Category Archives: #amwriting

Vieux-Québec ~ one of my favourite destinations

Vieux-QuébecJ’adore le Vieux-Québec surtout quand elle est vêtue de ses parures de Noël!

What’s not to love about Vieux-Québec? It’s a beautiful city in every season. I think it’s the closest thing to Paris there is without jumping on a plane for a seven hour flight. From where I live, Vieux-Québec is about a six hour car ride. Everything within the fortifications is in walking distance. Even the hotel my husband and use, is only a five minute walk beyond the wall. If we have a room on the back of our accommodations, we overlook the Plains of Abraham.

With all this going for it, you can understand why I wrote a novel set in this beautiful, historic city.

Vieux-Québec
Dufferin Terrace

Dufferin Terrace is a beautiful place to walk in any season.  It overlooks the Lower Town and the majestic St. Lawrence River. Day or night, the views from here are spectacular.

Fairmont le Château Frontenac in the distance has the appearance of a medieval castle with its towers and turrets – a place where knights would rescue damsels in distress.

Vieux-Québec
Rue du Petit Champlain

Christmas in full swing here on this narrow street. Love, love, love this part of the town!

Vieux-Québec
Parc Félix-Leclerc at Christmas during the day

 

Vieux-Québec
Parc Félix-Leclerc at Christmas at night

When you’re down in this part of the city, the ferry terminal is only a short walk away. Riding across the river to Lévis gives you a whole different perspective of the city. Views you would never get from any other angle.

Between the hotel and the post office you can see the funiculaire. This inclined railway is the best way to travel from the top of the escarpment to the bottom or vice vera. Actually, the walk down the hill isn’t nearly as difficult as the return trip.

Vieux-Québec
Place royale

This part of town is beautiful year round and is one of the stops on the ghost walk. One of my favourite shops is in the background on the left – Geomania. I’ve purchased some gorgeous jewellery there.

Vieux-Québec
Place Royale from Côte de la Montagne
Vieux-Québec
Christmas Market

This is just one market stall. The area behind Hôtel de Ville and the park beside it are packed with vendors selling all manor of things – handknitted, blown glass, footwear, books, a café where you can sit and take a load off whilst enjoying something to eat or drink.

Vieux-Québec
Most haunted house in Quebec?

On one of the horse-drawn carriage rides we took, our driver told us the section of the house above overgrown by the shrubs covering the front windows was reputed to be the most haunted house in the city. It definitely looks in disrepair and sorely in need of some TLC, but haunted?

Vieux-Québec
Ghost walk guide

On our last summer trip, we did a ghost walk hosted by Les Visites Fantômes. We started out while it was still light out and finished well after dark in an unlit Holy Trinity Cathedral. Spooky.

Vieux-Québec
Busker on Rue Notre Dame

We stopped and watched this gentleman for quite some time. His music had everyone tapping their toes and clapping their hands in time to the rhythm.

Vieux-Québec
René Lévesque’s Home

During his tenure as Premier of the Province of Québec, Réne Lévesque resided in this modest home on Rue d’Auteuil.

Vieux-Québec
The Price Building

In 2001, the upper two floors of the Price Building became the official residence of the Premier of the province. This buildings is visible from almost anywhere in Vieux-Québec.

Vieux-Québec
Changing of the guard ceremony at La Citadelle

Because La Citadelle is a working military base, there were a number of places we couldn’t tour.  Here are the soldiers of the Royal 22e Régiment (Van Doos) taking part in the ceremony.

Vieux-Québec
Cannonball embedded in tree roots on Rue Saint Louis

I love this cannonball. It’s been there for ages and as the tree grows, it brings more of the iron sphere with it.

Our horse-drawn carriage

No trip would be complete without a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. We’ve done it twice now. There are three different routes you can take – two shorter ones, or a long one with puts them both together. We opted for the long one, both times.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour of Vieux-Québec.

99¢/99p until July 23rd! It Happened on Dufferin Terrace #ChristmasinJuly #sweet #romance

That’s right, during the pre-order period and launch day (July 22), you can get It Happened on Dufferin Terrace for the kindle or kobo for only 99¢/99p.

She’s married to her career… He’s a widowed father…

99¢/99p

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle in

It Happened on Dufferin Terrace

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Married to her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles.

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

 

It Happened on Dufferin Terrace is the first book in the It Happened series, a set of sweet, contemporary romances by author, Melanie Robertson-King. If entertaining and heartwarming romances are for you, then you’ll fall in love with this entry in a light, romantic series set in picturesque Canadian locations.

