Friday, 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my friends, family, readers and fellow authors A Very Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays. I wish you all the best for 2013.


Monday, 17 December 2012


A former Army brat, Christine Hughes moved quite often. She spent much of her time losing herself in books and creating stories about many of the people she'd met. Falling in love with literature was easy for her and she majored in English while attending college in New Jersey.
Not sure where her love of reading and writing fit, she became a middle school English teacher. After nine years of teaching others to appreciate literature, she decided to take the plunge and write her first novel. Now at home focusing on making writing her new career, she spends her time creating characters and plot points instead of grading papers.
Music has become an integral part of her writing process and without the proper play list, Hughes finds the words don't flow. At least a few times a week she can be found at the local Barnes & Noble with her Mac and headphones working on her next novel. Her YA novel Torn was released by Black Opal Books June 9, 2012.
1. What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
I called my husband and jumped and screamed for a bit. He went out and bought a bottle of champagne and we celebrated.
2. What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
The beginning is always easiest for me. I get an idea and start to move on it when I feel cohesion. The only things I generally write down before I begin a novel are the names of my characters. As they come to life, I write character descriptions. That’s usually pretty easy for me.
3. What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
 The end of the book is hardest for me. I never want to end too abruptly. I hate it when I read books and then, at the end, I’m left hanging. Cliffhangers are fine because I know another book is out there or coming. But I really try to clean up whatever loose ends I can and make the ending satisfying. That’s hard – often at the end of a book even I am ready to move on and I need to remind myself to close it out rather than just end it.
"With the sudden, mysterious death of her father, Samantha discovers her life isn’t what it seems. Not only isn’t she the normal teenage girl she thought she was, Sam must now take her father’s place in the fight between two groups of fallen angels—the Faithful and the Exiled—in a race to save humanity. In addition to dealing with the devastating betrayal of her friend and her feelings for someone she is forbidden to love, Sam must also fight the growing darkness within her as she struggles to make a choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the temptation of the Exiled. Both sides require sacrifices Sam isn’t sure she can make."
4. Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
That’s a toss up. In TORN, I think my favorite character to write was Sebastian. The bad guy always seems more interesting to me. In Three Days of Rain, my favorite character was my main character, Jake. He was just so lost and at times I felt bad for the pain and suffering I was heaping on him. In the sequel to TORN, titled DARKNESS BETRAYED, I am finding Damien to be the most fun to play with. Something about the damaged character interests me most.
 5. If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
Samantha would be played by Candice Accola (Caroline of Vampire Diaries). She’s just fabulous and I had her in mind when I wrote Samantha. She’s so “girl next door with a twist” for me.
 6. If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy would be perfect for Sebastian. He has the perfect facial expressions, the perfect eyes…. He is, hands down, my Sebastian.
 7. Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
No. I try to sort them out before I begin writing. I find their personalities and figure out what they look like from there.

