Monday, 20 October 2014

Jill Knapp's Cover Reveal

Jill Knapp on Roosevelt Island in New York
where her character Alex lives.
Today we have the first glimpse at the cover art of HarperImpulse author, Jill Knapp's next book, "We've Always Got New York", coming out November 20th! This novel is book #2 in the "What Happens To Men..?" series, which is now available in paperback in Great Britain. The first book has gotten rave reviews, and has divided its readers into two groups. Are you on Team Michael? Or are you on Team Hayden?


You can get a copy of book #1 here 


"We've Always Got New York" picks up after Amalia Hastings returns to Manhattan from her trip to Brazil to find that life has in fact gone on without her. Fresh off the plane, she is left feeling anxious and unresolved, left alone to pick up the pieces, and deal with the repercussions of choosing her own path over Michael. Amalia finds herself without an apartment, without a job, and starting to wonder if she's even without a best friend!

Jill can be reached on Twitter at @JL_Knapp and on Facebook 




Cover Reveal!
Now here's a sneak peak at the first chapter of "We've Always Got New York"!

Chapter 1- Amalia

I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting something from me. She was expecting something to be different. For me to be, in some way, changed.
I’m Amalia Hastings, and on August 20th at 9:17 pm, I was home.
Home. The word seemed funny to me because I didn’t have a home to go back to. I moved out of my apartment right before leaving for Brazil and after my friend-with-benefits, Michael, showed up at my apartment, asking me to stay. I hadn’t thought it through properly; I just knew I didn’t want to live in that apartment anymore. Before my trip to Brazil I packed up what little stuff I owned and put it in storage for when I returned, assuming I would deal with it then. Well, “then” has become “now”. So for tonight I was staying with my best friend Cassandra. Who was currently waving at me.
I knew what she wanted. She wanted stories. Juicy ones that involved hot hookups on the sand. She wanted to see pictures. Pictures of the places I went, the food I ate, and the hot guys I met. She wanted me to run up to her in a sun dress, hair braided and skin tanned, and explain, no, to pontificate, to her how life-changing my trip was. She wanted me to playfully link her arm around mine and gush about how amazing it all was. How I was changed forever. That I had a new appreciation for life, food, and music. She wanted me to tell her that I would never be the same.
But this isn’t the movies and I’m not Julia Roberts.
The florescent lights above me flickered, making the airport look dark and ominous. I looked down at my hand as I pulled my rolling suitcase across the sticky, tiled floor. Not even my hand had acquired a tan. Three months in the Brazilian sun and my skin remained as pale as ever.
Cassandra was looking right at me with wide, unblinking eyes. I walked a little slower.
For some reason I couldn’t pinpoint, coming off the plane felt like a surreal experience to me. Although I was relieved to have landed, and I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in Brazil any longer, I still wasn’t utterly happy with being back. I wondered if it merely had to do with the fact that I had no apartment to go back to and was feeling pretty untethered from not having a proper home.
There’s an old saying. I’m not really sure where it’s from or who said it first. Kind of the proverb equivalent of The House of the Rising Sun. It proffers, “Wherever you go, there you are”, and up until about one month ago I had no idea what it meant. But now it means everything. It rings in my ears like a scolding mother, repeating itself over and over again until I submit.
I finally stood face to face with Cassandra, who was grinning like a fool at this point. She was dressed down for the night, wearing a purple racer-back tank top that showed off her summer glow, jeans, and gold flip-flops. Her blonde hair was pulled into a loose, messy bun and her make-up was minimal, apart from the extra-shiny, coral lip-gloss she was wearing. She reeked of summer.
“Hey,” I offered, looking down at my sneakers. I wished I had more energy for her, but after ten hours on a plane it was all I could muster up.
Cassandra cocked her head to the side and smiled. Her hair swung back and forth and she popped her hip out like a model in training. She looked as fierce as ever, even dressed-down in comfortable summer clothes.
“That’s all I get? Get over here!” she said, pulling me in for a hug.
I hugged her back for a moment and then pulled away, overcome with exhaustion and jet-lag. I smiled at Cassandra. She smelled like a salty coconut and I realized she had probably come straight from Fire Island, a beach not too far from Long Island and just outside of the city. That explained the dressed-down attire, but not the lip-gloss. Unless, of course, we were going straight back there from JFK airport.
I looked back at the gate. Most people I knew hated airports, but I liked them. They offered a chance to escape. Get on a plane and in six hours from now you could be across the country. You could be in a different town, in a different house, with a different group of people. I think we all took that for granted.
I could go back to Brazil right now. Or I could go somewhere else. I’ve never been to Cincinnati; I wonder what it’s like there. Or maybe Savannah. I could definitely live in Savannah! I took a step backwards, away from Cassie. Back toward the inside of the airport. She just smiled.
“Very funny, Amalia!” she said through perfectly white teeth. “Don’t sneak away from me now. I’m so glad you’re back, I really missed you.”
Cassie threw her arm over me and smushed our faces together. She whipped out her iPhone and flipped the camera application around so the front lens could be used and snapped a picture of the two of us. Before I knew it, she uploaded the picture to Facebook with the caption “So excited, Amalia is officially home!”
Without glancing back, she walked a few feet in front of me and remained glued to her phone. The back of her Havaianas smacking onto her heels echoed throughout the now nearly empty hallway. I let out a long sigh that Cassandra didn’t hear and pulled my suitcase toward the exit. Yep, it was official. I was home.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Happy Birthday!

