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Showing posts from 2015

Have you met the Meet-Cutes?

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It's all happening this month!  Once again I get to wish a friend happy publication day, and this time it's Katey Lovell's turn, with the fourth of her meet-cute stories with Harper Impulse.  The meet-cutes are an adorable series of short stories detailing those all important first encounters, and this time it's the turn of The Boy under the Mistletoe - perfectly timed for Christmas! 

You can order the Boy Under the Mistletoe here and if you missed the earlier meet cute stories, they are The Boy at the Bakery, The Boy in the Bookshop and The Boy at the Beach.  It's not just 'The Boy at the Bakery' that's sweet as sugar - they're all delicious and a steal at 49p each!



Happy Publication Day to Angela Wren

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Congratulations to writer friend Angela Wren, whose debut novel, Messandrierre, is published today by Crooked Cat Press.  It's a mystery, set in the fictional village of Messandrierre, in France, a country Angela knows well and has also written about on her blog James et Moi.  Angela's writing is always fabulously atmospheric and she's a meticulous plotter too, so I'm looking forward to all the twists and turns in this first Jacques Foret mystery. 
You can find out more about Angela and her stories on her website http://www.angelawren.co.uk/

OUT NOW: Modern Magic

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Modern Magic hit the stores today and I couldn't be prouder to be part of this collection alongside three other amazing romance authors.  In case you need a reminder to help you decide whether it's for you, here's the blurb:

What if Cinderella ditched the prince's ball and sent her fairy godmother to find love in her place?
Suppose a streetwise hero hired to steal an all-powerful Genie (stuck in a flash drive rather than a brass lamp) for a tech company ended up running for his life with the CEO's gorgeous, intelligent daughter? Or what if the bed that a certain golden-tressed girl accidentally napped in belonged to the hot and famous middle brother of a notorious boy band? Can you envision the sparks that might fly if a bitter and downright beastly wheelchair-bound woman propositioned a handsome bookseller to stay with her in exchange for her rare book collection? This spellbinding anthology features modern and sexy spins on four classic fairy tales that will ench…

Guest Post: Stage Names and Pen Names

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The other day Steve and I were talking about how authors and actors choose pen and stage names, and I was very interested in what he had to say, so I invited him over to my blog to tell you more about the subject.  Steve blogs about musical theatre at http://www.wheresthatmusical.co.uk/blog/.  Welcome! 
What Would Your Stage Name Be? by Steven Bisby, of http://www.wheresthatmusical.co.uk/blog/
Tonight Matthew I'm Going To Be xxxxxxxxx! Did you ever watch that TV programme ‘Stars in their eyes’ where members of the public impersonated their favourite pop star and got made up to look like the star? Which celebrity names did you dream of being if you ever got to utter those famous words ‘Tonight Matthew I’m Going To Be!’?

Quick Quiz Have you ever watched a TV sitcom with Jennifer Anastassaki in the lead role? Have you ever watched a film directed by Allan Konigsberg? Have you watched a film starring Julie Roberts? Have you been blown away by the dancing of Virginia Katherine McMath and Fred …

OUT NOW: Perfect Game

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Just in case you missed it, here's a quick post to let you know that the Perfect Game 'box set' - six sporty stories in ebook form - is now out.  Alongside my dancing romance, Perfect Partners, there's the first of Rachel Cross and Ashlinn Craven's exciting formula one stories, High Octane: Ignited.  I loved it so much, I immediately had to go and download the rest of the series! Plus four other stories of sports stars getting their happy-ever-afters.  All for less than the price of a coffee!  Here's the official blurb:  Playing the field comes easy to these six successful athletes who are at the top of their games, but lasting love is harder to find. Watch them meet their perfect matches in these adrenaline-fueled sports romances. Are you game? Full Strength: When an injury derails goalie Shane Reese, he takes it badly, and the new team shrink, Allie Kallen, has to help him get his head back on straight. Allie sees through his bravado to the real fear beyond i…

Halloween Blog Hop

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Halloween is a great excuse to dig out Nightmare Before Christmas and all my favourite spooky stories, so my contribution to the Halloween blog hop is, in no particular order, my seven favourite magical books (or series - a sneaky way of not quite having to narrow down to seven books) of all time. How many have you read?

Follow the hop for more fun, great books, and awesome prizes.  And make sure to read to the end for a chance to win a sneak preview of a magical collection, as well as a hop-wide prize draw for $50 or $100 in Amazon gift cards.  