 

SPECIAL PRICE! Pre-order now for only $0.99/£0.99.

 

BUY LINKS

 kindle

Kobo Canada

Kobo US

 99¢/99p

 

EXCERPT

The following morning, six months of gruelling work came to fruition. In the Place d’Armes conference room, Serenity turned on her MacBook Air with the PowerPoint presentation and ensured the projector functioned. In addition to the electronic copy, the hard copies she made in Montreal for the jonathans participants were placed them in front of each chair.

This was the first time her superior sat in on one of her meetings, making her more nervous than normal. Did he not trust her judgement?

Scheduled to start at ten a.m., a number of attendees were still missing. The time function on her Fitbit indicated three minutes to go. The managers had to arrive soon or her boss’s trust in her abilities would be shattered. A brief assessment of her leather-bound notebook confirmed the time and date.

Gradually, men in three-piece suits, shirts and ties straggled in. They nodded at her as they took their seats. During her visits to the outlets across Canada, she came together with them. All were friendly and cooperative. Some stores performed well, while others struggled.

The head of jonathans made his entrance. Well over six feet in stature, with a stocky frame, his imposing size commanded respect and attention.

“Good morning,” she said.

The man acknowledged her with a nod of his head and moved to the head of the table.

Now, she and the other attendees waited for her missing employer and one last jonathans employee.

“We’ll give them another five minutes then we’ll start. In the meantime, feel free to look at the documents in front of you.” She lingered by the chair used by the director of the Vancouver location and smiled.

The door burst open, eliminating the opportunity to speak with the gentleman. In the gap stood the man from the Yorkville Avenue outlet, as unkempt as the first time she met him. When he looked up, his eyes bulged, and his jaw dropped. “You’re the hard-nosed, jumped up high and mighty who made trouble. You’re the reason we’re having this powwow,” he snapped.

The hairs on the back of her neck bristled. Coat plucked from the rack, she darted out the door putting on the garment on the fly. The man busted her straight away. No way could she head this meeting now. Where was Martin Thacker? He would have stood by her.

She left the hotel, turned right, and scurried through the arched vehicular entryway on Rue Saint Louis. From there, she stumbled to the boardwalk running adjacent to the spectacular architecture and overlooked the St. Lawrence River and the town underneath.

Snow, packed down from shovelling and plowing, made the boards slippery. High-heeled shoes were inappropriate for the conditions, but escaping that room was paramount.

Why did she allow that man to antagonize her? Any other time, any other meeting and she would have let comments like his roll off her. This action was out of character.

Struggling to maintain her balance, she picked her way to the hand rail. At least she had gloves in her pockets. After extracting the knitted mittens, she pulled them on her hands and tried to regain her composure so she could go back to the meeting. She would have to create an excuse for her sudden departure.

Arms resting on the bannister, she took in long, slow breaths. Each time she exhaled a puff of steam formed in front of her.

About to go back into the warmth of the hotel’s conference room, she let go and turned. A massive black dog charged at her with a man and a boy in pursuit. The ear flaps of the man’s trapper hat resembled wings. Stretched out horizontally, how he managed not to take flight astounded her.

“Tori, bad girl. Halt.” The man shouted commands to the canine, but the animal was oblivious to them.

Before she had an opportunity to react, the black Lab launched itself in the air and hit her square in the chest knocking her to the ground. The impact sent her eyeglasses flying and they crashed on the granite ledge beneath the handrail. The child dove for them but couldn’t get a proper grip. His fingertips brushed the frames and her eyewear skittered away from him on the icy rock and vanished.

 

#Cover #Reveal ~ It Happened on Dufferin Terrace #ChristmasinJuly #sweet #romance

It’s the moment we’ve all be waiting for… well, at least I have. I can now show off the cover of my upcoming Christmas novella, It Happened on Dufferin Terrace.

She’s married to her career… He’s a widowed father…

it happened

Miracle on 34th Street meets Sleepless in Seattle in

It Happened on Dufferin Terrace

Toronto business consultant, Serenity Layne, knew the only person she could depend on was herself. Married to her career, she has no time for other pursuits and life’s intangibles.

Widowed for three years, Roger Scott, a data security specialist in Quebec City, is a single parent to his ten-year-old son, Adam.

On a day out on the Plains of Abraham with their black Labrador retriever, Roger’s cell phone rings incessantly. Adam has played matchmaker and put his father’s profile on a number of online dating sites.

