Guest Blog

On the sofa with – Horrified Press

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Today I’m on the sofa with Nathan Rowark of Horrified Press, who recently took 1st and 2nd place in this year’s P&E Reader’s Poll.  Read about it on Horrified Press’s website here

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What exactly is Horrified Press, and what do you do

That’s a good question, Merita. What is Horrified Press and what do I do…

Horrified Press is a small press, lovely fun – all warm and cuddly – but what’s this? Arggghhhh… there’s monsters and zombies and undead harlots and gooey, sticky, gory stuff. That’s right, we’re a small horror press that release scary stories – anthologies mostly – to keep you up at night.

What do I do? I’m just like the ringleader. I make sure the monsters don’t eat the readers and the authors keep their ghastly creations on literal leashes.

When did Horrified Press come into being, and how did that happen? Was it a definite choice or did it just happen?

I’ve always loved horror – from movies, literature to video games. It’s in our culture – from the front page of the newspaper that you read over breakfast to the haunted mansion in your kids’ Atari game. Well, maybe we’ve moved on from Atari games now. I started Horrified Press as a label to release my own work to begin with. It went really well and I realised I could be doing this for others. There are many authors out there who would like free editing and advice going forward. After 4 years of proving my own metal I took it upon myself to help more authors do the same. Plus, we publish some great work from semi-pro and established writers too.

From where you are now, where would you like to take Horrified Press into the future? What are your dreams for it?

We’ve taken on some great guest editors and started a new imprint. My hope is that we can take it all the way.

What advice would you give to authors wishing to write horror? What makes a good horror story?

A good story – period. Grammar, style and substance can be learnt/discovered over time. If your stories suck then you could be the best writer in the world and still fail to impress an audience.

Who are your favourite authors, and why?

I enjoy Barker for his poetic verse and King for his sound writing style.

If you could oversee the making of a horror movie, with total control over the process, what would the storyline be?

I’d take a short story I wrote around 3 years ago and expand on its premise.

Do you think there are any areas that are taboo in horror writing, or are you an ‘anything goes’ person?

Anything goes. If you’re trying to scare people but worry about frightening them… it’s never going to work out.

I’ve heard people say that those who like horror must be strange or weird in some way. Do you agree with this?

Totally disagree. It’s the people that seemingly appear normal on the outside that are cutting up their neighbors behind closed doors.

Have you ever had an horrific experience, like any of the stories you’ve published? 

Yeah actually. I had an experience with a ghost (or something). There was a witness present and I had a convo with ‘the thing’. Never did find out why it was there. It will forever bug me to its actual identity and/or purpose.

You often take submissions for anthologies and ezines, how would you advise authors who may wish to submit, to proceed?

Lead with your heart and soul. A piece that I feel will speak to our audience is good enough for me. I’m very liberal in my personal tastes and ask that an author merely respects their public by honing their skills before submitting to the markets.

Do you act as publishers for those who write horror novels, or do you only work with short stories/anthologies?

We publish anthology collections, solo collections and novels.

How can people get in touch with you? Are you on facebook and twitter? Do you have a website? 

We do – have a facebook. You can submit to us by visiting our site: horrifiedpress.wordpress.com

Details of all the works published by Horrified Press, and submission guidelines for up coming works can be found at their website.

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Guest Blog – Winter’s Island by Lilian MacKenzie Rhine

Today I welcome Lillian MacKenzie Rhine on her blog tour for the release of her vampire romance, Winter’s Island.

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Cay Winters is an impressionable free spirit from Los Angeles, California. Losing her mother at a very youthful age has given her a drive to live life a certain way. Her aunt Lulu and cousin Malcolm welcome her into their hearts, taking care of all of the things needed by a motherless child. Being an artist has taken her to a lot of interesting places; but when the chance to live in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands appears, she is eager to take it.

Once there, she is overwhelmed by the beauty and the mystique of the Virgin Islands. The food, the beaches, the attractions are amazing, but William Gatling is the best part. He takes on the task of teaching Cay how to love the right way. The only problem is the secret that he holds from her. A revelation that could rip her from his heart; or, worse yet, end her life.

