessed with over the years.  I had gone through different phases over what I read.  I have to admit I found Leon Uris compelling.

And then one day, whilst baby number three slept, I was flicking channels and I came across the ending of Twilight on Sky.  I loved the soundtrack, and it looked interesting.  A couple of weeks later I saw New Moon on the shelves of the bookstore so I bought it and though nothing of it.  Of course, my nose would not leave the book until I finished it.  I was overjoyed to see that I could also read Eclipse and order Breaking Dawn.  I had fallen in love with a new author.  I subsequently bought Twilight, which happens to be my favourite of the series.  It was only after I fell in love with The Twilight Saga, that I realised how many others had too.  I felt like I belonged to a club.  The mums reading Twilight in their cars and I shared knowing looks, and we quickly became friends.

When I bought the Twilight DVD, and watched the interview of Stephanie Meyer, I had my light bulb moment.  I was also an educated stay at home mum with a brain that was desperate to think and I had time on my hands whilst little one slept or my husband was away.  I wanted to try to write a novel.  The question was, could I?

I answered that a couple of months later, when I completed my first romantic novel, then only 67,000 words.  I shared it with a few friends and they liked it, and encouraged me to continue.  I have to admit I owe a lot to those friends.  The writing was raw and not very good actually.  But, what they liked and what I seemed to have a ‘gift’ for was the ability to think up a story quickly.  I get lost way too easily…

I polished it a bit and thought I’d see how I could publish it.  I bought the Artists’ & Writers Handbook, searched for agents and publishers and sent off some letters.  This makes me laugh now.  Obviously, I got rejection letters.  There must have been a lot of eye rolling going on when they read my efforts.  I can imagine them chucking it into the rejection pile – “another wanna be.”

I shared my story on Booksie and made friends, but it was when I joined the ‘The Word Cloud’ that I had the idea for Hybrid and I really started to grow as a writer.  I posted some extracts, got excellent feedback – positive with fantastic advice.  And I started to graft.  In that year I edited Hybrid a lot, and started work on Complications, the first two books in The Evolution Trilogy (which was then going to be a series).  I started other stories too for fun; most of them are waiting to be completed.

Then I tried some agents again in December 2011, both replies in January 2012 were rejections but they were positive about the writing.  They actually bothered to put my name on the top of the letter and commented on the novel – progress!  It was then that I thought…why waste postage on trying to find an agent that may be able to get a publisher?  I followed David Gaughran’s blog posts with interest and decided to explore the self published route.

In March 2012, I published Hybrid on Smashwords.  I only sold to family and friends but it was very helpful – it helped me find the errors and edit further.  It then took a few months to publish on Amazon and then I realised I had to market.  So, I joined Twitter, started a blog, became more active on Facebook, and signed up to a Writers Course in York.

After that, the sky is the limit.  All of my blog’s chart the journey’s I have taken.  From the first seeds of writing, to meeting new authors, to discussing books I have read, to going on to publish books of short stories to raise money for charity.  I have never had so much fun.  It is easier to direct you to my blog’s then to rehash my subsequent stories.


Vanessa Wester’s Blog

A Reader’s Perspective

The Evolution Trilogy

Short Stories Group

Diary of the Festival of Writing, York, 2012


Have a look and follow me on Twitter @vanessa_wester, I am always eager to chat when I’m around.  All I can say is follow your dream and be prepared to work hard.  I have done it all.  I have designed my own covers, formatted my own work, edited & proofread my work (with the help of some amazing beta readers & cherished friends), cut and reworked scenes, and marketed.  At the moment, I am living the dream.  I have received amazing reviews, for which I am very grateful.  But, I am a realist.  To be a known writer you need to write, you need to get your work out there, and connect with the readers.  The readers decide if you are going to be the next bestseller – no-one else.

Personally, I want to get back to writing and spend less time on marketing and editing.  Someday, I’ll find the right balance.  It has only been less than three years since my journey began, I can’t expect miracles…then again, Christmas is coming up – I can make a Christmas wish!


Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and use my story as an example…anything is possible if you put your mind to it.


Thank you for reading & thank you Olga for hosting me,


Author of HYBRID & COMPLICATIONS (The Evolution Trilogy), FIRST DATE (A Short Story), and Short stories included within OUT OF DARKNESS & A FESTIVE FEAST.




