RS Takeover: #NaNoWriMo Reality Check :'(

Hey folks. I know today is Ileandra’s posting day, but there are a couple of reasons I want to chat with you today. Most of them not so great.


So… NaNoWriMo.

nanowrimo web bannder 2014I (really) need to rethink this. Since Thursday the following has happened:

  • I received the next batch of edits for Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust from Breathless Press. They’re required by Wednesday 5th, no wiggle room this time.
  • Both The Sprogs have fallen ill with temperatures through the roof. They aren’t eating, sleeping at all the wrong moments and want nothing more to cling to mummy (…me) as though she’s the last living creature on earth.
  • I’ve received an earful from Ileandra about the prepwork she has to do for her blog tour and for getting Silk Over Razor Blades ready for 1 December.
  • I remembered that family are coming to visit this weekend and that they’ll likely want to see more than the back of my head.
  • Da Shared Brain has two deadlines approaching, one as near as 4 November and the other not far off at 15 November.
  • Da Shared Brain also has at least three networking events to go to, all of which eat into our usual working time.
  • As well as that, Da Shared Brain has yet another deadline for two 3k stories: 15 December.


Basically, completing 50k words on top of handling all those things is possible, but likely to leave me shivering and gibbering in a soft-walled room afterwards.

But fear not…! I will still be taking part. Yes, after much soul searching and practical head bashing I’ve made the following decision:

I will write Slippers & Chains: Second Base as and when time permits. I will give it a fair chance amongst my other projects, but I won’t be racing for the finish line as I have in previous years. I certainly won’t expect to reach the 50k mark after ten days. I will simply enjoy writing the story for the hell of it while giving priority to other more pressing projects.

There. That feels… better…. ^_^

I was so worried yesterday when I did a proper tally of what is required of me and I realised that something had to give. And that it would be better for all concerned if that ‘something’ wasn’t me. ;-)

So that’s the news. Sorry to build up the hype and then not deliver, but I have to look after my family first. And my sanity too I suppose. No one likes a crazy Raven, right?

See you Thursday. x

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RS: I Haz Planz 30/10

goal shooting goals from open clip artFollowing on from this morning’s post it’s now time to look at how much week has been. I had a lot on my plate to sort through and, though I’d love to blame other people, the main reason behind that is simply that I haven’t been on the ball.

Now with NaNoWriMo right around the corner I guess I’ll need to accept that those things not done will probably have to wait until December. *shrugs* Meh.

Last Week

book and reading light form into ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’ cover art options.
I have some ideas. But I haven’t been back to Angie to check on her schedule nor have I delved into potential images. But I do have a concept, which is a start.

~Issue requests for two book reviews for ‘Vicki & Lara’ or any other story in the Meeting Each Other series
Yes. I mean… fuck… yes, I actually did it! I’m super proud of this one because I seem to have a strong aversion for asking for things. Whether it’s fear of rejection or something else, I really struggle to say ‘Would you mind if…?’ or ‘Can I trouble you for…?’. The fact that I’ve done it this week has put a massive spring in my step. Now I need to keep it up.

~Complete deep edits on ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’
Done! Waaaah, okay, that’s not as bad a week as I thought it was. I’ve done really well. ^_^ I’ll have to transfer those edits back to Scrivener and since I’m booked in with Karen for around Nov 15th, I need to make sure it’s done pretty soon. Guess that makes planning the rest of my week nice and easy!

a pen and a pencilThis Week

It’s also the end of the month (near enough) so I need to factor in the odds’n’sods I want to clear up to achieve the full month goal if at all possible.

  1. Transfer ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’ edits back to Scrivener
  2. Do a ‘kindle read’ of ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’
  3. Send ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’ to beta readers
  4. Send one review request for any story in the Meeting Each Other Series
  5. Start NaNoWriMo (and keep up with the daily word count – DON’T go overboard if unnecessary)!

Done. Most of that needs to happen before Saturday, but since Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust is with Jenn I should be fine in that regard.