The two lovers spend so much effort trying to fight their inner demons that they cannot see the true devils that are sitting in front of their faces. Once Cay fights her battles within, she can finally win the war outside. Once William accepts the truth, he can see the light.

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I asked Lilian to tell us who, in her opinion, would enjoy this book.

This book in my opinion would appeal to any type of audience even though it is in the paranormal genre. With Winter’s Island being a vampire romance, definitely vampire fans, specifically in the new adult to middle aged adult (21 and over)  would love this read. Do not let the word vampire turn you away if you have never read a piece of that kind in the past. Winter’s Island gives you all the knowledge of vampires without a good portion of the gore and blood. There is a perfect mix of romance, adventure, villainism, with the added hint of vampiric behavior.

I would not recommend that young adult readers take part in this particular read due to mature material and explicit nature. This is definitely a book for adults. With there being a deadly fierce rivalry between the two brothers, there are moments of actions in this romance that would interest men as well. If I could name all of the subgenres that would be attached to this book, they would be as follows: action, adventure, suspense, and drama. If you are reader of those genres, then Winter’s Island would not fail to entertain you and the masses.

Love tropical islands, then this book is for you as well. Do you appreciate descriptive writing in your reads, then Winter’s Island will absolutely make you feel as if you are a part of every scene.

Overall, the dangerously sexy vampire romance filled with adventurous fights and addicting plots is a read that will have any warm-blooded human (cold-blooded also <wink>) entertained from beginning to end.

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Please enjoy a small scene from Winter’s Island below:

After hours of chatting with Malcolm with a few naps in between, Cay became invigorated knowing that they were moments from touch down. She could feel it in her skin that St. Thomas was were she needed to be. So rich with locals, aqueous beds of wildlife, lavish foliage, and fragrant dishes from the booming environment, the island was a mecca for Cay’s imagination. The plane taxied on the tarmac and Cay was speechless at the vision. She could not believe that she was going to be residing in the miraculous station of the life and living. Cay had gone to heaven, standing in the world of her wildest dreams.

She turned to Malcolm snatching a taut area of skin on his arm. “Ouch! What the hell did you do that for?” He asked scowling at the pain. She swatted at his arm making him yelp again. “I pinched you because we must be in a dream. But do not think because you are down in the islands, away from your mom, that you can be cursing like a sailor. Do not try me Malcolm Winters.”

“First ‘hell’ is in the Bible; and second, yes, it is spectacular here.” They rose to exit the plane when Cay stopped Malcolm’s progression. “You say ‘hell’ one more time and you will need a Bible.” They both laughed continuing on through the terminal.

Cay and Malcolm were both equipped with matching Louis V rolling and carry-on luggage trekking through the bustling airport. The rest of their items were being shipped to their villa in a few days so the two decided to pack enough things to last the week. They walked out into the thickness of a humid morning, taking in the random families running about. Malcolm’s instructions were to meet with his liaison from the university after leaving baggage claim.

Excited with the over-stimulation of her environment, Cay panned around taking in the entire scene. Glee filled her face as she clenched Malcolm’s arm. Her pulse shot out of her veins with every passing second. Disbelief had set in, making her aware that she was not visiting for a few days but living amongst the glory.

Focusing in on a particular area that caught her peripheral, a curious figure nestled against the wall. Cay felt her hairs stand on end as she filled with vexation. It was if she was being sucked into a vacuum of people with the strangers surrounding her. Soon perspiration started to form on her brow, and her head began the tell tale signs of a migraine. Before she could alert Malcolm to her discomfort, the out of focus figure in question took the distinct form of a human.

He was gorgeous, athletic physique with a ebony complexion, hair trimmed to his head. His loose jeans were not concealing all his girth and massive muscular tendons with fibers underneath. Losing restraint over the situation, Cay gulped needing a refreshment and quick. He approached the two newcomers, Cay taking notice of his unbuttoned shirt, silkened onyx skin, the hardened chest of a man beast glistening in the afternoon sun. Women, running children, and shouting men that populated the airport halted becoming blurs of blue and white, but the gleam of brown emitting from his eyes blinded out her atmosphere. His nearness made her heart ache; outside of his mystifying eyes, Cay stood listless in another sinister visual trap. The stark white instruments protruding from his mouth made everything freeze causing Cay to shake.

