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All posts for the month January, 2014

Cover Reveal and Valentine’s Free Read Part 2

Published January 29, 2014 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

So, another busy week on the writing front 🙂 Final looks and promo material have been sent back for the ‘My Bloody Valentine’ anthology and this is the finalised cover artwork. What do you think? 🙂mybloodyvalentine_267x400

I have two flash fiction pieces in it.

Tempting Sin

Sin is designed to be tempting, and sometimes not even an angel can resist.

Siren’s Call

When Ciaran meets the mysterious Rae, he is convinced she is his dream woman. But what will he have to do to keep her?

As you can see there’s also a lot of other very talented authors in there. I’m really excited to read their stories as well! As you may have guessed by the title it releases on Valentine’s Day, so stay tuned for more updates 🙂

Now, I did promise a part two to my Valentine’s themed free read. Hope you’re enjoying, comments and feedback always welcome 🙂

Jess surprised herself by reaching out and taking the parcel. It was small, wrapped in thick tissue and she unwrapped it to reveal a small jewelled bottle, much like an old-fashioned perfume bottle. She held it up to the light. It was slightly dusty but the colours were beautiful, and there was definitely some kind of liquid inside it. She shook it gently.

A wrinkled hand covered her own quickly.

“Not here,” the woman told her. “At the stroke of midnight on Valentine’s Day, you must open this bottle, and you will get the thing you want most.”

Jess felt her lips curve into a cynical smile. “Is that meant to be love?”

The woman smiled back, and her brown eyes were hard and sharp. “Only dreamers and idealists wish for love. We know better, don’t we, my dear? We know that love cannot be trusted and so we wish for something better.”

Jess felt her throat dry up, her gaze held hypnotically by the tiny old woman. “What do we wish for?” she whispered.

The woman cackled and released her hand. “Revenge.”

She turned back to the counter, and rummaging beneath it fished out two bottles of wine and a bottle of premium vodka, that she pushed into Jess’s surprised hands. Stammering her thanks, she dug out her purse, giving the woman a note for the beer. She tried to hand the small bottle back but the woman shook her head, packed all of them into a brown bag and ushered Jess to the door.

“The stroke of midnight,” she told her firmly. “Don’t forget.”

Before Jess could reply, she found herself pushed back onto the street, the door closing behind her and the tinkling of the bell ringing in her ears.

***

Jess downed the last of the wine in the glass as the last of the flesh-eating zombies disappeared from the screen. Okay, so it had been better than the corny romances on cable, but it hadn’t helped as much as she’d hoped. Now, if it had been Scott being attacked by the zombies that might have been a little more like it. She sighed, and now she was thinking about him again.

“Dickhead!” She cursed him out loud.

A single tear escaped though and she brushed it away furiously. He so didn’t deserve any more of her tears. She had given him everything, had thrown away job opportunities, better offers, stuck up for him to all her friends and family, and what did she get for it? Thrown aside and completely humiliated. She’d been picturing marriage and kids and the white picket fence. He’d been abusing her money and contacts and planning her replacement. She sighed, okay the wine wasn’t doing it tonight — she needed the vodka!

Rising up from the couch she picked up the brown paper bag on the table, and her fingers brushed against the smaller bottle. Drawing it out she examined it again, the liquid inside seemed to swirl in strange patterns, almost changing colour as she tilted and turned it. Jess glanced at her watch. Five minutes to midnight – okay, that was a slightly weird co-incidence. She took the vodka out, poured herself a glass, topped up with some coke, but all the time her eyes were on the jewelled bottle.

Slowly she picked up her glass and the bottle and walked back to the couch. She took a long draught from the glass and eyed her watch again. One minute. Was she really going to be this silly, go along with the word of a crazy old woman? She took another drink. It was Valentine’s Day, she was alone, no one was actually going to know if she did something silly like this were they? The digits clicked over and she put her glass down, took the small bottle in both hands – odd it actually felt warm now – and carefully pulled out the glass stopper.

My Sexy Saturday – 25th Jan 2014

Published January 25, 2014 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

The general theme suggested for this week’s My Sexy Saturday blog hop was around getting Sexy Back – not the Timberlake way but characters rediscovering their feelings for each other and coming back together. With that in mind, I wanted to share a wee excerpt from my zombie romance Love Reawakened.

Garret and Emma missed their chance years ago, and only the most dire of circumstances can even bring them back into contact again. (You can’t get much more dire than an escaped zombie!) These excerpts show the first time they’ve seen each other in several years, and to make it fair I’ll share both their sides of it 🙂

She gave him a small smile. “Garret, it’s been a long time.”

