Wednesday, 28 March 2018

#MidWeekTease, Where Struan is waiting for a sign...

Hello everyone.

Welcome to this week's #MIdWeekTease

Here's mine.

(The picture is from Pinterest)

Take one ex-shifter...Glare at him for a while. Add...

One unknown enemy,
One human,
and a lot of helpers...

What do you get?

You get Struan's Story.

Struan Scott has been brought up to be told he should head the Shalean Sept of leopard shifters, Not Brios Parde.

When the Rogue Shaleans who poisoned his mind are vanquished, Struan has to choose...

Continue with evil or change his life around.

It's not an easy choice. Believe what your are told your destiny should be, or take a chance, change and discover what your destiny is going to be.

This is what he does, how he does it, and whether he succeeds in his choice.

Does he?

You'll have to wait and see but...

your #MidWeekTease

(Struan has moved to Devon and is trying to get on with his life)

Struan scrubbed his paddle board and stared at the rain streaming down the window of his shed aka summer house. Flaming June was now raining July, and it was miserable. Esther had been gone for two weeks, and he missed her. They’d spoken on the phone, texted and face timed, but it wasn’t the same. He wasn’t sleeping well, his slumber broken by dreams of what had been and what could be...or not. Leopards, the Armin stone, his betrayal of all he should hold dear and that final denouement.
Sometimes he swore he could hear the Grey Side, mocking him for not standing by what lies they had fed him. That he ignored. The dreams of Shalea, of what it meant, of how he’d tried to destroy it and how he changed his life around were not so easy to ignore.
He painted his kitchen, took his turn locking up the tunnel, and went for ever longer runs.
Every day he could swear he saw a leopard. Under the bridge, in the tunnel, even swimming up the river. The hallucinations were so clear, so lifelike, that Struan thought if he was able to touch one, he’d feel warm fur and a heartbeat.
And every day, the conviction that something momentous was about to happen got stronger.
What he had no idea, where, or when, ditto, but it put him on edge. He hadn’t been so unsure of himself, of who he was, and what might be able to happen since those dreadful days when he’d been banished, and found himself unable to shift, project or be part of what had been his life since birth.
When he found he’d painted the same door panel for the third time, Struan decided enough was enough. He washed the paintbrush, tidied everything away and went out in the rain. To scrub his paddle board and give himself a strong talking to. He couldn’t carry on like this. He either had to wallow or wake up and do something about whatever was going on.
Wallowing was not in his make up. So...Struan put his now shining paddle board on the shelf and stood up and stretched. Time to be proactive.
As if it was a sign, the rain stopped and a rainbow arched over the estuary mouth. The sight took his breath away. It was clearer than he’d ever seen before, a full arc of glorious colors. Beneath it, the water sparkled, and the ferry chugged across, the river, its flags fluttering gently in the now soft breeze, and sending Struan a message.
‘We need you.’

The first books of The Shalean Moon by my YA-hatted persona J. Lilley, are available from Opal Moon Press on Amazon

You can catch all the other #MidWeekTease posts here

happy reading,

love, Raven and Jo xx

Sunday, 25 March 2018

#SexySnippets... not sexy but heartbeat raising maybe?

Well, those of us in the UK lost an hours sleep (and not just because some of us got up to watch the Australian Grand Prix.) Allegedly we're now in British Summer Time. The ice on the pond sort of negates that.

However it's Sunday and #SexySnippets time. 

As I'm writing an NA with my J Lilley hat on, your (not so) sexy snippets comes from there.

Struan is the baddy in my YA series The Shalean Moon, about shape shifters—from human to leopards. Here he is older, and we discover if he is wiser and reformed as well...

The Story is set in Devon

And Scotland

(Struan feels impelled to return to Scotland, but outside forces make it impossible for him to continue once he crosses the border. He manages to ask Brios for help.)

Your snippets 

 ‘Okay, wait there and we'll with you in ten.’
 How on earth could he be?
 ‘Oh yea of little faith, look can you open your backseat doors?’
‘Okay but...’
‘Wait and see, look out for a swarm of midges.’
 Midges? Why ever midges, they were nasty no see um biting things unless they swarmed together and became a black cloud of ready to bite.

‘Easier to disguise than a leopard.’

Catch all the #SexySnippets 

And as I always say The Shalean Moon is for kids from 13 to 90 and beyond...
The Shalean Moon—are you ready? 

You can get the Shalean Moon books, by J. Lilley from Amazon

Happy reading,
love Raven xx

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

#MidWeekTease Where Struan wonders...what next?

Hi all, #MidWeekTease time,

this week from a WIP that is more NA than anything else.

Struan's story is the working title for the last (as far as I know) Shalean Moon story. He was the baddy in all 7 YA Books (all of which will be out  by Christmas) His story brings us up to date and we can discover...has he redeemed himself or not?

Banished from Shalea, unable to shift into a leopard or project and receive thoughts, Struan Scott has to have a long hard look at himself. To continue with the evil Grey Side and Rogues, who are trying to destroy Shalea, or go away, grow up and change into a decent hardworking person, who is truly repentant.
What would he chose?

and your tease...

