The Marvels of Modern Technology – If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee we would be sipping our nectar of choice in separate rooms, chatting away over a webcam, or facetime, or hangouts…video conferencing. Whatever! Of course depending on the time I might be in the car, praying the signal didn’t give out, trying to balance my phone (not while driving) so I could see you better. And this is all so I didn’t miss my weekly catch up while spending the weekend away!

If we were having coffee, and you were one of my American friends, I would wish you a Happy 4th of July, and sit back (unless hunting for a signal) to listen to your plans for the holiday weekend.

4th of JulyIf we were having coffee, we probably wouldn’t have a lot of time, so I would save all my big news for next week. I might tell you I’ve agreed to do a live online author interview and I’m nervous excited about it. You would no doubt tell me to save that huge topic for when I’m not waving my arm in the air to find an extra signal bar on the phone. It would remind me, as I waited for the sound to come through after your lips stop moving, that I must buy a Webcam for my desktop computer. I can’t do a YouTube interview from my phone – people would grow tired of the constant delays and poor picture quality.

If we were having coffee, and not tired of repeating ourselves, I would tell you I’ve just set up a self-hosted website. Of course this would lead to you teasing me mercilessly because I know little about web building. I would admit that I have far too many blogs and would like to combine at least some of them, so I will be pouring over the internet next week, watching hours of YouTube videos and trying not to fry my brain as I figure out the best way to do that.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Monday I will be guest posting at Part Time Monster for the next installment of Monster Mondays, and at Sourcerer for the next Sourcerer’s Eleven, where I will be interviewing Joshua Robertson. There will also be an announcement from me at my author site, because the pre-order for The Fallen is up *happy dance*

At this point, if we were having coffee, and I’d caught up on all your news, I’d dash off to help my sister get ready for the party. I would, at some point, head over to Diana’s place – virtually of course – to check in with everyone else.

Have a fabulous weekend.


Mel 6Melissa Barker-Simpson is a mother, an author, an interpreter, a blogger and a geek – not necessarily in that order. She writes mystery, thriller, fantasy, science fiction and romance. Melissa lives with her two daughters in the North of England.

The Oldest Line in the Book – Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee I would tell you about my little adventure last night; sweating beneath a spotlight, on a stage in front of a few hundred people, in a room where the acoustics were so bad I couldn’t even hear myself think! After ten years of interpreting I fell for the oldest line in the book ‘it’s just a small presentation.’ Famous last words. You would think I’d learn, think that when I discovered the event was in a theatre I might put two and two together and come up with a reasonable scenario. But no. I was still optimistic as I pushed to the front, and saw the chair stage left.

The hope died when the director for the evening clutched my elbow and whispered ‘we saved you a seat!’ Of course I’m used to such events. I just like to be prepared, and to dress for the part. On stage it’s better to wear black, and though my blouse and trousers were the correct colour, my cardigan choice made me stand out like a beacon on a cloudy day. It kind of matched the colour rising in my cheeks for a few seconds there.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that things settled down, and I forgot all about the audience, my attire, my lack of preparation, and concentrated on the job. That was until the presenter decided to have a little fun at my expense. He dragged out the old faulty microphone trick which, granted, can be funny if done right, but it’s a gag about sound – it does not translate well for a Deaf audience!

Then, to top it all off, a well known guest was introduced to the stage. And when I say well known, I mean known to the audience. I had no idea who he was, which caused a problem because the microphone quit halfway through the introduction and this time it wasn’t a trick. Several thoughts went through my mind at once;  ‘You’re trained for this stuff,’ ‘Stall,’ ‘Get somebody’s attention’, ‘Run!’ Luckily I made eye contact with someone in the audience, someone I did know, someone who is an expert at reading facial expressions. With a grin, to make me sweat a little more (as if the lights weren’t enough), he finger-spelt the guest’s name. I had to trust he wasn’t making it up (he is somewhat of a practical joker). Based on the blank expressions when I repeated the name, they either didn’t know him either, didn’t care, or were momentarily blinded by the glare of my cardigan (damn lights).

