Wednesday 30 October 2013

COVER REVEAL!! Nicola Marsh's BEFORE (New Adult Novel)


I am jumping up and down with excitement to be part of the cover reveal for the fantastic Nicola Marsh's New Adult release, BEFORE. I'm a big fan of Nic's writing, and I'm not the only one (she recently won the RuBY!) and her sprint-writing technique has at times been the only thing standing between me and a meltdown of monumental proportions this past month while I've been juggling two WIP's. (If you haven't checked out her book Do It Write, I highly recommend it)
But I digress, and without further ado...
Here's the blurb...
Good girls finish last? Screw that.Being a small town girl isn’t so bad. Unless Mom’s the town joke and I’ve spent my entire life shying away from her flamboyance. College in Las Vegas should be so much cooler. But it’s not. Bad things happen there. Real bad.So when my big brother Reid offers me an all-expenses paid vacation to Australia for a month, I am so there. Discounting the deadly snakes on the outback cattle station, I should be safe. Until I meet Jack.Jack defines bad boy and then some. And the guy can cook. He’s big, buffed, bronzed, and hotter than any guy I’ve ever met. And his sexy Aussie accent makes me melt.But he’s my brother’s new bestie and he lives on the other side of the world. There’s no future for us.

Is there?

Launch day is 2nd December, when it will be available from all ebook outlets. In the meantime, you can visit Nicola's website for more info.

Thursday 3 October 2013

It's Release Day!! Did Someone Order Room Service?

It's release day for the second book in my Do Not Disturb series for HarperImpulse and I'm so excited!

These are a series of standalone contemporary funny, sexy stories that are linked by the same backdrop - a luxury boutique hotel in London. I had such fun writing this story and it is my own favourite thing that I've written so far.You can have a look at some of my story inspiration by clicking on the Pinterest button in the sidebar.

Did Someone Order Room Service?


Has American Tennis Pro Matt Stanton finally found his match in uptight hotel employee Layla Jones? Checking in to escape the fallout from his most recent media scandal, she could be the perfect distraction from staring at four walls and watching Pay Per View. But for her own reasons Layla detests all things celebrity and winning her over won’t be as easy as he thinks.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

I'm currently hard at work on the third book in this series (which unfortunately is causing me to crash my head on the desk beyond anything I've ever written before, even The Book From Hell, but I won't let that spoil the moment!). It's currently intended to be a Christmas story, but the way it's going it could be Christmas 2020 by the time I get it finished! Progress report soon x

Sunday 29 September 2013

Written Fireside - Part 12!

pic used under creative commons from mynameisharsha

It's that time again!! We're in the small hours, the fire is burning low and the sleeping bag beckons, but there's still a little bit of the story left so grab yourself one more hot chocolate for the road!

(If you've stumbled on this and are wondering what the hell I'm talking about, well you're in luck! You can recap all the previous parts of the story below without having to wait!)

Written Fireside - 'For Clara' is a travelling blog-hop story written in instalments by a fabbo group of writers, all of whom have their own vision for it but have had to succumb and let the story take on a life of its own. The experience has been great fun for us! The story so far can be accessed here:

PART 1 - Lori Connelly
PART 2 - Teresa Morgan
PART 4 - Romy Sommer
PART 5 - A J Nuest
PART 6 - Me again!
PART 7 - Lori Connelly
PART 8 - Teresa Morgan
PART 10 - Romy Sommer
PART 11 - A J Nuest
And without further ado...
    Mark laced his fingers through hers, her hand encased tightly in his, and she raised her eyes and met his gaze. She saw nothing there but love and support.
   ‘How do you know Derek killed Barbara?’ she asked. She had to know everything now, although the thought of what her friend had been through made her eyes fill with tears and her throat tighten.

   ‘I found out at the Lucky Number Café. He took great pleasure in telling me,’ Mark said tightly.