Tamora Pierce: Alanna (Song of the Lioness series)
Along with 'Little Women', this is one of my most read books ever.  The story of a girl in a magical land which, sadly, reflects our own in having certain expectations of how boys and girls will behave.  Alanna doesn't want to be a lady and learn to dress prettily and walk nicely.  She wants to fight the bad guys, and both she and her twin Thom are gifted with powerful magic, …

Trying Something New: A Thunderclap

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For the launch of Modern Magic, my fellow Crimson Romance authors and I are trying something new to us: a Thunderclap campaign.  I've supported a few of these recently, including a very successful one for Jane Holland's fantastic thriller, Girl Number One. (You can read about her Thunderclap campaign on her blog here).

All it means is you agree to allow the app to post a one-off message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on a specified date about the book, and as the campaign only runs if at least 100 people support it, the internet becomes a 'perfect storm' of book news for a few minutes - hence the term 'Thunderclap'.  Although the initial posts only last for a few minutes, it can have a lasting effect on how many people are aware of the book.


Our Thunderclap for Modern Magic is here and we would love you to click through and support it!

If you want to know more about how you could use Thunderclap to promote your book or cause, their FAQs are here.








Update: Coming Soon...

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Just a quick update to let you know that both the sports anthology Perfect Game and our lovely fairytale collection, Modern Magic, are now up for preorder on Amazon Kindle.

Perfect Game on Amazon.com Perfect Game on Amazon.co.uk
(Perfect Game contains my ballroom dancing romance, 'Perfect Partners', which you may already have read, plus five other spicy sports romances)

Modern Magic on Amazon.com Modern Magic on Amazon.co.uk
(Modern Magic contains my brand new twist on the Goldilocks story, plus three other fun twists on traditional tales from fellow Crimson Romance authors)

Cover Reveal: Modern Magic

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I'm so excited that Crimson Romance, who published my first full-length novel (Perfect Partners) have picked my contemporary fairy-tale retelling, Music to Her Ears, as one of their 'quartet of fractured fairy tales'.  The anthology is due to be released a month from today (on November 9th). It's a privilege to be featured alongside three very talented authors and it was enormous fun working out what a certain fairy story would look like if it took place in the present day with three human brothers in place of the bears.  I love the cheeky fairy-tale cover.  What do you think?  

Blurb:
What if Cinderella ditched the prince's ball and sent her fairy godmother to find love in her place?
Suppose a streetwise hero hired to steal an all-powerful Genie (stuck in a flash drive rather than a brass lamp) for a tech company ended up running for his life with the CEO's gorgeous, intelligent daughter?
Or what if the bed that a certain golden-tressed girl accidentally nappe…

Cover Reveal: Tell, by Alison Merritt

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Wow!  Tell (Book 3 in The Heckmasters series) by Alison Merritt has a stunning cover and an exciting premise.  Read on below to find out more... but be warned... the book is not out until March 2016.  Still, you can always add it to your Goodreads shelf so you don't forget, and in the meantime, check out books 1 and 2 in the series (all links below).


Half demon, all male...one woman strong enough to love him.
Knowing the day will come when his demon blood will overcome his humanity, Tell Heckmaster has been searching for a miracle. Something, anything, to counteract the spell. So far, he's come up empty.
Just as the town of Berner has finally found peace, Tell's worst fears manifest. Strange, new powers are tearing at his finely honed control. Putting everyone-including the pretty seamstress he's kept at arm's length-in terrible danger.
Sylvie Duke has everything she needs. Everything except Tell, who doesn't seem to own a lick of sense. His resistance only str…

News: Sports Anthology

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If I'd had to place bets on the likelihood of anything I ever wrote appearing in a book on sports, I'd have placed it up there with the likelihood of me landing on the moon.  I don't do sports.  My husband is mad about football and tennis, but my involvement is generally limited to sitting in the same room as the football on TV, with headphones in, reading or writing.

