Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Cover Reveal - New Cover for Shivers: 13 Tales of Terror

Shivers - Cover Reveal Banner

Cover Reveal - New Cover for Shivers: 13 Tales of Terror

So originally Soph designed the cover for Shivers: 13 Tales of Terror - our first collection from our All Hallows Read miniature anthologies. And it was great for the eBook version, but we discovered pretty quickly that the design she chose doesn't pint well.

It's unfortunate, after all the hard work she put in, but the cover comes out virtually all black when printed, with very few of the details of the artwork visible. Hence, we decided we needed a new one. Soph doesn't have time to take on the task at the moment, so it came to me.

I've been working on it for a couple of days and it's all ready - so it's COVER REVEAL time!
Drum Roll!

Shivers: 13 Tales of Terror

Spooks, werewolves and demons haunt these 13 tales that will leave you shuddering with fright!

Enjoy the spine tingles as you read a cautionary tale about not playing with any old deck of cards, however innocent they may seem. Wallow in the horror of a she-demon stalking her victims, or a werewolf discovering there are things weirder than himself. Or maybe you'd like to chuckle at the chill on the back of your neck as you spend time with a hair-raising highwayman.

13 tales of terror. 13 scares. Read them - we dare you.
NEW eBook Cover
New Paperback Cover
Purchase Shivers: Paperback | Kindle | Smashwords | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Nook | Scribd

It takes 24 hours or so for the new cover to show up everywhere, but they are now all uploaded, so, hopefully it will be in all the right places very soon.

What do you think? We had a lot of debate over the font. We knew we wanted it to be gothic, in keeping with the theme of the book, but I went through several before going with good old Plain Black, since it was the clearest and easiest to read.


Thanks to Simon Matzinger on Unsplash for the background photo and Dark Indigo from Pexels for the foreground image used on the cover of this book.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Recipe Recommendation - 3 Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (#GlutenFree, #Vegan)

Recipe: Banana, Oat and Chocolate Chip Cookie

Recipe Recommendation

3 Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Gluten Free and Vegan

So Soph (my sister) was recommended this recipe on Youtube after she started looking up overnight oat recipes, but I was the first to try it. I made these yesterday morning and this morning because I had the bananas and the cookies keep well in the fridge or freeze and they disappear fast.

Many of the recipes I have seen for breakfast cookies require loads of honey or some other sugar substitute, but all the sweetness in these comes from the bananas. The riper the bananas the sweeter the cookies and more prevalent the banana flavour - so we can adjust how we like our cookies by how ripe our bananas are. Personally I like them relatively sweet, so my bananas were on the brown side.

Of course the chocolate has sugar in it, but we're not dumping in huge amounts of refined sugar at the cookie level, so it is much better for us.

There is no lie in the title, these cookies literally only have 3 ingredients (I've listed them out with measures to add in the metric measurements as well - the original recipe is in US measurements). 
  • 2 large Bananas
  • 1.5 cups / 135g Rolled Oats - I picked up gluten free porridge oats
  • 1/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (I just used a standard 100g packet of Dr Oetker 70% Extra Dark Chocolate Chunks - which is probably loads too much, but it works πŸ˜‚ - use vegan chocolate chips if required)
I mean we could easily add other things if we wanted too like nuts or raisins or even a little spice, just as long as we don't add too much and loose all structural integrity of the cookies.

Word of warning - do not touch these when they first come out of the over unless you like being covered in chocolate! Leave them to cool completely before attempting to eat. πŸ˜‚

Banana, oat and chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for them to cool!
This is the original recipe video from the Clean & Delicious Youtube channel - which has just about everything we need to know, but I've put a few tips below it, that I found most important along the way.

  1. For those who are metric 350F = ~180C = Gas Mark 4
  2. The only sweetness comes from the bananas so the riper they are the better IMHO.
  3. A fork is okay for squishing the bananas, but a potato masher is much faster πŸ˜‚.
  4. Mix the oats and banana and then cover them (I bought some silicone stretch lids before Christmas and they are awesome for such things - no more cling film) and let them sit for 20mins or so, so the oats absorb the banana - gives a moister cookie and better structural integrity.
  5. I baked mine on the lower end at 15mins and they are moist and chewy.
  6. Try not to eat them all at the same time.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
These are moist, delicious and filling. Could not recommend them enough. These are perfect for those of us trying to cut down on our chocolate bar consumption, but still find ourselves in need of a chocolate hit - and studies have suggested that dark chocolate is good for us too, so yay!