   ‘How did it happen?’
    He shook his head but she tugged at his hand.
     ‘Please, Mark. I need to know.’
     He sighed.
     ‘She’d been ill for a long time. I don’t think any of us realised how ill until we heard at the funeral. For the last few months she had a full time nurse to take care of her. Derek showed up and blagged his way in there, probably bigged himself up as her long-lost foster brother making a concerned visit.’ Mark’s eyes were hard chips of steel. ‘When she wouldn’t tell him what he wanted to know, he put a pillow over her face.’
     Her breath caught in her throat. Poor Barbara. How frightened she must have been. Guilt twisted in Clara’s stomach. She should have been there to protect her friend.
     ‘He knew we were stronger together, that’s why he did it,’ she said. ‘We’d always supported each other, stood up to him together. He must have thought by taking Barbara out that I would weaken. That’s why he came after me next.’
    ‘How did you come to buy back the bracelet?’ Mark said.
     Clara looked down at her hands.

     ‘After Etienne was killed, it reverted to the Duval Estate. Next in line was some distant relative who wanted the whole estate liquidated. That was when Barbara stepped in and made an offer on the bracelet. She knew how much it had meant to Mrs Duval. And to Etienne too. Of course that was what tipped Derek’s jealousy over the edge – he’d always hated the Duval’s foster kids. He couldn’t understand why his parents needed any other children in their lives when they had him, could never see it as an unselfish desire to help on the part of his mother. He had to make it all about him.’

    Mark pulled his mobile phone from his pocket.

    ‘What are you doing?’
     ‘Calling the police,’ he said, punching in numbers. ‘Now I know you’re safe it’s time we handed the situation over to them.’
     She clutched at his arm with her hand.
     ‘What if the charges don’t stick,’ she said, panicking. ‘He’ll get out on bail and come back to find me.’
     ‘He’s a double murderer, RaRa,’ he said patiently. ‘They’ll throw away the key.’

     ‘Are you sure?’
     She thought of the questions, the nightmare, facing Derek again across a crowded courtroom. The hell that she and Barbara had been through when they testified against him all those years ago. Could she really face that a second time? And she had no Barbara beside her this time.
     Mark covered her hand with his own, tilted her chin with his hand until she met his steady gaze.
     ‘How long have you been running from this, RaRa?’ he said gently.

     She managed a small smile.
     ‘Too long.’
     ‘You don’t need to worry anymore,’ he said, as if he could read her thoughts. ‘We’ll get through this together. I’m staying right here. And you’ll never need to be afraid again.’

     Maybe she didn’t have Barbara’s support this time. But still she had Mark. Long forgotten hope began to slip back into her heart like slanting rays of sunshine banishing the dark lonely past. A hope she’d once had of a family of her own. A hope that had disappeared in the ensuing years after she’d turned Mark away from her life.
     She waited quietly as he spoke into the phone, explaining the situation and handing over brief details of their location and a description of Derek’s truck. And then he tossed the phone onto the dashboard and turned back to her.
     As he pulled her into his arms and tilted her face to meet his, she lifted a hand to touch his cheek, let her fingers sink into his hair as if confirming to herself he was real. She let her eyes flutter shut as he touched her lips with his own, making the lost years melt away. She finally allowed herself to believe it could be over. Everything really would be alright...
     The roar of gravel under spinning wheels and the screech of brakes made them leap apart. And more fool her. It would never be over.
     Derek’s truck blocked their path out of the woods and his murderous face stared at them through the mud-flecked windscreen. 
How will it end??

 Will Derek get his just desserts? Will Mark and Clara survive? Even I don't know! So join me on 30th September over at Lori Connelly's blog for the final part. Last one there gets the lumpy sleeping bag!

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Written Fireside - Part Six!!!

Grab that toasting fork and lob that hotdog in the bin, you know you're never going to finish it now the marshmallows are up!!

pic used under creative commons from mynameisharsha

Yes, it's the moment you've all been waiting for! After AJ Nuest's nailbiting last instalment, the time has finally arrived for Part Six of Written Fireside - 'For Clara', the travelling blog hop story.

