Ed Sheeran in the most beautiful dance video I have ever seen – so sexy!

Published February 16, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

This video is so beautiful I just had to share it.  Ed Sheeran has a voice that can melt your heart anyway and this track is one of his most beautiful in my opinion, but I had never seen this video before.  So when I was surfing today and I came across it, well it just took my breath away.  The choreography is amazing, it just fits the song perfectly, but the thing that got my heart pounding was the fact that, even though the girl’s dancing is flawless and she is an enchanting dancer to watch, it was Ed I couldn’t take my eyes off of.  He is so charming, so sexy in this video.  He seems to take to his part in this dance like a swan to the lake… he exudes romance and was the perfect gentleman to his female counterpart.  Well…what else can I say?  Just beautiful.

Bookish Banter Valentines Day Special – Featured Author – Phoenix Rainez

Published February 14, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

With Valentines Day on everybody’s minds I thought it would be great to feature a romance novelist here on the Bookish Banter today.  With the imminent release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie there seems to be a real frenzy around the genre.  Everybody loves a bit of romance – after all Love makes the world go round, doesn’t it?  So snuggle up in front of a cozy fire, with a nice bottle of bubbly and some chocolates and get ready for a story to set your heart a fluttering; but if you were expecting a run of the mill, boy meets girl, falls in love and sunset ending romance story, then think again.  Let’s turn the heat up a few notches… (this book is strictly 18 years + so please be aware of that fact)

Introducing today’s Spotlight Author…

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Phoenix Rainez

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Phoenix Rainez is the pen name of Angie Neto, a loving wife, mother and carer from Norfolk in the United Kingdom. By day she is an extremely dedicated and caring lady who looks after those that need a large hearted home carer and by night she takes to her laptop to become Phoenix Rainez, sizzling romance novelist.  I interviewed Angie, AKA Phoenix Rainez, to find out all about her début novel and her experience of writing.

What part of this beautiful planet do you call home?

Norfolk, UK.

Hey, it’s nice to have a fellow Brit on the Bookish Banter for a change – doesn’t happen often.  Let’s have a cuppa tea and settle in for the rest of the interview…

Which genre do you prefer to write in?

Romance of course.  I’m an incurable romantic from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair.

Of course!  Just right for today.  Tell me – why do you write?

Because it’s like living a dream, a dream I create and control.  Well, I try to until the characters take over.

My writing takes me into a place of amazing places and interesting characters, who live through so many emotions that I often shed a tear while writing that scene.  To lose myself in chapter after chapter of a story I am writing is magical for me.  I feel the highs and lows of every scene I write as if I was really living each moment.  For me there is nothing more exhilarating than writing a story I want to tell and reading it back afterwards is quite an adrenalin rush.  To think I really came up with those ideas.

Ah yes, the thrill of writing.  There’s no other feeling like it is there?  

Is there a particular book that you are promoting at present?

Yes.  Second Chances.

BookCoverPreview[1] (2)

Could you tell us a little bit about it?

It’s no ordinary “girl meets boy” love story but a romance that starts at the end and ends at the beginning.  What I mean is, their “happily ever after” happens right at the beginning and needless to say ends where the story would normally start…

A girl after being dumped at birth and growing up in an orphanage , suddenly finds herself fast forwarded into a world  of fashion, fame and bright lights until she meets him…her dream Prince Charming, but not to give away any spoilers, she soon discovers love is not all she dreamed it would be.  As you read you witness the emotions and changes that take place in her life and how she struggles and almost fails to overcome them.

The whirlwind romance she lived with her Prince Charming is now a scar on her heart.  Her pain is too deep to ever love again.  But fate is not done with her yet, and life still throws her curve balls, as she has to face the loss of people she loves and somehow find the courage to face another day.