  8. Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
 I don’t usually eat and write, I am terrified of crumbing up my computer. I’ll drink coffee and Earl Grey tea, though.
9. What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
I love reading – and I don’t do enough of it anymore. I like to take walks with my dogs and I am just beginning to go back to the gym after a long hiatus. (aka – a long bout of laziness)
10. What’s your strongest point as a writer?
I’ve been told the voice in my YA is spot on. I hope it’s true because voice, particularly in YA and Middle Grade is key to writing a convincing story. You can’t have teenagers discussing retirement options or discussing finances. I just wouldn’t be realistic.
 11. What is your favorite book?
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is my all-time favorite novel. I know it’s classified as Science Fiction but I see it more as, I don’t know, prophetic. Not that prophetic is a genre but the ideas the Bradbury wrote down – how many can we say haven’t come to fruition? He was a true dreamer and many of his ideas are all around us now from blue-tooth to wall-sized televisions to reality TV. Start burning libraries and we may call him the new Nostradamus.
 12. What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
I would love to try horror mostly because horror scares the crap out of me. I almost want to immerse myself in it and write something spectacular but I don’t’ think it will ever happen. I’m too much of a chicken sh!t.
13. Facebook, Blogs, Chats, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Which do you like best and why?
I seem to have tons of success with Facebook and Twitter. I’ve started to tap into Google + and have also started paying more attention to my blog. I haven’t tried Pinterest and Linked In seems too complicated to me. There is a new one I’d like to try called Tout – I heard about it at the Random House Open House.
14. Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all! 
15. Speed Round:
           Favorite color: Yellow
            Favorite sport: Football
            Favorite vacation spot: Outer Banks, NC
            Favorite food: Cheeseburgers
What time do you usually go to bed? Between 9 and 10
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite movie: The Princess Bride
Anything else you’d like to add?
 TORN is available in e-book and paperback all over the place. I’ll give you two links –
My next novel, Three Days of Rain, will be released January 5, 2013. It’s a stand-alone women’s fiction - the blurb is below.
 Three Days of Rain
Just when he thought his life was turning around...
Things haven’t been easy for Jacob Morgan. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, Jake lives each day just going through the motions, barely getting by. Then Lily Burns comes to town and befriends him. As Jake starts to heal, he begins to hope that he has finally overcome the mistakes and tragedies that have tormented him for so long. But just when he thinks his problems are solved, his ex-wife returns, and once again, Jake is confronted by situations he is ill-equipped to handle. Can Jake hold on to the progress he has made, or will the lies, guilt, and secrets he’s tried to ignore shove him back into an abyss from which there is no escape?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Who's Pulling Jess' Strings?

"My name is Jess Sturman-Coombs and I love to write novels that capture the imagination. My stories seek to take you on a journey that thrills and excites.

I love to read and write and I've written many novels aimed at the YA and crossover market. My debut novel, Poker Face, is currently doing very well as an e-book and paperback available through Amazon, Waterstones and my website."
What was your first job?