Among a lot of other people, today I share my birthday with Hugh Jackman! (I've started to appreciate this man more and more after devouring the box set of the X-Men.)



Happy birthday, Hugh!

All the coolest people have their birthday on the 12th October!

Today is the 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday! Whoop! (So much better looking at it that way!)

If you have kids, I think your birthdays are just as much for them. I've bought a huge cupcake of a birthday cake out of Sainsburys. I will adorn it with candles - not all 41, that's just asking for trouble - and let the kids blow out the candles for me.


I'm planning on a lazy day, with hopefully a few presents to open, because even at my age, I still like presents. Then we will be off to a Hungry Horse for tea - because I certainly am not cooking.

I'm sure there will be wine consumed in the evening, too.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fake Friday with Angela Campbell

Oh, look, I've got fellow Harper Impulse author, Angela Campbell, on my blog, talking about writing and her new book, Spirited Away. Let's get to the questions! 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I would write stories and act them out with stuffed animals.


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

It is tucked away somewhere, and I don’t even know where it is. Pretty sure it was garbage.


My Twitter style question: Describe your hero in 140 characters.

Dark. Mysterious. A total hottie who is only too happy to help his enticing new neighbor when she gets in trouble. Has ulterior motives.


My Twitter style question: Describe your heroine in 140 characters.

Borrowing from a reviewer (Chicks That Read): A tech geek. Give her a computer and she has the confidence of Naomi Campbell, but when the boss asks her to pet and housesit chaos ensues.


Why do you like writing romance?

It’s the only genre where a happy ending is pretty much guaranteed, and real life has too many sad endings. I’d rather write and read about happily ever afters.


Which of your characters is your favourite, and why?

I am fond of them all, but Spider is my favorite character so far. She’s so darn funny! We could totally be best friends.


What do you read while you write, or don’t you?

I read whatever I can fit into my schedule, which isn’t much. It’s always something in romance. When I’m writing, it takes most of my free time.


Do you have a favourite author?

No. I can’t pick just one!


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

I keep it! I absolutely cannot throw a book away, and it pains me to give it away. Occasionally I’ve exchanged them for different ones, but only if I didn’t particularly like the book. I have hundreds, maybe thousands of books in storage.


What advice would you give to new writers?

Everyone gets discouraged. EVERYONE. Determination and persistence are assets you will absolutely need to succeed in publishing.


Are you nervous about friends reading your book?

Yes. I have a very difficult time telling anyone I know that I’m published.


Cocktail or shot? 