“Teeth?” She uttered, blanking out into a deep hole of darkness.

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To read more about this new type of romance, purchase Winter’s Island by Lillian MacKenzie Rhine with the links provided below.

AMAZON (US):

AMAZON (UK):

Check on her other works and posting at her blog listed below.

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TWITTER:

Guest Spotlight – Kai’s Journey by Wendy & Charles Siefken

 

 

Today, I am pleased to welcome Wendy & Charles Siefken to my blog to tell us about their book, Kai’s Journey.

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Charles Siefken (1992-present) is a recent graduate of high school. This is his first book of many to be published. He currently resides in rural central Iowa where he enjoys reading sci/fi books and playing video games among other things. He is currently enrolled in our local college for automotive technician as well as working part time at a local garage as a mechanic. We have found a publisher, MasterKoda Select Publishing! Christopher Paolini was his inspiration to become a writer.

Wendy Siefken (1966-Present)Currently working full time as a tier one tech at a local call center. Wendy lives on a farm with her family and enjoys reading, gardening and other activities with her family and friends.
This all started as a school project for her youngest son and business partner, Charles Siefken, which has grown into a desire to be published.

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Kai’s Journey is a story about a young man, set ten years in the future. Kai has spent those years fighting for survival and trying to find a way rid the world of the disease his father created… His father was a military scientist charged with the task of perfecting a formula that would create a superior breed of soldiers. Kai’s father accidentally created a race of zombies.  Like a virus, it soon spreads to the entire world, unleashing a period of unsurpassed chaos and conflict.

In the midst of this turmoil, Kai comes across a young woman named Clover, who is part of a clan traveling across the United States to try to find what is left of humanity. Clover is a part of a clan of werewolves who can turn at will but aren’t blood thirsty savages as depicted in general history.

Along the way Kai and Clover come across stragglers who join with the group as they journey across the upper part of what used to be known as North America.

One night while Kai and Clover were watching a meteor shower they meet a group totally out of this world. Kai and Clover begin a heroic journey, fueled by the increasingly dim hope that somehow, the human race will have a chance to start over.

An excerpt from Kai’s Journey

Dirty and exhausted from his day’s travels Kai crested a barren hill. This year’s drought had taken its toll and the landscape around him was dulled to muted hues of brown.  A few trees scattered here and there clung to life with bare limbs stretching towards the sky. Fall had come early to this area. He shaded his eyes as the setting sun cast eerie shadows across the sky above, making it look like the ribs of a dead man. Kai spotted the bodies scattered in the field on the left side of the road. With a sigh, he walked over to investigate the scene. He knew from experience that there were worse things in this new world other than the living dead. Checking to see how they were put down could tell you who or what might be in the area. As Kai walked closer he could hear the buzzing of insects in the afternoon air. The sound intensified the closer he came to the bodies. The acrid, metallic smell of death reached him on the next breeze. Pulling a rag over his nose and mouth, Kai walked up to the nearest one, using his boot to turn it over. He then knelt down. It had once been human, but died as a zombie. There were bullet holes in the main part of the body as well as the arms and legs. He’d seen these kinds of wounds on the creatures before. Some, who called themselves the military, used them as target practice as if they were no more than animals. At one time though, every one of these beings had been a human; someone’s mother, father, brother, sister or friend. Now they were dead. Some call them zombies. Kai call them a burden that he alone felt responsible for.

He didn’t need to see any more and headed back to the road in disgust. A cluster of buildings lie ahead. Only a few shadows moved among the buildings. Time and experience told Kai that they were the living dead. This town was just like every other place he came across since the accident seven years ago.  He hoped to find shelter for the night, maybe even a few supplies. From the town up ahead there was a sound he hadn’t heard in a long time. A single howl that reached down into his soul and stirred something he’d thought long since disappeared. Momentarily forgetting his exhaustion, he ran toward the town and the sound. Again the howl filled the air as he ran past dilapidated buildings with broken windows and sagging porches and front steps. A few of the creatures he’d seen earlier going from building to building were nowhere in sight. Kai heard the howl again, coming from around the corner of an old store front building. Noiselessly he crept along the wall to the corner and peered down the alley to see a crowd of zombies surrounding a beautiful white wolf trapped at the dead end, its hackles raised. A growl rumbled from its throat as it bared its teeth. Kai’s stomach tightened in fear as he watched as the living dead move in for the kill. It had been so long since he had seen any dogs or pets from the old world that he knew he had to do something.

