Follow Me, Follow You: Cover Reveal

Follow Me, Follow You

Helen Ellis Photography

Helen Ellis Photography

It’s a red letter day, as my mother used to say. The sort of day when she’d place a sticker on the page in her diary.

I am thrilled to announce that my second novel, a contemporary romance titled Follow Me, Follow You, is to be published by the wonderful Choc Lit, in both digital and paperback formats, and will be available in the autumn. This will be my first paperback publication.

In celebration, and to reveal the beautiful cover designed by Berni Stevens, I have created a short vlog. Take five, settle back and help yourself to tea and cake - our Celia’s been baking again.

Enjoy.

Laura x

Follow Me, Follow You:

Victoria Noble has pulled the plug on romance. As director of the number one social networking site, EweSpeak, and single mother to four-year-old Seth, she wrestles with the work-life balance. 

Enter Chris Frampton, Hollywood action hero and Victoria’s first love. His return from LA has sparked a powder keg of media attention, and with secrets threatening to fuel the fire, he’s desperate to escape. But finding a way forward is never simple. Although his connection with Victoria has lasted the test of time, has he been adrift too long to know how to move on? With the risk of them breaking, will either follow their heart?

Follow Me Follow You

You save me and I’ll save you

Amanda James – not one, but two fabulous new books out this month!

Amanda James

Celia: Hello Mandy, and a very warm welcome to the Romaniac sofa. Put your feet up and help yourself to cake – it’s cherry, chocolate fudge or Madeira cake today. Tea? Coffee?

Mandy: Oh how lovely! Um … could I have a little of each and tea please?

Celia: Certainly – watch the crumbs, they get everywhere. Right, we’re settled. To start the ball rolling, tell us three vital things about your latest book, Somewhere Beyond the Sea.

Amanda James SBtS

Mandy: It is a romantic suspense, it is set in Cornwall and it involves a dark secret.

C: I’m really enjoying the Cornish scenery in SBTS – how important is the setting in your stories? Is there anywhere you would never consider writing about?

M: The setting is very important. I don’t enjoy books that don’t really describe the setting or skimp over it because I like to feel like I am ‘in’ the story. Therefore I spend time setting the scene in all my books. Cornwall in my opinion is the most beautiful county in the UK and just happens to be where I now live. I am originally from Sheffield and then moved to Bristol around twenty years ago. In August of last year I eventually realised my life-long dream of moving to Cornwall and it is sheer heaven.

I would never consider writing about somewhere really horrible – like a torture chamber or a seaside public toilet on an August bank holiday for example. Yuck. Not put you off your cake have I?

C: Nothing and nobody has ever managed to do that, sadly. Although the image of the toilet is going to be hard to shift. Tell us about your other new release, Dancing in the Rain – March has been a very big month so far!

Amanda James 1 DitR

M: This is the first adult novel I ever completed back in 2005. It was then called Severe Weather Warning and needed a serious edit or three! Luckily the lovely folk at Choc Lit could see the potential in the story and after revision it became Dancing in the Rain. It is another romantic suspense with a paranormal aspect and tells the story of Jacob Weston, a young man who feels he’s never really belonged. Dreams and visions take him from his home in England to Monument Valley Arizona, where a meeting with a Navajo guide reveals Jacob’s true destiny. This is so scary that Jacob begins to wish he’d never found out the truth.

C: How did your writing career take off in the first place?

M: I have always written since I was a child. I would rely on poems and stories to help me through the teenage angst years. Then whenever I could find time when I was working, I would write short stories for my own pleasure, and I wrote a children’s novel, but never believed I could actually be a writer so didn’t take it seriously. Eventually I decided to write an adult novel. I was greatly inspired by the novels of Dean Koontz and therefore tried to write suspense/mystery. The result was Dancing in the Rain in its early state.

Oh by the way, this cherry cake is to die for, such juicy cherries. More tea? Thanks. Right, where was I … Ah yes, I sent it off to agents and quite rightly it was turned down as it was pants. I have learned much since then. I still wrote short stories and other novels and one lovely day in 2010 I had my first short story published in an anthology. The anthology, Gentle Footprints was published to raise money and awareness for the charity, Born Free. And that summer I was lucky enough to share a stage at the Hay Festival with Virginia McKenna when I read out an extract to over a thousand people. That was amazing!