If so, what one? Neither. I don’t drink alcohol. True story.


Tea or coffee? 

Tea!


Chocolate or ice cream? 

Chocolate.


Dogs or cats? 

Both!


BLURB:

Book 3 in the brilliantly witty ‘Psychic Detective’ series from Angela Campbell – perfect for fans of the Sookie Stackhouse & Stephanie Plum books!
Who knew pet-sitting could be so dangerous…or so sexy?!
Socially awkward Emma “Spider” Fisher prefers her laptop to people, so she’s more than happy to oblige her boss when he asks her to pet- and housesit while he honeymoons in London.
But it doesn’t take long for accident-prone Spider to lose a dog, get locked out of the house, and set off the house alarm!
Thankfully, her hot new neighbour is more than happy to come to her rescue. But Noah West is a mystery to Spider—and one she intends to solve.

AUTHOR BIO:


Angela Campbell read her first romance novel at 16 and immediately attempted to write one, too. Many attempts (and a couple of decades) later, she finally published her first novel. A mild-mannered newspaper reporter with more than 15 years experience as a general assignment reporter, features editor and graphic designer, she has also worked as a production assistant in TV and film. Learn more about her books at www.angelacampbellonline.com.

BUY LINK:


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Brainstorming Book Titles

My editor and I are in talks about the name of my second book.

I like the idea of having the word 'Perfect' in it. She's thinking of things around super heroes, and 'super' because I do reference the good old Man of Steel from time to time in my book - I'm talking Christopher Reeve, not Henry Cavill, although I love him too.

This is because my hero, Steve Mason, goes under a disguise, a bit like Clark Kent.

Then I'm thinking Star or Stars... because he's a Hollywood actor, a Super Star.

Currently the working title is Perfect Isn't An Option. The reason being is (just a quick blurb I've knocked up);

Steve Mason is looking for his perfect girlfriend. But he doesn't want perfect. He could pick up 'perfect' in Hollywood. But with his celebrity super-star status, how will he know if a woman genuinely loves him?  
His bossy sister, Ruby, comes up with a plan, stripping away his fame and fortune, she makes Steve hide behind a disguise to find love... It worked for Clark Kent, right?  


If you can think of anything, then please leave a comment below. In the meantime, I'll get my thinking-cap on.... and finish editing the book.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

One Of Those Blog Posts

I'm having one of those 'I feel overwhelmed moments.'

I've had a really lovely day today with my friend. We've gone to the cinema while the kids were at school, so we've had the place to ourselves. And before that we had a late breakfast/very early lunch at Frankie And Benny's. We both had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Yum!

Then I've come home and picked up the boys from school, and that's when reality crashes back. My lovely day out is the price of no housework being done, still the ever increasing 'to do' list, and no writing achieved. Plus the joy of argumentative, fighting kids.

Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn't write. I wouldn't beat myself up every time I spend some leisure time with friends. I wouldn't have that nagging voice at the back of my mind saying, 'I should be writing'. The housework wouldn't seem such a chore, or waste of time, because I'd have plenty of time to do it, rather than thinking, 'I'd rather be writing'. I'd probably actually have free time.

Just imagine... time to watch the TV. Guilt free.

Life was simpler without kids, working Monday to Friday nine till five... wasn't it? Although I wasn't really happy then, because I found myself bored. Very bored.

Life would feel better if I could write Monday to Friday nine till five...

However, that doesn't pay so well at the moment - and I doubt it ever will! - so I have to work to feed us, and keep a roof over our heads. Also, the housework - even the bare minimum I do - still has to be done. And before you harp on you can leave the housework, there is still some that has to be done daily, like cooking and the washing up! And we all need clean clothes. (I can't live in complete chaos - I'm just not that sort of person).

I know I chose to be a single mum, and I don't regret that decision. I wasn't happy, and now I am. But it is hard work. Being a mum full stop is hard work. But when I'm trying to make a career out of writing - because wouldn't it be nice to be a woman with a career!? - plus work (which isn't a job I'd choose but fits around the kids) to pay the bills, and then the cooking, cleaning, ironing... Some days, I just feel overwhelmed and fed up... as if I'm forever chasing my tail. Or biting off more than I can chew...