HYBRID front cover











As usual, I have some ANNOUNCEMENTS. Next week I have two guest authors. On Tuesday my friend Susana Araujo will be sharing one of her poems with us (both in Portuguese and English, technology allowing). On Friday….I’ll tell you on Tuesday, don’t be impatient!

The other announcement is that, again technology permitting, I’ll be publishing three e-novellas (all linked by the same character, Mary, a psychiatrist/writer) this weekend. I’ll confirm and give you more information about them, but in the meantime, a reminder of my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’.

the Man who never was (cover)

Thanks for reading!


Como les prometí la semana pasada, esta semana tenemos DOS autoras invitada. Hoy, Jodie Pierce nos ofrece una entrevista sincera y fascinante que nos da información privilegiada sobre sus métodos de escritura y su personalidad creativa.

Y el viernes, tendremos de invitada a Vanesa Wester. Y les puedo garantizar que tampoco tendrá desperdicio.

Y ahora les dejo con Jodie que también nos habla de vampiros….

Entrevista con Jodie Pierce


Tengo el gran honor de tener como autora invitada a Jodie Pierce. Si os gusta el género paranormal, no os perdáis ‘The Vampire Queen’ (La reina de los vampiros). Y ahora, os dejo con Jodie que nos hablará de su obra y de muchas otras cosas fascinantes.


Dime algo sobre ti: Tengo 37 años y vivo con mi marido en Cleveland, Ohio. Siempre me han fascinado los vampiros, desde que era niña pero no empecé a escribir sobre ellos hasta que un día leí el libro de Anne Rice. Yo era una estudiante de intercambio en Brasil y leeréis algo sobre ello en mis historias. Me gusta informarme sobre lugares, comida, ropa, etc para darle más realidad a mis historias. He publicado ocho libros hasta ahora.


¿Qué género de libros escribes? Paranormal.


¿Qué tipo de libros lees? Paranormal.


Dinos algo sobre tu última novela. The Vampire Queen una vez más está al mando de sus sujetos aunque esta vez es una escuela para los niños ‘diferentes’ de Escocia. Una escuela llena de vampiros, brujas, brujos, elfos y hadas, que es odiada y temida por todos los estudiantes. Un nuevo grupo de brujas y brujos aparecen a las puertas de la escuela y causan todo tipo de problemas. Vampiros y brujas se llevan a matar y muy pocos creen que la escuela pueda sobrevivir. La Reina se reúne con un antiguo amante pero ¿a qué precio? Un nuevo amante y uno de sus previos amantes se unen para intentar destronar a la Reina. ¿Lo conseguirán? ¿Seguirá la Reina con su terrorífico dominio sobre la escuela? ¿Funcionarán los encantos  y hechizos y cambiarán la historia? Todo será rebelado al final.

Demise of the Vampire Queen_mockup01

¿Dónde se puede comprar tu libro? &


¿Qué te hizo apasionarte por los libros y el arte de una buena historia? A mis padres siempre les ha gustado la lectura. Mi madre era bibliotecaria y mi padre leía al menos un libro al día así que yo empecé a leer en mi etapa formativa y me encantó.


¿Hay algún libro en particular que haya afectado o cambiado tu vida de manera radical? No recuerdo exactamente qué libro pero fue una de las novelas de Anne Rice. Christine Feehan me introdujo al aspecto erótico.


¿Cuál fue la semilla de tu inspiración para tu último libro? Ya había escrito los libros 1 & 2 y decidí que quería completar una trilogía. Decidí atar algunos de los cabos que habían quedado sueltos en los primeros dos libros y la idea para el tercero me llegó en un sueño.


¿Cuál ha sido tu mejor momento como escritora? El día en que recibí el primer correo electrónico diciéndome que querían publicar mi primera historia.


¿Quién es tu ídolo como autor? ¡Anne Rice!


¿Te reconoces a ti misma en alguno de tus personajes? No, pero introduzco a gente a mi alrededor en mis personajes.


¿Crees que tu sueño se ha convertido en realidad o queda todavía mucho por hacer? Siempre queda mucho por hacer. ¡Más que escribir!


¿Dónde escribes? Yo escribo sentada en mi silla reclinable con mi ordenador en la falda. La mesa junto a mi silla está cubierta de papeles, notas y envoltorios de Luna bar (chocolate).