Now, which shall I have next, the fudge or chocolate? Decisions, decisions … and why are you rolling your eyes Celia? Am I rambling on too much? No? Well if you’re sure. So anyway, things kind of took off after that. I then had an ebook, Righteous Exposure, published with Crooked Cat publishing in 2012, and then my first paperback, A Stitch in Time came out last year. I now have Cross Stitch which is the sequel due out at the end of the year! Still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think how quickly it all happened. It was a long time coming though, when you add up all the years I was trying to get published.

C: You’re kidding, Mandy – anyone who loves cake as much as I do can ramble as much as they like. Favourite authors? Early influences?

M: I think I have answered the first bit. Besides Koontz, I love Stephen King, Harlan Coben and Tess Gerritsen to name but a few. I love Charles Dickens too. And early influences, I guess I read lots of Enid Blyton and later, Tolkien. My favourite books were The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.

C: Where do you prefer to write and for how long, ideally, each day?

M: I write in the back bedroom overlooking the fields. On a clear day you can just see the blue strip of the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon. Ideally I would like to write for a good five hours or so, but real life gets in the way. I normally manage about two or three, but that depends on deadlines and edits. If I am under pressure I can write all day.

C: When you’re on holiday, do you have a complete break from all things writerly?

M: Yes and no. I don’t write, but I am always thinking and will jot down ideas so I don’t forget when I get back. I guess writers never really switch off. I was walking along the dunes with my husband a few weeks ago and said that it would be a great place to bury a body. He didn’t seem perturbed. Not sure if that’s a good thing!

C: Hmmm – brave man, that husband … What advice would you give to someone just setting off on the writing path?

M: Never give up and never forget your dreams. If you do, you are sunk. Getting published is tough and you have to become tough to get there. Rejection hurts but if you let it get to you, you’ll never attain your goals.

C: Okay – here are some quick-fire questions to finish off with:  Champagne or red wine?

M: Champagne of course.

C: Fresh fruit or sticky pudding?

M: Sticky

C: A woman after my own heart on both counts, as ever. Spring, summer, autumn or winter?

M: Spring and summer. I know that’s two but I can’t decide. And is there more tea?

C: No – not until you’ve finished. Zingy power shower or deep bubbly bath?

M: Zingy

C: Lively parties or intimate dinners for two?

M: Um … I like both. Okay, no need to sigh like that, Celia.  Intimate dinners I guess.

C: I know what you’re saying – it’s very hard to choose! Short stories or epic novels?

M: Both … I mean novels.

C: Moors or mountains?

M: Sea. Okay, moors.

C: Glad we pinned you down to some definite answers, Mandy  :) Thanks for visiting Romaniac HQ, and good luck with the sequel to A Stitch in Time – looking forward to it no end. Oh, and please take the rest of this cake home with you – it’s a long way back to the seaside and I don’t want you to have an energy crisis. Bye for now.

M: You trying to say I’m greedy? Whatever gave you that impression? Thanks, Celia it has been great fun!

C: And here’s the blurb for the fantastic Somewhere Beyond The Sea. (Now I just need to get that tune out of my head … hope you all enjoy the book as much as I am currently doing. That doesn’t sound like very good grammar but you know what I’m saying.)

When love begins with a lie, where will it end?
Doctor Tristan Ainsworth has returned with his family to the idyllic Cornish village close to where he grew up. The past has taught him some hard lessons, but he’ll do anything to make his wife happy – so what’s making her so withdrawn?
Karen Ainsworth daren’t reveal her true feelings, but knows her husband has put up with her moods for too long. A chance to use her extraordinary singing voice may set her free, so why shouldn’t she take it? Surely her past can’t hurt her now?
As a tide of blackmail and betrayal is unleashed to threaten the foundations of their marriage, Karen and Tristan face a difficult question. Is their love strong enough to face the truth when the truth might cost them everything?
Thanks Mandy!

 

Talli Roland celebrates the re-release of The Pollyanna Plan

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Fantastic news! Talli Roland’s bestselling novel THE POLLYANNA PLAN has a second lease of life. Lake Union Publishing (an arm of Amazon Publishing) are re-releasing the book today, complete with a shiny new cover, and also making it available in print and audio (Amazon.com; Amazon UK).

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THE POLLYANNA PLAN spent over two months in the top 100 on the Amazon UK Kindle charts, and it was selected as a Top Book of 2013 by Amazon’s editors.