When I was eleven I started working on the market, a ladies lingerie stall apparently. Basically we sold anything from pop socks to massive satin girdles, as well as knickers with the most important bits missing (I know!) and nurse outfits. I was eleven! It was a bleak and often very cold job. With 5am starts and vans to unload and display all before school and then having to do it all again after school, it was actually quite tiring. Also I couldn’t do the job in my school skirt so I had to get changed before 9am. Unfortunately, the attendants in the public toilets cottoned on to my ‘changing’ habits and they wouldn’t allow me to use their facilities (mean or what). I ended up having to find a way of making the shopping centre lifts jam between floors so I could get my jeans off and my uniform on. There is a knack and I’ve mastered it. Oh what fun I had! 
When did you begin writing?
I wrote at school and often received commendations in English literature. I hadn’t a clue how to punctuate or spell but I loved to write stories and poems. They were always full of meaning and were often quite deep and depressing but, I suppose, they reflected my feelings at that time. I wasn’t happy at school, in fact, I wasn’t happy full stop and my writing definitely showed it. I didn’t realise back then that, if I nailed the English language side of things, I could actually use the skills I had to earn some money. Instead I embarked on a crazy mish mash of jobs that finally resulted in me being accepted into a law firm. From there my future and prospects got much brighter. I owe that firm BIG time!
Where do you get your inspiration for your stories from?
Much of my inspiration comes from dreams and fantasies as well as experience. I have a very vivid imagination that has always liked to roam and wander. At one time it was a means of escape and I would live out whole scenarios in my head that could last for hours. In my head everything could go the way I wanted it to and I had all the control. The imagination is like a muscle and if you exercise it regularly it grows and develops. Mine has ended up like a freakishly massive bicep that’s actually too big for my head!    
Do you have a favourite place to write?
I like to be at home, it’s where I feel safest and most comfortable and it’s where I can truly be myself. That makes it the perfect place to write. I often imagine having somewhere by the sea and how it would feel to open up the laptop there but, in reality, I’d probably have to travel to get there and travelling scares the living daylights out of me! At the breakfast bar or on the back of the sofa where the sun shines brightest is the ideal writing place for me. 
Tell us a bit about your novel Poker Face
Poker Face is about a young girl who leaves school with nothing. She faces a future so painful and bleak that just the thought of it forces her to walk into the first law firm she comes across, and lie her way into a job. The senior partner watches her little performance and likes what he sees and, just like that, she secures herself an office junior position. However, not everyone is quite what they seem and she finds herself risking her life to protect an appeal file with incriminating evidence on it. Poker Face is a legal thriller series aimed at the young adult market but it is being enjoyed equally by adults. It is gritty and real and the characters are full of life and personality. The book is about finding security in the most unlikely of places and the importance of true love, respect and loyalty.  
You have some great reviews for Poker Face on Amazon. How does that make you feel?
Yeah I’ve been very lucky and people have been so kind. The reviews are important for a couple of reasons. One, they give others an idea of what they might be letting themselves in for. I really appreciate the role my readers play whenever they choose to leave a review. Two, the reviews give me inspiration and motivation when my insecurities are pestering me for my dinner money, and generally being the biggest meanest bullies ever to walk the face of the earth. I regularly go back to my reviews and read each and every one because they boost my writing confidence. I’m not a person who can pretend that what others think and feel doesn’t matter. It has always mattered to me.
If you could have any career (other than writing) what would you like to do?
Errrrm...hmmm...I would like to be an actress please! Ha ha! I always wanted to act when I was younger, from as young as I can remember in fact. Apart from the ‘C’ in English Literature the only other qualification I left school with was my very proud and quite shocking ‘A’ in drama. I like nothing more than the idea of playing at being someone else now and again. I get awkward around people and nervous when I’m out and about. When you act you lose those inhibitions and you become that other individual for a while. That character might handle things worse than you (which is a bit of a break from being yourself) or they might handle things better (which is nice to experience now and again). Pretending to be confident comes much easier to me than actually being confident.
When is the sequel to Poker Face coming out?
19th December 2012! Whoop whoop! It’s sooooooo exciting! As I write this it is the evening of the 9th and I am supposed to be editing my proof copy of The Puppet Master. I need to send it off to be printed! Don’t tell anyone but I am SO last minute!
Are you having a big launch event?
Oh yes! I’ve hired a theatre, The Deco Theatre in Northampton, and it’s a fantastic building. I can project my trailer and book covers onto the walls and decorate the venue in the black and white Poker Face theme.  I’ll be offering a gift wrap service and both books will be well as lots of children (to include mine!) The people who work there have been awesome and they offered to bring round ice creams in the interval! How cool is that! I have to say the ice creams were a deal breaker as far as my children were concerned!
Where can people find out more about you? 
Jess - Thanks for dropping by and telling us all about yourself and Good Luck with the launch.
Thank you so much for having me, Marie, and for being so incredibly patient over the time it has taken me to get these answers together! I know I can be a bit last minute but I’m not usually this bad! November and December have been ganging up on me...I blame them! 


Friday, 7 December 2012

Stocking Fillers

For under 5’s, with a truly seasonal theme.

“Teddy loves travelling around Santa's workshop on the big blue wagon! There is so much to look at and he has lots of elf friends. But Santa has a special task for Teddy - will Teddy take it on?”

The book has black and white illustrations so they can be coloured in.

A first chapter book with a fantasy theme, including a unicorn, a troll and a snow globe.

“After buying a beautiful snow globe, Phoebe finds herself pulled inside! Zoozer the unicorn has been kidnapped by a troll and is being taken to the evil wizard Mishra who wants to steal his powers. Summoned by the sorceress Vivien, Phoebe must find a way to stop him. How will she trick the troll? Will she succeed? Join Phoebe and her new friends Capstan the stag and Skimpish the wood elf as they hurry to catch up with the troll and save Zoozer.”

For children 6 and over. A time travel adventure set in China.

 “Put yourself in Jerry's shoes... His parents have been invited to China to take part in an archaeological dig. Because it is the summer holiday, he and his sister Sammy are going along. Jerry and Sammy meet some interesting people, and they find a beautiful hair slide. All seems great, but things are already starting to go wrong. Suddenly, Sammy thinks she is having visions from the past. They soon discover that the hair slide is linked to an old portrait in the museum and an old Mongolian tale. Jerry's summer is about to get very complicated...”