¿Qué haces cuando no estás escribiendo? Disfruto viendo la televisión con mi marido, yendo a tomar un café o comiendo fuera, visitando a mis padres.


¿Cuáles son los atributos más importantes para mantenerse cuerdo como escritor? Ser persistente, pero la mayoría de escritores y artistas no están cuerdos.


¿Hubo un instante cuando te diste cuenta de que serías escritora? Siempre lo supe desde el instituto. Me encantaba escribir ya entonces.


¿Qué consejo le daría a los que aspiran a ser escritores? Sigue intentándolo. Sigue tus sueños. Sólo fracasas si abandonas.


¿Cuál es tu personaje favorito en tu última novela? Mi personaje favorito es la protagonista, La Reina Vampira.  Al principio es una mujer joven y asustada que tiene que descubrir de nuevo todo lo que sabía sobre si misma. Después de conseguir eso, se convierte en una mujer atrevida, seductora, impulsiva, a veces arrogante y petulante pero sin compasión y determinada a resumir su reinado sobre la raza de vampiros.


¿Son importantes los nombres de los personajes en tu novela? ¿Cómo y por qué? Escojo los nombres de un libro gigante de nombres de bebés que tengo o en el Internet a través de páginas con nombres de bebés. Normalmente pienso en una letra para el nombre y entonces busco por ejemplo, todas las ‘t’s y selecciono un nombre empezando con esa letra que reúna las principales características de ese personaje. Lo hace más divertido para mí y aunque nadie sepa mi ‘diabólico plan de nombres’ me divierte.


¿El viajar juega algún papel en la escritura de tus libros? Bueno, no exactamente si nos referimos a viajar personalmente a los escenarios pero estudio todos los escenarios y sitios que aparecen en mis libros. También me gusta estudiar detalles sobre los lugares, comida, ropas, costumbres, etc. Me ayuda a aprender cosas nuevas y hace la lectura más interesante en mi opinión.


¿Qué te produce más satisfacción al escribir? Me gusta la posibilidad que me ofrece de expresar mi creatividad. Mucho de lo que escribo viene de mis sueños. Sueño un concepto central y luego tengo otros sueños sobre varias escenas que ocurren en el libro. A menudo me despierto a las 4 de la mañana y tengo que escribir. También estoy acostada en la cama antes de quedarme dormida pensando y se me ocurren muy buenas ideas así que siempre tengo lápiz y papel junto a la cama. A veces mi marido me da una gran idea para una historia y yo la desarrollo. Eso es lo que pasó con la historia en la que estoy trabajando ahora. A veces me quedo estancada en el medio pero luego la compuerta se abre y ¡cuidado, apartense!


¿Qué piensan tu pareja y tu familia sobre tu carrera de escritora?

Bueno, esto es algo delicado e intentaré no ofender a nadie, pero tengo que ser sincera. Mi marido es my mayor apoyo. Como he dicho, me da ideas, lee mis libros, los compra (me anima a comprar libros de otros autores que necesito para alimentar el cerebro hambriento de los lectores), etc. Me dice todo el tiempo que está muy orgulloso de mí y me recuerda cuando estoy baja de moral como de lejos he llegado en mi camino para convertirme en escritora. Por el contrario, mis padres (a los que estoy muy unida) no parecen darle ninguna importancia. No han leído nunca ninguna de mis historias (y leen mucho, a veces 4 libros por semana). Mi madre dice que es porque son sobre vampiros y a ella no le gusta ese género. Mi padre me dice que está orgulloso de mí pero no deja de quejarse porque no me he hecho millonaria con mis libros. Es frustrante. Los quiero pero no me apoyan. Me siento perdida con ellos y no saco a relucir el tema mucho estos días.


Dinos cuál es tu restaurante favorito.

A mi marido y a mí nos interesa mucho la comida y la cocina. Vemos todos los programas de cocinar y de alimentos. Nos encanta probar nuevas cosas, sitios, comidas, etc. En uno de los programas de cocina hablaran sobre usar médula ósea. A mí ya me costaba comer carne directamente del hueso así que esto me dio mucho asco. Dije que ‘nunca’ lo probaría. Pues fuimos a comer a un restaurante aclamado por la crítica, Lolita de Michael Simon y estaba en el menú. Mi marido lo pidió y yo seguía siendo bastante escéptica pero me convenció para que lo probara. Tengo que reconocer que no era tan malo como había pensado, y de hecho estaba bueno. No lo comería cada día y es algo a lo que hay que acostumbrarse pero estaba bueno.


