Saturday, 1 October 2011


Last Christmas I was really looking forward to 2011, and feling very positive about life. Yes, I was due to have a hip replacement in January (I'm not old enough surely???) and I wasn't looking forward to it but I reckoned to be in and out of hospital in 4 days. The plan was to have the second operation, for the other hip, in May. I'd therefore be walking fine by the time my holiday in California in October came around.

Unfortunately sometimes plans can go awry big time! The NHS delayed my op until March and I ended up with serious complications which involved blood transfusions and a 2 week hospital stay. Things didn't get much better afterwards. Don't want to bore you but I was laid up for 2 months before I could even begin physio.

I was just starting to get better when life took another turn for the worse and I ended up as a full time carer for my poor old mum, whose formerly mild dementia had nosedived. It's such a cruel disease and looking after someone when you are fit and healthy is hard enough, but while on crutches and still unwell yourself makes it virtually impossible. My life, my fitness and my writing took a back seat as I struggled to care for her.

She's in a home now, at last. It's a long hard process to find one. Sad to say she doesn't even know me and that's so hard to accept. I find going to see her so difficult. I sit there and hold her hand but she's off in a world of her own and doesn't even acknowledge me.

Now I've vowed to pull my life together, although the second operation has yet to materialise. Sometime in the next 8 weeks is the vague reply. In the meantime I'm off to the west coast of the States for 2 weeks.

When I get back I vow that I will start blogging again.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Savage Kingdom in print

This has been my Annus Horribilis, so I'm afraid I've not kept up my promise to post on a regular basis. So many things have happened and I've had no chance to do anything about my blog, let alone do any writing.

Now life has at last taken a turn for the better. Great news at last. Savage Kingdom has just been issued in paperback and is available from Amazon and in many good bookshops in the USA.

Once again I reiterate my promise about blogging on a regular basis and I'll include some updates on what has happened in my life of late.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


I remember years ago learning the old adage "procrastination is the thief of time." I never thought much about it until recently when I realised procrastination is one of my biggest faults I work under the theory why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Boy is that true. It isn't as if I put off my writing: I love doing that so I can concentrate on my next book for hours but what I can't seem to do, unless pressed, is to do all the other things in life I should be doing instead.

Publicity for a start. Writers these days have to work on publicizing their books, especially when they work for an e-books publisher. It's not as if the readers can walk down the lines of books at Borders or Waterstones, picking up titles or covers they fancy and reading the blurb on the back before deciding whether to buy it or now. Now we have a plethora of different information at our fingertips via the internet and we have to make the effort and seek out the sort of books we like to read, aim for a specific author we've enjoyed before. This means writers have to be active on the net, keeping their blogs and websites up to date, tweeting, putting notes on face-book, making an effort to guests on other writers blogs, join yahoo reading groups, maybe set up a few adverts - the list is endless. For instance, I've been looking at my blog over the weeks as we inched toward Christmas, and thinking it was about time I wrote a new post. Then, after I'd been out buying presents, spent ages over writing my cards, planning food, it sort of slipped out of my mind and descended the to do list until it dropped conveniently off the end. So here I am at last and very apologetically, writing an entry two whole weeks after Christmas!!

I've never been one for New Year resolutions, mainly because my one and only resolution - to diet and get fitter never did actually achieve its aims. Admittedly I'm a few pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of last year, but for various reasons I'm no fitter. At this rate, with my automatic drop out facility in operation mode it will take me years and years to lose my excess poundage!! Instead of resolutions, which I break I've decided just to be rather more positive in life. So the aim is to keep my blog up to date at regular intervals, figure out how to update my website properly without asking for help, make more effort as far as publicity is concerned, and try to feed my family - if I can manage to fit that in as well. The washing and the megga tidying up I planned to do may well have to wait for a while, until it drops off the long list of course. Then, with luck I can forget about it altogether.

Next week I plan to do a retrospect on 2010, which will include something about the new book I'm working on, visits to muscials such as Wicked and concerts by Lee Mead and John Barrowman, and anything else I can think of.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Excerpt from Savage Kingdom Only a little naughty!

I spoke in my previous post about Freygard. Well this scene happens only a couple of pages into the book when Nerya meets Jaden for the very first time.