If we were having coffee, and I’d caught me up on your news, I would tell you that Conny from Study. Read. Write. tagged me in a ‘Would You Rather’ Book Tag. When I mentioned I wanted to share my answers with you, I would judge from your expression that I’d better make it quick. You would, of course, be extremely impressed that I kept my answers succinct. In fact it’s a good thing you’re sitting down!

Would you rather only read trilogies or only read stand-alones?


Would you rather only read male or female authors?


Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?


Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

TV shows.

Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

5 per week.

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?


Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?


Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favourite?

Every genre but my favourite.

Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?

Physical books.

If we were having coffee we would no doubt explore those questions further and I would open up the game to whoever wants to take part. Then, as our time had run out, we would head over to Diana’s place, our gracious host for the Weekend Coffee Share.

Have a great weekend.


Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

The Longest Tale – Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee we would sit out on my patio because the weather is deceptively nice given the colour of the sky; a shade somewhere between blue and grey. This level of optimism is a must, given the recent unpredictability of our fine English weather! You might comment on the growth spurt of my Christmas tree. I would of course apologise for not knowing the species of said tree. It was a gift from a friend ten years ago, and has only just begun to show its potential. It has many characteristics, which is what I love about it.

If we were having coffee I would ask about your week. I would sip my coffee as you shared your adventurous tales, feeling relaxed by the gentle breeze and your company. I would tell you that I went to the cinema with my daughter last night. There weren’t many options, but we fancied a movie night so we chose The Longest Ride.

It would make you chuckle that I forgot the title of the movie when I arrived. As I faced the cashier waiting expectantly for my order, my mind pulled a total blank. Grace and I stared intently at each other for a moment, trying to pluck the title from thin air until eventually, and with an embarrassed look, I said to the cashier ‘what’s the name of the new Nicholas Sparks movie?’ Grace had a fit of giggles; the person behind me huffed out an annoyed breath and the young man behind the counter looked terrified.

His eyes dropped to the till, and I could see them flick wildly across the screen searching for the answer. To put him out of his misery, I glanced down the cashier desk and meet the eyes of the woman serving next to him. Her badge indicated she was the manager, so I placed my bet on the fact she would know all the current releases and asked her the same question. She didn’t even hesitate, the title just rolled off her tongue and I was so grateful I gave her a beaming smile.

Armed with our tickets, our goodies, and giggling as we climbed the escalator, my daughter and I finally made it to see The Longest Ride. We enjoyed the movie, especially the twist at the end and cried buckets between us!

If we were having coffee we would probably talk about work, about play, and about everything else that made up our week since last we met. Our conversation would be unhurried, our cups constantly refilled and we would be grateful for the chance to catch up and relax for a while.

Of course, there would be many more mugs of coffee, or pots of tea, glasses of lemonade; a fine array of beverages in fact, waiting for us over at Diana’s place.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.


Weekend Coffee Share – A touch of drama!

If we were having coffee, I’d be wearing shades because I have a migraine today. I was going to say that it feels like my eyes are bleeding, because I’m all about the drama and it hurts! But, as I also wanted to take part in Linda’s stream of consciousness Saturday, I’m going to say that my head is banging like a big bass drum!

We’d also be indoors, somewhere quiet, so I didn’t hear the clacking of heels on a tiled floor, or the ca-ching of a cash register in the coffee shop. There would be no clatter of dishes, no annoying click from a writer’s pen, the creak of a chair, beep of a mobile phone. Okay, I’m going to stop now, because I can almost hear your groan! I’m sure you can guess what Linda’s prompt is!


Which of course would lead to a discussion on onomatopoeic words, because they are fun and an excellent tool in poetry. Another excellent segue to talk about my writing practice when it comes to haikus. I’m really enjoying Ronovan’s weekly prompt, and he certainly puts the challenge in, well… a challenge!

I’d ask about your week, sip my water and gobble down a few more pain killers. Then I’d sit back and relax as you caught me up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it’s been a busy week; interpreting, writing and blogging. I’ve taken part in a number of challenges and though I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, I’m going to be taking some time to switch off this weekend and spend some time with my girls.

I’m sure at some point I’d show you the fantasy map I’ve been working on for the Fractured series. You’d try so hard not to laugh, because things are not going well, but I’d give you permission. I can’t seem to translate what’s in my head onto paper. It’s like finding an image for Maddison – nothing reflects how vivid she is in my imagination. I think an art class is in order.