Monday, 13 January 2020

New Blog Layout!

New Blog Layout!

So I decided it was finally time for a change and I have a lovely new blog layout. It's still a 3 col one, but it has a new header and I've changed up some of the widgets in the sidebars too.

If you're on mobile I think the only difference you'll see is the header because, for some reason, Blogger sees fit not to include all the sidebars at the bottom in the mobile layout. I'm guessing it's because half the gadgets don't actually work on mobile. For example my blog topics page that uses a gadget doesn't show anything on mobile, so I have had to create a manual one for mobile users. 

Most frustrating!

I've gone for a brighter choice of colours, or rather grey scale with a hint of browns - so it's easy on the eyes, but feels a bit more upbeat.

I have a new header banner which makes me happy too :). The background image is by Pereanu Sebastian on Unsplash, which is also the background for the featured image in this post.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the new layout as much as I do.

πŸ’–Best wishes to all πŸ’–

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

The Joys of Podcasting - A Beginning

The Joys of Podcasting - A Beginning

The Joys of Podcasting - A Beginning

So I have been setting up and practising for recording the podcast as Virginia (my erotic fiction alter ego 😘)- which has been fun and a total headache at the same time! πŸ˜‚

I am using Audition since I have the Adobe suite of applications and I have never used it before, so that's a learning curve. Nothing Adobe ever makes is intuitive, so I've been checking out all the tutorials etc, but their products are very powerful.

I recommend Audacity to those who do not have Audition - it is fabulous and free and I have used it in the past a lot. The only reason I am using Audition over it is that the Adobe suite had full support if I run into anything I or Rob can't solve.

We put up a bunch of anechoic foam above my desk, because my office is in the converted loft which has a sloping roof, so bounce back was a bit of a problem. It's surprisingly warmer in my little spot now too πŸ˜.

Anechoic foam on the ceiling of my office.

Rob also kindly bought me a foam protector for the mic to prevent reflection from behind, and it keeps out ambient noise quite well too. This is what it looks like at the moment. and yes, the pop guard is held on with bluetac - we couldn't clip it anywhere safely.

Mic and pop-guard in a sound shield on a tripod

Yes, that is also a cat tunnel you can see through underneath it πŸ˜‚.

So far I have tried three mics:

  • My old ProSound Podcasting USB microphone
  • A Blue Mic Snowball ICE USB microphone that I am borrowing off my sister
  • A posh mic with pre-amp, that was not USB

Prosound USB Microphone and Blue Snowball USB Microphone

The best sound by far I can get on my PC is with the Blue Snowball mic. It had a lot more gain than the ProSound and can be set up so it doesn't have a horrible background hiss like the posh mic.

Tip: When connecting a USB mic, plug it straight into the motherboard, not a USB hub or anything similar - it will pick up background noise as a hiss. 

All the mics had a horrible hiss on them to begin with, but Rob used a spectrum analyser on the output and figured out it was power supply noise and plugging directly into the motherboard got rid of it. The posh mic, because it wasn't being converted to digital straight away picked up so much background interference from the rest of the equipment. No doubt it is wonderful with a proper sound desk. πŸ˜‚

Tip: Don't use really posh, sound enhancing headphones when editing - they will mask problems.

As you can see in the piccie above, I started off using my Bose headphones (originally purchased for flying to help with my air-sickness - I can't take all the low level vibrations), but I discovered a problem. Bose headphones make everything sound amazing! When looking for issues in a recording, this makes them difficult/impossible to spot πŸ˜‚. I have now borrowed a pair of Rob's phone style headphones until I can get a pair of my own.

The really fun part has been practising Virginia's voice. She does not speak like I do. She has a lower, sexier voice, whereas my voice just gets higher and higher the more excited I get πŸ˜‚. It's been quite a giggle trying to get her right. So far I have recorded an intro, but I can't start the main part of the podcast yet, until I am sure the set-up is perfectly right. This is the initial music and welcome - LMK what you think!

Anyone else been podcasting? How have you found it? Or do you have a favourite podcast to share?

As join me as Virginia on: Twitter Wordpress Blogger Podbean Facebook

Banner Background Photo by neil godding on Unsplash

Music from
"Moonlight Hall" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (