Monday, 30 September 2013

This Is My 400th blog post!

I've hit the 400 mark... And before I'm 40 ha ha! Wow, I can't believe since I started blogging in 2010 I've hit 400 posts.

I actually have around twelve days left in my 30s... I've just posted this on my Facebook profile to my friends, and I was wondering are there things I should have done before I'm 40. Do you have any suggestions?

Should these last days in my 30s be spent doing something special each day?

Okay, well, before I turned 40 I got my book published. That's one BIG tick!

I've also seen Dirk Benedict in the flesh! (Not naked, for all you with dirty minds, but he was playing Columbo in theatre. I saw him in Plymouth - a couple of years ago now). That's a second tick.

So what else? Should I have swum with dolphins? Climbed Mount Everest? Bit late now... I only have 12 days. However if you have any ideas, leave them here and I'll see what I can do... They need to be realistic and cheap though... unfortunately real life gets in the way, and I'm trying to finish writing my second novel.

What do you think I should have done/experienced by the time I'm forty?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Hump Day Hot Seat: Wendy Lou Jones

Today I have Wendy Lou Jones in the hot seat! 

Wendy and I are newly acquainted writers, thanks to the lovely Harper Impulse publishing our debut novels. Also, Wendy helped me with the blog post title, hence it's called Hump Day Hot Seat.

I gave Wendy the same set of questions I gave Annalisa, so you can compare answers later.
So here goes... 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. Definitely a late developer there.

Did you manage to get the first book you wrote published, or is it tucked in a drawer somewhere?
Tucked away. I’m reworking my second one at the moment and that has been a real eye opener as to how far I've come! Yikes.

What’s so special about your hero that makes your heroine fall in love with him?
Andy is honest, brave, tender, thoughtful, devoted to her and fit. :) What’s not to love?

Why do you like writing romance?
Falling in love, it’s just the best thing. The more longing and yearning, the better.

What do you read while you write, or don’t you?
I read less while I’m actually creatively writing, but it’s romance, of course.

Do you have a favourite author?
No. I try new people all the time. I find I get bored listening to the same style too much.

What advice would you give to new writers?
Read books on how to write, assess what you are reading and then go with your gut.

What things inspire you to write? Location, music, film or even in a book?
Situations give me the ideas. The Songbird and the Soldier happened because I wrote to a soldier in the Kuwait conflict; the book I’ve just submitted came from a dressing down I got from a consultant surgeon when I was a junior doctor and the one I’m working on at the moment came from noticing an unusually dressed guy at a ploughing match one day. But it is the music that puts me in the mood. I listened to James Blunt on repeat for a solid year whilst writing Songbird.

What is next on your agenda after publishing your (first) book?  The next book.

Chocolate or ice cream? CHOCOLATE!

Dogs or cats? Guinea-pigs.

Ha ha! Yes, my answer to that last question would currently be gerbils. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Good luck with your debut book, The Songbird and The Soldier. 

About Wendy Lou Jones:

Wendy lives in Herefordshire with her husband and two grubby boys. She used to be a doctor (in a former life), but now spends her days dreaming up romantic heroes to fall in love with.

About The Songbird and the Soldier: 

Sometimes it’s when you least expect it, that something wonderful happens, but for Andy Garrington the timing couldn’t have been worse. Being sent halfway round the world to Afghanistan, Andy is prepared for a fight, but what he doesn’t expect is the most important battle of his life to carry on at home.

For Samantha Litton, running into her childhood crush at the pub one evening seems like good fortune. But when he is called away to war and she is left behind, things don’t seem quite so clear and Sam has to determine who is telling her the truth and who is playing her for a fool, when all seems fair in love and war. 

You can find Wendy Lou Jones on Twitter / Facebook 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Don't Mention The C Word

I know, it's not even October yet, and I don't like thinking about it too much until after my birthday, but yesterday I made my Christmas cake! There I said it. The C word.

I like to make the cake early, so I can feed it sherry leading up to, you know, the time.

I don't really eat it, but I enjoy decorating the cake. It makes the home feel festive with a bit of **** cake. I did only make a small one this year.

I've also booked the panto for Me, Dad and the monsters! It has to be done early to get the best seats. I will mention The C Word no more.

In other news: Today I am over on Annalisa Crawford's blog, so please pop over and say hello to me. You might learn some new gossip about me if you go take a look.

Come back Wednesday for Hump Day Hot Seat with Wendy Lou Jones! 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Hump Day Hot Seat: Annalisa Crawford

Thank you Wendy Lou Jones for the blog post title. I've got authors ready to feature (including Wendy) and didn't know what to call it. I decided to post this feature on a Wednesday, and Wednesday is National Hump Day. If you haven't seen the advert it is here 

Today I have Annalisa Crawford, the first to be in the Hump Day Hot Seat. Annalisa and I have been internet writing pals for a couple of years now, so it's lovely to be able to invite her on to my blog. 

1)      Annalisa, have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Yes! For as long as I can remember, and probably a bit earlier than that too. I used to write stories and throw them away, so unfortunately I don’t have any stored away.

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

My first book was a YA story about a girl who discovered she was related to a member of a famous boy band. It was basically what I wish my life was like… And it’s long gone, thank goodness!

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Crime Scene vs. The Sex Scene

I really had to share this thought of the day.

Today I went to lunch with a very good friend. We met through a local writing group, which a few of us then left as we felt it wasn't quite ticking the boxes for what we wanted out of a writing group, and sort of made our own one up. This way we've actually got to know one another, and we believe this is important if we're then going to critique each other's work.