I hope you enjoy my books. They are all without violence and can be read independently or (for the older reader books) a chapter a night by parents.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Marie

Friday, 30 November 2012

Life Changes

Today I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Loiske, author of three paranormal books.
Jennifer Loiske is a Teen/Young Adult Author who mainly writes paranormal romance. She lives in Naantali in Finland with her hubby, two beautiful daughters and two unruly dogs. Jennifer is a total bookaholic and very addicted to dark fantasy, funny chick lit and paranormal romance. She is very dedicated to charity work and tries to help those in need whenever she can. Most of her royalties goes to charity, mainly to help families with epileptic children and epilepsy units in hospitals. Jennifer has published three books, IMMINENCE, SEDUCTION, CLUB NUMBER FIVE, and more is to come in 2013
Your daughter fell ill suddenly and as a consequence developed severe epilepsy. How did that affect your family?
Well, obviously it was a huge shock at first. I had to stay home and quit my job as a pre-school teacher, my hubby was working in a different city and we had just sold our house and were looking for a new one, so when Anna got a brain fever and after that severe epilepsy our world turned completely upside down. We knew little about epilepsy before but nothing could have prepared us for what was about to come. But we are all fighters and we survived. However, our journey is not over and as Anna’s epilepsy is relapsing Lennox-Gastaut type we have no idea what the future will bring to us. One thing is certain though; I would never have written a book if I’d stayed at my day job. But as things are I’m very devoted to the charity work and always willing to help others as I know how much a little help will do when you’re child is ill and your world is falling apart.
Do you find it hard to find the time to write when you have your family to look after?
Sometimes, yes. But I don’t need much sleep so I’m mostly working at late evenings and nights. When the house is quiet ‘my time’ begins.
One of your characters in the Shape Shifter series has epilepsy. Was it hard to write the scenes where the illness takes hold?
No. All I had to do was think of Anna’s seizures. I actually didn’t have that character in my book before Anna got ill. I only had some sketches and dreams that one day I’d finish my book but it felt as if something very distant. Anna’s epilepsy changed everything. I wanted or more like needed to add Marie, a young girl with epilepsy, in the story. I wanted to show that no matter how hard your life is you can still be a hero and I also wanted to share epilepsy awareness to my readers. I felt that the more I could share the more it helped both me and the others alike.
Have you had a lot of support from readers?
Yes. A lot of people email me giving their support. Many of them also have a story to share and I feel honoured to be the one they want to share it with. My professional email address is no secret and it can be found on my homepage.
I know some of the profits from your books go to an epilepsy charity. Are the doctors pleased that a character with epilepsy is portrayed in a work of fiction?
Oh, yes. Epilepsy awareness is something that can never be spread too much.
You have a variety of books listed on your website; some published, some in the planning stages; where do you get your inspiration for your stories from?
That’s a hard question. Sometimes an idea just pops in my mind. Sometimes I see something that starts to haunt me or sometimes it can start with very small things. A word, some lyrics of a song, dream or like in my upcoming novel, BLACK DIAMOND, an invitation to a birthday party. I usually get very obsessed with my novel ideas and they won’t leave me alone until I’ve written them down. So you can only imagine how many files full of ideas my computer holds!
When you write do you have your story planned out?
Yes and no. Usually I do plan the story in my head for a long time before actually writing it down but sometimes words are just flowing from me and when I’m finished I’m as surprised as my readers! A thought: Did I actually write that? Comes in my mind quite often. Thankfully, so far it’s been a positive thought.
What are you working on at the moment?

I have my spoon in many pots. I’m currently writing a sequel to my Immortal Blood series, taking part of a charity book project, finishing up my upcoming novel BLACK DIAMOND and the third part, CHANGE, in my Shape Shifter series.
What do you do in your spare time?
What spare time? Haha! I’m a bookaholic so I read A LOT. I also train my two beautiful dogs. Enjoy the nature, sail and ski and if I have an opportunity I go to gym.
Which do you prefer to read from – ereader  or book?
A book. There is nothing more satisfying than curling on the sofa with a book.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I enjoy connecting with my readers and other writers. So don’t hesitate to contact me or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter. If you have a story about epilepsy to share or you just want to chat, I’m more than happy to listen. My professional email is:
Thank you to Jennifer for sharing her story. You can find out more about her by clicking on the links below and to buy her books click on the relevant Amazon link.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Gift Ideas

With the Christmas season fast approaching I thought I’d put together a little gift guide – of course there will be lots of books on there – but surprisingly some other things too. There’s something for everyone; from youngsters to adults. Take a look; help out an artist and get something a little bit different. Simply follow the link to the relevant pages and be prepared to part with some money.