If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, well you've missed a treat! Not to mention the first course of burgers and hotdogs. But no matter, you can pick the whole story up right from the beginning using the following links:

PART 1 - Lori Connelly
PART 2 - Teresa Morgan
PART 4 - Romy Sommer
PART 5 - A J Nuest

And now without further ado, here is my first contribution...


     Clara snapped off the flashlight and jerked her fingers back from the wall panel as if it were red hot. With her back pressed against lumpy plaster and peeling wallpaper, she sidled along until she could peek though the gap at the edge of the shabby lace curtain and down to the driveway below.
     Her heart hammered in her drum-tight chest and a panicky flash seared through her brain – ‘…caught, I’m caught…’
     She was so certain that it would be Derek’s porky silhouette she would see below that her breath caught in surprise when instead a shaft of moonlight picked out Mark’s muscular frame in silver. He crunched across the gravel toward the front door, glancing with interest at her own car, parked alongside his. She may as well have hung a neon flashing sign on the house – CLARA IS HERE. It hadn’t occurred to her to hide the car – why would it? No one knew about this place except for her– right?
     Unless hers wasn’t the only note Barbara had left behind.

     He couldn’t have followed her, she’d driven past him in the café. How else could Mark know about the summer house? Had her friend contacted Mark too from beyond the grave? Did she mean to bring them together somehow?

     Nothing was certain anymore. She ached miserably to talk to Barbara, knowing she never could. They’d survived this long by working as a team. She really wasn’t sure she was up to the challenge of seeing this through alone.
     But maybe she wasn’t meant to.
     As the door banged below and footsteps progressed steadily up the stairs she darted back to the wall panel. She would hear what Mark had to say. She would keep an open mind. But behind the panel was her only bargaining chip, and she wasn’t about to give that up. Barbara had meant her to find it, she was sure of that, and she wasn’t about to share it. She fumbled madly with the secret panel, shoving her hand into the dark space behind it as the footsteps got louder. And she managed to stuff the cloth-wrapped bundle under her sweater just as the door banged open.

And we're at the halfway mark. For the next instalment head back over to Lori Connelly's blog... See you there. Last one there gets the burnt waffle!

Tuesday 6 August 2013

I'm Visiting!

I'm talking about my writing routine and All Bets Are On over at the lovely Rachel Brimble's blog today. Come over and keep me company if you have time!

Wednesday 31 July 2013

My First Kiss!

No not THAT first kiss!! You don't want to hear about braces on teeth, school discos and red-haired Stewart Simpson who was a couple of inches shorter than me.

I'm talking about my first Harlequin KISS!

Known to those who followed this blog for the latter part of last year as The Book From Hell, it has since been renamed with the gorgeous title 'All Bets Are On'. And I am skipping around the house in excitement because release week has finally come around.

I got to read and approve the final edited version of All Bets Are On early this year, and to my utter amazement somewhere amidst all the angsting and crashing of head on table, the story somehow redeemed itself into being funny, sweet, engaging and (I think) the best thing I've written for Harlequin/M&B so far. For this I must thank my fabulous editorial team and also my family who put up with my whining and even threw ideas into the brainstorming mix (Lib I'm looking at you!) instead of forcing me to move out and live in the shed, I really wouldn't have blamed them.

So without further ado:


The stakes are high, but the prize is worth it!

Ask Alice Ford to shine in the boardroom and it's a done deal. Ask her to go on a first date, however, and she's a quivering mess! So, when she discovers that she's the target of an office bet—to get her into bed—it's her professional nightmare!

Office legend Harry Stephens is her unlikely saviour. He even volunteers to teach her just how to avoid a heartbreaker. After all, it takes one to know one….

But what is Harry really after? And when his kisses throw a curveball into the situation, is Alice ready to gamble  everything for love?


     'If you're thinking about dating again, maybe you'd like to go for a drink,' he said.

