A little bit o’ Irish magic

I love Ireland. For anyone who has visited or, like me, is lucky enough to live here, there is a definite sense of all things mystical here; from the endless green fields, to the sometimes absolute quiet, to the constant rain, to the ancient castles – some still standing, some crumbling ruins. Everywhere you go, from the gorgeous Antrim coast to the sandy beaches of County Kerry, you will feel the myths, the legends and probably, if only for a moment, believe any one of them are possible.

I have so many memories of my childhood, travelling around this gorgeous island. It is now, as an adult, I fully appreciate all those weekend caravan trips my dad used to take us (my sister and me) on. Our parents would listen to the constant chorus of are we there yet? and somewhere along some narrow off-the-beaten-track our dad would finally lose his patience and tell us to put a sock in it. (Or fuck up, if you want the non-PG version!) I fondly remember those rural towns, the quaint villages, stone bridges, thatch-roofed cottages and hand-built stone farm walls. I feel so lucky to have experienced it all, because the atmosphere in this beautiful, haunted isle is simply one you have to experience. It’s impossible to ‘get’ it otherwise. I can’t count how many times, even as a kid, I had the sense of not being alone – even when I was dandering off on my own exploring. Ghosts, I believe, really are everywhere.

It is my amazing experiences of Ireland that made me feel so delighted to be invited to be part of Emerald Isle Enchantments, which releases this October 11th – just in time for all the spooky goings-on of Halloween. When Katalina Leon, author of Lord Griffin’s Prize sent me a private message and asked me if I wanted to be part of the group, I waited all of 2.5 seconds to say I’M IN!

My story, Desire and the Djinn, combines two things I am very passionate about; Ireland and India. I enjoy writing about the Indian hero; tall, dark, brooding men with fabulous accents and smouldering eyes to die for. Enter Kamal, the troubled djinn from Desire and the Djinn, who has found himself inhabiting a bottle that’s been on the Emerald Isle for over a hundred years.

Emerald Isle Enchantments is a series of books set in Castle Tullamore, a gorgeous castle estate set in County Donegal (my favourite of all the counties, except perhaps County Antrim, because it’s home, after all…). Many of my childhood holidays (a lot of Easters) were spent in Donegal, and we even stumbled across a very private beach that, to this day, I believe almost no-one has access to. (It involves a forty-five minute trek through rough farmland terrain, through sheep cattle, sidestepping still steaming patties of poop, climbing through not one, but two barbed wire fences, reaching the summit of a sand-dune and then descending said sand-dune, just to reach the gorgeous, unspoilt north-facing beach with nothing but a shipwreck for company.) I’m pretty sure it also involved some trespassing, but the farmer was always nice to us. Maybe he pitied us, trundling through his sheep with our cooler boxes and deck-chairs. (We always cleaned up our barbeque remnants and other litter!)

I’ve went off on a tangent. Donegal is truly as spectacular as all the very talented writers of Emerald Isle Enchantments portray it to be – so I sincerely hope you will join us on October 11th 2016 when our boxed set releases.

Stay tuned for updates, cover reveals, giveaways and various opportunities to score yourself some fabulous Emerald Isle themed swag!

Don’t forget to follow my blog for updates! —————–>

Much love,

Rea x

P.S. have a look at some photographs I managed to procure from my dad’s stack of old pictures. This is ‘Our Beach’. Thanks for the adventures, dad.

shipwreck-circa-1992
The blue shipwreck, circa 1992
the-beach-2012
Stunning vista, including what remains of the shipwreck. (2012)
the-beach2
Unspoilt Irish Beauty

the-shipwreck-2012

the-beach
‘Our Beach’

Making a Writing Schedule

It occurs to me that there isn’t enough advice/help for writings who need encouragement to keep a schedule (me!). I think one of my biggest tags in my tag cloud is PROCRASTINATION. I am terrible at it. My mind wanders and I struggle to tether myself to a single task or idea. The problem with this is nothing ever seems to get completed, and after years (YEARS!) of falling into this trap, I decided I need to set myself a proper schedule… to keep myself motivated and in line.