Talli’s next novel, THE NO-KIDS CLUB, will be published by Lake Union on 3rd June. The Kindle format, ebook, and audio book are now available for pre-order (Amazon.com; Amazon UK). Talli says, the cover is coming soon – we’ve had some great designs and are finalizing them now!

About THE POLLYANNA PLAN

Is finding true love as easy as an attitude change?

Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on ‘the glass is half full’ optimists, believing it’s better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on.

With her world spinning out of control, and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. From here on in, she’ll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation.

Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea? 

  

Sounds fabulous to us, Talli! Very best of luck with it X

To learn more about Talli, go to www.talliroland.com or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland.

Talli blogs at  talliroland.blogspot.com.

Roving Romaniac – Lucie visits BBC Cambridgeshire

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Good morning!

And what a beautiful morning it is, too. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and I am still trying to get over the fact that I was on the radio last night. What a surreal experience that was. I never imagined, when I was growing up, that I would have the opportunity to be interviewed on the radio. But last night, I was given that opportunity and I must say, I had so much fun.

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Sue Marchant and me after the show

I was interviewed by the very lovely, Sue Marchant, at BBC Cambridgeshire on her Big Night In slot. She was fantastic and put me at ease straight away – and she asked some fabulous questions, too. I spoke about The Romaniacs and our anthology, Romaniac Shorts, and also a little about myself and my own writing.

Walking into the studio, my nerves hit an all time high. The first thing that set me off were the big BBC letter at reception. I was overcome with a mix of nerves and sheer excitement – I was here!

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Reception at BBC Cambridgeshire

Then I made my way into the studio where I met alternative folk quartet, Clutching at Straws, who were on the show after me. They were so lovely and chatting to them, and one of their girlfriends who was also there, really put me at ease before I went on. Everything just felt so relaxed – not at all how I had imagined it would be.

Then I was called in and the show began.

Afterwards, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had done it. The thing I had been worried about all week - I did it! And I think it went alright, too. Click here to listen. I am the first guest on so only about 5 minutes into the show.

So there you have it, one more thing to cross off my bucket list. I wonder what I will cross off next …

Lucie x

Guilty: Jane Bidder

JANE BIDDER

Guilty Jane Bidder

Before I ‘went to prison’, so to speak, I’d heard all kinds of things about love behind bars. According to various newspaper reports, prison officers were frequently jumping in and out of bed with criminals. Lonely women would correspond with Death Row inmates and – at the other extreme – prison could completely change a man or woman’s sexual preferences.

But all these myths were completely de-bunked when I took a job as a writer in residence of a high security prison. The truth, as I discovered, was that love did indeed flourish. But it was the love between the man behind bars and the woman (or women) he had left behind.

Time and time again, while helping men write life stories, novels or poems, I heard heart-rending tales of regret. Not, ironically, towards the victims. But towards wives, mothers and children who were suffering because their husbands and fathers were Inside.

You might well question my use of the word ‘heart-rending’. After all, criminals are usually Inside for a reason (although there are apparently a number of prisoners who are actually innocent). Surely separation from the family is, quite rightly, part of the punishment?

True. But that doesn’t help the families themselves who might not have done anything wrong. I say ‘might not’ because, during my time as writer in res, I came across at least one man whose wife knew exactly what he’d been up to – but kept mum. It made me wonder what I would do in that situation. I’d like to think I’d do the right thing. But love can make you do some daft things.

Intriguingly, I met one man who was Inside for a crime of passion. According to his version, – which he was happy to relate to anyone who would listen – he came home one day and found the missus in bed with another man. He clunked him one and, as a result, was taken to court by his rival. The French would no doubt have applauded him instead of handing out a sentence.

Indeed, when I started my job, a psychologist friend warned me to erect boundaries. “It might be easy,” he said, “to get too close.”

What? Fall for a prisoner? What a ridiculous idea. Yet when I started forging working relationships with ‘my men’ as I came to see them, I began to understand why members of the prison staff might indeed fall under the spell of a convicted man. The intense environment of a prison makes the rest of the world unreal. It’s also easy to forget that the men you are working with, have done something wrong. Instead, you’re concentrating on a mutual love of writing – something which tends to flourish in prisons as a way of releasing emotions.

You’ll be glad to know that I didn’t fall for anyone. But I was aware that some men in my group would come down for my writing sessions, smelling of freshly-applied after-shave….