Nerya pushed the door shut and glanced toward the bed. By the gods! She’d expected a warrior, but not this. Chained to the bed was the most threateningly masculine creature she’d ever laid eyes on in her entire life.

She stepped over to the table and poured herself a large goblet of wine. After drinking it down in a couple of swallows, Nerya pulled herself together and turned to examine him again. The slave lounged against the pillows, seeming untroubled by his plight. He was totally naked apart from a blue linen tunic draped across his groin, and his obsidian eyes stared at her in a disdainful, almost predatory manner that angered her and yet oddly enough stimulated her at the same time.

This one would be a challenge—there was no doubt about that.

Nerya never underestimated her opponents in battle, and she had no intention of underestimating this slave. He was dangerous. She wanted to face a man like this fully armored and with a sword in her hand, not in the coupling chamber skimpily clad in only a thin linen tunic.

It was difficult to gauge his height when he was sitting on the bed, legs outstretched, but he appeared to be at least a head or so taller than her. His skin had a dusky tint, looking even darker compared to the pristine whiteness of the linen sheet. She supposed if she were to consider him objectively, he was in fact a fine specimen. His body was a mass of corded muscle, with a wide, well-defined chest, narrow waist and lean hips. She had to admit she was somewhat relieved to see his arms were held fast above his head by chains.

She took another sip of wine, trying to ignore the fact he was curiously examining her as she examined him. She felt an unwanted warmth color her cheeks. Why was she letting this situation trouble her so much? The slave’s appearance had no bearing on this coupling. All she should be concerned about was that he had a good physique and was most likely a formidable warrior; therefore his seed should be powerful.

Yet he had the gall to lounge there staring insolently at her, displaying none of the expected demeanor of a slave, and her cheeks became even warmer as she realized he stared intently at her breasts. The damp linen tunic stuck to her full curves and, under the thin covering, her nipples hardened into firm peaks. “Don’t stare at me, slave,” she snapped.

Oddly enough, for a man he was remarkably pleasing to the eye. His features were strong and symmetrical, his cheekbones high and well-defined, while his nose was straight and aquiline. His mouth was maybe a little too wide, but not girlishly full, and his long, raven-black hair fell in a silky mass around his shoulders. It was his eyes that troubled her most as he stared at her with such insolence it almost took her breath away.

He was bold and appeared unafraid, something she wasn’t accustomed to in a slave. Nerya was suddenly tempted to run her fingers over his dusky skin and gauge the strength of his muscles that appeared to be carved from something far harder than living flesh. She’d never seen a slave as magnificent as this creature and now, for some inexplicable reason, the blood began to sing wildly through her veins.

Deanna Ashford

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Savage Kingdom - Todays's The day

Savage Kingdom is set in the same fantasy universe as my two other fantasy novels Savage Surrender and Wild Kingdom. I've not written about the heroine of hero of my book before. Nerya is a warrior from the Kingdom of Freygard, and Jaden, her captive, has a mysterious past which is slowly revealed. However, there are characters from my previous books in Savage Kingdom. So if you've read Savage Surrender or Wild Kingdom, you'll get to see Tarn, Rianna and Sarin again.

Just to give you a little bit of the background I'll explain:-

FREYGARD - Nerya's birthplace is a land ruled by women, where all men are slaves, even the male offspring of these women - which can get pretty complicated at times. In order to improve their line, they force the more powerful captive males to serve in the coupling chambers. Their queen Danara does not allow any contact between Freygard and the outside world, so Nerya is unaware how different her life is to those of the women in the lands surrounding hers.

KABRA- a land to the north east of Freygard, ruled by King Tarn and his beautiful wife Rianna. In the past Kabra had been invaded by Lord Sarin of Percheron, who held Tarn captive for a number of years, before he managed to escape and wrest his lands from Sarin's hands. Consequently there's is a complex relationship between these two men.

ACHERON- a mystical land over a vast range of mountains that few people know anything about, ruled by the Dragon Lords, who control powerful magic.

I hope those who buy the book really enjoy it. You can purchase Savage Kingdom at

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Lee Mead and Skegness, not words I'd normally put together.

Lee Mead conjures up visions of a smooth seductive, sexy voice that gives me the shivers on many occasions; a mass of dark curly hair, a body....perhaps I'll keep the rest of those thoughts to myself!