“Hey!” Kai yelled.

They turned as one towards him when Kai charged around the corner, his sword raised. Deftly he severed the head of the nearest of the walking dead ones. Quickly he moved from one to the next, thrusting his sword or slashing to keep them at arm’s length. Soon he stood next to the wolf. The wolf’s eyes never left the dead as she bared her teeth.

“I won’t hurt you. I just want to help,” Kai said.

With their backs to the wall, Kai and the wolf kept the dead at bay as they fought. Soon bodies lay scattered and unmoving in the alley. He sank to his knees in exhaustion; he raised his head to look over at the wolf. Now that Kai was up close, he could see her white fur was well groomed and cared for. Slowly he eased himself into a sitting position so as not to frighten her away. The wolf’s startling blue eyes gazed at him steadily. ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a wolf with blue eyes before,’ he thought. Kai made a move to raise his hand towards her and the wolf gave a low warning growl. She didn’t run from him, but she didn’t let him touch her either.

“Well, I guess we won this round huh, girl?” Kai asked. Suddenly her ears perked up and she looked back up the alley as if she heard something. Kai looked but at first didn’t see or hear anything. He felt his stomach drop as more of the dead came stumbling around the corner.  Without warning, something hard hit him in the head and he lost consciousness.

Click here to purchase Kai’s Journey at Amazon.

Click here for more information about Wendy & Charles Siefken.

Contact Wendy & Charles on Twitter.

Wendy’s Facebook page.

Siefken Publications on Facebook.

 

New Release by Maria Savva – 3 – A Trio of Short Stories

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Author Bio:

Maria is a writer of short stories and novels. She has always been a storyteller, and an avid reader, and is now having a lot of fun in her adventure with the creative art of writing. She has published 5 novels, including a psychological thriller, a family saga, and a fantasy/paranormal/time travel book. She also has 5 collections of short stories, the latest “3” has been described as an “Innovative showcase” of her short stories. If you like stories that will take you deep inside the characters’ hearts and minds, and you like twists in the tale, you will probably want to try these stories.

As well as writing, Maria is a lawyer (not currently practising law). During her career, she worked in family law, criminal law, immigration, residential property law, and wills & probate, among other things. Many of her stories are inspired from her own experiences and the experiences of those she knows or has known. Chances are, if you get to know this author it won’t be long before you are changed forever into a fictional character and appear in one of her books. If she likes you, you may become a romantic hero/heroine; if she doesn’t… well, she writes a good thriller I hear.

Maria currently divides her time between working as an administrator in a university, and writing/reading/editing/blogging. She maintains the BestsellerBound Recommends blog helping to promote fellow indie authors. She’s also a music blogger for UK Arts Directory where she helps promote independent musicians.

 

 

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A trio of short stories.

Memories from the past can haunt the present.

1. Never To Be Told – Tom and Amber are on a romantic date… but the past is always present.

2. The Bride – In this paranormal short, Olivia makes a chilling discovery.

3. What The Girl Heard – Victoria revisits a place that holds a dark reminder of an incident from her childhood. She had vowed she would never return.

Where to purchase 3

“3” is Currently available in Kindle format (Can be read on a Mac, PC, iPad, Smartphone etc., with the free downloadable apps from Amazon). Look out for the paperback coming soon.

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon FR:

Amazon ES:

Amazon CA:

Amazon BR:

Amazon IT:

Amazon JP:

Connect with Maria

Official website: http:www.mariasavva.com

Goodreads Blog:

BestsellerBound Recommends:

UK Arts Directory Blog:

Twitter: 

Facebook: 

Click to watch the video trailer for 3

Donna K Weaver – A Change of Plans

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Donna K. Weaver has always loved reading and creating stories and has been ever entertained. A Navy brat. A U.S. Army veteran. An avid cruiser, she’s sailed the Pacific four times. A Shorei Kempo Karate black belt, she lives in Utah with her husband. They have six children, eight grandchildren.