     'With you?'

     The question exploded from her lips in the form of a laugh. Because it was laughable, wasn't it? That after her past experiences she would look twice at someone like him?

     'Your amusement could be construed as an insult, you know,' he said mildly.

     'I can't,' she said. 'Sorry.'

     In Harry Stephens's world, of course, no meant maybe. He realised it was a simple matter of finding the right approach. Start small. And most important of all, offer some kind of incentive. Make her think he could be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

     'Just hear me out,' he said. 'I've got a proposition for you.'

     'What kind of proposition?'

     The upset tone had slipped from her voice. He could almost hear the ticking over of her mind. Her attention had been raised because he'd given his question a detached work-style tone.

     'I'm exactly what you need,' he said. 'To help you get back out there.'


UK Amazon:
US Amazon:
Barnes & Noble:
The Book Depository:

I'll be back soon with an update on the second in my Do Not Disturb trilogy, working title Room Service, featuring hot tennis player hero. I am currently racing against time (school breaks up imminently and the small one will be back in control) to get it subbed.

Happy summer all! xx

Monday 8 July 2013

The Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!

 I’m taking part in the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop with my current release Your Room Or Mine? (see sidebar for buy links)
Follow the links on the hop to get lots of lovely inspiration for summer reads - all authors taking part will be discussing their current summer release or WIP and also offering up a tasty recipe that ties into it! Mine doesn't even involve any cooking - what's not to like!?


1)When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?
I am a terrible snacker and my snack of choice is biscuits. I choose Rich Tea Fingers, not because they are the yummiest of biscuits (they’re not) but because they are about 22 calories per biscuit and I can kid myself that even after I’ve eaten ten or so, the calorie count isn’t desperate!
2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? Are they real pants or jammies?
I am an outliner. I have a scene list, with brief notes on what takes place, for my entire story before I start writing. Writing by the seat of my pants/jammies fills me with terror.
3) When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it?
I follow the recipe exactly and if I don’t have one of the ingredients I worry constantly while it cooks that it will be ruined. I am not a confident cook. I wish I was one of those people who could just throw the contents of the fridge in a wok and come out with a masterpiece. Hmm, noticing a pattern here with my writing and my cooking. Apparently I'm not a pantser when it comes to the kitchen either!
4) What is next for you after this book?
I am currently writing the next book in the trilogy, another standalone fun and sexy romance but with the same backdrop as Your Room Or Mine? – an exclusive boutique hotel in London. This time around my hero is a gorgeous pro tennis player with a playboy lifestyle and my heroine is the Guest Services assistant who for her own reasons, loathes all things celebrity. See my Pinterest board (button at sidebar) for some of my inspiration.
5) Last Question...on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land?
I would say a 7. It’s pretty hot and explicit but there’s nothing weird in there! I would call it romantica– the language used is definitely more contemporary romance than erotica.
And here is my summer recipe! In Your Room Or Mine? Izzy and Oliver are a bit too wrapped up in each other to eat much of the time, but their story takes place in summer, and there's a particular steamy scene involving a spoon (enough said). Eton Mess would definitely be one recipe you could eat with one!
Can’t-Go-Wrong Eton Mess
Buy the following:
1 pack of 8 meringue nests
500 g strawberries
400ml double cream
Serves 4
Wash, hull and halve the strawberries, then take a handful and squash with a fork into mush. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Put the strawberries, cream and strawberry mush into a bowl and roughly crumble the meringue nests in. Fold the whole lot together without overmixing. Spoon into serving glasses and voila! Serve immediately.
 For more stops on the tour, and more fabulous summer reads and summer recipes, check out the very lovely Angela Campbell and Rae Rivers

Wednesday 3 July 2013

My First KISS and a Giveaway!!

