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.


Now remember to enter the competition below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 4 August 2014

Want to Know Sue Moorcroft's Secrets?

(Did you see what I did there, Sue?) 

So excited! I have Sue Moorcroft on my blog today to talk about her new book, The Wedding Proposal. 

*Takes deep breath and suppresses the inner fangirl* 

Sue, as you know, I’m a huge fan of your books. I love them all, however I would say, Ratty (Miles Rattenbury, Starting Over) is still my favourite hero of yours (closely followed by Martyn Mayfair, Love and Freedom). I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; Every girl needs a guy like Ratty.

How does your new hero, Lucas Rose in The Wedding Proposal compare? Why will we love Lucas?

Thanks for all your kind words, Teresa. I don’t think I’ve ever quite fallen out of love with Ratty.

I think that those readers who liked Ratty, and also Jed from Is This Love?, will like Lucas Rose. He’s the kind of guy who has the courage of his convictions. He thinks right’s right and wrong’s wrong and he hates secrets. He’s the first to admit he has a huge jealous streak. When Elle used to know him he worked in marketing but after a spell in a California vineyard and now working as a divemaster in Malta, he’s let his hair grow. You can usually find him in board shorts and bare feet. It’s quite a look.

I’m loving the premise for The Wedding Proposal. Where do you get your story ideas from? Do events happen in life? Do you meet someone and think they’d be interesting to put in a book?

My ideas come from all over. Something will enter my mind and I’ll explore it and want to write about it. In the case of The Wedding Proposal I decided it was time I set a book in my beloved Malta again and I wanted to write a reunion book. I love reading them. Had I known how much extra plotting was necessary, I may not have been quite so keen … You have to know SO MUCH about the backstory, it’s untrue.

The book is dedicated To anyone who was ever young. And made a mistake. Not being allowed to forget a mistake is the theme of the book. Part of Elle’s story has things in common with my own life – but I won’t tell you which parts.

The story is set in Malta, not Middledip, like most of your books... any particular reason for this?

I just like to ‘be’ in Malta in my mind from time-to-time. When I was a little girl we could see a yacht marina from our balcony and that’s where I have moored the two boats in the book, the Shady Lady and Seadancer. I thought it would be fun to get together two people who parted four years ago and put them on a 42’ boat for the summer, then see what happened.

Having attended your talk on ‘Matchmaking Heroes and Heroines,’ at the RNA conference recently (brilliant workshop by the way), which came first for this book, the hero or the heroine? Then did you build the other to match-make them?

Thank you! I think Elle came first, but, to be honest, my hero and heroine tend to grow in my mind together as I’m interested in their relationship dynamic from the start. Elle and Lucas are not the ‘match made in heaven’ couple, they’re more the ones who butt heads a lot – opposites attract, you could say. That’s my favourite combination and I think it suits alpha male heroes. My heroes are driving forces in my books every bit as much as my heroines.

The big conflict between Elle and Lucas is their differing attitudes to … well, Lucas would call it ‘secrecy’ whereas Elle would call it ‘privacy’. She doesn’t feel the need to expose everything about herself whereas he might sometimes see this, and her self-sufficiency, as rejections of him. I suppose he’s a possessive guy but trying not to be because he knows it’s uncool.

Last silly one; if you were stranded on a desert island with one of your heroes, which one would it be and why?

Wow. Good question. You know, I think it might be Ratty – because he was the first of my heroes who I really truly fell in love with.

PS You didn’t give him his full name in your opening. It’s Miles Arnott-Rattenbury. Under the tattoos and the car oil, he’s pretty middle class, you know!

I am so sorry, Sue. I will admit, I went to the blurb on the back of the book, and took his name from there. Lol! It’s been a while since I’ve read Starting Over, but I think it’s due for a re-read. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Good luck with The Wedding Proposal. I already have it pre-ordered. :) 

The Wedding Proposal


Can a runaway bride stop running?

Elle Jamieson is an unusually private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But when she’s made redundant, with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to a new life in sunny Malta.

Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less from others. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking.

Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal ended everything they had. But then an unexpected phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s hidden past when it finally comes to light?

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Is this Love? was nominated for the Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue received three nominations at the Festival of Romance 2012, and is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. She’s a past vice chair of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.

Sue also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a competition judge and creative writing tutor.

Sue’s latest book The Wedding Proposal is available as an ebook from 4 August 2014 and as a paperback from 8 September.

Twitter @suemoorcroft




Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Written Fireside Christmas Blog Hop... is coming...

Yes I said Christmas! Yes it is only July!

Fifteen Harper Impulse authors have come together to sit around the fire, though this time it's going to be a little different.

A competition was organised by Lori Connelly and Harper Impulse team to find the starting paragraph, and then us authors are going to continue this on, and create a short story.

Throughout August you'll get snippets of the stories, and then Harper Impulse will release the anthology in time for Christmas.


Fifteen authors, fifteen stories.