A few weeks ago I bought myself a couple of white boards from Poundland. As the name would suggest, they were £1 each. I imagine there’s an equivalent in most countries. Initially I was going to use them as story boards, which is another thing I need to get into the habit of. I’m a ‘seat-of-my-pants’ writer, for the most part. Anyway, here’s it is:

wb

So, what are my plans? Well, I have decided to look into the terrifying world of Indie publishing. This requires a lot of extra work on the part of the writer, marketing and such. So as well as actually writing the story, I need to factor this into my weekly planner. Today is Monday, it’s a good day to plan. Here’s a quick list of things I need to fit into my week:

Writing

Writing blog posts

Sourcing covers

Editing

Social media updates

wb2

I aim to write at least 2,000 words every day. I know this isn’t a lot by other writer’s standards, and last week I was averaging at least 3,000 per day. However, 10k a week is better than putting tonnes of pressure on myself and getting nothing done! Other things may come up, but for now, these are the things I want to focus on. Cover art is a big deal for me, and I know there are so many cover artists out there, so I need to spend a bit of time researching the best in terms of product and price.

Anyway this is my plan for the week! Lets see how it pans out!

How to break bad Internet habits

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I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet. Before I had it, I used to write at least double the amount of words I write nowadays. Of course, it’s great for downloading music and always having something new to listen to. However, it is also home to: Facebook, pointless cat videos, newspaper sites, endless memes and plenty more time wasting activities. I find myself rotating aimlessly from Facebook to The Daily Mail (a newspaper I absolutely and completely loathe, yet compulsively peruse), Listverse and my emails. When I have finished one, I will begin the cycle again, while my manuscript remains forlorn and ignored.

I also find the internet increasingly depressing. People use it is a platform for complaining and bitching. Facebook is a manic depressive’s dream and newspaper sites are nothing but political propaganda. Cat videos are cute, but let’s face it, hardly inspiring. The memes of Grumpy Cat seem to encompass most of my feelings regarding the internet, these days. I have two Facebook profiles – my author one and my real-life one… most of the time, I prefer the author one because people are inspired, upbeat, hardworking and rarely complain. I like that.

Today, I am going to turn my internet off.  Yes. Off. By the router and force myself to go cold-turkey. Today I will have only CDs for musical company and no way to update followers and friends with inane thoughts or viral photographs. The Daily Mail can piss right off with their usual racism and tri-daily homage to Kim Kardashian. Today it’s going to be just me and my Word document, my loyal friend who is always waiting for me to return, to shower some attention upon her.

Facebook and everyone’s first world problems will still be there tomorrow, and who knows, I might even ignore them tomorrow, too!

Rampant in the Rain Forest

ImageI really love spring time. When the weather is nice and the nights begin to draw out, it fills me with bounce and enthusiasm. I’m writing something new and really enjoying it, too! Of course I spend half my time searching YouTube for suitable music to listen to – and at the moment it is relaxing jungle sounds. That’s a BIG fat on-the-nose clue about where my current project is set! I am rather enjoying the discomfort of my two main characters, as they plunder through the rain forest. I quite enjoy their attempts at ignoring blatant sexual tension, too!

 

Keep an eye out for an upcoming giveaway, which I will be announcing in the next week or so. I promise it’ll be super sexy and a little bit naughty, just as you would expect! You can keep yourself up-to-date by following this blog or following me on Twitter – @ReaThomas – where I will post when the giveaway is live. 

 

Much love,

Rea x 

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful festive period. Is your new year starting off with resolutions you know you won’t keep? Mine isn’t! No pressure on myself – just want to do things that make me happy. Writing makes me happy, so this year I’ve decided to write more often – more of what I love – and otherwise, just go with the flow. 🙂

I also intend to read more. Besides writing, it’s a huge passion of mine and I never seem to have enough time to do it anymore. More of what I love, I think!

Hopefully more writing will involve more updates on my blog, Facebook and Twitter!

 

Love and happiness to you all, this new year!

Phantom Mischief by Jennifer LaRose

ImageToday is an epic day for supernatural themed erotic romances.

Why? you ask. Well, today marks the release of the first in a wonderful series of Ireland inspired books Emerald Isle Fantasies. These books are exciting, spooky, erotic and written by the most talented group of writers you could imagine. 

Phantom Mischief is available today with Ellora’s Cave – and it’s spectacular! All these books are set within the fictional Castle Tullamore – an ancient castle turned hotel. All the stories are different, but set in what will become a familiar backdrop for the readers. I am certain you will love it. And, being from Northern Ireland, I can assure you all that the authors of these books worked incredibly hard to keep these stories authentic. 