My first book for Harlequin KISS, All Bets Are On, is released 23rd July! This is my third book for Harlequin/Mills & Boon, but it is the first one to see a North American release so I am jump-up-and-down excited! My previous two titles were available only via the UK Direct to Consumer programme. (Although do watch this space as I have hopes they may get a bit more of an airing fairly soon!)
To celebrate I am having a Goodreads Giveaway - my first one ever. It will run throughout July, and all you need to do is click on the sidebar button and sign up to be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of All Bets Are On!

The stakes are high but the prize is worth it!

Ask Alice Ford to shine in the boardroom and it's a done deal. Ask her to go on a first date, however, and she's a quivering mess! So, discovering that she's the target of an office get her into bed - it's her professional nightmare!

Office legend Harry Stephens is her unlikely saviour. He even volunteers to teach her just how to avoid a heartbreaker. After all, it takes one to know one...

But what is Harry really after? And when his kisses throw a curved ball into the situation, is Alice ready to gamble everything for love?
 If you fancy an office romance with a fun twist set in lovely Autumnal London, head on over to Goodreads now!!

Sunday 16 June 2013


I know, I know. I've been on a sliding scale of pants when it comes to blogging but I have reasons.

Since the super exciting whirlwind of selling to HarperImpulse, I've been getting some lovely reviews for Your Room Or Mine? and in the wake of all that lovely self-validation there I was thinking I can finally do this writing thing! Your Room flowed from my pen in the space of three weeks (three weeks that included Christmas in them!) and so when I started on my next book for Harlequin KISS, I thought it meant that I actually had a clue what I was doing now. Wouldn't the same flowing story experience happen?

I now grudgingly realise that I will probably never know fully what I 'm doing. There will always be a bit of me that's winging it and wondering if I really can do this again.

*pauses to chuck stone at doubt crow*

The first three chapters of Book #4 went down well, so off I went, doing more of the same, smugly believing that this is it - I've cracked it! - and then I checked in with my editor at the halfway point and found that the book wasn't working, The hero was coming across as mean and the plot needed a different direction. NOOOOOOO!

Cue crashing-head-on-desk angsting of monumental proportions, combined with the new fear that I've taken on too much with my new commitment to writing sexy novellas. I ended up making big changes to the first three chapters and scrapping-and-rewriting chapters four to six. Rewrites are truly horrid. Time consuming and draining and I went at them with grouchy muttering.

The true up-and-down rollercoaster of writing has really shown itself to me this last couple of months. I've just handed in the finished ms for Book #4, expecting more rewrites and hefty revisions, fully prepared this time, filled with doubt about what I'd done, and to my amazement and utter relief the book has been accepted with no need for more work.

I am beginning to understand that I have no inner gauge of whether my writing is good enough or not. The nearest I can get is that it's good enough for me to feel comfortable when sending it in that at least it won't be laughed out of the room. Good enough is a whole different thing. Maybe it comes from being too close to the project - the last few chapters are always really intense for me when I'm writing them and I can't really see wood for trees.

Anyway - I am delighted and breathing a bit easier because I now have a bit more time to play with before my next novella deadline. I'm busy plotting it all out now and getting ready to start writing. And in the meantime, I'm very excited to be able to share my cover for my August KISS release, All Bets Are On (aka The Book From Hell). What do you think?

The cover fairy as well as the title fairy have smiled on me this time! Alice and Harry look exactly like this in my head, which isn't always the case (am thinking especially of my first release Secrets of the Rich & Famous here, for which the hero on the cover is inexplicably ginger and a bit of a moose when he should look like Alex O'Loughlin).

Not so this time, I'm so pleased with it, and I really love the colour popping style of the new KISS covers. This will be my first NA release with Harlequin so I am extra specially excited.

Thanks for bearing with me, and I will be back soon with a progress update on the next Do Not Disturb novella. :0)

Thursday 9 May 2013

Release Day!!

Today is release day for my fun contemporary short romance Your Room Or Mine?, the first in a series of three linked books, and I'm so excited!! It's been a real whirlwind - I only finished writing the story at the end of January, I had no publisher lined up for it and no idea if it was good enough to end up anywhere.