So if you ever feel like you're having one of those days too. You are not alone.



Friday, 29 August 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Plus One is a Lucky Number

On this day, one year ago, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a published author.

Plus One is a Lucky Number (aka its working title The Wedding Favour) was released as an eBook with Harper Collins' imprint, Harper Impulse on Thursday 29th August 2013. They placed it in their Rom Com/Chick Lit category, and I remember worriedly asking my new editor, Charlotte Ledger, "Is it funny enough?"



Apparently it does have gentle humour throughout. And with 28 reviews on Amazon, the majority of them being four or five stars, I've hopefully done something right. I've had mums in the playground stop and tell me they couldn't put my book down.






Me, Jane, Lorraine & Charlotte - Oct '13 Harper Impulse Party






The lovely thing is that I've joined Harper Impulse with three other members from my Bath & Wiltshire RNA chapter meeting - Lorraine Wilson, Jane Lark and Charlotte Phillips. So I haven't gone in it alone, and they're good sounding boards when I'm not sure about something.


First book signing - 9th Aug 2014


Only recently I actually held my first book signing at Waterstones in Weston-super-Mare. It was a fabulous afternoon with a lot of support from fellow writers and good friends. I blogged about it on the Harper Impulse blog here.

In this year, I have obsessed over reviews and Amazon rankings, even though we're told not to. I've seen it released in paperback (8th May 2014), I've attended the RNA Summer party as a contender for the Joan Hessayon Award.  I've even had cocktails at the Ritz!

Joan Hessayon Contenders - RNA Summer Party May 2014




I have also learnt I will never tire of these two words said together: My editor.

Plus One is a Lucky Number is dedicated to Elizabeth Charles and Star Ostgard. These two women, way back in 2006, encouraged me to start writing. If they hadn't, I wouldn't be here. I'd be somewhere, frustrated and bored... Now I know the voices in my head are normal.

Thank you x




Saturday, 23 August 2014

Summer Holiday Antics and Book Signings

In between Jill Mansell & Lindsey Kelk :)
Dear Lord! I'm neglecting my blog again.

In my defence, it is the school holidays!

And there is only a week left then they are back to school.

I'm not sure if I've got the uniform ready or what. I'm not even sure if they need new school uniform. Tough if they do. I've spent all my money entertaining them.

The boys were with their dad for the first couple of weeks, and in that time I did manage to do my book signing. I wrote the experience up and posted it on the Harper Impulse blog. So check that out too!

It was great! I sold out. I had lots of support from friends. The hardest part was knowing what to write inside the book when signing it.

Below are some of the photos - proof I have been entertaining the kids!

Fact's The Way To Do It, Lad!
I have lots more but I haven't had a chance to download them from my camera yet. But you can see we've been fairly busy. We've seen steam trains, a Victorian home, fairground rides, a Gromit and fed swans. We've played rounders on the beach and even paddled, albeit a bit cold (it's felt like February not August).

I know I'll be glad when the kids are back at school. I'm in need of a rest. Plus, I might actually get back into the habit of writing. All these day trips out are very tiring, and not so good when it comes to trying to write words to a story. The kids have been having late nights, and I've been following very shortly after. September I will write, honest.

GWR Steam Train Museum

Brean Leisure Park

An afternoon on the beach... albeit a bit cold

And of course, Slimbridge. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Written Fireside Christmas Blog Hop

It's here, it's August... and it's Christmas... 

This is Written Fireside: Christmas By The Fire.

An InLinkz Link-up

And here is my short story with Georgia Beyers' winning first paragraph...