Here’s a blurb of Phantom Mischief

Shanna is thrilled when her fiancé sweeps her off to Ireland for a romantic interlude and asks her to marry him at Castle Tullamore. But their sexual adventure quickly turns into a nightmare when he reveals his dark side. With the engagement broken and her fiancé gone, she crumples into the arms of Tullamore’s handsome gardener, Niall. He proves how hot, sensual and mind-blowing sex can be. It’s unsettling, though, how he manages to distance himself after making love. In fact, he downright disappears!

Niall mourns the death of his beloved Abigail until he sees Shanna. He falls in love with the gorgeous American but fears his heart will surely be broken again. They can’t stay together, not in the manner Shanna needs. But when a determined, dark apparition begins stalking her, Niall realizes it may be the key to their destiny.

Inside scoop: In one red-hot scene, Niall introduces Shanna to the joys of spanking.

Pick up your copy here: 

http://www.ellorascave.com/phantom-mischief.html

Book Review – Inferno by Dan Brown

I have been a huge fan of Dan Brown since reading Digital Fortress several years ago. I so much loved the techie aspect to his book, and how much it freaked me out that all this could be possible. The Di Vinci Code skyrocketed him into the big league and then everyone wanted to read Angels and Demons – which I believe was written before TDVC. The Lost Symbol was also brilliant and while Inferno follows along the same thread, I feel somewhat let down.

Dan Brown’s books are slightly more high-brow than your average book. They require a certain degree of knowledge about history, geography, culture etc. So I found it a little patronizing that he felt obliged to spoon-feed me the emotions and tones of his characters by the exorbitant amount of “?!”s used within this text. I gave up counting after 25. Simply using italics will let me know Robert Langdon’s outrage, shock or fear. Failing that, TELL me what emotion the character is feeling. Some parts of this book seemed outrageously melodramatic and childlike, almost as though he were appealing to a younger market or worse… he’s done that thing famous writers seem prone to doing when the task of ACTUALLY writing becomes too much… COLLABORATING. (James Patterson, I am referring mostly to you!)

My second bug bear about this book was that it read a lot like a guide book. Too many Italian names that I skimmed over because I cannot be bothered trying to name every street, museum or past inhabitant of Florence. There were whole pages dedicated to the history and I am certain the book would have been half its length if those parts were cut. Image

The good points are the high octane hunts and the mystery. If you enjoyed his other books, you will probably enjoy this one. It’s classic Robert Langdon, solving a mystery with an attractive and intelligent woman brought along for the ride. (Well… the formula has worked thus far!)

I probably won’t be going out of my way to pick up his next book – unless it’s unrelated to Langdon, like Digital Fortress. I feel as though Mr Brown needs to up his game. People deserve something professional and polished, considering the money they will spend on a hardback copy of this book. I felt a little bit cheated. At least one editor at his publishing house should have slapped his knuckles for his over zealous relationship with the punctuation keys. 

Give it a read if you’re a Dan Brown fan. If you’re not expecting too much out of it, and you don’t mind being a little bit patronized, it’s a decent book to spend a couple of hours reading.

(3/5)

31 day blog challenge (Day 3)

Happy Saturday everyone! I am joyous because I am off today and it’s a lovely day outside. Well… by Northern Irish standards anyway.

So today on my blog challenge I have been asked to list my favourite quote. It was tough. I went through all the motivational, inspirational and generally kick-ass quotes from all over the globe – including a few from Gandhi and Nietzsche. In the end, I went with my first instinct. It’s a quote I use often, especially when I refer to my writing. In fact, I believe I have even used it already on this very blog.

No matter what level you reach, getting better never stops – Sachin Tendulkar

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For those of you who don’t know who Tendulkar is, he is arguably the best cricketing batsman to have ever lived. He started playing cricket from an insanely young age and was playing for the Indian national team by the time he was 16. He has broken all records in cricket in terms of runs and matches played, however despite his incredible wealth and godlike status in India, he remains remarkably humble. If you were inclined to watch an interview with him, you would be astounded at how softly spoken he is.

His quote is my favourite because, as a huge star with incredible talent that is already difficult to match, Tendulkar believes you can always be better than you are – even if you are already the best. I think this is so inspirational, and it drives me to improve upon my writing. Even the greatest writers in the world can always be better than they are – and I think you can’t really do anything more in life than strive to be better, to improve upon yourself.

So there you have it! My favourite quote! Come back tomorrow for Day 4 of this awesome little challenge I have undertaken. Don’t forget, if you liked this – “like” it and subscribe! I so love it when you do that! ♥

Beautiful Poetry

In preparation for day three of my blog challenge, I was thinking about what my favourite quote is. I realized there are so many that I will struggle to pick just one. Whilst I was thinking, however, I remembered a poem I read years ago while studying for my English Literature pre-degree. The poem was called “Mean Time” by a famous poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. I think it is one of the most genuinely melancholy poems that is written with a complete absence of melodrama. It speaks of the kind of regret we can all relate to – saying things in the heat of the moment that we shouldn’t have.

I have copied it for you here, because I think it’s incredible.

Mean Time

by Carol Ann Duffy

The clocks slid back an hour
and stole light from my life
as I walked through the wrong part of town,
mourning our love.
And, of course, unmendable rain
fell to the bleak streets
where I felt my heart gnaw
at all our mistakes.

If the darkening sky could lift
more than one hour from this day
there are words I would never have said
nor heard you say.

But we will be dead, as we know,
beyond all light.
These are the shortened days
and the endless nights.

For anyone in countries that doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time, the author of this poem uses the concept of the clocks going back – and the nights becoming long and dark – as something of a metaphor for her sadness. The second stanza is my favourite.

I truly don’t know why this poem came to me tonight. I just remember how it affected me, even as a seventeen year old. I’m not even much of a poetry fan to be honest. I enjoy reading those I come across, but I wouldn’t sit down on a rainy afternoon with a book of poems to while away a few hours. Still, I won’t analyze it. The arts are meant to captivate and inspire us, and this poem did for me.

Hope you liked it! Day 3 of the 31 Day Blog Challenge tomorrow!

31 day blog challenge (Day 2)

I have a funny feeling this challenge is going to remind me of just how quickly the month goes. Same as when I take out my diary and flick through all the pages I have filled out and wonder… where the heck has the past six months gone? Anyway… on with day two of the challenge and today I am giving you 20 facts about me. They are all totally random and pointless – but all facts nonetheless!

TWENTY FACTS ABOUT REA THOMAS

1: I was insanely obsessed with The X-Files as a teenager. My obsession almost took over my life and I spent my days after school and weekends writing fanfiction. Which I supposed honed my skill for writing professionally!

2: I often get into trouble for correcting people’s grammar.

3: Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I put on old episodes of Moonlighting and let the 1980s goodness put me to sleep.

4: I used to play the violin.

5: My favourite alcoholic drink is Strawberry and Lime Cider. This is a new thing for me and it’s delicious.

6: I wrote my first sex scenes when I was 13. Well… kind of. I wrote “and then they…” to end the chapter because I was worried my parents would find it.

7: One day my older sister DID find a sex scene I wrote, and teased me about it.

8: My sister is now the manageress of the sex-toy store where I work. So pffft!

9: I am very untidy. My living space is chaotic – however I cannot work in a messy environment and am forever tidying my desk area.

10: I recently stopped biting my nails after years of nibbling them to nothing. Why I stopped, I will never know because I wasn’t even trying.

11: I am double jointed.

12: When I was a little girl I used to take Mills and Boon/Harlequin books outside my house and walk around, reading aloud from the book – except I wasn’t really reading them at all… I was making up my own stories.

13: My belly-button is an innie – and outies freak me out. I secretly think outies belong to aliens. Kidding. Sort of.

14: I have never smoked a cigarette. Not even to try it.

15: I believe money can buy you happiness. I’m almost certain it could buy ME happiness.

16: I cannot drive. I am convinced I would cause carnage on the road. However, not driving makes my life very difficult so I might have to bite the bullet.

17: I am terrified of spiders. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain imagines I see them running across the walls, so, still half asleep, I get up and turn the light on. I’ve been known to wake up in the morning with the light still on.

18: Despite the general consensus that cricket is an extremely boring sport – I really enjoy watching it.

19: I suffer from insomnia. Some of my best work has been written at 3am.

20: Although I was born in the 80s and have little memory of that era, I absolutely love it. Everything from the music to the crazy fashion to the décor. If I could time-travel, I’d go back to then.

Well, there you have it! I’m certain none of these will have enriched your lives in any way – but perhaps gave you something to read while you ate your breakfast or drank a coffee this morning. Which is exactly what I am going to go do now. Ciao!

Random fact 21: I really drink too much caffeinated beverages!