I’d also mention my new writing prompt series, which I titled Mel’s Midweek Writing Menagerie. I’m really excited about it, and the series still links back to Featured Fiction so readers have a place to access the contributions. I don’t often take you by surprise, but you would stare dumbfounded (and hopefully not choke on a mouthful of coffee), when I tell you I even set up a hashtag (#MelsWritingMenagerie). Now all I have to do is learn what to do with it 😉

If we were having coffee I would thank you for your company, and apologise that I have to cut things short. I’m going to lie down in a dark room. When I surface again, I’ll head over to Diana’s place, and Linda’s, to catch up with all my friends.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Until next time.


Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee – All blitzed out!

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee I would tell you I took my nan to the cinema yesterday to see San Andreas. We had an additional treat because my youngest daughter decided to grace us with her presence! She assured me it was a desire to spend time with us, but I think it’s more likely she had a hankering for a Tango Ice Blast! Those things have quite the pull for my Gracie 🙂

Still, she enjoyed the movie; as did my nan. It made me giggle because Grace constantly looked across at me to gauge my reaction – to check if it was okay to be scared out of her wits! At one point we both had our hands up to our faces; mouths hanging open in horror as the action unfolded. San Andreas is a lot of fun. It’s a disaster movie and, in my opinion, a good one. Sure, the main character dodged falling buildings with a helicopter, containers from a cargo ship in a much smaller vessel, and basically escaped an avalanche by the skin of his teeth. But he’s The Rock. So he gets away with it!


If we were having coffee I would ask about your week, and the movies you’ve seen recently. I’d ask if you’re looking forward to Jurassic World as much as I am. I can’t wait! I have a slight obsession with Chris Pratt and his special brand of humour; in his interviews and movies – in particular Guardians of the Galaxy.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was Blitzed yesterday! If you pulled that ‘huh?’ face I’d quickly explain that it’s a blogging event organised by DL Hammons and his team. A wonderful concept which (in his words) ‘concentrates the support, encouraging nature and community spirit of the blogosphere on a single blogger.’ This time I was chosen, which can either be a random selection or through a recommendation. It was overwhelming, the amount of blog love I received.

Of course, true to form I had a technical glitch on my site, which made it really difficult for people to drop a comment. But, in addition to taking the time to stop by, bloggers actually navigated through the quagmire to say hello. How awesome is that…pretty damn awesome!

Thank you BSL

I had to laugh at the notification I received from WordPress (your stats are booming: you’re getting lots of traffic). I had a ‘no shit, Sherlock’ moment because I don’t think my blog has had that many views in…well…ever!

If we were having coffee I would pause for breath, and listen to the rest of your news. I’d thank you for dropping by because I always enjoy to see you, and then we would head on over to Diana’s place and catch up with everybody else. Hold on to your mugs, because it’s always an adventure 🙂

Have a great weekend. Until next time.


If we were having coffee – Release day edition

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee, you would no doubt notice my boundless enthusiasm. I’m buzzing with energy, and it has nothing to do with the caffiene coursing through my veins! Today, Gina Briganti and I published Changing Worlds, which means you can finally meet Maddy. Changing Worlds includes Saunders’ Choice by Gina, and my prequel to the Fractured Series, The Contract. If we were having coffee I would show you the cover…

Changing Worlds 5-5-15

As a special treat I wrote a four part story featuring Maddy, which coincides with the release and the forthcoming fantasy tour. If we were having coffee I would read the first part to you, because I love reading aloud. Unless, like my sister, you prefer to read it yourself, and then I’d tell you to click here. Over at my author site I’m encouraging people to leave links to their works in progress, current projects or recent releases. It’s an exciting day and I want to share it.

If we were having coffee I would ask about your week. We would laugh at our adventures and sit for a while content in each other’s company. After a time, we would head over to Diana’s place and catch up with everyone else. I’d apologise in advance because my week was consumed with the book release and I don’t have much more to talk about, so I fear you will soon tire of hearing me babble excitedly about the book! You would of course forgive me; what are friends for if not to share in our triumphs and our tribulations.