After three years of working in the prison, I felt it was time for a change. But it was hard to get it out of my head. The result is ‘Guilty’, my first social crime novel. It’s about Simon, a solicitor who goes to prison for a driving offence – along with the voice of his victim. Joanna acts as a funny, witty commentator. At first, she berates him for her death but then she walks with him through the prison (in his head), pointing out areas where he needs to be careful. The novel is also written from the point of view of Simon’s new wife Claire, who begins to wonder how well she knew her husband. And there’s the voice of Simon’s stepson who hopes to get his parents back together while Simon is Inside. Meanwhile, Simon himself begins to have feelings for the artist in residence. In essence, it’s a complex love story that happens to have prison as its stage.

I will continue writing my romantic novels under the name of Janey Fraser. But, thanks to my ‘stretch’, I’ve discovered another voice too. In fact, my crime won’t stop here. My publishers have given me a three book deal. The next two books are called ‘The Witness’ and ‘’The Victim’.

I hope you enjoy them. They will open the doors to a different world – just as my self-imposed sentence did to me.

GUILTY BY JANE BIDDER IS PUBLISHED by ACCENT ON MARCH 6. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guilty-Jane-Bidder/dp/1909624160

http://www.janebidder.com/

Thank you so much, Jane, for sharing this fascinating insight. I look forward to reading Guilty. It’s right up my street. Many congratulations on the release.

Her Best Four Letter Word Blog Hop

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Welcome to Her Best Four Letter Word Blog Hop, celebrating the publication of two HarperImpulse titles:  Eve Devon’s ‘Her Best Laid Plans’ (contemporary romance) and Zara Stoneley’s ‘Love is a Four Letter Word’ (erotic romance).

Look out for the deets for TWO GIVEAWAYS via Rafflecopter and using the comments section on this blog at the end of the post.

ABOUT ‘HER BEST LAID PLANS’ by Eve Devon

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Blurb: Love is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans…

The Totally Perfect Life Plan of Amanda Gray

Step 1 – Take total control of own destiny and avoid getting too wrapped up in the details.

Step 2 – Definitely do NOT kiss gorgeous bad-boy businessman who doesn’t know how to live life without scheduling it six months in advance, even if he is absolutely irresistible.

Step 3 – Don’t even THINK of accompanying him to London as his PA to enjoy steamy encounters in a metropolitan paradise.

Step 4 – Absolutely, positively, whatever you do- do NOT fall in love with him…

Available from AMAZON or click here for other retailers.

ABOUT EVE DEVON:

I love connecting with readers. Find out more about me or stop by for a chat:

Website    Facebook   Twitter

ABOUT ‘LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD’ by Zara Stoneley

FourLetterWord_Cover

Take one rich girl who has a thing for the bad boys.

Take one tough guy who thinks possession is nine-tenths of the misery law.

Mix generously with a land dispute and a whole lotta lust…. And what have you got?

Sometimes being bad can be just too good to miss.

Available from AMAZON or click here for other retailers.

ABOUT ZARA STONELEY:

To find out more about Zara and her books, please follow the links:

Website    Facebook   Twitter   

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Goodie Bag Contents: All the perfect ingredients for a girlie reading experience…

10.00£/$ Amazon Gift Voucher (to purchase delicious ebooks)

Her Best Laid Plans Beaded Bookmark (for a touch of book bling)

Love is a Four Letter Word Beaded Bookmark (for a touch of book bling)

Her Best Laid Plans/Love is a Four Letter Word Linen Bag (to keep all your reading experience ingredients together and handy for those urgent date night clothes shopping trips)

Bottle of Bubbly (for if you don’t like hot chocolate/tea)

Hot Chocolate/Tea Drinking Goodies (for if you don’t like bubbly)

Chocolates (no explanation required!)

Nail Varnish/Nail Files (for that break between reading books!)

And it’s all inside a lovely HarperImpulse bag!

Due to the content of the prizes, all entrants must be over 18. If the winner does not reside in the UK, some items may be substituted with others of an equal or greater value due to individual country restrictions

No purchase is necessary, all answers will be available on the publisher’s blog, retailer sites, or the authors’ blogs, websites or Facebook Pages.

GIVEAWAY ONE: Answer Eve and Zara’s questions using the Rafflecopter:

To be in with a chance of winning the Goodie Bag you need to answer the two questions below.

Question 1: Where has Amanda just come from when she receives Jared’s Code Red text?

