Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Fake Friday with Rhoda Baxter

Kids are back to school, and we're already wishing is it Friday yet? Therefore I have  real treat today for Fake Friday!

I am thrilled to have Choc-Lit author, Rhoda Baxter on my blog today talking about writing and her latest book, Doctor January. 

Hi, Rhoda, have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes. I also wanted to be over 5ft tall and an astronaut. I didn’t manage those other two.

Did you manage to get the first book you wrote published, or is it tucked in a drawer somewhere?

My first book was too long and too wordy and I really was trying hard to be writerly, which made it not very reader-friendly. I have it on my computer still, along with revisions which are much, much shorter than the original. One day I’ll edit it into shape. Until then, it’ll be there to remind me how far I’ve come.

What’s so special about your hero that makes your heroine fall in love with him?

Hibs from Doctor January – he was her friend first. He’s kind and considerate and clever. He makes her feel safe and he’s very supportive of her decisions (a lot of people in Beth’s life have not been). Notice I’ve not mentioned that he’s handsome. He is, but Beth has learned the hard way that handsome isn’t everything.

Why do you like writing romance?

I love that first kiss feeling. You know the one, when you’re watching a film (I ‘see’ what I write like a film, hence the example) and the two main characters look into each other’s eyes and you feel the excitement anticipation of their first kiss. That feeling. I can’t go around falling in love with random men all the time – I have a husband and, besides, who has that TIME for all that chasing around – so I just make up people who do it for me.

What do you do with a paperback once you’ve read it? 

I rarely read paperbacks now. I read on my Kindle. If I do buy a paperback, it’s usually a keeper. I have been known to read a kindle book, then go out and buy hardcopy to keep. If I do have a paperback I don’t want to keep, I tend to donate it to the local library.

What’s the best bit of writing advice you’ve ever received or read?
Write something you’ll enjoy. My first book (see above) was very worthy and I was trying too hard to be literary. When I let go and started to write a book with jokes in, I felt so much better. I also had more fun writing it, which shows. So don’t write what you feel you should be writing. Write what you want to write. In other words, have fun.

Are you nervous about friends reading your book? 

No. But I worry about my mum reading them. Which is why there aren’t any graphic sex scenes.

Cocktail or shot? Cocktail please. I really don’t want to be shot.

Tea or coffee? Tea. I only have coffee I want to feel hyper.

Chocolate or ice cream? What? It’s a choice?? Oh, okay. Chocolate. Or chocolate ice cream if that’s on offer.

Dogs or cats? Dogs. Awwww.

Thanks so much, Rhoda for taking the time to come on my blog! 

Author Bio

Rhoda Baxter always wanted to be a writer, but her parents told her she needed to get a ‘real’ job and write in her spare time. So she became a scientist and works in Intellectual Property. She now writes contemporary romantic comedies in whatever spare time she can fit around her day job and her family. Which means her parents were right all along. How irritating

Her latest novel, Doctor January is published by Choc Lit.

Rhoda can be found wittering on about science, comedy and cake on her website www.rhodabaxter.com, Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rhoda.baxter.5), Google+ or on Twitter (@rhodabaxter). Please pop by and say hello.

Blurb for Doctor January:

If you keep looking back, you might miss what’s standing right in front of you …

Six months after a painful break-up from Gordon, Beth’s finally getting her life back on track. She has faith in her own scientific theories and is willing to work hard to prove them. She’s even beginning to see Hibs, her dedicated lab partner, as more than just a lousy lothario in a lab-coat and goggles.

So when Gordon arrives back from America without warning and expects to be welcomed back into Beth’s arms, she’s totally thrown. She also quickly begins to see that Gordon isn’t the man she thought he was … Hibs has always held a candle for Beth, but he can only wait so long for her to realise there’s more to life than being patronised and bullied by the one who’s meant to love and protect her.

Will Beth forsee the explosive nature beneath Gordon’s placid surface before he destroys everything she’s worked for, both inside and outside the lab?