¿Quién es tu autor/a favorito?

Mi autor favorito es también la mujer que me inspiró a escribir sobre vampiros. Yo estaba escribiendo novelas románticas, aburrida a muerte con ellas y sin inspiración. A mí me han fascinado los vampiros desde que era pequeña pero no fue hasta que leí uno de los libros de Anne Rice que decidí que debería escribir sobre esos vampiros a los que quería tanto hacía tanto tiempo. Con respecto a mis libro eróticos, Christine Feehan fue mi inspiración adicional después de leer la serie Sleeping Beauty  (La Bella Durmiente) de Anne Rice. Los libros de Ms. Feehan son fantásticos y guiaron mi imaginación a lugares de los que nunca creí podría escribir.


¿Tienes una expresión favorita? ¿Cuál es? “A menudo pinto auto-retratos porque yo soy la que me conozco mejor.”-Frida Kahlo. Me recuerda que tengo que mirar hacia mi interior porque de ahí es donde viene todo en mi vida.


¿Y después de este libro? Ya tengo otra historia en la que estoy trabajando. De momento se llama ‘The Forsaken One’ (‘El abandonado’)


Si quieren saber más sobre mi o ponerse en contacto conmigo:



2nd Blog:

Facebook:  y que comparto con mi favorita  amiga/autora, Deborah Palumbo (Lean al primera entrevista en mi Segundo blog para saber más sobre ella).



Y antes de dejarles, un par de cosas. La semana que viene también tendremos a dos autoras invitadas. Les prometo que será de lo más especial.

Y por supuesto, no les puedo dejar sin recordarles que mi libro ‘El hombre que nunca existió’ está a la venta en versión electrónica.

Y como novedad, les daré el enlace para mi página de autora en Goodreads. Si todavía no son miembros de Goodreads y les gusta leer, ¿ a qué están esperando? Es una página de web maravillosa para descubrir libros de géneros diversos, lectores con intereses similares, conocer a sus autores favoritos, participar en eventos y hacer amigos. ¡Anímense!



As promised last week, this week we have TWO guest authors talking about themselves, life as writers, and their books. The first one is Jodie Pierce who has been kind enough to accept my invitation and offers us an illuminating and open account of her life experience and how this formed her as a writer. As I mentioned last week, there is continuity as she also has been writing about vampires.

And now, over to you, Jodie:


Tell me a bit about yourself: I am 37 and live with my hubby in Cleveland, Ohio. I have had a fascination with vampires since I was a child but didn’t start writing about then until I read an Anne Rice book one day. I was an exchange student in Brasil so you will find some of that in my stories. I enjoy research so many places, foods, clothes, etc are true in my stories. I currently have eight books published.


What type of genre do you write? Paranormal.


What genre to you personally read? Paranormal.


Tell me about your latest? The Vampire Queen is once again ruling her subjects only this time it is a school for the ‘different’ children in Scotland. A school full of vampires, witches, warlocks, elves and fairies, one that is feared and hated by all who attend. A new group of witches and warlocks show up to her gates and cause all kinds of havoc within the school. Vampires and witches are at odds and only a few can see the survival of the school. An ancient lover and the Queen are reunited but at what costs? A new, as well as an old lover unite to attempt to take the Queen off her throne. Will it work? Will the Queen maintain her horrendous rule over the students? Can the spells woven work and change history? All will be told in the end.

Demise of the Vampire Queen_mockup01

Where is your book available? &


What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story?  My parents always read. Mom was a Librarian and Dad read at least a book a day so I started reading while being grounded and loved it.


Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way?  I can’t remember the exact book but it was an Anne Rice book. Christine Feehan lead me into my erotic side too.


What was the seed of inspiration for your latest book? I already had books 1 & 2 and decided I wanted to be able to say I had a trilogy. I decided to close up some things from the first two books and the idea for the book came to me in a dream.


What has been your best moment as a writer?  The day I got that email that said they wanted to publish my first story.


Who is your author idol?  Anne Rice!


Do you see yourself in any of your characters? No but I write other people around me into my characters.


Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? There’s always more to do. More to write…LOL!