Every bone in his body ached. Sadly not in the way he’d once known.
Struan Scott ran down and back up the ninety-seven steps three times in the tunnel that led to the little beach near his home. Sweat dripped into his eyes, even with the toweling sweatband across his forehead and his long dark hair in a ponytail—or should that be a leopard's tail? He hoped to hell the exercise would make him so tired he'd sleep that night without dreams or nightmares. Not that it was very likely. Six years on, and he'd still not managed a full nights sleep. So what if he'd stepped out of line a little? Okay a lot. But now he was six years older for Shalea's sake. Older, wiser, and not so much of an asshole he hoped. But did Shalea forgive? Did they heck.
Mind you, why should they? I was out of order, not them. How can they know I’m not the person I was then? That I now understand evil and want nothing to do with it? The only answer he could give himself, was that they couldn’t know, and he had no way of letting them.
Struan rolled his shoulders, swung his arms and took a swig of water before stepping out once more. Why was his mind so deeply entrenched in the past today? Strange dreams apart, every day was similar to the last. He'd screwed up, and he was paying for it. One step, one minute at a time. And there seemed that there was no end to it.
He knew he'd been in the wrong. Trying to pervert the way Shalean succession worked wasn't good, and he couldn't say he hadn't known what he was doing, or even blame the people he had listened to. Jealously was an ugly, horrible thing, and he'd had it big time.
With the hindsight of his twenty-three years instead of sixteen, he could see what an ass he'd been. A self important, up his own ass, ass. But when you'd been drip fed the idea that you should rule the Shalean Sept of Leopard Shifters ever since you were old enough to listen, you tended to believe it. Even when everyone else disagreed, he still clung to what he'd been told.
Oh so wrong. Now he could accept that, but it had been a hard lesson. For his sins, Struan had been banished from Shalea, and stripped of his ability to shift. His crime was heinous. He'd plotted how to bring down the Sept and how to ruin the leaders and leaders to be. By chance and, he thought ruefully, the fact they had justice on their side he was thwarted at every turn. Defeated and banished he decided to regroup, and he'd gone to university in England—not in Scotland as he originally anticipated. It was probably the best move he could have made.

Catch all the other #MidWeekTease posts here

Happy reading,

love Raven x

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Daisy James is touring with Sunshine and Secrets and popped by to say hi

I'm incredibly lucky to be part of this amazing tour for Daisy, who is a fabulous writer.

Over to you Daisy...

The Paradise Cookery School - Sunshine & Secrets is set on the spectacular Caribbean island of St Lucia. The story centres on Millie Harper as she attempts to oversee the renovations of a dilapidated villa situated on a disused cocoa plantation, high on the hillside overlooking the town of Soufrière in the south of the island, before a group of discerning foodies descend for a week’s tutorial.
Not only is Millie in charge of making sure the laid-back builders install the kitchen sink in the right place and the precious Italian marble units don’t get cracked, she is also responsible, along with her friend and Caribbean chef Ella Johnson, for triple-testing every recipe that will feature on the course which turns out to be a massive undertaking.
In order to make sure the story was as authentic as possible, I did a great deal of research into the food of St Lucia. Caribbean cuisine is a blend of African, European, Indian, Arab and Chinese influences, a real melting pot of flavours, textures and aromas. For the savoury dishes there is a heavy emphasis on spicy jerk flavours and marinades using what is know as the Holy Trinity of Ingredients – Scotch Bonnet peppers, spring onions and fresh thyme. Desserts are varied; from myriad tropical fruits such as mangoes, passionfruit, guava, breadfruit and sapodilla, to baked goods such as Caribbean rum cake or truffle pie, not to mention chocolate and coconut cookies.
As the Paradise Cookery School is situated on a cocoa plantation that the owner, Claudia Croft, hopes one day to bring back to life, many of the recipes featured in Sunshine & Secrets contain chocolate or cocoa. When I was researching the recipes for Millie and Ella to showcase to their students, I set about baking my own chocolate-inspired creations. My family were overjoyed. The kitchen became infused with delicious aromas of chocolate brownies – which to everyone’s surprise revealed a generous sprinkle of chilli which goes really well with chocolate. I baked chocolate cheesecakes, chocolate cookies, chocolate cupcakes, we even had grilled salmon in a chocolate and ginger sauce.

Here’s my recipes for chilli chocolate brownies. You can add as much or as little chilli as you like, depending on your preference, but we like them to have a bit of a kick.

The Paradise Cookery School’s Chilli Chocolate Brownies
125g butter
275g caster sugar
2 eggs
50g self-raising flour
25g plain flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
100g of plain chocolate
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
Half teaspoon of vanilla essence
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Put the butter, sugar, vanilla essence and chilli powder into a bowl and beat until fluffy. Break the eggs into a small bowl, beat then add, a little at a time to the buttery mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and beat well then dd the melted chocolate. Spoon the mixture into a lined tin (20cm square) and bake for 35 minues at 180C of Gas Mark 4. They are ready when a crust has formed on the top.  Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar. Delicious!

Mind you...
 St Lucia isn’t just about sun, sea, sand and sailing. The island has a wealth of attractions and activities on offer. Millie meets up with the cocoa plantation’s prickly estate manager, Zach, who suggests a trip to the open-air market in the island’s capital Castries - a veritable treasure trove for a professional chef - where she can sniff, squeeze and taste all the local produce available. Castries market doesn’t only sell fresh fruit and vegetable and that day’s catch, but also hand-made crafts and souvenirs like pottery, carved masks, woven hats and brightly coloured head scarves. However, the best thing to do at the market is sit with a drink, inhale the spice-infused aromas and soak up the atmosphere.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy too, so it’s not all sitting around taste-testing the rum. Zach took Millie on a zip-wire ride through the tropical rainforest which, eventually, she loved.
So, if it’s cold, rainy and dull in your part of the world, why not take a virtual trip to the Caribbean and attend one of Millie Harper’s Paradise Cookery School courses? You won’t be disappointed!

So if you want to go and but the book you can do it, just by clicking here 

Now excuse me I'm off to try out those cookies.

Happy reading,

love Raven x