If we were having coffee, I would thank you for stopping by.


Weekend Coffee Share – Sleeping through the morning

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee, I would first catch up on your news as I sank into my favourite arm chair. You would no doubt roll your eyes, which I would miss because mine are closed, and lecture me about taking on too much. I don’t mind the lectures, they’re part of the game now. We both know I’m not going to change.

You might ask about the little cloud which has been following me around of late, and I would spare you the details of my personal dramas. I’d likely still have my eyes closed, but you’d have my full attention. The more we talked, the smaller the cloud would become.

Now that the the caffeine has hit my system, and I have my second wind, I would peer at you from beneath my lashes and we would laugh – I’ve never been a morning person.

We would talk about the month long blog tour I’m taking part in with fifteen other fantasy writers in June. I’d admit to feeling like a fraud because this is my first jaunt into fantasy writing. You would argue that I’ve been reading fantasy novels for years, so that qualifies me.

I would admit to having no news about the developments on my site, because I’m still in the planning stage. But I have a few ideas so we would no doubt talk about those.

I would tell you I enjoyed writing the piece of flash fiction for Silver Threading, and managed to use the line ‘the alligator was unexpected’. When I assured you it’s less than five hundred words, you would ask where you can find it, so I’d point you here. 

Now that I’m feeling almost human again, we would take a walk in the garden, because it’s beautiful outside. We would chatter incessantly, like the birds we hear in the distance, and set the world to rights.

Then I would bid you farewell, because I’m working this afternoon. At some point in the day I would head over to Diana’s place to catch up with my other friends.


Thanks for stopping by.


Weekend Coffee Share – Focusing on Development

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee…

Oulton Hall

I had a wonderful time with my daughter during our birthday weekend. The staff at the hotel went the extra mile by leaving a birthday cake in our room. They also offered us an upgrade, and both were pretty sweet!


Yesterday, I took part in a twitter campaign, which shows how far I’ve come – I still need to improve my social networking habits. Kathryn Craft organised the event, encouraging bloggers to tweet an empowering, positive message, using the hashtag #choosethisday. I have a number of favourite quotes, and I found a new one yesterday I wanted to share with you. I had an interesting conversation about it with my youngest daughter. She is always curious about what I’m doing and, as we were talking about our day, this came up.

Be the type of person that, when your feet touch the floor in the morning, the devil says, “Aww shit…they’re up.” Dwayne Johnson.

To sum up our conversation we talked about the different ways to interpret Dwayne’s words. My daughter pointed out this could either reflect a person’s innate goodness or the fear and intimidation they evoke in others. I’m sure the words are purely inspirational – to signify the light in all of us. But it made for a fun discussion!

IMG_2208The A to Z Challenge finished on Thursday, and I had so much fun I’ll definitely be taking part next year. It forced me to reflect on my blog, and that’s a good thing because it allows me to develop. I realised that, as I use Writing Room 101 for most writing related content; prompts, author spotlights, interviews, etc. and my author site to promote my work, that there is a distinct lack of focus on my blog. When I want to get my geek on, I do that by contributing at Sourcerer.

While we’re on the subject. I will also be contributing over at Comparative Geeks this month, and Part Time Monster. I’m really looking forward to it. Over at Silver Threading I will be contributing a piece of flash fiction in the form of a guest post. I was chatting with a group of friends on Facebook about writing prompts. One suggestion – ‘The alligator was unexpected’ stayed with me, so I might just do something with that! Maybe the team at Morgan and Fairchild can come out to play 🙂

But anyway, back to the point. This blog will be going through a period of review. I want to create a few features that give me a new sense of direction. The things is – if I use my other two sites for my main passion, i.e. writing, what does that leave me with? It’s a question I will be considering over the next few weeks.


Lissy Prom

My daughter had her prom yesterday, and she had a magical time. I always considered the prom to be an American thing, but it seems the UK are getting on board too. The school recently introduced year books, which seems to be a popular choice.

If you’re interested in my A to Z posts – a theme based around fantasy creatures, you will find the collection here. Most of you know that I review Arrow over at Sourcerer. There are only two episodes left, so things are really heating up. You can catch my latest review here. I will be contributing at Sourcerer in other ways, and I’ll update you on that when I can.