One shared, starting paragraph.


Read a taste of what's coming for Christmas


This is the winning paragraph which each short story will stem from:

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 Daniels 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.
By Georgia Beyers

So keep an eye out in August for the stories! And there will be a Rafflecopter giveaway too!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Any Book Signing Tips For A Novice?

I am attending my very first book signing on Saturday (26th July) in Waterstones, Weston-super-Mare.

If interested, I will be there from 2pm until the shop closes (or the books are sold - let's hope, huh!).

As you know, my début novel, Plus One is a Lucky Number, came out in paperback on the 8th May this year.


Attending the conference, and listening to some of my fellow authors' complaints, made me realise what a great local store I have, because a lot of writers can't seem to get book signings in their local Waterstones - which is such a shame. So I feel really privileged and very lucky to get such great support!

I'm nervous, because I'm not really good at selling, and haven't the faintest idea how I'm going to tackle this... I am just hoping that with my natural ability to talk and socialise, I will over come this fear.

I am going to arm myself with a good pen or two (not my favourite for fear of losing it - that one never leaves the house!) and my bookmarks that I've had printed. I have even chosen the dress I want to wear... But do I need anything else?

With this blog post, I am looking for tips and ideas... anything... What have you done at your book signings? What worked? What should I avoid?

Please tell me by leaving comments below or emailing me!



Monday, 14 July 2014

The RNA Conference Buzz

Me, Rachel Brimble and Jane Lark selfie.
I am probably, like every other writer who attended the RNA Conference at the weekend, now blogging about it.

And why not!? It makes good blogging fodder!

Everyone who attended will agree with me here. The conference gives you such a buzz, and you meet so many lovely authors, and aspiring writers, you just can't help get a high from it all.

My good friend Mary Cross with Lizzie Lane
In fact, I'm feeling rather deflated today... missing the lovely people, the delicious food and the scrumptious wine... I ate so much good food! (And drank too much wine.)

This year felt particularly good for me actually.

1) I met up with lots of authors I hadn't seen in three years, since the last (and my very first conference) I attended.

2) I was no longer a conference virgin. I knew what I was doing :-)

Me, Sue Fortin and Mandy Baggot




And 3) I had fellow writers to hang around with. It was really fab, because a good majority of my RNA chapter group made it to the conference, and so we all hung out together :) It was like an extended RNA chapter meeting.


The Romaniacs :-) 
It's a good reflection for me also. In 2011, I attended the RNA conference as an aspiring romance writer, not even a member of the RNA. But that conference encouraged me to join the RNA New Writers' Scheme, and here I am returning, three years later, now a full member of the RNA with a novel published.
Nikki Moore, Linn B Halton, Mandy B and
Jane Lark
Harper Impulse authors :)













It also enabled me to meet up with my fellow Harper Impulse authors too!

Anyway, with this blog post I'm going to share some of my favourite photos - however I have plastered the lot over on my website :)
Nikki Moore and Sue Moorcroft
(Not sure who the lady in pink is)


Morton Gray :-) Who I Love!


















As you can see, I've managed to get some great photos of great authors :-) And you can see how smiley we are... or is that the free wine?



Our RNA Bath and Wiltshire Chapter group.









Gosh, there were so many more photos I wanted to add on this blog post...


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Fake Friday - The Rachel Brimble Take Over

Today, Rachel Brimble has taken over my blog! 


Writers Block – it arrived and bit me in the butt!!

So happy to be here with fellow Romantic Novelist Association member, Teresa F Morgan! Thanks for having me visit, lovely lady.

I can’t help feeling my inability to move on with my current work in progress has been brought on by karma. I have always said that ‘writer’s block’ doesn’t exist. Just write! Anything…everything…it can always be edited, changed or cut, just write. Well, I’ve tried and tried and still I keep looking at what I’ve written and say to myself, “What in the world is that supposed to mean? Do? Say? It’s complete rubbish.”

The answer, of course, is that something is wrong with the book itself, whether that be the plot or characters…but lord in heaven knows what! Thankfully, I have an amazing editor and an amazing trio of critique partners who are stalwartly trying to pull me through this mire that is my next contracted book with Harlequin Superromance. Thanks to their feedback, I think the problem lies with my hero and his motivation. It’s flimsier than a pair of seven denier tights! No doubt, the mist will clear eventually… L

So what happens next? Back to the drawing board, I think. My editor has a lot more belief in me than I do right now but that’s what writing is, it’s a hard, dirty job that a huge amount of aspiring writers give up on. Teem the hard work, with the lack of ideas, with the time constraints, with the rejection and you’ve got to ask yourself, “WHY am I doing this?”

The answer is clear to anyone who feels, like me, they’ve found their calling…we HAVE to do this or be less than half the person we were meant to be. So onwards and upwards…watch this space for the result, which should be published during the summer 2015 J

As for other writers out there? I sincerely hope I’ve inspired, rather than depressed you, lol! You can do this and having written fourteen novels and two novellas to date, I wanted to share that it isn’t just you who suffers these days/weeks or months of inactivity, it happens to us all. Keep writing!