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Researching Truro

No longer having a book in hand, I'm now tapping away at book 3. Admittedly, reading some of it back the other day, I was thinking, God, I will need to put some excitement into this! lol! But I figured, I can do that with the editing stage. It's a good idea to just get the base of the story down - yes?

One of the scenes I was writing was based in Truro. I'd found out through the powers of Twitter (I love social media) this is the best place to shop for those living in Cornwall. However, I'm writing this scene and I've never been to Truro - I don't even know what to picture. Does it have a Costa?

I messaged my friend who lives in Cornwall, and from that and checking out hotel prices on Booking.com, realised I needed to go visit the place for myself.

Shame I hadn't set it in Paris, Madrid or Rome huh? But unfortunately my book is set in Cornwall... maybe book 4 - but this would mean me getting a passport.

So, last weekend, with beautiful blue sky - it could have been summer only the car was telling us it was 5 degrees Celsius out there - we headed off to Truro Saturday afternoon and killed two birds with one stone - well, three actually. On the Saturday evening, I caught up with my friend who I haven't seen in over 20 years. We've been chatting to each other via Facebook (this is the positive side to Facebook) so we weren't strangers, but it really is lovely to meet someone in the flesh and give them a hug.

Mr Aquarius and I stayed in the County Arms, which was a very lovely hotel, but the price didn't include breakfast. This was good because it meant we had to get out there and explore Truro on the Sunday and hunt out a good cafe.

Mr Aquarius unaware he's in a photo
Francis Potts, who is a cyber friend - as in I've only met him over the internet; we're Twitter and Facebook chums - came and met us for a coffee and a chat as he only lives in Penzance. So now I feel we are no longer just virtual friends. :)

My school friend, Karen. 
Then, Mr Aquarius and I walked around the streets of Truro, exploring the high street and even visiting inside the Cathedral. And on the way home, we stopped off to take a look at The Jamaica Inn like true tourists.

I'm so glad I went to Truro. I observed and listened to the sounds - seagulls, even though Truro is not technically on the coast  - and I hadn't realised the Cathedral could be seen from pretty much anyway in Truro... or at least heard when the bells chimed.

And the city does have a Costa...

Now I've just got to weave this into the chapter of my book...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Another Nikki Moore's Love London Series

Valentine’s on Primrose Hill
Released 9th February
#LoveLondon Series; eBook 3 (Short Story)
by Nikki Moore
Read this exciting romance series set in London...

What’s it about?
For Georgiana Dunn, life changed forever in the devastating moment that the lorry hit her car.
Scarred and scared, she's not left the house properly in months. Then her mum buys her a puppy, forcing her to face the world again, walking on London's beautiful Primrose Hill. But that doesn't mean she's looking forward to Valentine's Day.
Leo devotes himself to working with children with special educational needs. In fact, he does very little else, and his friends are always telling him to get a (love) life. So when they challenge him to find a date for Valentine's Day, and he meets a lovely but lost girl who looks like she could use a friend, he thinks he's found the perfect solution.
But life has a way of being less than perfect … Will he be left standing on his own on the most romantic day of the year?
Get it from Amazon for only 99p! http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00PFBTMQ2
Praise for the #LoveLondon series...

Skating at Somerset House
A warm hearted winter tale that had me engaged from the very beginning. I genuinely cannot wait to read the rest’ LJ Bentley, Amazon
 ‘Sexy, fun and everything you need in one neat, gorgeous package. This is a winner for me.’ Chicks That Read.
This is going to be a fabulous series, I can feel it!Simona Elena, Sky’s Book Corner.

New Year at The Ritz
This is a lovely read that delivers more than you'd expect from such a short story. Nikki has written a book that not only delivers on the romantic front, after all, every girl wants a happy ending, especially at New Year. But, she also made me smile, ahhh a lot and got me thinking.’ Dawn Crooks, Crooks on Books
A sweet and flirty short story, I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what Nikki comes up with for the next book in the series.’ Simona Elena, Sky’s Book Corner.