The week before Christmas, Serenity is heading up a series of meetings after a six-month study of the Canadian retail chain, jonathans. After an unpleasant encounter with one of the store managers, she escapes from the boardroom of the Château Frontenac Hotel, only to be bowled over by Roger and Adam’s dog.

Guilty over the accident, Roger invites Serenity out for a drink by way of apology. Over the course of the week, and spending time together, feelings long dormant for Roger are re-awakened. At the same time, emotions foreign to Serenity fill her with contentment and happiness.

Will the couple get their happily ever after?

 

It Happened on Dufferin Terrace is the first book in the It Happened series, a set of sweet, contemporary romances by author, Melanie Robertson-King. If entertaining and heartwarming romances are for you, then you’ll fall in love with this entry in a light, romantic series set in picturesque Canadian locations.

 

SPECIAL PRICE! Pre-order now for only $0.99/£0.99.

 

BUY LINKS

 kindle

Kobo Canada

Kobo US

 it happened

 

EXCERPT

The following morning, six months of gruelling work came to fruition. In the Place d’Armes conference room, Serenity turned on her MacBook Air with the PowerPoint presentation and ensured the projector functioned. In addition to the electronic copy, the hard copies she made in Montreal for the jonathans participants were placed them in front of each chair.

This was the first time her superior sat in on one of her meetings, making her more nervous than normal. Did he not trust her judgement?

Scheduled to start at ten a.m., a number of attendees were still missing. The time function on her Fitbit indicated three minutes to go. The managers had to arrive soon or her boss’s trust in her abilities would be shattered. A brief assessment of her leather-bound notebook confirmed the time and date.

Gradually, men in three-piece suits, shirts and ties straggled in. They nodded at her as they took their seats. During her visits to the outlets across Canada, she came together with them. All were friendly and cooperative. Some stores performed well, while others struggled.

The head of jonathans made his entrance. Well over six feet in stature, with a stocky frame, his imposing size commanded respect and attention.

“Good morning,” she said.

The man acknowledged her with a nod of his head and moved to the head of the table.

Now, she and the other attendees waited for her missing employer and one last jonathans employee.

“We’ll give them another five minutes then we’ll start. In the meantime, feel free to look at the documents in front of you.” She lingered by the chair used by the director of the Vancouver location and smiled.

The door burst open, eliminating the opportunity to speak with the gentleman. In the gap stood the man from the Yorkville Avenue outlet, as unkempt as the first time she met him. When he looked up, his eyes bulged, and his jaw dropped. “You’re the hard-nosed, jumped up high and mighty who made trouble. You’re the reason we’re having this powwow,” he snapped.

The hairs on the back of her neck bristled. Coat plucked from the rack, she darted out the door putting on the garment on the fly. The man busted her straight away. No way could she head this meeting now. Where was Martin Thacker? He would have stood by her.

She left the hotel, turned right, and scurried through the arched vehicular entryway on Rue Saint Louis. From there, she stumbled to the boardwalk running adjacent to the spectacular architecture and overlooked the St. Lawrence River and the town underneath.

Snow, packed down from shovelling and plowing, made the boards slippery. High-heeled shoes were inappropriate for the conditions, but escaping that room was paramount.

Why did she allow that man to antagonize her? Any other time, any other meeting and she would have let comments like his roll off her. This action was out of character.

Struggling to maintain her balance, she picked her way to the hand rail. At least she had gloves in her pockets. After extracting the knitted mittens, she pulled them on her hands and tried to regain her composure so she could go back to the meeting. She would have to create an excuse for her sudden departure.

Arms resting on the bannister, she took in long, slow breaths. Each time she exhaled a puff of steam formed in front of her.

About to go back into the warmth of the hotel’s conference room, she let go and turned. A massive black dog charged at her with a man and a boy in pursuit. The ear flaps of the man’s trapper hat resembled wings. Stretched out horizontally, how he managed not to take flight astounded her.

“Tori, bad girl. Halt.” The man shouted commands to the canine, but the animal was oblivious to them.

Before she had an opportunity to react, the black Lab launched itself in the air and hit her square in the chest knocking her to the ground. The impact sent her eyeglasses flying and they crashed on the granite ledge beneath the handrail. The child dove for them but couldn’t get a proper grip. His fingertips brushed the frames and her eyewear skittered away from him on the icy rock and vanished.

 

#excerpt ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS

#EXCERPT

#EXCERPT from Chapter 1

While Katherine fumbled with her key, the handsome man’s steely blue eyes bored through her. A bead of sweat formed at the base of her skull and slowly trickled down her back. She became cotton-mouthed. No longer a silly teenager, why did he still have this effect on her after all this time?