Back to less titillating matters. Skegness. I always thought of it as a Victorian seaside resort, the faded grandeur of a few sea-front hotels, a north sea battered coastline, a rickety pier, fish and chips and sticky pink and white rock. How wrong I turned out to be.

After a pleasant long weekend in Lincolnshire, my friend, her husband and mine travelled to Skegness, arriving in time to grab a drink before the show started at 7.30. For one night only Lee Mead the winner of Any Dream Will Do. The men had planned to find a nice hotel bar, hunker down there and wait for us to finish out Lee fix. They were dressed respectably, as only husbands can on occasions, but one look at the brash resort, filled with bulky men covered in tattoos, wearing shorts and garish 'T' shirts and they were hotfooting it into the theatre to purchase tickets. (Apologies here to anyone who lives in Skegness, and thinks it an utterly delightful resort! It just isn't my cup of tea.)

Of course they were sat way at the back while we were savoring, and somewhat salivating over a central position three rows from the front. I was surprised at how many people there were. I'd been to two previous concerts, the packed Southend, and the almost as packed Basingstoke but Skegness seemed quite a different entity to me, with a theatre catering mostly to the folks who holidayed in the town. Although taking a look around the auditorium I'd guess a fair number of people were locals and not holidaymakers at all.

There was already an air of anticipation and, as the band started playing the intro to Paint It Black, the excitement built. Then Lee bounded onto the stage dressed all in black and belted out the Stones classic - a version more akin to his hot, dark 'Any Dream Will Do' performance, than the violin laden arrangement on his first album. This was closely followed by Gonna Make You a Star (so much better than David Essex's version) and Nothing Else Matters, the title track from his second album. From then on the audience were in the zone and captivate by this gorgeous young man.

He spoke of many things in his life and his career, between numbers, chatting without a script, which is refreshing and makes each concert a new and exciting experience. This time he included a cute remark about how hot he was, and he hoped he wasn't sweating too much. Bless him, he glanced under his arms, then clamped them to his side making the audience laugh. This is a such a different Lee from the shy young man who appeared on 'Any Dream Will Do', and did do one or two quite awkward interviews during his initial tenure as Joseph. Lee has blossomed and grown over the last few years, and his voice as well as his confidence just gets better and better.

My favourite songs have to be the Musical Theatre numbers, 'Anthem' (Love him to record this), 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (brilliant he should play Judas) and of course the crowning epitome of 'Close Ever Door'. You just have to hear him sing this live to appreciate how special he is; he acts the song, you can feel the angst as he sings it and at the end his stunning voice just soars, sending shivers up your spine.

Added to this were songs from his albums, including my two special favourites, ' When I need you the Most', written by Gary Barlow and Lee's dad's favourite number 'Through The Barricades.' He also included in this eclectic mix, some standards. First a song I never expected him to sing 'Kiss'! This guy knows just how appealing to women he is, and he plays on this; his sexy dance moves making the audience scream. 'Beyond the Sea', the old Bobby Darin classic, displayed the smoothness to his voice, like rich dark chocolate- a treat we all crave but only indulge in on occasions. He then dedicated a song to his wife Denise and new daughter Betsy - the melodic favourite, 'When You say Nothing at All.' So sweet and moving.

I should add at this point that Niamh Perry, one of the girls from the Nancy show, who is now appearing in 'Love Never Dies', performed a small number of songs and dueted with Lee singing 'When the Stars Go Blue.'

When Lee mentioned the show 'Any Dream Will Do', he asked very innocently if anyone had watched it. DOH! But his words got a laugh and when he sang 'Any Dream Will Do' he didn't need the children's choir, let alone a backing track, the audience sang the accompaniment perfectly!

All too soon the show was at an end, but we were given one last song, one we recognised from the show - 'Daydream Believer', which had the audience standing and joining in as well. All in all a great night, with still more concerts to come.

My friend's husband, who wasn't a particular fan said at the end "Boy can that young man sing". I think that sums Lee up very nicely.
credit for photo- Lee Mead Music

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Awesome Cover

The darkness in his soul could claim her love...or her life.

This is the awesome cover for my new book Savage Kingdom to be published by Samhain on 25th August. I have never had any input as far as my covers were concerned before, so to be asked exactly what I wanted was wonderful and then the fabulous Kanaxa came up with this wonderful cover picture!
Loving you all guys, and my editor Linda most of all.