The full #LoveLondon series published by HarperImpulse;
Skating at Somerset House (Short Story); Out Now http://amzn.to/1JPMgO8
New Year at The Ritz (Short Story); Out Now; http://amzn.to/1DlhM2E
Valentine's on Primrose Hill (Short Story); 9 February 2015 http://amzn.to/1vbm2CP
Cocktails in Chelsea (Short Story); March 2015 (Link coming soon)
Strawberries at Wimbledon (Short Story); April 2015 Pre-order http://amzn.to/1za5v1N
Picnics in Hyde Park, (Novel); Ebook May 2015 Pre-order http://amzn.to/1A3VTXN

Sunday, 25 January 2015

War Horse

Last night, Mr Aquarius, my eldest son and I went to see War Horse at the Bristol Hippodrome. It was really lovely to be doing something different like going to the theatre.

After reading the book last year, when Ben was in Year 4, and discussing his reading with his teacher, she told me about the production coming to Bristol. I looked it up and booked the tickets way back in July. How fast did January turn up!?

In the meantime, we watched the film. (I have made my son do this with a lot of films... read the book first, then watch the film... All the Harry Potter's, The Hobbit, Matilda... He's already appreciating why I do this.)

The film was good, and brought a more visual horror of the war and what the horses would have endured than the book could maybe conjure. (This is probably more for my son's imagination than mine as he hasn't seen the same level of war movies etc. as I have and it is a children's book after all.) However, there are differences in the book to the film, and we also saw this on the stage too.

I don't wish to be negative in any way about the theatre production. It is amazing. Three people hold the horse puppet, but you really do take no notice of them after a while. The horses look incredibly life like, constantly moving, even when in the background, like a real horse would do. There is good amount of humour throughout the show too. And Ben and I jumped (quite) a few times with the gun shots and bangs - but luckily so did the whole theatre. Of course, it's to simulate the 1st World War, there are going to be canons and gun fire!

I was advised to take tissues. I don't know if it's because I've read the book and I knew there would be a happy ending, but although moved by the performance (I got goosebumps at times and a small lump in my throat) I didn't need the tissues. (Probably a good job really, because when I cry, I really do like let it all out and have a good bawl. It would have been highly embarrassing.)

Unfortunately, what the film and the stage lack is that the story is told from Joey's point of view; that he misses his mother; he learns to trust Albert more than anyone, (and Zoe (which rhymes with Joey - hence his name) the old mare on the farm who teaches him to plough the fields); Topthorn is his friend, that they teach each other, and in the end Joey doesn't want to leave his dead friend but is forced to, and after all he's been through, Joey had to survive Tetanus.

The way I look at this, and how I try to accept all films "based" on a (favourite) book, is to see how the writers will take the story and use what they can to make a great film or theatre show, and "adapt" some parts of it, because they feel this will work better (maybe?) for the film/show. Maybe some things work in a book, that won't in a film/show? Who am I to know...? I need to remember they are adaptations...

All I do know is, I'm glad I read the book first. It gave me a much bigger insight into the film and the show.

As we left, I heard someone saying, "the film was better." I had to mumble, "Actually, the book was better."

But you know, you can't beat a live performance, so if War Horse comes to your town/city... go see it! You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

I Love My Job

I've been neglecting my blog again haven't I? With the excitement of my second book publishing, I've sort of forgotten about over here. Sorry.

I'll give you a bit of a catch up on life.

Yesterday I handed my notice in at the school. I work one day a week as a dinner lady there. It used to be three days, until I transferred into the Post Office.

I continued to work in the school in the hope it might lead to bigger and brighter things because every mum dreams of working in a school. It fits around the kids and school holidays, blah blah blah...

Well, I either don't have a face that fits or must be rubbish at my job, because two administrative positions came and went, and I never got a look in. Nope, not even an interview.

What interviews I've had at other schools were unsuccessful and I have learnt that to get a job in a school it's not what you know... it's who. Sorry, but that is the truth of it.

Having been out of the professional environment for ten years, I did question my ability. And then I got a job in the Post Office, and have the responsibility of opening up the office on my own every Saturday, and I handle large amounts of money... so actually, I am still good at my job.