So that’s it from me. As soon as I’ve checked in with everyone at Diana’s place, I’m going to be concentrating on my upcoming release; a shared project with my friend, Gina Briganti. I’ve talked about my story, The Contract, before, and as there are only a few weeks to go, I need to take care of those last minute details. I will be posting a cover reveal and an excerpt at my author site and will share a link with you next week over coffee.

Have a great weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Until next time.


If we were having coffee – Family time

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

IMG_0987If we were having coffee I would start by catching up on your news because, though it’s only been a week, it feels much longer. I had a number of fun-packed days over the half-term break. My brother came for a visit and we caused more trouble than usual! It’s always great to see him, and I enjoy our banter; the insults, the sibling rivalry, the mile-a-minute chatter which he excels at. Seriously if you thought I could talk, Andrew holds the record! He’s been training hard over the last few months and it was good for him to have a break – I should have used him as a classical example of impish behaviour during my A to Z post yesterday!

The visit went far too quickly and I find myself missing him more than usual. Still, I have a dozen questions for my next Morgan and Fairchild book so it’s an excuse to phone him every five minutes and ask his advice! Not that I need an excuse but I’m not great at phoning people. Are you? I get lost in my own little world, so sometimes, if you’re not right in front of me, I forget to text or phone for weeks at a time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I did something drastic today – I had all my hair cut off. It was getting really long, and incredibly boring so I booked an appointment for a new style. ‘Do something drastic’ I told my hairdresser and she certainly did! It won’t surprise you that I’m impulsive by nature, and this was one of the times when it paid off – at least for me. I like it, which is good because there’s no going back!

Photo 25-12-2012 13 58 46I would tell you that my daughter is sixteen next week, which is kind of a shock because it feels like only yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital. She was almost born on my birthday, but she came into the world a few hours shy, and so she gets her own day! We are having a joint celebration, or so she tells me (she’s thoughtful like that). We’re staying in a swanky hotel overnight, getting pampered in the spa, and having a girly weekend. It was her choice, and we’re both looking forward to it.

It means I won’t be around next weekend, so I’ll have to skip coffee. I’ll try to check in with everybody, while I’m lounging by the pool, or having a pedicure, or between sips of champagne (bucks fizz for my little chickadee).

If we were having coffee, I’ll wish you a happy, happy week, and then I would dash over to Diana’s place to show off my new hairstyle!

Until next time.


Sister Sister – Weekend Coffee Share

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee I would apologise for missing the party last week. You would probably raise a brow (Roger Moore style) because of the time – a pretty big indicator you expected me before now! But, hey, I’m here, and I’m playing catch up.

I’ve had a great deal of fun this week with the A to Z posts, and we would no doubt get that out of the way first. It is a big commitment and I’m writing my posts daily, but it’s going really well. As it’s Sunday tomorrow, and I’m having a lazy day. Well, when I say lazy day, I mean coordinating an Easter egg hunt, chasing my nephew around the garden, and waiting for my brother to arrive for his visit. But I’ll still have time to write a few posts for next week and give the impression I’m better organised!

It helps that Arrow is on a break next week. I absolutely love reviewing the show, but it’s nice to have a breather, and I have a feeling the last five episodes are going to be explosive – if the trailer is anything to go by. The anticipation is already building!

After catching up on your plans for Easter, I would share my own busy schedule. I haven’t seen my brother in months, so I’m really looking forward to his visit. We have lots packed in, plenty of family days to see us through until the next major holiday!

Today I spent the day with my sister and we always cause trouble. I love her humour, the way she understands me like no other, and can always, always make me smile. I’m rarely worried about the future because I know she’ll be there. I can see us years from now, still causing trouble, still laughing until we can barely move, still sharing our secrets. It’s a great image.

As it’s Easter we’d probably have to settle for just one cup of the good stuff and move on. But not before I hand you one of the cupcakes I made with the little chocolate eggs on top (in your favourite colour.) We would head on over to Diana’s place and catch up with everyone else, share the love, and then dash off with the promise to return next week.

Happy Easter everyone. Thanks for stopping by.