Phew!  It sounds like quite a ride.  Doesn’t it?  I had a sneaky peek at some reviews of Second Chances and here is a snippet of those…

HERE IS PART OF A REVIEW FROM FEATHER STONE -
click on www.amazon.com/dp/1501022539 to read the rest of her review.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
“The book cover. Amazing. It is impossible to just glance at this book cover. Immediately, a reader wants to pick it up, get a closer look.  It shouts intrigue and romance.
As I fell into the plot of Second Chances, my first reaction was that this is a sweet romance story. Then Phoenix Raines turned up the heat – a lot. Oh my! I was hooked. As the plot moved on, I felt the darkening mood. As the crisis enveloped me, I went without sleep to get to the last chapter. I had to. The characters had become so endearing, so real, that I needed to know how the hell they were going to resolve their troubles. Then Phoenix turned out the lights. OMG! Survival became paramount.”
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Well I couldn’t leave it at that could I?  So I don’t do this with all my Bookish Banter Authors, but I just had to pick up a copy of the book.  Now I’m afraid I’m a real book gal!  No electronic downloads of ebooks for me.  I just have to have the real deal in my hands.  So I waited feverishly for the book to land on my welcome mat and as soon as it came I tore into the package.  The cover was stunning and when you start to read the story, you really start to picture the girl on the front cover.  I’m not going to give anything away.  The story is explosive from the get go.  The characters tell it themselves through the wonderful relationships and the pace is quick – life really move for these characters and you just get caught up in the whirlwind and just have to ride it yourself to see where it goes.
So Angie is this part of a series?  (I ask in anticipation)
No!  Is the simple answer she gives me.  But don’t be disheartened there is more writing to come from this romantic soul.  For a sneaky peek at what she’s up to just check out her website and especially her works in progress on Wattpad.
So are you working on anything else at the moment?
Yes.  My next novel due for release towards the end of 2015, will be my fantasy romance The Colour of Love.  Two strangers meet in their dreams and try to find each other in the real world.  Or are dreams just fantasies of the mind, never destined to come true?
Oh my goodness!  I can’t wait to find out…
Have you had any major stumbling blocks to overcome?
Sadly yes.  There was the crucial period where I could not face another page of editing Second Chances.  I really had lost the plot and if it had not been for my unbelievably committed beta reader Jae’s  inspiring words that brought me back on track and I quote “You really must start viewing editing in a more positive light!  Think of it as another chance to be creative in the world of your finished story.  Yes you need to check for plot holes and typos, but it’s also a chance to take your shoes off and run barefoot through the meadow of a world you haven’t been for a while.”
Great quote.  He sounds like a very inspiring guy to have around you when you feel like throwing your manuscript out Angie.  Someone you need to keep you on track when writing becomes a drudge to help the magic flow again.
Does your work require you to do research and how have you approached it?
Not really as all my stories are from my imagination, although reading other romances and watching romantic films , has given me a guideline to work from.
Yes.  I agree with you there Angie.  I think even if you don’t need any official research on your novel, at the very least you should keep reading while you are writing, because it keeps those imaginative juices flowing.
How do you plan out your story?
Plan, who me?  I am definitely not your regular type of writer.  I have no plan in mind when I start writing and write as it comes to me.  An idea drops into my cogwheels and I write a couple of paragraphs or maybe a chapter and then do the unspeakable.  I write the ending and sometimes write word for word the last paragraph, and I work towards that.  If I do feel I am getting lost half way through then I will sit down and write a brief guideline  for each chapter to the end.  Which will also give me a vague idea how many chapters are left to write.  An odd quirk of mine is that I don’t like to finish on an odd chapter number, it just has to be an even number, otherwise it just doesn’t feel right.
Sounds like a plan to me Angie.  Every writer works differently, you sound like you have a good strategy for getting from A to B and it works for you.  You would probably be surprised at how many authors just start writing and see where it leads.  I mean how many times have I been told, if you have writers block – just write!  You can’t finish a novel if you don’t start typing!
Do you use an Editor to help you?
Yes.  I don’t think any writer should work without an editor.  I have a very patient editor, Desray Rowe and my beta reader who I mentioned previously.  They will go through chapters over and over again till we are all happy it reads just right.  Not forgetting the all-important proof  reading required just before you publish.