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RS: NaNoWriMo Preparation – 2014

Sup, lovers! It’s a lovely murky Thursday and I’m all abuzz thinking about Saturday. What’s happening on Saturday you ask? *tuts*

nanowrimo web bannder 2014

As if you didn’t know. :p

After much deliberation and kicking and punching and general bullying of Da Shared Brain, I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year.

Yes, before you mention it, the profile the banner takes you to does say Ileandra Young. Well that’s because she and I are more linked that we care to admit and, frankly put, it’s too much effort for Da Shared Brain to create a profile that won’t always get used (because let’s face it, NaNoWriMo is usually Ileandra’s thing, I just got lucky this year).

But…! The story to be written across November is the follow up to Slippers & Chains: Sugar Dust and that is most certainly me, not cute’n’fluffy Ileandra.


I’ll be writing Slippers & Chains: Second Base, which follows Dan and Karen after their break up, make up and subsequent shake up during Sugar Dust. And no, that’s not a spoiler. ;-)

I’ve been going on about this pretty much all week. Have you seen my Twitter and Facebook pages? Memes are just falling out of me and I wanted to share a couple of them with out because, frankly put, they’re funny.

You can click any of those to get the full size.

And yes… I did make them. I used this meme generator to find the pictures and to input the text. *shrugs* I just had to get it out of my system (and there’s LOADS more).

So… come Saturday morning (probably at midnight if I’m honest) I’ll be up and scribbling the first lines of Slippers & Chains: Second Base.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Look me up if you are. Follow this profile to get hold of me and buddy up. Also, if you’re in the Leicester area, I will be going to one or two of the write-ins this year. Check out the Leicester group to find out when and where they are and look out for me. Trust me, I’ll be easy to spot. ;-)

photo of 'cute' raven

See? I’m innocent, me. ;-)

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IY: Mah Plans – 27/10

goal shooting goals from open clip artAnd just to round things off tonight, here is the rest of today’s offering; a look at goals for the week gone by.

Last week

Finalise SORB’s press release
Wow, now there’s a strong sense of deja vu. Nope.

Complete 40 pages of SORB edits
Done. In fact, the review edit is complete. I sent it back to Karen over the weekend. Now that’s dealt with I suppose I can now relax into some of these other things I need to do.

Approach seven individuals regarding my blog bounce (that’s only one a day)

Visit two peer blogs per day
On average, yes. Per day, no.

This Week

I know what it was this week. I focused my entire brain on SORB to the detriment of everything else. It’s done now, but I can really tell that other stuff needs attention now. I wish I was better at that balancing act, but I’m not. Fortunately for me, planning up to this point and keeping a cool head (just) allows me to pick up the stray pieces left behind on my mad dash to edit and keep moving.

So let’s see…

  1. Finalise SORB’s press release
  2. Approach seven individuals regarding my blog bounce (that’s only one a day)
  3. Arrange schedule of teasers across the blog for SORB’s release (including excerpts, cover snippets and character centric posts)

What can I say? I’ve let it go these past few weeks. Time to get back to where I was. *nods*

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Urban Fantasy (& Let The Count Down Begin!)

little green dragon

Ain’t he cute?

Urban fantasy. I understand this to be fantasy which takes place outside of the traditional parameters that usually mark a fantasy, such as distant lands, low technology and magic. It can also be as simple as literally meaning fantasy stories which take place in an urban setting.

This type of fantasy – the kind I write most at the moment – speaks to me because of its simplicity. There is no need to build incredible new languages or design new worlds (unless you want to). It’s possible and often the norm to set your fantasy story in your home town or one you know very well (that’s what I did with Silk Over Razor Blades. Local readers are sure to recognise many key spots in and around Leicester). Just because the place is real doesn’t mean that it can’t be fantastic as well.