To have it published just a few months later by fab new imprint HarperImpulse really is a dream.

I'm visiting over at the lovely Aimee Duffy's blog later today along with Romy Sommer, who shares my release day with her fabulous contemporary story Waking Up In Vegas. Drop over and see us if you have time :0)

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from iBooks

Friday 26 April 2013

I'm Diversifying!!

Those of you who've followed this blog for a bit will know that around Christmas time I had a bash at fast-drafting and at increasing the heat levels of my writing, and that the end result was a contemporary sexy story of about 30k words. In between writing the first half of my next KISS (progress report on that soon) I have been looking into finding a possible home for it.

And now I have news!

I am absolutely thrilled to bits to announce that I've been offered a contract with HarperImpulse, the exciting new digital first romance imprint from the women's fiction team at Harper Collins, to write three linked books, the first of which will be that story!

Your Room Or Mine? will be published on 9th May!! And I'm so excited I can't stop smiling. Isn't that the most gorgeous cover ever?

And a brief hint of the story...

A one night stand can only work if it’s anonymous. Right? Having discovered that her boyfriend has been playing away, Izzy Shaw decides to turn her Loved-Up Mini Break into her Reinvention Break. And the mysterious, drop-dead gorgeous Oliver Forbes is a welcome distraction…!

 This signifies an exciting change for me. Going forward, my writing will still have the same contemporary fun style across the board but while I will continue to write sweeter romances for Harlequin KISS/M&B Tempted, I will also be writing sexier stories for HarperImpulse. And in the next week or two I will be reworking my blog and website to reflect this, so please bear with me if it looks all over the place -that will be the reason!

Head over to the HarperImpulse Facebook page to find out more about this fabulous new imprint including their other brand new acquisitions and submission guidelines.

Friday 5 April 2013

I'm visiting The Pink Heart Society!

I'm at The Pink Heart Society blog today, talking about my writer's workspace. Come and drop by if you have time!

The Proposal Plan's Release Day!!

Today is a super special happy day for me because my first-ever submission is being published (albeit in a small way - it's available in the UK only and via Mills & Boon's Direct to Consumer programme. To buy from Amazon UK, click the sidebar link).

I still find it hard to believe that my little story has finally made it out of the stack of notebooks in my wardrobe!

I would love to see it get a wider outing at some point down the line, but we will have to wait and see. In the meantime...

The Blurb...

How do you get the wedding you've always wanted?

Lucy Telford knows all about heartache - her teenage crush on her friend Gabriel Blake was a crash course in unrequited love - but these days she's determined to make her own happy ending. If her boyfriend won't get down on one knee, she'll just have to ask him herself!

Step one is enlisting Gabriel's help - as an absolute woman-magnet, surely he can give her some tips on becoming irresistible? But Lucy's perfect plan goes awry when she starts wondering if she's asking the right man to walk her down the aisle...

And the Excerpt...

'I've had it up to here!' She indicated a level somewhere above her head. 'I obviously attract commitment-phobic men. And that's why I've come to get your help.'

He stopped in his tracks, halfway to the door, and looked back at her dubiously.

'What do you mean, my help? What can I do?'

'You have loads of girlfriends, right? And you're the most commitment-shy person I know.'

'Well yes...I mean no.' He tried to work out if there was a compliment or an insult in there and decided there was probably both. 'How is this relevant?'

'I've decided to take matters into my own hands,' she said firmly. 'There's no point hanging around waiting for Ed to get his act together. You can advise me on all this kind of thing.'

He raised his eyebrows at her quizzically.

'Where I'm going wrong, of course. Why he isn't falling over himself to get a ring on my finger.' She warmed to her subject. 'You must have a wealth of experience just waiting to be tapped. You can show me how to be totally irresistible to him.'

He thought for a moment she might actually be going mad. Hangover forgotten, he barged into the kitchen behind her. She'd had some crazy ideas in her time, but this...

