Happy Halloween!!!

Another Halloween is upon us. Do you do anything special for the kids who come trick or treating? Create a haunted house maybe for them to tour through? Put up lots of decorations?

I’ve not gone so far as to create the haunted house, but I do have some headstones and skeletons that I like to display on my front yard. I also have a flying bat that I’ve put up in previous years. Sadly, poor old “Drac” has seen better days and has been retired. All is not lost, because I now have “Drac 2”! I picked him up at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago.

The Happy Couple - Boner & Bride

My dilemma now is how to display everyone… or should that be everything. Two years ago, when I bought a second large skeleton, I had a skeleton wedding. My first one, who I had named “Boner” some years before got hitched to the new one. So I had him decked out in a top hat and bow tie (sorry no tails) hanging from the porch roof. Even “Drac” got into the action and was a witness for the happy couple. You can see him flapping in the foreground. The dead flowers for the bride’s bouquet was the final accessory for the “wedding of the century”!

The Happy Family - Boner, Bride & Betsy

Last year, a small skeleton joined the family… So now I have “Boner, Bride & Betsy”. Sometime between Halloweens when the adults were in storage, they ‘made a baby’.

Who knows what mischief they got up to this past year whilst being locked away in the garden shed. I’m almost afraid to go out and look lest I find them in a clinch, or compromising position, if you will!

I know, I know I’m being way TOO silly here. But it’s Halloween. Let’s be silly, have some fun and be ready to scare the be-jiggers out of a bunch of little and not-so-little kids!

Double, double toil and trouble

Fire burn and cauldron bubble – Wm Shakespeare

I’ve done it. I’ve taken the Plunge!

What plunge is that you might ask? Well, let me tell you. On October 11, in response to my submission to 4RV Publishing, after a successful pitch the previous week, I was offered a contract!

Some of you are saying, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that already. And you’re right. But this is a huge deal for me. I’ve been on the receiving end of reject letters more times than I can count (or care to for that matter) so receiving the offer was a huge morale booster.

For the first week, I babbled like an idiot. Nothing I said made sense. I was in such a state of awe, that my feet didn’t touch the ground. How I managed to accomplish anything at work still amazes me.

One of the first things I did was tell my fellow writers at two of the groups I belong to of my offer. Then I told everyone at loveahappyending.com. I mean it’s not every day that a contract offer comes along. If it did, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Over the past few years, for many a weekend during the summer, and a week in February I did what became known in our family as “mother-sitting” since my mum wasn’t able to be home alone. I always took my laptop with me and spent many hours writing and revising whilst there. When friends dropped by, whether they’d heard the story before or been introduced to me previously, she always started the conversation, “You’ve met my daughter, Melanie? She’s a writer.”

Sadly, my contract offer came a year too late for me to celebrate with her. When I spoke at her funeral in September 2010, I said she would have been the first person I told after my husband, who has supported my dream all these years, eaten burnt offerings (tonight was no exception since I let the potatoes boils dry) when I’d been deep in writing a particularly gripping scene, or just taken over the kitchen duties for me.

So, since I couldn’t celebrate with my mum in person, I took the celebration to the cemetery, complete with a copy of my manuscript (just back from one of my beta-readers), my contract, and champagne! That was my mum’s favourite tipple. We always had it on special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving and sometimes just because…

The last two years, my mum used a walker to get around. She called it D.N. (short for damn nuisance). But even though she depended on it to get around, I think when I landed in at hers and my dad’s graveside she tossed it aside and did a happy dance right along with me.

My dad died when I was twelve, long before I’d been bitten by the writing bug. The reading bug had long since bitten and I almost always had my face in a book or a pencil in my hand drawing. He knew I was creative and maybe even thought someday I’d be a writer or artist.

You can see why the celebration, albeit in a less than conventional location, was so important for me to do. And all of this was just because I’d received a contract offer!

In the weeks that followed, I did a lot of research, read and re-read the contract, asked the publisher questions, digested the answers received. Taking the next step would be enormous. Did I accept? Did I decline?

I didn’t make this decision lightly, although had I gone with my initial instincts, I would have signed immediately. Thankfully, my logical, down-to-earth side of me kept me grounded so that I could ask the questions, do the research and in the end make an informed decision.

Now, two signed, witnessed and notarized copies of my contract are in transit to my publisher – first stage via Canada Post followed by the US Mail. In due course, I’ll receive a copy back with her signature witnessed and notarized.

You can check out 4RV Publishing here. They also maintain a blog here. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Just in time for Halloween…

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That’s right! Just in time for Halloween! loveahappyending and former Dundee Book Prize winning author Chris Longmuir has officially launched a few of her titles that are guaranteed to send shivers up your spine!

Night Watcher by Chris Longmuir

Night Watcher is a gritty crime story set in Dundee, Scotland. It’s about stalkers and their victims. I dare you to read it when you’re alone or at bed time. You’ll be sleeping with the lights on if you do!

You can download Night Watcher at amazon.co.uk here or at amazon.com here.

Don’t despair if you don’t have a Kindle. Night Watcher is also available at Smashwords for a variety of platforms here.

If a novel isn’t quite your cup of tea, then Chris can satisfy that niche, too. She’s recently put together two collections of short stories.

Her Ghost Train & Other Short Stories collection is a compilation of horror and suspense stories. Like Night Watcher it can be purchased at amazon.co.uk here, amazon.com here and Smashwords here.

Her other short story collection, Obsession & Other Stories, is a compilation of crime and other stories – not as scary as Ghost Train but still enough to keep you looking over your shoulder.

Like her other published works, Obesssion & Other Stories is available at amazon.co.uk here, amazon.com here, and at Smashwords here.

Excerpts from both of Chris’s short story collections can be read here if you dare…

And if you’re looking for something less dark, a bit more genteel if you will, then Chris’s first novel, A Salt Splashed Cradle, will fill that void. Set in the early 1800s, it’s a saga about the fisherfolk of north-east Scotland.

A Salt Splashed Cradle is available from amazon.co.uk here, amazon.com here, and Smashwords here.

Do check out Chris’s writing. You won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to stop by her blog and see what she’s up to.

Love, Lies & Promises by Joanna Lambert

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Love, Lies & Promises is the second novel in Joanna Lambert’s Behind Blue Eyes trilogy. Like the first (When Tomorrow Comes), it did not disappoint. The characters are well rounded and believable. The scenery is expertly painted.

While Ella is the main character in the novel, the people of Abbotsbridge and the more serene village of Meridian Cross are brought to life. One of those characters is Ella’s mother who doesn’t think that Matt Benedict is the right man for her daughter and sets out to find a more suitable husband for her. Working in her favour is the fact that Matt’s band is successful and is kept out on tour not giving him and Ella don’t get the opportunity to express their feelings for each other.

But is Ella’s mother’s choice of husband for her daughter right?

Can’t wait to read book 3 (The Ghost of You and Me).