I’ve not read as much urban fantasy as these posts may lead me to believe, however. I lean towards writing urban fantasy while I write traditional/high fantasy. Something I’ll discuss a bit more next week.

nice red vampire lips with blood and teeth, from OpenClipArtThe most prominent examples of urban fantasy that I’ve read have to include The Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris (more commonly known as The Sookie Stackhouse books or True Blood – thanks HBO!) and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. These stick in my mind because they are such big and well known books, but also because they feature vampires so heavily. And you all know I love me some vampires! Werewolves are awesome too and a few years back I began a frothing fangirl of Graeme Reynolds and his High Moor series. If you haven’t looked into those yet I highly suggest you do. Brilliant stuff!

I guess part of the current draw for me right now, with regards to urban fantasy is the fact that I can put my favourite creatures in there. I may well be reading the wrong books, but I see very few vampires outside this setting. I think that’s partly why I chose to include such a strong historical plot in Silk Over Razor Blades. The lore of vampires stretches back so very far, it’s odd to me that I see so little of it outside urban settings beyond the obvious ones like Dracula.

The traditional fantasy project which follows Saar’s Legacy will be another example of me playing about with vampires and doing something fresh and I hope it will be interesting set among the more common inhabitants of traditional fantasy like elves, dwarves and dragons.

What I’m trying to say – after all that rambling! – is that urban fantasy is a great catch-all for those fantasy elements that don’t always have a place elsewhere. And it doesn’t have to involve weird and wonderful creatures either. I’ve read perfectly good urban fantasies in which the most peculiar creature around was a human man with a drug problem.

green question markWhat are you favourite urban fantasy novels? Authors? I’m actively looking for more books to read and review next year and I’m open to suggestions. Anything out there you think I might enjoy? Hit me with it!

Oh… and… before I go. ^_^

It’s time to make an announcement. You know I’ve been working on Silk Over Razor Blades for a crazy amount of time. You know it’s consumed my life to the point that this time last year I decided it was ‘do or die.’ Well the time has come. I now have a release date.

*drum rolls*

sorb out on 1 december 2014

I’m recruiting hosts for a blog tour, something I’ve already mentioned. But I’m looking to make this as big and as fun and as interesting as I can. Pretty much from now until the first week of December my posts on this blog will be a mixture of teasers, excerpts and reveals to get you all as excited about it as I am. ^_^

If you’d like to be part of the tour and haven’t yet filled in the form, why not go visit it now? I’m eager to bounce as far and as hard as possible and nearer the time I’ll be letting hosts know what’s in store for them as ‘thank you’ pressies.

Right. That’s it. Sorry the post is late but it has been a really mad day. Raven mentioned last Thursday that our goals will be separate from our main posts going forward so coming up soon will be a run down on how I’ve managed my goals in the past week.

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Raven’s October Indie eBook Review: Tempt Me

cover for Tempt Me

Credit: Isabel Morin

Author: Isabel Morin
Title: Tempt Me
Genre: Romantic Erotica
Words: 28,000
‘Nina Valentine is done with New York. After spending the last year struggling to make it as a painter, all she has to show for it are bills she can’t pay. Out of money and sick of struggling, she decides it’s time to pack it up and head back to her hometown in New Hampshire.
When she meets Ian Sinclair at her going away party, Nina’s instantly attracted to his dark, smoldering looks and lean athletic body. When he asks her back to his apartment, she’s willing to overlook the fact that he’s a high-powered lawyer. It’s just for one night, and guys as gorgeous as Ian don’t come around every day.
Ian has never had a problem getting women into his bed, but after his hot night with Nina, all he wants is more of her. So he makes the curvy painter a deal – stay in the city for a few weeks and he’ll take care of everything.
Nina agrees, even though she knows better than to get attached. He’s a rich corporate suit, she’s a struggling artist. But as the connection between them deepens and Ian takes her to places she’s never been – both in and out of the bedroom – Nina doesn’t know how much longer she can resist.

line break, swirling graphics, from openclipart

A passionate look at a man and a woman coming together, against what they might normally believe is their common sense and finding something worth struggling to keep.