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When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he’s navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship–on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn’s painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.

It’s hard to avoid someone when stuck on the same ship, and the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

Watch the video trailer at Youtube

To take park in Donna’s Rafflecopter event, click here

You can purchase A Change of Plans at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible

You can connect with Donna at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads

Delusions and Dreams by Maria Savva

Today I have the pleasure of handing over the reins of this blog to a new guest, Maria Savva, author of Delusions and Dreams.

Hi Maria and welcome to my blog.  Over to you.

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Maria

About my novels

Delusion and Dreams is my fourth collection of short stories. I have also published five novels.

In this blog post I will introduce my novels. I’ll be introducing the short story collections in a later stop on the tour.

The Novels:

Coincidences

Written in 1997 and first published in 2001, Coincidences was my first novel. In 2012, I published a second edition of the book to make it more widely available in e-book and paperback because the original was only ever published in hardback and that is out of print.

Coincidences is the story of Alice, a young girl who decides she wants to look for her father. He left the family home when Alice was not even 2 years old, and she has no memories of him. Her mother is very secretive about their relationship and reluctant to help Alice find him. In the course of looking for her father, Alice discovers some well-kept secrets. It’s a mystery and a drama. It explores a mother/daughter relationship, and follows Alice in her search for the truth.

A Time To Tell

A Time to Tell is a family saga. It was written between about 1998 – 2000 and published in 2006. It’s Cara’s story, and also the parallel story of her granddaughter, Penelope. It’s themes include domestic violence, love, family relationships, secrets, and how history can sometimes repeat itself.

Second Chances

My third novel is about how there are always two sides to every story. James and Pamela are facing a rocky time in their marriage. This book explores each of the characters and how they are feeling. Ultimately, it is also about how secrets and miscommunication can affect a relationship. Second Chances includes a solicitor as one of the main characters, and many of James’s experiences reflect my own, inspired by my years working as a solicitor.

The Dream

A paranormal fantasy novel. Paranormal in the ghostly sense, and in the sense that things are not all they seem. You won’t find werewolves or vampires here — sorry to disappoint.
In this story, Lynne is forewarned in a dream not to marry her fiancé. She then finds out why. There is time travel, fantasy, romance, and mystery in this novel.

Haunted

A psychological suspense/thriller.
This is a dark fiction novel. Very dark. I’ve been told by many of my readers that the story remains in their mind long after they’ve read it and haunts them! One of my readers said that it had the same effect on her as ‘Salem’s Lot’ by Stephen King — i.e. it gave her nightmares — but she loved it!
It’s Nigel’s story; a man consumed by guilt over an incident that happened in a moment of anger. There is a paranormal twist.

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Twelve stories of betrayal, greed, revenge, deception, dreams, and courage.

We all struggle to find our way. What you see isn’t necessarily all there is. This collection takes you into the grey area, because the world is never just black and white.

Life is all about perspective. One person’s delusion is another person’s dream.

Includes five bonus stories.

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She writes novels and short stories in different genres, including drama, psychological thriller, and family saga. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. Her most recent novel is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller.

Maria’s website link –  http://www.mariasavva.com

Maria’s blog link – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1418272.Maria_Savva/blog

Maria’s facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Maria-Savva/171466979781

Maria on twitter – http://Twitter.com/Maria_Savva

To purchase Delusions and Dreams use Amazon usa or Amazon uk

Maria is also running a Rafflecopter giveaway with prizes of  a signed paperback and an e-book copy of Delusion and Dreams, also e-books from Darcia Helle, J. Michael Radcliffe, and Helle Gade. There are 5 prizes, so there’ll be 5 winners.

Guest Blog – Sara’s Cuppa Cakes

For my guest blog today, I’m handing over the pen to a great young lady, Sara Rose Pollard of Sara’s Cuppa Cakes.  This amazingly talented gal specialises in baking for those with special dietary needs and makes delicious gluten free, dairy free and diabetic friendly cakes.