However, despite the total lack of hand-eye coordination which prevents me from getting involved in ball or racquet sports, I do love to ice-skate, swim and dance.  And it's that last interest which led to my inclusion in Crimson Romance's forthcoming sports anthology: 'Perfect Game'.  
I don't do competitive ball games, but I do love competitive dance - I danced for my university teams while studying for my BA and Masters, and although I no longer compete, I still love to dance whenever the opportunity arises.  Some years ago, fuelled by my obsession with 'Strictly Come Dancing' …

Book Review: Under a Blood Moon

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Under a Blood Moon by Rachel Graves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Under a Blood Moon' is a highly entertaining debut novel which blends dark elements with a light chick-litty feel in a similar way to Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. I love stories which explore how supernatural elements would fit into the structures of our everyday world, and the heroine Mallory's role within the Baton Rouge Supernatural Investigations Department puts this book squarely into that category.

With the book coming from The Wild Rose Press, I was expecting more of a romance, but as it turns out, Mallory's relationship with Jakob, a six hundred year old vampire, provides plenty of heat without detracting from the pace of the detective story, and her friendships with others from the supernatural community are much-needed light relief from the dark events which follow from the initial zombie attack. When supernatural powers are thrown into the mix, human politics and interpersonal r…

Djinn and Tonic has a cover!

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It's official! Djinn and Tonic has a cover! Not at all what I expected, but I love it, and it fits the magical theme of the story perfectly. Thanks to Kim and all at The Wild Rose Press. Oh, and in case you're curious, here's the blurb:As fashion photographer Sal Purdew sets up her studio for a special shoot, she wishes for the perfect male model, and he appears. Sal just wants to win at the Alternative Fashion Awards, but her model, Ashtad, is a djinn with the power to grant her wishes and turn her into anything she wants to be. From the pretty English town of Whitby to a tropical beach, Ash whisks Sal away on a magical trip neither of them can forget. When Sal finds herself falling for Ash, she has to decide: do they have a future together, or will his magic always come between them?

Pride of Donny

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Just to say it was nice to see such a good turnout at Doncaster Pride today.
And a random vintage American cop car at the local gala.
And cupcakes. Cupcakes are always good!

Free today (July 27th): Phoenix Contract by Melissa Thomas

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Title: Phoenix Contract Author: Melissa Thomas Genre: A New Adult paranormal fantasy Published on:  June 15, 2015
Blurb: Centuries after the fallen angels left heaven to live among humans, their Nephilim descendants dwell in secret, hidden from the modern world. Once, a charismatic leader known as the Phoenix led their people, but he vanished centuries ago. The few surviving Great Houses are in decline, bickering over petty rivalries while a handful of faithful warriors battle to keep the forces of evil at bay. Eighteen-year-old Aiden McLachlan devotes her life to her studies and pursues her lifelong goal to become a full-fledged Watcher. But everything she knows of her life is a lie and everyone a liar. Through a strange twist of fate, she finds herself caught up in an ancient prophecy. The stars predict the rebirth of the Nephilim leader, but the mystery must be unraveled or the Phoenix cannot rise. With a soul-eating demon, a coven of ancient vampires, and a hardheaded Celtic warrior co…

Book Review: The Boleyn King

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The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful piece of historical fiction following from a clever premise: what if Anne Boleyn had a son who lived? The story follows that son, William, and others of his court including his friend Dominic, and royal ward Minuette. Surrounded by the struggles of power, can the three retain their integrity and friendship?
The details of the Court are beautifully drawn, and the invented history blends seamlessly with the true past to create this compelling first instalment in a trilogy. I look forward to reading the other two books - my only annoyance was the feeling that the ending was just a little too inconclusive in order to leave the way open for the sequel.

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Skin Deep (Flash Fiction)

This story was written in response to Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge.  The random phrase generator gave me 'pencilled collarbone' and 'Skin Deep' was the result. 
The first time I saw Lydia, I thought she had tattoos. A dragon snaked down her left arm, its tail disappearing under the sleeve of her surprisingly ladylike summer blouse. On her right forearm, a sailing ship danced over the waves, and a fairy forest grew up her calves. “That'll be four ninety-five.” Her voice was as delicate as her wrists. I handed over a fiver, then smiled my thanks as she returned my change. I took my tray to the nearest table and listened as the next five customers complimented the designs. She smiled at each one as if it was the first time she'd heard the comment. The Copper Cauldron wasn't the kind of place people went back to. On the road from somewhere to nowhere in particular, it scraped by on passing trade, while the occupants of the few local of…

One Giant Leap for a Writer?