'No. Absolutely no way.'

Sunday 31 March 2013

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I've been tagged in a blog chain by the very lovely Rae Rivers, whose debut book Cat Got Your Tongue! will be released this year and will be going straight onto my To Read List. It's taken me ages to pick up the gauntlet because I've been fiddling with the partial sub of the WIP (more on that soon), so without further ado...

Rules for the award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you (thank you, Rae!)
  • State 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate and link to another blogger/bloggers and link to them.

And my 7 things:

1. I have a bit of an obsession with How-To books. It's a comfort thing, I think, the idea that if I follow a list of rules I can have the outcome I want. When I had my children I searched feverishly for the Holy Grail book that would tell me how to instantly have them sleeping through the night. (Incidentally, I recommend The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg as the nearest I got to Holy Grail!)
Now that I'm writing, I have the same desire for a set of rules which, if followed, will give me a good and saleable ms. Of course there is no such set of rules any more than there was one for babies, but part of my brain doesn't seem able to accept that, and so I have a rising pile of theory books on writing. Of course they have helped, but there is no magic formula!

2. I am addicted to Candy Crush, the Facebook timesuck game. I am a terrible procrastinator and this is yet another distraction I don't need when I should be writing. I am currently stuck on level 42, sigh.

3. I had my milestone birthday this year. I thought I would mind being 40 but it turns out I minded turning 30 much more! I'm in a very happy place now with my family and with my writing.

4. I love American TV shows to the tragic point where I feel aggrieved if I have to go out in the evening, especially in the winter when it's cold out and cosy inside! I like nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa in my pyjamas watching my current favourite, The Following (creepy but excellent). I also love Dexter, Supernatural and Game of Thrones. The heroes in my last two books have been based on the stars of TV shows I watch weekly - the inspiration for my current WIP hero is Niall Matter from Primeval: New World (for a pic check out my Pinterest board by clicking on the button in the sidebar). Every Saturday I watch it and think how I can better describe Dan in my story!

5. My favourite childhood memory is watching The Incredible Hulk (the original TV show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno) while cuddled up with my Dad. I was about four. My mum and brother hated the show, so it really was our special thing. I always thought it was very sad that David Banner could never settle down anywhere because Jack McGee always turned up to flush him out.

6. I'm not well-travelled. I've only been out of Europe once, and all of my trips have been sunshine package holidays. I have a massive bucket list of places to visit and see with DH when the kids are off our hands.

7. I don't have a middle name and neither does my brother. For some reason my parents couldn't agree on one. As a kid I always felt very short-changed by this and I used to make up exotic ones to impress my friends like Saffron and Savannah!

Passing on the tag is hard, as so many of my writing  friends have already been hit and I've taken so long, so I'm tagging Libby, who is extremely creative and since she's recently redesigned this blog (she made my daisy header and buttons!) is definitely a very inspiring blogger to me!

Thanks for reading, and Happy Easter! x

Tuesday 5 March 2013

New WIP!

It's been a few weeks since I last blogged, apologies all, but I've been hanging on until I had something concrete to blog about!

Since having 'All Bets Are On' finalised I've been busy putting together ideas for my next story. The way it works (for me at least) is that I send my three best ideas over to my editor and she chooses the one she thinks has the most potential. The next step is for me to come up with detailed character outlines (covering goal, motivation, conflict as well as background details) and a story plan. This bit takes a long time but it's one of my favourite parts of my whole writing process.

This time it has taken three weeks, during which I've filled in character questionnaires (I use the ones in Liz Fielding's Little Book Of Writing Romance), thought about locations and used my plotboard to develop a three act story outline. If you hadn't already guessed, I am most definitely not a pantser! For the first time with this story, I've also discovered Pinterest, which is terrific fun and a terrific time suck. What it has done is given me some lovely visual inspiration for my story in a way I've never really had before. If you want to check my board out (as it is so far), click on the lovely Pinterest button my very clever 13 year old has created for me on the sidebar.