Naughty But Nice by Teresa F Morgan


Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely ‘nice’. This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so ‘naughty’ seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon.
Well, she had a few more days to fix things before Christmas Eve.
Not with Daniel, of course. He so wasn’t right for her.
He can’t have been that devastated either. Molly reported seeing him hanging out with Daisy a week later.
Pfft. Daisy and Daniel.
That’ll never last. Their names together sound so mushy.
Now who’s getting nasty? Santa doesn’t condone nastiness. He’ll tolerate naughty... And jealousy was never your style, Charlotte Templeton. Good luck to Daisy and Daniel.
See, she could do nice.
Maybe sensitive, meek, Daisy will endure Daniel’s sulks.
There you go again, getting nasty.
Maybe he was just that way with her. Charlotte had grown tired of the selfish tantrums if he didn’t get his way, to the point they had started to make her miserable. A relationship was supposed to come easily, happiness was not meant to be a challenge. They were two different species. Compared to the happy, spritely Charlotte, Daniel carried the traits of a demon.
Charlotte tugged up her scarf to cover her nose, then stuffing her gloved hands into the pockets of her wool coat, convinced herself, not for the first time, that she’d made the right decision. Daniel may well have said he loved her, he may have acted really hurt, but he’d never truly shown her his feelings. It had only been words. Charlotte wanted the little gestures; creeping up and giving cuddles from behind, soft kisses on her neck, all those little surprises. He’d not once bought her a bouquet of flowers. You’d have thought she’d been asking for all the toys at Christmas. It had been three months of Charlotte making the effort before she realised she’d been the one working the hardest toward the relationship. As fast as it started, it was over.
“You’re better off on your own,” she mumbled aloud to herself. “Now where is this damn bus?” Probably Santa’s way of punishing her.
She didn’t really want to go to the party. There was a good chance Daniel and Daisy would be there. Molly promised it would be fun, and she should come. She’d thought about driving, but the weather had been atrocious lately, and due to get icy later, plus she could do with some mulled wine to warm her heart. Because apparently, according to Daniel, it was cold.
She fumbled for her phone in her small handbag which was just about big enough to carry the evening’s essentials, pulling the glove off her right hand with her teeth, and dialled the taxi rank’s number – again. It still had an engaged tone. This time of year they were ultra busy. She hoped she’d manage on the bus okay as she was wearing her favourite shoes. Not designed for practicality but for stun factor. They shimmered like stars and added four inches to her average height.
The distinct rumble of a bus coming along the road made Charlotte end the call with the taxi rank and put her phone away, while other hand waved to get the bus to stop.
As the bus halted, lowering to the curb, Charlotte got her purse ready.
“To town, please,” she said, the heat inside the bus hitting her cold face.
“Return?”
“No, a single, please.” Single like me, she nearly added. “The time I’m planning to come home the buses won’t be running.” She chuckled nervously. How bad did that sound? Definitely staying on the naughty list at this rate. “I don’t mean it like that.” Charlotte blushed.
“I know what you mean, twinkle.” The bus driver – old enough to be her dad – winked as he took her money. “Eleven is way too early to come home on a Saturday night, especially this time of year.”
Charlotte settled into her seat as the bus pulled away. And so she didn’t have to make eye contact with any of the passengers, conscious she was over dressed for a bus ride, she text Molly to confirm she was on her way. She was having a hard time breaking her habit of tucking the curled tendrils behind her ear, not used to her auburn hair up in a chignon. Later she wouldn’t care what her hair looked like but, for now, it needed to look its best – at least upon entrance to the party.
“Wow, did you just get off a bus outside the club?” Molly said, thrusting a glass in Charlotte’s hand as soon as she came through the door. Steam rose from the light brown liquid and smelled of spice.
“As if by magic, the driver took one look at my shoes and took pity on me. He insisted the club was en-route, so he’d let me get off outside.” Charlotte sipped the drink and frowned. “What’s this?” It wasn’t mulled wine that Charlotte craved, but it was warm.  
“Mulled cider. I decided to have a change this year. Plus if you spill this down your dress it won’t stain so bad.” Molly patted her gently, and all too knowingly.