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Who doesn't love a good robot story?  I wonder if anyone else remembers those yellow-jacketed Gollancz editions of Asimov's short stories?  I used to borrow piles of them from the school library along with my Chalet School and Sweet Valley High books (I was always an eclectic reader).  So when I saw the call for short stories for Darkhouse Books' anthology of science fiction stories based on the future imagined at the 1939 World's Fair, I knew I had to have a go.  The result was 'The Robot who Smoked', my homage to 'I, Robot', 'AI' and all the other robot stories that have made me think hard about what it means to be human. 

Originally I thought the anthology was coming out in June, so I've been twitching with impatience since then to see the other stories.  (Believe me, those I've read so far were worth the wait).  Editor Andrew MacRae has been a pleasure to deal with, and has finally picked the best possible launch date for our leap i…

Book Review: The Paper Magician

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The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I downloaded The Paper Magician on a whim for no better reason than that I was short on fantasy reads and liked the title. I started reading and was instantly addicted. Ceony is a wonderfully kind, funny, likeable heroine. She's feisty and independent (traits which cause her no small difficulties) yet with plenty to learn from magician Thane, to whom she is apprenticed. Being forced to be a Folder (paper magician) when she wants to be a Smelter (iron magician) is maddening, and her attempts to make the best of the situation are both endearing and humorous.

As Ceony gets to know magician Thane and becomes more involved in his life, the secrets which emerge lead to some thrilling adventures, as she quite literally explores Thane's heart. I found those scenes the least convincing of the book, but then Charlie Holmberg set herself a huge challenge with them and I still thoroughly enjoyed this very strong first…

Book Review: Silk for Susannah

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Silk for Susannah is a delightful short romance, which would be sweet even if it were entirely fictional, but is given an added dimension by the knowledge that it’s based on the real life of Shakespeare’s daughter.Like the film Shakespeare in Love, it plays off our endless fascination with the Bard of Avon, and evokes a strong sense of time and place. From the first page, we are transported back to Stratford in the summer when Susannah first makes the acquaintance of the young doctor John Hall, and has to persuade her father, the famous playwright, to support the match.Evocative and charming, this is a light, quick read but demonstrates the same strength of historical detail as Victoria Lamb’s powerful young adult novel, Witchstruck.
Free on kindle unlimited, and currently only 99p to purchase, what better way to try out a new historical novelist if you've not yet got to know Victoria Lamb's books?

Book Review: Girl Friday

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Girl Friday by Jane Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s ages since I’ve read anything by Jane Green but when a copy of Girl Friday crossed my path and I read the blurb I was instantly hooked. I’ll read anything that features a writer as one of the heroes, and I wasn’t disappointed by Robert McClore, thriller writer extraordinaire and boss to Kit, the recently divorced heroine who is currently rediscovering the worlds of working and dating after too long focusing exclusively on her role as wife and mother.

The bond between Kit and her two friends, Wall Street wife Charlie and yoga teacher Tracy, is brilliantly drawn, and the book has a lot to say about the dynamics of female friendship, as well as post-divorce dating.

So far so predictable, but the secrets kept by Kit’s family and friends ensure that the story develops in a way that’s anything but obvious. Is Steve the romantic computer entrepreneur the answer to Kit’s prayers, or is Kit’s friend and mother figure Edie right to susp…

Wild Rose Press to publish 'Djinn and Tonic'

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There are few better moments for a writer than finding out that an editor has enjoyed your story enough to want to share it with the world. Maybe one day it'll get old, but after two novellas and one novel, it certainly hasn't yet. I've just signed my third contract with The Wild Rose Press, which I'm delighted about because I think they did a great job with my first two novellas, 'Desperate Bid' and 'A Santa Next Door.'

My first two Wild Rose Press novellas were straightforward contemporary romances, but this one is a bit of a departure, because although it's set in the present day, it also contains a paranormal element, in the form of a djinn, or genie, who appears in response to the photographer heroine's wish for the perfect model for her photo shoot. What would you do, I wonder, if a perfect man materialised out of thin air - literally - in your studio? If you've followed along with my occasional Sunday snippets, you might remembe…

Book Review: Ascend

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Ascend by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Ascend' is a fantastic conclusion to the Trylle trilogy, and brings together all the threads that were tangling messily at the end of 'Torn'. Wendy's planned wedding, her lingering feelings for Finn and growing attraction to Loki, the looming death of her mother Elora, Queen of the Trylle, and the ongoing quest of her father, King of the Vittra, to take over the Trylle kingdom. Of you've read and enjoyed the rest of the trilogy you won't be able to resist this exciting, dramatic and fast-paced finale.

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