Monday, 25 February 2013

Launch day for 'Perfect Partners'

Woo hoo!  The day is here!  Excuse all the exclamation marks, but I'm a little excited.  Today Lisa and Redmond and all the drama of the Couples show are finally unleashed on the reading public.  Yes, it's launch day for Perfect Partners.  To celebrate, I'm live on the Crimson Romance blog talking about growing up as a ballroom dancing fan and how it inspired the story of 'Perfect Partners'.  You can also find me at the beautiful Brook Cottage Books website. Please do come over and say hi! 

And finally, because good things, like troubles, should always come in threes, here's a sneak peek at Lisa and Redmond's first practice session:


She stood up, dropped her fleece onto the bench, and took his hand, willing herself not to notice the way his strong fingers encircled hers, making her feel safe and protected. Whatever his body told her, it was a lie, she told herself. He’d never been anything but trouble, and he never would be. Their partnership was a convenience, nothing more. But his hand on her back, where her low-cut dress gave way to bare flesh, still felt warm and firm and right. And when he shifted his hold, her body still responded, sending soft shivers down her spine.
He pressed the play button on the CD player as he passed, and after a moment’s pause the music began. Even though they were dancing a rapid jive, skipping and spinning and dipping, she still had time to notice how his eyes were fixed on her with almost frightening intensity. That was something she’d forgotten about him. The way he did everything as if his life, or maybe more than that—the fate of the world—depended on it. It was as if time stretched when they were dancing. In between heartbeats he could move his feet in perfect unison with hers, adjust his routine to avoid other couples on the floor and fit around her occasional slips, and still favour her with a long, lazy smile whenever she followed a particularly tricky move.
Finally, just as Lisa was becoming breathless the track began to slow down. Redmond’s effervescent energy softened to an easy swing, and as the music drifted to a halt, he swung her into a slow, languorous drop. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Countdown to Launch

I feel I should be posting a countdown... 'Three, two, one, we have lift off.'  Yes, it's just one day to go until 'Perfect Partners' hits Kindles, e-readers and even i-phones (in fact, anywhere you can install the lovely easy-to-use Kindle app). 

Lucky me, I got to celebrate today with a fabulous review from The Book Lovers.  If you don't know this blog, I thoroughly recommend it - there's a great range of books covered, and the reviews are very comprehensive so it's easy to tell if the stories are your cup of tea or not. 

I was SO happy with this review of 'Perfect Partners' - if you read it, I'm sure you'll see why.  The reviewer completely understood what I was trying to achieve with the book, and she really captures the flavour of the story - "all the glitz and glamour of the dancing world and the chemistry that poured off Lisa and Red".  Yes, yes, YES! 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Dancing Inspirations: Strictly Come Dancing

I know Strictly has been annoying to dancing purists (increasingly so as the series have gone on), but for me it's been a lifesaver.  Suddenly it's no longer embarrassing to admit that I have a passion for paso and a taste for tango, or that for many years I've been a huge fan of Anton du Beke and Erin Boag.  (And for the record, yes, I do think they should give Anton Bruce's spot when he finally taps off into the sunset, and yes, I do still hanker for Arlene's honest feedback and encyclopedic knowledge of dance, although I'm pleased that the BBC have at last found a worthy successor to her in Darcey Bussell).  For me, Strictly has filled many long, dark, depressing winter evenings with sparkles, glamour and excitement.

I'm always slightly at a loss when a series ends, so I was delighted to discover on Christmas Day that my lovely husband had tracked down tickets for the live tour when it visited Sheffield Arena in February.  And just to prove that I went, here's me holding up my programme and scorecard.  Yes, the live tour definitely scores a ten with me.  It's very obviously staged, but it's beautiful to watch and there's a fantastic atmosphere from start to finish.  The presenter, judges and celebrities all enter into the spirit and there's no feeling of boredom despite the fact they must have done it all dozens, if not hundreds, of times by now.  I especially loved getting closer to the stunning costumes - I've always had a bit of a thing for ballroom dresses, and one of the most enjoyable parts of writing 'Perfect Partners' was imagining what lovely things Lisa would get to wear as part of the Couples show. 

To round off the weekend, we followed Saturday's visit to the Strictly Live Tour with 'Anton and Erin do Hollywood' on Sunday.  Once again, both the dancing and the costumes were amazing, but this time the real star of the show was the full concert orchestra bringing the beautiful movie tunes to life.  I've no idea how the producers managed to seat a full scale orchestra on stage at Sheffield City Hall and still fit in quicksteps, foxtrots and viennese waltzes!  All in all, the weekend was a real dance extravaganza, and just what I needed to help me get in the mood for writing about dancing - after all, with my first dance book launching on Kindle in just over a week, what better time to be getting on with the sequel?


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Discovery of the Day: Autocrit

Wow!  I wish I'd discovered this site years ago.  I found autocrit as a result of an excellent article about writing by fellow Crimson Romance novelist Bobbi Romans, author of the intriguingly titled 'Swamp Magic'.  The article, which you can find here, is well worth a read. 

Although it's described as advice for beginning writers, there are some things worth hearing more than once, even if you've been writing for years.  Bobbi's tips span everything from critique groups to finding out about industry trends, so even if you've been following some of the pointers for a long time, others may well be fresh, as online editing site autocrit was for me. 

Courtesy of autocrit, I've learned that I've finally conquered my habit of scattering my stories with the words 'just' and 'really', only to see a forest of 'it' and 'was' springing up in their place!  *Sigh*.  A writer's work is never done...


Friday, 1 February 2013

The lost art of letter-writing

In February, I'm going to be taking part in a writing challenge with a difference.  I first came across it while reading a lovely post at the Belle, Book and Candle blog over someone else's shoulder. (And why is it that blogs read that way are always so much more interesting?  Is it for the same reason that when I go out to dinner, the tastiest pudding is always on someone else's plate?)
stock image
The challenge is to write - and post - a letter every day for a month.  The official version of the challenge is here if you want to play, but I confess I haven't signed up due to a horror of allowing my postal address to creep into the cybersphere.  I'll be playing privately, but if you're good I might 'post' you some updates here along the way, and if you're playing too, I'd love to hear how it goes - either in the comments below, or by letter if you happen to be a non-cyber acquaintance of mine!

Although I write a great many emails, weeks can go by without my putting pen to paper in the normal way of things, so I'm interested to see what happens when I start slotting good old fashioned handwriting back into my routine.  While it may or may not have an effect on my literary efforts, I certainly hope the challenge will encourage me to give a few friends a nice surprise, not to mention I might also use up some of the vast stack of note-cards I keep accumulating as a result of my passion for stationery.  After all, if you recall, clutter clearing was one of my 2013 non-goals

Right, I'm off shopping for stamps.  See you at the post office!