 Indie or old school?

At the moment I am an Indie publisher but hope to submit one of my books to a traditional publisher in the near future, just to test the waters and see what it all entails before I decide whether or not to stay indie or attempt further traditional publishing.

Do you belong to any writer’s groups or on-line writing forums and do you think they help?

Yes I do and I find that the support I get from other writers is so encouraging.  They are open to helping with advice and suggestions to improve your marketing and help you reach a wider field of readers by tweeting and promoting your books on their websites.  In particular I’d like to mention the WP-Indie Authors and BooksGoSocial.  I have met so many amazing authors and made lasting friendships.

That’s great Angie.  A real advert for getting social and sharing your love of writing with others.

Who is your favourite author and how do they inspire you?

I don’t have any one in  particular but the authors that have inspired my writing would have to be Stephanie Draven, Judy Feather Stone and Nikki Kelly.  From reading their incredible novels I discovered that in my genre of  fantasy, paranormal romance, there are no limitations to your imagination and you can create any world you want and your characters can be anyone and do anything as long as its believable.

What do you do to relax?

I read and write poetry.

Do you have a promotional video or trailer?

Yes on YouTube     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygMGVxlf7OE

Have you got any tips for writers of your specific genre?

As this is my debut novel and my first experience in publishing I can only say at this moment in time, read as many books as possible.  If there is an author you particularly like, follow them on their websites and see what makes their books stand out from the crowd.

How do you think your writing has improved since you started writing your first novel?

A vast improvement.  Especially after working through my debut novel, Second Chances, with my editors, beta readier and proof reader.  I have learnt so much from them on where and how I went wrong and what I should do to improve the quality of my writing.  When I look back at how Second Chances was originally written I actually cringe to think I let people read it that way.

I have learnt there is more to writing a story than just putting words onto paper or a screen as in my case, but there is this whole other side I did not know about.  The “show and tell”  syndrome.  This was my most valued lesson.  Readers want to be shown what is happening, not told.  My descriptions of scenes had to be more acute so as to take the reader into the places and emotions the characters were experiencing.  I learnt to put my senses into play when writing scenes, putting myself into my character’s head and behind their eyes and describe what they are seeing and feeling.  It was an exciting learning curve for me.

Thank you Angie or should I say the scintillating Phoenix Rainez, for taking the time out of your busy schedule this Valentine’s day to tell us all about your exciting life as a Romance novelist.  For anyone interested to find out more about Phoenix Rainez and her books here are her links:-

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1501022539

Angie’s Website – https://angieneto.wordpress.com/

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/phoenixraines20

Tumblr - http://phoenixrainez.tumblr.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez

Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/phoenixrainez

Twitter  – https://twitter.com/PhoenixRainez

Enjoy your Valentine’s weekend everyone and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Second Chances to get those pulses racing…

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

This is more about middle-agedness than depression…

Published February 10, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

mid-life wake up call

 Anyone that knows me or has read some of these blog posts will know that I have a few mental health issues that I am dealing with day to day.  I am way too over emotional, EVERYTHING affects me.  I cry about the stupidest things and I can sink into a depressive funk at the drop of a hat.  Not to mention the anxiety that sticks to me like a cold, wet blanket that I am dragging around with me, trying not to drip my issues on anyone whilst at the same time hiding behind the cover of, peeking out to make sure I don’t get run over by the occasional bus.  Yes, you could say I have a few issues.