He gaped at her. Emma Strachan was probably the last person he had expected to see. His gaze swept over her, looking for changes the last several years might have wrought. She was small and slight, barely coming up to his shoulder, that along with delicate features meant people always underestimated her. He tried not to smile; they rarely did it twice. She had a quick temper and a wicked tongue. In more ways than one. The thought popped into his head and he quickly squashed it down. Her dark auburn hair was pulled back from her face and plaited down her back and she wore combats, thick boots, and a light cardigan. If he wasn’t mistaken, with dried blood on it and across her hands.

For a second, he felt his stomach drop but she seemed unhurt, and he had to remember that blood wasn’t that uncommon in her profession. One of the things they had in common at least. He forced himself to meet the deep green of her eyes. She was scared, he realized with a shock, and it took quite a bit to scare Emma.

“What the hell have you got yourself into?”

He saw color rise in her cheeks but she met his gaze directly. “I may have lost a zombie.”

He gazed at her a long moment; he hadn’t known she was raising again. It wasn’t like the little witch wasn’t capable of it but it must be serious shit if she was coming to him for help. He sighed, so much for his plan of sleep and a lot more alcohol.

“You better come in.”

            ***

Emma followed him into the small apartment, glancing round curiously. It screamed out that a guy lived there: sparsely furnished with old, slightly battered chairs and sofa, a scratched coffee table, strewn with beer bottles, random papers and the odd more grisly item for his work. He began clearing some clothes and

papers from the worn leather sofa.

“Sorry it’s a bit of a mess,” he said gruffly. “I’ve only just got

in myself.”

“Long night?” she asked.

He shrugged. “The usual. You didn’t come here to talk about

that, though.”

She sighed and perched on the edge of the now cleared sofa. He matched his house, she thought wryly. Masculine, rough round the edges and getting more battered by the day. He’d always looked tough, close-cropped hair, usually days’ old stubble, lean and muscular. He’d never make cover boy material but she’d liked that. Now, though, he looked wearied, dark circles under his eyes, and a set to his jaw that hadn’t been there before. He never did look after himself.

She pushed the thoughts aside. It was none of her business what he did anymore. Once she had thought it might be, but that had ended in her being completely humiliated and she was so not going there again. Besides, she had bigger priorities right now.

What do you think – can they find a way to work things out and stop a zombie? If you’d like to find out, you can buy Love Reawakened at the following sites:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Breathless Press

LoveReawakened_200x300Emma Strachan is a professional witch and quite frankly a zombie raising should be all in day’s work. Now, though, something has gone horribly wrong and with lives on the line Emma is forced to turn for help to the one person she never wanted to see again.

When Emma shows up on Garret’s doorstep he knows she must be in trouble-after all nothing else would bring her to his door. Still, he never imagined a zombie gone rogue, or that the blazing attraction between them would be as strong as ever.

As Emma and Garret risk their lives to track down the missing zombie can they put aside past insecurities and trust in each other-before it’s too late.

 

 

If you’d link to check out the other great excerpts being shared then have a look here. Happy Saturday – and feel to leave a comment 🙂

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Valentine’s Free Read – Part 1

Published January 22, 2014 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. This week has seen me busy doing the last line edits and checks for my flash fiction entries in the Breathless Press My Bloody Valentine anthology. I have two stories in it, ‘Tempting Sin’ and ‘Siren’s Call’. I’ve also managed to get a sneak peek at the cover art, and it’s just gorgeous – hopefully it should be cleared to share with you soon 🙂 The anthology is a collection of short stories (under 2k) with the theme of ‘dark romance’ – there’s some great other authors in it and I can’t wait to read their contributions as well!

So, with that in mind I thought I would try something a wee bit different. This is the first part of a short story with a bit of a Valentine’s Day theme. I’m hoping you enjoy it. If so I will put the next part up soon – so if you want to know what happens next then let me know 🙂

 

 

Jess aimlessly scanned the movies on the shelf, deliberately skimming over anything that had a couple on the front, or anything pink in the cover, or anything love related in the title. Hideous red hearts dotted the shelves, Valentine’s Day promotions everywhere. She frowned, apparently nowhere was safe from forced romance! She spotted the horror section and felt a small twinge of satisfaction. That was more like it! She would find the goriest slasher flick, grab a bottle of booze on the way home and, between them, drive out any thoughts of her complete sleazebag of an ex-boyfriend.

Taking the movie to the counter, and studiously ignoring the sympathetic look on the face of the pretty young salesgirl, she paid and headed down the street to the liquor store. She pulled up short outside, a sinking feeling going through her. Well, it used to be the liquor store! Now there was a rather hastily scrawled ‘closed down’ sign in the window, and not a drop of alcohol in sight. Sighing, she glanced up and down the street. The only other store that seemed to be open was a few doors further down and it didn’t look promising.