I have a working title for my story - 'The Get-Out Clause', and I've just received feedback from my editor on my story plan - I get a couple of pages of detailed advice. Some of it is the flagging up of potential pitfalls for the story before I begin writing it - for example in this story I have a second love interest for the heroine and my editor has pointed out that I need to keep tabs on this because it has huge potential to detract from the main romance. Other advice is more detailed, suggestions on how I can improve on my plot and how I can deepen the conflict of the main characters.

This is possibly the most prepared I've been for any of my stories so far, but I've learned a lot over the last year and one of the main things is that the more effort I put in at the beginning, the easier the actual writing becomes. I can't say that would be true for everyone - I know of people who have a rough idea and dive straight in and the thought fills me with horrified admiration - but  it's certainly true for me.

I'm off now to put in a couple of hours reviewing and revising my story plan in line with the editor's advice and then I will be kicking off with 1k a day. I will keep you posted on what I hope will be an easier book to write than the last one!

Sunday 20 January 2013

Happy New Title

Happy New Year all! And apologies because I know it's halfway through January already (how did that happen?),  but blogging had kind of slipped into a comfortable it-hasn't-been-that-long sort of place in my head.


I had a fabulous Christmas this year, not only had the small one reached an age (4) where she really understood Christmas and Santa and all the twinkly wonderfulness of it for the first time, but it was also a big Christmas year (my other two children are from a previous marriage and so we share Christmases - this year was mine so I had a lovely houseful!). With DH home over the break I also had time to try out a couple of new things I've been wanting to give a go for a while.

One is fast-drafting - in its truest sense it involves writing a full first draft of a novel within 2 weeks by using strict word counts and abandoning your inner editor, a concept developed by Candace Havens, see here for more details. I watered it down somewhat by simply writing without looking back and editing as I went, without strict aim regarding wordcount. This was a big thing for me as I usually go back over everything daily, tweaking and fine tuning, and I know this limits my first draft productivity.

The other is writing hot. I have only ever written sweet romance - my couple get to have a bit of intense snogging and then the hero slams the door with his foot and we cut to breakfast - that kind of level! Not really sure what's held me back (thought of my mother reading it? - a bit maybe), only that I've always been quite satisfied with a happy ever after without the need for any detail in love scenes. (I am a huge fan of Jill Mansell, her stories have never needed a hot sex scene for me to love them.)


I've nonetheless been curious as to whether I could write hot or not. And so over the Christmas break I combined my two wonderings and tried to fast-draft a fairly hot romantic novella. Writing sex was a whole new world. How hot is too hot? I check in with the DH, who is at first interested in the whole concept, but as I feared it turns out to be on an FHM kind of level as he is bemused when I tell him about the kind of language used (no coarse descriptive words etc) and the fact that it has to convey emotion and development in the romance. If left to him I fear the story would turn out to be worthy of Loaded or Nuts.

Soon-to-be-16-year-old son isn't fazed and advises me, pound signs in eyes, to 'write porn under an assumed name.' Even my teenagers have heard of Fifty Shades. Sigh.

Fast drafting seemed to work in that I got a full draft in a couple of weeks, however the editing stage which normally isn't too intensive turns out to be monumental. I've given myself a couple of weeks to drum it into some kind of shape and I have no idea if the end result will find a home although I've got a few places to try and pitch it.

In other, proper, real-stories-that-I-might-actually-get-paid-for news, I now have a name for Alice and Harry (the much-hated Book #2 which I called The Date Pool, because it is about an office betting ring). I am thrilled to announce that it will be called 'All Bets Are On' and I have to say I love this title and wish I'd thought of it myself.

I am also thrilled to bits to announce that I am heading into 2013 with a new two-book contract, and I am currently putting together some ideas for a new story to submit to my lovely editor.

So that's it. I feel very busy, but in a good way. Hope 2013 brings you all that you could wish for too.