When she finally managed to keep her hand steady enough to insert the key and turn it, he spun her around and mashed his mouth on hers. His tongue teased her lips open and he pulled her to him. Her pulse quickened and she let herself melt into his strong arms, those years apart, non-existent.

“If we don’t soon go for that drink, I won’t be responsible for my actions.” His voice was husky.

At that particular moment, Katherine wanted time to stand still. Pressed against him was a place she could spend the rest of her life. She nuzzled her head into the hollow at the crook of his neck and hugged him tighter. He caressed her forehead before disentangling himself from her grip and wrapped his arm around her.

The tang of the salty North Sea and fumes from the ships in the harbour lingered in the heavy air. Those smells, while powerful, couldn’t mask the seductive aroma of men’s cologne. When they dated before, he wore Hugo. Was he wearing that now? Held next to his muscular body and inhaling his scent, Katherine lost her balance and toppled into him when one of her stiletto heels slipped into a crack between the cobbles. Despite the streetlights, shadows formed. The gaps between fixtures were dark. No wonder she twisted her ankle.

“Are you all right?”

“Just a bit clumsy. You would never know I walk this street every day in these boots. I feel like an arse.” Her cheeks burned from the heat of her blush.

BUY LINKS

amazon

Books a Million

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

#excerpt

A Haunted Headstone?

haunted headstone

In keeping with the spooky atmosphere of the evening, I give you one of my short stories. The cemetery I based this story around is located just west of my hometown.

I chose the particular headstone because it’s set off by itself on a bit of a hill surrounded by trees.

I hope you enjoy this seasonal piece.

A Halloween Tale

Brian and Emily clambered off their bicycles in front of a large three-storey, red brick house in the western end of the city. A huge sign bearing a wildcat and the words B&B hung from a post in the yard. “Is this the place?” he asked.

“I think so.” She slid her heavy rucksack off, dug into its small outer pocket, and pulled out the confirmation e-mail. Scanning the document, she checked the house and guidepost. “Yes. We’re here.”

Emily slung her pack over one shoulder. They walked their bikes to the side of the house and leaned them against the wall before going to the door. She reached out to ring the bell. At the same instant, the inside door opened. Startled, she jumped back.

“You’re the Wolvertsons? I’ve been expecting you.” The grey-haired, bespectacled woman craned her neck to see past them. “Where is your car?”

“We rode,” he said.

“Come in, you must be exhausted. Your room is this way.”

Hands clasped, the young couple accompanied the proprietor to their room.

“Here you are. Breakfast runs from seven to nine o’clock. You’re on your own for lunches and suppers but the town has a number of places for a good meal.”

“Thank you, Mrs. …, ” he began.

“Griffin, but you can call me Miriam”

Meanwhile, Emily had walked to the window. The street below bustled. “We passed a couple of cemeteries west of here.” She turned to face Brian and their hostess. “What can you tell us about them?”

The woman’s face went pale. “Y-you don’t want to be going to the necropolis on the south side of the road. Rumor has it, it’s frequented by spirits.”

“We do. I think my ancestors are buried there and that’s why we came. We’re researching our family tree and want to take some rubbings of the ancestral slabs and photograph them for the book we’re writing.”

“If you think you must go, go early in the day so you’re out well before dark.”

She dropped to the bed and ran her hand over the white duvet. “Tell us more. This sounds intriguing.”

“Two hundred years ago this Halloween that Emily McPherson went away. My, but your name is Emily, too, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Please go on.”

Brian sat down put his arm around Emily’s shoulders.

“The story goes a young girl lost her fiancé – an infantryman – in a dreadful accident in the first part of the war of 1812. His ship was carrying a load of dynamite and it exploded. The blast killed everyone on board.”

“What does that have to do with the churchyard?”

“Well, they say she visited his entombment every day until her disappearance and was there as always when a terrible storm blew up and folks never saw her again. A blood curdling shriek was heard over the crashing – and then nothing. Silence. The disturbance cleared as quickly as it had formed. Alarmed by the horrendous noise that came from the direction of the graveyard, some men sprang into action. When they reached the location where the poor, bereft young woman spent most of her time, she was gone. No indication of a scuffle. No suggestion someone dragged her off – just the bluish phosphorescence surrounding the headstone. From that night on, no one had ever set foot in that corner. You understand why it is imperative you’re out of there before dark.”

“What a tragic, yet romantic tale. We must find that grave.” Her eyes sparkled.