The window was dirty, the sign above the door was faded to be unreadable and all she could make out was a flickering neon sign in the window that flashingly proclaimed ‘we sell everything’. Hmm, well that was quite a bold claim, but she really didn’t want to have to head back into town and quite frankly Valentine’s Day without a decent drink was pretty unthinkable at this point, so it was worth a try.

Jess pushed open the wooden door with its flaking red paint and a bell above it tinkled loudly. Inside it was like a maze, a warren of cluttered shelves piled high with everything from canned goods to what looked like valuable antiques in what appeared to be absolutely no discernable order. She stepped cautiously inside, and nearly jumped out her skin when a creaky voice drifted over from the back of the store.

“Over here, young lady.”

Jess tried to stifle the small snort. At pushing thirty she didn’t feel particularly young any more, especially when she’d just been ditched for a younger model! She supposed after a certain age though, old people seemed to think everyone was young. She cautiously picked her way in the direction of the voice, stepping over several piles of items, a nest of tables and what looked suspiciously like a genuine Tiffany lamp on the floor as she went. This corner seemed even dimmer than the rest of the poorly-lit store, but she eventually made out a cluttered counter and an elderly woman behind it.

To be honest, Jess was fairly convinced by this point that this had been a complete waste of time, but after the woman had called her over it seemed rude not to at least acknowledge her. The woman was tiny, almost seeming lost behind the huge antique wooden desk that seemed to make up the counter. Her face was lined and wrinkled, a deep nut brown with thick grey hair pulled back from it into a loose bun at her nape. As Jess approached she rose awkwardly to her feet, and gazed at her with surprisingly sharp brown eyes.

“Ah yes, I have exactly what you’re looking for.”

Jess frowned at her in confusion. “I haven’t told you what that is yet.”

The woman smiled. “You didn’t need to.”

She hobbled out from behind the counter and disappeared into the maze of shelves. Jess could hear rustling and odd thumps as she seemed to be moving things around. What on earth? It seemed like the old woman was perhaps going a bit odd – senile maybe? Surely it happened to everyone eventually. After a few minutes the woman reappeared, clutching a small parcel to her chest. Jess let out a slightly resigned breath – it definitely didn’t look like alcohol! The woman smiled and handed the package out to her. The younger woman shook her head.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what you have there, but I was only looking for a bottle of something for tonight. I really don’t need to buy anything else.”

“It is a bottle, and it contains exactly what you need.”

Writing Habits and Motivation

Published January 15, 2014 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

I thought I would talk a wee bit about writing motivation today. I’m luckily in a good writing flow at the moment. It’s a wonderful feeling when it’s flowing well, but let’s face it that doesn’t happen all the time. Even if I could stay inspired, then logistically it would be hard to stay in this mind-set. At the moment, friends are being neglected, parents aren’t being called (sorry, Mum!), my long-suffering other half is being shot death stares when he comes to say hi, because he’s interrupting the flow of the action scene. Realistically, until I reach the stage where I don’t have to do the day job as well, then I’m not going to be able to give this much attention to the writing all the time without the rest of my life suffering. I know it will die down soon though and things will slow back to a more general routine. (In other words me getting stressed about how to juggle things and my muse refusing to answer at the set times I schedule in for her!)

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Look familiar? So, what can you do to keep up momentum and motivation? Having support can be a big part of it, from both your family and friends, as well as hopefully being able to talk to other writers. It’s not an office job and it can be quite a lonely profession. It’s something that makes me extremely grateful for the internet and social media; it has allowed me to meet some wonderful and supportive writing friends from around the world. I may never get to meet some of these people ‘in person’ (though I do hope it happens someday!) but it is an invaluable source of comfort to me to know that other writers have the same issues and insecurities that I do, and more importantly, that they manage to get past them.

Everyone has a different way of writing and a different work schedule for it. Some people plan everything out in minute detail before they write a word of the actual story, while others have no more than a spark of an idea before they sent off on the journey. Some people write every day religiously, others do nothing for weeks, maybe even months, but can then produce words at a remarkable speed! No one way is right or wrong, it’s about finding what works for you.

If you are looking for a bit of a boost, there’s a lot of writing support ‘challenges’ out there at the moment. The most famous is probably NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month in November, but if you look you can find plenty of them running throughout the year. There’s a very good one that I enjoy which is 100k in 100days, the aim is to write 1000 words every day for a 100 days. It’s not too high a goal when you break it down and the idea is to build up the writing into a daily habit. I tend to break it down as 7000 words a week, same end goal but it gives me a bit of leeway to have a day or two off a week if needed. I’ve recently seen one called MilY – a million words in a year – which I don’t think I would quite dare to attempt at the moment. If I did actually keep up that momentum for a whole year, I know I wouldn’t also be able to fit any time in for editing, so even if I did manage to complete it then the idea of finishing the year with a million unedited words is a little daunting in itself!