However I am somewhat of a paradox, because even though I have these days of complete and utter darkness, where nothing can get through that blanket that I’m drowning and being held under the weight of; I also have days of cool, clear clarity.  On those days I feel free and unimpeded by the blanket that usually blinds me.  I find myself looking at the world with different eyes, able to see the world around me and interact with people without feeling like that wet blanket that usually holds me down.  I can see God in the beauty of my surroundings and in the sudden lightness in my chest, no longer constricted by the dark forces that burrow their way through random anxious thoughts and neuroses.  It is on those days that I usually find I am able to write, because those are the days that I can function normally – well – almost normally.  I don’t think anyone that knows me would ever call me normal!  Cranky – maybe, eccentric – possibly, living in a complete and utter fantasy world – probably, confused by simple, everyday small talk – definitely,  holding on by a tooth of a comb – absolutely… normal?  Not so much.  But certainly better able to function.  I am pleased to say that I am having more and more of these kinds of days, so normality (whatever that is) could be almost within my grasp!

Today I find myself in one of those days.  My anxiety level is pretty good.  Not leaving me gasping for air like a beached fish as it often does.  I am not feeling depressed, unable to drag myself from my bed,  but actually quite happy and optimistic and enjoying the routine of the bus journey home from college for the first time since I started college back in September.  In fact, usually my bus journeys would be fraught with anxiety yo-yoings of various degrees but today I have felt completely content to sit on the bus, have the occasional sip of my juice, read a magazine, gaze out of the window and not worry about other people or external issues at all!  What a pleasurable change it made.

However  I did find myself feeling somewhat older!  My middle-agedness kept jumping up to slap me round the face and blow raspberries at me.  I suddenly got the impression that a lot of my depression is simply related to my middle-agedness.  That maybe I am not aging gently and seamlessly from my younger carefree childish self through the older more responsible, thoughtful and organised self and on into the wise, reflective, settled self.  No!  I am being awoken to the sudden awareness of the fact that I seem to have sleep-walked through an entire mid-life transitional phase to find myself reflecting back from the world around me and seeing an older woman that has rather more regrets than experience, more memory gaps than knowledge and far more faux pas and wasted opportunities than steps up the social and career ladder.  Not to mention the fact that EVERYTHING these days can be done on your phone!  Well not my phone because all mine does is make and receive calls and texts – it’s behind with the times rather like myself.  But on everyone else’s phone!  On everyone else’s phone there seems to be a hidden world of magical tools, creative experiences and sensational social windows that I simply cannot access.  Maybe if I get a new phone, my middle-agedness won’t be so prominent!  Just a thought!

Walking a Spiritual Path in the Garden…

Published January 24, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

Originally posted on The Well in the Garden:

http://thewellinthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/the-truth-of-the-soul/

I find myself wondering about my spirituality today.  I wonder about my spiritual life now and how I would have been spiritually had I had a different upbringing.  When I was about 5 years old I became suddenly aware of God in my life.  We didn’t go to church.  My mother is from a very unconventional Jewish upbringing in a Jewish Children’s home but has never pushed any religion onto my sisters and I.  She always wanted us to make up our own minds about whether we believe in God or not.  My father comes from a Church of England family but I have never heard a word about faith from his lips.

I went to a church playgroup of sorts – a Sunday school that was held in someone’s house on the Council estate we lived on at the time.  I don’t know why my parents sent me there…

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Parent Power Blog – Tales from the Nanny Diaries – Attention leads to Retention

Published January 10, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

Originally posted on Rainbow Rune Reading Room:

mother_&amp;_child_reading

This isn’t quite a Nannying story, but is from the time I was a classroom assistant in a Special Needs base in a junior school.  One of the Mum’s of the children in my group recommended me to a friend as a possible tutor for her daughter, who was struggling with her reading and writing.  I wasn’t sure about whether I was the right person for this job because I wasn’t a teacher, but the mother practically begged me, saying she had heard such good things about me and how much I had encouraged other children.  So of course, blushing and feeling very flattered I agreed.

The little girl began to come to my house every Saturday morning and for 2 hours I sat with her and encouraged her with her reading and worked around her school spellings.  I bought English workbooks from W.H. Smiths and we worked through them…

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