“We will but in the morning. Today, we scope out the town.” Brian stood and helped her up from the bed. “Thanks for sharing that. Em, here, well she’s a pushover for a burial ground and a love story.”

***

Outside, Emily wrapped her arms around Brian’s waist. “I wish we didn’t have to wait.”

“Come on. If anything untoward is going to happen there, it will be tomorrow on the actual day. Not today.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she muttered.

Brian took her hand and they walked tothe town’s centre, stopping first at the local repository where the genealogical society housed its archives.

Emily scanned the floor to ceiling shelves lined with books, binders, maps and the society’s own publications. If the young woman’s exodus were such a big deal, then there had to be something written about it. She discovered a notebook of newspaper clippings dating back to the commencement of 1812, sat down at one of the tables and flipped through it. Emily ferreted out the piece about the detonation and couldn’t believe how much detail the press included on the crews’ injuries. Still, she removed a page and made a photocopy. A few pages later, she found the other including a photo of the alleged sinister chamber. haunted headstoneWhile she perused those, he busied himself with the old charts. Two older women came down the stairs as she photocopied the article. They spoke in hushed tones about the anniversary of the McPherson girl’s departure. Armed with the information she wanted, Emily and Brian left the museum and went to a nearby pub for lunch. Over a pint and burger, they shared their findings.

“According to the one, Emily’s engagement occurred on June 1st and her fiancé died the second,” she said, taking a sip of beer.

The longer they stayed, the more uncomfortable Emily became. The people pointed and stared at her, like they were comparing her to the long-since missing girl. “Let’s leave. These people are creeping me out.”

“If you want.” Brian picked up his glass and draining the last of it.

After exiting, they wandered in and out of some of the more eclectic stores on the main street. In a second-hand shop, Emily bought a cherry amber pendant. Another young couple entered, talking about the city of the dead as she fastened the clasp.

“They say that tomb is haunted.”

“Yeah, I know. Even in the daylight people don’t go near it.”

On their return to the B&B, she emptied the contents of her backpack on the bed ensuring she had everything she needed for their trek. Camera, extra batteries, blank newsprint, and charcoal sticks in a baggie. She added the photocopies to the essentials and repacked her bag.

***

The next morning, Miriam begged them to reconsider visiting the ossuary. “It’s just all the talk about how the unfortunate girl vanished and this being the bicentenary,” she moaned, wringing her hands.

“We’re leaving as soon as we’re finished eating so will be back long before it gets dark,” Brian reassured her. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll stop here before we go to supper.”

Emily slipped on her leather riding gloves and heaved her pack on her back. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back late this afternoon.” Hesitating by the front door, she turned back. “Bye. We’ll see you later,” she called cheerily as they exited.

It took about five minutes to reach the cemetery’s entrance. After dismounting, they walked their cycles down the winding road and parked them against a bench near the river. She took her Canon out and shot a few wide angle shots of the area for comparison later on.

Since they hadn’t gotten away as timely as they would have liked, Emily decided they should split up so they could cover twice as much territory. She gave Brian some of the sheets of printing paper and a couple of the anthracite crayons. He had a point and shoot Kodak so could take pictures as well as rubbings.

A row of white tombstones, beginning with two substantial memorials followed by some smaller, all of the same design, caught Emily’s eye and she walked to them. It appeared to be parents, and their ten children. She carefully photographed each one planning on looking into the family at a later date. Emily glanced over her shoulder. Brian had worked his way out to an earlier section adjacent to the highway.

Walking along the narrow road, she spotted a flight of stone steps leading to a spot sheltered by trees. As she climbed them, she noticed a small marker next to a bathtub-like sarcophagus. Up on the rock about four feet higher than the terrain where she stood, a solitary tribute occupied the plot. Emily pulled the copied articles out of her holdall. This matched the one in the copy. The thick canopy of poplar, pine, and maple trees kept the space in darkness even at his time of day. A gust of wind rustled through the treetops overhead and a leaf fluttered to the ground, landing on the covering of brightly colored autumn leaves. What was once a stately oak stood guard over the site; its trunk and remaining branch denuded of bark and pocked with woodpecker holes.

haunted headstoneUp close, the tombstone didn’t look menacing. Emily walked around it, feeling its roughness under her fingertips, and read the epitaph. It told the sad tale of a young man who expired away tragically in a ship’s explosion. She took a picture of the wording.

“Brian, come quick.” She turned and swung her arms to get his attention. “I think this is the monument.”

He lifted his head and waved back but made no attempt to approach.