“That wasn’t me last year. Some witch barged past me and made me drop my glass.”
“Now, now. We’re all his little helpers.”
Charlotte took a sip and nodded her appreciation. “Okay, this is as good, actually. I’m impressed.”
“Good. Now ditch your coat in the cloakroom and get mingling.”
“Molly, I’m early, there’s hardly anyone here.”
“I want you to help meet and greet – I can’t do it all. But remember, you and I have a date with the dance floor later.”
Molly’s birthday was unfortunately Christmas Day, and so, ever since Charlotte had known her, Molly had always liked to celebrate her birthday earlier. And because she was chief party organiser for the factory, she tended to tie the two in together. It usually worked out to be a great party, although this year Charlotte wasn’t so sure, as she spied Daniel and Daisy entering together, all laughing and loved up. Shame Daisy’s hair made her look like she’d been dragged through a Christmas tree backwards.
Nice, Charlotte. Be nice. It is rather windy outside.
All the same, she’d let Molly say hello to them. Leaning against the bar, Charlotte knocked back the last of her drink. She turned to get the attention of the barman, and elbowed a man already standing at the bar.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said.  
“It’s okay, I was hoping to bump into you tonight.”
“Well, technically, I bumped you.”
“True. Can I buy you a drink?” He had a smooth, deep voice that sent warmth to her bones. Or was that the mulled cider? Charlotte stared, examining his dark brown eyes, the shape of his handsome face. He cheekily smiled, breaking the spell. “I saw you standing all on your lonesome and thought I couldn’t have that. Your shoes are quite a distraction.”
“Just my shoes?”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “Okay, not just the shoes. They caught my attention, and I liked who was wearing them. My name’s Lewis by the way.”
She grinned, and blushed. “I’m Charlotte. And yes, you can buy me a drink. I would like that very much.” Even in her sparkly heels, she still had to look up to study his gorgeous face. “I don’t recognise you, where do you work?”
“I work in the electronics department.”
Charlotte shot a glance at his clasped hands where he leaned against the bar. He had large, strong looking hands, and she wondered how he managed to work on the intricate details of electronics... all that fiddly stuff... then imagined what they could do to her. She swallowed. “Lots of people work in your department though, it’s no wonder I haven’t spotted you. It’s such a growing department.”
“I notice you every day.”
“You do?” Charlotte’s belly filled with butterflies. “But I’m not always wearing these shoes.” She giggled nervously. Usually she wore her favourite black, flat, and very comfortable shoes – nothing noticeable about them. “And I’m way down the office, in the dolls department. Sadly, our department is shrinking.”
“Yeah, kids today, hey?” Lewis gave another cheeky grin.
“They’re growing up too fast, these days wanting electrical gadgets. Gone are the days of wooden trains and plastic dolls with real tears.”
“There’s still a need for them,” Lewis said.
“Yes, but not for long. Children seem to grow out of these toys quicker.” She sighed. At least children under six still wanted toys.  
Totally forgetting her duties to help Molly with the socialising, Charlotte got lost in conversation with Lewis, and they slowly got to know one another. Every now and then she’d have to ask him to repeat what he said, because she’d been too busy looking at his delectable mouth, and not really concentrating on what he was saying. As the venue got busier, they were pushed closer together. She could smell the scent of his cologne; feel his breath on her neck as he talked close to her ear, sending goose bumps over her shoulders and down her arms. Every time he touched her, it wasn’t only her shoes that sparkled.  How had she not noticed this stunning man before?
“Shall we move to somewhere quieter?” Lewis asked, picking up both their glasses off the bar. “There’s a table free over there.”
A tall table stood close to the dance floor. He put the glasses down, and pulled round a solitary high stool for Charlotte to sit at.  She gratefully took the seat, resting her feet on the foot bar. Her shoes maybe good to look at but there was only so long she could stand in them.
“Oh, look, we’re under the mistletoe,” Lewis said with a devious smile. He leaned in and kissed her, gently at first, then, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, their mouths opened, deepening the kiss.
Charlotte wasn’t getting off Santa’s naughty list at this rate, but by Lapland, it was nice.

The End.


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