I decided I love my Post Office role, and this fits around the kids. I've done it for a year now and survived covering school holidays and inset days, I would waste no more time trying to find that perfect job in the school. It isn't there. I was sitting there, filling out application forms and attending interviews, when I should have been writing.

By leaving my dinner lady position, this will give me three solid days to concentrate on my writing, and allow me some relaxation if I meet a friend for coffee, or need to pop to the shops; I can still get my writing done. There is no way I can sit at this desk for six hours. I'd be crippled. So I do tend to do an hour, then some house work or my exercising (running or pilates) then come back for another hour and so on.

Today I am over on Jane Linfoot's blog talking PRETTY FEET.  Please pop along and see my gorgeous shoes!

And now I'm going to crack on with writing book three, where the hero looks very similar to Henry Cavill.... Yes! I love my job...

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Happy Publication Day To Me - One Fine Day

The day has finally arrived! Today is One Fine Day's ebook birthday and is available to download from all good ebook sellers... from Amazon, to Sainsburys and Waterstones! (Paperback launches 12th March!)

One Fine Day: 

Just a boy standing in front of a girl…

Steve Mason returns from Hollywood after 15 years to catch up with his sister, Ruby. He’s miserable because the woman he was planning on marrying has dumped him.

He’s now worried that with his A-list celebrity status he won’t find a woman who genuinely loves him. Ruby devises a plan to disguise Steve, so that he is unrecognisable as the famous Hollywood actor, in a hope to help him find true love. It worked for Clark Kent, right?

As Steve searches for his not-so-perfect woman and has a taste of normality, his relationship develops with his sister. But will he find the right woman before he has to head back to his real life in Hollywood?

Steve Mason looks a bit like this guy :)
Buy Links 

Amazon UK Ebook ~ Amazon US ~ Add On Goodreads ~ Harper Impulse (for all other buy links)

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Goodbye 2014 - Hello 2015

Here we are. The last day of 2014.

Every year I think it flew by, then I look back and remember all the things I did and realise it was pretty jammed packed. For 2015 I might even do the cookie jar thing, by placing happy memories into the jar.

Today I ticked Ice skating off my bucket list. I think I've only done it once before as a child, and today, thirty odd years later, I went ice skating with my kids. I'm relieved to say I enter 2015 without any broken bones! Or bruises - I didn't fall over. Plenty of wobbles, but no falls.

They were much better than me - as I clung to the sides going round the rink - hence not falling over. Then I realised, kids have no fear. They don't care if they fall over - but I do!

Kieran had a seal, and Ben just went for it. Both had a few falls but they got back up and skated again. The only time I left the sides of the rink was when Kieran let me use his seal. (Next time - if there is ever a next time - I'm getting one of those things for me too!)

I'm not very good with New Year resolutions however, this year, I've set myself one: to get a passport. Mine expired a few years ago, and I haven't been abroad in ten years now, and I love flying. And how is Mr Aquarius going to whisk me off on a surprise mini break if I don't have a passport?

I'm also adding "to try and write more" - but this is always easier said than done. I need a third book, as I don't have any in hand written. So I need to knuckle down and write.

I already have a couple of things to look forward to in 2015! Once Plus One is a Lucky Number finishes in the 12 Days of Kindle Amazon sale - it has 6 days left, on the 8th January my second book, One Fine Day is published... you can preorder now :) and later on in January we are seeing the theatrical production of War Horse at the Bristol Hippodrome.

On that note, I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and may 2015 bring you much happiness! And book sales (if you're an author).

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas... I mean Kindle

Some advent calendars have a door on the 25th December and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you that Plus One is a Lucky Number has been selected for Amazon's 12 Days of Kindle. 

So exciting! It's the first time Plus One has featured in any promotion.

It is at the sale price of 99p - so if you received a new eReader or Kindle for Christmas... why not download your first eBook?

Remember if you don't have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle software for your Tablet.

Buy links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  x x x x

Teresa x