When he didn’t respond a second time to her calls, she scampered off the crag, pausing to take more photos then ran to him, stumbling over the uneven ground. Breathless when she reached Brian, Emily found it difficult to tell him she had identified the cenotaph of the young soldier.

“You’ll remember where it was? I’d like to get some rubbings of the ones in this precinct. Let me finish up here and we’ll head over.” He pulled her to him and kissed her forehead.

Another one with a worn but interesting inscription soon held their interest. They were engrossed with it – Emily with her digital SLR and Brian with the paper and carbon. They were so preoccupied they didn’t notice the skies darkening.

haunted headstoneNot wanting to leave without a final visit to the shrine, she ran off towards it, with him following. It was dusk when they reached it. They drew nearer and the hairs on the back of Emily’s neck stood on end.

Suddenly, the sky turned black. The intensity of the city’s streetlights no longer visible. Emily couldn’t see him, yet they were only arms’ length apart. A brilliant flash of lightning and a simultaneous, deafening clap of thunder frightened her and she screamed. The pungent smell of ozone filled the air. The tall masterpiece now bathed in that ominous cerulean glow, made her entire body tingle.

***

The next day, when the owner of the B&B raised the alarm after they had failed to come back the night before, a search party went to the funerary grounds to look for them. Just as it was when Emily McPherson disappeared all those years ago, there were no signs of a struggle, no trace of the couple at all. At the stone’s base, one of the rescuers found a necklace – the same one the young woman was last seen wearing when she and her partner left for the cemetery. On the back was a message which read, ‘to my Emily June 1st, 1812. All my love B.W.’. The searchers looked at each other incredulously, then at the gravestone. B.W. – Brian Wolfe. Were these two people the ghosts of Emily and Brian?

*****

And here is the row of headstones belonging to the family near the haunted one on the hill.

haunted headstone

Strange phenomena? Coincidence? Or were Brian and Emily really the ghosts of the couple from long ago?

My first International Writers’ Conference ~ #ScotsWrite17

#ScotsWrite17Wow! #ScotsWrite17 What a great adventure. Jet-lag aside, I’m still processing the entire weekend experience.

It was great to meet up with fellow author friends that I know virtually and in person – even better to meet up with others that I’ve only known online.

Back in May, hubby and I arranged to meet up with our friend, Chris Longmuir, whom we’ve known for quite some time (in person as well as virtual) and Wendy Jones, who until our arranged day trip to Aberdeen, I only knew as as a cyber-space entity. It was on this day on the train returning to our respective lodgings the plans were put in motion for us to attend the conference.

Friday night kicked off with a fantastic meal followed by keynote speaker, Joanne Harris, author of the award-winning novel Chocolat, which was turned into a movie by the same name.

Saturday morning, after a full Scottish breakfast (including haggis – yay!), we got down to it.

After a welcome from the Society of Authors in Scotland chair, Linda Strachan, historical author, Jane Johnson started the day with her talk about her life in books. It wasn’t until a break later that I realized who she was … well sort of. Turns out I have her book, The Sultan’s Wife, and I remember a thing on Facebook asking you to select the cover you liked best.

Breakouts (or as we call them workshops) began. Hubby came with me and since some of the workshops I wanted conflicted, he went in my place. Like translation and planning for the unexpected.

Prior to our lunch break, Charlie Higson gave a presentation on diversification.

After lunch, hubby and I both attended Caro Ramsay‘s ergonomic workspace breakout (I love her sense of humour) followed by one I really, REALLY, REALLY wanted to attend… Joanna Penn‘s Book Marketing Masterclass. I came away from this one with loads of ideas for marketing my books, including reviving my podcasts. Biggest decision there, do I put the podcasts on the website or my blog?

Joanna Penn signing a book

A debate on what to expect from one another from the perspective of a novelist, agent and editor provided some interesting points that quite possibly many of us never thought of.

A gin tasting and drinks reception followed in the lead up to the dinner and ceilidh.

And for those doubting Thomases who claim I never wear a skirt (always trousers), here’s proof that I do.

Complete with my red leather jacket and matching shoes that I wore at my book launch in Kansas.

#ScotsWrite17
Saturday night’s meal

Since coming to this conference all came about as a result of an earlier trip to Scotland and spending the day with Chris and Wendy, I thought I would post a picture of us from then.

Here we are on our wander around Footdee village in our casual attire, suitable for such a day. I mean you can’t wear your glad rags when you’re looking for body dump locations. You need to be comfortable in case you have to high-tail it out of the place, lest you’re really pegged as a murderer *egads*.