Whether you find challenges work for you or not, I think the main point is to try and find something that motivates you to get writing – and more importantly keeps you writing through the frustrations, the plot snags, the times when your characters refuse to do what you want – or even talk to you at all. For some people writing every day isn’t feasible, we all have other commitments, demands on our time and obstacles that get in the way of our writing. This might be day jobs, kids, family, health issues, or simply our own issues of self-confidence. It’s not always easy – but then don’t they say that nothing worthwhile ever is?

Please feel free to share your own writing habits and motivations – I always love to hear what works for other people! I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite writers – and someone much more qualified to comment then me:

This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.   Neil Gaiman

Happy writing x  

My Sexy Saturday – 11th Jan 2014

Published January 11, 2014 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

I’m excited to be involved in the first ‘My Sexy Saturday’ blog hop of 2014. I’m sure there will be lots of exciting excerpts shared 🙂

Mine is from my current WIP, entitled Psychic Shadows. Please bear in mind is unedited at the moment. Hope you enjoy x

Blurb:

Lieutenant Shannon Dempsey had always known she was different, that she could see and hear things that others couldn’t. When she finds a frightened boy at the scene of a murder, it leads her to a mysterious man who may hold the answers she’s been seeking all her life.

Forced to work with David, Shannon can’t deny the blazing attraction between them or the lure of someone who finally shares her talents. But what is the shadowy agency that David works for, and what is their connection to the murder she’s investigating? Can he really provide answers, or just danger?

Excerpt:

She managed a smile, suddenly feeling awkward. He reached past her for the door handle, just as she moved for it herself. Her hand ended up over his and before she’d managed to get her shields up a rush of emotions surged over her. Worry, exhaustion but over-riding them a tide of desire that seemed to centre in the one place where their skin touched. Her gaze flew up to his, the deep blue drawing in her, until she was drowning in the ocean. Her breath caught and her skin tingled, and she had the oddest feeling that she didn’t even know if it was her desire, his, or a mingled combination of the two. Whatever it was seemed to be crashing over her, the tiny rational part of her brain was telling her to run away, but she felt herself swaying towards him. His eyes darkened, the hand on hers tensed and she was convinced he was leaning back into her when he suddenly blinked sharply and stepped back. She stood a moment, dazed, feeling slightly like someone had thrown cold water over her and acutely aware of the loss of his hand under hers.

“You’re a magnifier as well, apparently.” His voice was husky, and she had to blink several times before she could process what he’d actually said.

“What does that mean?” Her voice didn’t seem to want to work.

“You amplify emotions, and turn them back on people. It’s a useful gift, just watch it doesn’t get away from you.”

She felt her face flaming, Christ he sounded so calm, when she was still feeling like she was going to keel over if she moved away from the door.

“Yes, well…” What the hell was she supposed to say to that?

His face softened. “Don’t worry, honey. You’ll be fine.” He reached out a hand and lightly tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, before his finger lingered, trailing a line down her cheek. She stood there, her body seeming frozen except for the trail of fire running from his fingertip. Honey?

If you want to see some more great excerpts from other authors, check out the link here:

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Happy Saturday! x

A Slightly Belated Happy New Year!

Published January 9, 2014 by shellirosewarne

Hi all,

I seem to start way too many of these posts with an apology for sadly neglecting this blog – but here we go again! So, perhaps a bit of a catch up to start with 🙂 The writing has slightly taken a back seat over the past month of so, a combination of holiday plans and a slight inspiration block. It was great to catch up with family and friends over xmas though – even managed to see a few people that haven’t seen for years and was lovely to find that things picked up just where they left off. The mark of a true friendship I think 🙂

Anyway, have been back to it in the new year. Have just finished content edits on two shorts for a Valentine’s Day anthology with Breathless Press. Went back into editing with my Red Riding Hood inspired novella, and has gone out to beta readers now. Feedback so far has been very encouraging so should be ready for subbing very soon. Am also back writing Psychic Shadows, which got to second place in the Piatkus Entice competition. I must admit I had a little bit of a confidence dip with it when it didn’t get through, and was struggling to get back into the storyline, but now the characters are jumping up and down in my head again. So, all is good with the world 🙂 There really is nothing better for me than the feeling of a story shaping in my head and pouring out onto the page – was starting to get withdrawal symptoms!

Going forward, I have big plans for this year – though won’t share too much just yet (hey, I gotta get you coming back somehow!). One of them though involves more blogging and a much more regular schedule on here. I’m hoping to include posts covering general writing tips, my own personal writing journey and processes and possibly a serial free read on here. I’d love to hear your comments on what you’d like to see more of on here.

Wishing you all a slightly belated Happy New Year – I hope 2014 brings you all you hope for x