What does your workspace look like? I work, sitting on my recliner with my computer on my lap. My table next to my chair is loaded with papers, notes and Luna bar wrappers.


What do you do when you’re not writing? I enjoy watching tv with hubby, getting coffee or a bite to eat out, spend time with my parents.


What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? Persistence but most writers/artists aren’t sane.


Did you have a moment when you realized you were meant to be a writer? I just always knew since middle school. I loved to write even then.


What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Keep trying. Go for your dreams. You only fail if you give up.


Who would be your favorite character in your current release?

My favorite character is the main character, The Vampire Queen. She is at first a scared young woman who has to relearn everything about herself that she once knew. After that, she becomes sassy, seductive, impulsive, sometimes arrogant, petulant yet ruthless and looking to resume her reign in the vampire race.



Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

I pick all my names from a giant baby book I have or from online baby name sites. I usually think of a letter for the name and then search say all the ‘t’s and look for a name with a meaning of the main characteristic of that character. It makes it more fun for me and though no one knows my ‘evil name plot’ it amuses me.


Does travel play in the writing of your books? Well, not exactly travel in as far as my personal travelling to locations but I research all of my locations. I like to do research so I look up everything from places, food, clothes, etc. It helps me learn about new places and makes the reading more interesting in my opinion.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I like the creative outlet that it gives me. Much of my writing comes from dreams I have. I dream a concept and then have other dreams about various sequences within the book. I often wake up at 4am and have to write. I also lay in bed before falling asleep just dwelling on it and come up with some great ideas so I have a pen and paper next to the bed for that. Sometimes, hubby gives me a great concept for a story and then I just run away with it. That’s the case for the story I’m working on now. Sometimes I get stuck in the middle but then when the floodgates open, look out! LOL!  J


What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

Well, this is a tricky one without offending others but I have to be honest. My hubby is my biggest supporter. Like I said, he gives me ideas, reads my books, buys them (encourages me to buy others’ books I need to feed my starving readers brain), etc. He tells me all the time how proud of me he is and reminds me when I’m down how far I’ve come in reaching my goal to be a writer. On the flip side, my parents (which I’m very close to) don’t really seem to care. They have never read any of my stories (and they read a lot-sometimes 4 books a week). My mother claims it’s because they are about vampires and she’s not into that genre. My dad has said he’s proud of me but gives me crap about not making millions on them. It’s frustrating. I love them but they don’t support me, I feel so I’m at a loss with them and don’t bring it up much anymore.


Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

My hubby and I seem to be foodies. We watch all the cooking and food shows. We love to try new things, places, food, etc. On the cooking shows, they spoke about using bone marrow. I already have a hard time with eating food off a bone so it grossed me out. I said I’d ‘never’ eat it. Well, we went to a critically acclaimed chef’s restaurant, Lolita by Michael Simon and it was on the menu. He ordered it and I was still skeptical but he talked me into trying it. I have to say, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and it was actually pretty good. I wouldn’t eat it every day and it is an acquired taste but it was good.


Who is your favorite author?

My favorite author is also the woman who inspired me to write about vampires. I was writing romance, bored to death with it and uninspired. I have had a fascination with vampires since I was a child but it wasn’t until I read an Anne Rice book that I decided I should write about these vampires that I’d grown to love so much over the years. As far as my erotic books, Christine Feehan was my additional inspiration after reading Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. Ms. Feehan’s books were amazing and took my imagination to places I had never thought I’d be able to put out on paper.


Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

“I often paint self-portraits for it is I that knows myself the best”-Freida Kahlo

It reminds me to look inward at myself as that’s where everything in my life comes from.


After this book, what is next? I already have a story I’m working on, temporarily called The Forsaken One.



2nd Blog:

Facebook:  and which I co manage with my favorite author friend, Deborah Palumbo (check her out on my 2nd blog as the first interview).
Twitter: @vampiregds


And of course, a couple of other things: Friday, the 7th December we have as guest author, Vanessa Wester. Again this is a cracking account of how he became a writer that all of you should enjoy.

Next week I have a couple more interesting guests. But more about that on Friday.

Just remind you of my book, The Man Who Never Was


And I have an author page in Goodreads. If anybody is not yet in Goodreads, don’t waste a minute. It’s a wonderful site were you can share your love for all kinds of books, set yourself writing challenges, get to meet some of your favourite authors and be invited to great events. Don’t miss it!







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