#ScotsWrite17
Chris, Melanie and Wendy – aka the three muskateers

And wanting to recreate our “three muskateers” photo from earlier in the year, we had another one taken between the meal and the ceilidh on the Saturday night.

#ScotsWrite17
and the three of us again in our glad rags

Not quite from the same angle, but the three of us scrub up well, don’t you think?

The Martainn Skene Highland Dance Band

Our ceilidh band. First dance of the night was the ‘Gay Gordon’s’.

#ScotsWrite17
Don and Wendy dancing the Gay Gordons

Before the night was over, we danced The Dashing White Sergeant, Strip the Willow, Virginia Reel, and more…

The very last dance (and we stayed right to the end), was a waltz.

#ScotsWrite17
The only two couples on the dance floor

On the Sunday morning, Joanna Penn talked about how to make a living from your writing. I wish I had a fraction of her energy. Wow!

We attended the two breakouts on Scrivener software for writers. I can see me getting this in the not-so-distant future.

All too soon, the weekend conference came to an end and we found ourselves on the train back to Paisley Gilmour Street station and the bus to the airport, and our room at the Holiday Inn.

The original plan was to only take one of our large suitcases. We brought both because we needed casual and dress clothes and knew we would be bringing stuff back with us. Good thing we did because when all was said and done, we had 44 pounds in each bag.

I’m looking forward to putting the things I learned at the conference into practice and can’t wait until the next one comes around.

 

 

#NaNoWriMo ~ the last day ~ #amwriting

The last day in #NaNoWriMo 2016 – only a few hours to go!

last day

Today is the last day for #NaNoWriMo. Well, strictly speaking, it won’t come until midnight tonight. How are you doing? I’m pleased with my progress.

I have 459 words left to get to my goal for the month which isn’t anywhere near the 50,000, but I #amwriting every day (which is the main thing) – working on it which is why I’ve not been around here on the blog much this month.

Some days, the word count is amazing. Other days, not so much.

This past Saturday, I scribbled over 1,100 words while I was at a sale. Typed them in to my document when I got home.

last day

Sometimes the words flow? Sometimes not so much? I’ve had a few of those days this month. Usually a quick read over the last day’s work and I’m off and running once again.

I can see a huge re-write coming for my WIP. Scenes that will need more detail. Perhaps some will be rearranged. This time, I did something completely different and I outlined the entire project in detail.

Is your #NaNoWriMo project still flowing smoothly? Have you run into difficulty?

Give yourself permission to write a terrible first draft and put your editing hat on in December.

 

 

#NaNoWriMo ~ We’ve reached the halfway point ~ are you on track? ~ #amwriting

Fifteen days to go in #NaNoWriMo 2016 – we’re halfway there!

#amwriting

Today is the halfway point for #NaNoWriMo. Well, strictly speaking, it won’t come until midnight tonight. How are you doing? I #amwriting and am pleased with my progress.

Now, I wrote and scheduled this post on November 14th. When I stopped working on my NaNo project for the day, I had 15,406 words.

#amwriting

At this rate, I won’t get to the 50,000 words by November 30th, but I #amwriting every day – working on it which is why I’ve not been around here on the blog much this month.

Some days, the word count is amazing. Other days, not so much.

This past Saturday, I scribbled over 1,000 words while I was at a sale. Typed them in to my document when I got home.

Sunday was an amazing day. I cranked out 1,638 words and that was with interruptions. Still not the 1,667 per day I need to hit 50,000 and get a #NaNo winner badge.

Sometimes the words flow? Sometimes not so much? I’ve had a few of those days this month. Usually a quick read over the last day’s work and I’m off and running once again.

I can see a huge re-write coming for my WIP. Scenes that will need more detail. Perhaps rearrange some. This time, I did something completely different and I outlined the entire project in detail.

Is your #NaNoWriMo project still flowing smoothly? Have you run into difficulty?

Give yourself permission to write a terrible first draft and put your editing hat on in December.

 

 

And the #CONTEST winner is!!!

And the Winner is…

 

#contest

Before I announce the winning title, I want to thank everyone who entered. In the end, I received over 100 submissions! WOW!!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get such a fantastic response.