Rachel’s latest release is the third book in her ongoing Templeton Cove series with Harlequin Superromance. What Belongs To Her is available right now! Here’s the blurb and buy links:

She's ready to take back what's hers 
Since the moment a local crime boss claimed ownership of her family's fairground, Sasha Todd has dreamed of righting the wrong. Now it's time to act, and backing down from the man's estranged son is definitely not an option. After all, giving up her legacy to hot-blooded John Jordon means losing the chance to finally heal the wounds in her past. 
Stopping John in his tracks—and resisting the sizzle between them—is Sasha's best defense. But there's more to him than she thought, which changes everything. With what matters most at stake, she'll have to risk a brand-new future with John, or walk away from the man whose heart belongs to her.

Buy Links:





Bio:


Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK.  After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance, followed by a further three book contract in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington—The Seduction of Emily and The Temptation of Laura are available with a further two books coming soon.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England…although she hopes a dream visit to Canada might just change her mind!

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!


Links:



 Thank you, Rachel, for taking over my blog today :-) Some good advice and you really have inspired me! Look forward to meeting up with you again soon. Teresa x 


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Written Fireside - Missing You - Part 5

Yes, it's another Written Fireside, and it's my turn to post my part. If you haven't read the previous parts, then please follow the links below. 





And now you've caught up, here's Part 5 of Missing You:


Kaylie’s gut instinct grew stronger as she and Sam cautiously hiked through the woods towards the old abandoned mansion. They were on the right path. She was getting closer to finding Max.

Her fond childhood memories of her and Max playing in these woods felt different now, as she anxiously glanced over her shoulder. She had to ensure those two men that had entered Max’s house weren’t following them. A sinister feeling between the trees shrouded her, darkness creeping in as the sun fell behind grey clouds, leaving a chill in the air.  

George sniffed ahead, as if he knew where to head, with Kaylie following, and Sam covering their tracks. She heard a twig crack and leaves rustle, making her heart race. A bird flew from a branch and in her fear, not looking where she was going, she tripped over a protruding tree root. Sam caught her arm, stopping her from falling. The sensation his touch provoked surprised her.

Get a grip, Kaylie.

“How’s Cindy?” she said sharply, reminding herself, as much as Sam, why they no longer saw eye to eye. She shrugged her arm out of his grip and kept walking.

“It’s over.”

“Oh.”

“It never really started. You have to believe me, it was an honest mistake.”

Kaylie wanted to shout that witnessing Cindy kiss him hadn’t looked like a mistake from where she’d been standing, catching them at it, when the old mansion came into view. It was breath taking in its grand stature, but miserable with its slow decay and abandonment. Years ago, it must have been so grand.

They peered through dirty windows as they searched the grounds, but George, tail wagging, found them their way in.  George scratched at the old red wooden doors jutting out of the ground. Was this where he’d gained his splinter?

“Good boy, George,” Kaylie said. Together they wrenched open the doors, revealing stairs which went down into the basement. Considering the age, and its neglect, the doors opened easily, without a struggle, as if they’d been used recently. Max had been here.  

As she was about to enter, Sam placed a hand on Kaylie’s shoulder.

“Wait,” he said. “I’ll go first.”

With a bark, George barged past, disappearing into the darkness.

"Too late, George beat you to it.” She giggled; a mixture of nerves and apprehension of what the mansion may hold escaping her. Chuckling, Sam started his descent.  

Kaylie grabbed Sam’s comforting hand as he stepped down before her. The basement was dark, the only light coming from the stairwell. It was full of dusty old furniture, paint pots, jars and old tools covered in cobwebs. Nothing out of the ordinary. George scratched and whimpered at something tucked behind an old bookshelf.

Sam shooed George and strained, reaching for the object. Sam unwrapped the clothed package to reveal an old wooden keepsake box. Kaylie could sense Max’s presence strongly.

Carefully, opening the box, Sam passed Kaylie a flash drive. She took it with trembling hands.

“Kaylie, there’s a note from Max, too.”
To be continued...


Next parts to follow: 

Part 6 by Jill L Knapp - 8th July 

Part 7 by Jane Lark
Part 8 by Zara Stoneley
Part 9 by Aimee Duffy

More about the authors can be found in the links below: 


Her book - One Kiss

Angela Campbell - Website   Facebook   Twitter   Blog

Teresa F. Morgan -  Website  Facebook  Twitter  
Her books - Plus One is a Lucky Number Co-Author - Be My Valentine  

Jill L. Knapp - Website   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads Harper Impulse  
Her book - Chase   

Jane Lark - Website  Facebook  Twitter  Blog History

Zara Stoneley - Website  Facebook   Twitter  Blog  Amazon Author Page


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George