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Its funny how things can change.  12 months ago, I was a full time single mother just dreaming about having my own business.  Now, just 8 months later, those dreams have become a reality and I’m even teetering on the edge of moving into a commercial property. Its amazing to have come this far in such little time, but its not been easy either.

I chose 18 months ago what I wanted to do with my life.  This was a little later than I’d expected but at 25 I wasn’t getting any younger and my daughter was due to start pre-school in a matter of months. Then one day, I went to meet my boyfriend’s parents, and being an old fashioned girl at heart, I baked them a cake. I wanted to make a good impression, especially as I’d turned to baking to relieve stress and I secretly thought they might like me more if I made an effort, so I went all out. On receipt of the cake they were very grateful, but I felt like I wanted to shoot myself when I learned that his sister Katherine had something called Coeliac Disease.

I’d never heard of it before but she wasn’t allowed to eat my cak, as she couldn’t have anything that had gluten or wheat in it. It was not only my cake that she couldn’t eat, but also bread, pizza dough, cookies, sauces and even some types of meat. I felt so sorry for her thenand I decided that if I could, I was going to make a difference to her life, and that I’d come up with the best gluten free recipe she’d ever tasted. Four weeks later II returned with chocolate brownies and the picture on her face told me all I needed to know!

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It was like a light bulb went on in my head; I suddenly knew my calling and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was going to help people who had allergies and intolerances eat all the things I took for granted. As word spread of my brownies, I got more requests to make things that were gluten free, then dairy free and finally even diabetic friendly too.

After then it all happened very quickly.  I had a charity interested in my ideas and they spent a few weeks with me showing me how to bake different cakes and better my own recipes. Then as they faded away I felt strong enough to go it alone and felt a confidence inside I’d almost forgotten about and a passion to learn more. I dived back right into the research, using anything I could get my hands on to make unique cakes and cupcakes. I stuffed my friends and family with sponge, and then, when I knew I’d finally got it right, I told income support that I was returning to work. They supported me 100% and it was one of the best feelings walking out of that office knowing I’d never return again.

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It was then that I had to make a decision. I’d seen that the free-from market was growing but falling, and that cross contamination was high. If I made normal stuff as well as specialist, I risked putting my clients health in danger, so I decided the best thing was to be a completely gluten free baker. That way, it wouldn’t apply to me as you can’t cross contaminate something your not using. In time I chose to also be dairy free, as I made recipes without cows milk and butter and used soya in my egg free recipes which have become my well known virtually fat free cupcakes because I calculate the calories and syns using the slimming world technique.

7 months ago my daughter innocently ran into a cafe on the high street that had just opened, named Cafe Imbizo. I met Nick for the first time then,and with me apologizing profoundly for the whirlwind that was my daughter and he laughing saying it was okay, he wasnt busy, he was just trying to sort out things for the cafe. I took that moment to shake his hand and introduce myself. “Well in that case, hi, my names Sara and I’m a cake maker.”   It was as if pound signs appeared in both our eyes. These days he’s not just my stockist, but also a good friend and the first person I turn to for business related things!

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Today though, I hold an online clientele base of over 1250 people across facebook and twitter combined who all live mainly within Hampshire. They keep me on my toes and have led me to make a profit in my first tax year of business. This now means that I can, with the help of companies like crowd funder, seek help from the public to help made a change to the community. What I want is a cafe just for my client so all those lovely people with an allergy or intolerance who need and want somewhere to go, can be finally treated as equals. I want to be able to help them understand their intolerances by showing them how to bake safely and healthily and prove that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. So here I am, 49 days away from reaching my £12,000 target to open my own cafe. I am determined to get there. Maybe not today, and probably not tomorrow, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the truth behind anything in life, is you just have to believe.

If you’d like to get in touch please email me on sara.pollard@me.com or visit my facebook page via the link below.

I aim to reply as quickly as possible to each message and I’m taking bookings right through to October! So if you would like to order anything from a cupcake to celebration cake, I’d advise you to get them in quick!
for each pledge made to my crowd funder pitch, you will be entered  into a draw to win a variety of things from cupcakes to celebration cakes.