I think I would have liked it more without the grey bars framing that picture. It’s a nice effect, but for my tastes they are a fraction too wide and it draws my attention to the bar rather than the picture or even the text on those bars. Maybe that was the intent? I don’t know, but the general makeup of the cover is slightly diminished by that, I feel.


Nina is heading back to her hometown after an unsuccesful stint following her dreams to be an artist. Just before she leaves she meets super sexy and desirable Ian who gives her a whirlwind night of fun and passion to the point that she doesn’t want to leave. So she doesn’t!
She agrees to stay with him – in his house! – while he takes care of all the practicalities of it. They get to spend more time together and see what really is going on between them. Cue smexxy sex and intense conversations coupled with the occasional hint of angst which I think gave this story the edge it needed to keep it credible.


Nina: Creative, smart, sassy (I hate that word, but it will do for now), little bit needy. I like her because she’s real. Everyone has a bit of those things in them but I think I related to the ‘struggling creative’ part of her most. Probably because it speaks so much to me as a writer. It isn’t easy being a Creative and increasingly difficult to earn a living from it. This was a very real and relatable part of the character which helped smooth over some of those odd decisions.
Ian: a bit Christian Grey. :( Sorry, but it’s true. Thankfully he doesn’t have the tortured past or red playroom of not-at-all-sexy-doom, but he does have the buckets of money, the slightly coarse attitude and super-star body. Fortunately, he is a likeable character, again because he’s real not a caricature. His desire for Nina is very genuine and I can believe that someone with that amount of money would think nothing of having a woman stay in his place for a week or two. Particularly if he got to screw about with her whenever he felt like it. But he isn’t predatory or gross about it which I think was quite skilfully achieved.


This is another one of those that kept me up reading. Not too much sex and each scene seemed natural. It made sense. None of it was thrust in for kicks and each piece was sensually written.

Overall experience:

I guess my only nit pick is the way the POV swaps within a chapter. It’s elegantly done, with clear signposting in the form of text breaks, but my personal preference is that a chapter stays in one POV and then moves on to the opposing POV in the next chapter. It just makes it that little bit easier to follow. Fortunately, because of the clear, concise writing and obvious breaks in the text, I had no trouble keeping up.

Final score:

Average across all scores is 3.8, which rounds out to 4 fireballs.

Yup. I liked this book and from the information at the back, I understand that it’s the first of series. Or at least it says ‘book one.’ I’ll certainly be looking for others in the series to see how Nina and Ian are getting on. I’m invested now. :)

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I Haz Planz 23/10

Given that today’s main post is a guest entry I don’t want to share it with my crappy goals. And, saying that, going forward Ileandra and I will be separating our goals from the main post of the day. That way whatever we are talking about at that time can have your full focus. From today the main post of the day will go out first thing in the morning, while the goal post will publish in the evening (which also gives us an extra few hours to achieve said goals!)

So… how have I done this week? Let’s have a lookie see.

Last Week

book and reading light form deep edits on ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’
Nope. I’m a good way through but I’m not done. That will be the focus this week coming up.

~Complete checks on second pass of edits issued by Breathless Press for Slippers & Chains
Done! Phew! I didn’t think I was going to make it at one point but I’m lucky in that the Funk Master understands what this means to me. So he gave me plenty of time to ensure that I could get done what needed to be done. That’s sent off, I’m sure I’ll hear from Jenn later this week.

a pen and a pencilThis Week

This is the last full week before NaNoWriMo starts and I’m already getting cold feet. I’m nervous about writing this story in a way I never have been before and I can’t figure out why. Guess I’ll have to work on that. Meanwhile…

  1. Look into ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’ cover art options.
  2. Issue requests for two book reviews for ‘Vicki & Lara’ or any other story in the Meeting Each Other series
  3. Complete deep edits on ‘Simone & Mr Bradford’

That should be plenty. Next month is going to be an INSANE ride so I’m doing my best to be gentle with myself up to that point. Let’s see how we go.

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