Here are the suggestions I received from the 26 contest entrants…

The Mystery of Hillcrest House

The Angel Falls Mystery

The Haunting of Hillcrest House

The Haunting Hargraves

Hand of The Hargraves

Caveat Emptor

Visions at the Hillcrest House

Haunted Hillcrest House

Haunted House— Hillcrest

Haunted Angel Falls– Mystery of Hillcrest House

A Walk with the dead

Shadows in the Hillcrest House

Gates of Hell

Screaming Souls

Screaming Souls at Hillcrest House

Midnight Mist

Fallen Angels

Silent Screams

Hargraves on the Hill

Haunted Souls Angel Falls

Mystery of Angel Falls

Angel Falls Haunting

Hillcrest Haunting

Hillcreast haunting

Scotland’s Eerie Hillcreast mansion

Hillcreast, help my kilt!

Echoes from the Past

Secrets of Hillcrest House

Beware of Hillcrest House

Devils at Angel Falls

Demons at Angel Falls

Secrets of Hillcrest House

Shadows at Hillcrest House

The Taming of Hillcrest House

Imprisoned at Hillcrest

The Souls of Hillcrest

The Lost Souls of Hillcrest

Lost Souls at Hillcrest

Unspoken Secrets of/at Hillcrest House

Unspoken Secrets

The Lingering’s

All that Remains or The Remains

The secret of Hillcrest House

Mystery in Angel Falls

Secrets of (from) the past

Whispers from the past

Lost in the future

Alone in the past

Victorian’s Secret

When Angels Fall

The Moon in Hillcrest House

The Deafening Silence of Angel Falls

Haunting Horrors of the House on the Hill

Hillcrest House of Horror

Portal to the Spirit World

Horror Halls

Look Over Your Shoulder

The Haunting Beauty of Hillcrest House

The House of Fear and Beauty

The Hillcrest House Haunting

The Haunting of Hillcrest House

The Haunted House of Angel Falls

Full Moon Gothic

A Rose for Jessica

What Lies Unknown

The Secret of Hillcrest House

The Mystery of Hillcrest House

The Haunting of Hillcrest House

Souls in Waiting

A Past Unearthed

A Past Reclaimed

Jessica’s Folly

The Hargrave Factor

The Haunting of Jessica Maitland

The Hargraves of Hillcrest House

Cliffside Manor

House of the Silver Moon

Jessica’s Dream/Nightmare House

Ghosts of Hillcrest Mansion

A Home Forever

Passage Way of Secrets

Unknown Messages

Hargrave Affair

Hargrave Encounter

Hillcrest Encounter

Fallen Angels Trapped on a Cliff

Fallen Angels in Hillcrest House

Maitland; The Reckoner

Cliff Dwelling Interlopers

Jessica’s Jaunt with Hillcrest

Unwilling Tenants of Hillcrest House

Unholy Occupation of Hillcrest

Unwilling Entrapment at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Manor

The Haunting of Hillcrest

Haunted Hillcrest

We Will Never Leave!

Beyond these Walls

The Ominous Fortress of Hillcrest House

The Ominous Fortress

An Ominous Dynasty

The Chronicles of Hillcrest Place

Unnerving Truth of Hillcrest House

The Unnerving Truth

Here Forever

Moonlight Seduction

Moonlight Desires

Haunted Desires of Hillcrest House

The Seduction of Hillcrest House

And now without any further delay … the grand prize winner (selected by titles received in chronological order) is Greta Krasteva with her title The Secret of Hillcrest House. Congratulations, Greta!

And the random winner among the remaining entrants is Jennifer Rogers!

I will contact you to find out your preferred e-book format (mobi for Kindle, epub for other ereaders, or .pdf).

 

There’s still time to enter! #CONTEST ~ Help me choose a title… you could win…

My Title #Contest

 

There’s still time to enter in the Help me choose a title #Contest. Don’t be disappointed. Enter between now and midnight March 31, 2016, Eastern Time.

Fancy your title on the cover of a book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements? It could happen! For the month of March, I’m running a book title cover contest.

Not to worry, I am giving you some help starting with the image that will grace the cover. Are the creative juices starting to flow?

#contest

Here’s what the book is about…

Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.

Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.

Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.

Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel the mystery of the haunting of Hillcrest House?

How about now?

How does it all work, I hear you ask.

Contest details…

Contest opens March 1, 2016 and runs until March 31, 2016.

Come up with a title and leave your idea in the comments. And for those of you who would like to take your chances but aren’t comfortable leaving a comment on a blog, send an email to Title Contest.

At the end of the contest, one lucky entrant’s title will be chosen. He/she will receive an e-copy of the book (Mobi, epub or pdf – their choice) and their name included in the acknowledgements.

Another winner will be chosen at random from the non-winning titles.

Enter as many times as you like but be sure you do before the deadline for your chance to win.

Good luck!