She's also a surrogate mum to me, and has helped me through my various dramas over the past couple of years.

We could talk all day and everyday I feel, we get on so well. We often message one another via Facebook or meet for coffee. (Not often enough sometimes.)

Today was no different, we met for lunch, but what I thought was particularly funny as our conversation moved to writing; we started talking about writing erotica - probably a bit too loudly in the middle of Frankie and Benny's, and we had no alcohol to blame it on either, only caffeine.

My friend confessed to writing something saucy, something she doesn't ordinarily do. She's not really a romance writer like me. She doesn't believe in happy endings. She said that this particular story just flowed from her - I'm constantly nagging her to stop the inner editor and just to write the damn thing. We joked that maybe she should write erotica, if it flowed so easily, but she said if she got published she wouldn't be able to tell anyone. Then we laughed a lot.

We discussed how, if we wrote crime, and described cutting a person up into gory pieces and stuffing him in a bin or burying him etc. etc. etc. not one of our friends would think 'hey, that's a bit weird/sick/sadistic'. They'd just think 'oh, clever." Yet, writing a saucy sex scene, friends and associates would instantly raise an eyebrow and ponder, is this her usual bedroom behaviour? Does she experiment for research purposes? Is she this kinky in bed, too? THAT came from her head!!!

Crime writers aren't criminals, therefore romance writers aren't necessarily, well, you know... well, not all the time anyway...

As a romance writer, I like to create a little bit of fantasy, a little romance, and heroic men that lets face it, just doesn't happen in reality.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Written Fireside Part 9

You'd never think we were romance writers at Harper Impulse... the suspense in this story! 

If you need to catch up with the story, here are the links below: 

Part 9 by Teresa F Morgan
Part 10 by Romy Sommer on September 19th
Part 11 by AJ Nuest on September 24th
Part 12 by Charlotte Phillips on September 29th

So, here's part 9. I won't keep you waiting any longer... 

Clara acted instinctively, jumping into the car as Derek tried to seize her. Her sleeve tore as she slipped from his grip. Mark accelerated, wheels spun, screeching, smoke, and the passenger door slammed shut as he sped out of the hotel’s parking lot.

“Thank you,” she said, rubbing her bruised arm.  Adrenaline and fear coursed through her body. The hate in Derek’s eyes haunted her.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, Ra Ra,” Mark said nervously checking the rear-view mirror.

Clara swung around to see the blue Ford Pick-Up following.

“I’m sorry I didn’t trust you.” Clara fumbled for the seatbelt. “But I saw Derek with you at the Lucky Number –”

“You did the right thing driving by, honey.” Mark sped the Mustang along the freeway, weaving up cars, trying to lose Derek. Clara dug her nails into her seat and winced at every vehicle over taken.  

“How’d you know about Barbara’s summerhouse?” She looked over her shoulder again, heart thumping inside her chest. Derek still pursued. The Pick-up would struggle to keep up with Mark’s Mustang if the road was clearer.

“She shared her secret with me a long time ago.” Mark caught her gaze. Clara scowled, thinking of that moment a few years ago where she feared they’d both betrayed her. “She was worried about you, and if Derek ever got out.”

After Clara had split with Mark, he had briefly found comfort in Barbara. She’d hated both of them at that point even though Barbara always argued they were just friends. Clara had never been sure and when Mark had tried to rekindle their relationship, Clara had walked away.

“I escaped Derek at the café, but he must have followed me to the summerhouse. He saw you get into that truck, so I followed him.”

“Did he kill Barbara?” Barbara and Mark were in the past, they had to worry about the present.

“Yes.” Mark wiped his brow with a shaky hand. “So where’s the money, Clara?”

Part 10 by Romy Sommer

19th September


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Written Fireside... latest instalments

I'll be adding part 9 on September 14th, but I thought I would share the past posts and future schedule:

Part 9 by Teresa F Morgan on September 14th
Part 10 by Romy Sommer on September 19th
Part 11 by AJ Nuest on September 24th
Part 12 by Charlotte Phillips on September 29th

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Still Pinching Myself

A few days on and it still feels very surreal. I have a book published.

By Harper Collins!

I tell almost every customer I serve at my 'little shop' job that I'm an author.

My mum sent me a card which arrived on the day, then that night I had a couple of writery friends over - they are my friends but they too are writers. We met through a local writing group but sort of strayed from that to meet regularly under our own steam. I drank champagne, they had coffee (as they were driving). I'd also made mini Eton Mess for us. Yesterday I bought myself some flowers because every author has flowers to celebrate her publication, yes?

Now I'm in the process of putting together a press release, and I sent a letter to the editor of Writing Magazine. My little shop has its own 'staff' newspaper which I'm going to try and get into too. This is where my marketing qualification and my Writers' Bureau course are helping me - although still not sure I've written a great press release.
It's all about finding your angle. So far I've come up with HarperCollins signs Weston-super-Mum. Or is that too cheesy?

In the meantime, I'm over on Liz Fielding's blog here. Liz is one of my favourite Mills and Boon authors, with her sweet romances that sizzle. She's also part of my RNA Chapter group, so it's lovely to meet up with her every six weeks or so - I try not to have a fan girl moment and remain cool.

And if you want to read more about me, I am also on AJ Nuest's blog who is a fellow author.

Right, back to the press release and blog questionnaires...