For books for youngsters, from the under 5’s upwards visit or\author\mariegodley  

For Poetry take a look at 

For the teenager in your life, especially if they are into wolves (especially shape shifting ones)

A collection of horror stories can be found at

Okay, I know, I promised something other than books – although how can you go wrong with a book as a gift?
For stunning and unusual pictures.


For traditional jewellery
 And for jewellery made from vegetable ivory visit
Thank you to Adam Hollier for allowing me to use his photo.

I hope this list has inspired you on your quest for the perfect gift.


Merry Christmas



Monday, 19 November 2012

Hopes & Dreams

Today I’m joined by Loretta Livingstone. Loretta has published three poetry collections.
“I wrote my 1st poem at school when I was ten - the teacher asked us to write a poem about a haunted house. I scared myself to death at bedtime for weeks with that one! I never took further education, although my teachers were rather miffed about that. Notwithstanding, I never found myself out of a job until I came down with M.E. some years later.”


What made you write (or continue to write) poetry?
I started writing poetry at school, when we were set it for English lessons, and found I was rather good at it. Then a few years later my sister, a friend, and I started making up silly rhymes to go on the Christmas cards at Church. They more or less stopped, but I continued, and the Pastors enjoyed reading them out. It turned out people loved it when I wrote them poems. And of course most teenagers write reams of teen angst - yup! Been there, done that! I eased up a bit from time to time, in fact for 10 years or so I hardly wrote any, but in the last few years it's all started pouring out again!
Do you write on a daily basis?
 No, not at all. I can go several weeks without writing, then write 4 or 5 in a day. For Hopes, Dreams and Medals I did write quite a lot each week though. Normally, when I have enough, I start to think about my next book. Hopes, Dreams and Medals is probably the only book I will write to a schedule.
Do poems come to you when you’re doing other things, like shopping?
Sometimes! That's often how I get my inspiration. But sometimes situations just pop into my head. Also when I'm chatting away to God I tend to get my more inspirational verses.

What are the reasons behind your themes for your books? And what made you decide to publish your poetry?
 The first one, Fire and Ice, is a little bit of a mish mash. I hadn't written poems for a few years, but they were becoming much more frequent, and I found that people liked them, it seemed a shame to shove them in a drawer somewhere, but I didn't have a clue how to go about publishing, so I prayed about it and a few months later I discovered a way to do it. The rest is history. My latest two books are much more structured, but of course that comes with experience.
How has M.E. impacted your life? And has your poetry helped you at all?
 The M.E. had a devastating effect on my life. It almost came to a standstill. Even now I can do so much less than people with normal health. I have to rest a great deal, which is incredibly boring! I am improving somewhat now, but still have to rest loads more than I'd like. I can at least write lying down!
You recently did a book signing. Were you nervous?
 Incredibly, as it was a reading as well, although I did used to sing with various (not terribly good) groups when I was younger, so I was at least used to having to get people's attention. I'm not sure I could have done it without that previous experience. And I was completely wrung out at the end of it.
Are you working on any more poetry collections?
Well I am still writing, though with somewhat less frequency at the moment. When I have enough work I will doubtless start putting it together into another book. But I have written 3 books within the last year, so I think I need a bit of a break now.
What is the most exciting thing happened to you since your books have been published?
 One of our well known and well loved British athletes has just told me she definitely intends to invest in one of my books as it looks fab. (I'm assuming she means Hopes, Dreams and Medals)
Anything else you’d like to mention?
 Yes. 'Hopes, Dreams and Medals' and 'Jumping in the Puddles of Life' are both also available from Apple iBookstore from £1.99
Paperbacks are available in the U.K. From my own website and hardbacks and overseas sales are available from
Thank you to Loretta for visiting me today. Please go to her Twitter or Facebook page for more information.