Question 2: Where has Georgie just come from when she meets Jake in the parking lot?

Don’t know the answer? Check out Eve and Zara’s facebook pages or their websites for snippets from their books                           

All correct entries will be put into the grand draw for the Goodie Bag. Winners will be announced on March 6th HERE

To gain extra entries in the Rafflecopter follow us on our blog hop and answer each new set of questions – you can find a full listing of where we’ll be on our websites or: HERE

GIVEAWAY TWO: Win an iBook Voucher every day of the hop by taking part in:

Her Best Four Letter Word…to describe an Alpha Male

Leave your best four letter word (no profanity, please) to describe an alpha male in the comments section and a winner will be chosen to receive an iBooks Voucher for a HarperImpulse title (please note if your first choice is not available you may have to pick another!). The winner of today’s competition will be posted at the end of the blog hop on 6th March. Only ONE iBooks voucher is available each day, if the Blog Hop is visiting more than one blog then ALL entries for the day, from all participating blogs, will be entered into the daily competition.

Good Luck and we hope you enjoy Her Best Laid Plans and Love is a Four Letter Word

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

 

The First Time I … Pippa Croft/Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley Pippa Croft

THE FIRST TIME I…

 WROTE A ROMANCE SERIES

Pippa Croft/Phillipa Ashley

In spring 2013, I was lucky enough to be given a three book contract to write a series of hot romance novels for Penguin Books.

This is the first time I’ve written a series featuring the same characters in each book. Prior to this all my books have been standalone, with completely new characters and settings. Each book in the Oxford Blue series is full-length at approx 90k words and I’ve just started Third Time Lucky – funnily enough the third book in the series.

Sorry that I’ve got to use a blatant plug i.e.the publisher’s blurb to introduce my findings, but this will hopefully put things in context! (Mmm, think the Romaniacs…)

The First Time We Met is the first novel in the sizzling new Oxford Blue romance series from Pippa Croft.

When US Senator’s daughter Lauren Cusack arrives at the enchanting Wyckham College of Oxford University, she hopes to mend her broken heart by throwing herself into her studies.

But then English aristocrat Alexander Hunt walks into her life and everything changes. Handsome, brooding, and with his own dark past to escape, Alexander is exactly what Lauren doesn’t need – but she finds herself helplessly drawn towards him.

Both Alexander and Lauren know that they should stay away from each other . . . but sometimes desire is so powerful that it conquers all else.

Pippa Croft Series (2)

THE VERDICT SO FAR

So here’s my report so far, on the challenges and joys of writing a series as opposed to single titles and some questions to think about before you embark on this epic journey.

THE CHALLENGES

  • Are your main characters compelling enough and can they develop sufficiently to sustain a series of books? Do the hero, heroine, and secondary characters grow and change with each book and over the series as a whole?
  • How are you going to introduce previous events for readers who pick up the series with Book 2 or 3? How much of their back story should you include while still keeping the new books fresh and exciting for the reader?
  • If it’s a hot and steamy series, how can you keep the love scenes exciting? You need to make sure that each sexy scene is part of the character development and moves the characters on in some way, and isn’t simply there for titillation.
  • You need to keep in mind the story arc of the whole series and of each book.
  • You can’t go back and change the story in earlier books, if you’re writing a series as you go along – which you probably will be.
  • However, you can’t plan too far ahead or you’ll be shoehorning characters into the plot of three books rather than letting them develop naturally. However, you do need a very good idea of their motivations and conflicts and these have to develop and change.

THE JOYS

  • Neither you nor your readers have to say goodbye to characters you’ve grown to love – or hate – by the end of the book.
  • You can take your time over each character’s development, get deep under their skins and set them new challenges to overcome.
  • If it’s a hot and steamy series, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for love scenes to show the characters growing and changing. Great fun…
  • You have time to get deep inside your characters’ psyche and develop their voices.
  • Hopefully, your readers will be so engaged with the characters they will be desperate to read each book.

That looks like more challenges than joys; however I absolutely love writing the Oxford Blue series and slightly dread it finishing it at some point.

I’ll let you into a secret: I still don’t know exactly what’s going to happen to Lauren and Alexander, but I can promise you that it will be dramatic, sexy and a big surprise (to me as much as the reader…)

Thank you so much, Phillipa, for this fascinating insight and advice. I’ve not written a series but can see how exciting it must be.  Please do visit again and let us know how things develop.

Laura x