Click here to visit Sara’s facebook page.

Follow Sara on Twitter.

Click here to support Sara’s Crowd Funder pitch.

New guest blog post

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I was honoured to be asked to do a guest blog post by Steven Ramirez on his blog, The Glass Highway.  I chose to write about world building for space opera writers, a huge subject but great fun.

Click here to read my guest blog post – World Building for Space Opera Writers.

I hope you enjoy the blog.

 

New Guest Blog Post – Suzie McGregor

Today I have invited a friend and fellow writer, Suzie McGregor to write a guest blog about herself and her experiences as a children’s author.

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I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in March 1972 but moved to Wolverhampton in 1975 where my mother was originally from after my parents divorce and have lived here ever since.

As a child I always loved to write stories but as I grew older I never seemed to find the time to write them down but was always making up stories in my head. I trained as an International Beauty Therapist, and worked on and off whilst my children were growing up. During this time I also became interested in the paranormal and became a paranormal investigator for a while which took up a lot of my time and I did start writing a book about investigating the paranormal but as yet it is still not finished.

It was in 2005 whilst I was going through a significantly ‘low’ time in my life that I had the idea of my first book which I completely threw myself into as my escape from the reality of my controlling and suffocating marriage and the depression that came with it. This book was to be the first of a series of children’s stories called ‘The Amazing Adventures of Mystica’. The story is based around a holiday cottage, in the little village of Tarbet, in Kintyre; this was an actual place I used to visit as a child with my Dad, Step mum and half brother and it seemed to me to be the perfect setting for my stories. The main characters ‘Jemima and Elizabeth’ are based on my two own daughters.I attempted to get my book published for three years without succeeding so in the end at a very financially high price I self published my first book in 2008, and my eldest daughter Amelia drew some sketches that I used for the illustrations and she also designed and drew the front cover. I have since written another book in the ‘Mystica’ series, and I’m currently working on the third book, but due to my recent depression problems resurfacing I don’t seem to have the concentration I used to have to get the book written as quickly as the others. I am slowly making progress and if I’m perfectly honest I see no great rush as the next step – which is the publishing – is always a drag due to the fact that it’s such a competitive market. Not only that but I’ve found it is almost impossible to achieve the ‘traditional’ way and I’m not sure how other writers feel but I get the impression that a lot of authors don’t like to help others because they’re scared of the competition, even though there is room in the world for all of us.

I am also currently writing what I hope will be another series of children’s books based around a friend of mine, which will be called ‘Mrs. Magpie.’ Although I’m in the very early stages of writing it, I am also excited about the possibility of these books being published too in the future.

Over the past twelve months I have recently started writing different styles of short stories, none of which have been published or even read by anyone else. I sometimes feel my work isn’t good enough and people will laugh at me. This lack of confidence unfortunately comes from the result of years of psychological abuse making me think I’m ‘not good enough’ plus having a form of dyslexia always makes writing a little more difficult because I can’t see my mistakes. Saying all that I still love to write so when the mood takes me that’s just what I do. Over time I’ve given a lot of thought as to why I prefer to write children’s stories and the only conclusion I came up with is because when I was a child I felt ‘safe’ and ‘looked after’ which is the same feeling I get whilst writing stories for children which gives me a great comfort.

Even with my terrible lack of self confidence underneath I’m a very determined person and when I set my mind to something I don’t give up until I achieve what I set out to do even if it takes years. I suppose the thing that helps me is coming from a spiritual family; they’ve taught me to always look on the positive side of things and if you want something in life then all you have to do is believe and it will be yours. I consider this to be true hence the way my life has changed and I’m now in a wonderful relationship with someone who I can only describe as my guardian angel. He’s my soulmate and a brilliant father to my two daughters and having this has made me more determined to fulfill the dream I set out to accomplish many years ago.

My personal reason for writing is that I find it’s my way of putting my feelings into words without actually having to explain myself. I think that’s why in my first story there is a magical world because in my reality when this story was born all I wanted to do was escape, so I did, to another land called Mystica.

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